National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Vikings backing Floyd's alcohol-based tea defense
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 24, 2017

    The Minnesota Vikings are supporting wide receiver Michael Floyd's defense that kombucha tea caused him to violate terms of his house arrest by accidentally ingesting alcohol.

    • Vikings chief operating officer Kevin Warren wrote a letter backing Floyd's claim that he did not know kombucha tea contains alcohol, according to Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

      Warren sent the letter to Floyd's attorney, Robert Feinberg, who attached it to a defense motion urging Scottsdale (Ariz.) City Judge Statia Hendrix to cancel the hearing and reinstate electronic monitoring for the last five days of Floyd's 96-day home confinement.

      According to the newspaper, Warren's letter corroborates Floyd's claim that he was unaware kombucha tea contained alcohol when he drank several bottles while watching movies into the early morning of June 11 at the Minnesota house of Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, his former college roommate at Notre Dame.

      "I am writing to request Mr. Floyd not have his court mandated requirements negatively impacted since he did not know the kombucha he ingested contained alcohol," Warren wrote in the June 21 letter, which was copied to Vikings president Mark Wilf, general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer.

      Floyd, 27, later failed three self-administered Breathalyzer tests and was ordered by the Scottsdale judge to appear Monday and prove he did not violate probation from his February extreme DUI conviction. The violation could land Floyd back in jail.

      Floyd said in a sworn affidavit that the Vikings encourage their players to consume kombucha tea as a health drink and that it is served "on tap" at Winter Park, the newspaper reported.

      In his letter, Warren explained how kombucha tea is "utilized by many professional athletes as a probiotic and is available at our facility on a daily basis."

      Floyd was arrested for DUI on Dec. 12 in Scottsdale, prompting his release two days later from the Arizona Cardinals. He pleaded guilty in February to extreme DUI (blood alcohol content of .150-.199) and served 24 days in Maricopa County (Ariz.) Jail before having to serve 96 days on house arrest.

      The house-arrest sentence was transferred from Arizona to Minnesota last month, allowing Floyd to participate in the Vikings' offseason program.

      In the December incident, a video surfaced of officers trying to awaken Floyd in his Cadillac Escalade while it was running at traffic light at 2:48 a.m. local time.

      After being cut by the Cardinals, the New England Patriots gave Floyd a second chance by claiming him off waivers on Dec. 15. He played sparingly for New England but did catch a touchdown pass in Week 17.

      Floyd caught a pass for nine yards in the Patriots' AFC divisional playoff win over the Houston Texans but was inactive for the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LI.

      The 6-foot-2, 220-pound former first-round pick (13th overall) had 33 catches for 446 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games for the Cardinals in 2016 before his release.

      Floyd's best season came in 2013 when he had 65 catches for 1,041 yards and five touchdowns. For his career, he has 246 receptions for 3,781 yards and 24 touchdowns in 78 games.

      Floyd became an unrestricted free agent in March before signing a one-year deal with the Vikings in May and likely will face a league suspension as a result of his guilty plea.

  • Rams release DT Walker after sexual assault accusation
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    The Los Angeles Rams released defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker after a report surfaced that he has been accused of sexual assault in Lafayette, La.

    • No charges have been filed against Walker, who was released Thursday.

      Lafayette authorities are concluding an investigation into claims of sexual assault lodged by two women against Walker and an acquaintance on Feb. 28, according to a report by the Baton Rouge Advocate.

      The Advocate reported that Walker and another man are "accused of forcing themselves on an unconscious woman at a hotel after a night of drinking at a nightclub." The alleged assault involved two women who were college students at the time, the report said.

      One of the women told The Advocate that she believes she was drugged while drinking at a dance club.

      A restraining order was granted against Williams, and another was requested against Walker.

      Walker, 27, was signed as a free agent in March after playing the last two seasons with the Detroit Lions. He was expected to be a possible backup for tackles Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers.

  • NFL notebook: Raiders' Carr says he left money on table
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders officially signed Derek Carr to a five-year, $125 million contract extension through the 2022 season, and the star quarterback said he "never chased the money."

    • Carr confirmed Friday during a press conference announcing his extension that his deal was structured in order to leave the Raiders with enough money under the salary cap to extend other star players on the team.

      "We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization," Carr told reporters. "That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could. I hope that that's known.

      "Obviously, the position that I play, it has to be around a certain number. It just is what it is. At the same time, I told (my agent), if we can structure it in a way to help the Raiders get the other guys, give them an opportunity to come in, that that would be really important to me too."

      The 26-year-old Carr's deal makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      --New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

      The White House formally made the announcement and if Johnson is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, his younger brother, Christopher Johnson, will assume the role of chairman and CEO of the Jets, the team announced.

      Christopher Johnson, 58, is a minority owner and lives in New York. He will oversee the day-to-day operations in his brother's absence.

      "The New York Jets have been an integral part of our family since 2000, but this is a unique opportunity for Woody. His patriotism and commitment to our country have always been a passion of his," Christopher Johnson said in a statement released by the team. "Over the years, we have learned that ownership of the New York Jets is a special responsibility. Personally, if Woody is nominated and confirmed, I would be honored to oversee the organization, continuing to build a team on and off the field that our fans are proud of and deserve."

      --Green Bay, by far the smallest market in the NFL, is pushing to host an upcoming draft.

      Philadelphia hosted the NFL Draft in April and the event drew over 250,000 people in a three-day span.

      Brad Toll, president and CEO of the Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, is confident the city could manage a Philadelphia-sized crowd with enough working space and hotel accommodations.

      "My gut feeling is with the people they had in town (in Philadelphia), we could accommodate that," Toll told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Between the Resch Center and Titletown District, we certainly have every bit of space they need."

  • Raiders QB Carr says he left money on table
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders officially signed Derek Carr to a five-year, $125 million contract extension through the 2022 season, and the star quarterback said he "never chased the money."

    • Carr confirmed Friday during a press conference announcing his extension that his deal was structured in order to leave the Raiders with enough money under the salary cap to extend other star players on the team.

      "We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization," Carr told reporters. "That was really important to me. Not to just take every single dime that we could. I hope that that's known.

      "Obviously, the position that I play, it has to be around a certain number. It just is what it is. At the same time, I told (my agent), if we can structure it in a way to help the Raiders get the other guys, give them an opportunity to come in, that that would be really important to me too."

      Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack likely will be next to get a new contract along with offensive guard Gabe Jackson.

      Mack is entering the final season of his rookie deal and the Raiders have already picked up his fifth-year option for 2018. Jackson, a former third-round pick, is entering the final year of his deal.

      The 26-year-old Carr's deal makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      According to published reports, Carr receives $40 million guaranteed and he also has a $30.2 million injury guarantee. He will make $25 million this season and the payments are broken down with a $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due June 30 and a $5 million base salary.

      "I never chased the money," said Carr, who was joined by Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie in the news conference that was televised live on both ESPN and the NFL Network. "It's about being the best version of myself every day. If I can get even one kid to understand that, I've done my job."

      McKenzie, who will now get moving on deals for the team's other star players, said he was pleased how the negotiations with Carr and his agent worked.

      "Both sides wanted to get a deal done," McKenzie said. "We both wanted the same thing."

      In 2016, Carr led the Raiders to a 12-4 record as the team earned its first trip to the postseason since 2002.

      Carr enjoyed a stellar season before sustaining broken fibula in Week 16, which kept him sidelined for Oakland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans. He passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions in his third NFL season.

  • Green Bay confident city can host successful NFL Draft
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    Green Bay, by far the smallest market in the NFL, is pushing to host an upcoming draft.

    • Philadelphia hosted the NFL Draft in April and the event drew over 250,000 people in a three-day span.

      Brad Toll, president and CEO of the Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, is confident the city could manage a Philadelphia-sized crowd with enough working space and hotel accommodations.

      "My gut feeling is with the people they had in town (in Philadelphia), we could accommodate that," Toll told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Between the Resch Center and Titletown District, we certainly have every bit of space they need."

      Green Bay's biggest challenge could be the number of hotel rooms to accommodate such a huge event. Green Bay has just 4,700 hotel rooms while neighboring Appleton adds another 3,000, compared to the Philadelphia region with more than 35,000 hotel rooms.

      In addition, the NFL requires a stage for announcing picks, a green room, floor space for team tables, broadcasting areas for NFL Network and ESPN, working space for other media and fan seating.

      The NFL has not announced a site for the 2018 draft after holding it in Chicago for two years and in Philadelphia this year.

      The Packers have asked to host the draft for specific years, according to the newspaper. The 100th birthday of the Packers' founding, 2019, would be a top choice.

      Toll said the NFL is not looking for a cookie-cutter draft that duplicates the Chicago and Philadelphia events.

      "They don't necessarily want us to do what Chicago did, what Philly did," Toll told the Journal Sentinel. "They want a unique flavor. What I took away is how flexible they are willing to be."

      The city could highlight the Packers' history, Lambeau Field and tradition to land the draft. The Packers are the third-oldest NFL team, behind the Chicago Bears and Arizona (originally Chicago) Cardinals. The Packers have been in the same location with the same name longer than any NFL team.

  • Jets owner Johnson nominated as ambassador to Britain
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, June 23, 2017

    New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

    • The White House formally made the announcement Thursday night and if Johnson is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, his younger brother, Christopher Johnson, will assume the role of chairman and CEO of the Jets, the team announced.

      Christopher Johnson, 58, is a minority owner and lives in New York. He will oversee the day-to-day operations in his brother's absence.

      "The New York Jets have been an integral part of our family since 2000, but this is a unique opportunity for Woody. His patriotism and commitment to our country have always been a passion of his," Christopher Johnson said in a statement released by the team. "Over the years, we have learned that ownership of the New York Jets is a special responsibility. Personally, if Woody is nominated and confirmed, I would be honored to oversee the organization, continuing to build a team on and off the field that our fans are proud of and deserve."

      Trump informally revealed in January that he planned to nominate the 70-year-old Johnson, a major Republican donor and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

      Johnson's family owns the Johnson & Johnson fortune and was worth an estimated $6.3 billion in 2015, according to Forbes.

      The Jets put a succession plan in place and in March, Christopher Johnson accompanied his older brother to the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix.

      Woody Johnson would remain the owner but be required to live in the United Kingdom as part of a three-year appointment.

      "On behalf of the entire organization, we would be extremely proud to see Woody nominated and confirmed as U.S. Ambassador," Jets team president Neil Glat said. "We could not be more excited for him and his family."

  • NFL notebook: Carr agrees to five-year, $125 million deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Quarterback Derek Carr took to social media on Thursday to announce that he has finalized a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders.

    • While Carr did not divulge the terms of the deal, multiple outlets reported that it was a five-year, $125 million contract. It makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      According to published reports, Carr received $40 million guaranteed and he also has a $30.2 million injury guarantee. He will make $25 million this season and the payments are broken down this way -- $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due June 30 and a $5 million base salary.

      --Andy Reid signed a contract extension to remain coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after four seasons and is also taking over player personnel duties after the team parted ways with general manager John Dorsey.

      Kansas City announced the moves 32 minutes apart, first announcing Reid's extension. Terms were not disclosed.

      Reid has a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances in four years in Kansas City.

      Dorsey spent the past four seasons as Chiefs' general manager, and CEO Clark Hunt informed him he would not be offered a contract extension. Dorsey has 27 years of personnel experience.

      --The New Orleans Saints signed first-round draft pick tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a four-year contract, the team announced.

      The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class.

      Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, was the second of the Saints' two first-round picks.

  • Saints ink first-round pick Ramczyk
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The New Orleans Saints signed first-round draft pick tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a four-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

    • The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class.

      Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, was the second of the Saints' two first-round picks.

      The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Ramczyk started all 14 games at left tackle for Wisconsin last season and was a consensus first-team All-American.

  • Chiefs extend Reid, part ways with GM Dorsey
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Andy Reid signed a contract extension to remain coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after four seasons and is also taking over player personnel duties after the team parted ways with general manager John Dorsey.

    • Kansas City announced the moves 32 minutes apart, first announcing Reid's extension. Terms were not disclosed.

      Reid has a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances in four years in Kansas City.

      Dorsey spent the past four seasons as Chiefs' general manager and CEO Clark Hunt informed him he would not be offered a contract extension.

      "I notified John that we would not be extending his contract beyond the 2017 season, and after consideration, we felt it was in his best interests and the best interests of the team to part ways now," Hunt said in a statement. "This decision, while a difficult one, allows John to pursue other opportunities as we continue our preparations for the upcoming season and the seasons to come. My family and I sincerely appreciate John's work over the last 4 1/2 years, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future."

      Dorsey has 27 years of personnel experience.

      "I want to thank Clark, the Hunt family and the Chiefs fans for the opportunity to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom over the last four seasons," Dorsey said in a statement. "I believe this team is well positioned for the future and I wish Coach Reid, the players and the entire organization all the best."

      Meanwhile, Reid has a career regular season record of 173-114 (.602) and a total of 184 wins, the second-most victories among active NFL head coaches -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick has 260 -- and is 10th all-time in wins among head coaches in NFL history.

      "I'd like to thank Clark and the entire Hunt family for the opportunity to continue my coaching career here in Kansas City," Reid said in a statement. "We've made quite a bit of progress over the last four seasons, but we are not done yet. We are going to continue to work towards our ultimate goal of winning championships. I've been blessed by the support of the community, our fans, the Hunt family and the entire Chiefs staff. I'm looking forward to the years ahead as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs."

      The Chiefs swept the AFC West while compiling a 12-4 record in 2016. The Chiefs are 22-4 in their last 26 games entering the 2017 season.

      "My family and I have been very pleased by the success the franchise has sustained over the last four seasons under Coach Reid," Hunt said via statement. "He has already established himself as one of the best coaches in the league, and he is well on his way to solidifying a place among the all-time greats. We are proud to have him leading our football team, and I look forward to working with him to bring a championship to Chiefs Kingdom."

      In 2015, Reid led the Chiefs to their first playoff win since 1993. Overall, he is 11-12 in the postseason, including from 1999-2012 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Raiders QB Carr signs five-year deal reportedly worth $125M
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Quarterback Derek Carr took to social media on Thursday to announce that he has finalized a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders.

    • While Carr did not divulge the terms of the deal, multiple outlets reported that it was a five-year, $125 million contract. It makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      "Now it's done," Carr wrote on Twitter. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract.

      According to published reports, Carr received $40 million guaranteed and he also has a $30.2 million injury guarantee.

      He will make $25 million this season and the payments are broken down this way -- $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due June 30 and a $5 million base salary.

      Carr enjoyed a stellar season in 2016 before sustaining broken fibula in Week 16, which kept him sidelined for Oakland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

      The 26-year-old passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions last season.

      Carr has been a full participant in the team's offseason activities this spring.

  • Jets LB Mauldin arrested for assault
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested after allegedly attacking a man at a New York City nightclub, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

    • Mauldin, 24, turned himself in to police Wednesday morning and was charged with misdemeanor assault.

      A man named Jean Lopez alleged that Mauldin punched him in the face after he allegedly spilled champagne on Mauldin on April 2.

      The accuser is suing Mauldin in civil court, claiming Mauldin's punch broke bones in his face.

      If convicted of the assault charges, Mauldin could spend up to a year in jail.

      TMZ Sports reported that a court appearance has been set for August.

      The 6-4, 250-pound Mauldin, 24, is entering his third season with the Jets.

      He played in 11 games, including two starts, for the Jets in 2016. He had seven tackles, nine assists and 2.5 sacks.

  • Packers' Guion charged with DUI
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was charged with driving under the influence after an arrest early Wednesday in Hawaii.

    • Guion, who turned 30 on Wednesday, had a blood alcohol level of .086 when tested for a routine traffic stop, according to Honolulu police. He was released on $500 bail.

      "The Packers are aware of the matter involving Letroy Guion," a team spokesman said, per the Green Bay Press Gazette. "We will refrain from making any further comment as it is an ongoing legal matter."

      Guion has been suspended twice by the NFL over the last few years.

      He will serve a four-game suspension in the upcoming 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Guion also missed the first three games of the 2015 campaign because he violated the league's substance abuse policy, in which he was arrested on marijuana and handgun charges.

      Guion, who recorded 30 tackles in 15 games last season, has 173 tackles with 8.5 sacks in 110 career contests with the Minnesota Vikings and Packers.

  • NFL notebook: Raiders, Carr reportedly close to deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal expected to pay the quarterback approximately $25 million per season, ESPN reported Wednesday, citing league sources.

    • The contract is expected to be completed soon, perhaps as early as the end of the week, according to ESPN.

      Carr, however, took to social media to slow the story.

      "Nothing done yet ... trust me you will hear it here first," the two-time Pro Bowl selection wrote.

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract signed as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State.

      The deal may make Carr one of the highest-paid players in the league. Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives an NFL-best $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees ($24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      --Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

      Harris, who played 10 seasons with the Jets, was released on June 6 after talks broke down regarding a renegotiated contract. He was due to make $6.5 million in 2017 in the final season of a three-year, $21.5 million contract.

      The 33-year-old Harris started 15 games for the Jets in 2016, recording 95 tackles and a half-sack in 15 games. He missed his first game in eight years last season.

      In 154 career games, Harris owns 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, 31 passes defensed and six interceptions.

      --Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

      Jones, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, was in Italy with Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman, Franco Harris, Jim Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame board chairman Randy Hunt.

      The Pope blessed all members of the group and urged them to translate values of teamwork and fair play from the football field to the broader community.

      "I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican," Pope Francis said Wednesday during a special audience, according to a release sent out by the Hall of Fame. "Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values -- in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field. These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family."

      --Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he was informed of his release by the Kansas City Chiefs via voicemail earlier this month.

      Maclin also told Schefter on his "Know Them From Adam" Podcast that he played much of last season with a torn groin.

      "I was on a flight, so clearly (Chiefs general manager John Dorsey) couldn't get to me. So he left me a voicemail, but the issue is they released me so late on Friday I wouldn't become a free agent 'til Monday anyways. So I would at least think that, you know, have the respect for me enough to at least have a conversation with me. You know what I mean, not really find out through a voicemail," he said.

      Maclin missed four games due to injury last season and finished with career worsts in receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (two). The 29-year-old twice has compiled 80 or more catches and 1,000 or more receiving yards in the same season.

  • Maclin says Chiefs released him via voicemail
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he was informed of his release by the Kansas City Chiefs via voicemail earlier this month.

    • Maclin also told Schefter on his "Know Them From Adam" Podcast that he played much of last season with a torn groin.

      "I was on a flight, so clearly (Chiefs general manager John Dorsey) couldn't get to me. So he left me a voicemail, but the issue is they released me so late on Friday I wouldn't become a free agent 'til Monday anyways. So I would at least think that, you know, have the respect for me enough to at least have a conversation with me. You know what I mean, not really find out through a voicemail," he said.

      "So I think that's where, in my opinion, the problem or it really is just the business. I mean because I feel like if it was anything else, you know, especially being able to become a free agent Monday, at least have a conversation with somebody, you know?"

      Maclin missed four games due to injury last season and finished with career worsts in receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (two). The 29-year-old twice has compiled 80 or more catches and 1,000 or more receiving yards in the same season.

      Maclin quickly moved on and signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens last week.

  • Cowboys' Jones, Hall of Fame group meet Pope Francis
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday.

    • Jones, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, was in Italy with Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman, Franco Harris, Jim Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame board chairman Randy Hunt.

      The Pope blessed all members of the group and urged them to translate values of teamwork and fair play from the football field to the broader community.

      "I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican," Pope Francis said Wednesday during a special audience, according to a release sent out by the Hall of Fame.

      "Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values -- in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field. These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family."

      Jones attended with his wife, Gene Jones.

      "What a magnificent thing for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to have him recognize pro football," the Cowboys owner said in the release. "When I think of the millions who know our Spiritual leader, it is very special to think that we had his audience on behalf of the game."

  • Raiders, QB Carr reportedly close to massive deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal expected to pay the quarterback approximately $25 million per season, ESPN reported Wednesday, citing league sources.

    • The contract is expected to be completed soon, perhaps as early as the end of the week, according to ESPN.

      Carr, however, took to social media to slow the story.

      "Nothing done yet ... trust me you will hear it here first," the two-time Pro Bowl selection wrote.

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract signed as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State.

      The deal may make Carr one of the highest-paid players in the league. Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives an NFL-best $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      Carr enjoyed a stellar season in 2016 before sustaining broken fibula in Week 16, which kept him sidelined for Oakland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

      The 26-year-old passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions last season.

      Carr has been a full participant in the team's offseason activities this spring.

  • Ex-Jets LB Harris reaches two-year deal with Patriots
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    • Harris, who played 10 seasons with the Jets, was released on June 6 after talks broke down regarding a renegotiated contract. He was due to make $6.5 million in 2017 in the final season of a three-year, $21.5 million contract.

      The 33-year-old Harris started 15 games for the Jets in 2016, recording 95 tackles and a half-sack in 15 games. He missed his first game in eight years last season.

      In 154 career games, Harris owns 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, 31 passes defensed and six interceptions.

  • CB Gilbert suspended for year
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Free-agent cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft, was suspended for a year by the NFL on Tuesday after violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time in less than two months, NFL Network reported.

    • Gilbert was suspended for four games after a violation of the drug policy in May. But that suspension was increased after a second violation. Gilbert would have to apply for reinstatement before he could return in 2018.

      Gilbert has done little during his time in the NFL to suggest he will make an impact if he returns.

      Gilbert was originally selected out of Oklahoma State in the first round by the Cleveland Browns three years ago.

      He played in 14 games, including two starts, in 2014 for the Browns, recording one interception while collecting 25 tackles and four assists. He played in nine games with one start in 2015.

      After he spent two seasons in Cleveland, the Browns traded Gilbert to Pittsburgh, but he played sparingly for the Steelers, mostly on special teams, in 2016. He appeared in 12 games, and also returned three kicks.

      The Steelers released Gilbert on Feb. 6.

  • NFL notebook: Gronkowski denies $100K bar tab
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Rob Gronkowski is refuting reports that he racked up a hefty bill while partying at a casino nightclub in Connecticut last weekend.

    • TMZ reported Monday that the star New England Patriots tight end and a group of 20 associates ran up a tab in excess of $100,000 while at Shrine Nightclub at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

      "Don't always believe what you read. This is where 100k + would go to before that," Gronkowski wrote on his Twitter account late Monday night, attaching a picture of him holding a giant charity check for $110,000 made out to Boston Children's Hospital.

      The check in the picture was dated February 17, 2017.

      According to TMZ, which claims to have obtained an itemized receipt from Gronkowski's night out confirmed by a public relations representative at Shrine, Gronkowski's group purchased 160 bottles of champagne.

      The website posted pictures of Gronkowski partying shirtless with rapper Flo Rida, who posted a video to his Instagram account of him performing alongside Gronkowski at the establishment.

      TMZ also posted a pictured of Gronkowski's alleged receipt, totaling $102,407. The website noted that it is "most likely the casino" that footed the bill, but added "it's not like Gronk can afford it anyway."

      --Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp says he is experiencing memory loss and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death.

      The 44-year-old Sapp revealed his intentions on The Players' Tribune. He said he wants football to "be better when I left than when I got into it." The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star defensive tackle is well aware of the history of concussions and developing symptoms of his own shook him.

      "I've also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career," Sapp wrote. "My memory ain't what it used to be. And yeah, it's scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend's house I've been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg."

      Sapp played 13 NFL seasons -- nine with the Bucs and four with the Oakland Raiders -- and endured thousands of hits to the head during a career in which he appeared in seven Pro Bowls. He retired following the 2007 season.

      --Detroit Lions defensive tackle Khyri Thornton has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

      The 27-year-old Thornton will be able to rejoin the Lions following Detroit's game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 15. The Lions have a bye the following week, meaning his first possible game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 29.

      Thornton had 18 tackles and one sack in 13 games for the Lions last season. He signed a two-year, $3.3 million deal with Detroit in the offseason.

      Thornton is eligible to participate in training camp practices and preseason games.

      --Former football star O.J. Simpson has a scheduled parole hearing for July 20 and the possibility looms he could be freed from a Nevada prison on Oct. 1.

      Simpson, who turns 70 on July 9, has been jailed at the Lovelock Correctional Center about 90 miles northeast of Reno for more than eight years after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008.

      The conviction stemmed from an incident at a Las Vegas hotel in September 2007. Simpson said at the time he was attempting to retrieve his own personal sports memorabilia that was stolen from him sometime in the mid-1990s.

      Simpson was acquitted in the killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.

  • Simpson has parole hearing on July 20
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Former football star O.J. Simpson has a scheduled parole hearing for July 20 and the possibility looms he could be freed from a Nevada prison on Oct. 1.

    • Simpson, who turns 70 on July 9, has been jailed at the Lovelock Correctional Center about 90 miles northeast of Reno for more than eight years after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008.

      The conviction stemmed from an incident at a Las Vegas hotel in September 2007.

      Simpson said at the time he was attempting to retrieve his own personal sports memorabilia that was stolen from him sometime in the mid-1990s.

      Simpson was acquitted in the killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.

      He was a highly popular figure prior to the brutal knife-slashing killings in 1994 but the Pro Football Hall of Famer was infamous after the verdicts despite being found not guilty.

      Simpson was a college football star at USC and was perhaps the top running back in the NFL in the 1970s while starring for the Buffalo Bills.

  • Lions DT Thornton suspended 6 games
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Detroit Lions defensive tackle Khyri Thornton has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

    • The 27-year-old Thornton will be able to rejoin the Lions following Detroit's game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 15. The Lions have a bye the following week, meaning his first possible game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 29.

      Thornton had 18 tackles and one sack in 13 games for the Lions last season. He signed a two-year, $3.3 million deal with Detroit in the offseason.

      Thornton is eligible to participate in training camp practices and preseason games.

  • Sapp to donate brain for concussion research after death
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp says he is experiencing memory loss and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death.

    • The 44-year-old Sapp revealed his intentions on The Players' Tribune on Tuesday. He said he wants football to "be better when I left than when I got into it."

      The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star defensive tackle is well aware of the history of concussions and developing symptoms of his own shook him.

      "I've also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career," Sapp wrote. "My memory ain't what it used to be. And yeah, it's scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend's house I've been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg.

      "So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in -- to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing."

      Sapp played 13 NFL seasons -- nine with the Bucs and four with the Oakland Raiders -- and endured thousands of hits to the head during a career in which he appeared in seven Pro Bowls. He retired following the 2007 season.

      Sapp said his memory issues have led him to use phone alerts to remind him of simple tasks.

      "We're playing in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything. Legends of the game," Sapp said. "There's no way any of us wanna really admit that we can't remember how to get home, or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be.

      "You try to (say) 'all right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep, maybe it's something I did last night, maybe something I drank,' or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not that it's my brain. That I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes.

      "It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep."

      Sapp accumulated 96 1/2 career sacks in 198 regular-season games. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999.

  • Patriots' Gronkowski refutes reports of hefty nightclub bill
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Rob Gronkowski is refuting reports that he racked up a hefty bill while partying at a casino nightclub in Connecticut last weekend.

    • TMZ reported Monday that the star New England Patriots tight end and a group of 20 associates ran up a tab in excess of $100,000 while at Shrine Nightclub at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

      "Don't always believe what you read. This is where 100k + would go to before that," Gronkowski wrote on his Twitter account late Monday night, attaching a picture of him holding a giant charity check for $110,000 made out to Boston Children's Hospital.

      The check in the picture was dated February 17, 2017.

      According to TMZ, which claims to have obtained an itemized receipt from Gronkowski's night out confirmed by a public relations representative at Shrine, Gronkowski's group purchased 160 bottles of champagne.

      The website posted pictures of Gronkowski partying shirtless with rapper Flo Rida, who posted a video to his Instagram account of him performing alongside Gronkowski at the establishment.

      TMZ also posted a pictured of Gronkowski's alleged receipt, totaling $102,407. The website noted that it is "most likely the casino" that footed the bill, but added "it's not like Gronk can afford it anyway."

      Gronkowski, 28, caught 25 passes for 540 yards and three touchdowns in an injury-shortened year in 2016.

      The four-time Pro Bowler missed the final five games of last season after sustaining a back injury in Week 12 against the New York Jets. He underwent surgery and participated in the Patriots' mandatory minicamp in early June, saying he is "100 percent" healthy.

  • NFL notebook: Redskins' trademark boosted by Supreme Court ruling
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law that bans offensive trademark protection in a ruling that could benefit the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team's controversial nickname.

    • The justices ruled the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.

      The law used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent the NFL team from registering trademarks in and relating to the word "Redskins" and the logos used by the team was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

      "Holding that the registration of a trademark converts the mark into government speech would constitute a huge and dangerous extension of the government-speech doctrine, for other systems of government registration (such as copyright) could easily be characterized in the same way," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court.

      "The commercial market is well stocked with merchandise that disparages prominent figures and groups, and the line between commercial and non-commercial speech is not always clear, as this case illustrates. If affixing the commercial label permits the suppression of any speech that may lead to political or social 'volatility,' free speech would be endangered."

      --New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making a promotional tour in China, hopes to play an NFL game in the country before his career comes to an end.

      Brady almost had a chance to play a preseason game in China in 2007, but the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks was ultimately canceled as the NFL chose to focus on the debut of regular-season games in London, which began later that season.

      "My dream is to play a game here in China someday," Brady said over the weekend, via ESPN. "We had an opportunity, I think, 10 years ago, and my team was going to play here, and unfortunately it didn't work out. But one day I hope that there are many games here, and over the course of a year, because it's such a great sport and because I love it so much, to bring that here and to bring the discipline and incredible strategy involved."

      Brady's trip was part of a promotional tour for Under Armour. He posted a photo on Instagram of him throwing a football on the Great Wall, and also held up the Lombardi Trophy in another photo.

      --Wide receiver Eric Decker officially signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, calling the union with the team a "perfect storm."

      Decker, 30, has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012 with his wife, country music star Jesse James Decker.

      The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos receiver agreed to terms with the Titans on Sunday night.

      "It was kind of a perfect storm," Decker told the team's website. "You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home. There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity."

      --Larry Grantham, a defensive standout on the New York Jets' Super Bowl III championship team, died, the team announced Sunday night. He was 78.

      Grantham played outside linebacker and was an original member of the New York Titans, who became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. His 43 career takeaways remain a franchise record.

      Grantham called the defensive signals in the Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl in January 1969.

      A funeral service for Grantham will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss.

  • WR Decker inks one-year deal with Titans
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    Wide receiver Eric Decker officially signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans on Monday, calling the union with the team a "perfect storm."

    • Decker, 30, has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012 with his wife, country music star Jesse James Decker.

      The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos receiver agreed to terms with the Titans on Sunday night.

      "It was kind of a perfect storm," Decker told the team's website on Monday. "You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home.

      "There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity."

      Decker was released by the Jets last Monday, and two days later he visited with Tennessee officials, including general manager with Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey.

      Decker played only three games last season for the Jets before being placed on injured reserve in October. He suffered a partially torn rotator cuff early in the season, limiting him to nine receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns. In 2015, he had 80 catches for 1,027 yards and 12 TDs for the Jets.

      Decker has undergone surgery on both his hip and his shoulder in the past nine months.

      The Titans needed an established wide receiver to pair with quarterback Marcus Mariota.

      The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Decker, a third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, owns 385 career receptions for 5,253 yards and 52 touchdowns in seven seasons. He has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career, including a 1,288-yard season in 2013. He also has turned in a dozen 100-yard performances.

      Decker said he talked with a number of other teams and scheduled other visits this week before opting to sign with the Titans.

      "Mulling over some of my options, I just felt like this was the right fit," Decker said. "Just looking at the roster, and the progress they've made over the last few years, and meeting with Jon (Robinson) and Mike (Mularkey), I have a lot of respect for where they came from, their philosophy, how they do things, and that's something I want to be a part of.

      "And I am excited about Marcus Mariota and the young talent he is."