Skip to content

Goodell says Aldon Smith entering rehab will count in his favor

Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith is less likely to face league discipline because he decided on his own to enter rehabilitation for addiction.

Asked by ESPN if Smith’s decision to seek alcohol treatment works in his favor, Goodell said, “Yes, it will be a factor, for sure.”

Although Smith played on September 22, two days after he was arrested for drunk driving, he has been in rehab since then and will miss his fifth consecutive game on Sunday. Goodell said that the point of suspensions is to help players, not to punish them, and so Smith deserves credit for seeking help on his own.

“Certainly, the issue here isn’t to discipline players. It’s to stop the behavior,” Goodell said. “Aldon has voluntarily said, ‘I need help.’ We’re obviously there to support him, and the 49ers did a great job getting him into a facility to try to get help. We support that.”

That may make sense when it comes to potential discipline for drunk driving, but Smith is also currently facing four felony weapons charges. If Smith is convicted on those charges, seeking treatment for alcohol abuse likely won’t be enough to let him off the hook as far as the league office is concerned.

Permalink 33 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Rumor Mill, San Francisco 49ers
yo

Report: Nathaniel Hackett to be Jaguars quarterbacks coach

Blake Bortles, A.J. Bouye AP

The Rams interviewed Nathaniel Hackett in their search for a new offensive coordinator, but it looks like he’ll be coaching elsewhere in 2015.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Hackett has pulled his name from consideration in St. Louis and will be joining Gus Bradley’s staff in Jacksonville. Per Rapoport, Hackett is expected be the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Moving the Jacksonville would allow Hackett to continue working with Doug Marrone, who hired Hackett as his offensive coordinator at Syracuse and again with the Bills when Marrone was a head coach. Marrone will be working with the offensive line in Jacksonville while Greg Olson runs the offense.

The move will give Hackett another chance to work with a young quarterback after spending the last two years tutoring Bills 2013 first-round pick EJ Manuel. Manuel was benched after four games in 2014, a development that the Jaguars presumably don’t want to see happen with Blake Bortles in his second season.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Benson’s former heirs want him to undergo psychological tests

Benson Getty Images

The bizarre family feud that has clouded the future of the Saints has taken another strange turn, which for this story is saying something.

According to Andy Grimm of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the daugher and grandchildren of Saints owner Tom Benson have asked a judge to order a psychological evaluation of the 87-year-old.

The court filing cites “a pattern of bizarre behavior,” by Benson, and they want to have him evaluated by a geriatric psychology specialist.

This is the latest in a string of filings from his daughter and grandchildren, after he took control of his sports teams and assets away from them and put them in the hands of his wife Gayle Benson.

Stay tuned, as this story only promises to get weirder and weirder.

 

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Washington hires Matt Cavanaugh as QBs coach

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

Washington has added a former offensive coordinator for a Super Bowl winner to its coaching staff.

The club announced Wednesday it had hired Matt Cavanaugh as quarterbacks coach. Cavanaugh had served in the same position for Chicago the last two seasons.

The 58-year-old Cavanaugh also has NFL coaching experience with the Jets (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, 2009-2012), Ravens (offensive coordinator, 1999-2004), Bears (offensive coordinator, 1997-1998), 49ers (quarterbacks coach, 1996) and Cardinals (quarterbacks coach, 1994-1995).

Cavanaugh played quarterback for 14 NFL seasons (1978-1991), with stints with the Patriots, 49ers, Eagles and Giants, usually as a reserve. He played on two Super Bowl winning teams (1984 49ers, 1990 Giants), and he was on the Ravens’ staff when the club won its first Super Bowl in the 2000 season.

Washington’s quarterback play largely disappointed in 2014, with Robert Griffin III losing a good deal of the season to injury, then struggling upon his return. Backup Kirk Cousins flopped in his run in place of Griffin. Then, third-stringer Colt McCoy flashed promise only to have a neck injury end his season.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ike Taylor open to switching positions, changing teams

Buffalo Bills v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

When the Steelers season came to an end, cornerback Ike Taylor said he was “cool” if 2014 was his final season as a player and that he wanted to remain with the team whether he was in an on-field or off-field role.

It’s been a few weeks since the Ravens bounced them out of the playoffs and Taylor’s opinion has changed. During an interview with Mike Florio on PFT Live from the Super Bowl on Wednesday, Taylor said that he was training as if he’ll be playing again in 2015 and that he’d like to play two or three more years.

Taylor also said that he’d be open to playing elsewhere in 2015. One thing that would appeal to him would be following former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who Taylor praised during the interview, to another team.

“If Coach LeBeau’s there, yes. If the time and money is right, yes,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s play at corner when healthy in 2014 left something to be desired, which helps explain why Taylor’s also open to a move to safety if it allows him to continue his playing career. He’ll be a free agent when the new league year opens in March if he doesn’t re-sign with the Steelers before that point.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Vince Wilfork: Bill Belichick has turned into a big softy

belichickwilfork AP

Apparently, it’s not just adorable children and monkey puppets which can bring out the softer side of Bill Belichick.

Veteran defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said he’s seen the generally gruff Belichick change over the years.

“Yeah, I’ve seen the difference in Bill in the 11 years that I have been here, and I tell him he is getting soft,” Wilfork said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “But this is a different era of football now — with how the team has shaped up and how a lot of guys are younger guys.

“You don’t really have that veteran team that he used to have. When I first came in the league, he had a veteran team that didn’t take much to get those guys going. But if I have to say anything, I think over the years he got a soft heart. He’s more understanding now.”

That change in approach has been out of necessity, as this is a far younger team than he’s brought to the Super Bowl in the past. Wilfork and Tom Brady are the only players left from their last Super Bowl win, which means Belichick had to adjust.

“I think Bill had to do a good job of that ever since I’ve been in the league because we’ve changed so much,” Wilfork said. “We were a veteran team. [Then] it was a younger team — at one point we were the youngest team in the league. So I think he had to try to find the identity in what works for that team. And I think he’s done a great job over the years of doing that.

“But at the end of the day, he is still Bill. He coaches the same way. He demands everything the same way. But I think he’s got a little soft heart now. Over time, he got a little softer, though.”

That doesn’t always come through, however.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bortles and Jaguars’ receivers plan on an offseason of hard work

Bortles Getty Images

There have been questions raised recently about the work ethic of the second quarterback chosen in last year’s NFL draft, Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel. But the first quarterback chosen in last year’s draft says he has an offseason of hard work ahead of him.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles knows he and his teammates need to be a whole lot better in 2015 than they were in 2014, and Bortles said today on PFT Live that he and the Jaguars’ offensive skill position players have already agreed that they’ll be getting together in California next month, at a time when players aren’t allowed to work out at team facilities, for their own player-run minicamp.

“We’ve got to have a lot of improvements. We’ve got to get out and get better this offseason. We’re going to get together and work together. I’m excited for it, I’m excited for the opportunity for the guys we have in the locker room to come together and get after it. Offensively, it comes down to execution — that’s something we’ve lacked and I was obviously a big part of it.”

Bortles said he has arranged for training this offseason that will include “A lot of working out, stretching, trying to get the body right and better, and then obviously a ton of both mental and physical quarterbacking.”

The Browns can only hope that Manziel will be doing that kind of work this offseason.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Steve Logan to be 49ers quarterbacks coach

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2010 Headshots Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick has a new quarterbacks coach to work with in 2015.

On Tuesday, there was a report that former East Carolina head coach and Boston College offensive coordinator Steve Logan would be taking a job on the 49ers offensive staff. The exact title that Logan would have was unknown, but he told WRAL in North Carolina Wednesday that he’ll be working with Kaepernick and the team’s other signal callers.

Logan last worked on a coaching staff with the Buccaneers from 2009-2011 as the running backs coach and has been working in television since then. He worked with 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula in NFL Europe and said Wednesday that their relationship pushed him back onto the sideline.

“Jim Tomsula is one guy who I would open this can of worms back up for,” Logan said. “The San Francisco 49ers’ roster is a roster that is Super Bowl competitive. [Kaepernick] is my kind of guy — mobile, accurate and smart.”

The 49ers are still looking for an offensive coordinator with Rob Chudzinski signing up for another year on the Colts staff. Geep Chryst, who was the team’s quarterbacks coach under Jim Harbaugh, is thought to be a candidate for that position.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Will Hill has active warrant in New Jersey for failure to pay child support

Will Hill, Arian Foster, Rashaan Melvin AP

Ravens safety Will Hill has been no stranger to off-field issues during his NFL career and he has another one to work out in New Jersey.

Hudson County law enforcement officials say that there has been a warrant for Hill’s arrest issued due to his alleged failure to pay $16,588.18 in back child support. TMZ has the initial report on the warrant and adds that he is not actively being sought by police at this time, but that the he would be arrested if he’s otherwise stopped by police.

Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports that Hill is aware of the child support issues, but was not aware of the warrant. The Ravens are also aware of the situation.

Hill joined the Ravens before the 2014 season and promptly served a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. That suspension led to his release from the Giants, who had stuck with Hill through two other suspensions that totaled eight games and a 2013 arrest for non-payment of child support.

Hill started eight regular season games and both playoff contests for Baltimore. He’s set to be a restricted free agent this offseason.

Permalink 25 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Raiders offer defensive coordinator job to Todd Grantham

Miami v Louisville Getty Images

The Raiders may be closer to filling a staff position, dipping into the college ranks for a defensive coordinator.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Raiders have offered a two-year contract to Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. That suggests it hasn’t necessarily been accepted yet, which leaves some room for haggling.

They met with him recently, and it apparently went well.

Grantham has been in college the last five years, working at Georgia and Louisville. He had previous stints with the Browns, Cowboys, Colts and Texans.

Permalink 21 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Mike McCarthy: Clay Matthews is an outside linebacker, but we like flexibility

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

During the regular season, the Packers moved Clay Matthews from outside to inside linebacker at points to help bolster their run defense and change their look in ways that opposing offenses might not have anticipated.

It wasn’t a permanent arrangement, but it was a successful one that coach Mike McCarthy said could remain part of the team’s playbook in the future when he spoke to reporters at a press conference on Wednesday.

“It’s really coming off last year and moving him around,” McCarthy said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “We were able to be more flexible in how we utilize Clay and Julius [Peppers] and the elephant position. I felt those changes were positive for our defense. Clay is an outside linebacker. I think we all recognize that. He was very productive when he went inside. I think there will be more answers and options.”

Having more possibilities to work with on defense heading into next season should only be a positive for the Packers as they look for pieces to fill in around Matthews and Peppers in the front seven. Based on what McCarthy said Wednesday, the team will be exploring those possibilities.

Permalink 31 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Revis calls Brady “probably the best player to play the game”

bradyrevis AP

Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis has faced plenty of good quarterbacks, but he thinks the one he faces in practice is the best.

And when Revis says that, he doesn’t just mean Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. According to Revis, Brady will likely be remembered as the single greatest player in the history of the game of football.

“It’s pretty awesome to go up against Brady all the time,” Revis said today. “This guy is probably going to go down as probably the best player to play the game, the best quarterback to play the game. It’s great to get that competition when we practice against him in practice.”

That’s a bold statement. Whether Brady or Peyton Manning is the greatest quarterback of their era is a frequent topic of conversation in the NFL world, but Revis is going beyond just calling Brady the best of his day. Revis is saying Brady will likely be remembered as a greater player than Jim Brown or Jerry Rice or Sammy Baugh or Lawrence Taylor or Johnny Unitas or Joe Montana.

Revis may be going a little far in proclaiming Brady that great. But if Brady were to add another Super Bowl MVP to his resume on Sunday, perhaps it will be time to consider whether Revis is right, and Brady is the best ever.

Permalink 142 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Josh McDaniels defends ineligible receiver plays

e5cdb96aa923c6a2a5027c4b9d5355fb Getty Images

While not everyone thinks it is within the sporting bounds, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said Wednesday opponents have had plenty of time to adjust.

When asked about running an uptempo offense and using deception, McDaniels cut off a question to make a point.

One thing about that that I’d like to clear up is we didn’t do any of those things [with ineligible receivers] without huddling,” McDaniels said, via Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com. “When we did those things the last couple of games, we huddled every time we did it with the ineligible player. We substituted, we huddled, we declared him ineligible, the official declared him ineligible, and then we lined up.”

The Ravens might not agree, after they got caught with their collective pants down in the divisional round.

But McDaniels insisted everything was within the rules.

“I think we’ve only done it five times all year; we’ve huddled every time,” he said. “We’ve reported every time ineligible and once we did that we broke the huddle, we lined up and we ran the play. We didn’t try to hurry. We didn’t try to do anything that was deceptive in that manner. I think it was unique for a few plays. We ran it a couple times last week against Indianapolis and got nothing out of it [incomplete pass and sack]. Everybody talks about those couple Baltimore plays, but Indianapolis defended it very well. It’s just something we tried the one week and it gave us a little spark.”

If nothing else, it has given the Seahawks one more thing to think about and prepare for, which might be as effective as any yards they gain on the plays.

Permalink 55 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Browns hiring Joker Phillips as wide receivers coach

Joker Phillips AP

The Browns are still looking for a quarterbacks coach to join Mike Pettine’s staff for the 2015 season, but they’ve found someone to work with their wide receivers.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the team will hire Joker Phillips to fill that role. Phillips was most recently the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, a job he took after spending three years as the head coach at the University of Kentucky. He led the Wildcats to a 13-24 record during those seasons and the Browns job will be his first in the NFL.

Phillips will be tasked with shaping up a group that likely won’t include Josh Gordon. Gordon is expected to serve a suspension for the 2015 season after a positive test for alcohol triggered a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. With Miles Austin set to become a free agent, the top receivers currently under contract and expected to be available are Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel.

Phillips replaces Mike McDaniel, who left the team along with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan at the end of the season.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ravens finalize coaching staff

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptjimmy1mduxmzmxytcyytyzmtewzmm0zta2yzy3y2u0 AP

The Ravens filled the most prominent opening on John Harbaugh’s coaching staff by hiring Marc Trestman as their new offensive coordinator last week and they’ve taken care of the other open spots.

The team announced one new arrival and several promotions on Wednesday. The newcomer is Andy Bischoff, who was on Trestman’s staff in Chicago as the tight ends coach and will be the offensive quality control coach in Baltimore.

Richard Angulo has been promoted from offensive assistant to tight ends coach, where he will replace Brian Pariani. Pariani went to Denver with former offensive coordinator and new Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak.

The team has also promoted assistant secondary coach Chris Hewitt to the head position coach job vacated by Steve Spagnuolo, who returned for a second stint as Tom Coughlin’s defensive coordinator with the Giants. Matt Weiss has made the move from defensive quality control and linebackers coach to assist Hewitt as the cornerbacks coach.

Finally, Drew Wilkins and Mike Macdonald have both been named defensive assistants after serving in other capacities with the team during the 2014 season.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Marshawn Lynch to media: “You know why I’m here”

Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade Getty Images

Marshawn Lynch’s second press conference of Super Bowl week was similar to his first.

One day after repeatedly answering questions by saying he was “just here so I won’t get fined,” Lynch responded to numerous reporters’ queries Wednesday with this response:

“You know why I’m here.”

The “why” is obvious — avoiding fines from the NFL for not complying with media policy. The “how” is clear, too — the Seahawks’ star tailback will appear at these press conferences, but he will appear on his terms.

“I’m still the same person I was yesterday, and I’ve got the same thing for you that I had yesterday,” Lynch told reporters at the beginning of his press conference Wednesday.

When a reporter asked the tailback why he wouldn’t use press conferences as a way to communicate with fans, Lynch replied: “They know why I’m here.”

According to Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean, Lynch used a timer to measure how long he would stay, and after four minutes and 58 seconds, he left, thanking reporters before departing.

As was the case Tuesday, Lynch wore a cap with a “Beast Mode” logo emblazoned on the crest. According to ESPN, the NFL “will review” whether the hat is allowable under the league’s brand apparel policy. If not, Lynch could be fined.

Lynch’s final compulsory media session is Thursday.

Permalink 129 Comments Feed for comments Back to top