Tom Brady cites ‘personal reasons’ for OTAs absence

jets_051Tom Brady ended his prolonged absence from Patriots activities this week, but hasn’t revealed anything further about why he was missing.

Brady was back in Foxboro for Patriots minicamp and spoke with reporters Thursday, answering a variety of questions with a handful of non-answers. The man who has touted the importance of organized team activities in the past reinforced that idea, even if he wasn’te exactly practicing what he’s preached.

Will Hernandez has already been in five fights, quarterback Eli Manning told season ticket holders this week at a Town Hall event. I love it.

The NFL has chosen to listen only to those fans who believe protesting during the national anthem isn’t patriotic. Plenty of fans, inexplicably ignored by the NFL, disagree. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, 58 percent of American voters believe NFL players who protest during the anthem are not unpatriotic.

Another 35 percent of American voters believe that they are. On a separate question, American voters also believe by a 53-43 margin that professional athletes have to right to protest while at work. That said, deep divisions exist based on party and racial lines. For example, Democrats support the right to protest via an 82-16 margin. Republicans say there is no right to protest, by a nearly identical split of 81-16. African-American voters support the right to protest, 85-11. Hispanic voters agree, with a 67-28 margin.

Ward being out there is because he’s earning it, Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. He’s working at it. He plays a position that we’ve been needing a guy to step up. We see him improving each and every day and doing the things that we’re asking. He needs to continue to do that to continue to be out there but we know he’s very talented. That’s why we drafted him. He’s displayed that since he’s been here.

Training camp and the preseason will provide opportunities for Ward to solidify the starting job and establish himself as part of the foundation of what the Browns hope will be a much more successful team in the years to come.

AFC South Matchup Provides Cowboys A Glimpse Of This Top Young Safety More (Editor’s Note: In anticipation of the 2018 season, Bryan Broaddus has once again taken a break from scouting the Cowboys in order to scout the opposition.

Jamal Lewis Making Most of Post-NFL Life—but Preparing for Darker Days to Come

capitals-213The emptiness is inevitable, inescapable and, sometimes, fatal. Once pro football is through with you, count on it spitting you back out into society a concussed and confused man, searching for purpose.

Jamal Lewis remembers the feeling well.

You just kept it to yourself, he says, and you dealt with it. You let it out on the field.

Without that outlet—without a linebacker to smash into—suicidal thoughts creeped into his mind and spread like a virus.

One by one, he saw three of his former offensive linemen die from health-related issues. Orlando Bobo to heart and liver failure. Orlando Brown to diabetic ketoacidosis. Damion Cook to a massive heart attack. Suicide seemed like a better way to go.

While there were only a few players kneeling during the anthem at the end of last season, two are currently on the Giants’ roster. Star defensive end Olivier Vernon got down on one knee during every game last season. Safety Michael Thomas, signed in March as a free agent after five seasons in Miami, has gone down on a knee during the anthem much of the past two seasons to support the movement started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. Shurmur said the Giants are going to let things settle before talking about the new rule as a team. I know certainly for me, it’s very easy,Shurmur said Tuesday after a practice at an organized team activity.

I’m going to face the flag and take my cap off and listen to the anthem and be thankful that my family and I live in the greatest country in the world, and be able to kind of reflect on and be thankful for all the sacrifice that a lot of people have gone to, to help protect and secure our freedom.Vernon did not respond to several requests to appear for an interview after practice. Thomas said he wanted to discuss the new rule with fellow players and Giants co-owner John Mara before commenting. I am not committing to anything right now,Thomas said. Just talking with my brothers and continuing to fight for our communities.

Titans sign five players after tryouts

The Titans have made changes to their roster after the conclusion of their three-day rookie minicamp.

Five players will join the roster after trying out for the team over the weekend. They are defensive back Joseph Este, tight end Anthony Firkser, linebacker Robert Spillane, linebacker Tobenna Okeke, and defensive lineman Connor Flagel.

What will it take for 49ers to win the NFC West? “Just consistency. Consistency and discipline. On the defensive side of the ball, they got all the talent in the world. We have talent up front. We’ve got talent in the second level, the linebacker group. Obviously, Reuben Foster is a tremendous talent and Malcolm Smith has been in this system and plays as well as anybody I’ve ever seen. Brock Coyle is also adept in this system. Eli Harold has been doing a great job. … so we’ve got talent all around. And the secondary is young, but they’re incredibly talented and they work incredibly hard. Adrian Colbert is a great safety. … Ahkello Witherspoon has all the talent in the world, can move, can cover anybody. So it’s just understanding that it’s a day-to-day-to-day grind to be great, and that’s what I’m trying to get through to them, but they work as hard as any group I’ve seen.”

Manning was accused of fraudulently passing off memorabilia as game-worn even though he hadn’t worn it in a game. At the center of the dispute were messages from Manning to a team equipment manager asking for helmets “that can pass as game used.”

The plaintiffs said they were duped by Manning into paying for “game-used” items that weren’t actually used in games. Now that issue will not go before a jury, and Manning has put it behind him.

The Miami Dolphins will likely miss Suh, just as they’ll find themselves reminiscing aboucardinals_047t the departed Jarvis Landry on the other side. It could be a tough year in Miami, but the team and its fans might be able to take solace in the fact No. 11 overall pick Minkah Fitzpatrick looks like the real deal.

The NFL-ready Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate out of Alabama earned both the Bednarik (best defensive player) and Thorpe (best DB) Awards in 2017 and recorded eight interceptions and four touchdowns in the two preceding seasons. He can play safety, cover the slot, blitz the quarterback and I’ve heard he makes a mean cup of coffee.

The Dolphins don’t know what they’re going to get out of quarterback Ryan Tannehill in what might be a transitional season for the franchise, but Fitzpatrick will at the very least make it more fun to watch them on defense.

David Caldwell pleased to be out of the Top 5, hoping to draft at No. 32

The Jaguars had a Top 5 draft pick for six straight years. This year was different, and they liked it that way.

Last week was David Caldwell’s sixth draft as the G.M. of the Jaguars, but it was a very different experience because they were picking 29th. Caldwell is happy to be coming off an AFC Championship Game appearance and hoping to draft even later next year.

“There’s a lot more to come from him,” Caldwell said. “He’s big, he’s physical, he’s got excellent quickness off the ball, he uses his hands really well and he can be very disruptive in our defense.”

Perhaps Bryan can help the Jaguars earn the 32nd pick in next year’s draft.

“He wants to make the right decision here for himself and his family,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Wednesday, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “He needed his time. If it takes two more weeks, it takes two more weeks; if it takes a month, it takes a month. He deserves it, so he can make the best decision for Jason Witten.

“We have so much support for him. We want it to be right for him. We would love to have him be a Cowboy because of what he brings to the table. We are a better football team with him.”

While the Cowboys have made it known they want Witten to return for a 16th season, Stephen Jones said they are not trying to talk him into returning.

“We struggle with that,” Jones said. “You don’t want to talk someone into something. This is a tough game. I learned a lot from coach Bill Parcells. You have to be all in to play this game. You want to him to do what’s in the best interest of him and his family. We don’t need to be selfish.broncos_048_07321b3b44ca10e8-180x180

Browns keep making deals, send Randall Telfer to KC

The Browns’ revolving door continues to spin well after the draft.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Browns are trading tight end Randall Telfer to the Chiefs for LB Dadi Nicolas.

Primarily a blocker, the Browns are clearing way for David Njoku in an offense with more weapons than in recent years. The former sixth-round pick from Southern Cal has five catches in two seasons, after missing his rookie season with a foot injury.

Following Perkins’ release, the door is open for Wayne Gallman to push for the No. 3 running back job behind Barkley and Stewart.

Perkins, 23, suffered a pectoral injury during the Giants’ voluntary offseason workouts, and underwent surgery prior to being a non-participant in a voluntary minicamp last month.

Denver also signed Auburn outside linebacker Jeff Holland, Florida State safety Trey Marshall, TCU wide receiver John Diarse, Temple offensive tackle Leon Johnson, Utah nose tackle Lowell Lotulelei, TCU guard Austin Schlottmann and East Carolina wide receiver Jimmy Williams.

Patricia and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute football teammate Greg Dietrich allegedly burst into a woman’s hotel room in South Padre Island, Texas, and violently sexually assaulted her. The two were arrested and charged, but the woman decided not to testify.

The case was later dismissed.

A handwritten note in the motion to dismiss read, “Victim does not feel she can face the pressures or stress of a trial.”

Patricia, who is now 43 years old, was 21 at the time of the alleged assault. He has since gone on to have a successful career in football.

Saints were shifting to Alvin Kamara as lead back before Mark Ingram suspension

Some rather shocking news broke on Tuesday, as New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram was suspended four games by the league for PEDs.

Following up on that, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Saints were already going to have Ingram taking on a lesser role in 2018, with Alvin Kamara taking over as the lead back.

Rapoport noted that Ingram wasn’t expected to attend OTAs and wouldn’t be showing up until minicamp. He also reported the Saints have been trying to trade Ingram of late, though obviously nothing came of that, and now that he’s suspended that job is even more difficult.

He’s picked it up very quickly, Harbaugh said.

He’s very smart. He studies. Very sharp, has a nice presence on the field. I think we all feel like he handled himself very well out there. More from Yahoo Sports: Woman’s $18 Derby bet lands $1.2 millionSlain NFL player honored with posthumous degreeWill the Browns be able to resist starting Mayfield?

The veteran cornerback, who signed a one-year deal to return to the Vikings yesterday, said during a conference call that his 16th season was going to mark his farewell.

“I think this will be my last year no matter what happens,’’ Newman said, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Newman will turn 40 in September, and will be the oldest active defensive player in the league.

“After 15 years, I’ve soaked as much as I can in,” he said. “It’s been a heck of a ride. I understand when it’s time for me. I’m not going to put an onus on doing anything special.”

Simply walking on the field counts as something special, since he’s been playing since he was the fifth overall pick in the 2003 draft. The fifth pick in this year’s draft, Bradley Chubb, was 7 years old when that happened.broncos_124_25dd8df54867975b-180x180

Evan Engram: Giants’ offense ‘has potential’ with Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman pulled the trigger taking running back Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall in last month’s 2018 NFL Draft, at least in part to round out a potentially explosive offense that includes Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram.

You look at teams with a solid running game, and great running backs, it opens the door for a lot of things in the passing game, Engram said. Especially over the middle of the field, because that’s where a lot of tight ends get their production. It’s exciting. I’m excited to see him make the transition. I’m excited to get to work with him, and kind of give some veteran advice for him.

Barkley will put on a Giants uniform for the first time this weekend during the team’s rookie minicamp, after capping a three-year collegiate career at Penn State where he rushed for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns while also catching 102 passes for 1,195 yards and eight scores while averaging 11.7 yards per reception.

Saquon’s a great player, Engram said. He’s an all-around back. He’s going to come in and help us immediately. We just have to get him in there, keep learning the offense, and start getting the chemistry going with everybody.

Poor underappreciated Tom Brady. Just months ago, his documentary-filmmaker buddy was chronicling his transfiguration into an immortal warrior prince. One little hiccup at the Super Bowl, and suddenly he sounds like he’s at the beginning of a long rant that ends with him screaming, Why, coach, why? while punching a cushion and sobbing.

Up in Green Bay, meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is about to get a contract extension that will make the $100 million guaranteed Matt Ryan just got look like the contents of a coffee house tip jar. And the Packers had better pony up quickly—because not only is Rodgers the NFL’s best quarterback at the moment, he’s also yet another superstar quarterback who likes to vaguebook about his easily bruised feelings.

As reported by Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports in mid-April, Rodgers has been not-so-silently displeased this offseason with his team’s decision not to retain his quarterback coach and to release Jordy Nelson.sharks-044

NFL open to talks with cheerleaders to improve working conditions

The N.F.L. did not accept a proposal from two former cheerleaders to drop their gender-discrimination complaints for $1 each by Friday’s deadline, but the league did agree to hear recommendations to improve conditions.

As we said before, our office is working with the clubs in sharing best practices and employment-related processes that will support club cheerleading squads within an appropriate and supportive workplace, the league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. The letter expressed that a conversation would be welcome regarding information or recommendations related to the teams’ policies.

Ms. Davis filed a gender-discrimination complaint in March with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency that enforces civil rights laws. She was fired by the Saints in January after posting a photograph of herself on Instagram that the team said violated cheerleader rules. Davis alleged that cheerleaders were required to adhere to rules that did not apply to players.

I had a diluted sample, Callaway, the Browns’ fourth-round pick in last week’s NFL draft, said between workouts at the team’s rookie minicamp Saturday. I didn’t intentionally do it, but I take responsibility for my test. That was a wake-up call, but like I’ve said, day by day I’m still getting better as a person, as a player, as a man, as a father. I’ve got a daughter. She’s going to be 3 months old next week.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, also from Miami, reached out to Callaway on Twitter recently and has been spending time working out with him and trying to help him prepare for life in the NFL.

He’s been a great leader. He’s been a bit of a statesman for us. He always says the right thing, stands for the right stuff and been a really high character guy that you can always count on, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the team concluded the first day of its rookie minicamp. A great competitor in the program. I love him and would like to keep him connected with our club as long as we can because he’s just exactly what you hope to represent you. He’s had a great career with us.tigers_047-115x115