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On Thursday night, Donald Trump said that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called to congratulate the since-inaugurated Commander-in-Chief. On Friday, Brady declined to address the situation, in any way.
Asked by reporters to share some of the details about the call, Brady said this: “I don’t have much to say.”
Asked simply whether he called Trump, Brady said this: “Did I call him? Let’s talk about football.”
In contrast, coach Bill Belchick admitted that he had sent Trump a letter of encouragement before the election, after Trump read from the letter at a rally.
It’s Brady’s prerogative to say whether he did or didn’t make the call; after the election, he said he’s done talking politics. However, the fact that he said nothing underscores the notion that he surely wasn’t happy about the public disclosure of his private communication.
After going through interim quarterbacks, interim running backs and interim tackles last year, the Vikings decided to remove that adjective from their offensive coordinator’s title.
The team announced that Pat Shurmur would remain as their offensive coordinator, after he took over for Norv Turner last November.
The team also announced that Kevin Stefanski will move from coaching running backs to quarterbacks, along with the hirings of running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu and tight ends coach Clancy Barone.
Shurmur’s background with Sam Bradford was helpful for the Vikings this year, as they tried to recover from Teddy Bridgewater’s knee injury. They worked together previously with the Rams and Eagles, and may well into the future, since no one’s quite sure when or if Bridgewater will return.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce ripped the officials in last Sunday’s playoff loss to the Steelers for a holding call on left tackle Eric Fisher on a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter and said that referee Carl Cheffers wasn’t fit to wear a striped shirt for Foot Locker.
The NFL has a different read on Cheffers’ work as they named him to work the Super Bowl in Houston in a couple of weeks. We don’t know if Kelce’s views of the officiating have drawn a fine from the league, but PFT has confirmed that Kelce was fined for an on-field penalty.
Kelce has been fined $9,115 for an unnecessary roughness penalty. Kelce was flagged in the third quarter for shoving Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell at the end of a play. The penalty pushed the Chiefs back 15 yards, but they were able to convert a first down on the next play and ended the drive with three points.
That wasn’t enough to put them in front of the Steelers, who advanced to the AFC Championship Game by an 18-16 score after the Chiefs’ second try at the aforementioned two-point conversion came up short.
Although it didn’t get a lot of attention in the media, a skirmish broke out between players on the Chiefs and Steelers after Sunday night’s playoff game.
The league office didn’t pay it any mind, either: PFT has confirmed that none of the players involved were fined.
Chiefs defensive backs Terrance Mitchell and Marcus Peters were involved in some pushing and shoving with several Steelers players, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin got between them. Steelers coach Joey Porter also got in the middle of it, trying to break things up just days after he was reinstated from the team after being put on leave briefly for allegedly doing some pushing and shoving of his own in a Pittsburgh restaurant.
No punches were thrown and it was a fairly mild scuffle, so it’s no surprise that the NFL decided not to hand out any discipline, even if it wasn’t exactly the ideal way for a playoff game to end.
Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney hit Patriots quarterback Tom Brady a few times in last Saturday’s Patriots win in the divisional round of the playoffs and one of them led to an animated reaction from Brady when a flag wasn’t thrown.
Clowney dragged Brady down on an incomplete pass in the third quarter and Brady was seen shouting at the officials after the play was over. He got the flag he was looking for early in the next quarter when Clowney was penalized for roughing Brady on a 10-yard completion to running back Dion Lewis.
PFT has confirmed with the league that Clowney was also fined $18,231 for roughing Brady.
Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe has also been fined $12,154 after picking up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There was a scrum at the end of a short completion on third down to Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins early in the game and Rowe was penalized for pulling people off the pile. The penalty gave the Texans a first down that they used to continue a drive that ended with a field goal.
The Patriots didn’t have a player on their 53-man roster miss practice at any point this week, but they aren’t saying that everyone will be healthy enough to play on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.
They listed seven players as questionable to face the Steelers, including four of quarterback Tom Brady’s targets through the air. Wide receivers Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell all got the questionable designation after three days of limited practices. Amendola returned to action last week after missing a month with an ankle injury while Mitchell didn’t play due to a knee issue and Hogan had to leave the win over the Texans after hurting his thigh.
Tight end Martellus Bennett is the other member of the quartet. He’s listed with a knee injury after briefly leaving last week’s game a couple of times, but said early in the week that he was feeling fine.
The team said Watkins had a second surgery on his injured foot and that his anticipated timetable includes a healthy return in time for training camp.
Watkins had foot surgery last spring, then re-injured his foot and missed half of the 2016 season, though he returned to play in December. He caught 28 passes for 430 yards and two touchdowns in eight games.
Lawson, the team’s first-round pick last spring, had arthroscopic knee surgery. He’s expected to be available for the entire offseason program.
The Packers aren’t ruling any of their injured wide receivers out for Sunday’s game against the Falcons, but they know that they may need to go without one or all of Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison.
All three players were listed as out of practice on Friday — it was an estimation as the Packers will work out on Saturday — as Nelson fell ill after working two days in an attempt to return from broken ribs. Adams, who has an ankle injury, and Allison, who is dealing with a hamstring issue, missed all three days and coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that the team will go as long as they need to before making a decision about their status for the NFC title game.
“I’m going to give these guys the open time frame to do everything they can to play. Maybe one or two of those guys will have to work Sunday before the game,” McCarthy said, via USA Today.
Safety Morgan Burnett was listed as a limited participant in practice Friday, the first time he’s been listed as anything but out since injuring his quadricep against the Cowboys. He’s been listed as questionable along with cornerback Quinten Rollins, who was limited all week with the neck injury and concussion that kept him out the last two weeks.
The Falcons got wide receiver Julio Jones back at practice Friday and, as coach Dan Quinn said earlier in the day, have no players on the active roster with injuries that will keep them from playing on Sunday.
Green has missed the last four games due to a concussion. Though he’s practiced on a limited basis last week and this week, it’s uncertain if he’ll be fully cleared to play.
Harrison has shoulder and triceps injuries and was a full practice participant Friday. Barring a setback, he will play.
Backup running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who missed last week’s game with a concussion, is also listed as questionable. He was a full practice participant Friday.
No defense has had much luck stopping Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers over the last eight games and he said on Friday that germs won’t be the thing to slow him down either.
The Packers have joined the Steelers as teams dealing with illness kicking around their locker rooms this week. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson was sent home by the Packers on Friday because the team worried he might be contagious, but Rodgers said that he’s already under the weather.
“Rest, fluids, all that stuff,” Rodgers said, via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. “We’ll be OK. Jordy had it. Mason [Crosby] had it. I got it. We’ll deal with it.”
The ailing Packers players will try to get everything is out of their systems by Sunday afternoon in hopes of avoiding a different reason to feel sick to their stomachs.
We asked for it, and now we have it.
According to Alex Marvez of the Sporting News, former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula has interviewed with the Saints for their vacant defensive line coaching gig.
The Saints are looking for someone to replace Bill Johnson, who was fired as part of a staff shakeup there. Johnson landed with the Rams.
Tomsula went 5-11 in his one season as 49ers head coach in 2015, and was defensive line coach there for the eight years prior.
He was out of football last year, living off the $14 million the 49ers paid him for one season of work.
Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams has been named to the Pro Bowl.
Williams is an injury replacement for Ndamukong Suh of the Dolphins. The Pro Bowl will be played Jan. 29 in Orlando.
This will be Williams’ fifth trip to the Pro Bowl, and he joins Bruce Smith and Fred Smerlas as the only Bills’ defensive linemen to go to at least five Pro Bowls. Williams’ 40.5 career sacks are the most by a defensive tackle in franchise history.
In 2016, Williams had 64 tackles, five sacks, 15 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for loss.
The Bills officially announced another addition to new coach Sean McDermott’s staff on Friday.
New assistant offensive line coach Andrew Dees held the same position with the Bills in 2012. He then spent 2013-15 with the Chargers.
Dees coached in the college ranks for 15 years before breaking into the NFL with the Bills.
The Packers are getting set to face the Falcons for the NFC title on Sunday, which isn’t where it looked like their season was headed when they were 4-6 in the regular season.
There was a lot of talk at that time about what the offseason might bring in Green Bay if the team remained on the same path and missed the playoffs, although none of it came from General Manager Ted Thompson. Thompson didn’t meet with the media after August and guard T.J. Lang said that his demeanor inside the facility never wavered from the “positive attitude” he usually displays.
Thompson said that while he knows his attitude won’t “change the world,” he does believe it is “part of the equation” for getting things back on the right track. The team found that track and has an eight-game winning streak that’s left Thompson impressed.
“When you’re on a losing streak, especially in my job, you have your own little personal misery all the time because — it’s not that the team was underachieving or anything — that’s just the way it is in the NFL,” Thompson said to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “For the team to recover and do what they’ve done is an astronomical feat, in my opinion.”
Thompson wouldn’t say whether there had been any thought to parting ways with coach Mike McCarthy when the team was struggling, but did say that he wouldn’t make such a decision based on a single season. Given the way things turned around in Green Bay, that’s probably not a bad view for the G.M. to take.
One of the best receivers in Jaguars franchise history may soon be the team’s wide receivers coach.
Keenan McCardell, who was a Pro Bowl receiver for the Jaguars when they were an expansion team 20 years ago, is interviewing in Jacksonville today, according to 1010XL in Jacksonville. McCardell is second in Jaguars history in catches and receiving yards, second only to Jimmy Smith, who tweeted today that he is praying McCardell will get the job.
McCardell played for Tom Coughlin during his time with the Jaguars, and Coughlin is now back and running the team’s football operations. Coughlin would presumably encourage head coach Doug Marrone to find a place for McCardell on the staff.
The 47-year-old McCardell spent three years as an NFL assistant as Washington’s wide receivers coach, and two years coaching wide receivers in college at Maryland. He was out of coaching last year.