With much confusion and secrecy surrounding Robert Griffin III’s re-injured knee, Mike Florio updates us on the latest news regarding the Redskins rookie QB.
ProFootballTalk: The latest on RGIII’s injury
It’s one thing to be versatile.
But when a new coaching staff which hasn’t worked with you walks in the door and asks you to change positions, it’s probably not a good sign for your future.
The 30-year-old Avant has caught 259 passes in seven seasons, more than 50 in each of the last three seasons. So it’s not as if he lacks the ability to play the position at the NFL level.
“It’s one of those things I work hard, and whatever that may be, and whatever the team wants me to do, I’ll do it,” Avant said. “Whatever that is, special teams, offense, whatever it may bring. I’m going to do it the best I can. I don’t necessarily think it’s a clouded future. I think it’s an honor, in any way, for any coach to think you can do other things.”
Likewise, Harbor downplayed the notion he’s not a tight end any longer, or that he’s in jeopardy.
“I’m a tight end, for emergency situations, versatility purposes, for me, I’m learning something,” Harbor said. “You have 53 guys on the roster, you have  guys that dress. Something happens to where you need an outside linebacker, it be good to know some. Coaches talked to me, ‘Would you mind learning a little bit of linebacker, just in case?’”
Harbor and Avant should also consider the possibility that their new boss thinks they’re topped out at their current positions or surplus to requirements, and that they might be plying their trade elsewhere.
Just in case.
If they did (or if they didn’t), the Titans aren’t saying.
In response to that question, a team spokesman deferred to the statement issued on Friday, after news of the incident broke. “We are aware of the report and we will let the legal process conclude before commenting further,” the Titans said at the time.
Though he became a free agent in March, Fokou was property of the Colts at the time of the incident. NFL rules require players to promptly notify their teams and/or the league office after such incidents.
It’s possible that the league office knew about the situation, but that the Titans didn’t. Often, information regarding off-field incidents or pending suspensions is available only on request, which means that every team should before signing any free agent call the league office and ask whether the player is currently in any form or degree of hot water.
Unless Fokou didn’t alert the Colts or the league to the situation, the possible answers to the current question can create potential P.R. issues for the Titans. Thus, not answering the question could be the only way to avoid having the topic become an even bigger problem.
Freeney ended up doing a little better. If $250,000 counts as “a little.”
Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Freeney’s two-year contract with the Chargers carries a base value of $8.75 million.
The deal pays $5.25 million in 2013, via a $3.25 million signing bonus, $1.5 million in guaranteed base salary, and a $500,000 roster bonus tied to Freeney’s presence on the weekly 46-man roster. (It works out to $31,250 per game.)
Freeney is due to earn $3.5 million in 2014, $500,000 of which is linked to weekly roster bonuses.
The contract carries a maximum value of $13.35 million, with $4.6 million tied exclusively to sacks. Though the targets aren’t currently known, we’re told that the numbers are realistic, based on his past production.
Well, that was fast.
An agreement is in place between veteran defensive end/linebacker Dwight Freeney and the San Diego Chargers.
Freeney, who spent 11 seasons with the Colts after arriving from Syracuse as a first-round pick in 2002, presumably steps into the starting lineup in San Diego, due to the recent knee injury suffered by 2012 first-rounder Melvin Ingram.
While Freeney had said that he preferred returning to a 4-3 defense, which he thrived in for 10 years before the Colts switched to a 3-4. But rushing the passer is rushing the passer regardless of the scheme.
As we understand it, Freeney was attracted to the possibility of playing with a quarterback who can give the team a lead — and in turn allow Freeney to chase down the other team’s quarterback.
Interest in Freeney spiked in recent days, after the Ingram injury gave the Chargers a clear incentive to pursue him. The Patriots, Broncos, and other teams had shown interest during Freeney’s first career foray into free agency.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft will speak at the Suffolk University commencement exercises on Sunday.
The Dolphins have added FB Rupert Bryan, who played right tackle at Florida International.
The Jets will open minicamp practice on June 11 to season-ticket holders, and on June 12 to the general public.
James Walker of ESPN.com, who at the Columbus Dispatch covered WR Chad Johnson during his time with the Bengals, fears that Johnson could be at the beginning of a “bad downward spiral” now that his playing career is likely over.
Yet another lawsuit has been filed against Pilot Flying J, the company run by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.
The Ravens could have the heaviest front seven in 2013.
Coach Chuck Pagano, whose teams benefits from the wage-scale contract signed by QB Andrew Luck in 2012, says the Colts will “worry about [a long-term deal] down the road“; Luck is eligible for a new contract after the 2014 season.
Titans DE Derrick Morgan is working hard on his fitness; “I’m trying to get in the best shape I can for the season,” Morgan said. “That’s one of my major goals, is to be in the best shape of my life coming into the season and just taking care of my body.”
Texans strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith has plenty of good things to say about his team after five weeks of the offseason program.
Chargers fans can buy (or, as the case may be, not buy) single-game tickets as of Monday.
On Monday, the Broncos will practice for the first time as a team since their double-overtime playoff loss to Baltimore. (It will all likely go very well until the last minute or so.)
A tryout at rookie minicamp persuaded the Chiefs to sign former Kansas DE Toben Opurum as a fullback.
The best part about the Eagles getting rid of “Taco Tuesday“? It also means there will be no further “Wicked Sh-t Wednesdays.”
An alleged high-stakes Manhattan gambling operation saw a bettor win $600,000 when the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, which reportedly “set off a long series of seemingly fumbling exchanges about how to move such a large sum of money without tipping off the authorities.”
Here’s a thought-provoking and balanced look at the Redskins name controversy from The Atlantic.
Former NFL QB Jim Miller is leaving SiriusXM NFL Radio to take a “communications position” with the Bears.
The Packers tailgate tour made an unexpected stop for the Challenge Academy Cadets, a group of at-risk youths who are trying to earn their high school diplomas.
The plan to tax cigarettes in order to help pay for the Vikings’ news stadium supposedly was a secret, but it already was in multiple budget plans.
The NFL and college jerseys of DT/LB John Small, a first-round pick of the Falcons in 1970 who died in 2012, have been stolen from a residence in Augusta, Georgia.
Former Panthers LB Mark Fields, who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2003, says he can still run the 40 in 4.5 seconds, even after having a bone marrow transplant in 2012.
The Saints added DT Isaako Aaitui, a third-year player who has spent time with the Dolphins and Jets.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke, whose football team plays its home games indoors, has purchased the Outdoor Channel for $265 million, pending shareholder approval.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is getting his rookies ready to play. (They can’t be much worse than most of the veterans.)
As of January, folks in Washington can purchase Seahawks license plates.
Patience will end up paying off for Dwight Freeney.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a deal between Freeney and the Chargers is “almost done,” and it “should be done today.”
Though the veteran preferred to join a team with a 4-3 defense, he’ll be landing with a 3-4 team after more than two months on the market. And the Chargers became interested for one very important reason — they recently lost linebacker Melvin Ingram for the season with a torn ACL.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported earlier today that the two sides are “closing in” on a deal. Freeney visited the Chargers earlier this week.
New Chargers G.M. Tom Telesco knows a thing or two about Freeney. Telesco worked for the Colts, who drafted Freeney in 2002, from 1998 through 2012.
For weeks, it was believed that Freeney would reunite with Peyton Manning in Denver, especially since Manning started lobbying Freeney to become a Bronco even before the fax snafu that resulted in the release of Elvis Dumervil.
But the Broncos and other teams apparently were waiting for Freeney’s price to drop; presumably, the Chargers opted to cough up the cash once Ingram was injured.
When news broke that Seahawks defensive end Bruce Irvin will be suspended four games for violation of the league’s policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs, it was assumed that Irvin tested positive for Adderall.
According to Dave “Softy” Mahler of KJR radio in Seattle, Irvin’s suspension comes from Adderall use. Per Mahler, Irvin opted not to appeal.
The NFL allows players to use Adderall, a potent ADHD medication, only if the players have a prescription and if the players have obtained a therapeutic use exemption.
Last year, the league suspended Seahawks cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman after they reportedly tested positive for Adderall. Browner eventually withdrew his appeal; Sherman fought the suspension and won, based on irregularities with the sample-collection process.
Vince Young has attracted plenty of attention over the years for the wrong reasons. It’s only fair, then, to shed light on something positive he’s accomplished.
On Friday, Young graduated from the University of Texas.
“This will rank No. 1 because it is what I came to school for,” Young told Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com on Thursday night. “I came here to get an education, and to win a national championship. And now, I get to put that smile on my mom’s face.”
Young left Texas after a performance for the ages against USC in the Rose Bowl, becoming the third overall pick in the 2006 draft. A rocky relationship with coach Jeff Fisher (much of which was Young’s fault) culminated in Young being cut in 2010. He signed with the Eagles in 2011, made his unfortunate “Dream Team” remark at his introductory press conference, signed with the Bills in 2012, and was cut before the season began.
Now, Young will have a college degree, but he’s not done with football (even if football is done with him).
“I’m about to be the first in my family to graduate,” Young said. “Just finishing what I started. That’s why I’m trying to get back in the NFL. To finish what I started. That is the type of guy I am. I do work hard — even when the times are good or bad. That’s just how I was raised.”
Time’s running out for getting back to the NFL. Today, Young turns 30. If the comeback doesn’t happen now, it probably never will.
Prior to a string of arrests, former Lions wide receiver Titus Young admitted to one of his old teammates he needed help.
Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said he was on the same flight from Miami to Detroit as Young recently, and Young opened up about a mental issue he was dealing with, even showing him documents about the condition.
“He’s aware of the situation that he’s dealing with and he showed me a paper and we went over it and I looked over it, and I understand it,” Tulloch told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “A lot of people laugh about it and ke-ke-ke about it, but it’s real. He has head issues, and the Titus Young when he came in as a rookie and the Titus Young now is two different people.
“It’s kind of like when you look at him, he’s looking through you. It’s different. You can tell there’s something going on in his mind, in his head, and I hope that he can get help.”
That something is amiss is obvious. Young remains in jail in California, after he was arraigned on eight counts of burglary and assaulting police officers. He pleaded not guilty to all of them. If convicted, he could face more than seven years in prison.
Tulloch said he sought assistance from the league on Young’s behalf, though a league spokesman declined comment citing player privacy issues.
“He has a problem,” Tulloch said of Young. “Ain’t no question about it. . . .
“We had some long discussions and he showed me some things and I was like, ‘All right.’ The fact that before he didn’t realize it, now he realizes it. He just needs help. Basically he’s reaching out for help. He’s asking questions and he wants to be cured. And it’s tough when people laugh at him and think it’s a joke. ‘Oh, Titus did this.’
“Obviously, he’s dealing with a mental issue that he needs help and people need to reach out and help him.”
That his teammates are reaching out is a good sign, and the hope remains that Young gets the help he so clearly needs.
If Manti Te’o wanted to make sure he heard fake dead girlfriend jokes forever, he’d duck his head and mutter “no comment,” or “that’s in the past.”
Embracing the joke takes the sting out of the needle, and will be what makes it go away.
Te’o appeared to be a good sport about the whole thing when Maxim named Lennay Kekua No. 69 (seriously, are they 13?) on their annual list of the world’s hottest women (never mind, they make an annual list of the world’s hottest women).
The Chargers linebacker even showed up at the magazine’s promotional party, according to the blog Busted Coverage.
There he was photographed with the kind of pretty people I suppose you get photographed with at a Hollywood party. One of them, pro volleyball player Jess Gysin, is apparently the girlfriend of Panthers quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Of course, Clausen hasn’t thrown an NFL pass since 2010, or even been active for a game since the Panthers drafted Cam Newton.
So maybe the question should be, do we believe Gysin when she says she’s dating an NFL quarterback?
Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository reports that Campbell displayed “Roethlisberger-like size” during offseason workouts this week.
And while Weeden officially is the starting quarterback, Campbell got the first crack in 11-on-11 drills during the first segment of full-squad practices. Doerschuk praised Campbell’s performance; if the powers-that-be made the same observations, it’s hard not to wonder whether the presumed pecking order will soon become an open competition.
Campbell would have no complaints about that. His $1.5 million salary for 2013 expands by $150,000 if he take 50 percent of the snaps in 2013, $350,000 if the number goes to 65 percent, and $600,000 if he takes 80 percent of the snaps.
He also will see his 2014 salary increase based on 2013 playing time; if he takes 65 percent of more of the snaps his $2 million salary for next season becomes $4 million.
The former first-round pick of the Redskins has a long way to go before he takes any of the snaps in 2013, but with the new regime in Cleveland inheriting Weeden and adding Campbell early in free agency, Campbell may have more of a shot than anyone realizes.
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will have a fourth arm surgery on Monday. But that’s three days away.
OK, two days and change.
Still, that’s time for plenty of living. And Gronk will be living it up one more time in Las Vegas.
Jumpseat.me, a jet-sharing service, circulated an email late Friday afternoon offering four seats on the private plane that will take Gronkowski a teammate to Nevada.
“This Saturday night, share a cabin and fly privately with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman from Boston to Las Vegas for a last minute get away before Gronk goes for yet another surgery,” the email explains. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time with a living Patriots legend. Gronk is offering 4 seats in the cabin.”
While there’s no reason to believe that Gronkowski’s penchant for partying caused or contributed to the infection that invaded his arm following his second surgery, he’s contributing to a perception that, if he would back off on the shirtless slam dancing and everything that goes along with it, he’d be healthy by now.
Then there’s the probability that Gronkowski needs back surgery. While he’s on his own time and he should be allowed to enjoy his life, he’s inviting criticism from folks who think he’s not taking his career seriously — especially when it appears that his career may be at a crossroads.
Only one team made it to four straight Super Bowls. But, like every team, the Buffalo Bills are limited to four heads on their version of Mt. Rushmore.
So nominate the best of the Bills below.
And we realize it won’t be easy. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker, etc.
Before we can allow you to vote on four finalists, we need to come up with a dozen nominees. Help us get there.
And, please, Giants fans. Don’t nominate Scott Norwood.
When it comes to the lawsuit recently filed by Bills defensive lineman Mario Williams for the recovery of a $785,000 engagement ring from his former fiancée, the wheels of justice are spinning quickly.
According to David Barron of the Houston Chronicle, lawyers for Williams and Erin Marzouki met for three hours on Friday in an effort to resolve the case informally, but were unsuccessful.
Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents Marzouki, said that Williams, not Marzouki, broke off the engagement.
“Texas law says that if the man breaks off the engagement, the woman keeps the ring,” Buzbee said. “Mr. Williams experienced dramatic mood swings throughout the engagement. It was during one of his low points that he broke off the engagement for the last time this past December. It was only after Ms. Marzouki refused to take him back that he became angry and filed this frivolous case.
“He should have not filed a case out of anger. Ms. Marzouki will not be bullied. In the court system, no matter how rich you are, everyone is treated equally.”
Buzbee also released text messages from Williams to Marzouki, apparently to corroborate the contention of mood swings.
“I took 3 hydrocodones this morning and no one knows,” Williams allegedly said. “I’m going to take 2 more on the plane and fade away.” Williams also allegedly said: “No money in the world should leave me with suicidal thoughts.”
Regardless of the letter of the law, it’s odd that Marzouki would want to keep the ring. Sure, Williams can afford it. Sure, she can tell herself that she “deserves” it as compensation for putting up with him.
But the ring was purchased to secure a marriage that never happened. Regardless of who broke it off, why would Marzouki want to keep it?
The No. 20 overall pick, Long (6-6, 311) is expected to compete for a starting role at guard on a new-look offensive line for Chicago.
Long has relatively little experience as offensive lineman — a mere two collegiate seasons — but the Bears are intrigued by his potential. After the team picked Long, Bears G.M. Phil Emery called the former Oregon lineman a “dynamic athlete.”
“There isn’t a movement playing where this guy doesn’t impress you,” said Emery, according to the club.
Long signed a four-year deal with a club option for a fifth year, which is required by the collective bargaining agreement.
Kyle Long is the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long.