ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio and Erik Kuselias discuss the timeline for Josh Gordon’s suspension appeal as a decision could come totally out of the blue. Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine says there is a certain level of frustration with his star receiver and the “holding pattern” his situation has created.
PFT: Josh Gordon’s appeal could come at any time
Wide receiver Sammy Watkins wavered over the course of the offseason about how much time he expected to miss during Bills training camp after having surgery on his left foot in May and now we know that he won’t be on the active roster for the opening practice.
The Bills placed Watkins on the physically unable to perform list on Friday, leaving him ineligible to practice with the team as long as he still carries that designation. The latest update on his condition suggested it won’t be a long absence and there’s no apparent concern that he’ll be missing come the start of the regular season.
Wide receiver Marcus Easley, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and rookie defensive end/linebacker Shaq Lawson are also on the PUP list. Lawson is recovering from shoulder surgery that has clouded his availability for the season, although General Manager Doug Whaley said all signs from his rehab are positive at this point.
Linebacker Manny Lawson landed on the non-football injury list after injuring himself in a recent workout. Wide receiver Kolby Listenbee is on the same list while defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, defensive back Jonathan Dowling, tackle Seantrel Henderson and running back Karlos Williams are all on the non-football illness list.
But even if that opportunity goes by the wayside, there could be others.
Smith admitted that this preseason will also be a chance to polish his resume for what feels like an eventual return to the job market.
“It’s no disrespect to anyone, but I’m auditioning for this team and 31 other teams in the NFL,” Smith said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “The way you handle all of this says a lot about your character. I’ve got little kids back home [in South Florida] seeing how I react. Everyone will watch to see how I react.
“I’m not going to allow this situation — because it’s not the worst situation I’ve been in — to deter me from my ultimate goal.”
The Jets have said Smith will remain the backup to Fitzpatrick, who is established as their quarterback of the present. And the recent draft picks spent on Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg make it clear they no longer see Smith as the future.
But while other displaced quarterbacks have asked for releases and gotten them, Smith’s not banging for that now. That might be because he knows he doesn’t have enough recent or quality tape to convince someone else to give him an opportunity, but whatever the reason, he’s not making any waves.
With the state of the quarterback market being what it is, someone will likely offer a chance to a former second-round pick. And being a grown-up about things now won’t hurt that process.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy said earlier this month that he didn’t really care about anyone whose opinion of him may have changed as a result of his involvement in a bar fight with off-duty Philadelphia police officers in February, but he sounded a bit different while speaking to reporters at Bills camp on Friday.
McCoy wasn’t charged with a crime and won’t be disciplined by the NFL as a result of the fight, but said that a meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell helped him realize that “as a leader, the guy that I want to be for this team, things like that just can’t happen.”
“You don’t hear about other guys like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady getting into incidents like that,” McCoy said, via ESPN.com. “So I think sometimes you get so lackadaisical about being successful as a football player, and then you let all the minor, small things go. In a situation like that, [if] you got security or you got even off-duty officers working for me at the time, and this thing never even gets out of hand.”
With that out of the way, McCoy can turn his full attention toward football. He said he’s at his lightest weight since his second season and has “lots to prove” on the field in his second season with the Bills.
The NFL has reinstated Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan. The team has not yet embraced him.
Asked for a reaction to the news, coach Adam Gase said of Jordan, “I’ve never met him so . . . I mean it’s hard for me to answer.”
Gase separately explained to reporters the team’s overall approach to Jordan, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft.
“Well, obviously [we are] still getting all the details of kind of what’s going on,” Gase said. “I know at some point this afternoon, I’ll get with Mike [Tannenbaum] and [General Manager] Chris [Grier] and we’ll be able to go through every little thing that the league’s informed us on. So we’re still at the beginning stages of this. I know that’s the boring answer but that’s what it is right now. Obviously [we are] just coming off the field and you get the quick update, ‘Hey, here’s what little we know,’ and then the good thing is, we’ll have a plan. We’ll have an understanding of what we need to do and the steps we need to take moving forward.”
The phrase “we’ll have a plan” implies that a plan possibly doesn’t already exist. Which means decisions will need to be made quickly, especially with Jordan owed a $1.7 million roster bonus on Monday.
It sounds as if Gase is inclined (for now) to give Jordan a chance to earn the money.
“Like I said, I don’t know him,” Gase said. “I just know when he gets here, like I said, [it’s a] fresh start with me. So I guess that’s really all that matters.”
Jordan played in 16 games as a rookie, with no starts. In 2014, he appeared in 10 games with one start. He has three career sacks.
Ultimately, the most immediate question is whether they’ll keep him or cut him before the $1.7 million is due. Before answering that, the Dolphins need to know the exact moment on which the $1.7 million becomes due.
Wide receiver Andre Johnson is down to the Jaguars on the list of AFC South teams that he’s never played for during his NFL career.
According to multiple reports, the Titans have signed Johnson to their 90-man roster. Johnson visited the Titans earlier this week.
Johnson spent the first 12 years of his career with the Texans, catching more than 100 passes five times and crossing 1,000 receiving yards seven times while being named a first-team All-Pro twice. He slowed down a bit in 2014, leading to his departure from the Texans and a move to the Colts that preceded the least productive season of his career.
The Titans hope there’s a little bit more left in Johnson’s tank so he can help quarterback Marcus Mariota continue to develop in his second season. If some of his knowledge were to rub off on wideout Dorial Green-Beckham as well, they’d be even happier.
Yes, former Jaguars and Giants coach Tom Coughlin has joined the league office. More details regarding his role have emerged.
He’ll be a “senior advisor” to the league’s football operations department. In that capacity, the two-time Super Bowl winner will work closely with executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent and all game-related committees, from the Competition Committee to the Health and Safety Committee, the Coaches Subcommittee, the General Managers Advisory Committee, the Combine Review Committee, and the NCAA Rules and Oversight Committee.
Coughlin, per a source with knowledge of the situation, also will provide strategic guidance on matters like the draft, the Pro Bowl, playing rules, coaching techniques, and football personnel development.
It’s a great way for Coughlin to stay in the game, and teams that may soon be hiring new coaches should consider adding Coughlin to the list of candidates.
Adrian Peterson proved last season that 30 was just a number.
And now, as he embarks on his 31-year-old season, the Vikings running back said he’s using the doubts about his ability to age well as motivation.
“The talk about being 31, that’s something that’s deep down inside, that I think in my mind that I’ll prove people wrong,” Peterson said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Peterson’s been running with a young crowd, including offseason workouts with second-year back Melvin Gordon. But he’s set his sights on one of the old-age records, after becoming the second-oldest player to win a rushing title with 1,485 yards last year.
“That’s definitely motivation for me,” Peterson said. “I haven’t noticed any decline in my performance and what I’m able to do when I’m working out with younger guys. So I’m pretty confident.”
Considering the way he dispelled the notion that backs hit a wall at 30, there’s no reason for him not to be.
Last year, Arthur McAfee tried to become the executive director of the NFL Players Association. This year, he has become an executive with the NFL.
The league has announced that McAfee is the new Senior Vice President of Player Engagement.
“McAfee will oversee the NFL Player Engagement staff,” the release states, “part of the NFL Football Operations team under the direction of Executive Vice President Troy Vincent, which assists players in reaching their highest potential on and off the field by providing guidance, support and resources before, during and after their NFL experiences.”
McAfee previously served as an in-house lawyer with the NFLPA. He was one of nine candidates for the job that DeMaurice Smith retained in 2015.
Vincent, before becoming the NFL’s executive V.P. of football operations, was NFLPA president and at one point believed to be the successor to the late Gene Upshaw.
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, the third overall pick in the draft, still doesn’t have a contract. In roughly an hour, he officially becomes a holdout.
As noted by Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the team has a meeting at 10:30 a.m. PT. Bosa won’t be there.
Bosa’s agents and the team continue to be far apart on a contract, reportedly due to offset language and cash flow. Bosa’s camp has opted to dig in, possibly because they know that the Chargers need all hands on deck in order to start the season strong enough to lay the foundation for a successful stadium vote in November.
There was some confusion about just how Cowboys running back Darren McFadden injured his elbow this offseason, but there was wasn’t much doubt that McFadden would miss some practice time this summer as a result.
Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports that the Cowboys confirmed that assumption by placing McFadden on the non-football injury list Friday. Per Archer, McFadden had a recent scan of the break that showed improvement and that he is expected to be back to work for the first week of the regular season.
There’s no such optimism about linebacker Jaylon Smith. The rookie suffered a severe knee injury late last season and is suffering from nerve damage that has cast serious doubt about his chances of playing at all this season. Smith has also been placed on the NFI list and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t remain there into the regular season.
Running back Lance Dunbar, defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Maliek Collins were all placed on the physically unable to perform list. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is coming off a torn ACL, and likebacker Sean Lee, who had a knee scope this offseason, avoided the PUP list and are cleared to practice.
Lions cornerback Darius Slay was due to make $976,269 this year. He’ll do slightly better than that.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Lions have signed Slay to a four-year extension with a value of $50.2 million. He also receives $23 million fully guaranteed at signing.
The deal puts Slay under contract through 2020, at a total value of more than $51 million.
His original four-year contract as a second-round draft pick was worth $5.2 million. So it’s safe to say he has taken a step up.
The move keeps Slay from becoming a free agent in March, shifting the risk of injury and ineffectiveness from player to team in 2016.
Slay has started every game the past two seasons for the Lions. He said last month that he hoped to have a new deal in place before the start of the season.
“I’m a top guy, that’s it,” Slay said. “I ain’t no real cocky guy like that, but I’m just confident in my game and what I put on film. I’ve been very, very productive for the past two years. Every year I has got better, so I feel like this year is going to be the best year and I’m going to make that.”
He’s now a key part of the Lions defense moving into 2016 and beyond.
In the 2014 draft, the Jaguars took a pair of wide receivers in the second round with hopes of injecting some life into their passing game.
They hit on Allen Robinson with one of those picks and scored again when they signed Allen Hurns as an undrafted free agent, but Marqise Lee’s time in Jacksonville hasn’t been as successful. A string of injuries, including a hamstring issue last summer, have limited his availability and productivity.
Lee was on the field for OTAs, but the injury bug has reared its head again early in camp. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports that Lee is sitting out Friday’s practice because of a left hamstring injury. There’s no word on how much time it will cost Lee, but any time lost is a negative for a player who has already missed so much action in his first two seasons.
Adding Lee to Robinson and Hurns has a lot of promise for the continued improvement of the Jacksonville offense, but it will remain something the Jags have to look at as a bonus until Lee shows he can remain on the field.
If Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t have four pelts on the wall, he probably wouldn’t still be an NFL head coach.
He’d be a defensive coordinator, most likely. But not a head coach. He simply doesn’t have the temperament to survive as a head coach if he were anything another than one of the best head coaches in NFL history.
With those accomplishments comes the ability to consistently choose not to cooperate with the media, and also to periodically bristle at questions he regards as foolish or otherwise beneath him. Two years ago, his annoyed reaction to questions about Tom Brady from Albert Breer, then working for NFL Media, after the notorious “on to Cincinnati” loss to the Chiefs apparently have resulted in Breer being yanked from the Patriots beat — even though he lives in Boston.
On Friday, Belichick became annoyed (again) when asked (again) about Brady. Specifically, Belichick was asked if he can think of an occasion where he ever has clarified the starting quarterback position so early into camp.
“I don’t know,” Belichick said.
He then was asked, “What happens if Jimmy Garoppolo plays better?”
“Look, I told you what’s going to happen,” Belichick said, referring to Brady returning as the starter when his suspension ends.
The reporter followed with, “So there’s no . . . .”
And then a more-disgusted-than-usual Belichick shook his head and said, “Jesus Christ.”
Patriots fans and media haters alike loved the moment. The Patriots apparently weren’t proud of it; otherwise, it wouldn’t have been scrubbed from the official transcript.
Was it a dumb question? Sure. Is there a way to be a little more respectful (or a little less disrespectful) to someone who asks a stupid question? Absolutely.
Belichick isn’t the first, and hardly will be the last, coach to act that way. But plenty of coaches treat the media — even those who ask stupid questions — with respect, recognizing that coaches get paid what they get paid because people care about the sport, and because the media is one of the main conduits of the relationship between teams and fans.
As I argued (ranted) on Friday’s PFT Live regarding the unreasonably restrictive media policy adopted by the Bears, everything the media does in covering the NFL and its teams amounts to free advertising. The media promotes the sport at no cost to the sport, and those involved in the sport benefit from that.
So why not show at least a minor degree of respect to those employed to promote the sport for free? Yes, it’s fun at times to see a coach behave in a way that few of us ever would in public. At a time when that passionate rooting interest can’t be satiated by games that count, a great sound bite or other compelling moment from the coach may be the next best thing.
It’s not all that much fun for the folks doing the job of promoting the sport for free to be on the wrong end of that treatment, and it surely makes everyone in the team’s press room afraid of saying anything that would make him or her become the next reporter who provokes an eye roll, a head shake, a verbal rebuke, and then a zealous round of digital applause from fans of the team and/or those jockeying for access to a coach who wants to keep all of them tiptoeing on eggshells.
I’m probably alone or close to it in thinking that Belichick was out of line on Friday. Then again, someone with the Patriots apparently agrees with me. Otherwise, the key question and answer would have appeared in the official transcript distributed by the franchise.
After a Pro Bowl injury led to surgery that’s left Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert on the physically unable to perform list for now and uncertain if he’ll be ready for the season opener, Eifert told reporters Friday that he’ll never go to the Pro Bowl again, even if he’s invited.
He sounded like he hoped someone at the NFL office is listening.
“It’s just not worth it,” Eifert said.
Though his initial injury was deemed minor, Eifert later had ankle surgery and has missed the entire offseason program.
Eifert said Friday that he only expects to have to wear a protective boot on his ankle for another week, but he also said there’s no exact timetable for his return to real action and that his only goal is just to be healthy as soon as possible.
Eifert led all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdown catches last season despite missing games due to a concussion. An elbow injury limited him to one game in 2014.
Thanks to a leg injury that kept him out for his entire rookie season, the Bears have waited a long time to get wide receiver Kevin White into their offense.
The feeling around the team is that White is going to prove to be worth the wait. He drew positive reviews from his position coach during offseason work and quarterback Jay Cutler thinks the sky is the limit for White once he has a full grasp of the offense.
“He’s got a lot of things he’s processing, thinking through,” Cutler said, via ESPN.com. “I think for anybody taking a year off football, jumping back into it is going to be hard. A rookie missing kind of that vital year, where you learn so much that first year jumping into that second year, it’s a big miss for him. But he’s so physically gifted I think he’s going to make it up really, really quickly. It’s just a matter of him letting those athletic gifts come through and him getting comfortable with the system and the verbiage and the splits and everything else that he’s going to learn, and being at a place where he doesn’t have to think and can just go out and play football. I think once we hit a fast-forward button and get to that point, he’s going to be something special.”
White says that he and Cutler have spent a lot of time working on their chemistry, something that should speed up the learning curve for White as he prepares for the season. With Alshon Jeffery on the other side, the Bears will be well equipped at wideout as long as everyone is healthy and on the field.