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Jernigan's deal with Texans falls apart

Jernigan's deal with Texans falls apart

Tim Jernigan is back on the free agent market.

The 27-year-old defensive tackle agreed to a deal with the Houston Texans on April 1 but never signed a contract.

Jernigan posted Tuesday night on his Instagram account, "Guess I'm not goin to Houston..but the show not ova"

His deal with the Texans reportedly was for one year and up to $3.75 million, including a guaranteed $1.25 million.

The Houston Chronicle cited an anonymous source saying that Jernigan is healthy and was cleared by noted back surgeon Robert Watkins, but the newspaper reported that the player never took a physical with the Texans.

Houston could turn to its 2020 second-round draft pick, TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, to fill the spot that would have gone to Jernigan.

Selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2014 draft, Jernigan started 26 of his 43 games with Baltimore before he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2017.

The Eagles gave him a four-year, $48 million deal in November 2017. However, Jernigan underwent surgery in 2018 to fix a herniated back disk, and he was slowed by a foot ailment in 2019. He has appeared in only 13 games over the past two seasons combined.

Jernigan has recorded 132 tackles, 17.5 sacks and one interception in 71 career games (53 starts) with the Ravens and the Eagles.

Philadelphia replaced him in March by giving free agent Javon Hargrave a three-year, $39 million contract.

Broncos' Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL'

Broncos' Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL'

Vic Fangio sees racism as a problem in society as a whole, but not so much in the NFL.

The Denver Broncos head coach, talking Tuesday on a video conference call, spoke out in favor of societal changes in the wake of George Floyd's death. He then went on to defend the NFL's record on race.

Asked about the evolution of player activism during his NFL career, Fangio said, "I don't know that it's changed a whole lot, to be honest with you. I haven't seen a great, great change other than -- I just don't think there's been a tremendous change, and I don't say that to be negative.

"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. We're a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn.

"I don't see racism at all in the NFL. I don't see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we're lucky. We all live together joined as one for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."

Fangio had said earlier on the call that he "was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman (did) to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death. He should be punished to the full extent of the law of the crimes he was charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge and uniform he was entrusted with ... It's a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct."

He added, "The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of the police that do a great job, and we are all paying a price for that. I've listened to many people talk the past few days.

"The one that resonated with me the most was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also recognized that 98-99 percent of the police do a tremendous job in tough situations and we must do all we can to correct the small percentage that don't do a great job on a daily basis. Kareem was one person talking sensibly and with solutions. This is not a political issue."

Fangio also offered his support for Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who spoke at a peaceful protest on Sunday in Stuart, Fla., close to his hometown of Port Salerno, Fla.

"I thought it was great," Fangio said. "Justin is a great person, a great leader and has his head screwed on correctly. He sees the problems and how they need to be solved. He's doing it peacefully and he's searching for solutions.

"It's easy for everybody to identify the problems -- we all know the problems -- but we need to search for solutions. I think that Justin is one of those guys that will help us find solutions and lead us out of this mess that we're in."

According to multiple media reports, nearly 70 percent of NFL players last season were African American. The league currently has three African American head coaches -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- plus one Latino head coach, the Washington Redskins' Ron Rivera.

Last month, the NFL announced changes to the "Rooney Rule" that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and top front-office positions, adding to the number of applicants who must be considered. The league tabled a proposal to offer draft-pick incentives for teams that hire minority head coaches or general managers.

Panthers place Kuechly on retired list, spread cap hit to '21

Panthers place Kuechly on retired list, spread cap hit to '21

Luke Kuechly was placed on the reserve-retired list Tuesday, allowing the Carolina Panthers to spread the dead cap hit for the remainder of the linebacker's contract over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Kuechly announced his retirement in January, but by delaying the official transaction with the NFL until after June 1, the Panthers spread $11.84 million in dead money over two charges: $4.71 million in 2020 and $7.13 million in 2021.

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro drafted by the Panthers in 2012, Kuechly retired at age 28 after a series of head injuries. He turned 29 in April.

Kuechly was a tackling savant upon his arrival into the league, leading the NFL with 164 tackles in his rookie season as he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also topped all players in tackles two seasons later in 2014 with 153, and ends his career with more tackles than anyone since his 2012 season debut (1,092).

Report: NFL, union talking cap, possible pay cuts

Report: NFL, union talking cap, possible pay cuts

The NFL and the players union are discussing various alternative plans regarding the salary cap to limit the impact of expected revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

With the expectation of limited numbers or no fans in attendance at games this season -- along with the specter of potential canceled games -- the league's revenue is expected to decline, perhaps significantly. The 2021 salary cap is based off of revenue this season, making for a potentially large decline in cap space.

Per NFL Network, the league and NFLPA know they must negotiate an alternative to avoid a sharp drop in cap space. Negotiations have not yet begun, and no deadline is being set before the start of the regular season. There is a hope of reaching an agreement before training camps open in late July, per the report.

The focus is currently on calculating potential losses to help guide priorities.

Among the possibilities being considered are borrowing from expected future television deals, which many have forecasted will cause a cap spike in 2022. Per the report, neither players nor teams want a drop in the cap and then a sharp spike a year or two later, as it would make long-term finances and extensions for players difficult to plan.

Another option would be for the union to agree to giving back some money this year, which would likely come via trimming base salaries. The report added it's unclear how much of a cut the league would seek, or what structure players would accept.

Both the league and NFLPA declined comment on NFL Network's report. However, NFL Network reported sources informed of the union's thinking said the organization "would be amenable to negotiating with the league to smooth out the salary cap as much as possible."

Base salaries are paid weekly during the season. Most other forms of payment to players -- signing, roster and workout bonuses -- have already been paid.

The league has continued to plan for the season to start as scheduled on Sept. 10, though it is planning for alternatives. Some states have said they will permit fans at sporting events with significantly reduced capacity limits.

The cap is set at $198.2 million for 2020.

Report: NFL facilities expected to open this week

Report: NFL facilities expected to open this week

NFL teams are set to return to their facilities this week for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced all 32 clubs into a work-from-home environment.

ESPN reported Tuesday that almost all teams would be allowed to open facilities this week with a few exceptions. Some states seen as COVID-19 hot spots -- including Illinois and Washington -- could remain closed for a short period of time.

The NFL ordered teams to work from home in on March 24, closing all team facilities and conducting the first of its kind draft in April.

Offseason workouts, including voluntary and minicamp sessions, have taken place virtually.

All facilities are expected to be open well before training camp is scheduled to begin in late July. ESPN reported the NFL plan for preseason is flexible, and shortening the four-week preseason to reduce the number of games and limit travel is viewed as likely.

Teams will be confined to their team facilities and unable to travel to another location to hold training camp. The Dallas Cowboys, who travel to Oxnard, Calif., every July for camp, will be prohibited from returning there this summer. The Buffalo Bills (St. John Fisher College) and Pittsburgh Steelers (St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.) are among the other teams who use off-site destinations for training camp.

Based on the same report, popular joint practices between teams in the preseason are not expected to be approved.

Multiple teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Bills and Miami Dolphins, publicly shared they had made efforts to arrange joint workouts during the preseason.

Bears cancel meetings, observe Blackout Tuesday

Bears cancel meetings, observe Blackout Tuesday

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace canceled planned team meetings and individual sessions to recognize Blackout Tuesday.

Nagy gave the floor to players, including the social justice reform committee, in an effort to pause and allow for productive conversations around the topics of racism and police brutality.

Chicago has been witness to several nights of protests since a white police officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Team chairman George McCaskey said his team is committed to being "an active participant in change."

"A week ago another unarmed African-American man died at the hands of a white police officer. We are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago," McCaskey said.

"We must do more than wring our hands and hope it doesn't happen again. As an organization, we have addressed it internally by offering unconditional support to our family of staff, coaches and players, and today Ryan Pace and Coach Nagy spent the allotted two hours of team meeting time listening to and healing together with our players and the coaching staff.

"Through our voice, our actions and our resources, it is our obligation to lead. We will continue to work with our player-led social justice committee to provide funding and exposure to local organizations dedicated to empowering communities that have been oppressed for far too long."

Vikings' Kendricks, Barr to NFL: 'Your statement said nothing'

Vikings' Kendricks, Barr to NFL: 'Your statement said nothing'

Minnesota Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr criticized the NFL's statement after the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed throughout the country.

Commissioner Roger Goodell's statement addressed Floyd -- an African American whose death in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 led to officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, being arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. It also addressed two other African Americans who were victims of gun violence earlier this year, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

In the statement, the NFL addressed its commitment to using its platform "in communities and as part of the fabric of American society" and that "we embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

Kendricks and Barr, who are on the team's social justice committee, denounced the league's stance while issuing identical tweets on Twitter.

"Your statement said nothing," both tweets read. "Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you're ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means."

The tweet included an illustration with an NFL shield logo accompanied by the words "We Want Answers."

Kendricks and Barr issued a series of tweets saying that the Vikings are asking for input from fans and others on social media on how the organization can best support the area after last week's tragic events.

"If anyone has suggestions for how to support the city, we'd love to hear them," the tweets read. "Our team doesn't just want to donate -- we want to work with local organizations and get out there to help facilitate change. ... But we want answers at the league level. That's where change can happen, and we've seen none. Because right now, it seems like nothing. And nothing is unacceptable.

"You can't bring in people to teach us how we should interact with police but not work towards changing the behavior of the police themselves. Silence will not make this go away."

The Vikings linebackers weren't the only ones to take issue with the NFL statement.

Houston Texans wideout Kenny Stills, who has been a vocal protestor of racial injustice during his NFL career, gave a pointed response Saturday on Twitter, writing only, "Save the bull----"

Chargers coach Lynn 'pissed off,' wants change

Chargers coach Lynn 'pissed off,' wants change

As protests continue across the country more than a week after the death of George Floyd, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn opened up about his mounting frustration in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"I'm angry, I'm pissed off and I don't want to just put out a pretty statement," Lynn told the Times in a story published Tuesday morning.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, an African American, for more than eight minutes on May 25. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter. Since Floyd's death, protests have emerged in dozens of cities across the nation.

Lynn, 51, is one of three African American head coaches in the NFL. He said he has seen other African American coaches, both in the NFL and other sports, putting out statements in recent days, but added he wants to do more.

"I've read some good statements," Lynn said. "I read Brian Flores from the Dolphins, and I agree 100 percent with him. I read (Los Angeles Clippers coach) Doc Rivers' statement, and those guys spoke from the heart. I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation.

"But I want to do something, too. I don't want to just put (a statement) out there because it's the right thing to do. I want change."

Saying he was tired of simply watching news coverage, Lynn said he joined a protest himself.

"I felt like a spectator. So I went out and joined the protesters in Huntington Beach," he said. "I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to see what it was like to experience it and it was pretty intense. I saw a lot of passionate people and it felt as if I was marching for the right reasons.

"After an hour or so I sought out the leader and we had a conversation and we talked about what was the endgame. After the protests, what is this going to lead to? That's when I got a little disappointed because there was no plan. ... I don't want to be doing this again 20 years from now, and so I'm looking for ways to sit at the table and have a conversation about this broken system."

Lynn touched on Colin Kaepernick, saying it's "tough" to see the quarterback out of the NFL after he protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Lynn said he will never kneel during the national anthem because of his family's military history, but he said he "understood and applauded (Kaepernick) for it."

The coach also described his own experience being racially profiled, recalling a time he was pulled over in his car.

"I was pulled over not too long ago," Lynn said. "The lights come on, I pull over and the first thing the police officer asked [was] if I was on parole or if I had ever been to jail.

"... Before he told me why he was pulling me over he asked if I was on parole or had I been to jail. It was a Friday, and the reason why I know this is because we had to play Baltimore that weekend, and I was worried if I went to jail, I wouldn't get out in time. If I didn't have the game, I would have gone off."

Lynn is entering his fourth year coaching the Chargers and his 21st coaching in the NFL.

Rams' Donald favored to win NFL Def. Player of Year award

Rams' Donald favored to win NFL Def. Player of Year award

Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald is favored to capture his third NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020, according to a pair of sportsbooks.

Donald, who won the honor in 2017 and 2018, is +750 to reclaim the award at Bet MGM and +700 in the eyes of DraftKings.

Should the defensive tackle do so, Donald would join Houston Texans star J.J. Watt (2012, 2014, 2015) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor (1981, 1982, 1986) as the lone three-time winners of the award.

Donald, 29, saw his statistics dip after registering a career-best 20.5 sacks and 41 quarterback hits in 2018. He had 12.5 sacks to go along with 24 QB hits, 48 tackles and two forced fumbles in 2019.

Chicago Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack (+1,000 Bet MGM, +1,200 DraftKings), J.J. Watt (+1,200 Bet MGM, +1,200 DraftKings) and brother T.J. Watt (+1,500 Bet MGM, +1,200 DraftKings) of the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the mix of favorites.

Fellow brothers Nick Bosa (+1,300 Bet MGM, +1,000 DraftKings) of the San Francisco 49ers and Joey Bosa (+2,500 Bet MGM, +2,000 DraftKings) of the Los Angeles Chargers are also contenders for the award.

New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who won the award last year, is listed at +1,500 by Bet MGM and +1,600 by DraftKings. Gilmore was the first true cornerback to win the award since Deion Sanders in 1994 (Charles Woodson was a nickelback/safety in 2009).

Washington Redskins rookie Chase Young (+5,000 Bet MGM, +6,000 DraftKings) and Jacksonville Jaguars star Yannick Ngakoue (+8,000 Bet MGM, +8,000 DraftKings) could pay a pretty penny if you're inclined to go with a long shot.

Gronkowski loses WWE 24/7 belt after record run

Gronkowski loses WWE 24/7 belt after record run

Rob Gronkowski's record reign as WWE's 24/7 champ is over after nearly two months.

Gronkowski, who recently came out of retirement to resume his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was pinned Monday by Ron "R-Truth" Killings on the "WWE Raw" show.

The former New England Patriots tight end had claimed the 24/7 belt at WrestleMania 36 on April 5 when he pinned Mojo Rawley.

In the video shown Monday night, Gronkowski was set to film a TikTok dance video in a front yard, with a friend holding a cell phone to film him. Gronkowski questioned the presence of an unknown gardener in a hat and facemask before starting his dance routine.

As Gronkowski's companion took off his sweatshirt to reveal a WWE referee uniform, R-Truth took Gronkowski by surprise, pulling him down from behind and pinning him before grabbing the 24/7 belt.

After R-Truth clicked his heels and ran away with the belt, Gronkowski shouted, "Seriously?"

His friend/referee replied, "I'm serious, man. You got a new career started. C'mon. Let's go. You're with the Bucs now. C'mon, let's do this."

Gronkowski, 31, held the 24/7 belt longer than anyone in a single stretch since the competition was initiated in May 2019. There have been 36 champions, with the belt changing hands 97 times. R-Truth has been the champion 36 times, and Rawley is second on the list with seven reigns.

The list of 24/7 champions includes basketball player Enes Kanter, race car driver Kyle Busch and musician Marshmello.

Ravens owner Bisciotti pledges $1M toward social justice reform

Ravens owner Bisciotti pledges $1M toward social justice reform

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on Monday pledged $1 million for social justice reform in Baltimore.

The Ravens said a committee of current and former players from the team will decide which programs receive contributions.

Bisciotti said he is having trouble coping with what is going on nationally in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25.

"There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country. No words will repair the damage that has been done," Bisciotti said in a statement. "Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society. The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.

"Now, more than ever, we must all strengthen our pursuit of positive change, as we stand with peaceful protestors around the country. We must all seek to understand by listening better and learning more. We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice."

Floyd, a black man, died after white officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for at least eight minutes in an incident caught on cell phones. Chauvin was been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Bisciotti wants the Ravens to be part of the solution.

"Our players have been -- and will continue to be -- at the forefront of this change," Bisciotti said. "We believe in their commitment to furthering social justice and invoking meaningful change. We stand side by side with them, in full support. It is for this reason that I have asked a group of former and current Ravens players to decide which organizations should receive proceeds from the $1 million donation we are making today."

Reports: Jets sign fifth-round pick Hall to four-year deal

Reports: Jets sign fifth-round pick Hall to four-year deal

The New York Jets signed fifth-round draft choice Bryce Hall, according to multiple reports on Monday.

Newsday reported that Hall, a cornerback, signed a four-year, $3.6 million deal.

Hall played college football at Virginia. He was forecasted to be chosen in the first or second round of the draft prior to suffering a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in October.

After being drafted in late April, Hall said he was on schedule to play if the season started in September.

Hall intercepted five passes in 44 games (39 starts) for Virginia. He also had 154 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Cardinals sign Texas Tech product Cantrell

Cardinals sign Texas Tech product Cantrell

The Arizona Cardinals on Monday signed Texas Tech product Dylan Cantrell, a player highly familiar with coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense.

Cantrell, who has been a wide receiver, will switch to tight end with the Cardinals.

Arizona released cornerback Sojourn Shelton to open a roster spot.

Cantrell, 25, was drafted in the sixth round by the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018 but has never appeared in an NFL game. He spent most of the 2018 season on the Chargers' practice squad and spent 2019 on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury before the Chargers declined to offer him a contract for 2020.

Cantrell played at Texas Tech under Kingsbury from 2013-17 and caught 158 passes for 1,873 yards and 18 touchdowns in 46 games (29 starts).

Kingsbury is beginning his second season as Arizona's coach.

Cantrell was teammates with Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes at both Whitehouse High in Texas and at Texas Tech.

Shelton, 25, finished last season on the Cardinals' practice squad. He also hasn't played in an NFL game.

Raiders rookie Ruggs injures thigh in moving accident

Raiders rookie Ruggs injures thigh in moving accident

Las Vegas Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs III sustained a thigh injury while helping a friend move, his father said on Monday.

Henry Ruggs Jr. told that the injury is minor.

"He was trying to move a trailer or something -- move furniture or something -- and the trailer just kind of pinned him against a car or a wall or something," Henry Ruggs Jr. said of his son, a former Alabama star. "He's pretty much OK, I'm about to go out there and see him in a little bit. It was just like a little open wound on his leg, a little incision. Like something had stuck him right there on his thigh a little bit."

The Raiders declined to shed light on the situation.

"The Raiders are aware of a report regarding an off-field injury to Henry Ruggs III," the team said in a statement. "Respecting Henry's right to medical privacy, the team will not be commenting on the report."

Ruggs was the club's first-round pick (12th overall) in the 2020 draft. He caught 98 passes for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons at Alabama.

Bears' Nagy praises Trubisky's approach to competition

Bears' Nagy praises Trubisky's approach to competition

Mitchell Trubisky enters a prove-it year with the Chicago Bears, and head coach Matt Nagy praises the incumbent starter for not shrinking from competition with Nick Foles.

"(Trubisky) has been really, really good in the fact that he's taken this head-on," Nagy said Monday on NFL Network. "He's accepted it. He understands it. We're all so competitive, but we're human, too. There is a realness to the fact that 'OK, you're going to bring somebody else in here and have me compete' initially it's probably a shock. But then after that, it's like, 'Let's go.'"

The Bears spent a fourth-round pick to land Foles in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Foles has trained under Nagy before and they became close friends during their time with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Bears declined the fifth-year option on the 25-year-old Trubisky. But Nagy insists not all of the circumstantial evidence should point to Foles, 31, taking over as the starter.

"That's the part that we as coaches say -- you know what, this is how we're going to make the Bears better," Nagy said. "We're going to have competition throughout our entire team. There are other competitions going on right now. Obviously, this is the focal point, and these guys have been great. I'm excited to see how it goes when we get to training camp, and we get to the preseason games and then to the season. They'll both handle it really well. Again, when you're honest with people, it makes things in life so much easier. These guys are competitors, and they're good people. They're going to make it work."

Trubisky had offseason shoulder surgery and Foles missed more than half of last season with a broken collarbone.

It's likely based on their history that Foles and Trubisky will both be on the field at some point this season for the Bears.

Broncos TE Butt ready to move on from injury woes

Broncos TE Butt ready to move on from injury woes

Jake Butt hasn't seen much of the field during three seasons with the Denver Broncos due to knee injuries.

Butt, who turns 25 in July, is hoping things will be different in 2020. He has proclaimed that his left knee is 100 percent and is thankful that the Broncos have remained supportive.

"I don't know a lot of people that have been through my situation and the team would still be hanging there with them in Year Four," Butt told the Denver Post late last week. "It really speaks a lot for the organization and what they think of me and I'm very appreciative. It's not a guarantee -- they're not telling me I'm making the team by any stretch or rolling out the red carpet. I still have to go out there and work and earn it.

"But the fact they're standing by me and giving me an opportunity, it obviously means the world to me and I'm going to try and go out there and prove them right and prove myself right."

Butt has played in just three NFL games -- all in 2018 -- and has eight receptions for 85 yards.

Butt's knee issues started in college at Michigan when he suffered two different ACL tears in his right knee. The latter injury caused Butt to miss his rookie season with the Broncos in 2017.

He then tore his left ACL during a practice in 2018 that ended that season. The knee acted up again last preseason and it was determined Butt needed surgery to repair the meniscus and he didn't see any action all season.

Butt is aware Denver drafted a tight end in the recent draft -- fourth-rounder Albert Okwuegbunam of Missouri -- and that could be construed as a signal that the organization isn't sure how much he can be counted on in 2020.

Butt is OK with that and remains more focused on being ready for the campaign, despite the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

"This offseason has been a little bit weird for everybody, having to bounce around and train anywhere you can," said Butt, "but I've still been getting good work in, feel good about things and excited about playing ball again."

Cardinals DE Jones graduates, eight years after leaving Syracuse

Cardinals DE Jones graduates, eight years after leaving Syracuse

Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones added a significant line to his already impressive resume: college graduate.

Jones, who left Syracuse to enter the 2012 NFL Draft, was able to graduate after completing his final online class, a family studies course.

"To my family and personally, education is very important," Jones, 30, told ESPN. "Even though I haven't used my degree, as of yet, I'm pretty sure it would definitely come in handy when I'm done playing football. But that's the reason why I went back after eight, nine years of being out of college. I think that's very important. My kids could look back and say, 'My dad graduated.'

"So, I'm happy. It's a huge accomplishment for our family. And it hangs right up there with that Super Bowl ring."

Jones received that ring after winning Super Bowl XLIX with the New England Patriots, who selected him with the 21st overall pick in 2012.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection (2015, 2017, 2019), Jones has recorded 96 sacks, 421 tackles and 27 forced fumbles in 119 career games (116 starts) with the Patriots (2012-15) and Cardinals.

Burrow favored to win NFL Offensive ROY honors

Burrow favored to win NFL Offensive ROY honors

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the early favorite to win the 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

The Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall draft pick from LSU is listed at +240 at MGM.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Burrow's former college teammate and the final pick in the first round, has the next-best odds at +600.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is at +900. Other rookie signal-callers on the board include the Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert (+2,000) and a couple of long shots, the Green Bay Packers' Jordan Love (+8,000) and the Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Hurts (+8,000).

Running backs D'Andre Swift of the Detroit Lions and Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts are both listed at +1,000.

Wide receivers CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jeudy of the Denver Broncos both check in at +1,400, followed by fellow wideouts Henry Ruggs of the Las Vegas Raiders (+1,800) and Jalen Reagor of Philadelphia (+2,000).

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, took home the award last season.

49ers pledge $1M to organizations 'creating change'

49ers pledge $1M to organizations 'creating change'

The San Francisco 49ers will donate $1 million to "local and national organizations who are creating change," CEO Jed York announced in a statement on Twitter on Saturday night, amid nationwide protests against discrimination and police brutality.

York added that the team "is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition," an organization founded by NFL players in 2017 to oppose social injustice and racial inequality.

"People throughout our country are hurting," York said in a statement. "Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we must first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systematically discriminated against."

The statement drew mixed responses from former 49ers players.

Wideout Torrey Smith, who played for San Francisco from 2015-16 and has been involved in the Players Coalition, retweeted York and added, "I've had countless conversations with Jed about these issues when I was in SF. I'm grateful for his commitment to the Bay and injustices everywhere. Thanks


A few minutes later, former 49ers safety Eric Reid, who played with the 49ers from 2013-17, responded differently to York.

"Nobody wants your money Jed," he wrote. "We want justice. We've always wanted justice. Y'all are truly diluted."

Reid, who was the first player to kneel with Kaepernick to protest social injustice in 2016, withdrew from the Players Coalition along with a few others in December of 2017, saying the group was selling out and was not accomplishing anything meaningful.

York's statement comes after days of protests in dozens of cities across the country, following the death of George Floyd earlier this week. Floyd, who is black, died while in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday, leading to murder and manslaughter charges against officer Derek Chauvin, who is white.

Goodell, Tretter issue statements on Floyd, protests

Goodell, Tretter issue statements on Floyd, protests

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association president J.C. Tretter each issued statements on Saturday in response to the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have followed across the country.

Goodell's statement addressed Floyd -- an African American whose death in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis led to officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, being arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter -- along with two African Americans who were victims of gun violence earlier this year, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

Fervent protests have emerged in dozens of cities across the nation this week, including several leading to riots in Minneapolis, where the city's 3rd Precinct burned down on Thursday night.

"The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country," Goodell said in a statement. "The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel.

"Our deepest condolences go out to the family of Mr. George Floyd and to those who have lost loved ones, including the families of Ms. Breonna Taylor in Louisville, and Mr. Ahmaud Arbery, the cousin of Tracy Walker of the Detroit Lions.

"As current events dramatically underscore, there remains much more to do as a country and as a league. These tragedies inform the NFL's commitment and our ongoing efforts. There remains an urgent need for action. We recognize the power of our platform in communities and as part of the fabric of American society. We embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

Tretter, a center for the Cleveland Browns who was named NFLPA president earlier this year, posted a statement on Twitter.

"Like many of you processing the news of George Floyd's murder, I've felt a range of emotions from disbelief to anger," Tretter wrote. "Unfortunately, this is not just about George Floyd's senseless and avoidable death. The issue of changing systemic racism and prejudice in our country is long overdue.

"As a white man, I will never fully understand the daily experiences and feats that people of color in this country live with. Sports have provided me an opportunity to form friendships with people from different backgrounds, races, religions, and beliefs. These friendships have helped broaden and shape my understanding of others' perspectives and struggles.

"Some may feel hesitant to speak out as they don't know what to say or how to say it. Your individual fear of saying the wrong thing is insignificant compared to the actual issues that need addressing. Racism is something that we all must take responsibility to end. As human beings, we need to identify and challenge prejudice, rather than deny it. Silence in the face of injustice only works to protect and perpetuate that injustice.

"People of color have long tried to communicate what racism in America feels like for them. We can all be better listeners, validators, and friends. Our work will never be finished until every American feels safe, free and accepted in our country."

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith also sent a letter to players about Floyd's death, saying, "it is impossible to not to take this personally. We should take this personally."

He added, "It is also clear that this pain, while shared by so many, has a history of being bore more by some than others. It is as wrong to be willfully ignorant to this pain as it is to use this pain as cover for inflicting pain on others."

Top players across the country, black and white, have spoken out in recent days on social media, including LeBron James, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence.

Also on Saturday, former NFL executive Joe Lockhart wrote an opinion column for CNN stating that "now is the moment to sign Colin Kaepernick," suggesting that the Minnesota Vikings should sign Kaepernick to a contract.

Now 32, Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, a season that began with him protesting racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem before games.