Rumors continue to swirl about Manti Te’o and his sexuality after he spoke to the media at the NFL combine. Joe Flacco’s contract dispute with the Ravens could lead him out of Baltimore, and Mike Florio warns fans not to believe everything you hear around draft time.
PFT Live: Will Te’o's draft stock tumble as questions remain?
Now that Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has undergone a fourth arm surgery, which initially is being regarded as a success, attention soon will turn to his lingering back issue.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Gronkowski is expected to travel to California in three or four weeks for an evaluation by Dr. Robert Watkins. (The trip presumably will not include a layover in Las Vegas.) Watkins will make a recommendation as to whether Gronkowski requires back surgery.
We reported last week that back surgery currently is considered to be probable for Gronkowski.
The New England Patriots have developed an affinity for Rutgers players. On Monday, they signed another former member of the program.
Scarlet Knights receiver Mark Harrison has joined the Patriots, the team announced earlier in the day. Undrafted last month, Harrison is one of the two players who stayed in the hotel room that reportedly was trashed at the Scouting Combine.
Harrison and receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a first-round pick of the Texans, denied responsibility for the incident, which reportedly included fecal matter ending up in places where fecal matter shouldn’t be, absent extreme alcohol consumption. Or perhaps demonic possession.
The Pats likely were drawn to Harrison at least in part due to observations made by Steve Belichick, the son of New England coach Bill Belichick, during the younger Belichick’s time working for the Rutgers program.
The Patriots now have seven former Rutgers players on the roster.
The Patriots also signed former Notre Dame kicker David Ruffer, who transferred to South Bend not from Rutgers but from William & Mary. He converted on his first 23 field goals for the Irish, but he finished his career missing 11 of 21.
It’s that kind of poor aim that may have contributed to the unsavory problem mentioned earlier in this blurb.
The dates are trickling in, illustrating specific changes to the offseason schedule that would happen if the NFL and NFLPA strike a deal to tweak the things that happen from February through May.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, next year’s draft would start on May 15, three weeks after this year’s draft. The timetable for the Scouting Combine and the league year would not change in 2014.
In 2015, the draft would happen a little bit earlier in May, the league year would begin in early March, and the Scouting Combine would slide to the middle of March.
We can’t overstate the impact of moving the Combine after the start of the league year. (But we’ll try.) With 10-14 days of free agency in the books before the teams flock to Indy, there will be a much better sense of what teams need, and don’t need, in the draft before checking out the prospects up close at the Combine.
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs’ new pistol consultant, Chris Ault, to get busy.
The former Nevada coach helped popularize the short shotgun formation and became famous with the success of his pupil Colin Kaepernick. Now, he’s helping Alex Smith try to learn it.
According to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs ran a “handful of plays” from the formation in OTAs last week.
Smith was an effective runner in college at Utah, rushing 135 times for 631 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2004.
But perhaps the biggest beneficiary could be Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who should have more open space with which to work if Smith’s on the move. Coupled with what could be a very good offensive line, the Chiefs have a chance to make it work.
Surgery to install a plate in the broken left arm of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been completed, PFT’s Mike Florio has learned.
What’s more, the infection in the arm has cleared, PFT has learned.
PFT reported last week that the infection appeared to be going away. Now, it’s officially gone, good news for the 24-year-old star tight end in his quest to finally completely recover from the arm injury, which he first sustained in November 2012. He re-injured the arm in January.
Gronkowski is also expected to have back surgery during the offseason. PFT has learned a consultation on surgery will occur in 3-4 weeks.
A vital part of the Patriots’ offense, Gronkowski has hauled in 38 touchdown passes in just three NFL seasons.
Tackle Winston Justice has racked up some frequent flier miles of late as he’s jumped from city to city in search of a team to sign him for the 2013 season.
Nashville is the latest stop on his tour. John Glennon of the Tennessean reports that Justice spent Monday visiting with the Titans as Tennessee checks out possible alternatives for David Stewart at right tackle. Stewart isn’t back on the field yet after breaking his leg last season and the Titans have also met with Eric Winston in the last month as they check in on the veterans still on the free agent market or at least those veterans with Winston somewhere in their name.
Justice has also visited with the Chargers, Lions, Dolphins, Steelers and Browns this offseason. The Dolphins have since signed Tyson Clabo and the Steelers added Guy Whimper, but the others may still be in the mix as his eventual landing spot.
Guard Antoine Caldwell also visited with the Titans Monday. Caldwell started six games for the Texans last season as part of a problematic right side of the offensive line. With Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack joining the team this offseason, Caldwell would be trying to be the team’s third guard if he signed in Tennessee.
It was a long week away, but Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network is back on Monday afternoon.
Helping us celebrate the return will be 49ers rookie running back Marcus Lattimore. Lattimore went in the fourth round of the draft last month after a college career marked by both stupendous performances and season-ending knee injuries. Those injuries could turn 2013 into a “redshirt” year for Lattimore and he’ll talk to Erik Kuselias about his thoughts about that possibility.
Mike Florio and Ross Tucker will also be on hand to discuss the biggest news of the day. They’ll also break down some burning questions for teams in the AFC West with the OTA phase of the offseason well underway. And PFT Planet once again has the chance to pick the final topic of the day from Rob Gronkowski’s latest injury updates, the proposed changes to the league calender and the best remaining free agent on the market.
It all gets underway at 5 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
The club’s official Twitter account posted a picture of Harris, a cornerback from New Mexico State, signing his contract.
From a size standpoint, Harris (6-2, 181) fits the mold of the bigger cornerback new Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley had success with as Seattle’s defensive coordinator. Should Harris make the roster, he would likely figure as a reserve in his first NFL season.
Harris recorded 56 tackles, defended 11 passes and recorded one interception in his senior season with the Aggies in 2012.
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing has said that his goal is to return from his torn ACL as a better player than he was before the injury and it sounds like there’s a good shot that he’ll be able to start trying to reach it when the team starts training camp.
Cushing said that he hasn’t had any setbacks while steadily doing more work. He’s up to running, squatting, jumping and doing position drills in his rehab and said that he feels he’s just missing a little bit of strength in the left knee as he prepares to get back on the field.
“My return is right around the corner, so that’s a good feeling,” Cushing said, via the Texans website. “I can definitely tell you I’ll be ready for the first game of the season, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready for the first practice come training camp.”
Cushing injured his knee on October 8, which means it will have been more than nine full months since his injury when training camp gets underway. He may not be ready for a full workload at that point, but it appears he should avoid the PUP list for even a limited amount of time this summer.
Bills defensive end Mario Williams is embroiled in a lawsuit with his ex-fiancée, attempting to force her to return a $785,000 engagement ring. As part of that lawsuit, his ex-fiancée has released text messages in which Williams discusses taking prescription painkillers and having thoughts of suicide.
But Williams says that’s nothing for anyone to worry about.
“I could really care less. I mean, all it is is allegations, text messages or what not, whatever information blown out of proportion. I mean it’s completely out of context,” Williams said of the released text messages, via WGR.
Williams says that when he mentioned “suicidal thoughts” in a text message, he was “just venting.” Asked about the suicides of Junior Seau and Jovan Belcher, Williams was quick to answer, “Dude, I’m nowhere near that position.”
Williams also said he only uses painkillers as directed by the team’s medical staff.
“Anything I take is 100 percent prescribed, given from here,” Williams said, referring to the doctors at the Bills’ facility.
Blown out of proportion or not, these are the kinds of embarrassing stories that tend to come out when people get involved in litigation with their exes. That’s why it’s wise to take it slowly with romantic relationships, and wiser still to buy a more sensible engagement ring, and save the $785,000 jewelry for the 50th anniversary.
With six teams to go, let’s turn our attention to the franchise that produced six Pro Bowlers in 2012. And somehow only two wins.
But the Chiefs have had plenty of proud moments, dating back to participation in the first Super Bowl.
Here’s your chance to scour the team’s rosters all the way back to the days of the Dallas Texans and vote for the four members of the franchise (player, coach, other) who should be on the Chiefs’ Mt. Rushmore.
From Hank Stram to Lamar Hunt to Derrick Thomas to Len Dawson to Willie Lanier to Otis Taylor to Emmitt Thomas to Bobby Bell to Tony Gonzalez, there are plenty of deserving candidates. Name your favorites below.
Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes is not volunteering for voluntary workouts.
And while that seems like the definition of no news, the fact it’s so unusual makes it so.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Spikes has been working out on his own, and isn’t staying away because he’s unhappy with his contract, which expires after this season. Every other starter has been at the facility in some capacity since the offseason program began on April 15.
A source told Howe that Spikes would report by or before the team’s June 11-13 minicamp.
The team is having an open-to-the-media OTA tomorrow, giving Patriots coach Bill Belichick a chance to discuss Spikes’ absence.
I’m sure it will be an enlightening conversation.
When players are drafted by NFL teams, they may have some past allegiances to other clubs to put aside.
Sometimes that doesn’t happen quite quickly enough to please fans of their new team. Such is the case for Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who posted a Vine video of himself wearing a Raiders hat while sipping on a drink. The Raiders and Chargers have had a healthy animosity for one another since their days in the AFL and that’s led to some angry reactions from Chargers fans on social media.
Lobshots.com has compiled some of these responses (there’s some not safe for work language in that mix) as well as the offending picture, which has since been deleted. Allen has also tweeted out an apology and promise that he won’t be wearing any more silver and black in the future.
That’s a prudent fashion choice on Allen’s part, although the phrase making mountains out of molehills does come to mind. While the prospect of an NFL rookie coming into the league to make as a secret agent tasked with taking down an organization makes for a corker of a story, there’s not much chance our fictional Manchurian Candidate would spell out his intentions by wearing another team’s hat in public.
The Seahawks might lead the league in PED suspensions, but it’s apparently not for a lack of trying.
Seahawks General Manager John Schneider called Bruce Irvin’s suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances “very disappointing,” and said the team has “gone above and beyond what the league has done,” in terms of educating players.
Schneider’s remarks came on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon, and made it clear the team’s trying to curb a trend.
“This is something we take very seriously here,” Schenider said. “The league has done a great job of educating guys and we’ve actually gone above and beyond what the league has done. We have a guy in place here that helps our player development people. You do what you can. It’s very disappointing. Pete [Carroll] and I sat down with Bruce. Pete addressed it with the team. Bruce addressed the team.
“And, you know, really good organizations are the organizations that can take body blows. We look at this as a learning opportunity and one that obviously needs to be addressed, but this is also an opportunity for others to step forward.”
The Seahawks prepared for the suspension by signing free agents Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, but they’ll be required to change even more while they wait on Irvin to be reinstated and Chris Clemons to return from a knee injury.
“And we have to treat it really, quite honestly, like he sustained a high ankle sprain or something,” Schneider said. “And you make those adjustments whether it be in the game or during the offseason.”
Schneider said after doing research on players in college, he’s not surprised at the numbers of suspensions.
But given the concentration in his own building, he should be treating it like a different kind of outbreak, rather than just a four-week injury which will inconvenience his coaches.
And we’re back.
It’s been 10 days, but we’re back at 5:00 p.m. ET with another edition of Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network. Which means that we need your input for the final topic of the show.
Make your selection below, and then join us for the program. I hope I remember where the studio is.