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NFL News Wire
  • NFL notebook: Jags CB Ramsey blasts NFL QBs
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey gave critical and blunt assessments of several NFL signal callers in a GQ interview that was published on Wednesday.

    • Among his targets were Atlanta's Matt Ryan, Buffalo rookie Josh Allen, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck and Baltimore's Joe Flacco. Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, got the worst of it.

      "I think Allen is trash," Ramsey said. "I don't care what nobody say. He's trash. And it's gonna show too. That's a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I'm excited as hell. I hope he's their starting quarterback."

      Ramsey, who first failed to come up with Ryan's name, called him "overrated" and suggested his MVP season was a product of the system he ran. Among Ramsey's other claims: Roethlisberger is "decent at best," Flacco "sucks" and as for Luck, "I don't really think he's that good." Allen told reporters he doesn't "care one bit" about Ramsey's comments, adding he cares only about how his teammates view him.

      --Tempers flared during a joint practice between the Texans and 49ers, leading to a fight between Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco corner Jimmie Ward.

      The fracas erupted after Ward knocked Hopkins' helmet off jamming him at the line of scrimmage, and the two began throwing punches early in the session. The pair tumbled to the ground had to be separated. Hopkins was sent inside the practice bubble, while Ward was reduced to running on the sideline as practice resumed.

      "Yeah, it's ridiculous," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Just have to move on."

      --Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles told reporters he's not worried about the fact that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn't shake his hand following Super Bowl LII.

      Asked if he's heard from Brady since the game in February, Foles said he hasn't, but made it clear that he doesn't see any unresolved issue between the two.

      "We both have a lot going on in our lives so, you know, in time," said Foles, whose Eagles visit Foxborough for a preseason game Thursday night. "It will happen when it happens. We practiced with the Patriots several years ago, and I got to stand there and talk to Tom for quite a bit. He's a great guy. I have all the respect in the world for him. ...I think everyone's making a really big deal out of this and it's not a big deal at all."

      --Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick visited a specialist in Los Angeles to have his shoulder examined after he suffered a few stingers in recent practices at training camp.

      "We just wanted to make sure he was squared away," head coach Jason Garrett told reporters, adding that the team would know more about how the check-up went later Wednesday. The issue is not one that Frederick -- who has sat out practices in recent days -- has dealt with before, Garrett said.

      Multiple outlets reported Frederick's trip to the specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, was done as a precaution, and the team is not seriously concerned about the issue. Frederick, 27, has started all 80 games and hasn't missed a snap since the Cowboys took him 31st overall in the 2013 draft. He has made four consecutive Pro Bowls.

      --Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis will not be charged in a rape investigation, after the case was dropped by the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney's office.

      Gotsis, who turns 25 next month, was arrested on March 7 and accused of raping a woman five years earlier while he was at Georgia Tech. The case had been under investigation since his arrest, but the DA's office announced that no action will be taken.

      "I'm just relieved that everything's been taken care of," Gotsis told reporters after practice. "I've got faith in the legal system, and I have faith in the lord and family and friends, and great support from everyone around me -- Broncos, friends, family. Just glad that it's over with and I can just focus on football now."

      --The Seattle Seahawks agreed to a deal with former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden, according to Walden's agents.

      The terms of the deal were not announced. Walden played for the Tennessee Titans last year on a one-year, $2.75 million deal.

      Walden, who turns 33 on Tuesday, collected four sacks and 36 tackles in 16 games (two starts) for Tennessee last season. He played the previous four years for the Indianapolis Colts, starting 60 of 61 games and tallying 23 sacks in that span, including an 11-sack campaign in 2016.

      --The New York Jets placed offensive tackle Ben Ijalana on injured reserve, ending his season after he suffered a shoulder injury in joint practices with the Washington Redskins this week.

      Ijalana, who turned 29 on Aug. 6, was expected to serve as the Jets' swing tackle behind starters Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell. To fill his roster spot, the team signed veteran lineman Gino Gradkowski.

      Meanwhile, NFL Network reports starting guard Brian Winters is expected to be held out of all preseason games as the Jets take it slow in his recovery from an abdominal injury that plagued his 2017 campaign.

      --Broncos receiver Carlos Henderson, who has yet to report for training camp, was suspended one game for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced.

      Henderson, 23, was arrested in Louisiana in January on a marijuana possession charge.

      A 2017 third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, Henderson spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a thumb injury and then did not report for the start of training camp this season. Head coach Vance Joseph told reporters Henderson is dealing with a personal issue and must decide "if he wants to continue to play football."

      --The Oakland Raiders claimed defensive tackle Gabe Wright off waivers from the Miami Dolphins and placed defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve, the team announced.

      Wright was waived by Miami on Tuesday, one day after he reportedly blindsided teammate Kenyan Drake -- who was without a helmet -- with an elbow during a testy practice.

      Wright, 26, is joining his fourth team since he was a fourth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2015 NFL Draft. Rubin, who turned 32 last month, suffered a torn biceps last week during joint practices against the Lions.

      --The Houston Texans are signing former Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Chargers kicker Nick Rose, according to a Houston Chronicle report.

      Starter Ka'imi Fairburn has been nursing a small, short-term injury, per the Chronicle, that may keep him out of Saturday's preseason game against the 49ers. Rose, 24, made 11 of 14 (78.6 percent) field-goal attempts and 23 of 26 PATs last year, his first season in the NFL.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cowboys C Frederick (shoulder) visits specialist
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick visited a specialist in Los Angeles on Wednesday to have his shoulder examined after he suffered a few stingers in recent practices at training camp.

    • "We just wanted to make sure he was squared away," head coach Jason Garrett told reporters, adding that the team would know more about how the check-up went later Wednesday. The issue is not one that Frederick -- who has sat out practices in recent days -- has dealt with before, Garrett said.

      The team has been in Oxnard, Calif., a northwest suburb of Los Angeles, for training camp, which breaks on Friday.

      Multiple outlets reported Frederick's trip to the specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins, was done as a precaution, and the team is not seriously concerned about the issue.

      Frederick, 27, has started all 80 games and hasn't missed a snap since the Cowboys took him 31st overall in the 2013 draft. He is riding a streak of four consecutive Pro Bowl appearances and also earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2016, after garnering second-team honors in '14 and '15.

      Seventh-year pro Joe Looney, who has appeared in all 32 games (three starts) for the Cowboys over the last two years, has lined up as the starting center in Frederick's absence during camp.

      "This has been a really good training camp for him," Garrett said of Looney. "Even as a veteran player to get a lot of work, a lot of work with the 1s. And I think he's improved."

      --Field Level Media

  • Rape case against Broncos DE Gotsis dropped by DA
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis will not be charged in a rape investigation, after the case was dropped by the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney's office on Wednesday.

    • Gotsis, who turns 25 next month, was arrested on March 7 and accused of raping a woman five years earlier while he was at Georgia Tech. The case had been under investigation since his arrest, but the DA's office announced Wednesday that no action will be taken.

      "After careful and thorough investigation, The Fulton County District Attorney's Office has decided not to proceed with the case against Mr. Adam Gotsis," Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. said in a statement. "My office understands the sensitivity and significance of these investigations, but the evidence presented does not warrant any further action in this case.''

      Gotsis met the media after practice Wednesday for the first time since the news of his arrest emerged.

      "I'm just relieved that everything's been taken care of," he said. "I've got faith in the legal system, and I have faith in the lord and family and friends, and great support from everyone around me -- Broncos, friends, family. Just glad that it's over with and I can just focus on football now."

      A 30-year-old woman reported to police on Feb. 1 of this year that she was raped by Gotsis on March 9, 2013, when she was 25."

      Gotsis surrendered to authorities in March after a warrant was put out for his arrest, and he was released after posting $50,000 bond.

      Gotsis' attorney, Sarah Becker, denied the accusation in a statement at the time of her client's arrest, saying in part, "We steadfastly maintain that the allegations are false."

      The team also released a statement at the time saying it took the accusation "very seriously" and had reported it to the NFL, who likely will not investigate the incident under the personal conduct policy because it happened before Gotsis entered the league.

      Gotsis, a 6-foot-4, 287-pounder who Denver drafted in the second round in 2016, participated fully in the Broncos' offseason program and training camp, and he played in the team's first preseason game.

      He has played in all 32 games since he was drafted, starting 13 last year while totaling 41 tackles, 2.0 sacks and four passes defensed.

      Born in Melbourne, Australia, Gotsis came to the U.S. to play football at Georgia Tech in 2012, playing for the Yellow Jackets through 2015.

      --Field Level Media

  • Raiders claim DT Wright, put Rubin on IR
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    The Oakland Raiders claimed defensive tackle Gabe Wright off waivers from the Miami Dolphins and placed defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.

    • Wright was waived by Miami on Tuesday, one day after he reportedly blindsided teammate Kenyan Drake -- who was without a helmet -- with an elbow during a testy practice.

      Wright, 26, is joining his fourth team since he was a fourth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 2015 NFL Draft.

      He played in seven games for the Lions as a rookie, five for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and spent the majority of last season on Miami's practice squad, appearing in just one game. He has 11 tackles and two passes defensed in 13 career games (one start).

      Rubin, who turned 32 last month, suffered a torn biceps last week during joint practices against the Lions.

      He joined Oakland as a free agent this offseason for one year and $1.015 million. He spent last year with the Denver Broncos (two games) and Atlanta Falcons (10) after starting 107 games over the previous eight years for the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks. In 10 seasons, Rubin has 15.0 sacks, seven passes defensed and 428 tackles.

      The Raiders brought back Justin Ellis on a three-year, $15 million deal and also drafted defensive tackles in the second (P.J. Hall) and fifth (Maurice Hurst) rounds of April's draft. Eddie Vanderdoes, a 2017 third-round pick who started 13 games as a rookie, remains on the physically unable to perform list after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the regular-season finale.

      --Field Level Media

  • Jets put OT Ijalana on IR; G Winters to miss preseason
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    The New York Jets placed offensive tackle Ben Ijalana on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season after he suffered a shoulder injury in joint practices with the Washington Redskins this week.

    • To fill his roster spot, the team signed veteran lineman Gino Gradkowski.

      Ijalana, who turned 29 on Aug. 6, was expected to serve as the Jets' swing tackle behind starters Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Shell.

      He appeared in 11 games a reserve last season after starting 13 of 16 games for New York in 2016. Those were the only starts of Ijalana's five-year career, which also includes two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

      Gradkowski, 29, spent the past two years with the Carolina Panthers but did not play last season after going on injured reserve in September and being released later that month. He appeared in 10 games (three starts) in 2016.

      A former fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, Gradkowski started all 16 games in 2013 for the Ravens but has otherwise started in just four of his 38 appearances.

      Meanwhile, NFL Network reports guard Brian Winters is expected to be held out of all preseason games as the Jets take it slow in his recovery from an abdominal injury that plagued his 2017 campaign.

      Winters, who projects as the team's starter at right guard, has participated in practices throughout training camp but was held out in recent days due to soreness, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

      The 27-year-old started 13 games last season, bringing his total to 54 starts in 64 NFL games since the Jets took him in the third round of the 2013 draft.

      Winters is entering the second year of a four-year, $29 million contract extension he signed in January of 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks agree to sign ex-Colts LB Walden, per agent
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    The Seattle Seahawks agreed to a deal with former Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden, according to Walden's agents.

    • The terms of the deal were not announced. Walden played for the Tennessee Titans last year on a one-year, $2.75 million deal.

      Walden, who turns 33 on Tuesday, collected four sacks and 36 tackles in 16 games (two starts) for Tennessee last season. He played the previous four years for the Indianapolis Colts, starting 60 of 61 games and tallying 23 sacks in that span, including an 11-sack campaign in 2016.

      The 10-year veteran also spent three years with the Green Bay Packers and parts of three seasons with the Miami Dolphins after starting his career in Kansas City. Walden was a sixth-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2008 but never played for them.

      The Seahawks could use pass-rushing help with defensive end Dion Jordan's status up in the air for the regular-season opener. Jordan remains on the physically unable to perform list while dealing with a stress reaction in his shin.

      --Field Level Media

  • Broncos WR Henderson suspended one game for substance abuse
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Denver Broncos receiver Carlos Henderson, who has yet to report for training camp, was suspended one game for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, the league announced Wednesday.

    • Henderson, 23, was arrested in Louisiana in January on a marijuana possession charge.

      A 2017 third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, Henderson spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a thumb injury and then did not report for the start of training camp this season.

      Head coach Vance Joseph told reporters Henderson is dealing with a personal issue and must decide "if he wants to continue to play football." Various teammates including wideout Emmanuel Sanders have said they've reached out to Henderson, but there is no indication his absence will end anytime soon.

      Henderson tied for the FBS lead in touchdown receptions with 19 in his final year at Louisiana Tech, but he has spent the majority of his Broncos tenure working with the third team in practice. He had one catch for seven yards in his only preseason appearance as a rookie.

      --Field Level Media

  • Foles on Brady handshake: 'Not a big deal at all'
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles told reporters Wednesday he's not worried about the fact that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn't shake his hand following Super Bowl LII.

    • Asked if he's heard from Brady since the game in February, Foles said he hasn't, but made it clear that he doesn't see any unresolved issue between the two.

      "We both have a lot going on in our lives so, you know, in time," said Foles, whose Eagles visit Foxborough for a preseason game Thursday night. "It will happen when it happens. We practiced with the Patriots several years ago, and I got to stand there and talk to Tom for quite a bit. He's a great guy. I have all the respect in the world for him.

      "I think everyone's making a really big deal out of this and it's not a big deal at all. I've already talked to him before, he's a guy I've always looked up to. You've got to admire someone who is probably the greatest ever and still going strong. ... I've already had a conversation with him before when we practiced, so if we have one in the future, we'll have one and it will be cool."

      By custom, opposing quarterbacks usually shake hands after games, but Brady and Foles never did after the Eagles clinched their first Lombardi Trophy in Minneapolis. Brady has not been asked publicly about the lack of a handshake, and there's no indication as to whether it was intentional or simply prevented by postgame chaos.

      Foles was named MVP of the game after throwing for 373 yards, three touchdowns -- including the game-winner -- and an interception, while Brady set a playoff record with 505 passing yards, in addition to three touchdowns and a lost fumble that helped the Eagles secure the win in the fourth quarter.

      While the memories of last season remain fresh, Foles isn't focused on comparing the two sides.

      "This is a new season, new people, new players," he said. "Obviously we wear the same logos as last year but we both have a new identity. This is the time of year where we grow together as teams, so that's all I'm really focusing on."

      --Field Level Media

  • Texans' Hopkins, 49ers' Ward scuffle at joint practice
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Tempers flared during a joint practice between the Texans and 49ers on Wednesday, leading to a scuffle between Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco corner Jimmie Ward.

    • The fracas erupted when Ward knocked Hopkins' helmet off jamming him at the line of scrimmage, and the two began throwing punches early in the session.

      The pair tumbled to the ground had to be separated.

      Hopkins was sent inside the practice bubble, while Ward was reduced to running on the sideline as practice resumed.

      "Yeah, it's ridiculous," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Just have to move on."

      The teams face off in a preseason game on Saturday, and O'Brien said that he and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan had agreed before the joint sessions that players should be kicked out of any practices for engaging in an activity that would get them ejected from a game.

      "He's great to work with," O'Brien said. "We both preach, in practices like that, ‘thud', no live tackling, just be in the proper position to make the tackle, to make the block. They do a good job of trying to strip the ball, so we're working on fundamentals there. I think guys really tried to stay on their feet. We both preach staying on your feet. Really good guy to work with."

      --Field Level Media

  • Jaguars CB Ramsey unloads on QBs in interview
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Jalen Ramsey is one of the league's best cornerbacks, but he'll definitely be tested this season after criticizing several of the NFL's starting quarterbacks.

    • The Jacksonville Jaguars cover corner gave blunt assessments of several signal callers in a GQ interview that came out on Wednesday.

      Among his targets were Atlanta's Matt Ryan, Buffalo rookie Josh Allen, Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck and Baltimore's Joe Flacco.

      Allen, the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, got the worst of it.

      "I think Allen is trash," said Ramsey. "I don't care what nobody say. He's trash. And it's gonna show too. That's a stupid draft pick to me. We play them this year, and I'm excited as hell. I hope he's their starting quarterback."

      Allen, asked about the comments Wednesday, said he didn't care what Ramsey said.

      "He's not on my team, he's not my teammate," Allen told WGR in Buffalo. "It doesn't bother me. I don't care one bit. I care about my teammates, what my teammates think about me."

      Ramsey, who first failed to come up with Ryan's name, then called him "overrated" and suggested his MVP season was a product of the system he ran.

      Roethlisberger is "decent at best," Flacco "sucks" and as for Luck, "I don't really think he's that good," claims Ramsey. For the record, Luck completed 11 of 16 passes thrown to Ramsey's area in two career games head-to-head with a passer rating of 125.0.

      Giants quarterback Eli Manning -- Ramsey said Manning is "no good" -- offered a "no comment" after joint practice workouts with the Lions in Detroit before pausing to ask of Ramsey, "Who?"

      Jacksonville visits New York to face Manning in the regular-season opener on Sept. 9.

      Ramsey's GQ interview wasn't all trash talk, though.

      Ramsey praised his own quarterback, Blake Bortles, for doing what the team asked and carrying them to the playoffs last season. And he says DeShaun Watson and Carson Wentz will be MVP favorites for the next several years.

      He also had praise for Kirk Cousins, Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota and Russell Wilson.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Seahawks RB Penny has broken finger
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, August 15, 2018

    Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny left Monday's practice with a broken finger, according to multiple reports.

    • Penny reportedly had surgery Wednesday morning but is expected to be available for Week 1, Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos.

      The Seahawks are not required to reveal the injury to Penny, but the rookie drafted 27th overall in April's NFL draft left practice early and did not return.

      Penny is competing with Chris Carson for the starting running back job in preseason.

      He had eight carries for 16 yards in his preseason debut against the Indianapolis Colts last week.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bengals could limit snap counts for Eifert, Lawson
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is leaning toward limited snap counts for tight end Tyler Eifert and defensive end Carl Lawson this season.

    • Both players have dealt with significant injuries in recent seasons. Lewis said Tuesday that he wanted to prevent high snap counts for both players in order for them to be as effective as possible when they are on the field.

      Eifert, 27, appeared in only two games last season because of back and knee injuries that required surgery. He has played more than half the season only two times in his five-year career. In 39 career games, he has 127 catches for 1,537 yards and 20 touchdowns.

      Lewis was asked whether he would limit Eifert's playing time if the tight end reached 50 snaps in a game.

      "Well, I hope he never gets 50," Lewis responded.

      Another player subject to the Bengals' cautious approach is Lawson, who missed his sophomore season with Auburn because of a torn ACL and was limited to seven games as a junior. The Bengals selected him in the fourth round (No. 116 overall) of the 2017 draft, and he shined as a situational pass rusher last year, recording 8 1/2 sacks in 16 games (one start).

      Lewis said he wanted Lawson (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) to be fresh in order to rush the passer when needed.

      "The biggest thing that was true for Carl at Auburn, and still continues here in the NFL after his first season, is that by limiting his exposure, we're going to get more production," Lewis said. "He's not that big of a person, and so to go out and bang with the big guys all the time is not going to be beneficial for him."

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Roethlisberger in concussion protocol
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Pittsburgh Steelers team doctors are evaluating quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a concussion after he left Tuesday's practice early following a hit, and he was placed in the concussion protocol, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

    • Roethlisberger was knocked down in a collision with right tackle Marcus Gilbert and linebacker Keion Adams while rolling right during a drill on the final day of Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pa., before the team returns to Pittsburgh.

      Roethlisberger remained on the ground for a few minutes while teammates gathered around him, and then got up holding his head. He walked off the field, talked with trainers and general manager Kevin Colbert, and then left practice.

      "It happened so fast. I saw his head whip back," Gilbert told reporters afterward. "I've got to see the film to see what happened. That's my guy. No one wants to see anything happen to him, especially in a practice like this."

      --Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is uncertain of his status for the regular-season opener on Sept. 6 against the Atlanta Falcons.

      Wentz is working only in "controlled environment" drills during preseason practice after participating in team drills to start training camp. He is recovering from a season-ending knee injury and surgery in December.

      "I would love to be out there," Wentz told WIP Radio in Philadelphia on Tuesday. "That's been my goal all offseason ever since the injury. It's going to be close. It's going to be close. I'm still eyeing that date. At the end of the day, it's not just my decision. There's coaches and doctors that really have the final say. I really like where I'm at, and time will tell here."

      --New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he "absolutely" plans on playing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

      Brady was held out of the Patriots' preseason opener against the Washington Redskins last week with what was reported to be a minor back injury. He has seen more reps in practice this week in advance of the Super Bowl rematch.

      Brady, 41, has seen his preseason workload cut back in recent years given his age. He became the oldest player to ever with the league's MVP award last season, and he reiterated to WEEI on Tuesday that he plans to play beyond this season.

      --One day after rookie Chad Kelly was named the Denver Broncos' No. 2 QB, general manager John Elway admitted it may not be the last move he makes to his quarterback room before the season kicks off next month.

      Speaking in a radio interview on 103.5 The Fox in Denver, Elway did not shy away when being quizzed if he would consider adding a veteran quarterback to back up starter Case Keenum.

      The Broncos promoted Kelly to the backup QB spot and demoted former first-rounder Paxton Lynch to No. 3 on the depth chart on Monday. Kelly has worked with the second team this week after going 14 of 21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the preseason opener last weekend against Minnesota.

      --Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is out indefinitely as the result of a broken right middle finger, according to multiple reports.

      The ailment could sideline Parker for four to six weeks, according to the Miami Herald, which added that Parker believes he will be ready to play in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Dolphins coach Adam Gase told reporters Tuesday that Parker is "week to week.

      Parker sustained the injury when his hand got stuck in the shoulder pads of Xavien Howard, who was breaking up a practice pass intended for the fourth-year wideout. Parker practiced Sunday with the injury, according to the Herald.

      --Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith signed his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears, a deal that includes $18.4 million guaranteed.

      Smith got a signing bonus of $11 million. Like the contracts of all first-round picks, Smith's includes a fifth-year team option.

      Smith, drafted No. 8 overall out of Georgia in April, reported to sign his contract in the morning. Chicago rookies reported on July 16, with veterans arriving three days later. Smith's holdout lasted 29 days, including 15 missed practices, and he reported with 26 days left before Week 1 of the regular season.

      --Through three days of joint practice sessions, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has been very impressed by New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, despite initial reluctance to give the No. 3 overall pick credit.

      "Someone asked me about him the other day, and I was like, 'Yeah, whatever, he's just a guy,'" Norman told reporters. "Then you go out here and see him making these throws and you're like, 'All right. That's not so much a college-level throw.' He's putting them on the money."

      Darnold has worked regularly against Washington's starting defense during this week's practices, and Norman said he's tried veteran tricks against the 21-year-old, to no avail. Darnold was the third QB to play in the Jets' Friday preseason opener against Atlanta behind incumbent starter Josh McCown and free agent signee Teddy Bridgewater.

      --New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley sat out practice after participating in position drills.

      Barkley left practice Monday with a strained hamstring. He appeared to be hurt on a reception down the sideline, outrunning linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Janoris Jenkins to catch a ball on a wheel route, and he did not return to the field.

      Barkley was walking gingerly and had ice and a wrap on his left leg, but head coach Pat Shurmur said later in the day the injury was minor. The Giants vowed to be careful with Barkley, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft. He took his first carry 39 yards in the preseason opener.

      --In joint practices, Jets wideout Terrelle Pryor drew the ire of both New York head coach Todd Bowles and several Redskins players, his former teammates, for a variety of reasons.

      After Pryor volunteered details about his health to reporters Monday -- saying he had a fractured ankle that required surgery in May, and adding he'll sit out Thursday's game against Washington due to a minor hip injury -- Bowles had harsh words for Pryor a day later.

      "Terrelle doesn't need to be descriptive," Bowles told reporters. "I feel that he should keep his mouth shut and leave the injuries to me. ... We had a conversation. We'll only discuss our in-house things in house."

      --A day after he agreed to a restructured contract, Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn was activated off the physically unable to perform list and returned to practice, but not at his familiar spot.

      Penn, who has played left tackle for the last 11 seasons, lined up with the starters on the right side while first-round rookie Kolton Miller remained on the left, where he has worked in Penn's absence all offseason.

      Penn, 35, told reporters after practice he felt "awkward" and "rusty," adding, "I don't know if (the move to right tackle is) going to be permanent." But he said he plans to play wherever the coaches ask him to.

      --The ex-girlfriend of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is no longer living in his Atlanta-area home after the two sides finalized an eviction agreement, according to multiple reports.

      Delicia Cordon will be accompanied to the home by a sheriff's deputy to retrieve personal items as part of the agreement. Cordon filed a personal injury lawsuit on Friday against McCoy and his former University of Pittsburgh teammate, Tamarcus Porter.

      Eviction paperwork was filed on McCoy's behalf by Porter prior to a July 10 home invasion in which Cordon alleges she was beaten and robbed of jewelry. Police are investigating the incident, but no suspects have been named.

      --Cornerback Orlando Scandrick was released by the Washington Redskins.

      Scandrick, who received a $1 million signing bonus as part of a two-year contract, had been lining up as a starter opposite Norman. However, head coach Jay Gruden said the potential of the team's younger cornerbacks forced the move.

      "It had nothing to do with his play. It was more of the rookies' emergence," Gruden said. "It also gives Orlando time to get on another team." By the end of the day, the 31-year-old Scandrick was expected to be in Kansas City to meet with the Chiefs.

      --Dez Bryant is slated to visit with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, head coach Hue Jackson confirmed.

      The free agent receiver, 29, has displayed interest in the team in recent weeks, and the training camp visit could be the crucial step that leads to the three-time Pro Bowler joining the squad. His signing isn't imminent, however, Jackson said.

      Browns general manager John Dorsey said last Thursday he has been performing his due diligence on Bryant, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys in April after catching 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns last season.

      --The Miami Dolphins signed free agent defensive lineman Kendall Langford, who played for the team from 2008-11, the team announced.

      Langford, 32, last played for the Houston Texans but appeared in just one game in November before being waived. He had previously been released by the New Orleans Saints after a three-day stint in September.

      Langford missed over half of 2016 with the Colts and played in just seven games due to a knee injury, a year after he had seven sacks in 16 starts for Indianapolis.

      --Former Raiders cornerback Sean Smith was released from prison in Los Angeles, five months into a one-year sentence for felony assault.

      Smith, 31, was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation after he pleaded guilty on March 13 to a felony assault charge stemming from a July 2017 incident in Pasadena, Calif. An aggravated battery charge was dismissed.

      Prosecutors said Smith beat and repeatedly stomped on the head of his sister's then-boyfriend during an altercation, causing five facial fractures and requiring reconstructive surgery and the insertion of a metal plate and screws.

      --After a year in which he regularly criticized the Patriots organization, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is welcoming the negative attention he expects to receive during Thursday night's preseason game in Foxborough, Mass.

      "Oh yeah. I hope so. I hope they raise hell," Johnson told reporters when asked if he expects backlash from Patriots fans. "They can cuss me, they can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I'm not blocking them, I'm blocking guys on the edge, so it really doesn't matter what they say."

      --Free Bud Light will be distributed in 10 Cleveland-area bars when the Cleveland Browns win their next regular-season game, which will mark the team's first win since Christmas Eve in 2016.

      Ten bars in the city have purchased 8-foot fridges filled with Bud Light bottles from Anheuser-Busch, according to ESPN. The fridges are currently locked by an electromagnet, which will be turned off wirelessly when the Browns officially claim their first victory of the season, allowing fans to celebrate with free beer.

      --Field Level Media

  • Elway not opposed to adding veteran QB in Denver
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    While Mr. Irrelevant from this year's NFL Draft has temporarily won the backup quarterback job in Denver, the fact that a rookie seventh-round pick with no NFL experience is one injury from starting is apparently very relevant to John Elway.

    • One day after Chad Kelly was named the Broncos' No. 2 QB, the Broncos general manager admitted it may not be the last move he makes to his quarterback room before the season kicks off next month.

      Speaking in a radio interview on103.5 The Fox in Denver on Tuesday, Elway did not shy away when being quizzed if he would consider adding a veteran quarterback to back up starter Case Keenum.

      "I'm not going to tell you we're definitely going to stand pat, but I'm not telling you we're going (in) that direction, either," Elway told 103.5 The Fox radio station in Denver.

      The Broncos promoted Kelly to the backup quarterback spot and demoted former first-round pick Paxton Lynch to No. 3 on the depth chart on Monday. Kelly has worked with the second team this week after he went 14-for-21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the preseason opener over the weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.

      While Kelly's early preseason success has excited Broncos fans, Elway -- the Broncos' two-time Super Bowl champion ex-QB and Hall of Famer-turned GM since 2011 -- admitted that he is not yet ready to cement Kelly as bona fide backup in Denver.

      "We've got to have confidence that that guy that's going to be the backup can play and win football games," Elway said. "And so that's why we're still in that process of trying to see if we've got that guy behind Case.

      "Even though Chad played very well on Saturday night -- we'll see how he does this week -- but if something were to happen to Case, can he come in and continue to win football games for us?" Elway said. "That's the big part of the evaluation process and that's still going on."

      Broncos head coach Vance Joseph separately told Denver media on Tuesday that Lynch, who went 6-of-11 for 24 yards and an interception on Saturday, is not thrilled to be dropped to the No. 3 spot behind Kelly, the rookie whose nephew, Jim, is also a Hall of Fame quarterback.

      "He is upset. He didn't like it. He wants to know why," Joseph said. "And he has to play better. It's as simple as that. It's a competition. It's the league. Everyone's doing this. No one's not playing their best players."

      Kelly, 24, spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve after the Broncos took him with the final pick of the 2017 draft. He had worked exclusively as the third quarterback in camp until Monday, but Joseph and Elway each said earlier this offseason that Kelly would compete with Lynch for the backup job behind Keenum.

      Kelly was pegged by some as a first- or second-round prospect before he missed the 2017 season at Ole Miss with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Healthy enough to throw at his pro day in April 2017, Kelly suffered a wrist injury during his workout that required surgery. He also entered the draft with off-field concerns stemming from a December 2014 arrest for disorderly conduct.

      The Broncos traded up five spots in the 2016 draft to take Lynch 26th overall, but the 24-year-old failed to win the starting job through two years, leading to Keenum's signing this spring. Lynch is 79-of-128 (61.7 percent) for 792 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions in five appearances (four starts).

      Kelly will work as the Broncos' second quarterback throughout this week, including two joint practices against the Chicago Bears, before Saturday's game against Chicago.

      --Field Level Media

  • Dolphins bring back former DL Langford
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    The Miami Dolphins signed free agent defensive lineman Kendall Langford, who played for the team from 2008-11, the Dolphins announced Tuesday.

    • Langford, 32, last played for the Houston Texans but appeared in just one game in November before being waived. He had previously been released by the New Orleans Saints after a three-day stint in September.

      Langford missed over half of 2016 with the Indianapolis Colts and played in just seven games due to a knee injury, a year after he had seven sacks in 16 starts for Indy.

      A third-round pick by Miami in 2008, Langford had 141 tackles, 7.5 sacks and nine passes defensed through four seasons with the Dolphins before a three-year stint with the then-St. Louis Rams and two years with the Colts. He has 22.5 sacks and 21 passes defensed in 136 games (113 starts) over 10 NFL seasons.

      The Dolphins opened a roster spot Monday by waiving defensive tackle Gabe Wright, hours after Wright reportedly blindsided running back Kenyan Drake -- who did not have a helmet on -- with an elbow during a testy practice.

      --Field Level Media

  • Eagles OT Johnson ready for boos Thursday vs. Pats
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    After a year in which he regularly criticized the New England Patriots' organization, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson is welcoming the negative attention he expects to receive during Thursday night's preseason game in Foxborough.

    • "Oh yeah. I hope so. I hope they raise hell," Johnson told reporters Tuesday when asked if he expects backlash from Patriots fans. "They can cuss me, they can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I'm not blocking them, I'm blocking guys on the edge, so it really doesn't matter what they say.

      "I know that I'm not going to be well-liked, this team is not going to be well-liked going there, so it's going to basically bring out our best."

      Johnson will likely be a specific target for boos, as he called New England a "fear-based organization" with players "who act like f---ing robots," and said Pats owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick talked trash to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and head coach Doug Pederson before Super Bowl LII.

      Belichick unsurprisingly dismissed the subject when asked Tuesday about Johnson's comments.

      "We're focused on what we're doing," Belichick told reporters. "We need to have a good practice today and try to improve our team today. That's what we're going to do."

      The Eagles as a whole will very likely receive a rude welcome from Patriots fans Thursday, after Philadelphia beat New England in the Super Bowl for its first-ever Lombardi Trophy.

      A Massachusetts-based Eagles fan added fuel to the fire by paying to put up a celebratory message on an electronic billboard Tuesday near Gillette Stadium.

      The billboard features text reading "Go Birds" and "World Champs!" along with images of Nick Foles catching the Lombardi Trophy and Tom Brady getting sacked, with details like jersey numbers changed to avoid copyright issues. There is also an image of a person dressed like a mummer -- a reference to center Jason Kelce's attire at the Eagles' celebratory parade -- and wearing a dog mask. The mask is a reference to Johnson's donning of a German Shepherd mask after the Eagles were labeled home underdogs during the playoffs, a trend fans quickly embraced.

      "It's not meant to be a disrespectful thing," the fan, Gina Lewis, told USA Today on Tuesday of the billboard. "It's a fun joke. It's football trash talk. And a thank you to the Eagles. This is my home, too. It's not my fault I live in New England. I have a right to put it up.

      "I've been surrounded for years and years by people giving me crap about the Eagles ... and now they finally won."

      The billboard cost $5,000 and was paid for through a GoFundMe page, according to Lewis.

      Thursday's game starts at 7:30 p.m.

      --Field Level Media

  • Steelers put Roethlisberger in concussion protocol
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Pittsburgh Steelers team doctors were evaluating Ben Roethlisberger for a concussion after he left Tuesday's practice early following a hit, and the quarterback was placed in the concussion protocol, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

    • Roethlisberger was knocked down in a collision with right tackle Marcus Gilbert and linebacker Keion Adams while rolling right during a drill Tuesday, the final day of Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pa., before they return to Pittsburgh.

      Roethlisberger remained on the ground for a few minutes while teammates gathered around him, and then got up holding his head. He walked off the field, talked with trainers and general manager Kevin Colbert, and then left practice.

      "It happened so fast. I saw his head whip back," Gilbert told reporters afterward. "I've got to see the film to see what happened. That's my guy. No one wants to see anything happen to him, especially in a practice like this, coming to work and going and not tackling."

      Center Maurkice Pouncey told reporters Roethlisberger said "he was fine, he was good."

      Tomlin had already told reporters that Roethlisberger, who has appeared in just two preseason games since 2016, would not play Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers. It is unclear whether or not the signal-caller will play in either of Pittsburgh's final two preseason contests.

      Roethlisberger, 36, has regularly battled injuries during his career, playing through several and missing seven games over the last three seasons for a variety of reasons. His last documented concussion came in Week 12 of the 2015 season, when he pulled himself from the fourth quarter of a loss against the Seattle Seahawks after feeling concussion-like symptoms, but he returned to play the next week.

      The 15th-year veteran has made four consecutive Pro Bowls despite missing some time. He threw for 4,251 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 games last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bills RB McCoy settles eviction process with ex-girlfriend
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    The ex-girlfriend of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is no longer living in his Atlanta-area home after the two sides finalized an eviction agreement on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

    • Delicia Cordon will be accompanied to the home by a sheriff's deputy to retrieve personal items as part of the agreement.

      Eviction paperwork was filed on McCoy's behalf by former University of Pittsburgh teammate Tamarcus Porter prior to a July 10 home invasion in which Cordon alleges she was beaten and robbed of jewelry.

      Police are investigating the incident but no suspects have been named.

      Cordon filed a personal injury lawsuit on Friday against McCoy and Porter.

      In the civil suit filed in Fulton (Ga.) County Court, McCoy and Porter are accused by Cordon of being responsible for the attack that occurred while she was sleeping in the home.

      The civil suit claims that McCoy should be held financially liable for Cordon's injuries because he had changed the security codes to the home and refused to provide the information to her. The suit says McCoy "breached his duty to use ordinary care" to protect Cordon.

      The suit seeks damages of $133,000 in stolen jewelry and $13,000 in furniture allegedly taken by McCoy and his family on June 1 and not returned.

      The lawsuit doesn't directly accuse McCoy or Porter of conducting or ordering the attack against Cordon. But it claims McCoy had "actual and constructive knowledge of criminal activity existing on the property on July 10, 2018," because Porter previously told police he could watch a live feed of the security cameras inside the house.

      McCoy has previously denied the allegations made by Cordon.

      Last week, McCoy expressed confidence that the Bills are backing him "110 percent" and that he will play in the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at Baltimore. McCoy was in uniform but did not play in Thursday night's 28-23 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

      A nine-year NFL veteran, McCoy will be playing in his fourth season in Buffalo. The 30-year-old rushed for 1,138 yards and gained another 448 receiving yards in 2017, while scoring eight total touchdowns.

      --Field Level Media

  • WR Bryant set to visit Browns on Thursday; DT Hankins also visiting
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Dez Bryant is slated to visit with the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, head coach Hue Jackson confirmed Tuesday.

    • The free-agent receiver has displayed interest in the team in recent weeks and the training-camp visit could be the crucial step that leads to the three-time Pro Bowler joining the squad. His signing isn't imminent, however.

      "It's not just a given,'' Jackson told reporters. "You have to work through whatever conversations we have and feel good about it.''

      Browns general manager John Dorsey said last Thursday he has been performing his due diligence on Bryant.

      "I'd be open to anything if it's proper," Dorsey told reporters. "I'm just going to measure that on a case-by-case basis and see what happens when the guys come in next week."

      Receiver Jarvis Landry is lobbying for Bryant and said the players would welcome him with "open arms."

      Bryant, 29, is on the open market after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He was released in April after catching 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns last season.

      Bryant has 531 receptions for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in 113 career games (99 starts).

      Also set to work out for the Browns this week is free agent defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, according to a Cleveland.com report.

      Hankins, a 26-year-old former Ohio State Buckeye, had 2.0 sacks in 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts last season. He was released in March, less than a year after signing a three-year, $27 million deal with the Colts in free agency.

      A second-round pick in 2013, Hankins played his first four seasons with the New York Giants and has 12.0 career sacks in 67 games (56 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Redskins' Norman lauds Darnold after joint practices; WR Pryor in hot water
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Through three days of joint practice sessions, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has been very impressed by New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, despite initial reluctance to give the No. 3 overall pick credit.

    • "Someone asked me about him the other day, and I was like, yeah, whatever, he's just a guy," Norman told reporters Tuesday. "Then you go out here and see him making these throws and you're like, all right. That's not so much a college-level throw. He's putting them on the money."

      Darnold has worked regularly against Washington's starting defense during this week's practices, and Norman said he's tried a few veteran tricks against the 21-year-old, to no avail. Norman also compared Darnold to two young quarterbacks recently drafted by NFC East rivals that blossomed early in the NFL.

      "It's like, dang," Norman said. "You get rookies in here, and you try to mess them with a little bit and bait them a little bit into thinking they're throwing a route, and you can make a play and he's not having it. It's so crazy to see that at an early age. Dak [Prescott] has that; Carson [Wentz] has that.

      "So it's like, man, they must come in here not wanting to screw it up, and he's so far impressed me and I didn't want him to. I wanted to break all rookies. He's been doing a great job."

      Darnold was the third quarterback to play in Friday's preseason opener behind incumbent starter Josh McCown and free agent signee Teddy Bridgewater, but he's earned reps with the starters in practice and is being given the chance to win the starting job. Darnold went 13-for-18 for 96 yards and a touchdown while playing the whole second half against the Atlanta Falcons, as the Jets ran the ball often to close out a 17-0 win.

      Elsewhere in joint practices, Jets wideout Terrelle Pryor drew the ire of both head coach Todd Bowles and several former Redskins teammates for a variety of reasons.

      After Pryor volunteered details about his health to reporters Monday -- saying he had a fractured ankle that required surgery in May, and adding he'll sit out Thursday's game against Washington due to a minor hip injury -- Bowles had harsh words for Pryor on Tuesday.

      "Terrelle doesn't need to be descriptive," Bowles told reporters. "I feel that he should keep his mouth shut and leave the injuries to me."

      When asked if Pryor was fined by the team for his comments, Bowles did not confirm or deny.

      "We had a conversation," Bowles said. "We'll only discuss our in-house things in-house."

      Meanwhile, Pryor was the subject of harsh words during practice as well, as several of his former Washington teammates repeatedly criticized and taunted him.

      The most notable example came after Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger yelled the word "garbage" toward Pryor after the wideout dropped a potential touchdown. Pryor jawed back, and then Swearinger approached him and feigned a punch, causing Pryor to flinch and several Redskins defenders to cheer and laugh.

      Swearinger told reporters after practice that Pryor "sparked" the beef with some comments in an interview earlier this week, adding that Washington's secondary chose to show him less respect in 1-on-1 drills by covering him with a safety instead of a cornerback.

      Pryor, who tweeted a video Tuesday morning of himself making a one-handed catch against the Redskins during an earlier practice, declined to speak to reporters after Tuesday's session, saying, "I'm ready to get the [expletive] out of here."

      A former quarterback, Pryor signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Redskins in March of 2016 but managed just 20 catches for 240 yards and a touchdown in nine games last season after posting a 77-1,007-4 line in 2016 with the Cleveland Browns.

      He joined the Jets on a one-year, $4 million deal this offseason, although only $1 million is guaranteed. He's listed with the second team on New York's depth chart but is not considered a lock to make the roster.

      --Field Level Media

  • Browns' fans to get free Bud Light after team's first win
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Free Bud Light will be distributed in 10 Cleveland-area bars when the Cleveland Browns win their next regular-season game, which will mark the team's first win since Christmas Eve in 2016.

    • Ten bars in the city have purchased eight-foot fridges filled with Bud Light bottles from Anheuser-Busch, according to ESPN. The fridges are currently locked by an electromagnet, which will be turned off wirelessly when the Browns officially claim their first victory of the season, allowing fans to celebrate with free beer.

      The team announced the promotion Tuesday morning on Twitter, posting a photo of a fridge bearing the words "When the Browns win, Cleveland wins."

      "Obviously, we are nowhere near satisfied with our win totals in recent seasons, and our fans deserve much better," Browns chief operating officer Dave Jenkins told ESPN. "While some may characterize it as celebrating one victory, we view this as an opportunity to thank Browns fans for their unwavering support while also looking forward to our goal of rewarding Cleveland with a consistently winning football team."

      The Browns open the regular season against a pair of 2017 playoff teams (vs. Pittsburgh, at New Orleans) before hosting the New York Jets (5-11 in 2017) and visiting the Oakland Raiders (6-10). They have a total of six games against teams who had losing records last season, including two against the Cincinnati Bengals (7-9) and road trips to Tampa Bay (5-11) and Houston (4-12).

      Last season, the Browns became the second team ever to go 0-16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions. They started 0-14 in 2016 before claiming a three-point victory in Week 16 over the then-San Diego Chargers.

      Head coach Hue Jackson told reporters last year that he would jump in Lake Erie if the team didn't win more games in 2017 than it did in 2016, and he made good on that promise in June, turning it into a charity event that was chronicled in the first episode of HBO's Hard Knocks.

      After going 8-8 with the Oakland Raiders in his first year as a head coach in 2011, Jackson is 1-31 through two years in Cleveland.

      --Field Level Media

  • Texans' Watt: 'No doubt' I'll play Week 1
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Defensive end J.J. Watt said there is "no doubt" he will be on the field when the Houston Texans open their regular-season schedule at the New England Patriots on Sept. 9.

    • Watt, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, played in just five games last season due to a broken left leg. He appeared in only three games the previous season before undergoing back surgery, his second in a span of about two months.

      "Oh, yeah. I mean, there's no doubt," he said Monday when asked if he'll be on the field Week 1. "I feel great. I feel great. I love being on the field. I've had great work out here. I'm just controlling what I can control."

      Watt did not participate in on-field workouts during the offseason, but said he feels great as the Texans prepare for a few days of joint practices against the San Francisco 49ers ahead of Saturday's preseason game between the teams.

      Now 29 years old, can Watt get back to his All-Pro form after managing only 1.5 sacks in eight combined games over the past two seasons?

      "I know what expectations I have for myself, but the only thing I can -- any way I answer that question, I'm screwed," he said. "You want me to say, 'Yeah, it's going to be incredible,' then you're setting insane expectations. I say, 'No, I think I'm going to suck,' that doesn't bode too well for myself, either.

      "There's really no good way to answer that question so I'm literally focused -- I control what I can control. Through all my injuries, that's probably the biggest thing I've learned, is control what you can control. All I can control is today; workouts, practice, meetings, and then tomorrow I'll be able to control that."

      Watt did acknowledge that he's enjoying the ability to be on the field, even through the rigors of preseason, after struggling through two injury-plagued seasons.

      "Obviously, the last two years were not fun, but you appreciate the game so much more and you're so much (more) thankful for your opportunity to be on the field, to go to work," he said. "You have a bit of a different mentality. You don't complain about as much, you see the brighter side of things a lot more once you've been through what I've been through.

      "I love every day. I've loved it from the start but I love it even more now."

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Raiders CB Smith released from prison early
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Former Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith was released from prison in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, five months into a one-year sentence for felony assault.

    • Smith, 31, was sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation after he pled guilty on March 13 to a felony assault charge stemming from a July 2017 incident in Pasadena, Calif. An aggravated battery charge was dismissed.

      Prosecutors said Smith beat and repeatedly stomped on the head of his sister's then-boyfriend during an altercation, causing five facial fractures and requiring reconstructive surgery and the insertion of a metal plate and screws.

      Smith, who was released by the Raiders one day before he pleaded guilty, tweeted about his release Tuesday morning, writing, "Finally FREE!!!!!!! So much to say but I'm headed to the gym. I'll catch up wit y'all later"

      TMZ reported earlier this month that Smith would be released early as the result of good behavior and overcrowding at the prison.

      Smith joined the Raiders on a four-year, $38 million deal in March of 2016, but his two-year tenure in Oakland was up and down. He was benched in his first game before regaining the starting job, and he also was demoted at times last season, finishing with seven starts in 14 games.

      In nine NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Raiders, Smith has 14 interceptions (one returned for a TD) and 96 passes defensed in 137 games (122 starts).

      --Field Level Media

  • Raiders OT Penn activated from PUP, playing RT
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    A day after he agreed to a restructured contract, Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn was activated off the physically unable to perform list and returned to practice, but not at his familiar spot.

    • Penn, who has played left tackle for the last 11 seasons, lined up with the starters on the right side while first-round rookie Kolton Miller remained on the left, where he has worked in Penn's absence all offseason.

      Penn, 35, took over as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting left tackle in Week 5 of 2007 and started a streak of 170 consecutive starts at the position that included three Pro Bowl nods, including in 2016 and 2017. The streak ended with a Lisfranc fracture in his right foot in Week 15 last season, which required surgery. He had been unable to participate in any offseason work while rehabbing from surgery before Tuesday's activation.

      Since his freshman year at Utah State in 2002, Penn has played just 24 snaps at right tackle, all in a 2016 game after an injury forced the Raiders to reshuffle up front. Penn told reporters after that game he was "horrible" on the right side, crediting then-offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave for calling plays that limited Penn's exposure.

      "I'm not trying to play right again," Penn said at the time, "but if I do, I'll do whatever it takes to win. They know I'll do whatever they tell me to do."

      Miller, whom the team took 15th overall in April's draft, started all 13 games of his final season at UCLA on the left side. He made five starts on the right in 2016 and played both sides for five combined starts in 2015.

      The Raiders also drafted Brandon Parker 65th overall and brought in veteran Breno Giacomini to compete on the right side this offseason, and 2017 fourth-round pick David Sharpe has also garnered reps at right tackle.

      Penn is entering his fifth year with the Raiders. He agreed to a restructured deal on Monday, which reportedly gives him more guarantees in 2019 -- the final year of his deal -- while shrinking his overall pay.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals RB Johnson 'encouraged' by extension talks
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, August 14, 2018

    Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson told reporters Monday that he's "encouraged" by discussions about an extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

    • Johnson, 26, is due for a major raise on this season's $1.88 million salary. Todd Gurley reset the running back market in July despite having two years remaining on his contract, signing a four-year, $57.5 million deal with $45 million guaranteed and a $21 million signing bonus.

      Johnson did indicate to reporters, however, that his 2017 absence -- when he missed all but half of the regular-season opener with a wrist injury -- has impacted contract talks.

      "I think that's what it is: I didn't play," Johnson said. "I didn't play [much] last year. I was hoping my production from my second year and what I did my first year would help out, but the NFL is what have you done for me lately, so hopefully I can prove it once the season starts."

      General manager Steve Keim told reporters in June the team looked forward to "rewarding" Johnson and "having a long-term future" with the back.

      Johnson finished the 2016 season with NFL highs of 373 touches, 2,118 scrimmages yards and 20 total touchdowns, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors. His 80 catches and 879 receiving yards were each tops among NFL running backs, with the latter figure leading second-ranked Le'Veon Bell by 263 yards.

      The fourth-year pro flashed in limited work in Saturday's preseason opener, taking his only two carries for 14 yards apiece.

      A third-round pick in 2015, Johnson has averaged 96.3 scrimmage yards and a touchdown per game in 33 career games (22 starts).

      --Field Level Media