Monthly Archives: July 2016

Darren Sproles signs contract extension with Eagles

Sproles led the NFL in both punt return yards (446) and punt return touchdowns (two) last season. Since 2007 he’s the NFL’s all purpose yards leader (16,207) and leads all running backs in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

At 33 years old, Sproles still owns a big role in Philly. Not only will he return punts, but he is set to be a major factor out of the backfield. With presumptive starter Ryan Mathews sitting out the beginning of camp with an injury, it’s Sproles who’s taking the starting snaps. The shifty pass-catcher projects well in coach Doug Pederson’s offense.

A young Eagles backfield that consists of two rookies — Wendell Smallwood and Cedric O’Neal — and fourth-year back Kenjon Barner could get even younger in 2017. Sproles’ leadership in the running back room should not be discounted. Philadelphia made sure his voice will be around another year.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon expressed a level of growth and maturity when he met with reporters on Thursday as veterans reported to training camp. Gordon proclaimed that everyone will soon realize that he’s a changed man.

“I definitely think I’m a different person. If you haven’t changed over a period of time than it’s definitely a bad thing. I think me standing here is a testament to that,” Gordon said. “Most people might not see it that way. That just comes with the territory with me being who I am, considering my past. But I’m only looking towards the future. And hopefully people can see that.”

Gordon was reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis on July 25. He will serve a four-game suspension before suiting up in Week 5 for the first time since December of 2014, but is allowed to participate in training camp.

The wideout was genuine and contrite about his past drug problems that induced a year-long ban.

“In the past I’ve been a selfish player. I’ll definitely admit that. I wanted to do things my way,” Gordon reminisced. “But things turn around. People change. It’s possible to change. It takes some learning, but you eventually get to that point and I think I have.”

The oft-banned receiver appears ready to approach things in his life with a level of maturity that we have not seen from him before. Gordon, 25, voiced that his maturation as a person is bigger than football.

Gronk says he thinks Brady will play 16 games, calls Deflategate saga ‘stupid’

Former NC State teammate slams Russell Wilson on Facebook

Former NC State quarterback Russell Wilson gave the commencement speech atWisconsin’s graduation ceremonies over the weekend, and in his speech, Wilson had some things to say about his former coach at NC State, Tom O’Brien.

The comments did not reflect well on O’Brien.

“He said, ‘Listen son, you’re never going to play in the National Football League. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You’ve got no shot. Give it up,'” Wilson recalled about a conversation with his former coach. This was after Wilson left NC State to play minor league baseball, and had called about returning to once again play quarterback in his senior season. Wilson was denied the chance by O’Brien; he eventually transferred to Wisconsin, won a Big Ten title and then went on to the NFL and won aSuper Bowl with the Seahawks.

So, if O’Brien said those things, he was clearly wrong.

I say if because one of Wilson’s former teammates at NC State doesn’t believe the story. Kalani Heppe, an offensive linemen with the Wolfpack who was a senior during Russell’s redshirt year, went on Facebook and share his thoughts on Wilson. They were not kind.
heppe.jpg

Kalani Heppe is not a fan of Russell Wilson.
@bronceIV – Twitter

The post has since been deleted, but Heppe certainly didn’t mince words.

There certainly has been a sense of cold feelings between Wilson and NC State since he left for Wisconsin. During pre-game introductions for games with the Seahawks, Wilson always says he went to Wisconsin, even though he spent a year there as a grad student after graduating from NC State. It’s also clear that Wilson didn’t get along with O’Brien based on his comments about him, because even if his sole intent was just to inspire the Wisconsin graduates, there are ways to go about it without throwing your former coach under the bus.

But Wilson did not do that, and it was a conscious decision.

The days of Johnny Manziel moving out to the suburbs to become a better person, study the game of football and help the Cleveland Browns wreck the NFL are long in the past.

Now he’s a free agent, involved in a domestic violence court case, and, according to WKYC, selling off the only remnant remaining from his time in Cleveland: his house out in Avon.

The reminder of the halcyon days of Manziel’s time with the Browns can be yours, complete with 2,700 square feet, four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms. It will only cost you $489,900.

Brown, who was a high school wide receiver in Clinton, Miss., began his college career at the University of Kentucky — as a soccer player. He transferred to Louisville to continue playing soccer, but it wasn’t until a conversation with former Rams kicker and Mississippi native Brett Baer that Brown even thought about football.

“I kept fighting it like, ‘Nah, I’m not kicking a football,’” Brown told Cincinnati.com’s Jim Owczarski. “But I just felt like God kept getting at me and throwing signs at me. So I was like, ‘All right.'”

Brown, who says he’s hit a 70-yard field goal in practice, isn’t just your garden variety soccer-player-turned specialist. He’s African-American, which is a rarity in the NFL kicking community.

Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott denies domestic violence claims to police

Shutdown Corner left a message with Elliott’s agent, Rocky Arceneaux, which has not been returned yet.

Elliott turned 21 on Thursday. The No. 4 overall pick in the draft out of Ohio State, Elliott’s jersey is currently leading the NFL in sales since the Dallas Cowboys selected him with their top choice this April.

A significant portion of the NFL world collectively groaned when the Jaguars reportedly hosted defensive end Greg Hardy for a workout. While Hardy remains a top talent, his issues away from the field — his alleged assault of then-girlfriend Nicole Holder, to be specific — have resulted in a lengthy free agency period.

According to an ESPN report, Hardy’s free agency will continue despite the Jaguars’ interest in him. A league source told ESPN that the team has no plans to sign Hardy at this point in time.

Mike DiRocco explained then why the Jaguars even brought in Hardy in the first place:
Sources told ESPN that the Jaguars were doing their due diligence by bringing in Hardy and wanted to sit with him face-to-face to see where he was mentally and physically.

In Hardy’s six-year career, primarily spent with the Panthers, he’s recorded 40 sacks. Last season in Dallas, Hardy brought down opposing quarterbacks six times in 12 games.

His troubles away from the field, though, continue to mar his statistical output. He’s only played in 13 games in the past two seasons due to the domestic violence incident, which CBS Sports’ John Breech explained on Thursday, when news of the Jaguars’ reported interest in Hardy first broke:
The former Cowboys defensive end was suspended for four games in 2015 stemming from a domestic violence incident in May 2014 where he was accused of throwing his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, into a bathtub and dragging her by her hair from room to room.

The two battled last year, and now that Norman signed with the Redskins, they’ll play each other twice per season for the near future. Norman didn’t say much this time around, but there might be more to come once their first meeting gets closer.