Phillip Lindsay adjusting to life away from Colorado for first time

New Orleans Saints v Denver Broncos
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Running back Phillip Lindsay spent three seasons with the Broncos before signing with the Texans as a free agent this offseason, but his attachment to Colorado ran a lot longer.

Lindsay was born in Denver and went to high school there before going to the University of Colorado. He signed with the Broncos after going undrafted in 2018, so this offseason’s move to Houston represented a lot more than a change in uniform.

In a media session near the end of the team’s offseason program, Lindsay said the move took him out of his comfort zone and shared why he thinks that’s a good thing.

“For me, everything was comfortable,” Lindsay said, via the team’s website. “I had everything right there — my family, my fiancée’s family was there, our son was in a comfortable situation. So, when we did have to come to Houston, it’s new for all of us. We’re all trying to adjust to it. It’s fun, though. In a sense it’s going to help in a lot of different ways.”

Lindsay was one of three free agent additions to the backfield in Houston. Mark Ingram and Rex Burkhead also signed on to the Texans roster and David Johnson remains on hand from last year, which sets up a competition for roles that should keep anyone from getting comfortable this summer.

Vic Fangio: Kendall Hinton improved a lot, in hunt for WR spot

NFL: NOV 29 Saints at Broncos
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Kendall Hinton‘s NFL debut was an illustration of the strange twists the COVID-19 pandemic forced upon the 2020 season.

Hinton was on the Broncos’ practice squad as a wide receiver, but he was called up to the active roster as a quarterback in Week 12 when all of the regular quarterbacks on the roster were ruled out due to positive tests or exposure to the virus. Hinton, who played quarterback early in his time at Wake Forest, was 1-of-9 for 13 yards in a 31-3 loss to the Saints before heading back to the practice squad.

The Broncos have Hinton back at receiver now and head coach Vic Fangio singled him out for some praise as the team’s offseason program wound down last week.

“The guy that has had a really good camp from the start of OTAs until now has been Kendall,” Fangio said, via USAToday.com. “He’s really looked good as a receiver and he’s improved a lot. He’s in the hunt for one of those spots.”

With Courtland Sutton back from a torn ACL and Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler on hand, the Broncos don’t have many open spots on the depth chart. That means Hinton will need to continue to impress if he’s going to grab in hopes of making a better second impression on the active roster.

NCAA in apparent denial about impact of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling

2019 NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship
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Following Monday’s gutting of its authority by the U.S. Supreme Court, the NCAA needs to work through the five stages of grief, quickly.

Currently, the governing body of college sports seems to be stuck firmly in denial.

Via Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal, NCAA president Mark Emmert wants the D-I Council (which convened yesterday and will meet again today) to pass name, image and likeness rules that will apply to all member institutions. Per the report, Emmert wants “new NIL rules that will be more restrictive than the six state laws that take effect July 1.”

That would be a gigantic mistake, a total misreading of Monday’s 9-0 unanimous decision and the clear warning from the concurring opinion filed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The one thing this 9-0 decision made clear is the NCAA is fully subject to the antitrust laws,” attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who represented the plaintiffs in the landmark case, tells Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal. “It has no special exemption for amateurism. . . . To the extent the NCAA imposes NIL restrictions, new limitations, yeah, you can bet somebody is going to scrutinize it and probably file a case over it.”

Indeed they will. With the Supreme Court making it clear that the entire business model is a ruse built on amateur athletics and aimed at not fairly sharing the wealth with those who primarily generate it, the extension of that effort to promote amateurism — preventing the athletes from separately generating revenue through their fame — CLEARLY violates the law, as articulated by the highest court in the nation.

“A number of conferences are pushing the NCAA to basically back out of all of it, and let the individual schools set their own names, images and likeness policies,” Kessler told Mullen. “Let each school decide its own rules and get out of all of this regulation.”

That’s exactly what the NCAA should do. Even conferences that set rules create risks of antitrust violations. Collusion claims also could be made if these schools coincidentally end up with the exact same rules. That’s because all rules limiting free enterprise for student athletes create risk in the wake of Monday’s decision. It creates an existential threat for the NCAA, a governing body which in many ways can no longer govern if its efforts to do so represent clear and obvious antitrust violations.

“If the NCAA can’t even enforce its own rules, what purpose does it serve?” a high-ranking college administrator told Smith.

“It’s time to wave the white flag,” another told Smith. “We need to adapt to the new laws of the land. . . . The NCAA can’t keep operating from the same old playbook.”

That’s the correct view. If, however, there’s nothing for the NCAA to do under the new laws of the land, there’s no reason for the NCAA to continue, at least not in its current form.

It shouldn’t. The NCAA has been the mechanism of rules and regulations that has allowed hundreds of colleges and universities to hide behind a faςade of amateurism FOR DECADES in order to deny fair compensation to those who play what has become professional sports without professional athletes.

The game is over. The NCAA is dead. And it looks like the NCAA will be the last one to acknowledge that which anyone else with a functioning brain realizes.

Pete Carroll believes Gerald Everett will be a breakout player in Seahawks offense

Los Angeles Rams v Seattle Seahawks
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The Seattle Seahawks were the most explosive offense in the NFL through the first half of last season before losing their effectiveness in the second half of the year. The team made significant changes this offseason in bringing in a new offensive coordinator, trading for veteran guard Gabe Jackson and drafting receiver D'Wayne Eskridge with their first selection in April’s NFL Draft.

However, head coach Pete Carroll believes the addition of tight end Gerald Everett in free agency will be a big boost to the unit as well.

In an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle, Carroll brought up Everett when asked who he believed would be the team’s breakout performer this upcoming season.

Oh, I think you’re going to be really excited to see Gerald Everett,” Carroll said. ” … This is I think the fanciest, sweetest-looking receiver/tight end mix that we’ve had. He’s like a wide receiver, he’s got terrific after-the-catch run ability, really aggressive and he’s a good blocker, too, and he knows the system inside and out. What Gerald brings us is a real threat in the throwing game. Should be a big factor on third down.”

Carroll’s praise of Everett is particularly interesting given the Seahawks had Jimmy Graham for three seasons. Graham set franchise records for receiving yards by a tight end in a single season with 923 in 2016 and 10 touchdowns from the tight end position in 2017. It seems as though Carroll just views Everett as a better fit for their new approach under offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, whom Everett played under with the Los Angeles Rams the last four seasons.

“Gerald is a really unique player and he should catch a lot of balls and be right in the middle of the action,” Carroll said.

Tight ends combined for 75 catches, 715 yards and six touchdowns last year for Seattle. Will Dissly led the team in receiving from the position with 251 yards while Jacob Hollister‘s 25 catches was the team-best. With Greg Olsen sustaining a foot injury and Dissly recovering from a torn Achilles from the prior season, the group wasn’t as explosive as Seattle would have hoped. Carroll is hopeful Everett helps the group take another step forward.

“Our tight end spot is a good position already with Will and you’re going to see Colby Parkinson coming up – he’s been really impressive. But Gerald is a really unique player and he should catch a lot of balls and be right in the middle of the action this year,” Carroll said.

Former NFL QB Jake Plummer to star in movie featuring CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats

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Former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer is going to put on pads and a helmet once again to play the role of a Canadian Football League quarterback in an upcoming Canadian film.

According to John Hodge of 3DownNation.com, Plummer has signed on to play the part of a signal-caller for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the film Kick.

It’s a cool script,” Plummer said. “It’s really neat to be showcasing a league that doesn’t get a lot of respect for the amount of football that’s gone into it and the history behind the CFL, which is a really rich history up there in Canada.”

Plummer, 46, played 10 full seasons in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals and Denver Broncos. He last played football with the Broncos in 2006.

Plummer recently served as an extra in a movie featuring one of his former college teammates at Arizona State, Isaiah Mustafa, which was his first acting gig.

“He’s been trying to pull me into a few things for a while now and I finally opened up to it,” said Plummer. “I went through that one door and look what happened — the opportunity to do something that could be a lot of fun that I can add my energy and passion to.”

After submitting bid to buy racetrack, Bears announce sponsorship deal with racetrack’s owner

POSSIBLE MERGER OF ARLINGTON INTERNATIONAL RACECOURSE AND CHURCHILL DOWNS
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot last week dismissed the Bears’ bid to buy Arlington International Racecourse as a stadium negotiating ploy. It might be time for her to take the Bears’ potential move to the suburbs seriously.

Only days after submitting their Arlington Park bid, the Bears on Tuesday announced a sponsorship deal with the racetrack’s owner and Rivers Casino. A minority owner and principal operator of the casinos is Neil Bluhm, a minority owner of the Bulls and White Sox and one of the richest men in Chicago, according to Hub Arkush of Shaw Media.

Arkush speculates the McCaskey family could partner with Bluhm and Churchill Downs to build a new stadium in Arlington Heights, which is about 30 miles from Soldier Field.

The four-paragraph news release does not mention the Bears’ announcement last Thursday about the team’s bid for the 326-acre racetrack property. But the sponsorship deal connects some dots, showing the sides have had talks.

A Bears spokeswoman declined to answer the Daily Herald‘s question about whether negotiations over a Rivers sponsorship deal began before, after, or were concurrent with discussions about the team’s interest in Arlington Park.

“We are incredibly excited to announce BetRivers and Rivers Casino as our first multiyear exclusive partner in the Sportsbook and Casino categories,” Bears CEO Ted Phillips said in the announcement. “We look forward to connecting with our fans in fun and unique ways through these avenues and couldn’t be prouder to be building this relationship with a hometown company.”

Brendan Ayanbadejo: Carl Nassib seems like the right guy to carry the torch

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Chargers
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Brendan Ayanbadejo married his wife, Natalee, in 2003, and the couple have three children. But during his 10 NFL seasons, Ayanbadejo became one of the league’s first — and most — outspoken advocates for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.

So Ayanbadejo, who last played in 2012, applauded from the sideline when Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay Monday.

“Carl seems like the right guy to carry the torch,” Ayanbadejo told Ryan Mink of the Ravens’ team website Wednesday. “He’s an established guy. He’s a veteran player. I think he’s the perfect candidate to normalize what a gay male in the NFL is.”

In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player ever drafted, but he never played a regular-season game. Nassib has played 73 games in five seasons, making him the first active player ever to come out as gay.

NFL players, former players, the NFL, the Raiders and many other NFL teams have tweeted their support of Nassib.

“I think we have to take the approach that it matters until it doesn’t matter anymore,” Ayanbadejo said. “We get more progressive and more accepting as times goes by. I think we’re trying to go from a point of tolerance to acceptance. They are two very different things.

“Like with Jackie Robinson being the first Black player in the MLB, Carl is going to be the first openly gay player to play in a regular-season game. Hopefully, we get to a point where it doesn’t even register, but we’re not there yet. These watershed moments, we have to celebrate and acknowledge them. Hopefully in 10 years, if there are a bunch of guys that are gay, we don’t even talk about it. Maybe it’s 10 years or maybe it’s one year. I don’t know, but the sooner the better.”

Ayanbadejo now has his own company, West Coast Fitness, which operates 55 Orangetheory Fitness locations mostly in California.

Ravens will allow fans to attend 12 training camp practices at team facility

NFL: NOV 15 Ravens at Patriots
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The Ravens will allow fans to attend 12 training camp practices this summer, the team announced Tuesday.

The Ravens will hold training camp at their team facility in Owings Mills, which can hold some 1,000 fans. The Ravens also scheduled an open practice at M&T Bank Stadium for July 31.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ravens fans back to training camp,” Ravens senior vice president of marketing Brad Downs said in a statement. “We missed not having the energy of our fans at practice last year. Our upcoming training camp will be especially meaningful, knowing just how great it will be to reconnect with the Ravens Flock in person.”

The Ravens’ first full-team training camp practice is July 28. The final date fans can attend is Aug. 16.

The team will not allow player autographs because of COVID-19 protocols.

Masks are not required, but the Ravens encourage unvaccinated fans to wear them when unable to stay 6 feet from people outside their own household.

The online reservation is on a first-come, first-served basis, allowing fans to secure a parking pass that will admit one car’s worth of people to the specific practice requested.

George Kittle: Trey Lance doesn’t let mistakes snowball

San Francisco 49ers Off-Season Workout
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Trey Lance is a rookie. That means Lance is going to make rookie mistakes, probably lots of them over the next year.

But the 49ers’ future starting quarterback has impressed his teammates by his ability to learn from his mistakes and not let them compound.

Trey’s a good quarterback,” star tight end George Kittle said on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday, via 49erswebzone.com. “I’m excited to see the progression that he makes. He’s a hell of an athlete. Just being in OTAs with him, he’s a guy that wants to learn every single day. He’s competitive every single day. He doesn’t let mistakes stop him. Nothing snowballs.”

Since the team’s offseason program ended, several videos have surfaced of Lance throwing. One featured Lance working with veteran receiver Mohamed Sanu.

The 49ers traded up to draft Lance, making him the heir apparent. The only question is: When will Lance take over from Jimmy Garoppolo?

“He’s got all the right attributes, and I’m just excited to see how he progresses in training camp,” Kittle said.

Raiders President: As an organization, we’re very proud of Carl Nassib

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
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Carl Nassib has received widespread support since publicly coming out as gay on Monday, with his jersey becoming the NFL’s top seller across the Fanatics network.

Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed his personal support for the defensive end following the announcement, saying, “If he’s happy, I’m happy.” On Tuesday, team president Marc Badain reiterated that the team’s stance.

“Well look, as an organization, we’re very proud of him,” Badain said, via Cassie Soto of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The organization has always sort of been built on a progressive mentality. Mr. [Al] Davis started that when he was with the team and some of the things he did with throughout the years in the 60s and 70s. And Mark has really continued that. And I think you can look at Mark’s words for how the organization feels. His first reaction was a genuine one — it’s 2021 and we’re still making a big deal out of this. But we really shouldn’t. I know it is. I know it will remain and we’ll look forward to the day when it’s not. The organization is fully behind him and very supportive and proud of what he did yesterday.

“Mark’s father used to say, ‘What makes a man different is what makes him great.’ And you heard coach Gruden echo those comments yesterday. That’s what our organization was built on and will continue to be.”

Nassib’s $100,000 donation to the Trevor Project, an organization focused on suicide prevention of LGBTQ youth, has been matched by the NFL.

Bills sign Eli Ankou, Nazair Jones, place Bryan Cox Jr. on injured reserve

Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
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The Bills had three open roster spots before Tuesday. They announced the signings of defensive tackles Eli Ankou and Nazair Jones.

Both signed one-year contracts.

Ankou has played in the NFL since 2017 when he joined the Texans as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA. He also has spent time with the Jaguars, Browns, Colts, Cowboys and Falcons.

He has 31 career tackles and 1.5 sacks in 27 games. He played in seven games with the Cowboys in 2020.

Jones most recently was with the Seahawks, who made him a third-round choice in 2017. He made 27 tackles, an interception, two sacks, six quarterback hits and four tackles for loss in 20 games.

The team also announced it placed defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. on injured reserve with an Achilles injury. He played one game for the Bills last season and made one tackle.

NFL matches Carl Nassib’s $100K donation to the Trevor Project

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
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In the video that Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib posted on Monday to come out as gay, he said that he was donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project to help fund suicide prevention programs.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to that video with a statement saying the league is “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today.” On Tuesday, the league announced that it will match Nassib’s donation.

“The NFL is supporting Raiders DE Carl Nassib by matching his donation with a $100,000 contribution to the Trevor Project, the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth,” the statement said. “The NFL is committed to year-long efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We proudly support the LGBTQ+ community and will continue to work alongside the Trevor Project and our other community partners to further enhance our collective work and commitment to this space.”

Nassib has received messages of support from many others inside and outside of the league and Fanatics said on Tuesday that his jersey has been their top seller since his announcement.

Lions hire a mental skills specialist, announce other changes in personnel, with staff

Houston Texans v Detroit Lions
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The Lions made official changes to their personnel department Tuesday.

Mike Martin will carry the title of director of scouting advancement. He arrives from the Panthers’ scouting department.

Don Corzine will serve as a senior advisor and Jordan Martin was promoted to area scout.

The Lions created a new position, hiring Dr. Michelle Garvin, formerly of Maryland, as mental skills specialist/clinician.

Here are the updates to the team’s personnel staff:

Brad Holmes – Executive Vice President and General Manager

Ray Agnew – Assistant General Manager

Lance Newmark – Director of Player Personnel

John Dorsey – Senior Personnel Executive

Dave Sears – Director of College Scouting

Rob Lohman – Director of Pro Scouting

Mike Martin – Director of Scouting Advancement

Don Corzine – Senior Advisor, Player Personnel Operations/Strategic Initiatives

Brian Hudspeth – National Scout

Mark Olson – National Scout

Dave Uyrus – Regional Scout

Cary Conklin – Area Scout

Patrick Mularkey – Area Scout

Steve Neal – Area Scout

Scott Sika – Area Scout

Eloy Ledesma – Area Scout

Jordan Martin – Area Scout

Joe Kelleher – Pro Scout

Justin Licker – Pro Scout

Dakota Duncan – BLESTO Scout

Bird Sherrill – Scout

Elizabeth Laux – Assistant, Player Personnel and Football Administration

Ademi Smith – Personnel Assistant

Alexis Duhaney – Scouting Assistant

Joe Harvey – Scouting Assistant

Blake Ask – Scouting Assistant

FOOTBALL OPERATIONS STAFF

Jon Dykema ­– Director of Football Compliance/Lead Football Counsel

Jesse Giambra – Coordinator of Team Operations

PLAYER WELLNESS

Jessica Gray – Co-Director of Player Engagement

Sean Pugh – Co-Director of Player Engagement

Dr. Michelle Garvin – Mental Skills Specialist/Clinician

Jonathan Allen: We’re proud of winning the division, but we’re not shooting for 7-9

NFL: NOV 08 Giants at Washington Football Team
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Heading into the 2021 season, the NFC East is widely thought of as one of the worst divisions in football. Its 2020 winner, Washington, made hosted a playoff game with a 7-9 record.

That’s part of why even though the Football Team is coming off a title, one of the club’s veterans knows there’s more work to be done.

“The biggest thing I try to tell my teammates is that as exciting as it is, and how much ‘potential’ we have, that’s all it is right now — it’s just potential,” defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “We won the division with a 7-9 record. And as proud as we are to say we won the division, 7-9 is not what we’re shooting for every year. So I think we just have to keep things in perspective and realize we have a long way to go. We’re not even close to hitting where we think we can be or even where we want to be. And we’ve just got to continue to grind.”

Still, Allen feels like Washington is on the right track with Ron Rivera as head coach.

“Now, where we are in 2021 compared to 2017 — night and day difference,” Allen said. “And that’s no shade to any other regime. I just know what we’re building here now, is a winning culture. And I’m a truly high believer that you can’t have a winning team without a winning culture and a winning atmosphere. And that goes from player personnel to the cooks, everybody — everybody has to be a part of it. And I think that’s what we’re doing here. So I think it’s exciting.”

Washington has finished 7-9 in three of the past four seasons, though that was enough for the franchise’s first NFC East title since 2015.

But even if the Football Team was shooting for that record in 2021, it won’t be possible with the new 17-game schedule.

A 7-9-1 finish is still on the table.

Panthers to practice with Colts, Ravens this summer

Carolina Panthers Training Camp
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Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said in May that he was hopeful that the team could finalize plans for joint practices with the Colts this summer and the team announced on Tuesday that they were able to make that a reality.

The two teams will practice together in Indianapolis on August 12 and 13 before they play a preseason game on August 15. The Panthers’ announcement didn’t stop there, however.

After returning from Indianapolis, the Panthers will host the Ravens for practices on August 18 and 19. They will then play at Bank of America Stadium on August 21.

The joint practices will be the first that the Panthers have held since hiring Matt Rhule as their head coach last year. No teams were allowed to hold joint practices and the preseason schedule was scrapped last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.