National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    NFL notebook: Bears release DE McDonald
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Bears released defensive end Ray McDonald after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday.

    • Police were called to a disturbance at 3:48 a.m. at an apartment in Santa Clara, only to find that McDonald had left to go to a friend's home in San Jose. McDonald was arrested around 7 a.m. at the home of retired 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith, a former teammate.

      Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said in a news release that McDonald was arrested after officers said he "physically assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby."

      The alleged victim is McDonald's ex-fiancee, who had been residing with the child in an apartment paid for by McDonald, according to NBC Bay Area.

      This was the third incident in the past nine months involving accusations against McDonald for domestic violence or sexual assault.

      McDonald was arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of felony domestic violence in San Jose, Calif., but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence. His ex-fiancee reportedly also was involved in that incident.

      San Jose police then began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on Dec. 16. Police have not charged him or cleared him, but the San Francisco 49ers released McDonald on Dec. 17 amid that investigation, with general manager Trent Baalke citing a "pattern of poor decision making."

      --Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson plans to skip this week's organized team activities and possibly send a message that he still wants to be traded.

      A source close to Peterson told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night that Peterson has not wavered privately about his wish to continue his career with another franchise.

      Peterson, who missed 15 games last season because of a child-abuse incident, has been disgruntled because he does not believe the Vikings organization did enough to get him back on the field last year.

      --The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pushing to upgrade Raymond James Stadium for the team to have a chance to host one of the Super Bowls in 2019 and 2020.

      Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune reported the Buccaneers and the team owners -- the Glazer family -- are "currently negotiating" with the Tampa Sports Authority and Hillsborough County officials on plans to refurbish the 17-year-old stadium.

      Four cities -- Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Atlanta -- have been invited to bid for the right to host the next two available Super Bowls in 2019 and 2020. All the bids will go before NFL owners for a vote next May.

      --Former Detroit Lions coach and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will serve as a consultant to the NFL's officiating department for the 2015 season.

      He reportedly will provide a coach's perspective with some of the decisions made by the officiating office.

      Schwartz spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the Bills.

      --Denver Broncos cornerback Tevrin Brandon was hospitalized briefly after suffering minor injuries when he was struck by a car while crossing the street in Belmar, N.J., on Sunday.

      Police believe that Brandon was hit by a Ford F-150 pickup, and the driver then fled the scene.

      Brandon, 24, is expected to participate in Broncos' organized team activities, which start Wednesday.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Schwartz to work with NFL officials
    By The Sports Xchange

    Former Detroit Lions coach and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will serve as a consultant to the NFL's officiating department for the 2015 season.

    • The league confirmed Schwartz's hire on Monday. He reportedly will provide a coach's perspective with some of the decisions made by the officiating office.

      Schwartz spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the Bills, leading the unit to a No. 4 ranking in the NFL. He was let go when Rex Ryan replaced Doug Marrone as head coach.

      Schwartz, 48, spent five seasons with Lions, going 29-52, before being fired after the 2013 season.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Broncos CB Brandon hit by car, suffers minor injuries
    By The Sports Xchange

    Denver Broncos cornerback Tevrin Brandon was hospitalized briefly after suffering minor injuries when he was struck by a car while crossing the street in Belmar, N.J., on Sunday.

    • Police believe that Brandon was hit by a Ford F-150 pickup, and the driver then fled the scene.

      Brandon, 24, is expected to participate in Broncos' organized team activities, which start Wednesday.

      Brandon went undrafted last year and spent time in the Fall Experimental Football League. He signed a futures contract with the Broncos in January.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Bears release DE McDonald after another arrest
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Bears released defensive end Ray McDonald after he was arrested on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment in Santa Clara, Calif., on Monday.

    • Police were called to a disturbance at 3:48 a.m. at an apartment in Santa Clara, only to find that McDonald had left to go to a friend's home in San Jose. McDonald was arrested around 7 a.m. at the home of retired 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith, a former teammate.

      Police Lt. Kurt Clarke said in a news release that McDonald was arrested after officers said he "physically assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby."

      The alleged victim is McDonald's ex-fiancee, who had been residing with the child in an apartment paid for by McDonald, according to NBC Bay Area, which first reported the arrest.

      This was the third incident in the past nine months involving accusations against McDonald for domestic violence or sexual assault.

      Upon releasing him Monday, Bears general manager Ryan Pace said in a statement, "We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear. He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

      McDonald was arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of felony domestic violence in San Jose, Calif., but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence. His ex-fiancee reportedly also was involved in that incident.

      San Jose police then began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault on Dec. 16. Police have not charged him or cleared him, but the San Francisco 49ers released McDonald on Dec. 17 amid that investigation, with general manager Trent Baalke citing a "pattern of poor decision making."

      The league has continued to look into the alleged sexual assault. McDonald has sued his accuser for defamation, claiming that footage from his home surveillance system shows their sexual encounter was "clearly consensual." She has sued him in return.

      The Bears signed McDonald in March to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million, and last month the NFL cleared him in the first domestic-violence investigation.

      "I had two incidents (in which) I feel like I didn't do anything wrong, but still it's in the spotlight," McDonald said last month. "It was in the national spotlight for quite some time. I'm just trying to move forward from it."

      Bears chairman George McCaskey said he initially vetoed Pace's request to sign McDonald.

      McCaskey said he changed his mind about McDonald after a face-to-face meeting and a phone call to McDonald's parents.

      "We have a 96-year tradition of doing things a certain way, of bringing a certain type of player into our team," McCaskey said in March. "And those were my concerns going into the conversation with Ray. But I think you look at every situation individually. You try to find out as much information as you can that's reliable to make the best decision you can about whether to offer a player the privilege of becoming a Chicago Bear.

      "I was impressed with how sincere he was and how motivated he is. He understands, I think, that he could have well been facing the end of his football career. And he loves football, and he wants that career to continue. So I was impressed with his motivation.

      "I told him that my assessment was 'bad decision-making,' allowing himself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or not withdrawing from a situation at the appropriate time. And I told him, if he's to remain a Bear, that needs to improve. And he pledged to me that it would."

      Since 2011, McDonald has started 56 games for the 49ers, including 14 last season. He had 39 tackles and three sacks in 2014. In his eight-year career, all with the 49ers, McDonald has 210 tackles, 19 1/2 sacks and one interception.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Tampa Bay's Super Bowl bid could hinge on renovation deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pushing to upgrade Raymond James Stadium for the team to have a chance to host one of the Super Bowls in 2019 and 2020.

    • Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune reported the Buccaneers and the team owners -- the Glazer family -- are "currently negotiating" with the Tampa Sports Authority and Hillsborough County officials on plans to refurbish the 17-year-old stadium.

      Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford is described as "confident" those plans will materialize soon.

      Four cities -- Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Atlanta -- have been invited to bid for the right to host the next two available Super Bowls in 2019 and 2020. All the bids will go before NFL owners for a vote next May.

      Miami and New Orleans each have hosted the Super Bowl 10 times. Tampa Bay has hosted four Super Bowls while Atlanta has hosted two.

      The Buccaneers franchise got a lift recently during the 2015 NFL Draft with the selection of quarterback Jameis Winston as the No. 1 overall pick after a 2-14 season last year.

      The Tampa, Fla., region has a year to submit a proposal to convince owners to return the title game to Raymond James Stadium for the first time since the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied past the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.

      "We've received a lot of positive feedback from our past Super Bowls,'' Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, told the Tampa Tribune. "We've tried to take the lessons we've learned and work with our community partners. I think we have a compelling case.''

      Dolphins owner Steve Ross has stepped up to personally finance most of the $400 million in improvements to Sun Life Stadium.

      "We got invited this time because basically Mr. Ross committed to make all the renovations,'' said Rodney Barreto, chairman of the South Florida Super Bowl Committee.

      The Superdome has undergone major upgrades in recent years since hosting Super Bowl XLVII in 2013.

  • Monday, May 25, 2015
    Vikings RB Peterson plans to skip OTAs
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson plans to skip this week's organized team activities and possibly send a message that he still wants to be traded.

    • A source close to Peterson told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night that Peterson has not wavered privately about his wish to continue his career with another franchise.

      Peterson reportedly has already made ownership and the Vikings' front office aware that he wanted a trade in face-to-face meetings this offseason.

      Peterson, who missed 15 games last season because of a child-abuse incident, has been disgruntled because he does not believe the Vikings organization did enough to get him back on the field last year.

      Coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman have said the team has no plans to deal Peterson, who has three years left on his contract.

      The 30-year-old Peterson was reinstated by the NFL in April, returning to active status for the first time since September, when child-abuse charges involving his 4-year-old son led to seven months on the sideline.

      Peterson has spent his entire career with the Vikings. Since being drafted out of Oklahoma in 2007, he has rushed for 10,190 yards and 86 touchdowns.

      The St. Paul Pioneer Press first reported that Peterson won't be at the start of the three-day team workouts, which begin Tuesday, and will remain at his home in Texas.

      Yahoo Sports reported Peterson intends to sit out all of the team's offseason workouts -- an act that would cause him to forfeit a $250,000 workout bonus -- and has not yet made a decision about sitting out the team's mandatory minicamp from June 16-18 or training camp in late July. The Vikings also have OTAs June 2-4 and June 8-11.

      Peterson, who last year participated in OTAs and minicamps, has three years and $44.25 million left on his Vikings contract, including $12.75 million in 2015, but none of the money is guaranteed.

      Peterson can be fined $12,155 for missing the first day of mandatory minicamp, $24,300 for missing the second day, and $36,465 for missing the third day -- or up to $72,920.

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    NFL notebook: Fans rally in support of Brady
    By The Sports Xchange

    About 150 New England Patriots fans chanted and waved signs after they filled a Gillette Stadium parking lot in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday to protest the four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady that resulted from Deflategate.

    • The event, known as the "Free Tom Brady" rally, was organized on Facebook by Pablo Munoz, a 22-year-old part-time janitor.

      Munoz told the Boston Herald that more than 600 people said on the social website that they would attend the rally. However, Foxborough police sergeant John Chamberlin told the Boston Globe that his estimate of the crowd size on Sunday was about 150.

      The protesters, many of whom wore Brady jerseys, held signs asking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to rescind the suspension.

      The rally was called a ''peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady." The planning for the event began on May 14, Munoz said.

      The penalty was imposed on Brady after an investigation led by Ted Wells found it was more probable than not that Brady was at least aware of team employees who let air out of Patriots' footballs prior to January's AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

      Goodell plans to hear Brady's appeal of the suspension soon, although no date for the hearing has been announced.

      ---Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster John Madden thinks Pete Carroll's Super Bowl call will "torment" the Seattle Seahawks coach forever.

      Madden said the memory won't get any easier with time for Carroll, who has acknowledged he would always regret the decision to pass at the goal line rather than run in Seattle's 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

      "That will torment him forever," Madden told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times during an interview that covered a wide range of topics. "Winning one game is hard. Getting to the Super Bowl is hard. Then getting that close and losing has to be tough, because we only remember the winners of the Super Bowl.

      "One of the biggest gaps in sports is the difference between the winning and losing teams of the Super Bowl. They don't invite the losing team to the White House. They don't have parades for them. They don't throw confetti on them.

      "Does it haunt you? Hell yes, it haunts you. I'm still haunted by some championship games."

      Madden's Oakland Raiders, who lost five conference championship games in seven years, won Super Bowl XI over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1976 season.

      The 79-year-old Madden, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, talked about other topics -- including Deflategate -- during the hour-long interview with the newspaper.

      "The league will change some protocol about the handling of game balls," he said. "Here's the thing that's bigger than that: there's a lot of people that have jobs that can affect the game, winning and losing, that are dayworkers. I think the game has gotten big enough now that we have to start eliminating some of these part-time guys and make them full-time guys. The guys who handle the footballs, the guy who handles the clock, the chain gang. We're big enough now to have full-time officials too."

      ---Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II feels the NFL will be holding games in Mexico and Germany within the next five years.

      Rooney, one of the members of the NFL's International Committee, is optimistic the league will stage games in two more countries. He spent time during the recent owners meetings working on the expansion of the league's global footprint.

      "If I had to put a timetable on it, I would be disappointed if we don't have games in those two countries within the next five years," Rooney told the team's website.

      "The audience in those two countries -- there are enough NFL fans in both to support a game, and so it's really a matter of being able to put together a stadium situation that would work well for us, as well as being able to put together a broadcasting and digital media-style programming so the games can be broadcast in those countries as well being played there."

      The NFL will hold three games in London in 2015 as part of the regular-season schedule. Overall, the league has scheduled 14 games in London since 2007.

      ---Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley feels the quarterbacks on the team have an equal shot of winning the starting job.

      Whaley denied reports that the team is moving on from quarterback EJ Manuel.

      The Bills acquired Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor in the offseason to compete with Manuel for job.

      "I look at it this way, in this business controversy sells," Whaley said Friday in an interview with Jim Rome. "The more controversy that you can drum up, then the more interested people are going to be.

      "For us we're excited about the future of all three of those guys. It's going to be a great competition. And we can keep three quarterbacks. So I dismiss that as just someone trying to get something stirred during this down time and lack of media stories for the NFL."

      Manuel has completed 58.6 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,810 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games with the Bills.

      Whaley expects Manuel to compete with Cassel, Taylor and Jeff Tuel as the quarterback competition ramps up again with organized team activities getting underway Tuesday.

      ---Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Brooks Reed suffered a groin injury during voluntary minicamp and could miss the start of organized team activities this week.

      According to ESPN.com, the injury was termed "minor." The Falcons begin their first OTA practice Tuesday.

      Reed, formerly with the Houston Texans, signed a five-year, $22 million contract with the Falcons as a free agent in March.

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Patriots fans rally in support of Brady
    By The Sports Xchange

    About 150 New England Patriots fans chanted and waved signs after they filled a Gillette Stadium parking lot in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday to protest the four-game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady that resulted from Deflategate.

    • The event, known as the "Free Tom Brady" rally, was organized on Facebook by Pablo Munoz, a 22-year-old part-time janitor.

      Munoz told the Boston Herald that more than 600 people said on the social website that they would attend the rally.

      However, Foxborough police sergeant John Chamberlin told the Boston Globe that his estimate of the crowd size on Sunday was about 150.

      The protesters, many of whom wore Brady jerseys, held signs asking NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to rescind the suspension.

      "Money can't buy legacy, and that's what's being tainted right now," Munoz told the Boston Herald. "If you take that away from him he could live his whole life with money, but at the end of the day if he goes in the Hall of Fame with an asterisk next to his name, that's going to be more than defamation. That's to be just terrible.

      "That's really what this is about. It's to show him there's still a nation, a sea of people who believe that he's the champion that he is. I think it's going to be great for him. He's given us so many memories. We just want to give him one."

      The rally was called a ''peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady." The planning for the event began on May 14, Munoz said.

      The penalty was imposed on Brady after an investigation led by Ted Wells found it was more probable than not that Brady was at least aware of team employees who let air out of Patriots' footballs prior to January's AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

      Goodell plans to hear Brady's appeal of the suspension soon, although no date for the hearing has been announced.

      The NFL reportedly has rejected the NFL Players Association request for Goodell to step aside as the arbitrator in Brady's appeal.

      NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday that no final decision has been made on whether Goodell will recuse himself.

      According to ESPN.com, attorneys for Goodell have recommended that the commissioner reject the NFLPA's request that he recuse himself from Brady's appeal. Goodell still could step aside as arbitrator, but he would be doing so against the advice of his lawyers

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Bills GM Whaley expects all quarterbacks to compete
    By The Sports Xchange

    Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley feels the quarterbacks on the team have an equal shot of winning the starting job.

    • Whaley denied reports that the team is moving on from quarterback EJ Manuel.

      The Bills acquired Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor in the offseason to compete with Manuel for job.

      "I look at it this way, in this business controversy sells," Whaley said Friday in an interview with Jim Rome. "The more controversy that you can drum up, then the more interested people are going to be.

      "For us we're excited about the future of all three of those guys. It's going to be a great competition. And we can keep three quarterbacks. So I dismiss that as just someone trying to get something stirred during this down time and lack of media stories for the NFL."

      Since head coach Rex Ryan arrived in Buffalo, he has not said anything negative about Manuel, the team's 2013 first-round pick.

      Manuel has completed 58.6 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,810 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games with the Bills.

      Whaley expects Manuel to compete with Cassel, Taylor and Jeff Tuel as the quarterback competition ramps up again with organized team activities getting underway Tuesday.

      "I look for him to come in and compete and try to take the job," Whaley said of Manuel. "Everybody has got an equal footing. It's a clean slate for all four of our quarterbacks. We're not tied to anybody. We just want the best man to start."

      Whaley also discussed how Cassel has transitioned to Buffalo following the offseason trade from the Minnesota Vikings.

      "He's been exactly what we expected," Whaley said of Cassel. "A veteran force who can galvanize the team and he can teach the young guys the intricate things that quarterbacks do that doesn't take place on the field. Bringing receivers in and talking about preferences and what he's seeing. Basically a lot of the things that people on the outside don't see. He's done that and he's not afraid of the challenge. He's ready to compete."

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Falcons OLB Reed may miss start of OTAs
    By The Sports Xchange

    Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Brooks Reed suffered a groin injury during voluntary minicamp and could miss the start of organized team activities this week.

    • According to ESPN.com, the injury was termed "minor." The Falcons begin their first OTA practice Tuesday.

      Reed, formerly with the Houston Texans, signed a five-year, $22 million contract with the Falcons as a free agent in March.

      Reed was selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Arizona. He started 52 of 59 career games, recording 211 tackles (122 solo), 14.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in four seasons in Houston.

      Last season, Reed started 13 of 16 games and finished with 41 tackles, three sacks, 10 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, four passes defensed, and one interception.

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Steelers' Rooney sees NFL games in Mexico, Germany
    By The Sports Xchange

    Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II feels the NFL will be holding games in Mexico and Germany within the next five years.

    • Rooney, one of the members of the NFL's International Committee, is optimistic the league will stage games in two more countries. He spent time during the recent owners meetings working on the expansion of the league's global footprint.

      "If I had to put a timetable on it, I would be disappointed if we don't have games in those two countries within the next five years," Rooney told the team's website.

      "The audience in those two countries -- there are enough NFL fans in both to support a game, and so it's really a matter of being able to put together a stadium situation that would work well for us, as well as being able to put together a broadcasting and digital media-style programming so the games can be broadcast in those countries as well being played there."

      NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week at the owners meetings that the league would "evaluate" Germany, Mexico and Brazil as game sites.

      Rooney said Germany and Mexico are more likely to host a game before Brazil.

      "Brazil is the one I would say is the newest discussion, and my guess is there will have to be a little longer lead time in developing that," Rooney said.

      The NFL will hold three games in London in 2015 as part of the regular-season schedule. Overall, the league has scheduled 14 games in London since 2007.

      The Steelers' visit to Mexico City came in the 2000 preseason against the Indianapolis Colts, and the team's first regular-season game overseas was in London in 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings.

      "We would love to play another game in Mexico at some point, and so that part of taking NFL football to another country is something in which we have a keen interest," Rooney said. "The Steelers are interested in the other international games as well, and so there's a lot of activity going on. There's a lot of interest in NFL football around the world, and we're just trying to keep developing that."

  • Sunday, May 24, 2015
    Madden says Super Bowl call will 'torment' Carroll forever
    By The Sports Xchange

    Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster John Madden thinks Pete Carroll's Super Bowl call will "torment" the Seattle Seahawks coach forever.

    • Madden said the memory won't get any easier with time for Carroll, who has acknowledged he would always regret the decision to pass at the goal line rather than run in Seattle's 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

      "That will torment him forever," Madden told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times during an interview that covered a wide range of topics. "Winning one game is hard. Getting to the Super Bowl is hard. Then getting that close and losing has to be tough, because we only remember the winners of the Super Bowl.

      "One of the biggest gaps in sports is the difference between the winning and losing teams of the Super Bowl. They don't invite the losing team to the White House. They don't have parades for them. They don't throw confetti on them.

      "Does it haunt you? Hell yes, it haunts you. I'm still haunted by some championship games."

      Madden's Oakland Raiders, who lost five conference championship games in seven years, won Super Bowl XI over the Minnesota Vikings in the 1976 season.

      The 79-year-old Madden, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, talked about other topics -- including Deflategate -- during the hour-long interview with the Los Angeles Times.

      Madden spends part of his time in San Francisco and has a condominium less than a mile from where NFL owners just had their annual spring meetings.

      Madden was asked what other rules changes the owners should consider after voting to move back extra-point kicks.

      "I don't know when they'll ever do anything about this, but you know those gloves receivers wear? It's making it very easy to catch a ball," he said. "You see more one-handed catches where guys are pushing off with the other hand. No one looks at those gloves. I saw them when I was at a meeting in Indy. They passed them around and somebody made the comment that, 'Pretty soon, these gloves are going to be able to catch a ball without a hand in them.'"

      Madden weighed in on what changes Deflategate will bring to the NFL.

      "The league will change some protocol about the handling of game balls," he said. "Here's the thing that's bigger than that: there's a lot of people that have jobs that can affect the game, winning and losing, that are dayworkers. I think the game has gotten big enough now that we have to start eliminating some of these part-time guys and make them full-time guys.

      "The guys who handle the footballs, the guy who handles the clock, the chain gang. We're big enough now to have full-time officials too."

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    NFL notebook: Patriots fans to hold 'Free Tom Brady' rally
    By The Sports Xchange

    New England Patriots fans will hold a rally on Sunday in support of beloved quarterback Tom Brady, who is fighting his four-game suspension stemming from Deflategate.

    • The "Free Tom Brady" rally is scheduled to take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to wear Tom Brady jerseys.

      A recently created Facebook page describes the event as a "peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady."

      According to ESPN.com, 240 people had confirmed by Saturday afternoon that they were planning to attend the rally.

      Brady was suspended for his role as the alleged ringleader of team equipment managers who intentionally lowered the air pressure in footballs. He did not fully cooperate with the NFL's third-party investigation led by Ted Wells, according to a 243-page report outlining the offenses.

      The Wells report released May 6 concluded that the Patriots "more probable than not" violated NFL rules and Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" of the deflated game balls in the 45-7 AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

      ---Patriots fans have strongly supported Brady since the four-time Super Bowl MVP was investigated by the league.

      The late Patricia Shong of Auburn, Mass., who passed away on Monday at the age of 72, even showed support for the quarterback in her obituary.

      The obituary, which appeared Thursday in the local daily newspaper, included a passage that stated: "Patricia was known for being an avid reader which all who knew her can attest to based on her mini home library. She especially loved spending time with her family. She would also like us to set the record straight for her: Brady is innocent!!"

      ---Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach said he would have a hard time playing alongside Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy because of his domestic violence past.

      Although he admires the way Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson has taken a leadership role in the NFL's efforts on domestic violence, Staubach said he can't justify allowing a player like Hardy on the team.

      "Well, it depends on getting a chance to understand the red flags ... like the Hardy situation," Staubach said Friday on KTCK-AM 1310 in Dallas. "Charlotte Jones is fantastic. She's involved with the NFL on the committees. I think she had a hand in trying to understand that this guy deserves a second chance. I don't have any tolerance toward domestic violence. If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn't have been good for the Cowboys."

      Hardy missed 15 games last year and is suspended for 10 games this year for a domestic violence incident while he was playing for the Carolina Panthers.

      The 73-year-old Staubach, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, said Hardy is not the kind of teammate he wants to be around.

      "I wouldn't really enjoy being in the locker room with someone I knew was a domestic violence person. That's how I feel," the legendary Cowboys quarterback said.

      ---The Houston Texans have emerged as the favorites to be featured on the 10th edition of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.

      The Texans are one of three finalists for the training camp documentary, but HBO prefers the Texans over the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, according to the Houston Chronicle.

      Multiple media reports indicated the Cleveland Browns, Redskins and Bills are not interested, which would make the Texans the front-runner. However, NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt tweeted Friday that the Redskins will be on the upcoming show.

      The Browns had concerns that the HBO reality series would focus on Johnny Manziel and their request to not be on the show was granted

      Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the 2014 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is the kind of player the NFL would want to be showcased on "Hard Knocks."

      ---Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made it clear he wants to win now after quarterback Ryan Tannehill and center Mike Pouncey signed contract extensions. and the team landed the year's biggest free-agent prize, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

      When Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was interviewing for the job in 2014, Ross said then that the time to win is now. The Dolphins were 8-8 last season.

      Ross has put up even more money to make that happen -- committing more than $125 million in guaranteed money to Suh, Tannehill and Pouncey.

      Hickey said everyone -- from the the front office to the coaching staff -- has been on the same page on the way to build the Dolphins as they turned over roughly half of their starting lineup.

      "As you put together a strategic plan, even going back to when I first interviewed for the job, you look ahead and you try to be strategic with how you try to allocate your resources," Hickey said Friday, appearing on 104.3 The Ticket in Miami. "What are next year's decisions? What are the following year's decisions? And so we went through that.

      "We're a process-driven organization. Part of the process is collaboration, getting our coaches together with our scouts and getting them together to do their due diligence. The process is about making good, sound decisions that make sense."

      ---Tennessee Titans fans, already showing their support for new quarterback Marcus Mariota, are buying the No. 2 overall draft pick's jerseys to lead the NFL in sales this month.

      Mariota has the NFL's best-selling jersey so far in May, Titans director of finance Stuart Spears told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.

      The Titans have been searching for a franchise quarterback for 10 years -- ever since they traded Steve McNair to the Baltimore Ravens in 2005.

      Mariota becomes the face of the Titans franchise after winning the Heisman Trophy at Oregon in 2014. The Titans hope he can adapt quickly to being an NFL quarterback after first-round misses on Vince Young in 2006 and Jake Locker in 2011.

      The Titans, 2-14 last season, and Mariota have not reached an agreement on his rookie contract. He is the only pick taken in the top seven of the draft who has not yet signed.

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    Titans QB Mariota has the NFL's best-selling jersey in May
    By The Sports Xchange

    Tennessee Titans fans, already showing their support for new quarterback Marcus Mariota, are buying the No. 2 overall draft pick's jerseys to lead the NFL in sales this month.

    • Mariota has the NFL's best-selling jersey so far in May, Titans director of finance Stuart Spears told Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.

      The Titans have been searching for a franchise quarterback for 10 years -- ever since they traded Steve McNair to the Baltimore Ravens in 2005.

      Mariota becomes the face of the Titans franchise after winning the Heisman Trophy at Oregon in 2014. The Titans hope he can adapt quickly to being an NFL quarterback after first-round misses on Vince Young in 2006 and Jake Locker in 2011.

      According to ESPN, the Titans struck quickly after they selected Mariota in the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30. The next day, the Titans had digital billboards up pushing season tickets around Nashville.

      In addition to the jersey sales, a study by a sports marketing company found that Mariota ranks as the 39th most marketable athlete in the world, according to SportsPro.

      For a player who hasn't played a professional game yet, Mariota enters the NFL with a significant fan base in Nashville and elsewhere.

      The Titans, 2-14 last season, and Mariota have not reached an agreement on his rookie contract. He is the only pick taken in the top seven of the draft who has not yet signed.

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    Patriots fans to hold 'Free Tom Brady' stadium rally
    By The Sports Xchange

    New England Patriots fans will hold a rally on Sunday in support of beloved quarterback Tom Brady, who is fighting his four-game suspension stemming from Deflategate.

    • The "Free Tom Brady" rally is scheduled to take place Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to wear Tom Brady jerseys.

      A recently created Facebook page describes the event as a "peaceful rally to protest the unjust football arrest of half God half man Tom Brady."

      According to ESPN.com, 240 people had confirmed by Saturday afternoon that they were planning to attend the rally.

      Brady was suspended for his role as the alleged ringleader of team equipment managers who intentionally lowered the air pressure in footballs.

      Brady did not fully cooperate with the NFL's third-party investigation led by Ted Wells, according to a 243-page report outlining the offenses.

      The Wells report released May 6 concluded that the Patriots "more probable than not" violated NFL rules and Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" of the deflated game balls in the 45-7 AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

      Patriots fans have strongly supported Brady since the four-time Super Bowl MVP was investigated by the league.

      The late Patricia Shong of Auburn, Mass., who passed away on Monday at the age of 72, even showed support for the quarterback in her obituary.

      The obituary, which appeared Thursday in the local daily newspaper, included a passage that stated: "Patricia was known for being an avid reader which all who knew her can attest to based on her mini home library. She especially loved spending time with her family. She would also like us to set the record straight for her: Brady is innocent!!"

      Brady has appealed the suspension through the NFL Players Association, which requested last week that commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself from hearing the appeal.

      The NFL reportedly has rejected the request for Goodell to step aside as the arbitrator in Brady's appeal.

      NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Friday that no final decision has been made on whether Goodell will recuse himself.

      According to ESPN.com, attorneys for Goodell have recommended that the commissioner reject the NFLPA's request that he recuse himself from Brady's appeal.

      Goodell still could step aside as arbitrator, but he would be doing so against the advice of his lawyers

      At the conclusion of the NFL owners' spring meetings in San Francisco on Wednesday, Goodell would not comment on the specifics of Brady's suspension or his appeal, but the commissioner said he looked forward to hearing from Brady.

      Goodell said at the owners meetings that one of his primary responsibilities is upholding the integrity of the game, policies and procedures.

      Because the process negotiated with the union for appeals calls for Goodell to be the final authority, the commissioner said he was not prepared to remove himself from the matter.

      "I'm not going to get into hypotheticals," Goodell said earlier this week at his press conference. "I look forward to hearing directly from Tom. ... I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady. But the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis. They apply to everybody in the league. ... We put the game ahead of everything."

      Goodell would exercise his right under the league's 2011 collective bargaining agreement to hear Brady's case instead of either an independent or NFL-affiliated arbitrator.

      The union called Goodell a "central witness in the appeal hearing," adding that he is not impartial. The NFLPA wanted a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator.

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    Owner Ross expects Dolphins to win now
    By The Sports Xchange

    Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has made it clear he wants to win now after quarterback Ryan Tannehill and center Mike Pouncey signed contract extensions. and the team landed the year's biggest free-agent prize, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

    • When Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey was interviewing for the job in 2014, Ross said then that the time to win is now. The Dolphins were 8-8 last season.

      Ross has put up even more money to make that happen -- committing more than $125 million in guaranteed money to Suh, Tannehill and Pouncey.

      Hickey said everyone -- from the the front office to the coaching staff -- has been on the same page on the way to build the Dolphins as they turned over roughly half of their starting lineup.

      "As you put together a strategic plan, even going back to when I first interviewed for the job, you look ahead and you try to be strategic with how you try to allocate your resources," Hickey said Friday, appearing on 104.3 The Ticket in Miami. "What are next year's decisions? What are the following year's decisions? And so we went through that.

      "We're a process-driven organization. Part of the process is collaboration, getting our coaches together with our scouts and getting them together to do their due diligence. The process is about making good, sound decisions that make sense."

      Next year, the Dolphins are projected to be $17 million over the salary cap, according to Pro Football Tallk.

      Hickey, in his second year with the Dolphins, understands the scrutiny of the team's offseason decisions goes with the territory.

      Suh signed a six-year $114 million contract -- $60 million guaranteed -- with the Dolphins once free agency got underway in March.

      Pouncey's five-year deal is worth $52.15 million, including $22 million guaranteed and an $11 million signing bonus.

      On Monday, Tannehill signed to a six-year, $96 million extension, including $45 million in guaranteed money, even though he has never had a winning season in his three years.

      "Having stability in the quarterback position," Hickey said when asked why he wanted to extend Tannehill through the 2020 season. "Our philosophy is we want to have sustained success and a quality quarterback and a proven quarterback that you believe in that's also young and improves every year, and even within the year.

      "Compare the first four games (of 2014) to the last 12 games and the growth that we saw in Ryan. Having all the tools and all the things that he brings, he's definitely someone we believe in and want to commit to."

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    Staubach would not want Cowboys DE Hardy on his team
    By The Sports Xchange

    Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach said he would have a hard time playing alongside Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy because of his domestic violence past.

    • Although he admires the way Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson has taken a leadership role in the NFL's efforts on domestic violence, Staubach said he can't justify allowing a player like Hardy on the team.

      "Well, it depends on getting a chance to understand the red flags ... like the Hardy situation," Staubach said Friday on KTCK-AM 1310 in Dallas. "Charlotte Jones is fantastic. She's involved with the NFL on the committees. I think she had a hand in trying to understand that this guy deserves a second chance. I don't have any tolerance toward domestic violence. If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn't have been good for the Cowboys."

      Hardy missed 15 games last year and is suspended for 10 games this year for a domestic violence incident while he was playing for the Carolina Panthers.

      The 73-year-old Staubach, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, said Hardy is not the kind of teammate he wants to be around.

      "I wouldn't really enjoy being in the locker room with someone I knew was a domestic violence person. That's how I feel," the legendary Cowboys quarterback said. "Today you know more about the personal lives of players. Back in the old days, there were some issues. But we never really had a domestic violence, smoking marijuana or ...

      "I'm sure it happened though, we just didn't know about it. I would have really had a hard time with a teammate that you look at as a courageous, tough guy on the football field ... to abuse a woman in any shape or form, there's just no excuse for it."

      The Cowboys have taken a lot of criticism for signing the free agent Hardy to a one-year deal in March.

      Hardy spent most of last season on the commissioner's exempt list, where he drew the entirety of his $13.1 million salary as the Panthers' designated franchise player during the legal proceedings and investigation into Hardy's alleged physical attack of his then-girlfriend.

      The case was dropped in North Carolina when Nicole Holder, Hardy's accuser, did not appear in court. But the NFL pushed to get photos and details of the attack from investigators and was allowed to view pictures and physical evidence.

      NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the evidence -- including "hands to the head, hands to the neck" -- was a major part of the case against Hardy, who met with the NFL twice during the league's 60-day investigation.

      The league determined at least four instances of excessive force were used by Hardy against Holder.

  • Saturday, May 23, 2015
    Texans favorites to be on 'Hard Knocks'
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Houston Texans have emerged as the favorites to be featured on the 10th edition of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.

    • The Texans are one of three finalists for the training camp documentary, but HBO prefers the Texans over the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins, according to the Houston Chronicle.

      Multiple media reports indicated the Cleveland Browns, Redskins and Bills are not interested, which would make the Texans the front-runner. However, NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt tweeted Friday that the Redskins will be on the upcoming show.

      The Browns had concerns that the HBO reality series would focus on Johnny Manziel and their request to not be on the show was granted

      NFL Films, which produces the series, does not want an unwilling participant.

      Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, the 2014 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is the kind of player the NFL would want to be showcased on "Hard Knocks."

      Texans owner Bob McNair must sign off on his team making its first appearance on "Hard Knocks." McNair said in March that he was considering an offer from HBO, according to the Chronicle.

      The featured team is expected to be announced in June.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    NFL notebook: Goodell reportedly won't recuse himself
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NFL reportedly has rejected the NFL Players Association's request that commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension stemming from Deflategate.

    • The NFLPA made the formal request Tuesday for Goodell to recuse himself, but a league source told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora on Friday that the request was rejected.

      NFL spokesman Greg Aiello later told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that no final decision has been made on whether Goodell will recuse himself.

      According to ESPN.com, attorneys for Goodell have recommended that the commissioner reject the NFLPA's request that he recuse himself from Brady's appeal. Goodell still could step aside as arbitrator, but he would be doing so against the advice of his lawyers

      The league already had announced last week that Goodell would hear Brady's appeal, which was filed on the same day by the NFLPA.

      At the conclusion of the NFL owners' spring meetings in San Francisco on Wednesday, Goodell would not comment on the specifics of Brady's suspension or his appeal, but the commissioner said he looked forward to hearing from the New England Patriots quarterback.

      Goodell would exercise his right under the league's 2011 collective bargaining agreement to hear Brady's case instead of either an independent or NFL-affiliated arbitrator.

      The union called Goodell a "central witness in the appeal hearing," adding that he is not impartial. The NFLPA wanted a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator.

      Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday at the owners meetings that the team would not appeal a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft selections -- the 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round pick.

      Brady was suspended for his role as the alleged ringleader of team equipment managers who intentionally lowered the air pressure in footballs.

      ---On "Outside the Lines" on ESPN, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was asked by host Bob Ley how likely it would be that the union would go to the courts before the appeal in an attempt to block Goodell.

      Smith did not tip his hand with his response.

      "It's our job to make decisions about process that are in the best interest of the client," Smith said.

      ---The Cleveland Browns won't be on "Hard Knocks" this year with the team concerned that the HBO reality series would focus on Johnny Manziel.

      According to ESPNCleveland.com, the Browns' request to not be on the training camp documentary has been granted. NFL Films, which produces the series, apparently does not want an unwilling participant.

      The Browns made their feelings known at the league meetings in March and one of their concerns was the attention the series would bring to Manziel as he continues on the road back from a 10-week stay in rehab.

      The Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills reportedly are the likeliest subjects this year with the Browns out of the picture. The Texans appear to be the favorites to be given a time slot on HBO. The Redskins and Bills have indicated a lack of interest. The featured team is expected to be announced in June.

      ---The Dallas Cowboys and cornerback Orlando Scandrick agreed to terms on a contract extension.

      According to reports, the deal goes through 2019 and Scandrick is scheduled to make a total of $20 million, including $4 million this year. The extension adds another year to his contract at a value of $9.5 million. He was scheduled to make $1.5 million in 2015 on a deal reworked in 2013.

      "I think this was a special circumstance," Scandrick said Friday. "Two years ago when I signed an extension it was essentially a pay cut. It's not normal you see guys take pay cuts in the prime of their career. A lot of people look at the overall numbers and think you signed a new deal and it was something I wanted to do to essentially stay with the team and have some stability."

      ---A week before training camp begins for CFL teams, defensive end Michael Sam joined the Montreal Alouettes, agreeing to a one-year deal.

      Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, was previously with the St. Louis Rams, who selected him out of Missouri in the seventh round in 2014, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys added Sam to their practice squad when he was waived during final roster cuts.

      Sam has been a free agent since the Cowboys released him from their practice squad on Oct. 21.

      "I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes," Sam said in a statement. "I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal."

      ---With extra points moving back to the 15-yard line this season, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expects two-point conversions to become a "bigger part of the game."

      Harbaugh thinks weather will dictate more two-pointers.

      The NFL announced Tuesday that extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns.

      "It is going to encourage more two-point conversion tries," Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun Thursday after his keynote speech at Stevenson University's graduation. "There's no question about it, especially in windy stadiums. Maybe later in the year when it means the most will probably see the most attempts. I know one thing, we're going to spend more time defending two-point conversions and practicing two-point conversions because it's going to be a bigger part of the game."

      ---The Kansas City Chiefs signed tight end Ryan Taylor after he was released by the Miami Dolphins.

      Taylor, 27, is a former seventh-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2011. He caught eight passes for 45 yards in 45 games with the Packers before his release last October. The 6-foot-3,. 254-pound Taylor spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Dolphins, who released him on May 11.

      The Chiefs released guard Ricky Henry to make room for Taylor on the roster. Henry spent last season on the Chiefs' practice squad.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Report: Goodell won't recuse himself from Brady's appeal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NFL reportedly has rejected the NFL Players Association's request that commissioner Roger Goodell recuse himself as the arbitrator in Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension stemming from Deflategate.

    • The NFLPA made the formal request Tuesday for Goodell to recuse himself, but a league source told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora on Friday that the request was rejected.

      NFL spokesman Greg Aiello later told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that no final decision has been made on whether Goodell will recuse himself.

      According to ESPN.com, attorneys for Goodell have recommended that the commissioner reject the NFLPA's request that he recuse himself from Brady's appeal. Goodell still could step aside as arbitrator, but he would be doing so against the advice of his lawyers

      The league already had announced last week that Goodell would hear Brady's appeal, which was filed on the same day by the NFLPA.

      At the conclusion of the NFL owners' spring meetings in San Francisco on Wednesday, Goodell would not comment on the specifics of Brady's suspension or his appeal, but the commissioner said he looked forward to hearing from the New England Patriots quarterback.

      When he returned to New York on Thursday, Goodell said he would give full consideration to the NFLPA's formal request that he recuse himself from the Brady appeal.

      Goodell said at the owners meetings that one of his primary responsibilities is upholding the integrity of the game, policies and procedures. Because the process negotiated with the union for appeals calls for Goodell to be the final authority, he said Wednesday that he was not prepared to remove himself from the matter.

      "I'm not going to get into hypotheticals," Goodell said earlier this week at his press conference. "I look forward to hearing directly from Tom. ... I have great admiration and respect for Tom Brady. But the rules have to be enforced on a uniform basis. They apply to everybody in the league. ... We put the game ahead of everything."

      Goodell would exercise his right under the league's 2011 collective bargaining agreement to hear Brady's case instead of either an independent or NFL-affiliated arbitrator.

      The union called Goodell a "central witness in the appeal hearing," adding that he is not impartial. The NFLPA wanted a neutral party to serve as an arbitrator.

      "The players also believe that the Commissioner's history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner," the NFLPA wrote Tuesday in a statement. "If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review."

      The NFLPA released a letter last Friday that general counsel Tom DePaso sent to NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent.

      DePaso informed Vincent in the letter that the NFLPA plans to call both Vincent and Goodell to testify in Brady's appeal hearing regarding "the circumstances surrounding the purported delegation of disciplinary authority."

      Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday at the owners meetings that the team would not appeal a $1 million fine and the loss of two draft selections -- the 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round pick.

      Brady was suspended for his role as the alleged ringleader of team equipment managers who intentionally lowered the air pressure in footballs. Brady did not fully cooperate with the NFL's third-party investigation led by Ted Wells, according to a 243-page report outlining the offenses.

      The Wells report released May 6 concluded that the Patriots "more probable than not" violated NFL rules and Brady "was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities" of the deflated game balls in the 45-7 AFC Championship Game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

      On Friday's "Outside the Lines" on ESPN, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith was asked by host Bob Ley how likely it would be that the union would go to the courts before the appeal in an attempt to block Goodell.

      Smith did not tip his hand with his response.

      "It's our job to make decisions about process that are in the best interest of the client," Smith said.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Browns won't be on 'Hard Knocks'
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Cleveland Browns won't be on "Hard Knocks" this year with the team concerned that the HBO reality series would focus on Johnny Manziel.

    • According to ESPNCleveland.com, the Browns' request to not be on the training camp documentary has been granted. NFL Films, which produces the series, apparently does not want an unwilling participant.

      The Browns made their feelings known at the league meetings in March and one of their concerns was the attention the series would bring to Manziel as he continues on the road back from a 10-week stay in rehab.

      "You just weigh everything in," Browns coach Mike Pettine said in March. "Because being a part of 'Hard Knocks,' having been there, knowing they're going to look to cover the team's biggest current storylines, it's obvious that he would be a point of attention."

      The Houston Texans, Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills reportedly are the likeliest subjects this year with the Browns out of the picture.

      The Texans appear to be the favorites to be given a time slot on HBO. The Redskins and Bills have indicated a lack of interest.

      The featured team is expected to be announced in June.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Chiefs sign TE Taylor
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Chiefs signed tight end Ryan Taylor after he was released by the Miami Dolphins.

    • Taylor, 27, is a former seventh-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2011. He caught eight passes for 45 yards in 45 games with the Packers before his release last October.

      The 6-foot-3,. 254-pound Taylor spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Dolphins, who released him on May 11.

      The Chiefs released guard Ricky Henry to make room for Taylor on the roster. Henry spent last season on the Chiefs' practice squad.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Cowboys, CB Scandrick agree to deal through 2019
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Dallas Cowboys and cornerback Orlando Scandrick agreed to terms on a contract extension Friday.

    • According to reports, the deal goes through 2019 and Scandrick is scheduled to make a total of $20 million, including $4 million this year. The extension adds another year to his contract at a value of $9.5 million. He was scheduled to make $1.5 million in 2015 on a deal reworked in 2013.

      "I think this was a special circumstance," Scandrick said Friday. "Two years ago when I signed an extension it was essentially a pay cut. It's not normal you see guys take pay cuts in the prime of their career. A lot of people look at the overall numbers and think you signed a new deal and it was something I wanted to do to essentially stay with the team and have some stability.

      "Looking back on it I don't know if it was the best decision, but now waking up here today it's all irrelevant and I've moved past it. I can't put into words how appreciative I am of the Jones family and the organization."

      Scandrick had skipped the early part of the team's voluntary offseason workouts because he was unhappy with his contract, but he showed up Monday.

      "Orlando loves to play football," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week. "He loves playing for the Cowboys. His great strength as a football player is his passion for the game and the edge that he plays with. So, good to see him back out there doing the work this week leading up to the OTAs next week.

      "He looks good and you can tell he has been working out. We're going to take care of the football part of it. And the business side will take care of itself."

      Scandrick, a fifth-round pick in 2008, has started 29 of the last 30 games in which he has been on the active roster. He was the team's nickel cornerback in his first five seasons.

      The 28-year-old Scandrick has seven career interceptions, 57 pass breakups and 9.5 sacks. He missed the first two games last season because of a suspension, and finished with 54 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, two picks, 11 pass deflections and two forced fumbles

      "I would like to think I'm going to be (a Cowboy) for life," Scandrick said. "It's going on eight years. It's now on me to take care of my end of the bargain and continue to be a productive player.".

      The Cowboys also could look into the contract of cornerback Brandon Carr, who is set to make $8 million this season and count $12.7 million against the cap.

      Cornerback Morris Claiborne, who can become a free agent next March after the Cowboys declined to pick up the 2016 contract option, is not a lock to make the team with Carr, Scandrick and 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones ahead of him.

      Claiborne is coming back from a torn patellar tendon and he is not expected to practice until training camp. He is not 26 until February 2016, and the Cowboys could be looking to trade the sixth overall pick in 2012. He will make $2.6 million in the final year of his rookie contract.

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Sam to CFL, signs with Montreal
    By The Sports Xchange

    A week before training camp begins for CFL teams, defensive end Michael Sam joined the Montreal Alouettes, agreeing to a one-year deal Friday.

    • Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, was previously with the St. Louis Rams, who selected him out of Missouri in the seventh round in 2014, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys added Sam to their practice squad when he was waived during final roster cuts.

      Sam has been a free agent since the Cowboys released him from their practice squad on Oct. 21.

      "I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes," Sam said in a statement. "I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal."

      Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said recently the franchise hoped to lure Sam to Canada. Montreal claimed Sam's draft rights during his senior season at Mizzou.

      "The CFL is cut out perfectly for his style," Popp said. "It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best. His agent knows. They're ready. They know this (CFL) may be what it is. It's Michael who has to make the decision -- and he might never come."

      Sam had three sacks in the 2014 preseason with the Rams, who have a defensive line comprised entirely of first-round draft picks. He had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss with Missouri as a senior.

      Sam's contract includes a team option for 2016.

      Sam, 25, was co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference in 2013. Two months after the season ended, Sam announced he was gay.

      Popp said he never considered Sam's sexuality to be an issue.

      "Michael Sam is a very good football player, and that's the reason we signed him," Popp said. "He's an outstanding pass-rusher.

      "Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character and heart to our team."

  • Friday, May 22, 2015
    Ravens' Harbaugh expects more two-pointers
    By The Sports Xchange

    With extra points moving back to the 15-yard line this season, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expects two-point conversions to become a "bigger part of the game."

    • Harbaugh thinks weather will dictate more two-pointers.

      The NFL announced Tuesday that extra point will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns.

      "It is going to encourage more two-point conversion tries," Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun Thursday after his keynote speech at Stevenson University's graduation. "There's no question about it, especially in windy stadiums. Maybe later in the year when it means the most will probably see the most attempts.

      "I know one thing, we're going to spend more time defending two-point conversions and practicing two-point conversions because it's going to be a bigger part of the game."

      Harbaugh, a former special teams coach, said he needs time to study the possibilities.

      "I'm really interested in finding out more of the specifics -- penalties, what if we jump offsides, what if they jump offsides," Harbaugh said. "I can't wait to see the details."

      The extra-point change is in effect for the 2015 season and could be reviewed in the future. It passed in a 30-2 vote, with the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins the only teams voting against it.

      Last year, NFL kickers connected on over 99 percent of their kicks with the football snapped from the 2-yard line.

      The rule change meets Harbaugh's approval.

      "The effort to move the line of scrimmage back on the point after touchdown, to me, is a good thing," he said. "I think it's a positive thing. We're for it. We were fine with it the other way. I know (Ravens kicker) Justin Tucker was kind of like saying stuff about it.

      "But I think he realizes that it's going to give the better kickers an opportunity to shine a little bit. So, move it back and make it a little bit tougher. Make it more of a challenge, make that point mean more."