The PFT crew break down the latest news out of the Browns’ camp, including Johnny Manziel taking reps with the first team. Beleaguered WR Josh Gordon, who is in the midst of appealing a failed drug test, also took to the field in full pads Monday. Mike Florio expects a verdict on Gordon’s appeal within a week or so.
ProFootballTalk: Josh Gordon practices with Browns
It’s AFC and NFC title-game time, and the PA and Florio podcast will help get you ready for the games.
PA is, for those of you who ask every week, Paul Allen. He’s not the Paul Allen who owns the Seahawks; he’s the Paul Allen of KFAN and the Vikings Radio Network.
He’s also often very annoying with his over-the-top positive demeanor, which tends to bring out the worst in me.
The Packers didn’t have a change in status for any of their injured wide receivers during Thursday’s practice.
Jordy Nelson was on the field for the second straight day, but media in Green Bay report that he wasn’t wearing pads while going through drills with his teammates. Nelson said on Wednesday that the team was still waiting to see that he was “fully functional” after breaking ribs during the Wild Card round.
Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison remained out as well with an ankle and hamstring injury respectively. Coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t made a ruling about Sunday for any of them, but said that he would probably be ruling them out if it were the regular season.
“They’re still working,” McCarthy said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “They’re mentally getting ready. This is an injury threshold all three of those guys have, Jordy, Davante and Geronimo. They all have three distinctly different injuries. In the regular season mindset, I would think none of them would play in this game. But obviously this is a different time, this is a different point where we are in the season. Everybody understands what’s on the line here.”
McCarthy said the team wouldn’t look to the practice squad or outside the organization in the event all three can’t play against the Falcons. Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis are the other wideouts on the active roster with Ty Montgomery also experienced at the position in his pre-running back days and tight end Jared Cook playing a big role as a receiver.
An illness is going around the Steelers’ locker room, but coach Mike Tomlin says he’s not overly concerned about it.
Four players missed practice with an illness today, and there are reportedly more than a dozen people in the Steelers facility feeling sick. Tomlin, however, said he believes everyone will be good to go in New England on Sunday.
“I’m just thankful that I’ve stayed out of the line of fire,” Tomlin said. “We’re not making excuses. There won’t be. We’ll be there, we’ll be ready to play, this is just part of normal things that happen over the course of a season”
Players who missed Wednesday’s practice with the illness were back on the practice field today, so it appears that it’s not an illness that will keep players laid up for long. The Steelers will hope to have it all out of their systems by Sunday.
At a time when plenty of eyes had been watching the Twitter page of Colts owner Jim Irsay to see if he’ll say anything about the status of G.M. Ryan Grigson and/or coach Chuck Pagano, Irsay threw everyone a curve ball by disclosing that quarterback Andrew Luck had shoulder surgery.
There’s no requirement that the Colts disclose any information about player health until September, as they approach their regular-season opener. So why would Irsay provide that information on Twitter?
The easy answer is why does Irsay provide any revelations on Twitter? From time to time in the past, he has caused plenty of head scratching with his Twitter habits. And if he’s going to be disclosing information that he has every right to keep to himself for the next eight months, why wouldn’t he mention the status of Grigson and/or Pagano?
While it’s admittedly dangerous and at times even shocking to try to discern meaning from the words people use, here’s my take on what Irsay is saying, as it relates to Grigson and Pagano: He plans to say nothing at all about either of them.
It’s actually a smart move, if his effort to find two in the bush while still gripping a bird in the hand has, as it appears, failed. At this point, an announcement that they’ll be back would operate as indirect confirmation that they were in trouble, which would serve only to further undermine them.
So we endorse and applaud the “Flick? Flick who?” strategy. It’s the only good way out of a mess that became a mess because Irsay didn’t want to fire his current key football employees unless and until he landed new ones.
Steelers tight end Ladarius Green returned to the practice field as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice, the first time he’d been on the field in almost two weeks as he deals with a concussion that has kept him from playing in the team’s last four games.
Green didn’t run his streak to two straight days, although the team says the reason was illness rather than a setback with his head injury. The Steelers had four players out with a stomach bug during Wednesday’s practice and word from those around the team is that Green is dealing with the same issue.
The Steelers have grown accustomed to playing without Green this season, which likely makes linebacker James Harrison’s absence with shoulder and triceps injuries a bigger deal. Harrison practiced in full on Wednesday, a day after coach Mike Tomlin said the veteran would be limited, and Friday will bring an official designation for Sunday’s game.
Harrison has been productive in the first two rounds with 2.5 sacks and the team will be hoping he’s healthy enough to join Bud Dupree in creating pressure on Tom Brady that can keep the Patriots offense from getting in gear.
The Dolphins have hired a longtime NFL assistant to fill the linebackers coach job left open when the team promoted Matt Burke to replace Vance Joseph as the team’s defensive coordinator.
The team announced that Frank Bush has been hired as the new position coach. Bush spent the last four seasons as the linebackers coach for the Rams and has been an NFL assistant since the Oilers named him to the same position in 1992. He returned to Houston after the Oilers left and spent time as the Texans’ defensive coordinator during a career that’s also featured stops with the Broncos, Cardinals and Titans.
Bush has also been named the assistant head coach, which necessitated a change in titles for Darren Rizzi. The special teams coordinator had the assistant head coach title and will now be the associate head coach under Adam Gase.
The Dolphins announced that Chris Kuper has been promoted from offensive quality control coach to assistant offensive line coach. Kuper made 79 starts at guard for the Broncos between 2006-13 and joined the Miami staff last year.
The Steelers need running back Le’Veon Bell for Sunday. Presumably, they’ll have him.
On Thursday, they didn’t; Bell wasn’t at practice. Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Bell was excused from practice for “personal reasons.” Tomlin also said that Bell will be ready to go on Sunday at New England.
Bell has been more than ready to go in his first two career playoff games, setting franchise single-game postseason rushing records in both of them. He had 170 yards on Sunday night in Kansas City.
Due to become a free agent in March, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers letting Bell get a sniff of the open market, even if that means applying the franchise tag to keep him in place for at least one more year.
Ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel fired off a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, writing that he hasn’t “been this happy in a long time” and apologizing for some of his past behavior.
Tagging one tweet #LostInTheSauce, Manziel wrote that he “truly appreciates all the people in my life who reached out during the truly rough patches in ’16” and that he is “just trying to be a good person again.”
His tweets started when he wrote that someone had brought to his attention that he would be charging $50 for selfies at the Super Bowl next month. Though Manziel denied it and called it “the dumbest thing [he’s] ever heard,” that’s exactly what a Houston area memorabilia store has been advertising since early January.
Manziel hasn’t been involved in any football related-discussions in 10 months and had kept a low profile on Twitter and Instagram. He posts frequently on Snapchat, often from beaches or nightclubs, but one of his tweets Thursday said that he’s working towards a comeback.
Late last year, Manziel and Dallas prosecutors reached a plea deal on charges stemming from an incident with his ex-girlfriend in which Manziel was accused of assault and voluntarily signed a restraining order to keep him away from her.
Manziel’s fame grew quickly in 2012, when he became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. He flamed out of the NFL almost as fast after being selected in the first round of the 2014 draft. The Browns released him last March after he wouldn’t return the team’s calls and was involved in a series of off-field incidents.
Though he was on the injured-reserve list, he missed the final game of the 2015 season after reportedly flying to Las Vegas and wearing a disguise while partying the night before that game. He had been forced to watch the 2014 season finale from the locker room in Baltimore by then-Browns coach Mike Pettine.
Last summer, Manziel’s father said his son was “a druggie” who needed help, even if that meant going to jail.
The Cowboys were moving the ball in Packers territory in the first half of last Sunday afternoon’s game when their drive stalled thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Unlike other calls of that nature, there was no contact with an official or punch thrown that led to the call. The penalty was on wide receiver Brice Butler, who officials said entered the huddle and then returned to the sideline without participating in a play. The league’s rules bar that as an attempt to sow confusion for the defense about which players are in the game.
Former Raiders and Browns exec and Bill Belichick assistant Michael Lombardi wrote on Twitter that he’s spoken to people from other teams who called the league for clarification about the call and were told that the call shouldn’t have been made because “Dallas was not being deceptive.” The league says otherwise.
League spokesman Michael Signora said the call was the proper one, while noting that the rule has been on the books since 1955. Senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino added that he has not spoken to any teams about the call and that it was last made in a 2014 game between the Redskins and the Cowboys, which contradicts Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s contention that he’d never seen it called before.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones‘ absence from practice stretched to a second day on Thursday, but there’s no change in the way he feels about playing this weekend.
Jones aggravated a toe injury during last Saturday’s victory over the Seahawks, which led the Falcons to take him out of the game but didn’t generate any concern from coach Dan Quinn about the receiver’s chances of playing the NFC Championship Game. On Thursday, that lack of concern remained in place despite the lack of practice time.
“It’s fine,” Jones said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I will be ready to go.”
Jones played 58 percent of the snaps against the Seahawks and caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game for good. The Falcons would obviously like to get a full game from Jones, but something similar could work if Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and the rest of the offense’s key players keep performing as well as they did last weekend.
President-elect Trump confirmed today that Jets owner Woody Johnson is his choice to be the next United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
In a speech today, Trump referenced that Johnson was “going to St. James.” The U.S. ambassador to the U.K. is sometimes referred to as the Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James’s.
As we’ve previously reported, Johnson has been planning to accept the ambassadorship and hand over operations of the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher Wold Johnson.
Woody Johnson has recently been in the news with comments dismissing criticism of quarterback Christian Hackenberg and denying he’d fire coach Todd Bowles for missing the playoffs next year. But it appears that Johnson won’t be focusing on football decisions in the coming years.
So where will Adrian Peterson play in 2018? He’d like to stay with the Vikings, but he has declined to say whether he’ll take a pay cut.
If he won’t and if the Vikings will cut him if he doesn’t, Peterson has his eyes on three other teams. Via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Peterson said on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Giants, and Buccaneers.
It’s unclear whether and to what extent any of those teams would be interested in him, and if so whether they’d offer more than the Vikings will pay. The Texans have Lamar Miller, the Giants have Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, and the Buccaneers have Charles Sims and Doug Martin.
But Martin’s status is uncertain, given his PED suspension and lackluster 2016 season. As the Bucs try to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, adding Peterson to an offense that features Jameis Winston and Mike Evans could make them an instant postseason contender.
Peterson can’t negotiate with other teams while under contract with the Vikings, absent permission. As a practical matter, his agent can “gauge the market,” determining via hypothetical discussions the money that would be available to him if/when the Vikings release Peterson.
The question of whether Peterson will be with the Vikings for another season will be answered fairly soon. He has a $6 million roster bonus due on March 11. He’ll likely either sign a new deal or be released before then.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted this week that the team failed to disclose a knee injury that cornerback Richard Sherman was dealing with throughout the regular season, saying “he never missed anything” as a way of explaining why the team didn’t share the information.
The Seahawks could be missing something as a result of not disclosing Sherman’s condition. PFT reported that the NFL is looking into the situation; Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the team may lose a second-round pick as a penalty.
The league has issued fines in the past when teams haven’t shared full injury information, but there can be additional discipline handed down if teams have multiple offenses of league policies. The Seahawks have run afoul of the league three times due to violations of the rules governing offseason work, which led the NFL to strip a week of organized team activities this offseason and a fifth-round pick from the team.
There’s no word on when the league might announce any penalties for the Seahawks as a result of Carroll’s admission that their injury reports were incomplete during the regular season.
The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.
OK, if they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.
OK, when they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.
“Today, the Oakland Raiders submitted an application to relocate their franchise to Las Vegas, as is provided for under the NFL Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations,” the NFL said in a statement. “The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees. The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).”
It’s just a matter of time that owner Mark Davis and at least 23 of his colleagues provide the thumb’s up for the relocation to Sin City. The notion of a move to Las Vegas was laughable when it first emerged, especially since not long ago the NFL laughed off the prospect of even playing an exhibition game there.
But with public money harder and harder to come by and Nevada ready to fork over $750 million toward a new stadium, the league is able to look the other way on its longstanding obligation to gambling, even if there will be gambling every way the Raiders look once they move.
The Raiders are expected to stay in Oakland through at least 2018, since they have a lease that allows them to do so — and since they don’t have a suitable place to play in Las Vegas.
The Ravens made an in-season change at offensive coordinator when they dismissed Marc Trestman and elevated Marty Mornhinweg from offensive coordinator.
It wasn’t always the smoothest transition and quarterback Joe Flacco lamented the offense getting too conservative during a late November game against the Bengals. Mornhinweg also said the offense had work to do to get where everyone wanted it in December and Flacco said Thursday that he believes one of the steps to get to that place will be Mornhinweg putting more of his own stamp on the unit this offseason.
“I think the other thing you have to realize is that a lot of what we’ve been doing isn’t necessarily his offense,” Flacco said on 98 Rock, via ESPN.com. “So, I think this offseason will be a big point for him to get a lot of the stuff that he’s comfortable running. He and I can work through that stuff together. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
The Ravens brought in former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman as a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach. Roman’s teams have a history of running the ball well, which is an area where the Ravens have room to improve after finishing 28th in rushing yards in 2016.
Growth in that area should help Mornhinweg’s chances of success in his first full year on the job in Baltimore. If not, Flacco might be heading into next season with another coordinator directing the offense.