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At a time, NFL desperately wants fans to choose to buy tickets to football games, the franchise in Washington nearly made fans less likely to buy tickets to football games. For a change, the latest example has nothing to do with the quality of the on-field product.
Via ESPN.com, the franchise imposed a $50 “envelope fee” for tickets left at will call. And the team already has dumped the policy.
“It was a policy that was implemented to combat scalping at the stadium,” team spokesman Tony Wyllie said. “Our ticket office has historically exercised discretion in enforcing the policy. It is an outdated policy, and we no longer require payment. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
Strangely, the article from ESPN.com doesn’t make it clear that the team already has abandoned the policy. Upon reading the headline (“Redskins bar non-season-ticket holders from will call amid stir over fee”) and initially reviewing the article, it seems as if the team hasn’t gotten rid of the policy, even though it has.
Even more strangely, the article lists the franchise’s various recent embarrassments, without mentioning the biggest one: An admission by the wife of the General Manager that she posted on Twitter a suggestion that an ESPN reporter obtains information by trading sexual favors, which came after the G.M.’s wife initially denied it.
Then again, maybe none of this is strange. Maybe this is an example of how ESPN will subtly retaliate against the team for the attack on one of its own.
The Bills announced a bunch of roster moves Friday afternoon, most notably placing veteran cornerback Leodis McKelvin on the reserve/non-football injury list.
That designation means McKelvin is out for at least the first six weeks of the season. He broke his ankle last November and early in training camp suffered a setback in his rehab and had a follow-up procedure done on the ankle.
Earlier this week Bills coach Rex Ryan said McKelvin was making “encouraging” progress but that there was still no timetable for his return.
A longtime starter, McKelvin had four interceptions last season before the injury. In part because of the injury and in part because McKelvin turned 30 on Friday, the Bills used a second-round pick on cornerback Ronald Darby last spring.
The Bills also cut Quentin Groves, Dezmin Lewis, Will Campbell, John Conner, Andre Davis, IK Enemkpali, Andre Fluellen, Bronson Hill, Darryl Johnson, Alex Kupper, BJ Larsen, Merrill Noel, Tobias Palmer, Cyril Richardson, Matt Simms and Cierre Wood.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thought running back Chris Johnson looked “extremely sharp” in his preseason debut for the team on Thursday night and a couple of early cuts out of Arizona make Johnson’s chances of sticking around for more action in the desert look pretty good.
Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the team has cut running backs Robert Hughes and Paul Lasike. Hughes was talked about as a short yardage option out of the backfield for the Cardinals this season, but he played sparingly in the preseason and the team has opted to roll with other backs. Hughes ran seven times for 11 yards last season and caught eight passes for 140 yards.
Lasike was an undrafted free agent out of BYU and had two carries and a catch in the preseason.
Anderson also reports that the team is releasing veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Matt Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy missed eight games with a knee injury last season and has made 19 starts for the Cardinals over the last two seasons.
New Cardinals running back Chris Johnson ran the ball 11 times and also caught a pass in his first preseason game with the team on Thursday night, and he said afterward that he had to get that kind of workload to get ready for the regular season.
“First couple drives, I still felt a little rusty,” Johnson said, via the Arizona Republic. “Then I started getting in my groove. The more times they hand the ball off, the more I start to feel it. It was something that I needed.”
Johnson picked up 45 yards on the ground and 10 on his catch, and the Cardinals seemed to like what they saw.
“I thought Chris looked extremely sharp,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.
Johnson is many years removed from being “CJ2K,” but it’s reasonable to think he could hit 1,000 yards if he gets a solid workload in Arizona this season. The Cardinals’ running game was one of the worst in the league last year, and getting Johnson up to speed would go a long way toward turning that around.
The Bills cut a quarterback who wasn’t going to be their starter, but not the really expensive one.
It remains to be seen how many they keep, and whether Cassel is one of them after losing the starting job to Taylor. Cutting him would save them $4.15 million in base salary, but it would cost them face also, after trading a pair of picks to the Vikings for the veteran.
But Simms was always the odd man out, so this was sort of inevitable.
The Texans drafted defensive tackle Louis Nix in the third round of the 2014 draft, but their opinion of him has apparently soured over the year-plus he’s spent with the team.
According to multiple reports, the team has waived Nix as they make the necessary alterations to their roster to reach the 53-man limit by Saturday afternoon. Those reports also have the team waiving 2015 seventh-round running back Kenny Hilliard.
Nix could return to the practice squad if he isn’t claimed off waivers, but his time with the Texans will come to an end without ever appearing in a regular season game if this is indeed the end of his run in Houston. Nix was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury last September, although he returned to start every preseason game this summer while Vince Wilfork got some veteran rest on game days. The Texans drafted Christian Covington this year and he appears set to back up Wilfork.
Hilliard was behind Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk in the competition to replace Arian Foster while Foster recovers from groin surgery. The LSU product would likely be a practice squad candidate if he doesn’t land elsewhere.
The Ravens have announced the first of the moves they’ll have to make over the next two days in order to reach the 53-man limit.
Among the players dropped from the roster was wide receiver Tom Nelson, who was known as safety Tom Nelson during the early days of his NFL career. Nelson played for the Bengals in 2009 and 2010 after making the team as an undrafted free agent and saw action in four games for the Eagles in 2011. That was the last time Nelson played in the league, so making the move to receiver was a big leap to take in order to continue his professional career.
Nelson caught five passes for 57 yards in the preseason. The Ravens also waived wide receiver Daniel Brown, leaving them with seven wideouts on the roster at the moment.
NFL teams are going to remove 704 players from the payroll in the next 24 hours or so, as teams have until 4 p.m. Saturday to get to the 53-man roster limit.
It’s a lot to follow. But fortunately for you, we’re here to help.
We’ll be keeping up with the action as it happens, and will continue to until teams are down to the regular season limit.
Hit refresh often, because this stuff happens fast. And, because we’re nice enough to compile them for you.
Guard Andy Levitre fell out of favor with the Titans this offseason and was thought to be on the roster bubble with Tennessee dropping to 53 players by Saturday afternoon’s deadline.
The bubble has burst for Levitre with the Titans, but, as someone may well have said at some point, when one bubble bursts another opens.
On Twitter Friday, Levitre tweeted “#RiseUp,” which is a slogan used by the Falcons and PFT has learned, via a league source, that Levitre’s post was in fact a reference to a trade that will send him to Atlanta. The compensation going back to Tennessee is unknown at this time.
Levitre came to Tennessee on a six-year, $46.8 million contract before the 2013 season and played all 32 games for the Titans over the last two seasons, but his performance wasn’t up to the expectations that accompanied Levitre from his successful stint with the Bills. Byron Bell replaced him at left guard this summer, which would have made him an expensive backup for the Titans.
He’ll move into a zone blocking system with Kyle Shanahan running the Falcons offense and should be able to mount at least a challenge for a starting job given the underwhelming current crop of interior linemen in Atlanta.
UPDATE 1:11 p.m. ET: The deal has been announced. The Titans will receive a 2016 sixth-round pick and a conditional 2017 draft choice from the Falcons.
Running back Jay Ajayi dropped a bit lower than expected in the draft because of concerns about his knee and now a rib injury may limit his chances of making an impact in his rookie season with the Dolphins.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that Ajayi, who wound up going in the fifth round, cracked a rib during Thursday night’s preseason finale. The injury came during a good game for Ajayi, who ran nine times for 66 yards and caught two passes for 37 yards against the Buccaneers. It was a step in the right direction for Ajayi, who missed the first two preseason games while dealing with hamstring issues in August.
“I thought he ran hard,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “He made a guy or two miss, showed toughness inside, and caught the balls that were thrown to him, which is always a good place to start.”
There’s not much chance that the Dolphins are going to cut Ajayi, but his absences early in camp didn’t help him in the competition for playing time with other backup options to Lamar Miller. If the Dolphins want to go with Damien Williams, LaMichael James and/or Mike Gillislee, they could place Ajayi on injured reserve and let this year serve as a redshirt season.
Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have to worry about getting punched in the face, or at least as much as he did previously.
The Bills had some interest since coach Rex Ryan drafted him during his last year with the Bills, but they apparently decided he wasn’t worth keeping around.
While Enemkpali has some pass-rush potential, he also has problems keeping his hands to himself off the field.
In addition to his former teammate who owed him $600, Enemkpali has also punched an off-duty cop and a man who was posing as a woman named “Missy Lee” whom he met on the internet and arranged to have sex with.
And now, he has punched his ticket out of Buffalo.
There were points this offseason when people wondered whether the Eagles were interested in trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but those thoughts went out the window when the Eagles signed Kendricks to a contract extension.
That guaranteed a crowded group at inside linebacker since the Eagles also have DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso and 2015 third-round pick Jordan Hicks on track to make the roster with former Packer Brad Jones and Najee Goode also in the mix. The Eagles are reportedly trying to thin that herd through a trade.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles are trying to trade Goode before the Saturday afternoon deadline to cut the roster to 53 players. There’s no word on what they might be looking for in return, but anything more than a pick in the final rounds would be a stretch.
Goode was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and has played 18 games in three years with the team. He missed 15 games last season after tearing his pectoral muscle in the season opener.
The news of the Giants releasing punter Steve Weatherford Friday morning came as a surprise. Now, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports the Giants have added his replacement, Brad Wing, in a trade with the Steelers.
That means the Steelers are likely going with Jordan Berry as their punter. Wing punted for the Steelers as a rookie last season.
Berry averaged 49.8 yards per punt in the preseason, about a yard better than Wing. Berry was working an overnight shift at McDonald’s a year ago in his native Australia before getting an office job in hopes of saving enough money to return to the United States and give the NFL one more try, and it appears now he’s landed an NFL gig.
The NFLPA and Tom Brady scored a big win in federal court over the NFL on Thursday and we’ll have one of the key people involved on the winning side as a guest on PFT Live Friday.
Attorney Jeffrey Kessler fielded the questions from Judge Richard Berman for the NFLPA during oral arguments leading up to Berman’s decision to overturn Brady’s four-game suspension and he’ll join Mike Florio on Friday’s program to discuss the case. They’ll talk about the ruling, the NFL’s appeal and what impact the whole saga may have on future disciplinary actions coming from the league office.
Tim McManus of 97.5 The Fanatic will be on the program to talk about the Eagles with the cut to 53 players looming. They’ll talk about who will make the roster and whether Tim Tebow will be the No. 3 quarterback in Philly this year.
As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.
It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour by clicking right here.
A well-established bandwagon-hopper who seems to gravitate to the Steelers isn’t happy with the court decision that makes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady available for the Week One game against Pittsburgh.
Rapper Snoop Dogg posted a video online complaining about the reversal of the suspension by Judge Richard Berman.
“Yeah, the NFL overturned Brady’s sh-t,” Snoop Dogg said. “I can’t do nothing but smoke. That’s bullsh-t. You might as well overturn all the homies that got weed cases in the league, too. If you all are gonna do that. Keep it real.”
On one hand, he has a point. The NFL shouldn’t care about players smoking marijuana on their own time — especially in Colorado and Washington, where it’s now legal. On the other hand, the substance-abuse policy is separate from the policies that applied to Brady.
Brady was never told he could be suspended for his actions. Players know they can be suspended for smoking marijuana. And that’s ultimately why Brady will be playing against Snoop’s Steelers in six days.