Skip to content

Kyle Rudolph, Harrison Smith clear concussion tests

Kyle Rudolph, London Fletcher AP

The Minnesota Vikings received some good news on Wednesday as both tight end Kyle Rudolph and safety Harrison Smith have been cleared to return after suffering concussions last week.

Rudolph and Smith both were forced to leave last Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears after taking blows to the head. According to Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press, both are expected to be available for the Vikings match up against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday.

“To know that Kyle and Harrison have been cleared, that’s a big deal,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “They are two keys to our football team. The fact that Percy’s going to attempt to do something today, that’s encouraging. It’s just a matter of how far he can go. That’s a big deal to have those guys out there practicing.”

Rudolph did not practice for the Vikings on Wednesday as he is also dealing with a sore shoulder that isn’t expected to affect his availability. Smith was able to return to limited participation on Wednesday.

Rudolph has been one of quarterback Christian Ponder’s more reliable targets this season, especially in the red zone. Rudolph has 39 catches for 361 yards and seven touchdowns on the season for the Vikings.

The return of wide receiver Percy Harvin is still a question mark. Harvin returned to limited participation in practice on Wednesday for the first time after suffering an ankle injury in Seattle three weeks ago.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Green Bay Packers, Home, Minnesota Vikings, Rumor Mill

Chuck Pagano: It’s an important offseason for Trent Richardson

Trent Richardson AP

The Colts kick off their offseason program on Monday and it promises to be a big one for running back Trent Richardson.

Richardson’s in-season arrival in a trade with the Browns cost the Colts a first-round pick and got them a back who wound up being benched in favor of Donald Brown near the end of the season. The Colts have maintained faith in Richardson and the back said after the season that he thought his struggles were due in part to insufficient time to pick up the offense, something coach Chuck Pagano says Richardson has to do this offseason.

“It’s going to be very, very important for [Richardson] to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will,” Pagano said, via the team’s website. “He wants to be great. He’s got all the talent. He’s got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn’t believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign.”

Brown is in San Diego now, but Vick Ballard and Ahmad Bradshaw are back in Indy and we’ve already seen the Colts move on from Richardson when they felt there were better options. There’s no reason to expect anything different next season if Richardson hasn’t shown that his slow start with the team was just a matter of being in unfamiliar surroundings.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jimmy Clausen looking for a second chance to compete

Jimmy Clausen AP

When the Panthers drafted Jimmy Clausen in the second round of the 2010 draft, the hope was that he’d develop into their starting quarterback.

That never happened. Clausen played poorly in 13 games as a rookie and the Panthers drafted Cam Newton after going 2-14, leaving Clausen with a seat on the bench that he never relinquished the next two seasons. Clausen then hurt his shoulder in preseason last year, forcing him to injured reserve before his contract with the Panthers came to an end.

Clausen is working out with trainers and says his shoulder is almost 100 percent, but that hasn’t helped him get a job yet this offseason. Clausen hopes that changes so that he can resume his quest for a starting job in the league.

“That’s what I want. The only thing I can ask for is an opportunity — a legit opportunity to compete to be a No. 2 and hopefully work my way up,” Clausen said, via USA Today It’s tough. Obviously, I’m a competitor and want to get somewhere and compete.”

There hasn’t been much tape of Clausen for teams to evaluate since that dismal rookie year and there hasn’t been so much as a murmur of interest in his services around the league this offseason, which doesn’t bode well for a resurrection of his stalled career. Perhaps that changes if a team feels the need for an extra arm in camp this summer, but things look dim for Clausen on the second chance front.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Popp says Johnson isn’t trying to get back to the NFL

Chad AP

Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Johnson has become new CFL receiver Chad Johnson.  (Or, perhaps eventually, Chad Quatre-Vingt-Cinq.)

Regardless, Johnson supposedly has no aspiration to parlay his arrival in the CFL into a return to the NFL.  That’s what long-time Alouettes G.M. Jim Popp told Ross Tucker and Brad Hopkins of SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday.

Popp also insisted that adding Johnson, who last spent time in the NFL nearly two years ago with the Dolphins after a lackluster 2011 season with the Patriots, isn’t a publicity stunt.

It may not be a stunt, but it’s definitely generating publicity.  The question is whether it will result in productivity.  While plenty of young players have used the CFL as a way to attract the attention of the NFL, precious few aging NFL players have gone to Canada and made an impact.  If Johnson plays at a high level, it will be noteworthy in large part because it will be unprecedented.

Until then, NFL fans and NFL media will pay more attention to the CFL.  Which means more publicity.  Even if the goal wasn’t to get more publicity.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Charles Tillman now has a street that crosses RG3′s

Robert Griffin III, Charles Tillman AP

If you’re looking for the intersection of NFL greatness on both sides of the ball, you can always go to Copperas Cove, Texas.

There, you can roll down the newly named Charles Tillman Way, which intersects with Robert Griffin III Boulevard.

According to KWTX, Tillman had his street named after him last week. The NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year said he was flattered by the recognition of his hometown.

I really am humbled and thankful that you guys allowed me to be an ambassador for Copperas Cove,” the Bears cornerback said. “I will continue to do my part and try and change as many lives as we can.”

Now we just need an investigation to see if any strings were pulled.

During an interview with his fellow Copperas Cove graduate, Tillman joked that Griffin was a much bigger deal in his hometown.

“It’s him!” Tillman said in February, via the Washington Post. “Ask me do I have a street named after me.”

Griffin then replied: ““We’re gonna start the campaign today to get Charles Tillman a street in Copperas Cove.”

Whether Griffin had anything to do with it or not, it’s still a neat way for the town to honor two of its most prominent natives.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Colts haven’t retired No. 88, but they won’t let Nicks wear it

Marvin Harrison AP

Technically, the Colts have not retired the 88 jersey which the team’s all-time leading receiver, Marvin Harrison, wore during his 13 seasons in Indianapolis, and which Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey wore for nine seasons in Baltimore. But the Colts aren’t giving No. 88 out anymore.

That became clear when the Colts’ website announced that Hakeem Nicks, the newly arrived free agent who wore No. 88 with the Giants, will instead wear No. 14 with the Colts.

Nicks had previously said he wanted to keep wearing No. 88 but that he didn’t know if he could in Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows I love those eights on my chest, but we’ll have to see how that pans out,” Nicks said when he signed with the Colts.

The Colts are running out of numbers in the 80s, with Raymond Berry’s 82 and Gino Marchetti’s 89 both retired, and Reggie Wayne’s 87 likely to be retired some day as well. But they should also retire 88, and when they do they should honor both Harrison and Mackey.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Arizona judge denies bail for Darren Sharper

Sharper AP

Former NFL player Darren Sharper currently has so many legal problems that even former NFL player Aaron Hernandez would say, “That guy’s got a lot of legal problems.”

Sharper’s problems became more complicated on Thursday.

Via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today, a judge in Arizona determined on Thursday that Sharper should not be released on bail for the rape charges he’s facing in that state.  Sharper also has been accused of rape in California and Louisiana, with potential charges also in Nevada and Florida.

In Arizona, Sharper’s conduct resulted in three alleged victims, labeled as A, B, and C.

“The court finds proof evident and the presumption great that Victim B was the victim of a sexual assault committed by Mr. Sharper,” Granville said. “The court will therefore affirm the no-bond finding with respect to [sexual assault].”

The evidence consists of DNA material matching Sharper.

He currently remains in jail in California while the wheels of justice churn in three different jurisdictions.  He is expected to be tried initially in California.

Sharper played for the Packers, Vikings, and Saints.  He was a key member of the 2009 New Orleans team that won Super Bowl XLIV.  Most recently, Sharper worked as an analyst for NFL Media.  Initially suspended after the California case came to light, the league fired Sharper after an arrest warrant was issued in Louisiana.

Permalink 17 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Meeting of the minds: Peyton visits Saban at Alabama

Nick Saban AP

It’s not uncommon for coaches to pick the brains of one another in the offseason.

But Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning joined the loop, putting at risk his God-like status in the state of Tennessee.

According to Alex Scarborough of ESPN.com, Manning and Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase spent two days with Alabama coach Nick Saban last week, a visit Saban called mutually beneficial (of course).

“A lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, from a career standpoint and about as good as anyone has been in the history of the league,’ ” Saban said. “After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out to try and seek more knowledge and understudying of the game of football so he can play better.”

Of course, Saban wasn’t just generously sharing his own wisdom, as his teams have been picked apart by the kinds of no-huddle attacks Manning is so good at running.

“Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that give them problems,” Saban said. “That was a mutual benefit. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well.”

While Manning helping an SEC rival won’t sit well with his orange-clad brethren, the fact Manning’s out looking for fresh perspectives on the game also illustrates his commitment to the game. Coming off a record-breaking season, he could have easily claimed some down time to rest, but continues to work.

Permalink 12 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Kaepernick, Niners contract talks on hold

Colin Kaepernick, Thomas Davis AP

The 49ers and quarterback Colin Kaepernick have been talking about a contract extension this offseason, but those discussions have reportedly been tabled for the time being.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the reason why things have come to a halt is the incident in Miami involving Kaepernick, two other NFL players and a woman who filed a report with police saying she woke up in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. Neither Kaepernick nor anyone else has been accused of any wrongdoing and has strongly denied doing anything wrong, but things will apparently remain on hold until the police wrap up their investigation.

Rapoport also reports that the two sides were far apart in talks on a contract that Kaepernick surely wants to be among the top in the league after his first two seasons as a starting quarterback. As of now, it doesn’t look like the Miami “incident report” is going to do anything to lower his asking price so the resumption of talks may not lead to a quick resolution of Kaepernick’s contract.

Quick or not, talks should pick up once police finish their work in Miami and a Kaepernick extension is likely to remain a top order of business as long as that investigation clears him.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Friday morning one-liners

Logan Mankins AP

Bills WR Brandon Kaufman hinted at a move to tight end.

Everything you ever needed to know about Dolphins G.M. Dennis Hickey.

Patriots G Logan Mankins hopes he has a few years left in his career.

Is taking a safety a possibility for the Jets in the first round?

Wisconsin DT Beau Allen and Bowling Green TE Alex Bayer visited with the Ravens.

Marvin Lewis Sr., father of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, died Thursday at the age of 78.

The Browns have completed their medical staff for the 2014 season.

Steelers T Mike Adams is working to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season.

Breaking down the makeup of the Texans defense.

G Joe Reitz shared some thoughts on the Colts’ offseason after signing his restricted free agent tender from the team.

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley was the subject of praise from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

Running through the 20 highest-paid members of the Titans.

Former Broncos RB Otis Armstrong was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

A lot of people think the Chiefs are drafting a wide receiver in the first round.

LB Kaelin Burnett signed his exclusive rights free agent tender from the Raiders.

The Chargers announced the dates and times of all their preseason games.

Stanford DL Josh Mauro would love to play for the Cowboys.

The Giants were one of the teams watching Florida DT Dominique Easley work out on Thursday.

What is the Eagles’ biggest strength right now?

Redskins WR DeSean Jackson and an oversized bottle of champagne.

Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch will work out for the Bears at the team’s pro day for local prospects.

The Lions look forward to seeing what KR Jeremy Ross can do after an offseason with the team.

The Packers are looking for more consistency on their special teams.

A call for the Vikings to be cautious in their pursuit of a quarterback.

Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix doesn’t seem like a possibility for the Falcons in the first round unless they trade back.

A judge ruled the Charlotte city council did not break the law when they voted privately to offer the Panthers tax incentives.

Saints CB Champ Bailey, RB Mark Ingram and T Zach Strief will be playing in a celebrity golf tournament.

Buccaneers QB Josh McCown showed off his hoops skills for a charity game.

Former Cardinals T and longtime NFL broadcaster Dan Dierdorf will now announce University of Michigan games.

The Rams are watching Clemson WR Sammy Watkins work out on Friday.

The 49ers had a pre-draft visit with Miami T Seantrel Henderson.

WR Sidney Rice was happy to see his Seahawks locker was left untouched during his brief time off the roster.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Marqise Lee visits Detroit, says he’d be happy there, or anywhere

Marqise Lee AP

Former USC receiver Marqise Lee visited Detroit this week and said he had a great time getting to know the Lions’ coaching staff, saying afterward that he’d be thrilled to go there — or anywhere else.

“Think I did pretty well, left a good impression, so hopefully, at the end of the day, I end up going there. If not, wherever I end up,” Lee said. “Honestly, to tell you the truth, I’m going to be happy wherever I go down. If it’s 10, it’s 10. If it’s 29, it’s 29. It doesn’t matter to me, as long as I get the opportunity to actually go out there and play.”

Lee had a brilliant sophomore season in 2012, catching 118 catches for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns and winning the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in college football. If not for the NFL’s rule requiring players to be three years out of high school before they can be drafted, he probably would have been a Top 10 pick in last year’s draft.

But he struggled in 2013 after suffering an early-season knee injury, catching 57 passes for 791 yards and four touchdowns. As a result, his stock has dropped, and now he’d be seen as something of a reach if the Lions took him with their first-round pick, No. 10 overall. Lee says he’s now fully healthy, and teams should expect him to look more like he did in 2012 than in 2013.

“I’m 100 percent,” Lee said. “One of the issues I ran into, a lot of people didn’t think I was healthy, my knee issue. But before I even got started to train for the combine, I went to go see doctors, and they let me know I was going to be 100 percent and I would have no more problems with it.”

When healthy, Lee was a great player at USC. Maybe great enough that the Lions would consider him at No. 10.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Teddy Bridgewater falls to second round in Mel Kiper’s latest mock draft

Teddy Bridgewater, Corey Jones AP

For most of the fall, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was talked about as being almost a lock to be the first quarterback selected in the NFL Draft and perhaps the first overall selection by the Houston Texans.

As the draft has drawn closer, that sentiment no longer seems to be the case. However, Bridgewater still seems likely to be one of the first few quarterbacks when the draft finally gets here on May 8. That hasn’t stopped a somewhat unexpected projected from Mel Kiper in his latest mock draft for ESPN.com on Thursday.

Kiper has Bridgewater falling out of the first round with the Houston Texans selecting him with the first pick of the second round.

Kiper’s reasoning is as follows:

“Let me be clear: This is the top-rated quarterback on my Big Board, a player I have rated higher than Bortles, Manziel or Carr,” Kiper wrote. “But my reading of the tea leaves in speaking with many evaluators around the league is that Bridgewater could drop if he slides past a couple of points early on. If I could project trades, I’d have someone taking him later in Round 1 having moved up. Obviously, he’s a steal at this point.”

Perhaps this is the tangible result of the draft being pushed back an extra two weeks. More time is available for front offices to out-think themselves or for teams to disparage a prospect in the hope he falls farther down on the draft board. It seems somewhat crazy that a quarterback some people still rank as the best in this draft could fall out of the first round based on a non-stellar pro day or workout instead of the performances at Louisville that grabbed the attention of scouts in the first place.

Permalink 44 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chargers pick up option on Corey Liuget

San Diego Chargers  v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers have joined the group of teams to exercise their fifth-year options on 2011 NFL Draft selections.

According to Field Yates of ESPN.com, the Chargers have picked up their team option on defensive tackle Corey Liuget.

Liuget was the 18th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft. As per terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, all draft picks sign four-year contracts with first-round selections having a team option for a fifth season. For 2011 draft picks, teams have until May 3 to exercise their options for the 2015 season.

The option would pay Liuget $6.969 million in 2015, per NFLPA records.

Liuget has started every game over the last two seasons for the Chargers. Liuget had 7.0 sacks for San Diego in 2012 and 5.5 sacks in 2013.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jets pick up option on Muhammad Wilkerson

Jacksonville Jaguars v New York Jets Getty Images

With the deadline approaching for picking up fifth-year options for 2011 draft picks, the New York Jets have picked up their option on defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.

The Jets had always intended on picking up Wilkerson’s option year. According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, that decision has been officially exercised.

Wilkerson was the 30th overall selection of the 2011 NFL Draft. As per terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, all draft picks sign four-year contracts with first-round selections having a team option for a fifth season. For 2011 draft picks, teams have until May 3 to exercise their options for the 2015 season.

The option would pay Wilkerson $6.969 million in 2015.

Wilkerson racked up 10.5 sacks and 63 tackles with two forced fumbles and an interception for the Jets last season. He was named a second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl alternate.

Wilkerson has said he wants to be a “Jet for life” and the option year could give the two sides more time to come to terms on a long-term extension.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Cowboys to pick up option year for Tyron Smith

Dallas Cowboys v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith has blossomed into one of the premier offensive linemen in the NFL over his first three seasons in the league. Smith was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season and was also named a second-team All-Pro.

As such, the Cowboys want to make sure he’s in Dallas for the foreseeable future. According to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, the Cowboys have exercised their team option on Smith for the 2015 season.

Smith was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. As per terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, all draft picks sign four-year contracts with first-round selections having a team option for a fifth season. For 2011 draft picks, teams have until May 3 to exercise their options for the 2015 season.

The option would pay Smith equal to the amount of a transition tag for offensive linemen in 2015, which is $10.039 million. The two sides could also work out a long-term extension before the option year would go into effect.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Donald Jones turns to baseball after kidney transplant

Buffalo Bills v Houston Texans Getty Images

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Donald Jones was forced to retire from the NFL last August after discovering he had a kidney disease that made it impossible to continue playing football.

Now just four months after a kidney transplant, Jones is trying to make his way back onto the field in a different sport.

According to Mike Ashmore of MyCentralJersey.com, Jones is playing outfield for the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

After being released by the New England Patriots last July, Jones set up a workout with the Indianapolis Colts but had his blood pressure skyrocket during a stress test that ultimately convinced him he could no longer keep playing football. He was diagnosed with Berger’s Disease and required a transplant or kidney dialysis. He received a donor kidney from his father.

“It was scary, to say the least,” Jones said. “But I came to terms with everything, it was going to be what it was going to be. I was excited to get the whole thing over with and I was happy I didn’t have to do the dialysis.”

Jones was coming off his best season with the Bills in 2012. He caught 41 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns In his three years in Buffalo, he caught 82 passes for 887 yards and six touchdowns.

Jones played baseball through high school and is currently just working out with the Somerset Patriots.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top