Bears cut Darion Clark

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The Bears announced Sunday night they have waived tight end Darion Clark.

Clark is a former college basketball player who is trying to make the transition to NFL tight end. He played basketball first at Charlotte before transferring to USC for three years and finally as a graduate transfer at Grand Canyon. He averaged 5.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 110 career games, including 4.3 points and 5.2 rebounds while averaging 17.1 minutes in his time with the Trojans.

The Bears signed him Jan. 6, 2020, as an undrafted rookie.

He injured a shoulder in training camp last summer and went on injured reserve.

FMIA Guest: Bucs WR Chris Godwin On Gratitude, The Real Tom Brady And Going For A Super Bowl Repeat

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Peter King is on vacation until July 26, and he lined up some guest writers to fill his Monday spot on Football Morning in America. Today, it’s Chris Godwin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver entering his fifth NFL season. Godwin, 25, was a third-round pick out of Penn State in 2017. By Chris Godwin When I [more]

Le’Veon Bell: I have a right to how I feel about Andy Reid because of what he said to me

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Free agent running back Le'Veon Bell got plenty of attention, much of it negative, for saying he would never play for Andy Reid again. Now Bell is attempting to clarify that comment, although he hasn’t cleared much of anything up.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, a day after he posted his Instagram comment about never playing for Reid again, Bell said he stands by what he said about Reid but has nothing against Kansas City and probably wouldn’t make his beef with Reid public if he had it to do over again.

“I said what I said & I don’t regret at all what I said,” Bell wrote. “For those who have a PERSONAL PROBLEM with me because of what I SAID, that’s fine. you have your right! just understand I ALSO have MY RIGHT for how I feel about MY PERSONAL problem with dude because of what HE SAID to me.”

Bell did not explain what Reid said to him that Bell found objectionable, but he did say that other than Reid, he enjoyed his brief tenure with the Chiefs.

“Never did I say I didn’t enjoy my time in KC, because I loved my time there, and was probably the closest locker room full of players I ever been around,” Bell wrote. “I enjoyed my teammates, the city, food, the fans, just about everything in KC.”

Bell, who made his initial statement about Reid in the comments on an Instagram post, wishes he hadn’t done that.

“I’m not about to get all into depth on why I feel the way I do, but I have my right to feel the way I feel,” Bell wrote. “The ONLY thing I would change is commenting how i really felt on social media. I’ll admit that’s somethin I could’ve and should’ve kept to myself & I apologize about that and that only. but I don’t regret what I said, because that’s how I feel. so you can love me or hate me, I’m gonna be fine regardless. I’m just giving you a small version from my point of view on why I said what I said.”

Bell, who has been a free agent since his contract with the Chiefs officially expired in March, has said he still expects to play this season. So far there’s been little if any interest from NFL teams.

Kyle Shanahan finds humor in the fact that people thought he wanted Mac Jones

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The 49ers crafted a gratuitous mystery when they moved from No. 12 to No. 3 in the 2021 draft, given that they knew they ran the board after Trevor Lawrence inevitably went to the Jaguars and Zach Wilson inevitably went to the Jets.

More than a month later, coach Kyle Shanahan finds humor in the fact that they successfully caused people to believe that they made the move to get Mac Jones, not Trey Lance.

I do laugh at . . . that everyone thinks that they know exactly what I want at quarterback because I thought we had a chance to get [Kirk Cousins], the number one free agent quarterback who was going to be on the market in our second year,” Shanahan told Tim Kawakami of TheAthletic.com, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And since we did, people just assume that’s how I would draw it up, which if you draw it up, obviously you’re going to give the guy everything. I do believe that you have to be able to win from the pocket in this league as a quarterback or it will catch up to you. But holy cow, if you can run, it makes playing from the pocket a lot easier because those defenses are going to change and stuff.”

He’s right. And he could have had a guy like that in Patrick Mahomes, with the second pick in the 2017 draft. But Shanahan was so hell bent on signing cousins in 2018 that he ignored both Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.

Personally (and at the risk of Kyle finding this annoying), I think the 49ers have freaked out a little bit (or a lot) after whiffing on Mahomes in 2017 and Tom Brady (who wanted badly to play for his hometown team) in 2020. They decided they can’t trust Jimmy Garoppolo to stay healthy, so they ultimately invested three first-round picks and a third-round pick in the ability to select Jones or Justin Fields or Lance. The fact that knowledgeable people (including Chris Simms, a former college teammate and close friend of Shanahan’s) believed it definitely was Jones means it definitely could have been Jones before Shanahan was persuaded by others in the organization to go all in with Lance.

Right or wrong, the ill-advised guessing game when there was no risk of being leapfrogged invites speculation that it was Jones before it was Lance — especially since the team did nothing to push back on the perception that it was Jones once people like Simms started saying it was Jones. Shanahan may have thought (as he’s said) that it all was an interesting case study in human dynamics. That may be the case, but it was also a piss-poor exercise by the franchise in crafting fan and media expectations.

THERE WAS NO NEED TO BE SECRETIVE, unless they traded up without truly knowing which player they planned to take. And if that’s the truth, then they did allow the Mahomes and Brady misadventures to cloud their judgment, because they could have stayed put at No. 12 and gotten Lance or Jones — especially since no one would have expected them to take either guy.

I know that this take will prompt 49ers fans to say I hate their team, just as the fans of every other team I ever criticize will say. And that’s fine. But it sure feels like the 49ers have f–ked this up, and it feels like (given the likelihood that Garoppolo will be the Week One starter for the 49er and given the very real possibility he’ll stay healthy all year like he did in 2019), they may f–k it up some more.

Devin Singletary blocking out the noise

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Devin Singletary had fewer touches, fewer rushes, fewer yards from scrimmage and fewer rushing yards than he did his rookie season despite playing four more games than he did in 2019. The Bills running back averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 42.9 yards per game as the Bills ranked 20th in rushing.

The Bills were linked to Travis Etienne in many mock drafts. They didn’t draft a running back, though they did sign Matt Breida in free agency.

Singletary insists he’s ignored the “noise” of fans and media who banged the drum for an upgrade at the position.

Noise is noise,” Singletary said, via Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News. “I don’t pay attention to it. There’s always going to be noise if you do good, if you do bad. That’s just what it is.”

Singletary spent the offseason training in South Florida, and although he clearly “got bigger” during the workouts, his weight is only about 2 pounds heavier than last season’s playing weight of 203.

“That’s always the goal, to try to basically be better than you were last year,” Singletary said.

Will Fuller on Dolphins receivers: “You can’t teach speed”

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The Miami Dolphins two took major steps in the offseason to upgrade their receiving corps, drafting Jaylen Waddle and signing Will Fuller. On Friday, Fuller provided his assessment of the team’s pass catchers.

You can’t teach speed and we do have that on this team,” Fuller told reporters. “Not just me and Waddle, there are other players with speed, too. It’s going to be fun. We’re going to do what the coaches ask of us and we just going to be playing fast and we going to make some stuff happen.”

Fuller signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dolphins, despite missing the final five games of his contract year in Houston due to a PED suspension. He’ll serve the final game of the suspension to start the 2021 season.

“This was my first free agency, so I just took it as I wanted to go to a team that wanted me,” Fuller said. “The Dolphins showed the most interest. That’s why I chose the Dolphins. And, of course, I knew we have a great team here and we could do great things. Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been great. I love the culture here. It’s just been easy to be here. Like I said, I’ve been in the building as much as I can. I enjoy being here. I’m happy the Dolphins took a chance on me.”

It’s definitely a chance. Fuller’s talent is undeniable, but injuries have been an issue throughout his career. He missed five games in 2019, nine in 2018, and six in 2017. Also, to the extent that he managed to start 11 games before his suspension in 2020 due to the banned substance for which he tested positive, the fact that this substance is off the table will make it harder for him to stay on the field in 2021.

Fuller finagled an eight-figure salary from the Dolphins despite never having a 1,000-yard receiving season. Last year became by far his best, with 879 yards on 53 catches and eight touchdowns. That pace translates to 1,279 yards, 77 catches, and 11 touchdowns, but for the suspension.

In his most recent appearance, on Thanksgiving against the Lions, Fuller had six catches for  171 yards, along with two touchdowns. A first-round pick in 2016, his best single-game performance came in Week Five of the 2019 season, with 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a 53-32 win over the Falcons.

Dolphins, Jerome Baker agree to three-year contract extension

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Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker said this week that he and the franchise “haven’t really talked about anything” in regards to a new contract.

It was apparently a different story for his representation.

Baker has agreed to terms with Miami on a three-year extension worth $39 million, with $28.4 million guaranteed, according to agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Baker was a third-round pick out of Ohio State in 2018 and has been a key piece of the Miami defense in each of his first three seasons. He’s led the Dolphins in tackles in each of the last two years, recording 126 in 2019 and 112 in 2020. He also had 7.0 sacks, seven tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, three passes defensed, and a pair of forced fumbles in 2020.

The linebacker had said this week that he wanted to be a member of the Dolphins for a long time. With his new deal, Baker is now slated to continue making plays for Miami through the 2024 season.

Jalen Ramsey will wear No. 5 jersey

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Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey has his new jersey number.

Ramsey will wear No. 5 this season, the Rams announced today. Ramsey had been wearing the No. 5 jersey during recent offseason practices.

Although Ramsey initially wanted to switch from No. 20 to No. 2, Rams wide receiver Robert Woods said he also wanted No. 2, and the Rams sided with Woods based on seniority.

There’s still a significant inventory of Ramsey No. 20 jerseys, and so Ramsey will have to pay about $330,000 to buy out those jerseys for the NFL to let him wear No. 5. Ramsey, who has worn No. 20 throughout his NFL career, apparently thinks the cost to switch is worth it.

Texas native Kyler Murray was never a Cowboys fan because “they were always ass”

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The Cardinals and the Cowboys have had a one-sided rivalry over the years. The Cardinals regarded the Cowboys as enemies; the Cowboys regarded the Cardinals as a mild annoyance.

Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray recently spiced things up with this explanation for the fact that he wasn’t a Cowboys fan despite growing up in Texas (via the Blogging The Boys Twitter account): “They were always ass.”

Murray is only 23. The Cowboys have not been a high-level contender in his lifetime. Indeed, the Cowboys haven’t played in the NFC Championship during Murray’s lifetime. In contrast, the Cardinals have been to two of them — and one Super Bowl.

Also, the Cardinals have a 5-1 record against the Cowboys over their last six meetings. On a Monday night during the 2020 season, Murray and the Cardinals torched the Cowboys, 38-10. Even with that recent run by Arizona, the Cowboys still lead the all-time series, 56-33-1.

The 91st meeting happens this season, when the Cardinals visit the Cowboys in Week 17.

Cam Newton could return to practice on Monday

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Nine days ago, Patriots quarterback Cam Newton suffered a slight bone bruise in his finger when he banged his hand against a helmet. On Monday, he could be back on the practice field.

Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports that Newton returned to practice on Friday, and that he “threw the ball around a bit.”

Coach Bill Belichick told reporters on Thursday that the injury isn’t serious.

The Patriots open their annual mandatory minicamp on Monday. The reps have obvious value for Newton, who’s trying to become more comfortable in the New England offense — and to hold off rookie Mac Jones.

As to Jones, Reiss reports that he got only eight of 34 reps in “competitive” 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 settings. This would tend to suggest that the Patriots aren’t accelerating the development of the 15th overall pick in the draft. Which would tend to suggest that Newton will be the starter to start the season.

Former NFL player Kevin Ware is questioned in connection with missing girlfriend

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Former NFL tight end Kevin Ware spent only two years in pro football. His name has resurfaced in recent days due to the disappearance of his girlfriend. Taylor Pomaski, 29, was last seen at an April 26 house party.

Ware recently was arrested for failing to report for bond supervision, arising from previous charges of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and possession with the intent to deliver controlled substances, via KPRC 2 in Houston.

A former boyfriend of Pomaski’s, Eric Zulegar, told KPRC 2 that Pomaski’s family believes Ware “knows exactly what happened” to Taylor. Ware reportedly is not cooperating with authorities.

Via FOX News, Pomaski had referred to Ware in December as her “husband.” KTRK-TV has reported that it’s believed Ware and Pomaski got into a fight during the party, and that the altercation got “fairly violent.”

Homicide detectives are investigating the case, which implies that the authorities believe foul play was involved.

Ware spent 2003 with Washington and 2004 with the 49ers.

Will Stephon Gilmore show up for mandatory minicamp in New England?

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Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore enters the final year of his contract. If he shows up for it.

Gilmore has boycotted voluntary offseason workouts this year. The looming question, as noted by Mike Reiss of ESPN.com is whether Gilmore will be present on Monday for the mandatory minicamp.

Without a new contract, he may not. He’s due to make a mere $7 million this year, after the team shifted $4.5 million of the $11 million he was due to earn to 2020, the season after he was named defensive player of the year. Usually when teams do that, the player gets a new deal before he embarks on the contract year that was reduced in order to pump up the other one.

Gilmore would be subject to cumulative fines in the amount of $93,085 if he doesn’t show up for the three-day session.

Last year, trade talk emerged regarding Gilmore not long before the deadline. A knee injury pulled the plug on that possibility. Unless and until Gilmore gets a new deal, a potential trade remains something to keep an eye on.

Malik Hooker hoping to visit more teams

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Safety Malik Hooker has visited with the Cowboys, Dolphins and Steelers since becoming a free agent, but has not signed with a team for the 2021 season.

During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier this week, Hooker said that he knows he’s likely to sign a one-year deal coming off of an Achilles tear and that he hopes to have more conversations with teams before training camps open around the league.

“It’s about fitting into the perfect system to be able to go out there and show my talents,” Hooker said. “There was a couple of teams I visited with that I thought highly of. Now, it’s just a matter of taking my time with it. Training camp’s next month, not next week, so I’ve got time to be able to still tune up things and still hopefully go on more visits to see what else teams are talking about. Maybe meet with some teams I’ve met with before hopefully.”

Hooker said he feels “capable” of playing right now, but that there’s still “little stuff” he needs to get back to being the player he was before the injury.

Jerome Baker, Dolphins “haven’t really talked about” new contract

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Linebacker Jerome Baker is heading into the final year of his rookie deal, but it doesn’t sound like an extension with the Dolphins is imminent.

Baker followed up a 126-tackle season in 2019 by recording 112 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles for Miami last season, which made him a key part of their defense. Baker said this week that he’d like to remain a part of the team for a long time, but he and the Dolphins “haven’t really talked about anything” regarding his contract.

While that might cause some to stay away from the team during offseason work, Baker said that he didn’t consider that approach.

“I love this team,” Baker said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “I love being out here. I love being on this team. Being out here, getting back to football, it ultimately helps me in the long run. The contract stuff’s the contract stuff. I really don’t care for that right now. I honestly just missed being out there with all the guys, especially all the personalities we have, the new guys. And ultimately, just learning and getting better. I love to play football and that obviously is why I’m out here. It’s what I love to do and I just want our team to get better.”

Baker has started 37 games over his first three seasons and another year as a centerpiece as the Dolphins Defense should lead to interest somewhere should Miami pass on the chance to hold onto Baker come 2022.

Travis Kelce: Browns are contenders, neck and neck with Chiefs in the AFC

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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The Chiefs have been the class of the AFC the last couple years, but now Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce thinks the Browns are right there with the Chiefs in 2021.

Kelce, who was born and raised in Cleveland, attended Browns receiver Jarvis Landry‘s charity softball game and said the Browns are playoff contenders.

They’re definitely a contender, without a doubt,” Kelce said of the Browns, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “It’s definitely there. Baker [Mayfield] and the gang have upped the ante, made this team an unbelievable team and a team you have to prepare for and take serious. I think that moving forward without a doubt, I can see a lot more playoff games between us, and I’ll just take it one day at a time and hope for it. I think the Browns and Chiefs are definitely neck and neck.”

After many years of being laughingstocks of the league, the Browns are now making other teams take notice.

“It’s impressive to see where they’ve come from and where they are now because it’s a legit contender,” Kelce said, “and every team’s going to have to bring it.”

The Browns’ 2020 season ended with a loss at Kansas City in the divisional round of the playoffs, and the Browns’ 2021 season opens at Kansas City in Week One.

Chris Hogan makes his debut in the Premier Lacrosse League

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Former NFL receiver Chris Hogan officially has started his career in a second pro sport.

Hogan played on Saturday in the Premier Lacrosse League, at Gillette Stadium.

“Honestly, the bus ride over that I had today, compared to my first NFL game, was the exact same feeling,” Hogan said, via Boston.com. “The exact same butterflies. The exact same nerves. The exact same intensity and focus.”

Hogan generated no stats in the game. His team, the Cannons, lost 15-14 to the Whipsnakes.

“I was just excited to be out there, man, to compete with these guys,” Hogan said. “These guys are the best players in the world, and it’s an amazing opportunity that I was given today.”

Hogan spent nine years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. His best season came in 2016, with 38 catches for 630 yards. His average of 17.9 yards per catch led the league that year, along with DeSean Jackson. Hogan made several key catches in New England’s win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.