Bengals considered giving John Ross reps at cornerback

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Bengals receiver John Ross nearly became Bengals cornerback John Ross.

Per multiple sources, the Bengals mentioned to Ross the possibility of taking snaps at defensive back, before Ross recently landed on injured reserve.

It’s unclear whether the Bengals seriously considered having the 10th overall pick in the draft play NFL cornerback. One source suggested that it was mentioned in connection with injury issues at the position. Another source believes that the possibility traces to apparent concerns among the coaching staff about the player’s overall toughness.

There are no questions about Ross’ speed; he generated the fastest 40-yard dash in the history of the NFL’s Scouting Combine. But he appeared in only three games this season, catching no passes and running the ball once, for 12 yards. He capped the play with a fumble.

Eagles confirm torn ACL for Carson Wentz

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Any hope that the Eagles might get quarterback Carson Wentz back this season was extinguished on Monday afternoon.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson opened his press conference by confirming that Wentz suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s loss to the Rams. Pederson added that no other ligaments were injured.

Pederson said that a review of the film from Sunday left the team with the belief that Wentz may have torn the ligament before getting hit by two Rams defenders on a dive into the end zone, but the response is the same regardless of when it happened.

“I hate it for the season he’s been having,” Pederson said.

Nick Foles will take over as the team’s starting quarterback and Pederson said this is “the reason” why the team moved to get Foles on the roster this offseason. Pederson said he didn’t think there was much about the offense that will change because Foles is now the quarterback and that the team isn’t going to change their goals as a result of the injury.

Pederson called the team “resilient” and they’ll need to be if they’re going to keep rolling without Wentz available the rest of the way.

Sidney Jones to return to practice this week

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The Eagles are awaiting confirmation of what they expect to be bad news on the injury front.

But because I’d rather light a candle than curse their darkness, there is some sliver of good news to be shared.

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Eagles cornerback Sidney Jones is expected to return to practice this week, which could allow him to return this season. He’s currently on the non-football injury list.

Jones, their second-round pick, had surgery to repair a torn Achilles in March, so anything they get out of him this year would be a bonus.

A talented cover player, Jones would have been a high first-rounder if not for the injury, which happened during a workout.

And with the team announcing that quarterback Carson Wentz indeed tore his ACL last night, they can use any good news they can get.

NFL says Browns complied with the Rooney Rule, won’t say when or how

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The NFL is saying that the Cleveland Browns complied with the Rooney Rule before making a General Manager change, but the league will not provide any details about how, exactly, the Browns complied with the rule.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said today that the Rooney Rule, which requires every NFL team to interview at least one minority before hiring a new head coach or General Manager, was followed when the Browns fired G.M. Sashi Brown and replaced him with John Dorsey.

“In this particular case the Rooney Rule was properly applied,” Lockhart said.

But how was it applied? Lockhart declined to say which minority candidate or candidates were interviewed, and when they were interviewed. Brown was fired on Thursday morning, and reports immediately surfaced that Dorsey was the top choice to replace him. The Browns officially announced that Dorsey was hired on Thursday evening. There was no time for any other candidate to truly get a fair shake.

Lockhart said that the point of the rule is to ensure “that opportunities and real opportunities are provided to minorities.”

It’s hard to see how “real opportunities are provided to minorities” when the Browns didn’t even announce that the job was open until Thursday, and the opening was filled the same day. There might be some great scout or personnel person somewhere in the league who would be an excellent G.M. for the Browns and would have loved to apply for the job but never had that chance because there was no transparency from the Browns about the job being open.

On the league’s media conference call, Lockhart was peppered with several questions about the specific nature of the interview or interviews that the Browns conducted to satisfy the requirements of the Rooney Rule, but Lockhart wouldn’t answer those questions, other than to reiterate that the league is satisfied with the Browns’ compliance.

“It feels like we’ve run this one into the ground,” Lockhart said.

Lockhart may have felt that the questions had run the topic into the ground, but there’s one question that remains unanswered: While complying with the letter of the Rooney Rule, did the Browns also comply with the spirit of the Rooney Rule?

Cardinals want to extend Blaine Gabbert

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In case you’re one of those cynical types who don’t believe in Festivus miracles, read on.

AN NFL team not only wants to play Blaine Gabbert, they want to pay him to play for them next year, too.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals want to keep Gabbert around next year, in some role.

General Manager Steve Keim said during a radio appearance on 98.7 FM Monday that they did want to bring Gabbert back after his one-year deal expires, though they’re not clear about the role.

“The one thing about Blaine that has impressed me is his ability to bounce back from adversity,” Keim said.

There was plenty of that, as he was sacked eight times in yesterday’s win over the Titans. Gabbert was a pedestrian 17-of-26 for 178 yards though.

“Some of the touch throws he needed to make were a little off,” Keim said. “When he has to go through his progression, he has a tendency to get a little high on ball placement.”

The Cardinals are higher on Gabbert than practically anyone in the NFL, as coach Bruce Arians has said he could see Gabbert starting next year if Carson Palmer didn’t return. They brought him in this year as their third, but he took over when Drew Stanton was injured and hasn’t given that role up.

Then again, they’re in position for a top 10 pick, which could enable to draft the long-term answer they’ve been looking for, which could turn Gabbert into a bridge or a placeholder.

NFL will investigate Tom Savage concussion protocol

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The NFL now has multiple pending concussion protocol investigations.

With the investigation regarding the failure of the Seahawks to keep quarterback Russell Wilson from re-entering a Thursday night game last month still pending (a decision is expected soon), another investigation has begun. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said during a Monday media briefing that the league and NFL Players Association will jointly investigate whether the concussion protocol was properly followed during Sunday’s 49ers-Texans game, after quarterback Tom Savage suffered an apparent head injury.

One of the key questions will be whether the ATC spotters properly transmitted video of Savage in apparent distress, with hands shaking while on the ground, to the sideline personnel responsible for assessing Savage. As PFT reported last night, that video was at no point provided to the persons on the sideline responsible for making decisions about Savage.

Savage initially was cleared to return by the independent neurotrauma consultant. Later, a Texans trainer noticed that something was amiss, prompting Savage to be further evaluated in the locker room.

NFL investigating Seahawks’ actions, Jaguars’ stadium security after ugly ending Sunday

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The ugly ending to Sunday’s game in Jacksonville could have consequences for both the Seahawks and the Jaguars.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart confirmed today that the league is looking at on-field discipline for players who committed personal fouls late in the Jaguars’ victory over the Seahawks. That was to be expected, as the league always investigates any incident that results in ejections, and Seattle’s Sheldon Richardson and Quinton Jefferson were ejected.

But the league also confirmed that the Jaguars have a responsibility to ensure that there’s adequate security around the field, and that the NFL will investigate how multiple Jaguars fans were able to throw things at Seahawks players.

“The home team does have responsibility for security and we work closely with all 32 of our clubs on those issues,” Lockhart said. “We are going to be looking at and talking to both clubs about a variety of things in that game particularly at the end where we had a series of ejections, on-field issues and then leaving the field. We will be working with the club to identify those who might have been involved in throwing objects or acting outside the rules we expect of our fans. That has already begun, as well as our football operations department looking at on-field stuff. Nothing to report at this point, but all of this will be looked at thoroughly.”

The Jaguars fans who threw objects on the field will likely be banned from the stadium, if they can be identified. And it won’t be surprising if Richardson, Jefferson and Michael Bennett are suspended. The league may also take action against the Jaguars and require them to beef up security at the stadium. Sunday’s incident was ugly, and the league can’t have that happen again.

Jerry Jones still hopes to delay Goodell extension by six months

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Yes, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has something up his sleeve regarding Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract extension.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN reports that Jones has proposed a resolution to table the contract talks for six months. Per Wickersham, the resolution appears on the agenda for the Wednesday meeting.

The terms of the proposal suggest that it predates (and may have prompted) the finalization of the contract. Under the existence resolution from May 2017, the Compensation Committee had the authority to execute the Goodell contract.

Wickersham explains that Jones did not withdraw the proposal after the contract was finalized, although the members of the Compensation Committee believed he would.

While Jones may make other proposals aimed at the scope of the Commissioner’s powers and/or the exercise of them, the fact that a binding contract exists makes it difficult if not impossible to scrap the deal without triggering any severance provisions or other terms that would result in the league owing Goodell a sum likely in the millions of dollars.

Bill O’Brien: If I had video, I would have pulled Tom Savage right away

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Texans coach Bill O’Brien spent a portion of his Monday press conference running through the steps that led to quarterback Tom Savage being cleared to return to Sunday’s loss to the 49ers for a series before he was pulled from the game and placed in the concussion protocol.

Savage took a big hit from Elvis Dumervil in the second quarter of the game and could be seen with his arms in the “fencing response” that sometimes occurs when people suffer concussions when on the ground after the hit. O’Brien said that the medical team told him they would check Savage after that hit and took him to the blue tent on the sideline for a quick evaluation that led to Savage returning to the game.

O’Brien said he couldn’t see the hit or the response from the sideline, but assumed Savage got hit because of how many people were around him. O’Brien does not have access to video on the sideline that would have showed him the hit and Savage’s reaction, something the coach said would have led to a different decision.

“With benefit of seeing the video, obviously from my standpoint — the care for the player — I would have never let that player back into the game and I don’t believe [head trainer] Geoff Kaplan would have let that player back in the game,” O’Brien said, via Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.

O’Brien saying he asked Kaplan to check Savage again after a three-and-out and that he was told after the second check that Savage could not return to the game. It was not clear from O’Brien’s account whether the spotters in the booth or the unaffiliated neurological consultant on the sideline took a look at the video, which they are supposed to have access to, before clearing Savage to return to action.

The NFL is looking into the handling of the concussion and the NFLPA announced on Monday that it will be doing a “full review” as well.

David Baker’s deposition in Hall of Fame case to be taken Thursday

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Yes, the wheels of justice can move slowly. But, inevitably, they move.

In the litigation arising from the failure to play the 2016 Hall of Fame game between the Colts and Packers, Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker’s will testify under oath on Thursday of this week.

A threshold fight lingers regarding the certification of the proposed class of ticket purchasers who showed up for a game that never happened — and who incurred travel, food, beverage, and souvenir expenses before finding out the game wouldn’t be played. But a recent court order denied the effort of the Hall of Fame and the NFL to prevent the deposition of Baker from addressing other matters, including the events resulting in the cancellation of the game, what the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell knew about it, why fans weren’t told earlier, etc.

The case is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Ohio. Eventually, it will be resolved. Somehow.

Josh McCown emotional after injury because “I don’t know what’s next”

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Jets quarterback Josh McCown broke his left hand in Denver on Sunday and will have more tests on Monday to find out if he’ll need to have surgery to repair an injury that ended the longest run of success he’s had as an NFL starter.

McCown was emotional in the locker room after the game, saying “it’s been the best because of the guys” while expressing uncertainty about what will come next.

“You never know,” McCown said, via Newsday. “You get flooded with emotions of all those things, because you don’t know. It’s a family decision every year. I don’t know what’s next. The possibility of something coming to an end, you just don’t know. So yeah, it’s just emotional, because I love these guys so much, love these coaches and love this organization. It means a lot to me to be here. … Just the scope of each year, not wanting to finish this way, and obviously, when you come to this point in your career, each year is so special and precious. You don’t want it to end this way. You’re thinking through everything, thinking through the game, just thinking through everything. Thinking through 16 years. It’s just emotional. I’m very, very thankful. I hate that it went this way, but I’m just so thankful that I got to be a part of this.”

Offensive coordinator John Morton said last week that he’d be in favor of bringing McCown back for another season and that seems possible if the Jets don’t make a move for another veteran quarterback come the offseason. If not, McCown, who will be 39 when next season starts, would have to start over somewhere else once again.

Josh Gordon, Damarious Randall trade barbs on Twitter

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Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon had a 38-yard catch on the team’s first offensive play of Sunday’s game and caught his first touchdown since the 2013 season a bit later in the first quarter, but he had just one more catch the rest of the day.

Cornerback Damarious Randall had a lot to do with that. Green Bay shifted him onto Gordon after that fast start and Randall did the job.

“He had one catch,” Randall said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Any more questions?”

Gordon wasn’t left overly impressed with Randall’s work. He saw a tweet with the above quote and responded to it on Monday morning by disparaging both Randall and his teammates.

Randall responded a short time later to say that Gordon “must be on that s–t again.”

Gordon didn’t point out the disadvantages, but the fact that he returned from three years off the field to take over as the team’s best player does a pretty good job all by itself.

Texans planning to start T.J. Yates this week

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The Houston Texans are preparing to start their third quarterback of the season on Sunday in Jacksonville.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said today that he’s expecting T.J. Yates to start in place of Tom Savage, who was injured in yesterday’s loss to the 49ers.

Yates showed some promise in Sunday’s game, completing 14 of 26 passes for 175 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Yates played better than Savage on Sunday, so the Texans might want to keep playing Yates even if Savage is medically cleared.

The Texans had Savage on the field to start the season in Week One, but he was terrible and got benched in favor of Deshaun Watson. With Watson at the helm, the Texans’ offense came alive, but the season was essentially lost when Watson suffered a torn ACL.

Houston hopes Watson will be healthy and ready to go next year. For the remainder of this year, Savage and Yates may be auditioning for the role of Watson’s backup in 2018.

Chris Hogan made trip to Miami, could return tonight

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The Patriots are going to be missing one key target tonight, but they could be getting another back.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, wide receiver Chris Hogan made the trip to South Florida for tonight’s game against the Dolphins, and could return.

Hogan has missed the last four games with a shoulder injury, and was limited in practice last week.

If he’s able to go, it would mitigate the loss of Rob Gronkowski, who is serving his one-game suspension for his elbow smash of Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White last week.

The Patriots left three players home who were on the injury report, leaving defensive end Trey Flowers (rib), special-teamer Brandon King (hamstring) and running back Mike Gillislee (illness) back in Boston.

Hogan was third on the team with 33 catches for 438 yards when he was injured in Week Eight. He was tied for the team lead with five touchdowns at the time of the injury.

Verizon to pay NFL $500 million a year to stream games

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Despite a recent downturn in television ratings, the NFL has inked another big-money broadcast deal — this one to stream games on mobile devices.

Verizon and the NFL have announced a multi-year deal that will see NFL games streamed on Verizon mobile and digital platforms. Sports Business Daily reports that Verizon will pay the NFL $500 million a year.

The partnership begins in January of 2018, so the upcoming postseason games and Super Bowl LII will all be available to stream through Verizon.

“The NFL is a great partner for us and we are excited to take its premier content across a massive mobile scale so viewers can enjoy live football and other original NFL content where and how they want it,” Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said in a statement. “We believe that partnerships like this are a win for fans, but also for partners and advertisers looking for a mobile-first experience.”

Although the NFL still makes the bulk of its money from television — NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN and DirecTV — this deal is the strongest sign yet that there’s big money for the NFL to make in online streaming. It may not be long before the NFL’s biggest rights deals are with online providers, rather than with traditional television networks.