Percy Harvin has become more trouble than the Vikings are willing to deal with, but if they decide to trade the speedy receiver, how much leverage do they own?
ProFootballTalk: Are the Vikings done with Harvin?
The Panthers signed wide receiver Dale Moss on Wednesday, the NFL disclosed in its transactions.
Moss, 24, was waived by the Bears on June 10. The 6-4, 197-pound South Dakota State product entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Green Bay in 2012. He played basketball in college before transitioning to football in 2011.
Moss is the nephew of Johnny Rodgers, the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner for Nebraska.
In a corresponding move, the Panthers waived-injured another wide receiver, R.J. Webb. The nature of his injury is unknown. Webb signed with the Panthers on May 13 after trying out with the club during its rookie minicamp. The 25-year-old wideout played for Furman University from 2005 through 2009.
It’s been a day since the latest now-I’ve-seen-everything story emerged in the NFL, and there’s still not much clarity regarding the investigation involving the death of an “associate” of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
But as Tom Curran of CSN New England explained on Wednesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN, the process could still lead to an unfavorable outcome for Hernandez.
“[T]here’s so much to plow through and I think right now we’re at the table-setting stage,” Curran said. “There’s a sense that law enforcement is getting all its ducks in a row and then they’ll spill them on the table to put a case together.”
The Patriots remain tight lipped, both publicly and privately.
“Not a word,” Curran said regarding the team. “This is a period of time that the NFL kind of shuts down. I’m not sure even if [coach] Bill Belichick is in the country right now. I know he had a European vacation planned; he may be out of the country. Given the circumstances and the way this could conceivably go, because it’s not pretty, he might be in a situation where he might have to come back. I think that this is a serious situation that bears a lot of close watching over the next couple of days.”
The process, as Curran separately explained in writing, will entail a sweeping examination of all available and relevant evidence.
From the CSI-style stuff that modern juries now expect to see to electronic information harvested from cell phones and computers to surveillance systems that may have been in place at the industrial park where the body was found or at Hernandez’s home, plenty of potential proof is floating around. Curran says that investigators will instruct cellular providers to freeze any information in place, in the event that any of the witnesses try to destroy his or her phone.
And any attempt by any of the witnesses to erase or eliminate electronic evidence won’t look good when the time comes to determine whether folks are guilty of any crimes.
At this point, it’s unclear how many crimes were or may have been committed, beyond the most obvious one: Murder. In the coming days and weeks, more information will likely surface. For now, it’s still possible that things will go poorly for Hernandez.
In his first season in Atlanta after nine years in St. Louis, Steven Jackson is ready to get fewer carries. But Jackson thinks the carries he does get are going to lead to more wins.
Jackson says he’s ready for a lower quantity of carries but higher quality carries — meaning, he thinks the Falcons are going to have a lot of fourth-quarter leads, and they’re going to hand off to Jackson a lot to protect those leads.
“This offense has so many weapons that I’m going to get quality carries,” Jackson said. “I’m going to have opportunities — they may not be 25 carries a game, but they’re going to be quality carries that allow me to close out a game.”
That would be great news for Falcons coach Mike Smith, who said that in addition to Jackson running the ball, the Falcons will incorporate Jackson into their passing game as well.
“He’s a guy that can catch the ball out of the backfield, does a good job with checkdown screens, and he’s a big guy,” Smith said. “When he gets his shoulders going north and south, he’s a tough guy to tackle. We plan on hopefully getting him in space quite a bit, with him catching the ball out of the backfield.”
As both a runner and a receiver, Jackson should be an upgrade over last year’s No. 1 running back, Michael Turner. The presence of Jackson makes an already good offense better.
The Cowboys have unanswered questions at safety, but at least they have them all under contract at the moment.
Wilcox could challenge for a starting job this year among an odd lot of players in the secondary there, but his speed (he’s a former receiver and running back at Georgia Southern) and hitting ability figures to lead to a role on special teams in the short term.
In the never ending quest to make the in-stadium experience more desirable than staying at home (except for the “clear plastic bags only” thing), teams are looking for ways to upgrade their NFL venues.
The Jaguars announced today that they’re joining the battle to have the biggest and best video systems.
The team unveiled today an agreement with Jacksonville to make roughly “$63 million in major enhancements” to EverBank Field. The enhancements will include new video boards in each end zone, measuring 55 by 301 feet each.
That’s 301 feet. As in one foot longer than the length of the field.
A new platform area will be added to the north end of the stadium, which will result in the removal of 7,000 seats.
The Jags will kick in roughly $20 million, with the City of Jacksonville picking up the rest. The Jags will be responsible for any cost overruns.
Jaguars fans already are declaring that this means the team will never move. And while it makes the abandonment of Jacksonville less likely, it’s still too early to rule out a split schedule between Jacksonville and England.
After all, it’s only $63 million in enhancements. It’s not like they’re building a new stadium.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that the Titans have signed cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, one of their two third-round picks in April’s draft. With Wreh-Wilson under contract, the Titans only need to sign first-round guard Chance Warmack to put a bow on their entire draft class.
Wreh-Wilson made 39 starts and intercepted eight passes during his career at the University of Connecticut, but probably isn’t headed toward a starting job in his rookie season with the Titans. Jason McCourty will start at one corner and Tommie Campbell has been pushing Alterraun Verner, who has also seen time at safety during OTAs, for the starting job on the other side.
Second-year player Coty Sensabaugh also figures into the mix somewhere, so Wreh-Wilson isn’t just going to have immediate playing time handed to him during camp.
As we run through our series of Mt. Rushmores for each NFL team, we occasionally run into a person who would be a candidate for a Mt. Rushmore that covers the entire NFL rather than just one organization.
Don Shula is one such person. He has won more games than any other coach, owns two Super Bowl rings and guided the Dolphins to a 17-0 season to become the only NFL team to go an entire year without a loss since World War II.
On Wednesday, though, the topic will just be the Dolphins when Shula joins Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network to talk about the three men who should join him as faces of Miami’s franchise. Shula will talk to Erik Kuselias about his greatest strengths as a coach, his memories of players like Larry Csonka and Manny Fernandez and much more.
Mike Florio, Ross Tucker and Frank Wycheck will also be on hand as the Mt. Rushmore for the Bills is unveiled as well.
It all gets started at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
The Titans have signed a veteran free agent, and his mission isn’t so much to kill as it to take up space.
The Titans were running short-handed up front anyway, with three starters limited to individual work during minicamp, so they needed some bodies.
Richardson would be solid backup when their regulars are well, but he’s started every game the last three seasons, so he lends some needed experience.
Bengals cornerback Adam Jones will be addressing NFL rookies at the league’s rookie symposium again this year as part of the effort to inform rookies about potential trouble and how to avoid it.
It’s a decision that some have questioned in light of Jones’ recent arrest on charges of assaulting a woman outside a bar in Cincinnati. During an interview with Mike Garafolo of USA Today proclaimed his innocence of the charges and defended his presence at the symposium – Why would I not keep talking to the youth and help the youth out like I did last year because of somebody else acting up? — as a speaker who could testify first-hand to how making the wrong decisions can impact one’s football career.
“My goal is to just give back to the community and the league and to let them know you’re accountable for everything you’re doing,” he said. “There’s nobody who’s gotten more chances than me and, when you do, when you’re back in those situations … you’re always going to be judged by your past, regardless of what anybody says. I just want to try to enlighten some of the guys so they don’t have to go through the things I went through.”
The assault charge still needs to work its way through the legal system, so Jones isn’t quite done going through the things he wants to enlighten rookies to avoid in the future. That’s all the more reason for him to give a speech that holds himself up as an example of someone who has made too many of the wrong decisions over the course of his career.
Attorney David Jaroslawicz, who represented the former Jets massage therapists in the lawsuit against Brett Favre, tells PFT that the case was dismissed not because of a settlement but because of a mistake in the paperwork.
“It is being refiled today,” Jaroslawicz said via email. “The injury was corrected. He did not have plates and screws in his arm, only in the right side of his face.”
Typically, a complaint can be amended freely and without court permission before the defendant submits a response. It’s unclear why that didn’t happen here, especially since re-filing the lawsuit means cutting a new check for the filing fee.
Instead, he’s running full-speed toward one.
According to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Pollard has a hand-written message taped to the front of his locker at the Titans facility which reads: “Goal — Super Bowl. Mission — Kill!!!”
And lest you think it’s being taken out of context, here’s Pollard himself to explain.
“Our goal is the Super Bowl, and our mission is to kill,” the veteran safety said while pointing to the note. “And if someone doesn’t like it, then who cares? I really couldn’t care less. It is not our responsibility to make anyone else happy, to please you, to care about you.
“Our responsibility is to protect LP Field and our responsibility is to steal wins on the road. And our responsibility is to [beat you up] as a defense, and that’s what we’re going to do on every single play. You have to have that mentality because nobody cares about the Tennessee Titans. Nobody. So you have to take the respect. That’s what we have to do. . . . Yeah, this team can get to the Super Bowl.”
You’d think that a team that just hired Gregg “Kill the head and the body will die” Williams this offseason might be more sensitive to such language.
The Bills were quick to distance themselves from the “kill ‘em,” remarks attributed to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and while Pollard enjoys the tough-guy act, the Titans would be wise to follow suit.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is doing something new this season.
He’ll work with the same offensive coordinator for two straight seasons for the first time since entering the NFL. Pat Shurmur and Josh McDaniels were one and done in St. Louis, but Brian Schottenheimer is back for another year and Bradford says he has a “much better feel” for what Schottenheimer wants to do on offense than he did in their first year together. Schottenheimer concurs and says that the increased familiarity has led to a quantum leap forward for the offense.
“The day Sam walked back into the building [this offseason] we started making adjustments,” Schottenheimer said, via Mike Sando of ESPN.com. “We are a thousand years ahead of where we were last year.”
While an increased comfort level with the offense is significant, it isn’t the only reason why the Rams might feel like they’ve gone from working with stone tools to the Industrial Revolution in a matter of months. Adding wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in the draft after signing tight end Jared Cook and tackle Jake Long has given the Rams offense a very different look than it had last season.
There are still questions to answer for a young Rams offense and there may be growing pains still to come, but the combination of new faces and organizational stability is a promising one for St. Louis.
The two-year contract extension that defensive end Justin Smith signed with the 49ers is likely to be the final contract that the 33-year-old signs in the NFL.
“Justin’s All-Pro contributions on the field, as well as his leadership on and off the field, are integral to our success as a team,” 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement from the team. “Justin consistently sets a standard of excellence, serving as an example for everyone within our organization. This contract allows Justin to finish his career as a 49er!”
Smith said Wednesday that the fact that the 49ers shared his desire to continue their relationship made negotiations on the extension easy. Smith, who served as his own agent during talks with the team, is excited that things have worked out so that he’ll be able to finish his career with San Francisco.
Smith went further on the topic of going out on his own terms, saying that he wasn’t going to be the kind of player who hangs around to play something less than a lead role on the defensive line.
“That’s not going to happen,” Smith said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “I’ve said that, I meant that — I won’t be the guy that’s around for 10 snaps, 20 snaps. It’s either,I’m going or I’m not going. If I get my ass out here, I’m going.”
The NFL has shown in recent years a willingness to aggressively enforce the personal-conduct policy. Typically, the NFL will allow a first-time incident to make its way through the legal system before taking action.
The league gets more interested when a player has had two or more incidents.
That becomes problematic for Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who currently is involved in an investigation regarding an “associate” (reportedly Odin Lloyd) whose body was found roughly a mile from Hernandez’s home, in the vicinity of a rental car tied to Hernandez. Per TMZ, Hernandez also was sued last week in Florida for allegedly shooting a man in the face.
Even if Hernandez is never arrested, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t, either. And Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) after being sued for sexual assault in Nevada and later accused (but not charged) of sexual assault in Georgia.
So what will the league do about Hernandez? Not surprisingly, the league isn’t saying.
“We have no comment,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT by email.
Based on past situations, it’s safe to assume that NFL Security will conduct an investigation of its own regarding both incidents, coming to a conclusion as to whether Hernandez violated the terms of the league’s personal-conduct policy either in the shooting incident in Florida or the situation in Massachusetts. Discipline can be imposed even if he’s not formally accused of or charged with any crime.
The Bears added a layer of technological know-how to their football staff, hiring Mitchell Tanney as the team’s director of analytics.
Tanney, who has been the manager of football products for STATS LLC in recent years, will work with the front office and coaches on “player evaluation concepts and game situation principles,” according to a release sent out by the team.
Tanney, a former college quarterback at Monmouth, played in a variety of minor, indoor and international leagues.
The Bears are one of the league’s most traditional franchises, but have shown an ability to look at different perspectives. Adding a computerized data/scouting eye is another.
While General Manager Phil Emery had the obligatory old school scout background, head coach Marc Trestman was anything but a conventional hire. Adding someone to use numbers to add to the analysis brings a different perspective to the decision-making process, which can only help.