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DeSean Jackson accuses Eagles of “smear campaign”

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The NFL is the nation’s ultimate reality show. Which perhaps makes NFL players inclined to try to have their own reality shows.

Washington receiver DeSean Jackson now does, and in the first episode of his new BET series Jackson unloaded on his former team, the Eagles.

Via John Keim of ESPN.com, Jackson accused the Eagles of launching a “smear campaign” against him in 2014, the year the team decided to move on from the player who arrived as a second-round pick in 2008.

“I was at the top of the top. And then I got released,” Jackson said early in the debut of DeSean Jackson Home Team. “It was a smear campaign. Things media said about me, I bet you could say that about the majority of people in the NFL. I got a second chance to play in the NFL and I’m proving I’m one of the best receivers in the game.”

He may have a point. On the very same day the Eagles cut Jackson, NJ.com published a story that suggested gang connections and claimed, citing unnamed sources, that the Eagles also are concerned about his “bad attitude, an inconsistent work ethic, missed meetings and a lack of chemistry with head coach Chip Kelly.”

Last April, the NFLPA said it was looking into whether the Eagles smeared Jackson, but there never was a specific finding that the Eagles did. Jackson continued to be convinced that they did.

“When I was released by the Eagles, I feel they tried to paint a picture that definitely wasn’t true,” Jackson said during the show. “It was a slap in the face, coming off one of my best seasons in the NFL. . . . The Eagles tried to blow me up. That’s cold how they did it. . . . Have I went to jail? . . . I ain’t done none of that.”

The Eagles consistently have said that Jackson was released for football reasons only. Though his numbers were down from 2013 to 2014, Jackson still had 1,169 receiving yards — and his highest yard-per-catch average (20.9) since 2010 in his first season with Washington.

 

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Minor league baseball team offers Odell Beckham a contract

Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr. AP

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham said recently that he gets frustrated with teasing from his teammates about injuries and his sudden rise to fame, which drew a lot of attention and led Beckham to follow up by saying that he doesn’t have a problem with anyone on the team.

Should that change at some point this year, Beckham has an offer that would give him a whole new set of teammates. After video of Beckham throwing hard from the mound at a charity softball game went viral, he’s received a job offer from the Rockland Boulders of the Can-Am league.

“It’s apparent that Odell is a very gifted athlete regardless of his sport. We think that getting experience pitching to professional hitters will give him the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson”, said Boulders General Manager Shawn Reilly, via Lohud.com. “As we are the New York area’s only defending professional championship team, he will have the opportunity to learn in a first-class environment while still in close proximity to MetLife Stadium.”

The Boulders offer is for Beckham to join them for spring training next May, so Giants fans don’t have to worry about Beckham trading the gridiron for the diamond this summer. They probably don’t have to worry about it in 2016 either, unless Beckham’s secret desire all along has been to parley an NFL career into a chance to play for a minor league baseball team unaffiliated with any big league club.

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Six years and counting with NBC

NBC

In early 2009, NBC first approached PFT about a possible partnership. I didn’t want to do it.

So I played the Costanza card, insisting on full editorial control and final say over anything and everything posted, without compromise or exception. And then Rick Cordella (who has since risen to the top of the digital ladder at NBC Sports Group despite his role in bringing PFT under the umbrella) didn’t blink.

So then I had to come up with another excuse for not doing it.

I opted for delay until late February, when the PFT servers imploded on the first day of free agency and Cordella eventually gave us temporary space with NBCSports.com until we got our act (or something else ending in “t”) together. After that, it became inevitable that we’d do a deal.

A deal we did, with the switch being flipped on July 1, 2009. We’ve renewed our vows twice since then, and NBC is stuck with us for at least three more years. Hopefully, longer than that.

What started as a digital-only deal eventually became a TV deal and, more recently, a radio deal. Through it all, NBC has provided excellent cooperation and support, with so few hiccups that I can’t even remember a single one. (Except for the time I used an off-color term in a headline, less than a month into the relationship.)

On one of our past anniversaries with NBC, I tried to list every single person who has had a role in the partnership. Six years into it, there are way too many people to name.

Cordella and Kevin Monaghan got the ball rolling, Dick Ebersol quickly signed off on it. His successor, Mark Lazarus, has been every bit as enthusiastic and positive about the relationship as Dick was. On the TV side, Sam Flood continues to authorize the purchase of sufficient makeup to remove just enough of my ugly to allow for a presentation that doesn’t unduly frighten small children or the elderly, and Matt Casey protects me against saying stupid things. (Or at least he tries to.)

On the radio side, Rob Simmelkjaer of NBC and Jack Silver of Westwood One have provided the same kind of platform NBC originally gave PFT six years ago today: We focus on the content, they focus on everything else, and it’s a win for everybody.

Hopefully, it’s been a win for you. I ultimately agreed to do the deal because I realized how it could improve the experience for the football fans who visit the site. Making this an attractive place for you to frequent as frequently as possible has always been my primary goal.

There was a time when I assumed PFT would end whenever I either dropped dead or decided I’ve had enough. While neither occasion is looming (at least, not the one that I can control), with NBC’s help this has now become something that could survive and thrive long after I’m no longer hunting and pecking for the right letters to make the right words to convey the information you’re looking for to supplement your interest in pro football.

So take a moment in the comments to thank NBC. Or, depending on your opinions of PFT, to blame NBC.  Either way, PFT wouldn’t be where it is today without NBC bringing PFT on board six years ago today.

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PFT Planet poll results aren’t promising for Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson AP

After Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson turned the question of what he deserves around on ESPN’s Marty Smith, asking Smith how much he would pay Wilson, we decided to put the question to you.

In the 20 hours or so since the poll question was posted, nearly 17,000 have responded. More than 35 percent peg Wilson’s value between $15 million and $20 million per year.

But here’s the kicker. Coming in second in the five-option range of annual salaries was “$15 million or less,” with 23 percent picking that option. That’s a whopping 58 percent who believe Wilson deserves less than $20 million per year.

And as to the magic number of $25 million per year, only 6.6 percent agree that he’s worth that much or more.

Voting is still open, in large part because I don’t know how to close the voting on these polls.

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Former NFL player Richard Goodman sues NFLPA

Goodman Getty Images

The NFL Players Association doesn’t simply represent players in their employment with the NFL. The union also regulates those who represent players in their individual contract negotiations. One former player contends that the NFLPA failed to properly regulate those who represent players in their individual contract negotiations.

Receiver Richard Goodman, who bounced on and off the San Diego roster from 2010 through September 2013, accuses the NFLPA of negligence, gross negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the regulation of agent Richard Burnoski. Specifically, Goodman claims that the NFLPA failed to suspend Burnoski or to revoke his certification for failing to pay agent dues and/or to maintain liability insurance.

The complaint, a copy of which PFT has obtained, contends that Burnoski borrowed $25,000 in Goodman’s name in January 2010, forging Goodman’s signature and then failing to pay the money back. Goodman was sued, and he claims Burnoski assured Goodman that the matter had been resolved. Goodman also contends that, in reality, Burnoski had done nothing.

The end result was a default judgment against Goodman in excess of $47,000, collected via garnishment of his wages. Efforts to vacate the judgment resulted in more than $13,000 in fees and additional expenses.

Goodman tried to obtain compensation for his losses via Burnoski’s liability insurance policy, but Goodman learned in December 2014 that Burnoski didn’t pay his union dues in 2010 or renew his liability insurance.

The sequence of events likely will be crucial in this case, since Goodman claims that he hired Burnoski in reliance on the online database that identifies which agents are certified by the NFLPA to represent players in their negotiations with specific teams. It’s possible Burnoski was in good standing at the time Goodman checked the online database (assuming the online database was actually even checked), and that Burnoski thereafter fell out of compliance.

A separate issue in the litigation will be whether and to what extent the NFLPA has an affirmative duty to notify players represented by an agent who fails to pay his dues and/or neglects to maintain his liability insurance policy — and whether the NFLPA actually did provide that notice to Goodman. Goodman claims he received no such information, and that he would have switched agents if he’d known that Burnoski’s insurance coverage had lapsed.

After January 25, 2010, it may not have mattered. The allegedly forged loan documents were signed that day, only a few weeks after the completion of Goodman’s college career at Florida State. The loan documents, which were attached to the complaint, show that Burnoski co-signed the loan with Goodman.

Given the timing of the loan, a key question will be whether Goodman’s name was actually forged. It’s possible that the loan was secured so that Goodman would have some cash between the end of his college career and the 2010 draft, and that Goodman did indeed sign the documents.

A separate question will be whether the liability insurance that NFLPA-certified agents must carry would even cover the behavior in which Burnoski allegedly engaged. Goodman accuses Burnoski of engaging not in garden-variety malpractice but intentional and deliberate fraud.

Of course, Burnoski later assured Goodman that the lawsuit had been taken care of, a separate blunder that prevented Goodman from having a chance to properly defend himself against the claim that he owed money for the loan.

Ultimately, the case against the NFLPA initially will hinge on whether Goodman can show that he didn’t sign for the loan, especially since the documents were signed at a time in Goodman’s football career during which it would have been logical for the player to be seeking enough cash to carry him from the end of his college football career to the arrival of his first NFL paycheck.

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Giants says they’ve “implemented a few programs” to update medical practices

True Blue Celebrity Softball Game Getty Images

When asked to contrast Tom Coughlin with Chip Kelly and Pete Carroll, Eagles defensive back Walter Thurmond said that all three coaches share the drive to win championships but that Coughlin takes a different path when it comes to some of the new medical practices that have caught on in Philadelphia and Seattle.

“He doesn’t believe in the sport-science aspect like Coach Carroll or Coach Kelly and the newfound technology for the players,” Thurmond said. “His style takes a hit, because he doesn’t believe in this aspect. He believes in winning, but he doesn’t believe in the modern medicine to progress the players to that next level.”

The idea that Coughlin is slow to adapt to new techniques isn’t one that feels like it comes out of left field. He’s the oldest coach in the league (although Carroll is No. 2 on that list) and has been in the same job with same head trainer and conditioning coach since joining the team in 2004. Beyond that, he’s also the coach who said that injuries are “a mental thing” when he joined the Giants so it’s easy to see where Thurmond would develop those feelings. Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said the team has adopted new techniques of late, however.

“You would have to ask Walter what he is referring to specifically when it comes to comparing and contrasting,” Hanlon said, via ESPN.com. “But the fact is, over the past 2-3 years, we have adopted and implemented a few programs: the GPS system we employ to monitor workload, diet in terms of offerings and preparation in the dining hall, and sleep studies. Those are a few of the things we have done as we continue to evolve.”

Injuries are a reality of life for every NFL team, but they’ve been an overwhelming one for the Giants over the last few years. Whether that’s because of training methods, Coughlin’s disdain for sports science, bad luck, something else or all of the above, it’s something that the team should be looking into in order to change the trend of lengthy injury reports during the 2015 season.

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Uncertainty exists about Tom Brady’s Country Club application

New England Patriots Pre-Season Practice Getty Images

As a four-time Super Bowl champion, Tom Brady’s a member of a pretty exclusive club.

But he may have run into a hearing at which turning over his cell phone might not help.

According to Mark Shanahan of the Boston Globe, Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen have applied for membership at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., and their application might be in doubt because they’re too famous.

I don’t know what they’ll do about Brady,” a “prominent Boston businessperson” told the paper regarding the membership issue. “The Country Club believes your name should appear in the newspaper just two times: When you’re born and when you die.”

Brady’s and Bundchen’s have appeared far more than that, and will continue to, with paparazzi in tow wherever they go. They already own a house there, so joining the club makes sense for them, but possibly not for the club.

“When it comes to issues related to members or membership, it’s our policy not to comment,” said David Chag, the general manager of The Country Club. “It’s a private club, and we don’t answer those kinds of questions.”

On that score, Brady could have an in, since he’s gotten good at not commenting for large amounts of money as well.

But that might not help him at a club which didn’t admit its first Jewish member until the 1970s, no women until 1989 and no blacks until 1994.

So as you get up and go to work and pay your bills, remember, even someone as talented and famous as Brady has problems too. The struggle is real.

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Josh Hill sees “just subtle changes” with Jimmy Graham gone

Josh Hill AP

There are going to be several players on the Saints Defense impacted by the departure of tight end Jimmy Graham in a trade this offseason and Josh Hill would seem to be at the top of the list.

Hill played 293 snaps at tight end for New Orleans last season and caught 14 passes for 176 yards, numbers that seem destined for a sharp rise with Graham plying his trade in Seattle and coach Sean Payton complimenting Hill’s ability to “run and stretch the defense” as a receiver. Hill’s doing a good job of keeping things on an even keel in spite of the changes, however.

Hill said he’s approaching this season the same way that he’s approached any other year and that he wants to “do whatever I can do” to help the team. Hill’s also downplaying any major changes at tight end in the post-Graham offense.

“They ask us to do a lot of things,” Hill said, via the New Orleans Advocate. “They always have. I haven’t seen anything stand out to being really different, just subtle changes here and there.”

The Saints went out to more than subtly change the makeup of their offense this offseason by dealing Graham and wide receiver Kenny Stills while acquiring center Max Unger and running back C.J. Spiller. That will likely mean a diminished role for tight ends even as Hill’s role grows in his third season in New Orleans.

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Bears rookie Kevin White can’t get his hands on a dinner tab

Kevin White AP

Being a first-round pick in the NFL draft means you’re rich.

And Bears wide receiver Kevin White is finding out that can save him some money.

The eighth overall pick said during an NFL Network interview that there were benefits he didn’t expect with his new status and $16.5 million contract.

“The most surprising thing that’s happen to me this far is going out to eat for free,” White said. “I didn’t expect this restaurant to give it to me for free. I gave them my card, and they said ‘it’s on us.’ So that was a good feeling.”

We’re also guessing the service he got at Chez Quis was better than Abe Froman received, though you have to wonder whether Jay Cutler’s still picking up tabs there.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Bills S Aaron Williams is giving back with a football camp in his hometown.

The Dolphins have announced their training camp schedule.

Former Patriot Joe Andruzzi, a cancer survivor himself, is raising money for cancer patients.

The new Jets coaching staff hopes that moving Jace Amaro will help to unlock his potential.

The Ravens don’t expect to sneak up on anyone this year.

Bengals DE Michael Johnson feels refreshed after a year away from Cincinnati.

Terrelle Pryor’s high school coach says he has all the tools to be a wide receiver for the Browns.

Here’s a look at the Steelers’ cornerback depth chart.

The Houston Chronicle has news for people who care about J.J. Watt’s love life (or lack thereof).

Are the Colts Super Bowl contenders?

The Jaguars are searching for a new mascot.

The Titans lobbied for legislation in Tennessee to ban the flying of drones over football games and other large gatherings.

Broncos S David Bruton is staying in shape with some offseason mountain biking.

Chiefs QB Alex Smith says WR Jeremy Maclin can do everything.

The battle continues over financing a new stadium for the Raiders in Oakland.

New Chargers OT Chris Hairston is reunited with offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, and it feels so good.

In 1989, Stephen Jones urged his dad not to buy the Cowboys.

Is Damontre Moore ready for a breakout season for the Giants?

Here’s an Eagles history lesson inspired by the signing of John Moffitt.

Will WR DeSean Jackson’s reality show turn into a distraction in Washington?

Bears WR Kevin White is finding out that being the first-round pick in Chicago has its perks.

Golden Tate thinks it’s the Lions’ time.

Aaron Rodgers can’t swing a sword like his girlfriend.

The Vikings think rookie DE Danielle Hunter has a lot of raw talent.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan throws the NFL’s best deep ball.

The key to improving the Panthers’ pass rush may be improvement in the secondary.

The Saints like what they’re seeing from rookie LB Stephone Anthony.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston gave a surprise to a young fan.

Cardinals LB Markus Golden says he got a lot out of the rookie symposium.

Will Nick Foles be a disappointment in St. Louis?

Retired 49ers LB Chris Borland hopes he can become a spokesman for the importance of avoiding head injuries.

The Seahawks like what they’re seeing from Drew Nowak, a third-year player who spent last season on the practice squad.

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Jim Kelly loving the chance to work his football camp again

Jim Kelly, Kim Pegula AP

For many current and former players, summer football camps are a marketing tool or a revenue stream.

For Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, his has always meant something more, and now more than ever.

This is what I look forward to every year, even last year when I wasn’t feeling good at all,” Kelly said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News.

He wasn’t able to do as much during his battle with cancer last summer, but this week, he’s been out with the kids, throwing passes, teaching fundamentals, and enjoying being able to be out among Bills fans young and old.

“Some even have told me that their dad has broken out the VHS [tapes] and put them on,” Kelly said of his campers knowledge of his game. “I said, ‘You still have a VHS?’ But all these kids here were not here then. They weren’t even born yet.

“But we know about the Bills fans. The fathers are going to tell their kids about the days the Bills were going to the Super Bowl and how much fun it was. When they left on Sunday from here, they knew their Mondays were going to be sunny whether it was raining or snowing. They were going to be happy.”

That’s what the 55-year-old Kelly apparently was this week, as he worked with kids during his 28th annual camp.

“The bottom line is you don’t want to let the kids down,” Kelly said. “I was going to be here no matter what. I feel so much better. Last year, I was doing it because I wanted to do it, but really couldn’t do it. This year, I want to do it and I can do it.

“My arm is really sore today, but I feel good. I finally gained some weight, I’m feeling better, and thank the good Lord, I’m still here.”

And as his health improves, the hope is that he’s around for many more of these.

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Even with L.A. questions lingering, Jared Cook working to help St. Louis

St Louis Rams v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Rams tight end Jared Cook knows there’s a good chance his employer won’t be in St. Louis this time next year.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stop working there.

Via Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Cook said the talk about a pending move to Los Angeles takes a toll on players, but he’s still trying to help his community while he’s there. During an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Cook described the work he’s doing with the Van Duzer Foundation’s Restoring the Village initiative, with whom he has helped start seven Boy Scout troops in Ferguson, Mo.

It is tough because you invest so much in the community and the areas you’re in while you’re there,” Cook said. “You become a voice for the people that do not have a voice.

“There’s so many people here we’ve been trying to help — Boys and Girls Clubs, the homeless people — that if we were uprooted and moved, the only thing you can do is establish something as well in the next city you go to and pray that your voice was heard and you changed lives while you were here.”

Cook was one of the most active Rams in Ferguson after last summer’s police shooting of Michael Brown, and the subsequent weeks of violence and racial tensions.

So the persistent questions about Los Angeles might hit him differently than others.

“It’s something you can never escape or get away from,” Cook said. “Somewhere, somebody is always talking about it or there’s always a question that pops up no matter if they’re Rams fans or [New York] Giants fans. Somebody always wants to know.

“The best thing you can do is not even focus on it. You can kind of detour the question because at the end of the day it’s out of our hands as players and coaches. There’s only one man who can make that decision. The best thing we can do is go to work every day and do your job, control the things you can control, and focus on the season one week at a time like you’re used to.”

And for Cook, that means continuing the work in the community he’s already in.

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Derek Carr says Amari Cooper looks so good, it’s ridiculous

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Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper is even better than advertised.

Carr said on 95.7 The Game that Cooper, whom the Raiders drafted out of Alabama with the fourth overall pick, has looked even better than expected through two months of offseason work.

“He is ridiculous in and out of his breaks,” said Carr. “His style of play is perfect for this league. He’s good at getting on toes and creating separation. He’s good at when the ball is in his hands making those fast-twitch movements to make a guy go one way so he can take it to the house. It’s just little things that honestly people don’t even notice.”

Although Carr and Cooper have only been teammates since late April, they’ve already spent a lot of time working together. Carr said he and Cooper are developing a rapport through extra work beyond the team’s minicamp and Organized Team Activities.

“His work ethic is second to none,” Carr said. “I was throwing with him as soon as mini-camp was over so we can get more reps in, and our plan was to throw a couple more times, but he texted me that night. He said, ‘hey, let’s throw at least three more times. I need to get this one route right.’ Just him telling me that kind of stuff, it blew my mind.”

In Carr and Cooper, the Raiders may have a couple of big pieces in place, for years to come.

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Chargers, Raiders meet with L.A. officials

Garcetti Getty Images

The Chargers aren’t talking to San Diego, and the Raiders don’t currently have much to say to Oakland. But both teams are talking a blue streak to Los Angeles.

Via Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times, Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Raiders owner Mark Davis spent Tuesday in L.A. for meetings with multiple political figures who hope to lure the two teams to Carson.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is treading lightly for now, given that the Chargers, Raiders, and Rams each hope to come to L.A. — and given that the NFL ultimately will decide which one or two teams will get the green light to make the move. Regardless of how it plays out, it now seems certain that Los Angeles will have one or two teams back in town.

“While Mayor Garcetti frequently meets with companies looking to do business in Los Angeles, we are mindful that the Chargers, Raiders and Rams are still actively discussing stadium deals in their current cities and the NFL has not yet approved a team moving,” Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman said.

Farmer reports that the timing of the meeting wasn’t coincidental, given that just last week businessman Floyd Kephart submitted a plan for keeping the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders have not commented, but Kephart’s proposal (which includes Kephart’s company buying 20 percent of the team for $200 million) has received widespread criticism.

Although the Chargers and Raiders currently hope to partner up in Carson, if Inglewood wins the race to build a new NFL stadium, the would-be associates could be competing for the second seat at the table with the Rams.

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C.J. Spillman officially charged with sexual assault

C.J. Spillman Getty Images

C.J Spillman has been officially charged with sexual assault stemming from an incident at the Dallas Cowboys team hotel last September.

According to Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News, a grand jury indicted Spillman on sexual assault charges on Monday.

The incident allegedly occurred at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas on Sept. 20, 2014.

Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said they would wait for charges to be handed down before deciding on a course of action. With no charges being handed down last season, Spillman ultimately appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys last season and recorded 16 tackles.

Spillman is now a free agent and that burden is no longer on the Cowboys to deal with.

Spillman has spent seven seasons in the NFL with the Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers.

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