Denver Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway joins PFT Live in preparation for Denver’s playoff run. Elway talks about his team’s No. 1 seed in the AFC, if he expected Peyton Manning to compete at such a high level this early, the decision behind hiring John Fox as head coach, and more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Elway on nabbing Manning and Fox
The Giants moved on from running back Rashad Jennings earlier this month in a move that saves them $2.5 million in salary cap space and leaves Jennings in search of a new home for the 2017 season.
Jennings’ work last season will create some doubt about how much he has to offer another team. Jennings gained 3.3 yards per carry last year and lost time to rookie Paul Perkins over the course of the season, developments that join his upcoming 32nd birthday as reasons to doubt that big things are in his future.
During an appearance on NFL Network, Jennings said that such doubts have given him a “chip on my shoulder” and haven’t dimmed his confidence that he can contribute to a team in 2017.
“But where I’m at right now, I’m excited, you know? Free agent, you know, healthy,” Jennings said. “I’m down in Florida already training, trying to get ready for a team to call me. I always say my job every single year is to make one G.M. right and that’s no doubt what I’ll be doing this upcoming season.”
Given the committee role he’s almost certain to play, Jennings may have to wait for other pieces to settle around the league before he finds the G.M. that thinks he’s the right fit for their backfield plans.
Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter avoided felony charges last month when the local prosecutor decided that the evidence didn’t support a conclusion that Porter “attempt[ed] by physical menace to put [a police officer] while in the performance of duty, in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.”
With the entire case now resolved via a glorified parking ticket (i.e., a $300 citation), the video of Porter’s altercation outside of a Pittsburgh club has emerged. Posted at Deadspin, the video shows Porter arguing with a man who was keeping Porter out of the club. The officer eventually arrives, asking aloud what’s going on (and gesturing in a way that reminded me of Joe Pesci), generally being ignored, and finally intervening when Porter grabs the man blocking the door and pulls him away from it.
At that point, the officer gets in front of Porter and pushes him away, into the side of a nearby parked car. The officer tries to restrain Porter by putting a hand in his chest. Porter plainly can be seen — at least three times — grabbing the officer by a wrist and pulling his hand away.
Clearly and indisputably, Porter put his hands on a police officer, multiple times. When Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala dropped the aggravated assault charge, he declined to release the video, claiming that it was still evidence as to the remaining charges of disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
“Joey, I think, enjoys and revels in the reputation he had as a hard-nosed player, but he really took it hard about the notion that he was violent, disrespectful of law enforcement, excessively drunk, those kinds of things, because the charges suggested those,” Porter’s attorney, Robert DelGreco Jr., said at the time, via WTAE.com.
The president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 suggested that something fishy was going on.
“I find it incredible that charges were reduced prior to a preliminary hearing taking place,” Bob Swartzwelder said. “I hope every other criminal defendant is given such expedient treatment, or is there something more to this case? If an individual put his hand on a police officer, the charges should stand.”
The Pittsburgh Police Citizen Review Board later concluded that Porter grabbed the officer by the wrists, rendering him defenseless. While defenselessness is a subjective assessment, it’s not an unreasonable conclusion given the size difference and the reality that Porter’s conduct easily could be regarded as “physical menace” that put the officer “in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.”
Putting his hands on the officer — something no one should ever do unless being beaten or otherwise brutalized — crosses a line that arguably should have prompted the prosecutor to allow an impartial jury to decide whether Porter ran afoul of a law that essentially prohibits people who find themselves in the middle of a hostile disagreement treating a police officer like anyone else who happens to find himself in the middle of the scrum. The fact that Porter didn’t stand trial invites speculation that he received the benefit of the doubt that comes from playing for (and now coaching) the locally-beloved NFL team.
The Eagles have decided to bring Peters back without a pay cut, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports. Peters’ base salary will be $10.45 million and he can also earn a workout bonus of $250,000.
That’s a lot of money, but with the Eagles trying to develop a young quarterback in Carson Wentz, saving money by trying to find a left tackle on the cheap would be foolish. If the Eagles did ask Peters to take a pay cut, he and his agent presumably informed them that he wouldn’t do so, and the team presumably decided that it couldn’t lose Peters and risk not having a good left tackle to protect Wentz.
The 35-year-old Peters, who started all 16 games last year, is under contract with the Eagles through 2018.
You can tell we’re getting close to the NFL Scouting Combine, that magical time of year when football-starved men obsess over fractions of inches.
(Write your own punchline, funny guy.)
So after NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock suggested that North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky might only measure 6-foot-1-something, UNC coach Larry Fedora said he didn’t think that was the case.
For what it’s worth, Trubisky is listed as 6-3 in the Tar Heels media guide, such that a number inscribed by the PR staff in Chapel Hill matters.
“I think it’s funny,” Fedora told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I love this time of the year watching how they just tear every kid apart.
“I promise you Mitch will be tall enough. I’ve never said Mitch was 6-3, so I don’t know where any of that came from, but he’s going to measure probably 6-2 or a little bit taller than that. I don’t know exactly because I’ve never put a tape on him, but he’s going to be tall enough to be successful, I promise you.”
Fedora said he’d be “really shocked” if Trubisky was only “a little over 6-1” as Mayock said he’s been told by scouts, and reiterated that his quarterback’s height wasn’t an issue.
“At this time of year it’s always about tearing kids down. I think Mitch understands that. He’s very confident in what he can do, and I’m sure he’s going to throw at the Combine and then I’m going to make a bet that he’s going to throw at our pro day (March 21) too. I don’t think he’s going to be scared to hide anything.”
While only a measuring tape in Indianapolis will tell the official truth —unless Trubisky has lifts in his socks (#alternativeheight) — this will hopefully put this mini-controversy to bed.
Now we can worry about the only real measurement that matters for quarterbacks — How big are his hands?
A more-humorous-than-interesting kerfuffle has emerged on Twitter involving Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and, for a change, not me.
The NFL tweeted a photo of Rodgers running a 4.71-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in 2005. Rodgers responded by pointing out that it was a 4.66, followed by the #fakenews hash tag.
While it seems that Rodgers is joking, they say that every joke has a kernel of truth. It would surprise no one that the so-sensitive-he’s-sensitive-about-being-called-sensitive quarterback would quibble with something so trivial, if he truly believes he ran the 40 a whopping 0.05 seconds faster than the NFL says he did.
Ultimately, none of it matters. He has become one of the best quarterbacks in league history, and 12 years later he still has enough gas in the tank to run a 4.71. Or a 4.66.
In-season firings of head coaches don’t happen all that often in the NFL, although you might not know that from looking at the Chargers coaching staff.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn got bumped up to interim head coach in Buffalo last year after Rex Ryan was fired while offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley both lost head coaching jobs in recent years before a season was over. Given those experiences and the coordinators’ resumes, some might wonder if Lynn has set up his staff with people ready to replace him should things take a wrong turn in Los Angeles.
Lynn said Wednesday that he’s had people ask him about that, but that he’s not bothered because “those guys have my back” and believes the value they add will keep him from finding himself in such a situation.
“Something is going to cross my desk that I haven’t been exposed to, and they’re going to help me with it, and that’s going to help the organization,” Lynn said, via the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That’s all I care about.”
Lynn’s just been hired, so it makes sense that the possibility of getting fired is reserved for the recesses of the mind. NFL job security can get tenuous quickly, although Lynn should continue to enjoy it if Whisenhunt and Bradley provide the assistance that Lynn believes they’ll bring to the table.
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston probably meant no harm. But the words that came out of his mouth during a school appearance Wednesday were the kind he probably should have given more consideration to, and his response made that clear.
Via Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times, Winston was talking to a group of third- through fifth-graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, when a group of boys became less than focused on him. So to get their attention, he asked the boys to stand up.
“All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down,” Winston said. “But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now a lot of boys aren’t supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I’m saying? One day y’all are going to have a very deep voice like this. One day, you’ll have a very, very deep voice.
“But the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y’all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to. Scream it!”
The message that kids can achieve anything they want if they work for it is valid and valuable. The message that girls are supposed to be quiet while boys are expected to take the lead took away from that immediately — especially in the context that it was coming from a player who faced sexual assault allegations while at Florida State.
“One of the girls turned around and looked at me and said, ‘I’m strong too,'” said Bonnie Volland, a speech language pathologist at Melrose.
Volland also said that Winston’s speech was well-intentioned and uplifting.
“We’ve been working so hard with our students giving them hopes and dreams and helping them raise their expectations,” she said. “In the beginning, it was so good because he was talking about, ‘You can do it!’ and really giving our students a positive message.”
To his credit, Winston seemed to realize the mistake, and when asked for comment later, said he was trying to keep the attention of the group.
“I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn’t seem to be paying attention, and I didn’t want to single him out so I asked all the boys to stand up,” Winston said. “During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some.”
It’s easy to suggest it as overblown, or the product of a climate some consider too politically correct. And Winston’s 23.
But telling any group of girls they’re expected to behave differently and have different expectations is something that should have been outdated generations ago, and Winston’s gaffe ought to remind everyone to think about the words they choose, and the messages they’re sending, even if they’re inadvertent.
Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein has played pretty well when he’s been given a chance.
But on a team with three first-round picks at the position, and in a league when playing nickel defense is more prevalent with every passing year, there aren’t but so many chances.
So it’s probably not a surprise that Klein is looking for another address when free agency begins on March 9.
Via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, Klein said during an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’d probably be looking for a few team.
The 2013 fifth-rounder started the final six games for the Panthers last year when Kuechly was out with a concussion, and played well. But the Panthers also have some guy named Thomas Davis who has been to a few Pro Bowls and are trying to figure out how to work 2015 first-round linebacker Shaq Thompson in more, so there are limited snaps for a fourth linebacker.
Klein’s a starting-caliber player and good against the run, and should have plenty of opportunities for the playing time he’s looking for, just not in Charlotte.
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta made it back to the field in 2016 after playing just seven games in the previous three seasons because of hip injuries and showed that the time off didn’t make him a less popular target for quarterback Joe Flacco.
Pitta led all tight ends with 86 catches during the 2016 season, although he wasn’t able to do that much with those catches. Pitta averaged 8.5 yards per catch and just over six yards per target, which limited the impact that all of those catches had on the team’s fortunes.
That explains why Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the Ravens “may balk” at the $5.5 million that Pitta is set to make during the 2017 season. Pitta took a pay cut of $4 million last year and earned $3 million back in incentives, although it is unclear if he will be open to adjusting his deal again. Cutting Pitta would create $4.4 million in dead money and $3.3 million in room under the cap.
Pitta’s future is one of several decisions the Ravens will have to make at tight end this offseason. They hope to have Benjamin Watson back from a torn Achilles to go with Pitta, Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams, Darren Waller and Crockett Gillmore. Keeping all six feels like too much, but all have missed time due to injuries or suspensions that complicate the team’s choices.
Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton was spotted with a cast on his left arm recently, which spurred questions on Twitter about what was bothering him.
Shelton revealed he had his wrist “cleaned up” since the end of the regular season and that he’ll be fine in time for next season. A Browns spokesman told Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal the same thing and Shelton’s agent said his client will be working out next week.
Shelton has started 31-of-32 games since the Browns drafted him in the first round in 2015. His second season was an improvement on his rookie campaign as he recorded 59 tackles and 1.5 sacks in Hue Jackson’s first year in Cleveland.
Jackson’s second year will see a new defensive scheme introduced by new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. The move will include a shift to a 4-3, which will require a shift in Shelton’s role, but it doesn’t sound like his wrist should cost him much time on the field while it is being installed.
The Dolphins signed a pretty good class of free agents yesterday.
QB Patrick Mahomes would love to play for the Browns.
The Steelers hope to provide a home-ice advantage for the Penguins this weekend.
The Titans could use some S depth and versatility.
Fixing the Broncos OL could be a complicated job.
A look at the Chiefs top needs in free agency.
New Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is fired up about his new gig.
Giants G.M. Jerry Reese needs to build on last year’s splash signings in free agency.
The Eagles could justify a less splashy approach at WR.
Taking a look at Washington’s free agency needs on offense.
Will the Jay Cutler Era push the Bears in a different direction in their next QB search?
Free agency could provide a significant lift to the Lions OL problems.
The Falcons will get a boost to a need area when some guys get healthy.
The Panthers cleared over $4 million in cap space this week.
The Saints could use free agency to shore up their CB position.
Looking at the Cardinals’ draft options.
The Rams are offering a ridiculous prize to a practically unwinnable contest.
49ers executive Paraag Marathe said his job was to stay in his lane and assist the new coach and General Manager.
Our own Curtis Crabtree was the star of the Seahawks media combine, showing good hands.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network explained on (shocker) NFL Network that Cutler is “still considering” whether he wants to play, not play, walk away, etc.
For Cutler, the retirement option is a useful tool to scare away a team that may be inclined to trade for him, but that he may not be inclined to play for. It’s also a way to save face, in the event no one trades for him, the Bears cut him, and no one offers him the starting job without having to compete with a rookie and/or slappy.
That’s the difference between Cutler and guys like Carson Palmer and Ben Roethlisberger. For them, the play/no play option has a viable location if the decision is to play. For Cutler, retirement may be the only way to avoid washing out of the bottom of the league by spending a year getting banged around on a bad team — or to escape the indignity of a quarterback-needy league collectively deciding it no longer wants him.
The Titans had a banquet downtown for their season-ticket holders and gave out some awards, but one will be remembered far beyond the usual collection of honors for football players.
Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw, who has remained around the team following his diagnosis with ALS, walked to the stage with center Ben Jones when it was time to open the envelope and present Most Inspirational Titan.
“There must be some problem with this,” Shaw said, via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN. com. “It says Tim Shaw. . . .
“To be called inspirational is actually the most humbling thing that’s ever happened to me,” Shaw continued. “To me, it’s inspirational when you face something that is not cool, something that scares you, something that can potentially bring you down, and you go right at it. To me that’s inspirational.
“So if that’s what I am doing, you can call me inspirational.”
Shaw, who played for the Titans from 2010-12, was diagnosed with the degenerative disease in 2014. He has been a fixture around the team since, offering motivational speeches and a presence for a team that made great improvements last year.
“You had a large part in what happened in 2016 for this Titans football team,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey told Shaw. “He came in training camp and had such an impactful message to this football team that he changed a lot of lives.”
Shaw’s approach to his fight has been something any team would want to embrace, and part of the reason they made him a “Titan for life” last summer, putting him on the roster for a day during training camp so he could retire with the team.
Former Jaguars and Lions cornerback Fernando Bryant has been fired from his job as a high school coach over a seemingly innocuous photograph his wife posted on social media.
Strong Rock Christian School initially hired Bryant as a teacher and its head football coach, but then sent him a letter three weeks later telling him that he would not get the job.
“This letter will confirm that Strong Rock Christian School has made a decision not to move forward with your employment in the position of head coach of the football team and physical education teacher. As we discussed, after we made the offer to you, some within our parent community raised concerns regarding your family’s public presence on social media and the internet and questioned whether the postings and information were consistent with our Christian values. We’re sorry that our relationship had to end before it started. We wish you the best,” the letter stated, via Atlanta TV station 11 Alive.
Bryant says he’s baffled by the decision. The school did not tell him specifically what was posted on social media to get him fired, but he was led to believe it was a picture of himself and his wife holding a bottle of alcohol. Bryant said the school never told him employees weren’t allowed to drink alcohol.
“I’m a Christian, but that’s the one thing that gives Christianity a bad name, when we start passing judgment on one another,” Bryant said.
Bryant was the Jaguars’ first-round pick in the 1999 NFL draft. He played five seasons in Jacksonville and four in Detroit.
A study commissioned by the NFL on last year’s game between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders played in Mexico City has determined the event generated $45 million.
In a story by the Associated Press on the study – produced by Ernst and Young – the activity around the game generated $43 million in tourist spending, of which $32 million was incremental to the Mexico City economy.
The 27-20 victory by the Raiders was attended by 76,473 at Estadio Azteca. It was the first NFL game to be played in Mexico since the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals played in the same stadium in 2005.
The Raiders will return to Mexico City next season and host the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Just like the NFL’s increasing schedule in London, if their games abroad continue to generate significant returns in profit the league will undoubtedly continue to expand its reach into new locales.