Saints fans sues over protests which hadn’t started yet

Getty Images

A Saints fan is suing the team for the cost of his season tickets, because he said he was upset by player protests during the national anthem.

But those protests may not have actually started at the time which he became so offended he decided to stop going to games.

According to Chad Calder of the New Orleans Advocate, Lee Dragna of Morgan City, La. is suing the Saints for a refund of his season tickets, claiming the protests prevented him and his family from enjoying a game.

One potential problem: The Saints may not have made any political statements at the game he attended, the home opener on Sept. 17 against the Patriots.

As Saints running back Mark Ingram noted, there were no organized player protests until the Week Three game at Carolina, in which 10 players sat, but that was the week after President Donald Trump launched his attack on Colin Kaepernick and other players who knelt during anthems to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

There were no reports of Saints players protesting prior to Week Three.

The lawsuit said some players didn’t come out of the locker room for the national anthem, and when they did, they passed in front of his section and were greeted by boos.

“Apparently, these players were following the lead of (former San Francisco 49ers quarterback) Colin Kaepernick by disrespecting the flag, the anthem, the USA and those who have served and are serving the USA in our military,” the lawsuit read.

He also claimed that the angry reaction of fans swearing at players and spilling beer is “borderline dangerous,” and that the “Saints created that behavior by condoning it.”

Dragna said he asked the Saints for a refund on the tickets and was turned down. He said he spent about $8,000 for the tickets.

“They don’t even want to talk about this, but I don’t care,” he said. “One way or another they’ll pay.”

After the game in Charlotte, Drew Brees organized a decision by players to kneel before the anthem but stand during it.

The Saints only response was to say the lawsuit had been forwarded to the team’s legal department, and that the team would have no other comment.

Memorable league meeting expected in Dallas

Getty Images

As the NFL’s owners gather in Dallas to meet in the aftermath of the new contract signed last week by the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell, there’s an expectation that the Texas excursion could be memorable.

One source with knowledge of the dynamics and the process expressed a belief on Tuesday that it will be “as interesting of a day as I have ever had” at one of these events.

The intrigue flows from the likelihood that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones won’t go away quietly regarding his opposition to the Goodell deal. Jones said Tuesday that he won’t be withdrawing a resolution aimed at delaying the contract for six months, even though the contract already is final and binding.

But the sense is that he’s got some other plan, unknown for now, to advance his agenda — and if necessary to create a little chaos. Eventually, it’s believed he’ll find a way to declare victory, even if the end result (in the eyes of most of his peers) is that the league, by virtue of the ugliest, most public fight among owners in years, has lost.

And that’s the other thing that will make this meeting memorable. The lingering anger and frustration among plenty of owners toward Jones could manifest itself in a dressing down of Jones and his tactics, which could serve only to set Jones off all over again.

However it plays out, it’s going to play out on Wednesday in the town where Jerry’s team resides.

Broncos threw out tape of Colts snow game in Buffalo for evaluation purposes

Getty Images

Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph determined it was a futile effort to evaluate tape of the Indianapolis Colts most recent game against the Buffalo Bills.

According to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, the snow storm in Buffalo for Sunday’s game coupled with the Colts all-white jerseys made any attempt to glean constructive information from the game all but moot.

We tried to watch it, but you can’t, you can’t see it,” Joseph said. “(The Colts) are wearing all white, it wasn’t worth watching. I watched about 15 plays and … we pulled it out of our breakdown.”

A regular evaluation process for NFL teams in preparing for an opponent involves watching the last four games a team has played. It’s certainly not the only way teams prepare for an opponent and more, or less, tape can be watched on a discretionary basis. However, it’s a general baseline for teams to scout to determine tendencies about their opponents.

While just seeing what was occurring on the tape was problematic enough, it almost certainly wouldn’t have been very instructive anyway. The wretched conditions in Buffalo led the Colts to run 46 times compared to just 22 pass attempts by Jacoby Brissett. It’s a game plan they likely wouldn’t have adhered to if not for the ankle-deep snow.

Instead, the Broncos may have to dig a little deeper into the Colts video archives to get the necessary evaluation they need for their opponent Thursday night.

Panthers fan pleads guilty for assault of fellow fan from October game

Getty Images

A Carolina Panthers fan who punched and bloodied a fellow fan during a game in October has pleaded guilty to assault.

According to Joe Marusak of the Charlotte Observer, Kyle Adam Maraghy will spend 10 days in jail with a 18 months of probation as part of a suspended sentence agreement. He must attend anger management classes, undergo a substance abuse assessment and comply with treatment.

Maraghy was filmed delivering four successive haymakers to the face of a fan seated behind him during a Panthers game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The suspended sentence carries a total of 45 days in jail should he violate the terms of his agreement.

Aaron Rodgers is cleared to play

Getty Images

He’s back. Almost.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to play. The quarterback posted the news on social media.

His return, on Sunday against the Panthers, will come nine weeks after he suffered a broken collarbone against the Vikings. It required 13 screws and a couple of plates to hold it in place.

“I’m happy to say I’ve been medically cleared to return,” Rodgers said.

The 7-6 Packers need help to make it to the playoffs. But with Rodgers present the Packers likely will be helping themselves, considerably.

“If Aaron didn’t get hurt we’d only have one loss right now, maybe two — and that’s stretching it with ‘maybe,'” Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels recently said on PFT Live.

Getting to the playoffs remains a “maybe” proposition for the Packers. If they get there, however, a Super Bowl berth is stronger than that.

Browns sign Geoff Gray, waive Tyrone Holmes, Bryce Treggs

Getty Images

The Browns signed offensive lineman Geoff Gray from the Jets’ practice squad. They waived defensive end Tyrone Holmes and wide receiver Bryce Treggs (pictured).

Gray is a rookie from Manitoba College in Canada. He originally signed with the Packers on May 5. Green Bay waived him Sept. 2, and Gray signed with the Jets’ practice squad the following day.

Cleveland signed Treggs from the Eagles’ practice squad Oct. 3, and he made five receptions for 79 yards in six games.

The Browns promoted Holmes from the practice squad when Emmanuel Ogbah went to injured reserve. In four games this season, Holmes has made three tackles.

Holmes, originally a sixth-round choice of the Jaguars in 2016, played in 11 games with the Browns last season.

Tom Savage on Bill O’Brien: Nobody cares more about his players than OB

Getty Images

Texans quarterback Tom Savage tweeted an update on his concussion and offered support to coach Bill O’Brien.

“I appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers,” Savage wrote. “I’m doing fine. Even though I cannot speak to media due to the protocol I will say this, nobody cares more about his players than OB.”

The NFL is investigating how Savage was allowed to return to the game after replays showed him lying on the ground, arms and hands twitching, after a vicious hit from Elvis Dumervil. O’Brien said Monday he would not have allowed Savage back in the game if he had seen the video.

Houston expects to start T.J. Yates on Sunday. It will mark the third time in four seasons that the Texans have started at least three quarterbacks.

Savage has started seven games this season and Deshaun Watson six.

Report: 2018 salary cap projects somewhere between $174.2 million and $178.1 million

Getty Images

NFL teams saw projections for the 2018 salary cap during the league meetings Tuesday.

The NFL projects the cap to fall somewhere between $174.2 million and $178.1 million for next year, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. The league will reveal the exact number before free agency begins in the spring.

It will mark the fourth consecutive year the salary cap has increased.

This year’s salary cap is $167 million.

Kirk Cousins, Drew Brees, Case Keenum, Jimmy Garoppolo, Trumaine Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, Jimmy Graham and Sam Bradford are among the players scheduled to become free agents.

Jets place Josh McCown on injured reserve, promote Akeem Judd

Getty Images

The Jets placed quarterback Josh McCown on injured reserve. They promoted running back Akeem Judd from the practice squad to take his roster spot.

McCown, 38, broke his left hand in Sunday’s game and faces an uncertain future.

Akeem, 25, has never played a regular-season game.

The Jets signed him to their practice squad Oct. 24 after the Titans released him. The Ole Miss product originally joined the Titans as a 2017 undrafted free agent and spent the preseason in Tennessee before injuring his thumb.

In 24 games at Ole Miss, Akeem ran for 1,251 yards and nine touchdowns.

Seahawks promote Garrison Smith, waive Rodney Coe

Getty Images

The Seahawks promoted defensive tackle Garrison Smith off the practice squad Tuesday. They waived defensive tackle Rodney Coe in a corresponding move.

Two weeks ago, the Seahawks waived Smith to make room for Coe.

Smith, who went undrafted out of Georgia in 2014, has appeared in six games for the Seahawks this season. He has made five tackles. Before joining Seattle in 2016, Smith spent time with Miami, New Orleans and San Francisco.

Coe spent most of the season on Seattle’s practice squad. In his two games on the 53-player roster, Smith was inactive for the team’s Week 13 game against Philadelphia and then played two snaps against the Jaguars on Sunday.

The Seahawks also made a change to the practice squad, signing fullback Jalston Fowler and releasing cornerback Trovon Reed.

Eagles sign Bryan Braman

Getty Images

The Eagles filled Carson Wentz‘s roster spot, signing special teams player Bryan Braman, according to Braman’s agent, Sean Stellato.

Braman, 30, worked out for the team Tuesday.

Braman, who also plays linebacker, originally signed with the Texans in 2011 out of West Texas A&M. He spent three seasons in Houston before signing with the Eagles in 2014.

In three seasons with the Eagles, Braman became a core special teams player. He signed with the Saints in free agency this offseason, but the Saints waived him with an injury settlement. Braman has waited for an opportunity since.

Saints sign George Johnson, cut Bryce Harris

Getty Images

The Saints signed defensive end George Johnson on Tuesday, via Field Yates of ESPN. They cut offensive tackle Bryce Harris in a corresponding move.

Johnson, 30, has played for three teams since making his first appearance in 2011. He has played in 20 games with Tampa Bay, 20 games with Detroit and two games with Minnesota.

He has 61 tackles and six sacks in his career.

Johnson missed last season with a torn ACL, but he played four games with the Lions this season.

The Saints have cut Harris and re-signed Harris and cut Harris and re-signed Harris. . . . Thus, there’s a good chance he returns later this season.

Harris, 28, has played in three games this season and 37 in his career. He also has spent time with the Falcons, Jaguars and Dolphins.

Ameer Abdullah hopes for chance to finish season strong

Getty Images

Lions running back Ameer Abdullah has not played the last two weeks, but said on Tuesday that he feels 100 percent recovered from the neck injury he suffered against the Vikings on Thanksgiving.

That may not be enough for him to return to his spot in the lineup, however. Abdullah participated in practice last week before being declared inactive for the game against the Buccaneers and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that his spot on the bench had more to do with his play than his health.

Abdullah has 505 yards on 150 carries this season and the Lions de-emphasized their long-suffering run game in the win over Tampa by calling passes on 71 percent of their offensive snaps. He said Tuesday he wants to “finish the season strong,” but acknowledged that he doesn’t know what the Lions are planning to do.

“That’s a coach’s call,” Abdullah said, via the Detroit Free Press. “That’s never in my hands and if the coaches feel like it’s in the best direction then maybe they know something I don’t. I’m always going to trust that, I’m always going to follow behind the leader of this team, and you’ll definitely get a lot more answers if you ask coach Caldwell these questions. But like I said for me, I’m always going to follow his lead. No matter what he thinks the direction is that week, I’m for it.”

Abdullah has a year left on his rookie deal, but the direction the Lions decide to take with Caldwell’s future will likely determine what the running back’s own future will look like in Detroit.

Eagles place Carson Wentz on injured reserve

Getty Images

The Eagles made the move official Tuesday, placing quarterback Carson Wentz on injured reserve.

Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee during Sunday’s victory over the Rams. He did not tear any other ligaments.

In a video posted on social media Monday night, Wentz vowed to help backup Nick Foles and remain around the team despite the injury.

“I think Carson will be a huge support,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Tuesday, via quotes distributed by the team. “I mean, first of all, I can’t even tell you the kind of support Nick was for Carson, and I’m sure Nick will still be that kind of support for Carson going through what he’s going through.

“That room cannot, from a chemistry standpoint and from a character standpoint, it can’t get any better. That room is the best room. So Carson will add into that. Obviously I don’t know the timetable and all the injury stuff and when it’s safe for him to be out there and not be out there. That’s stuff the doctors and Coach [Doug Pederson] can figure out. But as far as the meeting room, just getting to know Carson the way we all know him, he’ll help. He’s a guy who has a lot of ideas, and he’s very engaged like that, as is Nick. So I think Carson will have the maturity to understand, hey, Nick’s running the show right now, so just be there to support him in whatever way he can.”

Bengals designate Jeff Driskel to return from injured reserve

Getty Images

The Bengals designated Jeff Driskel to return from injured reserve. The team’s third-string quarterback broke the thumb and index finger on his throwing hand in the final preseason game, and the Bengals placed him on injured reserve Sept. 4.

Driskel’s return to practice Wednesday starts a three-week window during which he may practice with the team without being counted against the 53-player roster limit. The Bengals can add him to the roster at any time during the three-week period, though that seems unlikely with only three games remaining and Driskel unlikely to play.

The 49ers made Driskel a sixth-round pick in 2016. He joined the Bengals as a waiver acquisition in 2016, and he spent his entire rookie season on the Bengals’ 53-player roster. He did not play in a game.

Driskel played in all four of the Bengals’ preseason games this year, completing 14 of 21 passes for 164 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 106.1. He also had nine carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.