Skip to content

Griffin knee injury could land Brees in Pro Bowl

GYI0063271167 Getty Images

There could be a postseason, after all, for Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

With his team out of the playoffs and Brees omitted from the NFC Pro Bowl roster, Larry Holder of the New Orleans Times-Picayune points out that Brees could be saying “aloha” to Hawaii now that Robert Griffin III has another knee injury.

Brees was named an alternate for the NFC team, but as Holder points out it wasn’t clear whether he’s the first alternate.

The other two NFC quarterbacks are Matt Ryan of the Falcons and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers.  If either of their teams qualify for the Super Bowl, another replacement will be needed.

Brees provided one of the only interesting moments in last year’s game, when he tried to drop kick an extra point.

I can’t remember if it was good.  I can remember that watching the game wasn’t.

Permalink 27 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, Washington Redskins
yo

Lions sign tackle Pierce Burton

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: The Detroit Lions helmet on the field before their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Detroit Lions signed former Indianapolis Colts tackle Pierce Burton on Thursday.

Burton finished last season on the Colts’ practice squad after signing in mid-December.

An undrafted free agent out of the University of Mississippi, Burton signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2014. He was released late that August and remained unsigned until joining the Atlanta Falcons during training camp in 2015. After a brief stint on the Falcons’ practice squad, Burton spend time on the Carolina Panthers practice squad as well in 2015.

Burton provides some depth for the Lions offseason roster as Riley Reiff, Larry Warford and Cornelius Lucas (restricted) will all be free agents next month.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

John Lynch doesn’t think the 49ers are as bad as their record says they are

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch answers questions during an NFL football press conference Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) AP

The San Francisco 49ers crashed and burned to a 2-14 record last season that led to the firings of Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke as part of a complete shakeup of the team’s front office.

However, new general manager John Lynch doesn’t believe the 49ers are nearly as bad as that record suggests. In an interview with Bob Fitzgerald and Rob Brooks on 49ers flagship station 1080 KNBR, Lynch said there are certainly areas of the team to improve but he doesn’t see a 2-14 roster either.

We’ve got some strides to make on this roster, but I can also tell you (that) I don’t look up at the film we’ve been watching and see a 2-14 team,” Lynch said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “I see some pieces that are hard to build, you know? A great example of that, I think, you look at our offensive line and our defensive line. I’m actually excited about those groups. And those groups are where, I believe, football games are won and lost. It starts there.”

Offensively, the 49ers were 27th in points scored and 31st in total yards. The Los Angeles Rams were the only team less capable of moving the football. They were even worse defensively, ranking dead last in yards, rushing yards and points per game allowed. Of course that team will not be the same team taking the field for the 49ers in September. The roster could look significantly different between now and then.

As Bill Parcells said once upon a time “you are what your record says you are.” Lynch inherited a mess even if he isn’t saying so publicly.

“Do we have some places — probably the ultimate position, quarterback — where we need to improve? Absolutely,” Lynch said. “And we’re committed to doing that. But there’s some pieces there that have me excited, have Kyle (Shanahan) excited. So there’s a long list of things, but we’re working hard at all of them.”

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Former Jet charged with punching teenager

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 17:  Scott Mersereau #94 of the New York Jets rushes the quarterback against Doug Smith #56 of the Los Angeles Rams during a game at Anaheim Stadium on December 17, 1989 in Anaheim, California.  The Rams won 38-14  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) Getty Images

Scott Mersereau, a former Jets defensive lineman, faces charges of punching a 15-year-old boy. Mersereau reportedly believed the boy had egged Mersereau’s home.

Via the Palm Beach Post, Mersereau walked to the boy’s home to accuse him of throwing eggs. The boy denied doing it, the argument escalated,  and the boy allegedly cursed at Mersereau, who pushed the boy in the chest. When the boy told Mersereau to leave, Mersereau allegedly punched the boy in the back of the head with a closed fist.

Several people reportedly witnessed the attack, including the boy’s mother.

A police officer claimed that Mersereau was both belligerent and intoxicated. He faces a charge of child cruelty.

Mersereau, 51, was released on $3,000 bond over the weekend. He spent seven seasons with the Jets, 1987 through 1993. Mersereau was the teammate with whom Dennis Byrd collided in 1992 in an incident that left Byrd paralyzed.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Report: James Conner gets “clean scan”

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 26:  James Conner #24 of the Pittsburgh Panthers rushes against Rodney Williams #6 of the Syracuse Orange in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field on November 26, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) Getty Images

Former University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner got “a clean scan” Thursday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015 but returned to play last season. The news of his clean medical report comes a week before he heads to Indianapolis to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine with a talented class of running back prospects.

Conner scored 56 touchdowns in his time at Pitt, an ACC record, and ranks second in school history in total rushing yards behind only Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett.

He was the ACC Player of the Year in 2014 when he ran for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns. He had a knee injury in 2015 that led to his Hodgkin’s diagnosis, but he was cleared last year.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vince Young wants to own the rights to “Make Vince Great Again”

AUSTIN, TX - AUGUST 30:  Quarterback Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans, holds up his Texas Longhorns jersey as his number is retired before a game against the Florida Atlantic Owls at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on August 30, 2007 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The guy who applied the term “Dream Team” to the Eagles six years ago has a new catch phrase.

Via NFL.com, quarterback Vince Young has applied for the federal trademark rights to “Make Vince Great Again.”

On the other side of the coin from the point in the political sphere that the thing that hopefully will be made great again never stopped being great, Young arguably never really was a great pro quarterback.

He recently launched a comeback, hiring agent Leigh Steinberg and talking to CFL teams. The CFL is, frankly, the place Young should have gone when the quarterback-needy NFL decided it didn’t want him five years ago. Now, at age 33, Young will have a hard time engineering a second act.

So unless there’s some other Vince out there who was once great and who has a chance to return to glory (McMahon, Vaughn, Neil, van Gogh), Vince Young may have a hard time making money from his new side business.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Alterraun Verner says he’s already getting calls from other teams

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Cornerback Alterraun Verner #21 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers walks out to the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.   The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers  40-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers released cornerback Alterraun Verner on Thursday afternoon, creating $6.5 million in cap space for themselves and giving Verner a head start on free agency to find a new team.

During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Jim Miller and Pat Kerwin shortly after his departure from Tampa became official, Verner said he was disappointed that things didn’t work out with the Bucs but thanked them for the “professionalism” they showed by releasing him at this point in the calendar.

Verner also said he’s already hearing interest from clubs that could provide the next stop in his career.

“My agent’s been getting calls from multiple teams already,” Verner said. “It’s exciting to see what’s going to be happening next. It’s going to be exciting to see where I can go and hopefully contribute and put forth an effort to try to get to a Super Bowl.”

Verner’s play didn’t match the contract the Bucs signed him to in 2014, but there will likely be enough memories of his better days with the Titans to get him another shot heading into next season.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Seven 2017 prospects chosen for Gruden’s QB Camp series

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 29: DeShone Kizer #14 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drops back to pass during the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Notre Dame Stadium on October 29, 2016 in South Bend, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Getty Images

ESPN has announced the seven quarterbacks from this year’s draft class who will participate in the annual Jon Gruden QB Camp series that will begin airing two weeks before the draft.

DeShone Kizer, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, Nathan Peterman, Joshua Dobbs and Brad Kaaya will be this year’s participants. All seven will spend time in the film room and on the field with Gruden, a former NFL head coach turned television analyst, and he will address their strengths, weaknesses and tendencies in segments that will ultimately air across various platfotms.

This is the eighth year for the QB Camp series, and in the past it has produced some pretty interesting and revealing moments.

As he does, Gruden praised the entire class in the press release for the show, but had especially high praise for Watson.

“There are some unknowns this year, but this class starts with Deshaun Watson,” Gruden said. “His body of work is as impressive as any quarterback we’ve had come through QB Camp. I got the chance to see him live and I think he has a ton of ability. There are some underclassmen coming out who have questions that need to be answered. That’s why this process is exciting. But three or four years from now, I expect people will be saying this is a pretty good quarterback class.”

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Patrick Mahomes doesn’t have a preferred team, officially

LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 14:Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders celebrates  touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Kansas State Wildcats on November 14, 2015 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 59-44. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) Getty Images

Hiding in plain sight among the NFL’s various P.R. gaffes is one the most brilliant masterstrokes in the history of shaping opinion: The idea that it’s somehow an honor to prevent a football player from selecting the pro football team for which he’ll play.

The draft process, which runs counter to the American notion of open markets and freedom of choice, prevents employees from selecting the company for which they will work. Instead, the employees are assigned to their employers based on a rotation that allows the employers to secure dibs on them.

The draft has become part of the league’s bedrock, even though it’s relevance to competitive balance in the age of free agency and the salary cap is minimal. And the employees who aspire to be drafted as high as possible are wired to take a step back and ask, “Shouldn’t I be picking the team instead of the team picking me?”

I posed that question to former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II on Thursday’s PFT Live. He provided the same response that, frankly, I would have given at the age of 21, while on the brink of hoping to be picked as early as possible.

“I guess you could say that but at the same time it’s really exciting,” Mahomes said. “You get to go into draft day, it’s gonna be a dream come true. I’m gonna get to sit there and watch the draft and hopefully get that phone call and get drafted. I mean you’re gonna be excited to go no matter where it is. They’re all great teams, all great cities and I just wanna get there now and hopefully get to the right team with the right coaching.”

At the tail end of the answer came a whisper of deviation from the standqard pre-draft talking point. He wants to get to the “right team with the right coaching.” But if that happens, it won’t be the product of Mahomes’ decision-making process; it will be a result of the right team with the right coaching deciding Mahomes is the right guy. What if the wrong team with the wrong coaching picks Mahomes? For at least four and maybe five years, there’s nothing he can do about it.

“There’s definitely no team that I’d prefer not to play for,” Mahomes added. “I really just want a team that has great coaching and that can really help me develop to be the best quarterback I can be and hopefully win a few championships.”

The truth could be at Mahomes simply isn’t able at this point to identify which teams will, and which teams won’t, help him fulfill that objective. And since neither he nor any other draft pick will have any say over where he will be, there’s no reason for Mahomes to try to figure out where he’d like to be drafted, and where he wouldn’t like to be drafted. The draft culture compels the players to compete for the false honor of being drafted as high as possible, with the hope that their NFL careers won’t be derailed by the wrong team and the wrong coaching at the wrong time.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Potential enforcement of federal marijuana laws could reinforce NFL’s rule against it

SAFED, ISRAEL - MARCH 07: (ISRAEL OUT)  A  cannabis plant at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company on March 7, 2011 near the northern city of Safed, Israel. In conjunction with Israel's Health Ministry, Tikon Olam are currently distributing cannabis for medicinal purposes to over 1800 people in Israel. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) Getty Images

As more and more states have adopted laws permitting the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, momentum has been building toward softening the NFL’s clear, unambiguous, blanket policy against the substance. That momentum may be slowing down.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer drew a distinction on Thursday between medical and recreational marijuana, suggesting that the pending federal prohibition regarding marijuana use could be used to push back against states that allow it recreationally.

There’s a big difference between [medicinal marijuana] and recreational marijuana,” Spicer said, via Forbes.com. “I think that when you see the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law we need to abide by in terms of when it comes to recreational marijuana.”

That shouldn’t be a surprise, given the appointment of long-time marijuana opponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. Sessions has said in the past, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana,” and that legalization of marijuana “is, in fact, a very real danger.” However, at his confirmation hearing, Sessions suggested that a showdown with the states that have legalized marijuana could result in an undue strain on the federal government’s overall resources.

President Trump has said that the marijuana issue should be handled “state-by-state,” and that “medical should happen.” However, it could be that the states now allowing recreational marijuana use (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts) and that those considering joining the jointing trend will be forced to reverse course, sooner than later.

That could throw a wrench into efforts by the NFL Players Association to make the current rules against marijuana “less punitive” regarding recreational marijuana use. At a minimum, it could make the NFL want an even bigger concession to change a policy that both sides agreed to, years ago.

Regardless of whether the federal government rolls back laws allowing the recreational rolling up of cigarettes that don’t contain tobacco, NFL players will continue to smoke marijuana. Under the current policy, players who are smart about when they smoke — and when they temporarily don’t — can smoke marijuana for most of the year without professional consequence. Players who want to smoke apparently will need to continue to be smart and discreet about it, or they eventually will face large fines and lengthy suspensions, culminating in banishment from the league.

Permalink 29 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jim Harbaugh suggests he should get a “medal” for lasting four years with 49ers

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 28:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers watches his team during their game against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh never has lasted longer than four years at any of his various coaching stops. For making it last that long in San Francisco, he believes he deserves special recognition.

In an appearance on Tim Kawakami’s podcast, via CSN Bay Area, Harbaugh pointed out that he “set a record for coaching there under the present ownership.”

“I take pride in that,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe there should be an endurance medal, a courage medal, for that.”

The issue came up because new coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned Harbaugh, Bill Walsh, George Seifert, and Steve Mariucci in Shanahan’s introductory press conference. Harbaugh said he doesn’t believe he spent enough time with the team to be compared to those other coaches. Harbaugh perhaps would have made it more than four years if he had been working with new G.M. John Lynch.

“I would’ve loved to have worked for John Lynch,” Harbaugh said. “He reminds me a lot of the athletic director we have here [at Michigan], Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player and a teammate of mine. Common-sense guys who are team guys, just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes.”

Harbaugh and former 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke didn’t see eye to eye, and that fractured relationship contributed in large part to the “mutual parting” with Harbaugh that came after the 2014 season. The 49ers have hired three coaches in only two full seasons since then.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Rick Spielman: “Everything’s in flux” with Sam Bradford beyond 2017

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Sam Bradford #8 and Kyle Rudolph #82 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrate after scoring a touchdown in the first half of the game against the Chicago Bears on January 1, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Thursday that the Vikings haven’t decided what they’ll do with running back Adrian Peterson and the same is true when it comes to quarterback Sam Bradford beyond the 2017 season.

Bradford is entering the final year of his contract and the uncertainty about Teddy Bridgewater’s health means that the Vikings will be picking up the $18 million cap hit. The Vikings traded first- and fourth-round picks for him following Bridgewater’s severe knee injury last summer, something Spielman said that he’d do “over in a second” given the position the Vikings were in.

He was less committal about what the team was thinking about for 2018. Spielman included Bradford among players whose contracts needed to be addressed, but gave no indication about the team’s plans.

“Everything’s in flux right now,” Spielman said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “So, I’ll just leave it at that.”

Spielman said “everybody’s hoping” Bridgewater can play again, but that the quarterback hasn’t done any football drills at this point in his recovery. His progress in the coming months will likely play a role in any decision about Bradford’s future, although it will be hard to give up the bird in the hand should the Vikings find their way back to a winning record in 2017.

Permalink 27 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jets release Nick Folk, Breno Giacomini

New York Jets kicker Nick Folk (2) kicks a field goal with punter Lac Edwards (4) holding during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) AP

The Jets have announced that former starting right tackle Breno Giacomini and kicker Nick Folk have been released.

Folk made 27-of-31 field goal attempts last season and ranks as the second all-time leading scorer in franchise history with 729 points. He made 81 percent of his field goal tries for the Jets from 2010-16.

Folk, 32, was due to make $3 million in the one season remaining on his contract.

“It’s a sad day, but that’s the business side of things,” Folk told the Jets’ official website. “I had a great seven years here. I think the only thing that would’ve topped it off would’ve been a couple of Super Bowl wins.”

Giacomini started 37 games in three seasons with the Jets. He was a full-time starter in his first two years but was limited to five games last season by a back injury. He also had one year left on his contract and was due to make $4.5 million in 2017.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

A.J. Bouye: “No telling” what will happen with Texans

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  A.J. Bouye #21 of the Houston Texans intercepts a pass from Connor Cook #8 of the Oakland Raiders during the second half of their AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you’re going to have a breakout season, you might as well have it when you’re about to be a free agent.

That’s a lesson that cornerback A.J. Bouye is learning this offseason. Bouye had his best NFL season for the Texans in 2016 and heads into free agency poised to cash in on that success via the franchise tag or the open market. Recent word out of Houston is that the Texans aren’t planning to tag Bouye — the salary is expected to be over $14 million with a tag this year — and Bouye says that’s fine with him.

“I talked to my agent, and I’m not mad that they probably won’t franchise me, just because of how much the franchise tag is for a corner,” Bouye said to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. “It’s a lot. At the same time, the situation in Houston, money-wise, there’s no telling what’s going to happen. At the end of the day, I know they want to bring me back, but they have other things they have to address, which I totally understand.”

Breer spoke to an AFC personnel exec who said he believes Bouye will be the “clear king of the class” in free agency once tags are given out and referenced the five-year, $62 million deal that Janoris Jenkins signed with the Giants last year. That’s heady territory for an undrafted player who got his first extended playing time last season, but it doesn’t sound unrealistic given the rising cap and the constant need for cornerbacks around the league.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Buccaneers cutting cornerback Alterraun Verner

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Cornerback Alterraun Verner #21 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers  40-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Once again, a guy who was once an early free agent big-ticket signing has found his way to the unemployment line.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Bucs are releasing cornerback Alterraun Verner.

It was 2014 when the Bucs made Verner a splash signing, but since then, they found a new flavor of the month. Last year’s first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III made him expendable, though Verner’s own play had contributed to that.

He was benched in his second year in Tampa, and was due $6.5 million this year, so it made sense from a football perspective. But it also serves as a reminder to keep some of the prizes of early March in perspective.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

DeMarco Murray will continue to be “the guy” in Titans backfield

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 27:  DeMarco Murray runs for a touchdown during the second quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium on October 27, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Titans wanted to boost their rushing attack last offseason and addressed that desire by trading for DeMarco Murray and drafting Derrick Henry in the second round.

Those moves and ones to shore up the offensive line paid off with a third-place finish in rushing yards as the team went 9-7 for their first winning season since 2011. Murray was the lead back with 293 carries while Henry ran the ball 110 times, something that coach Mike Mularkey suggested will continue to be the arrangement in 2017 when asked about the team’s plans at an event on Wednesday night.

“Derrick is an important part of our offense,’’ Mularkey said, via the team’s website. “Obviously DeMarco Murray is the guy. He has shown he is the guy and he will continue to be that guy. But I will say this:  Each week we put a different game plan together. We spend a lot of hours preparing to play the opponent. And Derrick, and as you saw, some games he was more involved than others. And a lot is based on how we are going to attack the opponent. We know (Derrick) is very special. He is going to have a long, great career here and he is going to be a big part of our offense next year, as he was this year. I like we have a one-two punch to smash it down peoples’ throats to be honest with you.”

The pecking order could change in the coming months, but the Titans are set at running back regardless of which guy is playing the lead role. A reprise of last year’s rushing attack matched with a healthy Marcus Mariota and further improvements to the rest of the roster over the offseason should lead to plenty of optimism in Nashville heading into next season.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top