Category: NFL

NFL News

National Football League - Wikipedia  NFLPA Board Wants No Preseason Games – Earlier this week, the NFL decided to shorten its preseason from four weeks to two to account for the coronavirus pandemic and the ways in which it’s affecting the league’s ability to start the season. But the NFL’s players don’t think that move went far enough. An NFL Players Association source said Friday that the union’s board of player representatives had voted to recommend scrapping all 2020 preseason games. The matter came to a vote during Thursday evening’s conference call with NFLPA player reps, and the source said the vote was unanimous. It’s unclear whether the NFL will consider the players’ recommendation. The league has yet to formally announce the reduction of the preseason from four games to two, although a source told ESPN’s Kevin Seifert on Wednesday that the decision had been made.  The league does not believe it needs the union’s approval to set its preseason schedule, although the players would argue that the changes in work rules brought on by the pandemic allow them the right to be involved in the decision. Training camps for most NFL teams are set to begin July 28, only weeks away, and the league and union are still finalizing health and safety protocols to protect players and team personnel from the virus. Many of those protocols were discussed on the Thursday night call with the player reps and union medical director Thom Mayer. They range from newly designed protective face masks to reduced sizes of training camp rosters to possible fines for players who spread the virus after circulating in public outside of the team facility. Sources familiar with the content of Thursday’s call said players had many unanswered questions about how they can safely return to practice and play. The NFL has so far maintained that it plans to start camp and the regular season on time. (Dan Graziano/ESPN)

NFL News

Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku asks for trade, agent says Browns TE David Asks For Trade, Agent Says – Tight end David Njoku has asked the Cleveland Browns to trade him before training camp, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday. The Browns told Njoku, 23, that they would like to keep him, but Rosenhaus told the team he’s intent on a trade.‬ “It is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time,”‬ Rosenhaus told Schefter. The Browns announced in April that they would pick up Njoku’s fifth-year option, worth $6.4 million. They had already signed Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year, $44 million deal with $23 million guaranteed in March. Then they drafted tight end Harrison Bryant in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. But new coach Kevin Stefanski values tight ends and said after the draft he could see all three playing. Njoku, a 2017 first-round pick out of Miami, broke his wrist and suffered a concussion in Week 2 of the 2019 season. He played only two more games after that and finished the season with five receptions for 41 yards and one touchdown. In 2018, he had 56 receptions for 639 yards and four touchdowns. (ESPN)

NFL News

Gay Culverhouse, Ex-Bucs President and Player Safety Advocate ...  Ex-Bucs Exec Gay Culverhouse , Player Advocate Dies – Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers team president and senior executive Gay Culverhouse, who devoted her life to helping former NFL players dealing with health issues including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), has died at the age of 73, a family spokesperson told the New York Times.  Culverhouse, the daughter of late Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse, died Wednesday at her home in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Culverhouse suffered from complications from myelofibrosis, a form of chronic leukemia inhibiting the production of red blood cells. She had battled the condition, which left her severely anemic, since 2003. She was originally given just five years to live and survived 17 years with the illness. “We are saddened to hear of the passing of Gay Culverhouse earlier this week,” Buccaneers owner and co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a statement. “During her family’s ownership of the Buccaneers, Gay was a leading figure in and around the Tampa Bay community who was defined by her compassion for helping others. Her tireless work as an advocate for retired NFL players is also an important part of her personal legacy. We send our heartfelt condolences to her children, Leigh and Chris, and the entire Culverhouse family.”  Culverhouse joined the Buccaneers in 1986, years after her father was awarded the expansion Buccaneers in 1974. Before joining the Buccaneers, she worked as an instructor at the University of South Florida College of Medicine from 1982-1986, specializing in child psychiatry after earning her doctorate from Columbia University. She remained with the organization until 1994, resurfacing 15 years later to serve as an advocate for retired players, testifying in a House Judiciary hearing on head injuries among NFL players in 2009. Read more at: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29405506/former-tampa-bay-buccaneers-president-gay-culverhouse-dies         (Jenna Laine/ESPN)

NFL News

FedEx asks 'team in Washington' to change name; NIKE drops ...  UPDATE:  Change Likely As Redskins Review Name – The Washington Redskins are likely to change their name, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after the team announced Friday it will “undergo a thorough review” of the nickname amid renewed pressure. “In light of recent events around our country and feedback from our community, the Washington Redskins are announcing the team will undergo a thorough review of the team’s name. This review formalizes the initial discussions the team has been having with the league in recent weeks,” the statement said. “… We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind.” Team owner Dan Snyder has been under more pressure in recent weeks to change the name, given the national focus on human rights and social justice after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. “This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” Snyder said in the statement. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement Friday that the league has had “ongoing discussions” with Snyder and was “supportive of this important step.” On Thursday, FedEx, which has naming rights to the team’s stadium under a $205 million deal that runs until 2025, requested the team change its name. Sponsors Nike and PepsiCo also reportedly are under pressure to sever ties with the team unless it changes its name, Adweek has reported. Frederick Smith, the chairman, CEO and president of FedEx Corp., also owns a minority stake in the Redskins. On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed, and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment. Read more at:  https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29405011/redskins-undergo-thorough-review-nickname  (ESPN)

NFL News

NFL will play Black national anthem 'Lift Every Voice and Sing ... NFL Plans To Play Black Anthem Week 1 – “Lift Every Voice And Sing,” traditionally known as the Black national anthem, is expected to be performed live or played before every Week 1 NFL game, and the league is considering a variety of other measures during the upcoming season to recognize victims of police brutality, a source familiar with the league’s discussions told The Undefeated on Thursday. The song would be performed before “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the source said. The NFL’s season opener is scheduled for Sept. 10, with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans. Having recently displayed increased awareness about the problems of systemic racism, the NFL, in collaboration with the NFL Players Association, is also considering listing the names of victims on uniforms through decals on helmets or patches on jerseys. The NFL also may produce educational programs about victims, among other plans. Early last month, commissioner Roger Goodell in a video admitted that the league had erred in how it handled peaceful NFL player protests of police brutality and systemic oppression. Goodell condemned racism and affirmed that Black lives matter, pledging his allegiance to the players in the battle for equal justice under the law. Also in June, the league revealed plans to increase its social justice footprint by pledging to donate $250 million over a 10-year period. The league hopes its efforts demonstrate “a genuine commitment to the public, players and coaches and that player voices continue to be heard,” the source wrote in a text message. “This is key to educating fans, and becoming a prominent voice in the fight to end racism.” (Jason Reid/The Undefeated)

NFL News – Washington Redskins

Investors Want Nike, FedEx, Pepsi to Cut Ties With Redskins ...  Investors Press Sponsors On Redskins Ties – The Washington Redskins face renewed pressure to change their nickname, but this time protestors are targeting their sponsors, Adweek reported. According to the report Wednesday, Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo each received letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a combined $620 billion asking the companies to sever ties with the Redskins unless they change their controversial name. There has been more pressure in recent weeks to change their name given the social climate following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The Redskins have contributed to some of that change, removing the name of former owner George Preston Marshall from their ring of fame. Marshall was the last NFL owner to integrate his roster, and did so only under pressure from the government to avoid losing a 30-year lease on federal land. But Native American leaders want owner Dan Snyder to change the name, which the franchise has used since 1933. In the past, groups protested the name and tried to win in court. Those efforts failed. Now investors are appealing to the sponsors, something that one former high-ranking Redskins employee called “different.” Adweek listed six investment groups in particular: First Peoples Worldwide, Oneida Nation Trust Enrollment Committee, Trillium Asset Management, LLC Boston Common Asset Management, LLC   and First Affirmative Financial Network. The groups appealed to PepsiCo after it dropped the Aunt Jemima image from its syrup. In the letter, they praised Nike for its association with Colin Kaepernick, but noted, “However, Nike continues to provide uniforms and equipment to the Washington, D.C. NFL football team which bears the logo and name.” None of the sponsors had any comment, according to Adweek. FedEx, which has naming rights to the stadium, deferred to the Redskins for any comment. The team declined to comment Wednesday night. It was telling, one source said, that none of the sponsors has come out in support of keeping the name.  Snyder has been adamant that he won’t change the name. He once told ESPN that “the name really means honor, respect. We sing, ‘Hail to the Redskins.’ We don’t say hurt anybody. We say, ‘Hail to the Redskins. Braves on the warpath. Fight for old D.C.” Read more at:  https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/29396653/report-investors-call-nike-fedex-pepsico-cut-ties-redskins-name (John Keim/ESPN)

NFL News

NFL news: League will shorten 2020 preseason by halfNFL Shortens 2020 Preseason To 2 Weeks – The NFL is planning to cut the preseason in half, from four games to two, as part of a larger plot for the league to combat the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN reported Wednesday the NFL is cancelling Weeks 1 and 4 of the preseason schedule. Last week, the league also cancelled the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 8. To mitigate the risk against COVID-19, players will be reporting to training camp later than usual on July 28. With that in mind, it makes sense to push back the first preseason game a couple weeks to Aug. 20-24. According to ESPN, the second week of the preseason will now take place from Aug. 27-31. With this new schedule, the Atlanta Falcons will visit the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 21 and then host the Cincinnati Bengals on Aug. 28 as their two preseason games. While fewer preseason games means less unnecessary travel for NFL players and coaches, the main reason for cutting the preseason in half is to give players more time to prepare for the first preseason game after an unusual offseason. The NFL and NFLPA has been discussing cutting the preseason to two games for several weeks. While the decision to finally go through with that plan will help fight COVID-19, it could have negative ramifications for this season and 2021. Players on the roster bubble during the preseason will not have as many game opportunities to prove they belong in the league this year as they normally do. Furthermore, rookies won’t have as many game repetitions to prepare for their first season. With two fewer preseason weeks, the 2021 salary cap could also be affected since there are fewer opportunities for teams to make revenue. (Dave Holcomb)

NHL News – Chris Jones

Kansas City Chiefs: Chris Jones threatens holdout without new contract  Chiefs’ Chris Jones Hints At Holdout Without New Deal – Chris Jones is hinting at the possibility of holding out as the wait for a deal continues between the Kansas City Chiefs and their franchise-tagged defensive lineman. Jones, replying to an NFL Network video regarding his contract situation, tweeted Tuesday night that not playing in 2020 was an option, bringing up running back Le’Veon Bell‘s 2018 holdout with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jones in March. They still have until July 15 to reach a long-term contract, but Jones has yet to sign the tag, which is set to pay him $16.1 million next season. Barring a long-term deal with the Chiefs, Jones is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Bell missed the 2018 season after declining to play for the Steelers when they used the franchise tag on him for the second straight year. He signed with the New York Jets the following offseason. The running back showed support for Jones in a tweet Tuesday, writing “@StoneColdJones knows what he doin, trust.” This isn’t the first time Jones has hinted about issues with his future in Kansas City. After the Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, he said he wanted to be a “Chief for life” and planned “to stay here forever.” But days before the Chiefs used the franchise tag, Jones tweeted, “hope that they know that I love em but, all good things must come to an end….” Jones didn’t participate in the Chiefs’ offseason practices and workouts in 2019, hoping to get a contract extension.He reported to training camp on time and ranked third in the NFL last season with 15.5 sacks. Jones had a key play in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV win, pressuring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and forcing an interception. (ESPN)

Sports News – Colin Kaepernick

FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2019, file photo, free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick arrives for a workout for NFL football scouts and media in Riverdale, Ga. Kaepernick has been a leader in the fight for social justice by people of color not just in the football world or the sports world. Recent developments have raised his profile and, more significantly, reminded many of the sacrifices he has made while protesting social injustice and police brutality.(AP Photo/Todd Kirkland, File)  Netflix To Produce 6-Part Series On Kaepernick – Colin Kaepernick will be the subject of a six-part series produced by acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, Netflix announced Monday. The series, “Colin in Black and White,” will explore the quarterback’s high school years, attempting to show the experiences and insights that led to his activism. Kaepernick will appear as a narrator, with an actor playing him as a youth in the scripted drama of a Black child adopted by a white family.  “Too often we see race and Black stories portrayed through a white lens,” Kaepernick said in a release. “We seek to give new perspective to the differing realities that Black people face. We explore the racial conflicts I faced as an adopted Black man in a white community, during my high school years. It’s an honor to bring these stories to life in collaboration with Ava for the world to see.” Kaepernick will also be an executive producer for the series, which was written by Michael Starrbury. No date has yet been set for its release. DuVernay and Starrbury previously worked together on the Emmy-winning Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” about the Central Park Five case. Kaepernick, 32, spent six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers but has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States. The actions became embroiled in a debate about the national anthem, and despite his qualifications, including a Super Bowl appearance, Kaepernick has been a free agent since 2017. “With his act of protest, Colin Kaepernick ignited a national conversation about race and justice with far-reaching consequences for football, culture and for him, personally,” DuVernay said in a release. “Colin’s story has much to say about identity, sports and the enduring spirit of protest and resilience.” DuVernay directed the 2014 drama “Selma,” about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights, becoming the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. (ESPN)

NFL News

Pats fined $1.1M, lose pick for filming game last season – WAVY.com  NFL Fines Patriots $1.1M, Takes Pick For Sideline Film – The NFL fined the New England Patriots $1.1 million and took away a third-round pick in the 2021 draft among the punishments for their television crew’s filming the field and sideline during a Dec. 8 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. In addition, the Patriots’ television production crews will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season, and senior club officials will undergo required training on league operation and game policies. NFL spokesperson Michael Signora confirmed the punishments Sunday night after ESPN broke the news. The NFL also banned David Mondillo, who was suspended by the Patriots at the time of the NFL investigation, from NFL facilities until further notice. Before the league’s discipline, Mondillo was terminated by the Patriots. The Patriots admitted that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline. The crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video for a Patriots web series called “Do Your Job,” but the Patriots did not inform the Bengals or the NFL, which the Patriots called an “unintended oversight.” “The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road,” a Patriots statement said at the time. “There was no intention of using footage for any other purpose.” The Patriots also said the production crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, is not part of New England’s football operations. A Patriots spokesperson confirmed the team won’t contest the penalties. (Mike Reiss/ESPN)