Silas Redd trying to pull a Jarryd Hayne in reverse by playing rugby league

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Former Rugby League star Jarryd Hayne declared his intentions to come to the United States to pursue an NFL career in late 2014 and found himself as a member of the San Francisco 49ers the following spring.

Now former NFL running back Silas Redd is looking to do the opposite.

Redd has relocated to Australia in the hopes of becoming a premier player in the NRL. He will begin playing with the Ipswich Jets in the Intrust Super Cup. He has his first practice with the team on Wednesday.

I know it is going to be hard work to switch over and play at the highest level, but that is something I am willing to put in the work for,” Redd said, via Joel Gould of NRL.com.

“I don’t think there is any drop-off in athleticism between the NFL and NRL, and Jarryd was fearless. It was just a whole new game to what he knew and he was able to conquer it. I just hope I can put forth that same effort.”

Hayne ultimately appeared in eight games for the 49ers in 2015. He carried 17 times for 52 yards and caught six passes for 27 yards.

Redd played in 15 games with the Washington Redskins in 2014 before injuries and substance-abuse suspensions derailed his career.

Vikings make hire of Todd Downing as senior offensive assistant official

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The Minnesota Vikings officially announced the addition of former Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing to their coaching staff on Monday.

Downing is joining the staff as a senior offensive assistant under head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, It’s a return home for Downing, who grew up in Eden Prairie, Minn. and began his coaching career with the Vikings under Mike Tice in 2001 as a research and development intern. He spent five years with Minnesota before making stops with the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills and Raiders.

Downing spent one year as offensive coordinator and two years as quarterbacks coach with the Raiders before Jack Del Rio was fired at the end of the season.

Polian thinks Eagles should want a lot for Foles

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Former G.M. Bill Polian said Monday that former Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson should move to receiver. As it turns out, that was only the second dumbest thing Polian said Monday.

Polian also said that the Eagles should not listen to any offers for backup quarterback Nick Foles unless they start with a pair of first-round picks and a pair of second-round picks.

It’s a ludicrous, unrealistic assessment of the situation. The Eagles currently have Foles under contract for only one more season. He’ll revert to being a backup, behind Carson Wentz, in 2018. A year from now, Foles will be able to walk away, with the Eagles getting at most a compensatory draft pick in 2020.

Foles has trade value, but the Eagles should pounce on offers far less than two ones and a two. With more free-agent quarterbacks than ever available this year and a strong complement of incoming rookies, teams with needs will be able to fill them without getting grifted for Foles.

If the Eagles decide to reward Foles, who based on things said (and not said) last week may eventually be looking for one, a second-round pick (maybe even a high third-rounder) would be fair to everyone. If someone is willing to offer a first-round pick for Foles, the Eagles should rush to take it.

When it comes to putting a value on Foles, the problem is that, even though he took the Eagles to the Super Bowl and won it, he’s still regarded as a curiosity, an inconsistency. A guy who may never be able to duplicate what he did for the Eagles, especially if he’s playing for another team.

It’s not an unreasonable observation. When he played for teams other than the Eagles, Foles struggled. While there may be plenty of reasons for that unrelated to Foles, the likely reaction by the fan base of any team that trades for Foles will be, “Can he do what he did there here?”

That’s not the best way to generate offseason excitement, which is one of the realistic purposes of paying veterans with recognizable names. Foles definitely has a recognizable name, but he’s not widely regarded as a franchise quarterback. People still attach reactions like “fluke” and “luck” and “system” to his name, which will make it impossible for the Eagles to get the kind of windfall Polian recommends.

Dolphins could pursue C.J. Anderson again if Broncos release him

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C.J. Anderson almost became a Dolphin two years ago. The Broncos, though, matched Miami’s offer sheet.

Now, two years later, the Broncos could make the running back a salary-cap casualty as he has a $4.5 million salary cap number for 2018. His release would free up nearly $5 million for the Broncos to pursue Kirk Cousins.

If the Broncos part ways with Anderson, the Dolphins again could have interest, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Anderson played for Dolphins coach Adam Gase when Gase ran the Denver offense.

Anderson, who turned 27 earlier this month, set career highs in 2017 with 245 carries for 1,007 yards. He also caught 28 passes for 224 yards.

The Dolphins, who traded Jay Ajayi during the season, could lose Damien Williams, who is scheduled to become a free agent.

Mayfield keeps trying to avoid Manziel comparisons

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Many continue to compare Johnny Manziel to Baker Mayfield. And that continues to bother Baker Mayfield.

We’re two completely different people,” Mayfield said Monday, via the Associated Press. “I’ve always been a team-oriented guy. Not saying that Johnny wasn’t. But I’ve quickly earned the respect of my teammates because of how I worked.

“I wasn’t given the natural talent that Johnny had. Because he’s a talent. And there’s a reason he got taken in the first round, amazing player. We’re just not the same mentally. Just wired differently.”

Mayfield is trying to walk a fine line between making sure he’s not viewed as another Manziel without saying anything that would be regarded as offensive about Manziel. It’s impossible to do both, however.

If Mayfield is going to say, “I’m not Manziel,” Mayfield shouldn’t run from the fact that he’s trying not to be compared to Manziel for the negative reasons, including off-field issues or a substandard work ethic. Mayfield’s only alternative will be to respond to any Manziel comparisons by saying, “I understand why people would try to make comparisons to past players. But I’m my own person, and anyone who takes the time to get to know me will realize that.”

Whatever his strategy, Mayfield needs one. With teams sensing that the comparisons to Manziel may bother Mayfield, making those comparisons — repeatedly — during meetings with Manziel at the Scouting Combine and elsewhere will be the most efficient way to bust through the faςade and get to the real guy, especially if there’s a temper that will be triggered by enough direct references to and questions about Manziel.

Jets apparently ready to let Ben Ijalana test free agency

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The Jets apparently are ready to let offensive tackle Ben Ijalana become a free agent, Rich Cimini of ESPN reports. The Jets faced a Monday deadline to exercise a $500,000 option bonus and have not done so.

It is not a surprise since the option would have triggered a $4.5 million base salary for 2018.

The Jets will save $4.7 million on the cap but could lose the swing tackle by letting him test the market. He started 13 games in 2016 and none in 2017, though he played 11 games last season.

The team is expected to carve out more cap room by cutting defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson and running back Matt Forte among others.

Bucs hire Brentson Buckner as DL coach

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The Buccaneers have hired Brentson Buckner as their defensive line coach, the team announced.

Buckner will replace Jay Hayes, who Tampa Bay fired on February 9.

The Buccaneers also interviewed University of Miami defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, their own assistant defensive line coach, Paul Spicer, and former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino.

Buckner, 46, spent the past five seasons as the Cardinals’ defensive line coach. Arizona led the league with 48 sacks in 2016. The Bucs had a league-low 22 sacks last season.

Buckner, who had a 12-year career as an NFL defensive lineman, crossed paths with Bucs General Manager Jason Licht in Arizona in 2013.

D.J. Swearinger still insists team will miss Kendall Fuller but is “moving forward”

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D.J. Swearinger probably still isn’t happy with the team’s trade of cornerback Kendall Fuller, but the Washington safety is “moving forward.”

Swearinger went on a Twitter rant after Washington’s deal for Alex Smith was reported during Super Bowl week. He openly criticized the trade of Fuller, something he now says he didn’t handle “the correct way.”

I’m extremely over it, man,” Swearinger said on NFL Up to the Minute Live on Monday, via NFL Media. “You know I understand the business is the business. I was a little heated. You know I didn’t want to see one of my guys that I was in the meeting room with, shedding blood, sweat and tears. Did a lot of things, a lot of great plays for us, but for the future, we got what we needed, and the organization handled it the way they needed to handle it. And my hat’s off to the organization. I didn’t handle that the correct way, and we’re moving forward now.”

Swearinger calls Smith a “great player” who has done “a lot of great things in this league.” But Swearinger makes it clear his feelings on Fuller, who he calls “the No. 1 slot corner in the game.”

“No, I wasn’t [alone] at all,” Swearinger said. “Especially the DBs. Especially when you’re in the room with a guy every day; you see his work ethic; you see him grow as a second-year player. You never want to see that. But it’s a blessing in disguise. Everything happens for a reason, and we’re moving forward from it.”

On Lamar Jackson, Josh McCown disagrees with Bill Polian

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Friday’s PFT Live included a visit with Jets quarterback Josh McCown. And it eventually became apparent that McCown is a budding draft expert.

“For me that’s part of what I enjoy doing,” McCown said regarding the analysis of incoming rookie quarterbacks. “I’ve got a computer set up in my office here at the house with all the college quarterbacks on it, and I’m watching them. For me trying to sharpen my skills as being able to evaluate young guys coming into this league. I would like to do that one day. Obviously whether it’s with the Jets or anybody to be able to say, ‘This is my thoughts or opinions on a guy.’ I would love to share that. I think that’s part of it. At this age you have to welcome the young guys in and be able to share your knowledge with them.”

Unlike former NFL G.M. Bill Polian, who has hitched his wagon to the “Lamar Jackson should move to receiver” narrative, McCown believes Jackson will thrive.

“A lot of times what you have to look at is what are these young guys being asked to do in their systems?” McCown said. “When you get a talent like Lamar you can go, ‘Man, there is so much that we can do.’ Especially with . . . the RPOs and things like that. There’s an ability to move the football with his legs. We saw it at times when he just won football games with his legs, period.

“I think sometimes when you see that then it’s easy to just go, ‘Man, he should play receiver.’ But when you watch this guy throw the ball, he’s really got a good whip. The ball comes out of his hand pretty hard. Those are the things I think you have to take into consideration.”

McCown actually thinks that, with the changes to the pro game in recent years, Jackson could do even better at the next level.

“You get a guy like that — and I’m not comparing him to Dak Prescott — but why did Dak Prescott go in the fourth round?” McCown said. “Well, because maybe in college he wasn’t being asked to make some of these throws and play in a system. Then he gets into the league, and his game translates to the league better than college. I think Lamar Jackson could fall in that mold where you get this kid and you say, ‘Hey do these things,’ and that may open up a whole other part of his skill set that we didn’t see. Even more recently Deshaun Watson last year. He’s an intriguing prospect to me because of his athleticism, because of the home run speed that he has and because I think when you get him into a system there’s a lot of upside for him.”

Here’s hoping that current evaluators listen more to McCown and less to Polian. They have every reason to do that, given that there still aren’t enough good quarterbacks to go around.

Buccaneers interview University of Miami DL coach Craig Kuligowski

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The Buccaneers have interviewed University of Miami defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski for their vacant defensive line coaching position, pewterreport.com reports.

Tampa Bay also has interviewed assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer, former Colts defensive coordinator Ted Monachino and former Cardinals defensive tackle Brentson Buckner.

The Bucs fired former defensive line coach Jay Hayes on February 9.

Kuligowski has spent two seasons at the University of Miami and earned a promotion to assistant head coach last season. The Hurricanes led the nation with 43 sacks in 2017.

Kuligowski previously worked for Missouri for 15 seasons.

Jason Kelce on his parade speech: It wasn’t all off the cuff

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The Eagles’ Super Bowl run made Nick Foles a star. The Super Bowl parade turned Jason Kelce into one.

“It’s been pretty crazy to say the least,” Kelce said Monday, via David Murphy of phillynews.com. “I don’t think I expected that before the speech. It was just building up for a long time, and it kind of all just came out in that moment.”

Kelce showed up for the Phillies’ first full-squad workout at spring training in Clearwater, Fla., and was the center of attention. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

He said he learned the night before the parade that he was one of the players selected to speak.

“It wasn’t all off the cuff,” Kelce said. “This is stuff that had been brewing for a long time. The night before, I couldn’t really sleep. I was kind of like up, just sitting there thinking. They had just told me I was going to talk, so I was like, ‘What could I say? What should I say?’ That’s when I really started thinking about all the different guys who had overcome things or been counted out and had rebounded well, and it was really from the top down. You saw it with everybody, and you started seeing that parallel with the city of Philadelphia and how much the city has struggled for this championship for a long time and how much they’ve been kind of down and out. It just all kind of blended together on the spot, I guess.”

Kelce said he watched his speech afterward to see the reactions from Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman.

NBA’s all-star game fails to outdraw NFL’s

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The NFL’s Pro Bowl stinks. But as long as it continues to draw an audience (and churn a profit), the NFL will continue to stage it.

It definitely draws an audience, and surely churns a profit. This year’s game, played on a Sunday afternoon, generated a rating of 5.9. That’s more than 15 percent higher than the rating generated in prime time on Sunday night by the NBA All-Star Game.

Via multiple reports, the basketball game drew a 5.1, despite being broadcast on both TBS and TNT. Of course, the Pro Bowl was simulcast as well, on both ESPN and ABC. And, yes, broadcast networks like ABC typically generate bigger numbers.

Still, the fact that football’s worthless, meaningless, intensity-less end-of-season exhibition, which requires multiple rounds of invitations to fill up the rosters, can outpace the NBA’s midseason cavalcade of superstars shows that football is still the king, regardless of the wishful thinking and/or misguided takes of people with a vested interest in seeing basketball catch and surpass football.

It’s simply not happening now, and it won’t be happening any time soon.

Eddie George ready to see Derrick Henry get his chance

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Speculation began soon after DeMarco Murray‘s knee injury in Week 16 that the Titans could move on without him. Murray, 30, has two years remaining on his contract but with no more guaranteed money.

Murray’s base salary of $6.25 million in 2018, combined with the emergence of Derrick Henry, makes Murray a cap-casualty candidate.

Former Titans running back Eddie George, for one, is campaigning for the team to make Henry the feature back next season.

“He’s got to get more opportunities,” George said, via Jason Wolf of The Tennessean. “He’s got to be given an opportunity to be the guy, and allow the game to come to him, versus him trying to show improvement, make something big happen and show that he’s worthwhile in this league. Because when you’re in that position, the second guy in, you don’t know when you’re going to get your opportunities. You want to make the most of it.”

Henry, 24, led the Titans with 744 yards on 176 carries and scored five rushing touchdowns. He set a postseason single-game franchise record with 191 yards from scrimmage against the Chiefs and gained 49 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots.

Michael Roberts hopes for a better second season

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Eric Ebron is under contract for 2018; Darren Fells is not.

The Lions will have Michael Roberts to use as a second tight end, but do they trust him?

Roberts, a fourth-round pick in 2017, caught only four passes for 46 yards. He earned a suspension for violating team rules in Week 17 when he disappeared the night before the Lions’ game against Green Bay and missed team meetings, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

“Honestly, I made a few mistakes,” Roberts said, via Birkett. “I did things a little different than I’d like in my rookie year, and man, it really just taught me so many different things. I learned a lot about myself, about the organization, about how to be a professional all the way around. So just excited [about next season].”

Roberts said he expects to play next season as an “every-down tight end,” which is what the Lions envisioned when they drafted him. Fells and Ebron played the same number of plays — 549 — or 52.74 percent of the team’s total offensive snaps last season. Roberts played 21.13 percent, or 220.

The Lions picked up Ebron’s fifth-year option at $8.25 million for next season, which becomes guaranteed on the first day of the new league year, and General Manager Bob Quinn has said Ebron will return. But Roberts could take over Fells’ snaps if he departs.

Grandmother doesn’t want Rae Carruth to have custody of son

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Former Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth apologized to the family of Cherica Adams for her 1999 death, and though he said he hoped to one day have a relationship with the son who was born prematurely as a result.

But his son’s caretaker, grandmother Saundra Adams, said Monday it was unlikely that would come to pass.

I don’t see Rae Carruth having custody of Chancellor Lee Adams ever,” Adams told WBTV’s Steve Crump. “I’m not concerned about him getting custody of Chancellor.”

Carruth wrote an open letter to Adams and talked to the Charlotte television station about his future, saying Adams would not return messages and letters in recent years. He also said he hoped to have a relationship with his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of the trauma that took his mother’s life.

And as you might expect from a grieving mother who has cared for a handicapped child while Carruth has spent 18 years in prison, she has mixed feelings about Carruth’s words which come less than a year before his scheduled release from prison, after he was found guilty of conspiring to kill her daughter Cherica Adams.

“On one side, it’s what I’ve been praying for, That he would have a change of heart,” Adams said. “On the other side, there was a lot of untruths in what I heard because I’ve never received any correspondence from him. Especially saying that he’s apologized or that he’s taken responsibility for Cherica’s death. . . .

“It does give me a sigh of relief because I don’t think we could go forth with the real relationship until there was some kind of repentance. I’m glad to hear that he matured over these 17 years. I’m really glad to hear that he has a relationship with God because I definitely know that was missing prior to this.”

Adams has said in the past that she intended to be at the prison with her grandson when Carruth is released (scheduled for October), and has suggested in the past that she was open to Carruth having a relationship with her son.

But for a situation that would seem to be irretrievably broken, the idea that a reconciliation would be an easy process is also hard to imagine.