Kareem Jackson will play safety full time

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The Texans began experimenting with Kareem Jackson at safety during the offseason program as the team explored all options in trying to replace Andre Hal. Jackson performed so well at the position that he will play the position full time at training camp, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Jackson, 30, has practiced at safety in the past, but his 108 career starts were at cornerback.

Coach Bill O’Brien said Friday that Jackson still can play corner when needed but will work only at safety for now. Jackson is more needed at safety after Hal was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Hal started all 16 games at free safety last season, and Houston signed Tyrann Mathieu to man the strong safety spot.

Jackson will compete with Justin Reid, the team’s third-round pick, for the starting job.

Peyton Manning prepared for Drew Brees to breaks his passing records

AP

Peyton Manning owns NFL records for passing yards and passing touchdowns. He knows he won’t hold either for much longer.

Drew Brees trails Manning by only 1,495 yards and by 51 touchdowns.

“He’s just been the ultimate pro, taking care of himself, being in great shape,” Manning said Friday, via video from the Times-Picayune. “It’s a credit to him for playing as long as he has, at such a high level. He changed teams, which I know what that’s like. That is not easy going from San Diego to New Orleans, and he’s just been a great model of consistently obviously [with what] he and Sean [Peyton] have been able to do in 12 years together now.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s a matter of if. It’s just a matter of when. He deserves it. He’s been a great player for a long time.”

Brees ranks second in completions (6,222) behind Brett Favre (6,300). He trails Favre (10,169) and Manning (9,380) in attempts with 9,294. Brees’ 70,445 passing yards are closing in on Manning (71,940) and Favre (71,838). Brees is tied with Tom Brady in touchdown passes (488), with only Manning (539) and Favre (508) having more.

“Obviously, you never play for individual records of any sort, and I know Drew feels the same way,” Manning said. “I think touchdowns probably has a little more meaning to a quarterback, because it means that you got six points, and it means you were doing something good for your team. Yards, as you all know, [doesn’t] necessarily mean winning games. I think Drew’s had a couple of big yardage seasons, and maybe they haven’t been winning games, so I think that can be a little bit misleading.

“But being a fan of the history of game, when I was a Brett Favre fan and the guys who held the touchdown record before Favre — Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas — I really enjoyed kind of being a part of the quarterbacks that my dad grew up watching and loved. I’m a believer in the history of the game. I’m sure Drew will feel the same way when he breaks the touchdown record, which I think he’s got to throw a lot this year to break it, but he will get it next year if not this year. I think touchdowns means you’re helping win games. When I broke the touchdown record several years ago, it was in a game that we won, and it was helping our team win. Drew has been the ultimate team player. It’s all about helping your team win. I know when he breaks any of these records, it’s not going to mean as much to him if the Saints don’t win the game that day. . . . But he certainly deserves it.”

Friday’s #PFTPM has a special guest

PFTPM

Friday’s #PFTPM featured the debut of someone with whom you may be getting acquainted, sooner or later.

My son, Alex, joined me for the afternoon podcast. So get to know him.

He’s 21. He’s a very good kid. He’s funny. And he eventually will have the keys to this operation. Hopefully later than sooner.

His contributions will be limited for now. But he’ll be making periodic visits to #PFTPM, if he wants to keep doing it.

Hopefully, he’ll want to keep doing it. Hopefully, you’ll want to keep listening to it. Start by listening now.

Don Majkowski has Packers Hall of Fame ring stolen over weekend

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Don Majkowski is asking for help.

His Packers Hall of Fame ring was stolen from his Baltimore hotel room over the weekend. Majkowski, who played for the Packers from 1987-92, tweeted that he “forgot to put it on one morning and left it on the dresser. Realized it was gone the next day.”

“If anyone sees it out there, let me know!” Majkowski wrote.

The Packers inducted Majkowski into their Hall of Fame in 2005.

He went 22-26-1 in his six seasons in Green Bay, with Brett Favre replacing him in 1992. Majkowski’s only Pro Bowl came in 1989 when he led the league in attempts (599), completions (353) and yards (4,318).

The Packers’ 10-6 record that season was the franchise’s best in 17 years.

Majkowski finished his career with two seasons in Indianapolis and two in Detroit.

Chaz Green owns up to poor performance, doesn’t want it to define him

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The last time we heard from Chaz Green, the Cowboys offensive lineman was turning Adrian Clayborn into a household name while getting Dak Prescott killed. Clayborn made 9.5 sacks last season, with four coming in Week 11 against Green and two others against Green’s replacement, Byron Bell.

Green took blame for the Cowboys’ 27-7 loss to the Falcons immediately after the game, and he has continued to be a stand-up guy since.

“It’s been real tough to get over, man,” Green said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’d by lying if I’d sit here and said it wasn’t. As a competitor, it’s tough, but it’s something that I feel like I go off on. I always keep it in the back of my head when I go out to work each and every day.

“I want to put that behind me and not have it happen again.”

He has watched the film over and over again, hoping to learn from what he calls “self-inflicted” mistakes. Green doesn’t want the performance, which came with Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith inactive with an injury, to define him.

“That’s life. You’re always judged against your last performance,” Green said. “I don’t need sympathy, man. This game isn’t based on sympathy, so that’s the last thing I’m looking for. I own up to that. You know what I mean? I’m trying to move past that and grow.

“But the last thing I’m looking for is sympathy because my parents and how my dad raised me is much more tougher than that.”

Green, 26, faces a make-or-break season. In the final year of his rookie contract after the Cowboys spent a third-round pick on him, he has played only 18 games with six starts.

Green opened last season as the starter at left guard but lost his job to Jonathan Cooper. The Cowboys drafted Connor Williams in the second round to man the left guard spot this season.

Green worked at right guard and right tackle during the offseason program.

Joseph Randle expected to be released from jail Friday

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Joseph Randle won’t ever get another chance in the NFL, but he does have another chance to turn around his life.

A Kansas judge accepted the recommendation of attorneys Friday, handing the former Cowboys running back five years of probation stemming from an argument during a housewarming party two years ago, the Wichita Eagle reported. Sedgwick County District Judge Kevin O’Connor also agreed to consider reducing Randle’s probation by two years if he follows the rules of his probation and pays more than $3,000 in restitution to one of his victims plus other costs.

A jury convicted Randle of aggravated burglary, aggravated battery, criminal threat and marijuana possession after he allegedly hit three people with a car after being asked to leave the party.

Randle, who has spent most of the past two years in jail, was expected to be released Friday afternoon.

His sentence came a week after he was found competent for a fourth time following a mental evaluation at Kansas’ state-run psychiatric hospital in Larned, per the Wichita Eagle. Questions about his mental state had prevented a resolution to the case for more than a year.

Randle also resolved four other criminal charges Friday, per the newspaper. He pleaded no contest to two felonies — interference with a law enforcement officer and aggravated battery — and guilty to two misdemeanors — disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property.

Randle already has served the six months in jail he received for each of the misdemeanors, so he will remain out of jail on bond until he faces sentencing for the felonies in August.

The Cowboys made Randle a fifth-round pick in 2013. They waived him November 4, 2015, as his legal problems began. He gained 992 yards from scrimmage in his three seasons and scored nine total touchdowns.

Raiders add fullback Ryan Yuracheck

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The Raiders signed someone, and for a change, he’s young.

The team announced the signing of fullback Ryan Yurachek.

He’s an undrafted rookie from Marshall, who was in Saints camp briefly. He was a tight end in college, and caught 143 passes for 1,354 yards and 26 touchdowns.

To make room for him on the roster, the waived one of their previous undrafted rookies, fullback Henry Poggi.

Patriots sign first-round pick Isaiah Wynn

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The Patriots drafted two Georgia players in the first round of this year’s draft and they have one of them under contract.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that the team has signed offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn to a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth season. Wynn was drafted 23rd overall, leaving 31st overall pick Sony Michel as the only member of New England’s draft class without a deal.

Wynn played left guard and left tackle in college and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia said during the offseason that Wynn would get a look at left tackle as the team works to find a replacement for Nate Solder. He saw time at left guard alongside Trent Brown at tackle during minicamp with Joe Thuney missing practice time after having foot surgery.

With Wynn under contract, there are now 17 unsigned 2018 draft picks around the league.

Tre Boston says he got “very, very disrespectful” offer from Cardinals

AP

Tre Boston is one of several free agent safeties still looking for work this offseason, although Boston did get at least one offer from a team.

Boston visited with the Colts and Cardinals this offseason, but told Sirius XM NFL Radio that his visit with the Colts didn’t include any time with General Manager Chris Ballard, head coach Frank Reich or defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. Boston said he spent two hours in the lunch room and played basketball during his visit.

Boston also visited the Cardinals, who he said “rolled out the red carpet” for him in contrast. Boston termed the offer that the Cardinals made him “very, very disrespectful,” however, and he did not sign with the team. Boston also talked about the overall state of the market for him, Kenny Vaccaro, Eric Reid and other safeties.

“It’s kinda rough man, they got us where they think they want us,” Boston said. “For us, we have to communicate with each other so we don’t take this minimum wage.”

Given the experience these players have, it’s easy to understand why Boston feels that way. Given the way the market has failed to develop for these players, however, they may be faced with a choice of taking minimum salaries or something close to it if they are going to play during the 2018 season.

Anthony Brown hopes new technique helps him rebound

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With Byron Jones moving to cornerback and Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis returning for their second seasons after starting a combined 13 games, Anthony Brown has become the Cowboys’ forgotten cornerback.

But Brown has never missed a game in his two seasons, with 20 career starts.

He could work more in the nickel this season.

Brown expects the technique new secondary coach Kris Richard has brought from Seattle to benefit him and the rest of the cornerbacks this season. Brown calls the kick-step “a huge change.”

“Last year we didn’t have a set technique,” Brown said, via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. “It was pretty much do as you please, whatever makes you comfortable. That’s helping us be patient. and it’s really helping our feet. . . . Whenever we press man and we come up to the line, our first thought in our head is to get that kick-step.”

Brown has three interceptions, 19 pass breakups and two forced fumbles since the Cowboys made him a sixth-round pick. But he played better as a rookie than he did last season, so he seeks a bounce back season.

49ers sign Laken Tomlinson to three-year extension

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When the 49ers passed on exercising their option on Laken Tomlinson‘s contract for the 2019 season, General Manager John Lynch said that the team was going to work toward a long-term extension with the guard.

That work has paid off. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that the two sides have agreed on a three-year extension. Per Garafolo, the contract is worth $18 million with $10 million in guarantees.

Tomlinson was selected by the Lions with the 28th overall pick of the 2015 draft and traded to the 49ers for a fifth-round pick last August. He started 15 games for the 49ers in his first season with the team.

Tomlinson is expected to be at left guard again this year with Mike Person, Jonathan Cooper and 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett in the running to join him on the right side of the line.

A.J. Green has Julio Jones’ back in quest for contract

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Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has more receivers in his corner, other than Terrell Owens.

With Jones staying away from voluntary workouts and the mandatory minicamp while waiting for an adjustment to his contract, his peers have noticed.

Bengals wideout A.J. Green was stopped by a TMZ cameraman, and said he supported Jones.

“(He’s) got to do what he’s got to do, man,” Green said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The NFL stands for ‘Not For Long,’ so you got to get it while it lasts.”

Both wideouts signed extensions in 2015, with Green getting a four-year, $60 million deal and Jones a five-year, $71 million pact. You could easily argue that both are underpaid in light of recent receiver deals, even though Green has two years left and Jones three.

And while Green hasn’t made much of a noise about a similar adjustment, he knows that a rising tide lifts all boats, so he wouldn’t mind seeing Jones’ float a little higher.

Report: Terry McAulay headed to NBC

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So why is Terry McAulay abruptly retiring from his gig as an NFL referee? According to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, McAulay will become the rules analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

Asked by PFT — which falls under the NBC umbrella — for comment, NBC declined. (As I’ve said time and again, they only wake me up for the unimportant meetings.)

Seifert also reports that others auditioned for the gig, including referee Clete Blakeman. Which means, obviously, that Blakeman would have retired/resigned, if he’d gotten the job.

Blakeman joins Jeff Triplette as the latest former NFL officials turned rules analysts. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be more like Mike Pereira (who is excellent) or more like Mike Carey (who was not).

This year, the position becomes arguably more important than ever, given the changes to the catch rule and the kickoff formation. Likewise, the new rule prohibiting players from lowering their helmets to initiate contact may necessitate plenty of explanations.

Orleans Darkwa cleared after leg surgery

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Running back Orleans Darkwa remains a free agent after leading the Giants rushing last season and his attempt to find a job for the 2018 season could get a boost thanks to some positive medical news.

Darkwa had surgery in May to remove a plate in his leg and announced on Twitter that he has been medically cleared to resume football work. Darkwa had the plate inserted after fracturing his leg in 2016.

Darkwa ran 171 times for 751 yards and five touchdowns for the Giants last year, but a return to the team would seem to be out of the cards with Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Stewart joining the backfield this offseason.

Other than a visit with the Patriots early in free agency, the market was quiet for Darkwa before his operation. We’ll see if things heat up before training camp as a result of the news about his leg.

Ex-Jaguar Julius Williams gets 90 days in jail for reckless driving after fatal crash

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Julius Williams played one season for the Jaguars in 2009. In 2015, he was driving to a Jaguars game as a spectator when he was in a traffic crash that killed the other driver. Today he was sentenced to 90 days in jail for that crash.

First Coast News reports that Williams was sentenced to 90 days today for reckless driving.

Williams was driving with another former NFL player, Anthony Smith, in the passenger seat when they were hit from behind by a semi-truck, and the driver of the semi died. Although Williams’ vehicle was hit from behind, police concluded that Williams was driving in an “aggressive and erratic manner” and he was charged with vehicular homicide. A jury acquitted him of that charge but convicted him of the less serious reckless driving.

Williams has not spoken publicly about the crash, but Smith has said Williams was not at fault.

“We mourn for the loss of the other family but it was just an unfortunate incident, an unfortunate accident,” Smith said.