Monthly Archives: August 2016

Jim Brown: I’m with Colin Kaepernick ‘100 percent’

Cleveland Browns Hall of Famer Jim Brown is best known as perhaps the greatest player in NFL history.

“I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree,” Brees told ESPN. “Not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue. No, he can speak out about a very important issue. But there’s plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn’t involve being disrespectful to the American flag.

“The great thing about this country is that we have the freedoms that allow you to speak out openly about any issue. So I’m not commenting on the issue itself because any person has the right to speak out on any issue they want. That’s the great thing about being an American. But the American flag is what represents those freedoms. It represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue. бн

“Like, it’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”

Both of Brees’ grandfathers served in World War II, one in the Marines in Okinawa and the other in the Army in India.

“Listen, if I chose to speak out on every issue that I have an opinion about, that’s all I’d do all day. I’d probably have a hundred Twitter posts a day. But this one …,” Brees said without completing his thought.

“I’ve been on five USO trips, so I’ve had a chance to meet and talk with a lot of military personnel. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the things that they go through. Also having family that have served and sitting around and listening to my grandfather talk about World War II, so maybe that gives me a heightened level of appreciation for them,” Brees said. “But when I look at that flag, I think about them too. I think about a lot of things. Like when I stand and listen to the national anthem with my hand over my heart, there is emotions that well up inside of me.

“Honestly, we have a lot more important things that we’re working on right here in our building,” Payton said

“Absolutely. I think Pandora’s Box is open. I’m very happy that it is,” Brown continued. “So many years, we had the great Michael Jordan who stated that Republicans buy sneakers, too. … And for a couple of generations it was about making money, not messing with your image. And the agents became the pivotal figure for a lot of these guys. And the agents kept reminding them that you have to be this all-American boy to make these kind of dollars and these dollars are astronomical dollars. So the money came into the culture and created a couple of generations of individuals who did not want to speak up.

Browns must listen to Josh Gordon trade offers

Word must be out that wide receiver Josh Gordon has looked good in practice for the Cleveland Browns.

Could they turn it down?

Lewis, only nine months and four days removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, will undergo a second surgery on the knee, a “cleanup” procedure that will apparently afford him a chance to return before the 2016 season concludes.

In all likelihood, Lewis will land on the reserve/PUP list, which requires a minimum six games’ absence. The Boston Herald, meanwhile, reports that Lewis will miss 8-10 weeks, which would put his timetable for recovery at around Weeks 7-9. As the Patriots have a Week 9 bye, it’s likely that Lewis won’t be a consideration until the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks, giving him a chance at an eight-game season, but then the difficulty in a typical player’s recovery from an ACL tear needs to be considered. In standard leagues, it’s impossible to formulate a case to draft Lewis, especially not with bench spots precious during the Weeks 3-11 bye period.

In Lewis’ absence, the fallout might seem somewhat obvious: LeGarrette Blount, who at times during the offseason was hinted to not even be guaranteed a roster spot, now appears to be the team’s primary back on first and second downs; James White, who caught 40 passes in 10 games (playoffs included) after Lewis’ Week 9 injury last season and was the subject of much buzz during the 2014 preseason, now steps up as the team’s passing-down back.

The problem, however, is that each player presents inherent flaws, and for those drafting in close proximity to such value-changing news, the danger is in overreacting. Blount, for example, is a mere 9-for-20 in converting goal-line runs (within 1 yard of the goal line) during his career, his 45 percent conversion rate well beneath the 54 percent league average during that time span. And he scored a whopping (and league-leading) 40 of his 110 fantasy points with the Patriots up by at least two touchdowns on the scoreboard in 2015, giving him more of a look of “finisher” than workhorse.

Warner: Jay was the best Arena quarterback up until that time. I’m not sure what has happened since then, but I consider him the best Arena quarterback ever. He was a smart guy that maybe wasn’t the most talented physically, but he had that intelligence and the ability to put the ball where he needed to. He threw a very catchable ball, and, at that point in his career, he was like a coach on the field. People make such a big deal about arm strength, but that doesn’t matter as much if you can throw the ball with anticipation and accuracy and make it catchable, and he had those skills and he did them so well. He was the model quarterback of the Arena League. He really was. We all wanted to be like Jay.

Gruden: At the time, we were pretty damn good and we had a strong reputation. Had we known what Kurt was going to turn into, it might have been a different story. But we were the intimidators.

Warner: It was a great back-and-forth game, very much like what Arena football was in those days.

Gruden: I remember Steve [Houghton] hit me about six times, and one time he hit me in the end zone and I fell into the security guard back behind the wall. It was fun. Those were my favorite kinds of games.

White, meanwhile, is an inferior talent to Lewis who had a largely up-and-down performance after stepping into that role in 2015.

That’s why, while both Blount and White moved up my rankings following the Lewis news, the name that might warrant the closest attention these next two weeks is Tyler Gaffney, who in two preseason games has 20 carries for 95 and one touchdown. Gaffney, like White, possesses more limited skill than the men ahead of him on the depth chart, but without a clear-cut leading man on the roster, he’s certainly capable of carving out a respectable role. After all, it was only two seasons ago that the Patriots gave five different running backs starts, had four different running backs post a 15-point fantasy game and failed to have a single back exceed 101 fantasy points for the season.

‘Peanut Punch’ leads to minor scuffle between Daryl Worley, Devin Funchess

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White is still a secret.

After months of offseason hype surrounding the now-healthy former seventh overall pick, White’s preseason contributions have been marginal.

Thus far, White has a combined two receptions for nine yards on four targets in a pair of exhibition games, not exactly gaudy numbers for the No. 2 receiver behind Alshon Jeffery.

Preseason games, however, can be deceiving on many levels.

“It’s football,’’ he said. “You guys are going to look at it however you want to look at it. You guys don’t know what’s going on. You guys don’t know how we go about practice. It’s just football.

“Nothing happened. You’re trying to start a story that doesn’t need to be started. It’s just football.’’

There were no incidents moving forward, but Rivera talked to both players after practice to make sure the issue was settled.

“You can understand Devin getting upset about it, but you’ve got to understand what’s really trying to happen out there,’’ Rivera said.

“… What we’re working on is trying to create takeaways. Inadvertently, Daryl struck Funch. He didn’t mean to and Funch took exception to it.’’

He said he is disenchanted by several issues with the drug policy, including the image hits NFL players face that players from other sports leagues don’t and an appeal process that is often handled by a sole arbitrator, resulting in varied rulings. Bell’s appeal reduced his suspension from four to three games last week.

But insurance, post-career care and revenue are more pressing, which means the players must be willing to sit out games in 2021, Foster said.

“Hit them in the pocket. That way, money always talks,” Foster said. “For us to do that, we have to save on our end. We can’t be just blowing money and not realize what’s coming, especially with guys coming into the league now.”

Jets star Darrelle Revis wants to shut up skeptics, according to ex-teammate

Revis made his seventh Pro Bowl last season, but he got burned by Houston Texans star DeAndre Hopkins, prompting some criticism. He didn’t play particularly well against the Buffalo Bills’ Sammy Watkins in the season finale, though he wasn’t helped by a curiously passive game plan.

“People say he can’t cover big receivers and he can’t cover speed receivers, but I don’t think there’s a receiver he can’t cover,” Richardson said. “People forget that he was injured. I’m sure that was a factor, too.”

Revis played with a torn tendon in his right wrist, which wasn’t revealed until after the season. No doubt, it hampered his ability to jam receivers at the line, his signature move. Judging from training camp, the surgically repaired wrist is fine. He doesn’t seem to be shying away from contact.

Of course, he’s 31 years old, recently admitting he may consider a move to safety at some point in the future to prolong his career. For now, though, he’s focused on cornerback. He’s determined to make a statement, according to Richardson.

“I don’t think you could call it a breakout year,” Richardson said, “but I think you’re going to see the old Darrelle.”

“Don’t you do it … don’t you dare … just don’t … I can’t even … please don’t … work with me here, false football gods … pleaaaaase …”

If you’ve never muttered (screamed?) something along these lines when you were next up in a fantasy draft and hoping for a certain player, well, you’re not doing it right.

Fantasy football drafts are all about collecting the best possible values throughout the draft, but let’s not pretend there aren’t those players we badly want on our squads. Whether it’s a player on our favorite team, a sleeper no one has caught on to yet or this year’s big breakout performer, these players add an extra level of excitement to the roster construction process.

I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Last year, I nailed this thing. Lamar Miller, Mark Ingram, Keenan Allen, Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, Drew Brees, Devonta Freeman, John Brown, Eric Decker, Philip Rivers, Zach Ertz, Dion Lewis, Richard Rodgers, Jeremy Langford … Bishop Sankey. OK, they can’t all be winners.

Josh Gordon inches closer to practice, needs to lose weight

Gordon was suspended all of the 2015 season and most of the offseason. The NFL reinstated him on July 25 but also suspended him for the first four games of the 2016 season.

That left Jackson with a delicate balancing act between getting Gordon ready to play and realizing he would not be on the field the first four games.

Gordon further complicated his return by reporting with a quad injury that the team said would sideline him for the first two or more weeks of camp. The Browns are in their second full wee of practice.

Jackson, however, said he thought the quad injury would be good for Gordon in that it would help him settle back in with the team.

“He’s making sure he’s staying in it the best he can,” Jackson said. “Because I think when he walks back out there I think he has something to prove, too. It’s good to have a guy with a chip on his shoulder.”

Amari Cooper slammed into the proverbial rookie wall last December, failing to top 20 yards in three of the last four games of the season.

Battling a foot injury that nearly led the Oakland Raiders to shut him down for the season, Cooper still managed to become the first rookie in Oakland Raiders history to reach 1,000 receiving yards.

Just how serious was the injury?

In a Monday interview with KGMZ in San Francisco, Cooper said he never bothered to watch his rookie-year game tape because “I really wasn’t myself.”

“I think it affected everything. Me being a receiver, it affected my whole game,” Cooper explained. “Talk about a foot injury, you can’t release how you want to, you can’t come out of your breaks how you want to. You can only get open in two ways, off of the line or out of your breaks.

“So it really affected my game, but I was mentally tough and I fought through it.”

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams debut on “Hard Knocks” — the show that takes viewers inside an NFL training camp — at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday on HBO. The six-week documentary series will kick off by revisiting the team’s move to Los Angeles. Quarterback Jared Goff’s journey through his first training camp is also likely to be a storyline. “It’s been an exciting process, it’s been fun,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said of being on the show. “The players are out here to help win games and to improve, not to make a movie. They’re not actors, they’re players.” — ESPN.com staff

Tom Brady said it was ‘personal decision’ to drop deflate-gate fight vs. NFL

“I’ve tried to be as positive as I can be,” Brady said. “I think that’s always been my motto. Over the course of my career, I’ve been faced with different things and tried to overcome them the best way I could or [the] best way I knew how. I’ll try and do the same thing. I just want our team to go out there and play really well.”

Brady said divvying up the QB reps in practice has been good for the overall competition of the group and the team.

“I think we’ve had really good competition, and we’re trying to push each other so that we’re ready to go,” he said. “It’s tough competition in the NFL, and every team is working hard this time of year. We can’t take any days off. We have to go out there and try and work on something every day. Everyone has to be ready to go.”

Asked what he’ll do during his suspension — he can’t be with the team — Brady said he’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.

“I’ll deal with that when it comes. I could have a plan and then change the plan. I really don’t know,” Brady said. “I’m really focusing on every day and just trying to get better. One of my coaches said, look, you’ve just got to get better every day. That’s where my focus has been. These days are important for me; they’re important for every guy on this team to get better and make the improvements.

“Collectively, it’s a long season. We’ve got a good competitive team. I’ll just be rooting for us to win every game that we’re playing that I’m not in and certainly when I’m in, I hope we win every game too.”

Addressing reporters for the first time since deciding not to pursue further legal options in his Deflategate fight with the NFL, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called it a “personal decision.”

“I’ve just tried to move on from it,” Brady said Friday after practice. “I’ll be excited to be back when I’m back, and I’ll be cheering our team and hopefully we’ll go out and win every game.”

Asked how difficult he expected it would be for him to serve a four-game suspension to open the season, Brady said: “I’ve tried to be as positive as I can be. I think that’s kind of always been my motto. Over the course of my career, I’ve been faced with different things and tried to overcome them the best way I could, or the best way I knew how. I’ll try to do the same thing.”

Brady didn’t elaborate when asked how he plans to spend the four weeks of his suspension, saying: “I’ll deal with that when it comes. I could have a plan and then change the plan. So I really don’t know.”

Brady deflected a question on whether he is angry at the powers that be in the NFL.

End of the road? Trent Richardson cut by Ravens

“Hands down, this is the happiest I’ve been since I was at Alabama,” Richardson told AL.com in March, after the Ravens agreed to sign him.

Richardson got into great shape, losing more than 20 pounds, but his body didn’t cooperate. He had knee and hamstring injuries and was on the physically unable to perform list early in training camp. Then he was cut.

Hopefully Richardson either gets another shot, perhaps from a team that was impressed at his weight loss in his comeback attempt and can talk themselves into another shot for the No. 3 pick of the 2012 draft, or he is at peace with life after football. Richardson’s NFL career didn’t work out like he or anyone else hoped it would. Now it might be over.

It made all the sense in the world for the Arizona Cardinals and Tyrann Mathieu to come to a long-term extension: Mathieu is one of the most dynamic defensive backs in the NFL, capable of playing at a high level at both safety and cornerback, and also one of the league’s best redemption stories, after overcoming some self-inflicted setbacks at Louisiana State to become the emotional leader of the Cardinals’ defense.

And now, it’s done.

Via multiple reports, Arizona and Mathieu have inked a five-year, $62.5 million deal that includes a whopping $40 million in guarantees (whopping that nearly two-thirds of the money is guaranteed).

The contract news explains Mathieu’s simple tweet posted about 20 minutes before word came that he and the team had agreed:

Blessed….
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 2, 2016
It’s the biggest deal for a safety in NFL history, which makes sense given that Mathieu doesn’t play exclusively at the position and corners typically get paid more than safeties.