Report: Johnny Manziel traded to Montreal

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Johnny Manziel can’t get on the field in Hamilton. Now he’s expected to get a chance in Montreal.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have agreed to trade Manziel to the Montreal Alouettes, according to Duane Ford of TSN.

Alouettes head coach Mike Sherman knows Manziel well, having coached him at Texas A&M. Manziel’s redshirt freshman season in 2011 was Sherman’s final season coaching the Aggies.

The Alouettes have already tried three quarterbacks (Drew Willy, Jeff Mathews and Matt Shiltz) and have the worst offense in the Canadian Football League. If Manziel can’t beat those guys out, that’s a very bad sign.

It’s hard to believe the Alouettes would trade for Manziel if they aren’t going to play him, so it appears that Manziel may soon, finally, get on the field in Canada.

Giants wrap up draft class, sign R.J. McIntosh

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The Giants took care of their first pick earlier today, and just announced they had wrapped up their draft class by signing fifth-rounder R.J. McIntosh.

The defensive tackle from Miami isn’t going to be participating immediately, however, as the Giants placed him on the active/non-football illness list.

He hasn’t participated in any of the team’s spring drills, after he was diagnosed with a thyroid condition at the Scouting Combine. He didn’t disclose any details when he talked to reporters earlier in the spring.

Players can be activated from the active version of the NFI list at any time.

Titans put Kevin Dodd on “did not report” list

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As Titans players began reporting to training camp today, one player who was expected to show up did not.

Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd was played on the “did not report” list, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Dodd is coming off a foot injury, and players recovering from injuries were supposed to report today, along with rookies and quarterbacks. It is unclear why Dodd didn’t show up. He skipped voluntary workouts but attended the Titans’ mandatory minicamp this offseason.

The 26-year-old Dodd has been a major disappointment since the Titans took him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. He has dealt with injuries throughout his career and hasn’t played particularly well when healthy.‏ Now questions will be raised about whether he’s going to keep playing for the Titans at all.

Rapoport also reports that the Titans put Rashaan Evans and Michael Campanaro on the non-football injury list, and Jack Conklin on the physically unable to perform list.

Mike Evans donates $11,000 to family of shooting victim

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In 2014, Gregory Hill was shot and killed by a St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office deputy. In May, Hill’s family received $4 — reduced via the concept of comparative negligence to $0.04 — from a jury as the verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit. The family has gotten considerably more from Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans.

Via ESPN, Evans has donated $11,000 to the family. The contribution to the page pushed the total collected north of $100,000.

Officers responding to a complaint about loud music confronted the 30-year-old Hill. Police claimed that he pointed a gun at them as he lowered his garage door.

An unloaded gun was found in Hill’s pocket, and his blood-alcohol concentration was 0.40 percent.

After a two-week trial, a jury awarded each of Hill’s children $1. By also finding Hill 99 percent responsible for his demise, the one-percent responsibility that was placed on law enforcement reduced the award to one cent for each of the four children.

Colts sign Darius Leonard to wrap up their draft class

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Sunday started with 12 unsigned players from the 2018 draft class, but the impending start of training camp is serving to push that number down quickly.

The latest to sign is Colts second-round linebacker Darius Leonard. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Leonard has agreed to his four-year rookie deal with the team.

Leonard was the final member of the Colts draft class to agree to a deal. First-round picks Saquon Barkley and Sony Michel have also signed their initial NFL contracts on Sunday.

Leonard comes to the Colts from South Carolina State off a career that saw him named MEAC defensive player of the year twice. He had 8.5 sacks and two interceptions in his final season and the Colts hope he can be a long-term answer as a weakside linebacker.

Mike Zimmer: “I love Tony Sparano”

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Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano has died at the age of 56, less then a week before the opening of training camp. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman have issued statements in the wake of Sparano’s passing.

“I love Tony Sparano,” Zimmer said . “He was a great teacher, a grinder of a worker and had a toughness and fighting spirit that showed in our linemen. He was a great husband, father and grandfather and a great friend to me. This is just sinking in for us but Tony will be sorely missed by all.”

“I am at a loss for words with Tony’s sudden passing,” Spielman added. “Tony loved the game of football and his players. More importantly, he was a strong man of faith who treasured his family. My heart is with the Sparanos today. As an organization we will support them in whatever ways we can.”

Sparano became the offensive line coach in Minnesota two years ago. He served as head coach of the Dolphins and interim head coach of the Raiders.

Giants sign Saquon Barkley

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The Giants won’t have to worry about running back Saquon Barkley reporting late to his first NFL minicamp.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Barkley has agreed to his rookie deal with the team. Per Rapoport, the No. 2 overall pick’s four-year contract is worth a fully guaranteed $31.2 million and that he received a signing bonus of $20.76 million. PFT has learned, via a league source, that the deal includes offset language that precludes Barkley from double-dipping in the highly unlikely event he is released before the end of the contract.

The Giants also hold an option for a fifth year of Barkley’s services.

Barkley is expected to play a major role on offense for the Giants right off the bat as they passed on picking a possible successor to Eli Manning in hopes of supplying him with a supporting cast that can win right now. Barkley showed an ability to make plays on the ground and in the passing game at Penn State that the Giants believe will translate to instant success in the NFL.

With Barkley and Patriots running back Sony Michel signing on Sunday, there are now 10 unsigned 2018 draft picks. One of them is Barkley’s teammate R.J. McIntosh, who was drafted in the fifth round and is the only player picked after the second round without a deal.

Marty Mornhinweg: Flacco “moving and grooving” better than in years


Ravens players said during the team’s offseason program that they saw a renewed fire from quarterback Joe Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Sunday that he’s also seen better things from Flacco than he saw in recent years.

Mornhinweg spoke to the media to give a rave review of the veteran’s work after what he called Flacco’s first full practice of training camp and said that he thinks an injury-free offseason is the reason why things are going so well.

“It looks like he’s moving and grooving better than he has in several years and I suppose that’s because he’s healthy,” Mornhinweg said. “So he looks pretty good that way. Two years ago it was the knee and then the back and all these things. He really looks good.”

Others have pointed to the presence of first-round pick Lamar Jackson as the reason for Flacco’s energized appearance on the field this year. Mornhinweg didn’t mention that, but his description of Jackson being “way ahead of the curve” and in possession of “uncommon tools” for the quarterback position won’t hurt if that is what’s lighting the fire under the longtime Baltimore starter.

Tony Sparano went to hospital with chest pains on Thursday

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Although an official cause of death has yet to be disclosed, a new report from Chris Mortensen of ESPN suggests that Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano was felled by a heart attack.

According to Mortensen, Sparano went to a hospital with chest pains on Thursday. The hospital released him on Friday after tests were performed.

On Sunday morning, Sparano’s wife, Jeannette, found him unconscious in the kitchen as they were preparing to leave for church. She performed CPR, but he could not be revived.

Sparano, 56, coached the Miami Dolphins to an unexpected playoff berth in 2008. He also served as interim head coach of the Raiders.

Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano dies at 56

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Tony Sparano, the Vikings’ offensive line coach and former head coach of the Dolphins and Raiders, has died at the age of 56.

The Vikings announced Sparano’s death on Sunday afternoon. KSTP reports that Sparano died this morning at his home.

“Our hearts go out to Jeanette and the entire Sparano family as we all mourn the loss of Tony,” Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “Tony was a passionate and driven individual who cared deeply about his family, and especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. Tony’s presence within the Vikings organization will be deeply missed. We are only thinking of Tony’s family during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that the entire NFL and Vikings family keep the Sparanos in their thoughts.”

Sparano grew up in Connecticut, played college football at the University of New Haven and then began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater in 1984. He later became the head coach at New Haven in 1994 and stayed there five seasons, including taking the team to the NCAA Division II championship game in 1997.

From there Sparano became an assistant coach in Cleveland, then Washington, Jacksonville and Dallas. He was hired by his longtime friend and boss Bill Parcells to be the Dolphins’ head coach in 2008. In his first season as a head coach, Sparano engineered an incredible turnaround, taking over a Dolphins team that had gone 1-15 the year before and going to the playoffs with an 11-5 record. However, Sparano never again had a winning record in three more seasons with the Dolphins and one partial season as interim head coach of the Raiders.

He is survived by his wife, three children and four grandchildren.

“No end game” for the anthem issue

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As the NFL and NFL Players Association negotiation a possible Anthem Policy 3.0, some in league circles realize that, no matter the current solution, the situation never will truly be solved.

“There’s no end game,” a high-level employee with one of the NFL’s teams told PFT over the weekend.

And he’s right. There is no end game, because there’s no way to end the political gamesmanship that accompanies what has become one of the most polarizing issues of our time. If the league and the union carve out any opportunity for protests during the anthem, the President will continue to bang his favorite base drum. If, somehow, management and labor agree that all players will always stand for the anthem with no players protesting under any circumstances, internal and external voices will chastise the NFL for bowing to the President — and the President surely welcome the victory with silence and humility.

Even the possibility of getting rid of the anthem entirely will invite a harsh outcry from those who have become accustomed to consuming sport with a side dish of forced patriotism.

So the issue lasts as long as the current President is in office, right? Fat chance of that. Now that he has shown  the potency of this specific platform plank, other politicians of similar ideology will press the same button wherever and whenever it will serve as a useful rallying cry and/or a welcome distraction.

The more likely reality, then, is that the argument over anthem protests has become part of the NFL’s new normal, with no outcome that will conclusively end something that didn’t exist less than two years ago.

Jon Gruden vows to “find a way to get Khalil Mack back”

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MDS shared earlier this morning a quote from Raiders coach Jon Gruden regarding his awareness that the contract impasse with defensive end Khalil Mackmight be the toughest decision I have to figure out right now.” During the same fan event on Saturday, Gruden vowed to get it figured out.

“[W]e’re going to find a way to get Khalil Mack back,” Gruden said, via Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. “You’ll see.”

That’s an intriguing comment for Gruden to make, given that it seems both sides currently are dug in firmly to their respective positions. So either Gruden is suggesting that the Raiders plan to bend, or he’s predicting that Mack will blink.

Regardless, the indications as of right now are that Mack and the Raiders aren’t close to an agreement, and that Mack won’t be present when training camp opens. We’ll see if Gruden makes good on his commitment to the team’s fans to get that changed.

Matt Nagy on Kevin White: Up to him to do it in preseason games


Bears head coach Matt Nagy said in April that he sees a “big ceiling” for wide receiver Kevin White despite the fact that White has missed all but five games since being drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft.

That belief didn’t lead the Bears to pick up their option on White’s contract for the 2019 season, but he’s still on the cap for over $5.2 million this season and that gives them plenty of reasons to see if they can help White reach that ceiling. On Saturday, Nagy said the approach to doing that won’t involve a lot of yelling and screaming during the next six weeks of practices.

“We’re not gonna harp on anything that happens — a dropped ball, a route run the wrong way, a wrong split, a missed assignment,” Nagy said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “We don’t harp on any of that with any of the players — and in particular with him. We just want him to be him and play — play fast. And he’s done that so far. Again, it’s going to be up to him to do it in the preseason games and see where it takes him.”

With Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and second-round pick Anthony Miller joining the team this year, the Bears hope to have the receiver spot squared away whether White finally makes good on the potential he showed in college or not. If he does, it would make for a nice story and open up a chance for White to have a second act in Chicago or another town after the rough start to his professional career.

Jon Gruden says Khalil Mack’s contract is the Raiders’ top issue right now


Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack didn’t show up for mandatory minicamp and may hold out of training camp as well, as he seeks a new contract. Coach Jon Gruden knows it’s an issue that needs to get resolved.

Gruden called Mack’s deal a top priority, although he didn’t give any indication of when he thinks it will be resolved.

“That might be the toughest decision I have to figure out right now,” Gruden said, via ESPN. “We’re not the only team that’s faced with that. It’s tough. It’s part of this business and we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”

Mack is due $13.846 million this season, but he wants a long-term deal. Gruden surely wants that as well, but whether the two sides can agree on the money remains to be seen. Getting an agreement in place will go a long way toward Gruden building a winner in Oakland.

Calais Campbell: Dante Fowler suspension shows need for depth on defensive line

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The Jaguars will play the first game of the season without defensive end Dante Fowler after he was suspended for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, which is a development that Calais Campbell says is “always one of those things that’s tough.”

Campbell said that the Jaguars are better when Fowler is on the field, but said he believes the team has enough depth to be OK against the Giants. Campbell also noted that it might not be the last time they have to reach down the depth chart in the year to come.

“We were healthy the whole year [in 2017],” Campbell said, via “I pray it’s that way again this year, but in the game of football things come up for whatever it may be for a week or two, you want to have a lot of depth on the team. Even when people stay healthy, you want to have good depth because you rotate so you can stay fresh the whole year. We have goals to make it into the postseason, win the division and that’s a long season. Rotating becomes a prime piece to be successful.”

The Jaguars brought back their top seven defensive linemen from last year and added Taven Bryan in the first round of this year’s draft, so they would seem to be in good shape on the depth front as long as they don’t run into too much trouble in the months to come.