Richard Sherman says he picked up a tell on Jimmy Garoppolo

AP

While Richard Sherman hasn’t been able to take part in much on field work while recovering from a torn Achilles, the new cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers is already showing his abilities in other ways.

Sherman became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL during his time in Seattle by being a stout, physical player on the edge with great ball skills and a tremendous mental aptitude for the game. It’s the latter skill that is showing itself early on with the 49ers. Sherman said recently that he was able to pick up a tell on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from watching him in practice.

“You just need to read him—hand off ball; he’s letting it go,” Sherman said, via Patrick Holloway of Niners Nation. “You have to be decisive when you make those decisions. If he takes his hand off the ball and doesn’t throw it, I think he’ll throw guys off, but when he takes his hand off the ball, you’ve got to be ready to break.”

If Sherman was still with the Seahawks, this would have been a revelation he kept to himself in hopes of exploiting it. But now that he’s in San Francisco, it’s to the team’s benefit to know one way Garoppolo could be informing the defense what is about to happen. With that information now known, it gives Garoppolo a chance to correct it.

Former Dolphins defensive tackle, Grey Cup MVP Chuck Klingbeil dies at 52

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Former Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Chuck Klingbeil has died at the age of 52, according to multiple reports.

Klingbeil was the defensive MVP of the 1989 Grey Cup while a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders before making his transition to the NFL with the Dolphins in 1991.

Klingbeil recovered a fumble from Green Bay Packers quarterback Don Majkowski for a touchdown in a 16-13 Dolphins victory that helped give Don Shula his 300th career victory as a head coach in Sept. 1991.

He appeared in 78 career games over five seasons with 65 starts for the Dolphins from 1991-95.

Edmonton adds Hackenberg to dibs list

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The CFL has a unique system for allocating players, a highly-sophisticated process that is akin to calling “shotgun.”

As to former Jets and (blink and you missed it) Raiders quarterback Christian Hackenberg, the Edmonton Eskimos have secured dibs. More specifically, and according to 3downnation.com, the Eskimos have added Hackenberg to their negotiating list.

Hackenberg, a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, hasn’t played in a single NFL regular-season game.

Since being released by the Raiders, who acquired Hackenberg from the Jets for a conditional seventh-round pick, Hackenberg has visited the Patriots but otherwise drawn no interest.

It’s unclear whether Hackenberg is willing to play in Canada. With no NFL team willing to give him a job, it could be his only option — other than waiting for the AAF to launch in February.

Edmonton also recently added receiver Terrell Owens to the negotiating list. He entered the NFL in 1996, when Hackenberg was one year old.

Pro Bowl to remain in Orlando for 2019

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The Pro Bowl will remain in its relatively new home for at least one more year.

Via the Orlando Sentinel, the NFL’s annual all-star game will return to Camping World Stadium for a third straight January next year. The game will be played one week before Super Bowl XLIII, in Atlanta.

Hawaii had served as the long-term home of the game, with temporary excursions to Super Bowl host cities like Miami and Phoenix. Orlando will get at least one more year, and maybe more.

Widely criticized for its lack of actual football competition, the game continues to generate ratings via ticket sales and TV revenues. For as long as that happens, the game will continue.

Wednesday’s #PFTPM has a Dak Prescott interview

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Wednesday’s edition of #PFTPM has a special guest, from a special team. It’s Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott gave us 13 minutes of his time as part of his now annual tour to promote cancer awareness and research.

The full interview can be heard below. A portion of it will be included in Friday’s edition of PFT Live.

Wednesday’s show also has a quick rundown of the day’s news plus answers to a bunch of questions.

Free agent T.J. Ward: I wasn’t allowed to be player I wanted to be last year

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T.J. Ward apparently didn’t enjoy his one season in Tampa.

The safety started only five games for the Buccaneers, making 30 tackles with three pass breakups and no interceptions.

“I wasn’t allowed to be the player I wanted to be last year, and it hurt me,” Ward said told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I’ve been a top-tier safety in this league since I entered, and I’m going to continue to be until I exit. I’m ready to get back on the field and go.”

The question is: Will Ward get another chance?

He remains a free agent.

Ward, 31, did have all criminal charges against him dropped earlier this month. But the slow safety market combined with his lack of production last season — whatever the reason(s) — has not drawn him much interest.

Ward, a two-time Pro Bowler, played an important role with the Broncos when they won Super Bowl 50.

Report: Jameis Winston braces for a suspension

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The investigation regarding Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston remains open. Whenever it closes, the final decision could indeed be a suspension.

Via JoeBucsFan.com, ESPN Tallahassee radio host Jeff Cameron said that the NFL will suspend Winston for the alleged incident from March 2016 with an Uber driver in Arizona.

“The Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind,” Cameron said. “The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games. I do not know at this time whether or not they plan to appeal, and I do not know that three games is an accurate number. I’ve been told that would seem to be the maximum number of games that the suspension could be. It’s also likely that it’s less than that and it’s one game.”

The suspension would arise not necessarily from the incident itself but from a failure to make a timely report of the allegation, which can constitute a separate violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.

Whatever the suspension, the filing of an internal appeal makes sense. External attacks on the suspension, via litigation, would make little sense, given that past cases have made it clear that the league’s power in these case is extremely broad.

Jeff Triplette joining ESPN as rules analyst

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ESPN has hired Jeff Triplette as a rules analyst, Cameron Filipe of Football Zebras reports.

An ESPN spokesman declined comment, but a source confirmed the report to PFT.

Triplette joins Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten and Booger McFarland on the Monday Night Football broadcast, replacing Gerald Austin. Austin, a former referee, had worked for ESPN since 2012.

Austin, who will remain the officiating coordinator for Conference USA, will join Jon Gruden as a consultant for the Raiders, according to ESPN.

Triplette spent 22 seasons in the NFL as a back judge and referee, retiring after last season. He worked 11 postseason games, including the 2007 AFC Championship Game, and was an alternate referee for Super Bowl XLI.

The NFL steered ESPN to hire Triplette, per Football Zebras.

Triplette’s career was not without controversy, including his final game. Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira was among those to criticize Triplette and the officiating crew after the wild-card playoff game between the Titans and Chiefs.

Mayowa ready for opportunity in Arizona after “learning experience” in Dallas

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Benson Mayowa played 36.2 percent of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in 2016 when he had a career-best six sacks in 13 games. He played 36.5 percent of the defensive snaps in 14 games last season when he made one sack.

The Cowboys released him after the season.

The opportunity there, [the Cowboys] controlled it, and it kind of showed,” Mayowa said, via Darren Urban of the team website. “It happens. It happens to most of us. Now that I went through that, I feel like when I get an opportunity, I have to take more of an advantage. Even more than I have done. That was a learning experience.”

The defensive end, who has nine career sacks in five seasons, signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Cardinals.

“Every time you go somewhere new or every time something happens you can’t control, it’s a chip on your shoulder,” Mayowa said. “There is always a chip on my shoulder. When you come to a new situation with new coaches, it has to be a boulder.”

The Cardinals are going to a 4-3 base defense, and Mayowa is the only defensive end with notable experience besides Markus Golden and Chandler Jones. Golden still is rehabbing from a torn ACL.

“I feel like I am the original 4-3 defensive end,” Mayowa said.

Bill O’Brien feels good about J.J. Watt “because J.J. feels good about J.J.”

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If J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney stay healthy this season, the Texans defense should return to being a dominant unit. Houston dropped from No. 1 overall in total defense in 2016 to 20th last year.

Watt has played only eight games combined the past two seasons, making 1.5 sacks.

Watt’s 2017 season ended with a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg during the fifth game. Early in the offseason program, Texans coach Bill O’Brien was cautious when discussing Watt’s rehab.

O’Brien, though, has seen enough from Watt to feel good about where the defensive end is now.

“I feel good about J.J. because J.J. feels good about J.J.,” O’Brien said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “He’s in a good place. He’s been here every day. He’s very positive about where he is from a rehab standpoint.

“He’s committed to the cause of what we’re trying to do.”

Clowney played all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2017 but underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason. He missed the Pro Bowl and didn’t participate in team drills during the offseason program.

Clowney, though, expects to be healthy for the start of training camp, and the Texans expect to have him on the field despite the lack of contract talks.

Clowney, the first overall pick in 2014, will make $12.3 million this year under the fifth-year option.

“He and I have had a number of conversations,” O’Brien said. “He’s guaranteed me he’ll be ready to go on July 25.”

Then the question becomes can Watt and Clowney stay on the field?

Chiefs reach injury settlement with Akeem Hunt

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The Chiefs waived Akeem Hunt from the physically unable to perform list Wednesday, reaching an injury settlement with the running back.

Kansas City waived Hunt with a failed physical designation last month.

Hunt, 25, played 15 games last season, though he had only eight carries for 23 yards and four receptions for 31 yards. He played 52 snaps on offense and 171 on special teams, returning 25 kickoffs for 611 yards.

He spent 2015-16 in Houston.

Willie McGinest predicts a Tom Brady “walkoff” if Patriots win the Super Bowl

AP

Speculation on Tom Brady‘s future became a hot topic this week after he told Oprah that retirement is coming “sooner rather than later.” Two days later, Brady, who turns 41 in August, hinted at playing until he’s 45 with an Instagram comment.

NFL Media’s Willie McGinest, a friend of Brady’s as well as a former teammate, expects the quarterback to leave sooner than later if the Patriots win another Super Bowl.

“I think there will be a walkoff,” McGinest said on an NFL Media podcast, via WEEI. “If he wins this year, a Super Bowl, I think it won’t be 45 years old. I think he will walk off and say, ‘The game has been amazing to me and now I am going to figure something else out.’”

The former linebacker added Brady might have retired after Super Bowl LII if the Patriots had beaten the Eagles.

Father Time eventually will catch Brady, as he does everyone. But Brady wants to walk away on his own terms, and apparently with at least one more championship.

Five is not enough for the future Hall of Famer.

Texans claim Roderick Johnson off waivers

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The Browns waived offensive tackle Roderick Johnson on Tuesday when they signed Greg Robinson, but Johnson didn’t have to wait long to find a new home.

The NFL’s daily transaction report brings word that the Texans have claimed Johnson off of waivers and added him to their 90-man roster. They waived tackle Kendall Calhoun in a corresponding move.

Johnson was a fifth-round pick by the Browns in 2017 and he made a couple of preseason starts before missing the regular season while on injured reserve with a knee injury. He was named the top offensive lineman in the ACC twice during his time at Florida State.

Johnson joins a tackle group in Houston that includes Julien Davenport, Seantrel Henderson and 2018 third-round pick Martinas Rankin.

Brett Favre seeks to end youth tackle football

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Brett Favre is remembered for his Hall of Fame football career, but if he has his way, he’ll also be known as much for ending youth tackle football in America. The former NFL MVP has become the face of the movement.

“I think it’s going to take someone who has poured his blood, sweat and tears into it,” Favre told Alex Raskin of the Daily Mail.

Favre supports a proposed Illinois bill that would make it illegal for kids under 12 to play tackle football. The Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE does not have enough support to pass, per Raskin.

But Favre wants federal legislation.

“The state level is a start, but we have to adopt this plan and all do it together,” he said. “The body, the brain, the skull is not developed in your teens and single digits. I cringe. I see these little kids get tackled, and the helmet is bigger than everything else on the kid combined. They look like they’re going to break in half.”

President Donald Trump did not help Favre’s cause in September when he claimed the NFL’s new rules aimed at decreasing the number of concussions are “ruining the game.”

Favre respectfully disagrees.

“The President can say what he wants,” Favre said. “It is a serious issue, and it needs to be dealt with.”

Favre openly has talked about his concerns about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) after taking the number of hits he took in a 20-year, 302-game NFL career. He has said he was diagnosed with “three or four” concussions during his career but guesses he had “probably thousands.”

Giants name Kevin Abrams vice president of football operations

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The Giants have given a longtime member of their personnel department a new title.

Kevin Abrams has been the team’s assistant General Manager for the last 16 seasons and the Giants announced on Wednesday that he has added the title of vice president of football operations. Abrams was interviewed for the General Manager job after Jerry Reese was fired last season before Dave Gettleman was hired.

The Giants also formally announced that Mark Koncz, who worked with Gettleman in Carolina, has been named the director of player personnel. He joined the team as a consultant earlier this year and PFT reported his new role earlier this month. Chris Pettit has been promoted from area scout to director of college scouting.

“We talk all the time about the importance of working together and communicating effectively and efficiently,” Gettleman said in a statement. “These appointments and promotions are well deserved, and we feel like we are well-positioned to move forward with the group of people we have in player personnel and football operations. All are collaborators and communicators and understand the significance of self-improvement to make the organization the best it can be.”

The team also announced the makeup of their scouting and football operations departments for the 2018 season.