We all thought DE Jason Babin would land with a contender after the Eagles cut him, so why did the Jaguars take a chance on him? Erik Kuselias and Mike Florio explain.
ProFootballTalk: Why did the Jags claim Babin?
After showing up to camp overweight last year, Watkins was able to win the starting left guard job but an ankle injury in the first week wound up wiping out the rest of his season. The suspension this year is just for one game, but it’s hardly a pattern of reliability for a player the Rams were looking to as a starter on the offensive line this year.
It doesn’t sound like the team’s lost their faith in him, however. Coach Jeff Fisher wouldn’t offer any details about why Watkins was suspended, but he did say that he thinks the league erred in suspending his player.
“I’ll say this, we’ve been aware of it for quite some time,” Fisher said, via Joe Lyons of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not going to go into specifics of the suspension. We respect the league’s decision, but personally and respectfully, I disagree with the suspension and the circumstances regarding the suspension. That’s my opinion, but we’ll honor the league’s decision.”
Players in the substance-abuse program who test positive are usually suspended for four games, which suggests Watkins violated the policy in another way. That could mean an arrest or other run-in with the authorities, although those details mean less going forward for the Rams than Fisher’s willingness to go on the record in support of his guard.
Titus Young, the troubled former Lions receiver who has been arrested three times this month and has been in jail since May 11, appeared in court today but refused to address the judge.
According to USA Today, the interaction between Young and Judge Andre Manssourian went like this:
Judge: “Good morning, sir.”
Young: No reply.
Judge: “Can you hear me?”
Young: No reply.
Judge: “Are you Titus Demetrius Young?”
Young: No reply.
When Young refused to even confirm his name, the judge called the attorneys over and had a sidebar discussion with them, during which time Young continued to stand silently. At one point Young’s father, who was in the courtroom, called out to him, but Young still did not respond. Young’s attorney later said that Young was exercising his right to remain silent.
Friends and family members have said they’re concerned about the mental state of Young, who is facing a slew of charges including burglary, battery on a police officer and drunk driving. The judge said Young “poses a danger to the community” and increased his bail from $25,000 to $50,000. Young’s family has apparently decided not to post bail, thinking he is better off remaining in jail until he receives the mental health treatment he needs.
Maybe Argonaut is Canadian for Millen.
The CFL’s Toronto Argonauts announced they had signed former Lions draft bust Mike Williams.
The 10th overall pick in 2005, Williams never lived up to his college hype, catching 127 passes in five seasons with the Lions, Raiders and Seahawks.
That’s fewer than he caught in two years at Southern Cal, when he looked like the kind of player that was going to make a genius out of former Detroit General Manager Matt Millen.
It looked like Williams was going to resurrect his career after a 65-catch season with the Seahawks in 2010, but now he’s going north of the border to try to reclaim that magic.
You never know when injury might strike, however, and the team checked out a few players who could serve as insurance policies this week. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Colts worked out Dante Rosario while Albert Breer of the NFL Network adds that they also worked out Randy McMichael and Cornelius Ingram.
Rosario had one big game for the Chargers in 2012 when he caught four passes for 48 yards and three touchdowns against the Titans in Week Two. He had just six catches and 47 yards the rest of the year, however, and pretty well fits the journeyman label after playing for four different teams in the last three years.
McMichael also played in San Diego last season, finishing with nine catches in 16 games as a complement to Rosario and Antonio Gates. McMichael, who has also played for the Dolphins and Rams, turns 34 in June. Ingram was a fifth-round pick of the Eagles in 2009, but tore his ACL in training camp. That made two straight ACL tears for Ingram, who has spent time on practice squads with the Lions and Broncos without playing in any regular season games.
With wide receiver Michael Crabtree out for at least the next six months after tearing his Achilles, the 49ers are going to need the rest of their receiving corps to step up to cover for his absence.
One of the guys they’ll be looking to is Mario Manningham, who is set to start his second season with the team after signing as a free agent in 2012. Manningham’s first year with the Niners ended in December when he tore his ACL and PCL, an injury that coach Jim Harbaugh expectes to keep Manningham from starting training camp on the field with the rest of his teammates.
Manningham is making progress, though, and has started ramping up his physical activity during rehab.
“I have started running and cutting and doing little things,” Manningham said on Sirius XM NFL Radio, via the 49ers’ website. “When you have knee injuries, you can’t really take any time off. Every time I think about it, I’m trying to do something with my knee. I’m not rushing it but I am going hard on my knee.”
Manningham is one of several 49ers receivers whose question marks loom all the larger thanks to Crabtree’s injury. Kyle Williams is also recovering from a serious knee injury and A.J. Jenkins has to show he’s capable of producing in an NFL offense after spending almost all of his rookie season on the inactive list.
We’ve heard plenty of praise for Brian Urlacher since the linebacker announced his retirement earlier this week.
That praise has come from friend and foe alike, including a quarterback who has seen a lot of Urlacher since taking over as the starter in Green Bay. During an appearance on Jim Rome’s radio show, Aaron Rodgers called Urlacher his “favorite player to play against” and said that he’ll miss verbally jousting with Urlacher the next time that the Packers and Bears square off.
“From schematic stuff to silly plays that might have been called. We had a back-and-forth one time where I’m making a check, he’s making a check, his voice cracks, so laughing about that a few plays later during a TV timeout,” Rodgers said, via ESPNChicago.com. “Some of the checks he would do were often very colorful. If he had been miked up at those times there would have been some good, unedited NFL Films stuff, but I just always appreciated the way he played the game, his approach, his professionalism, and competing against him was a great honor.”
We don’t doubt that Rodgers enjoyed squaring off with one of the best middle linebackers of the recent past, but he might have also enjoyed playing against Urlacher because matchups with Chicago have gone well for the Packers since Rodgers took over. The Packers are 9-2 in those games, including a win in the NFC Championship Game following the 2010 season, although Urlacher was only active in nine of those games.
He might not be practicing yet, but Patriots wide receiver Josh Boyce now has a contract.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the Patriots signed the fourth-rounder to a four-year deal.
Boyce is still on the sidelines with a broken toe, but when he returns, he has a good chance of playing a significant role early on.
The Patriots have remade their receiving corps this offseason, and there’s a real possibility Dobson or Boyce could end up starting opposite Danny Amendola.
The Browns announced the signing of rookie offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey on Friday.
A seventh-round pick from Chadron (Neb.) State, Gilkey has reportedly played guard during the Browns’ offseason workouts. He was a left tackle in college.
After the selection of Gilkey, Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said the lineman’s play at the Senior Bowl caught his eye.
“He went into the Senior Bowl and played very well against those guys and competed,” Chudzinski said, according to the Browns. “. . . He has lined up against guys from Florida State, North Carolina and everywhere else and looked like he fit right in. It didn’t faze him one bit. He’s a tough guy and has the kind of attitude that we want.”
Chudzinski also noted that Gilkey “has really good feet for a big man and can bend very well.”
Off the field, Gilkey is notable for his public stance against bullying, something he has said he encountered in high school.
Former Denver center Tom Nalen made a surprising confession during a press conference to introduce him as the next member of the Broncos’ Ring of Fame: Nalen said that in 2006, he attempted to injure Chargers defensive lineman Igor Olshansky.
On the play in question, the Broncos were lining up to spike the ball and stop the clock, and players on both teams just stood up. But Nalen dove into Olshansky’s knee. That infuriated Olshansky, who threw two punches at Nalen and was ejected from the game. Nalen was fined $25,000 for the cheap shot, while Olshansky was fined $10,000 for retaliating.
At the time, Nalen wouldn’t talk publicly about the play, as the Broncos’ offensive line always refused to talk to the media. But on Friday Nalen admitted that he wanted to hurt Olshansky, justifying it because Olshansky had grabbed his facemask on the previous play.
“I wouldn’t consider myself a dirty player,” Nalen said. “I know people will bring up the Igor Olshansky play in 2006, but if people would look at the play before that and realize why I did what I did — and even on that play I missed the cut — so you know definitely, I wanted to blow his knee out on that play because of what happened the play before. But that, you know, is that dirty? I don’t know. It’s revenge, kind of, so.”
Does Nalen really need to ask whether trying to blow out an opposing player’s knee is dirty? If he does, I’ll answer for him: Yes, it was a dirty play. The Broncos’ offensive linemen were often accused of playing dirty during Nalen’s time with the team, and there’s no justification for trying to blow out another player’s knee. No matter what Olshansky did, Nalen was in the wrong.
For the second time this week, a player has suffered a torn Achilles in OTAs, and could be lost for the season.
The AP photo of McCoy being attended to by trainers which is shown here was taken Monday.
McCoy started seven games last year (seeing most of his work in two-tight end sets along with Zach Miller), catching 18 passes.
The injury will push rookie Luke Wilson, a fifth-round pick from Rice, into a bigger role.
Add another team to the list of those with all of their draft picks under contract.
The Redskins tweeted a picture of third-round tight end Jordan Reed signing his contract on Friday. With the 85th overall pick under contract, all seven members of their 2013 draft class have agreed to deals with the team.
Reed caught 45 passes for 559 yards and three touchdowns at Florida in 2012 and profiles as a pass-catching specialist at the professional level. Greg Cosell of NFL Films was a big fan of Reed’s heading into the draft, comparing him to former Gator and current Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez when it comes to his ability to make an impact in the passing game.
For now, the Redskins will likely settle for Reed serving as a complement to Fred Davis. Davis is in the final year of his contract, so the best-case scenario would have Reed stepping up to be part of the plan to replace him if Davis winds up leaving after the 2013 season.
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has already lined up a TV gig to keep him busy in retirement, but that’s not the only thing that the two-time Super Bowl champ will be doing now that he’s hung up his cleats.
Lewis will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania next month as part of an effort to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in East Africa. Lewis opened up a website to help spread the word of his efforts and solicit donations with contributions on either front giving the donor a chance to win an autographed helmet.
“In one month, I will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money and awareness for clean water projects in East Africa. I am so FIRED UP for this adventure, but until then, I need your help to bring clean water wells to thousands of children and families. Show your support by following my TackleKili journey, spreading the word, and donating to TackleKili,” Lewis wrote.
Many people have reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, which rises 19,341 feet above sea level. Lewis will likely be the first to attempt the squirrel dance upon completion of the trek, assuming he’s got enough oxygen in his lungs to generate the necessary gyrations to pull it off.
Prosecutors still may win the war, but today they lost the battle.
Evidence introduced at the hearing included testimony that Brent has failed on 22 occasions to log data to his SCRAM device, which monitors alcohol levels. However, there was no evidence that Brent used alcohol or that he tampered with the device.
Brent faces a September trial for intoxication manslaughter charges. He allegedly was under the influence of alcohol during a crash that claimed the life of Cowboys linebacker Jerry Brown.
Brent is not expected to play for the Cowboys in 2013, but he reportedly has been present at the team’s facility during the offseason. The NFL undoubtedly will suspend Brent, at least for a year, if he pleads guilty to or is convicted of manslaughter.
The move fits with the Falcons’ overall strategy this offseason as they have signed players like running back Steven Jackson and defensive end to go with the returning Tony Gonzalez in a bid to advance beyond the NFC Championship Game next season. Seymour’s another veteran piece to throw into the mix in an all-out push for the Super Bowl.
It doesn’t sound like there’s any reason to rush out and get a Seymour jersey in Falcons colors before Memorial Day weekend is out, however. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network confirms that the Falcons have expressed interest in Seymour and notes that they are the closest team to where he lives, but reports that there is “nothing serious” as far as Seymour actually signing up with the team is concerned.
There was a report in early May that Seymour “definitely” wants to play in the 2013 season, but the word since his release by the Raiders has been that he’s looking for a sizable salary in order to join another team. The Falcons may not have the ability to offer Seymour such a deal, but the lack of other suitors at his price may mean that Seymour will need to compromise if he really wants to continue his career.
Continuity is the key to a good offensive line, and the 49ers should now have it.
But it’s costing Jonathan Goodwin a little money to make sure they stay together.
According to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, the veteran center has taken a pay cut of $1.2 million.
That gives the team enough cap space to sign their remaining draft picks, and also strengthens the chances he hangs around. His base salary was reduced from $3.7 million to $2.5 million, though $1 million of that amount is now guaranteed.
Goodwin had started every game for the 49ers since signing in 2011, but might have been vulnerable if he hadn’t taken a pay cut. He’s the third vet to take the haircut to increase their chances to stay, following Parys Haralson and Mario Manningham.