A year ago, the Indianapolis Colts were two-win team. This year, they’re a wild card team with Super Bowl hopes. Mike Florio also wonders if any playoff contenders are motivated to claim a lower seed and easier road to the Super Bowl.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Indy’s road goes through Houston
Former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall is among the growing number of former players who want the NFL to take a closer look at medicinal (if not recreational) marijuana.
But that’s easier for former players than current ones, and Marshall thinks current advocate Eugene Monroe could suffer for it.
The Ravens said they cut the veteran left tackle for football reasons only, but Marshall said it’s hard to imagine that Monroe’s advocacy for marijuana research wasn’t a contributing factor.
Asked by Kalyn Kahler of TheMMQB.com if he thought Monroe was taking a risk by being so outspoken, Marshall replied: “We’ve seen that it already has been a risk, he’s been released by the Ravens.”
And when asked if other teams might be hesitant to sign Monroe because he’s outspoken, Marshall suggested there could easily be some blackballing.
“Yes, no doubt,” Marshall said. “I mean that’s the way things are. Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? This is a clear case where if you are a guy who is attempting to fight the establishment, you will be made the odd man out.
There are teams that have shown interest in Monroe (specifically the Giants), but so far, none of them have been willing to sign him. And if they don’t, Marshall has a good idea why they didn’t.
In his first year of retirement, Peyton Manning will have a lot of favorite teams. One will be the Texans.
Manning said today at the Manning Passing Academy that he’ll be rooting for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, his old teammate in Denver, to have a big year in his first season as a franchise quarterback after four years as Manning’s understudy.
“I look forward to this year being a fan of a lot of teams and people I have connections with,” Manning said. “I’ll be pulling for Brock. I know he’s going to have a great year.”
Manning said he’ll also root for his two former teams, the Broncos and Colts, as well as the Giants (his brother’s team), the Lions (his former Colts coach Jim Caldwell’s team) and the Dolphins (his former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s team).
Manning didn’t say which team will be his favorite. We imagine him spending his Sundays with multiple TVs in his living room, watching the Texans, Broncos, Colts, Lions and Dolphins’ games simultaneously.
The Browns had plenty of picks during the 2016 draft and now they have all but one of them signed.
The team announced Friday that they have signed fourth-round linebacker Joe Schobert. Like all players drafted after the first round, Schobert agreed to a four-year deal.
Schobert started 28 games at Wisconsin after joining the team as a walk on following a stint at the University of North Dakota. Schobert had 9.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for losses and was named a second-team All-America by the Associated Press after the 2015 season. He also did well on special teams, which will be a path to early playing time for Schobert in Cleveland.
With Schobert signed, the Browns now have 13 of their 14 draft picks under contract. Third-round defensive end Carl Nassib is the only one unsigned in Cleveland and one of the few draft picks around the league yet to sign a deal.
As one of the premier organizations in the NFL, the Denver Broncos could be aloof, distant, and uncooperative with the media. They’re the exact opposite.
The team’s P.R. staff, led by Patrick Smyth, has won this year’s Pete Rozelle Award. Bestowed by the Professional Football Writers Association, the prize acknowledges a consistent effort to strive for excellence in the team’s dealings and relationships with the media.
Other nominees were the Cardinals, Bengals, Dolphins, and Giants.
The award is well deserved, based on PFT’s dealings with the Broncos. Many other teams are worthy of acknowledgement; PFT’s nominees for the award based on the past year would have included the Dolphins, Jaguars, Cardinals, Vikings, Falcons, and Panthers.
Yes, the NFL plans to interview multiple players regarding allegations of PED use arising from an Al Jazeera report. No, the players aren’t the ones dragging their feet.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the players in question — Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, James Harrison, and Mike Neal — are and have been willing to submit to interviews, along with free-agent Mike Neal. The delay arises from an inability of the NFL and NFL Players Association to reach an agreement on the scope of the interviews and other factors relevant to the process.
The NFLPA understandably is concerned about the precedent this could set, given the questions that have emerged regarding the credibility of the Al Jazeera report. If interviews proceed based on the information reported by Al Jazeera, what else could spark an investigation? A claim on social media that a player used steroids? An anonymous tip to the league office that a player bought HGH?
As a result, the union is pushing back on behalf of all players, even though the players currently involved insist that they have no concerns about the issue and, likewise, nothing to hide.
When training camps open, the NFL plans to interview Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison about allegations that they used performance-enhancing drugs.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the league informed the players’ union that officials will be there on the first day of training camp to question the three players, who were named in an Al-Jazeera America documentary about PEDs. An interview with free agent Mike Neal, also named in the documentary, is also expected to take place within the next four weeks. But the biggest name in the documentary, Peyton Manning, was not named in a letter from NFL V.P. Adolpho Birch to the players’ union.
“On January 11, 2016, the league notified Messrs. Peppers, Neal, Matthews and Harrison that it had initiated an investigation following the airing of the Al-Jazeera America documentary, which raised serious issues concerning their possible violation of the NFL/NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances,” Birch’s letter said. “The players were further advised that, with their full and timely cooperation, the investigation would be conducted expeditiously and with minimal disruption.
“While the investigation has proceeded, we have yet to interview the players. We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation. This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation.
“In fairness to all, including the players involved, we must move forward with the interviews. Accordingly, this will advise that the interviews of Messrs. Peppers, Matthews and Harrison will be scheduled for the first day of their respective training camps, and the interview of Mr. Neal (free agent) will take place on or before July 22. The players will be advised of the specific scheduling details by separate correspondence on which the NFLPA will be copied, and of course an NFLPA representative may attend each interview should the player so request.”
The NFL is also investigating the allegations against Manning, although any league discipline would be meaningless now that he’s retired. If the NFL finds that Peppers, Matthews, Harrison or Neal violated the league’s PED policy, that could result in suspensions even if they’ve never failed a drug test. It is unknown whether the four players plan to answer all of the NFL’s questions — and whether the league would discipline the players if they don’t fully cooperate.
The plug previously was pulled on its inaugural season. Now, Major League Football faces the end of the road — before the journey even actually began.
Via the Bradenton Herald, Major League Football faces an eviction notice as part of a lawsuit aimed at recovering unpaid rent at its headquarters since March. The group allegedly agreed to pay $11,918 per month for nearly 10,000 square feet in office space.
But there’s still a flicker of hope, based on representations made by Major League Football to its landlord.
“We have gotten a lot of optimistic replies from them,” attorney Dan Perka said. “They have sent us a copy of a letter from a funding group in the Far East, pledging $20 million and saying the money will be wired. We are trying to work with Major League Football to keep their plan going, but felt that we needed to protect ourselves.”
Even with $20 million, there’s no reason to believe Major League Football or any other alternative to the NFL will thrive. Others have tried, all have failed. Currently, Major League Football is close to failing. It would be a surprise if it doesn’t, sooner than later.
The Dolphins didn’t want to keep Dan Campbell around as head coach after his stint as interim last year, but plenty of other teams wanted him on staff.
So Saints coach Sean Payton had to go back to a college tactic to land Campbell as his tight ends coach.
“In his case, it was a little bit of a recruitment,” Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
The Dolphins expressed some interest in keeping Campbell, but he wasn’t comfortable with staying as an assistant after having been head coach, even if it was just for three months. The Cowboys and Vikings were also interested in Campbell, but Payton had the advantage of having coached Campbell when he was playing for the Giants, Cowboys and Saints.
That and an assistant head coach title was enough.
“To me, it was a pretty easy sell,” Campbell said. “And the biggest factor was Coach Payton. I know who he is, I know what he’s about. And hey, man, he’s proven himself as a coach. I’d be lying if I didn’t say [the title] had something to do with. At the same time, I’m just happy to be here. And I was happy to get the opportunity to coach under Coach Payton and be part of the Saints again because it’s a winning organization.
“Anybody can say what you want; the last couple years haven’t been the way everybody wants. But I know where this team is headed and I know who’s at the top, and that was the biggest deciding factor.”
Payton said he was happy to add someone with Campbell’s ability as a teacher, and Campbell’s passion has been often cited. But while it was borderline cartoonish when he was an interim coach in Miami (running Oklahoma drills with professionals earned him immediate skepticism), it has been embraced in New Orleans, where they could use a little spark.
Everyone is trying make sense of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. That includes the NFL.
“We are monitoring and have been in contact with our UK office,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “We head into the 2016 season in strong shape with the 3 UK games already nearing sell outs again — a testament to the strong and passionate fan base there — and all key media, sponsorship and licensing partnerships locked in.”
For the NFL, the bigger question becomes the viability of the British experiment beyond 2016. With Prime Minister David Cameron already resigning, major changes seem to be coming to United Kingdom. At some point, those changes could make the league’s ongoing relationship with the nation not viable.
At a minimum, any talk of a team moving to England will surely subside until more is known about the future of the UK following the vote to leave the EU.
When Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a knee injury in last year’s Hall of Fame Game, attention immediately turned to the turf at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Now that Suisham has been released by the Steelers, more questions should be raised about that turf.
Suisham released a statement after the Steelers cut him suggesting that the injury will prove to be career-ending.
“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last preseason was catastrophic and has proven to be critical to continuing to my career. My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads,” Suisham wrote. “I will mis the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”
Although Suisham did not actually say he’s retiring, the statement came across as a retirement announcement. Suisham did not say whether he plans to take legal action against the Steelers, the NFL or the Hall of Fame in order to recoup the millions of dollars of lost future income that a forced retirement will cost him.
Whether Suisham sues or not, it’s incumbent on the NFL to ensure that every stadium where football is played — the 31 home stadiums as well as stadiums that host preseason games, International Series games and the Pro Bowl — is safe. If the Hall of Fame Stadium can’t install turf that’s up to the standards that NFL players demand, then the Hall of Fame Stadium shouldn’t host NFL games.
After actor and Patriots fan Ben Affleck appeared on HBO’s Any Given Wednesday with a demeanor suggesting that he possibly had ingested a shot of every given liquor, many became keenly interested in learning more about what happened.
Officially, there’s not anything to learn. In additional to the “nothing to see here” tweet from Bill Simmons, Affleck has offered a pair of messages on Twitter that make no reference to his overall condition when talking about the #Deflategate controversy.
‘For those of you keeping score at home, I gave exactly 18 f*cks about my Pats,” Affleck said in reference to the frequency with which he used the word that Ralphie used when the lug nuts went flying. “Upon reflection, 12 probably would have been sufficient.”
He added, “We Boston fans have always been known for our subtlety. One of my favorite interviews; hope you get to see the entire episode.”
Many (including me) agree with much of the substance of Affleck’s remarks. However, there was no effort by Affleck to explain a delivery that was unusual, to say the least. He’s not compelled to do so, but the absence of any attempt to address what everyone who saw the segment is thinking will tend to make people think that, whatever it was, Affleck would prefer that everyone simply forget about it and move on.
Which is what many would like to do at this point about #Deflategate generally.
Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor became the subject of a sexual assault investigation in Philadelphia earlier this month after a dancer at a strip club accused him of raping her and Agholor’s attorney quickly issued a statement proclaiming confidence that his client would not be charged with a crime.
That decision is now in the hands of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’ office. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told Philadelphia Magazine on Thursday night that their investigative work has been sent to the D.A. for review before a decision is made about charges. The D.A.’s office had no comment.
“We’ve been in touch with the investigators, but I can’t comment on the progress of the investigation,” Agholor’s attorney Fortunato “Fred” Perri said. “It’s always difficult when something like this happens. [Agholor] has been staying close with his family and doing the best he possibly can.”
Reports at the time of the allegation against Agholor had him and the dancer in a dispute over money before the allegation was leveled. Agholor’s teammates Connor Barwin and Fletcher Cox were allegedly with him at the strip club on the day in question and both issued statements saying they had no knowledge of anything that might have transpired.
The NFL and the three teams located in Florida have announced a donation to the OneOrlando Fund established to support the survivors and families of those who died in the attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12.
The league, the Dolphins, the Jaguars and the Buccaneers made a joint announcement of a $400,000 donation to the fund created by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. Dyer said the donation shows that “we are not in this alone” and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league “will continue to look for ways to lend our support” to the community.
“In the face of this tragedy, the Jaguars stand in solidarity with the citizens of Central Florida,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “In addition to our team contribution, our fans are also supporting our Central Florida neighbors by donating at http://www.jaguars.com/jaxfororlando. Along with the NFL and our fellow Florida teams, the entire Jaguars family offers our condolences and continued support for the city of Orlando.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and a spokesman for the Glazer family offered similar sentiments in their own statements while Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has joined former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and others in spending time with survivors of the attack in recent days.
If he does decide to show up, it doesn’t look like the broken leg that he suffered in the final week of the 2015 season will stop him from doing too much. Wilkerson posted a video of himself running on Instagram Friday that showed no signs of limitations as a result of the injury.
While the leg injury was a serious one, there hasn’t been a sense that questions about his ability to return from the injury have been the stumbling block in any contract talks with the Jets. The bigger issue appears to be the Jets’ feeling that the presence of Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams on the defensive line makes signing Wilkerson to a huge contract less of a necessity than it might be under other circumstances.
There’s still time before July 15 for the two sides to come together, but the way things have played out the last few months makes it seem like a better bet that Wilkerson is doing his running in a different uniform come 2017.
Seven receivers came off the board before the Titans selected Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round of the 2015 draft and only one of them had more catches, yards and touchdowns during their rookie seasons.
That didn’t stop Titans coach Mike Mularkey from saying that he wants more from the team’s receiving corps this season and it didn’t stop the team from bumping rookie Tajae Sharpe ahead of Green-Beckham on the depth chart during offseason work. Pushing Green-Beckham may have been part of that alignment as Mularkey said he wants more consistency from Green-Beckham, who says he finished OTAs feeling “more comfortable” in the offense.
“I had a good offseason,” Green-Beckham said, via the team’s website. “I had a hamstring problem that set me back early, but other than that I have been taking care of myself, learning the playbook, and have done my best to play fast. My confidence is up there. But I know these next 5-6 weeks I am going to have to keep busting my tail and get in the playbook and stay motivated.”
Green-Beckham didn’t play at all while spending the 2014 season at Oklahoma, so it had been a while since he was on the field when he joined the Titans. If things continue to come together for him in training camp, it could lead to another shuffling of the depth chart and the emergence of a wideout who can help the Titans do some shuffling in the standings as well.