Erik Kuselias talks with Browns RB Trent Richardson and asks him to grade Cleveland’s season thus far. EK also asks if TRich is still scared of Nick Saban screaming at him if he fumbles the ball and who he’d like the Browns to draft this year.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with Trent Richardson
Former first round pick Dominique Easley is among nine players placed on either the physically unable to perform or non-football injury lists by the New England Patriots on Monday.
Easley landed on injured reserve last December after suffering a knee injury. He did not have surgery this offseason but still missed all of the team’s offseason workouts this summer. Easley was one of eight to be placed on the PUP list by New England.
In addition, linebacker Dane Fletcher, defensive tackle Chris Jones, wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Matt Slater, defensive tackle Vince Taylor, center Ryan Wendell and linebacker Chris White were also placed on PUP on Monday.
Quarterback Matt Flynn was placed on the non-football injury list.
Players on PUP/NFI count against the 90-man roster limit and can be activated any time during the preseason.
The NFL’s rules regarding football inflation amount to the ultimate “it was like that when I got here” proposition, with the required range of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI something that has passed through the generations, with no clear understanding as to why the footballs should be within that specific limit.
For the first time ever, a league that ordinarily obsesses over shoe color and whether a guy’s knees are visible under his pants has tweaked the rules regarding air pressure. The NFL needs to tweak them even more.
The new rule still allows teams to submit the 12 balls they’ll use on offense at either end of the spectrum — even though it’s now known that the footballs at 12.5 PSI on cold day and footballs at 13.5 PSI on a hot day will move beyond compliance. The gamble teams will now face is that, if the balls they submit go beyond the range, the officials will re-calibrate the balls not to the team’s preferred number but to 13.0 PSI.
So why not just put all balls at 13.0 PSI in the first place? if this is such an important rule (as #DeflateGate would have everyone believe), the footballs need to be within the 12.5-to-13.5 range not just at kickoff but throughout the entire game. Putting them at 13.0 gives them room to move in either direction based on the elements.
It also could be argued that the balls should be set higher than 13.0 on a cold day and lower than 13.0 on a warm day, to fully account for the operation of the Ideal Gas Law. Even better, the footballs should be recalibrated to the kickoff number at halftime, to ensure compliance for 60 minutes with such a supposedly critical rule.
Just how critical is the rule? If it were as critical as the league’s handling of #DeflateGate would have anyone believe, the new procedures wouldn’t allow footballs at the high end of the range to be used under warm conditions or footballs at the low end to be used under cold conditions. In either case, the footballs will quickly be beyond the required limits.
While the Minnesota Vikings are getting ready to move into a brand new regular season home in downtown Minneapolis, the team is looking to extend its preseason arrangements in Mankato.
According to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Vikings are negotiating with Minnesota State University to extend their training camp contract with the university. The current deal between the two sides expires at the end of this year’s training camp.
“With the facilities here and us having 90 players at Winter Park, it would be tough,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “So I do think that the situation we’re in right now is the best for us to get ready as a football team.”
“I think Mankato does a great job of helping us feel welcome and the university here, as well,” he said. “At this particular time, I believe that this is the best way to go for us.”
It is the Vikings’ 50th year spent preparing for the season at the Division II school southwest of the Twin Cities.
Last Tuesday, PFT reported that the NFL and NFL Players Association had engaged in settlement talks in connection with the Tom Brady suspension. Since then, multiple other similar reports have emerged.
Most recently, multiple reports have indicated that talks have resumed, in the wake of the NFLPA reportedly offering that Brady would consider an outcome entailing no suspension but including a fine. (That’s not an admission of guilt by Brady.)
It remains unlikely that an agreement will be reached, because Brady by all appearances is poised to fight tooth and nail for a zero-game suspension. Likewise, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has no good way out of the corn maze (absent the use of teeth and/or nails), with anything less than a four-game suspension opening him up to criticism both internally and externally.
Either way, the Patriots need a decision before they open training camp on Thursday, because they need to know whether and to what extent backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be prepared to play in September.
There’s still a chance Brady ultimately will play in September, either because he wins in court before Week One or because a court presses pause on any suspension until the litigation is resolved.
The big news on the Monday after the start of the 2015 regular season would have been the torn Achilles suffered by Colts linebacker Robert Mathis while working out on his own during a four-game PED suspension, but for the whole Ray Rice video thing.
Nearly a year later, Mathis still isn’t ready to return to practice. And it’s still not clear when he will be.
“The good news is Robert is trending in the right direction,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “We’re all very excited and pleased with the progress that he’s making. The timetable is unknown. Will it be October 15? Will it be September 15? . . . At this point, no one knows.”
Mathis has vowed to be back for Week One.
“We just want to make sure that he’s ready-ready when it’s time to go,” Irsay said. “He can come in, have a couple of years with us at this point in his career, and be the difference-maker he was.”
Two years ago, he was a difference maker indeed, with 19.5 sacks. At 34, he still may have some gas in the tank.
More than a week ago, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson will pull the plug on contract negotiations if a deal isn’t done before training camp opens. On Monday, John Clayton and Jim Trotter of ESPN reported the same thing, with different words.
The real news (sort of) comes from the notion that the Seahawks are willing to pay Wilson a contract “worth slightly less” than the contract given earlier this year to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who averages $21.85 million in new money. Over the weekend, both Rapoport and PFT reported that the Seahawks’ current offer is in the range of $21 million per year.
The sticking point, as Rapoport reported, arises from the signing bonus and guaranteed money. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, has represented baseball players exclusively in recent years, and their contracts are always fully guaranteed. The NFL has resisted bringing that trend to pro football, hiding behind the rule that requires future guarantees to be fully funded at signing. (Seahawks owner Paul Allen, the richest owner in the NFL, can afford to do that.)
Although the deadline is artificial, if the two sides regard it as real, there’s a good chance a deal will be done. A separate item from Clayton adds more beef to the notion that Wilson should consider taking the best offer the team makes now, since he’d replace his $1.5 million salary for 2015 with a much higher compensation package — driving up dramatically the new-money average.
If, for example, Wilson signs a four-year, $100 million deal in 2016 (a $25 million annual average), he will have made $101.5 million over five years, an average of only (only?) $20.3 million.
Clayton also points out that, in order to make what the Seahawks are willing to give Wilson now, he’d need a deal worth $26 million per year next year.
It’s all the more reason for Rodgers to keep squeezing the Seahawks as much as he can, ultimately taking the best offer, whatever it may be. But if Rodgers and Wilson eventually reject the best offer the Seahawks are willing to make now, the message will be that Rodgers and Wilson are looking for a lot more later.
They’ll need it, because they’ll have to make up for nearly $20 million that Wilson will have lost by not doing a deal in 2015.
The NFL is adding its first full-time female official this season, and one team is breaking another barrier during training camp.
Via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals are hiring Jen Welter for a coaching position through training camp and the preseason, making her what is believed to be (and almost certainly) the first female to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL.
They’re also hiring former Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland as the inaugural participant in the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship, and that’s great.
But the news here is a female coach, at a time when Sarah Thomas is about to go to work for the league in stripes, and when Becky Hammon just coached the NBA San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team after spending last year as an assistant coach on Gregg Popovich’s staff.
“I wanted to open that door,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Coaching is nothing more than teaching. The one thing I’ve learned from players: all they want to know is ‘How you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t [care] if you’re the Green Hornet. I’ll listen.’
“I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity through this internship to open some doors.”
Arians said after checking with several veteran players, ‘they were all cool” and added: “It’s not going to be a distraction in any way.”
Welter will work with the inside linebackers, and she’ll bring a unique background. In 2014, she played running back and special teams for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution, becoming the first female to play a non-kicking position in a men’s pro football league. This spring, she was hired to coach linebackers and special teams.
She played rugby at Boston College, and has played women’s football at several levels. The 37-year-old also holds a master’s degree in sport psychology and a PhD in psychology.
Kirkland’s position is a two-year gig as part of the fellowship, and reunites him with a number of former Steelers with the Cardinals. On its own, it’s a significant piece of news, and furthers Bidwill’s commitment to creating minority opportunities in the NFL.
When the Colts signed a pair of third-round picks on Friday, all 2015 draft picks were under contract. On Monday, the entire 2015 supplemental draft class agreed to terms.
It was a class of one.
The Rams have announced that Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle is under contract, 18 days after being taken in the fifth-round of the supplemental selection process.
The Rams gave up their corresponding pick for 2016 to get Battle, and they undoubtedly gave Battle a slotted contract based on the contract given to the player taken in the same spot during the regular 2015 draft.
The Seau family members are OK with the Hall of Fame’s policy on posthumously-inducted players. Unless they aren’t.
Seau family lawyer Steve Strauss has issued a statement to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal in which Strauss says Seau’s family still objects to the decision to prevent Seau’s daughter from speaking at the upcoming induction ceremony.
“The Seau family appreciates the overwhelming support for Sydney Seau to be able to accept Junior’s induction into the Hall of Fame live and in her own words,” Strauss said. “Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is unwilling to reverse its decision despite communicating to the family earlier this year that Sydney would be able to speak at the ceremony. Contrary to the most recent statement by the Hall of Fame, the family does not support the current policy that prevents family members from delivering live remarks on behalf of deceased inductees. However, the Seau family does not want this issue to become a distraction to Junior’s accomplishments and legacy or those of the other inductees. The Seau family never intended to use the Hall of Fame as a platform to discuss the serious mental health issues facing the NFL today which are most appropriately addressed in a legal forum. The Seau family looks forward to celebrating Junior’s extraordinary accomplishments at the Hall of Fame.”
Although the end result is still the same — the Seau family is accepting the policy — the suggestion from Strauss that the Hall of Fame previously told the Seau family that his daughter, Sydney, would be able to speak is news. And it conflicts directly with the five-year-old policy that the Hall of Fame adopted in 2010.
It’s no surprise that Strauss released the statement. Eventually, he may be trying to persuade a jury as to the merits of Seau’s wrongful-death case. Everyone in the jurisdiction where the case would be tried is a potential juror, and if they feel better about the Seau family and/or worse about the NFL now, that could come in handy later.
Colts owner Jim Irsay says he isn’t trying to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to deny Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of his Deflategate suspension.
Shortly after Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti denied lobbying Goodell to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension, Irsay offered a similar denial.
“That’s not true at all,” Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. “I haven’t talked to Roger Goodell about DeflateGate since late January. Not true. That’s not the way things work involving someone else’s business and someone else’s team. It’s not something I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around ownership [in the NFL] for half a century.”
Despite the denials from Irsay and Bisciotti, Goodell finds himself in a difficult position. If he upholds Brady’s suspension, he’s putting a black mark on the legacy of one of the league’s best and most popular players, while risking a lawsuit from Brady. But if he sets the suspension aside, there’s little doubt that other teams — particularly other AFC playoff contenders like the Ravens and Colts — will be upset.
No matter how Goodell rules, he’s going to have people angry at him. Maybe that’s why it’s taking him so long to make up his mind.
The upcoming NFL season has a wild-card in the form of a new rule pushing the one-point post-touchdown try to the 15 from the two. It’s unclear how it will unfold, but a preview is playing out north of the border, up Canada way.
The CFL has moved the one-point attempt to the 25, which makes the kick the same length as in the NFL, since the CFL goal post is at the front of the 25-yard end zone. The early results suggest that it could make more sense to go for two more often.
Via Yahoo! Sports Canada, CFL teams have gone for two 29 out of 101 times this season, converting 22 of them. That’s a 28.7-percent utilization rate of the two-point try, with a 72.4-percent success rate.
Conversely, teams have converted only 58 of 72 one-point attempts, an 80.6-percent rate.
That 25-yard end zone may have something to do with the two-point success rate, since it give receivers more room to maneuver. With only a 10-yard window, NFL teams may be better off running than throwing, especially after way the Super Bowl ended.
From the NFL’s perspective, the more relevant stat comes from the reduced conversion rate on a one-point try. Previously, the extra-point attempts in Canada came from the five yard line, and kickers made 99.4 percent of the 13-yard kicks. If the one-point try becomes a four-out-of-five proposition for the NFL, coaches could decide to go for two more often.
Still, football coaches like to do what is conventional, because when the conventional fails, there’s no criticism. When the unconventional fails, that’s when the pitchforks and torches come out.
The Texans’ team doctor said recently that linebacker Jadeveon Clowney’s recovery from microfracture surgery has been “spectacular” but that’s enough for him to avoid the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.
The Texans have placed Clowney on the PUP list, which means he won’t be practicing with the team until they’ve had more time to make sure his knee is ready for a full workload. It also keeps open the possibility that the Texans could put him on the regular season version of the list if he’s not able to practice this summer.
That option would keep Clowney from rejoining the team for at least the first six weeks of the year, which is obviously not what the Texans would like but it’s the most prudent approach for a player coming off that kind of procedure.
The Texans also placed linebacker Akeem Dent on the PUP list. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry is on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover from lymphoma and wide receiver Alan Bonner is on the non-football injury list. All four players can be activated at any point during training camp.
NFL players who want to budget for fines during the 2015 season now know how much money they need to set aside.
The league has released the list of fines for offenses committed on the field this season.
The most expensive fines are for fighting and physical contact with officials. Those fines are $28,940 for a first offense and $57,881 for a second offense.
Some of the fines are a little hard to understand. For instance, the fine for taunting is the same as the fine for late hits and chop blocks: $8,681. At a time when the NFL says player safety is its top priority, you’d think that taking a cheap shot at an opponent would be treated more harshly than taunting an opponent, but in reality the fine is the same for both.
The full list of fines is here.
The Buccaneers haven’t needed Da’Quan Bowers all offseason.
But now that camp’s about to start, they realized some depth at defensive end might not be bad to have.
The Bucs announced they had re-signed the free agent, who had sat on the market untouched all offseason.
Bowers, who might have been a top-10 pick before a knee injury in college derailed his career, was ultimately picked in the second round by the Bucs.
He’s responded with 7.0 sacks in four seasons, but could still contribute, as he’s versatile enough to play inside as well. But the fact they brought him back also speaks to their depth chart at the position, where Jacquies Smith and George Johnson are the starters.
The headline is the former Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau was arrested for DUI. The real story is the amount of alcohol that was in his system at the time.
Via the Associated Press, portable breath-testing showed Trudeau’s blood-alcohol concentration to be 0.31 percent.
That’s nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and it’s at the low end of the “life threatening” range of alcohol poisoning.
The Sunday night arrest includes a charge of intimidating a police officer.
A second-round pick in 1986, Trudeau played for the Colts through 1993. He also spent time with the Jets and Panthers.