McCown Retires From NFL, Joins ESPN As Analyst – After a circuitous career that began 17 years ago in Arizona, quarterback Josh McCown is retiring from football, he announced Monday on The Players’ Tribune. McCown, who turns 40 on July 4, spent the past two seasons with the New York Jets. He made the decision to retire after consulting with his family for the past few months. His body feels fresh, he appeared in only four games last season, but he decided to move on to the next chapter. “I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path,” McCown wrote. “But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone. I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force. “Because it’s been one heck of a journey.” Later Monday, it was announced that McCown is joining ESPN as an NFL analyst. He will make his debut Wednesday on NFL Live. McCown never was a star player in the league, but his career is extraordinary in its own right. He played for eight teams over 17 years, beginning with the Arizona Cardinals in 2002; in fact, he was the last player from the 2002 draft to still be active. He spent four seasons with Arizona, then played for Detroit, Oakland and Carolina. He also spent time with Miami and San Francisco, but never played in games for them. After one season out of the NFL, McCown restarted his career with the Chicago Bears (2011 to 2013), enjoying a terrific 2013 season in which he threw 13 touchdown passes and only one interception. After enjoying a career year in 2017, McCown lost his job in the preseason to Sam Darnold, a first-round pick. It wasn’t much of a competition. McCown spent nearly the entire preseason watching from the sideline as Darnold was given a clear path to the starting job. For his career, McCown has 17,707 yards, 98 touchdown passes, 82 interceptions and a 79.7 passer rating.
O.J. Simpson was a fugitive, and it seemed the whole world was looking for him. It was June 17, 1994, and Simpson was supposed to turn himself in to Los Angeles police in connection with the killing of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. Zoey Tur was piloting a helicopter for KCBS-TV and had a hunch: Maybe Simpson had gone to Orange County to visit Nicole’s grave. So she flew in that direction, and she would be the first to start broadcasting the most famous police pursuit in history. Within minutes, the world was transfixed by what it was seeing. Tur said that even in the moment, she knew this was history in the making. She’d covered the L.A. riots, fires and other major stories. But this was different. “Sitting up there, the enormity of it hit you. He is one of the most famous people in America and he is running from the police as a wanted murderer,” Tur said. “It was a like serene parade with O.J. leading the procession.” In the days before the chase, Simpson had become the chief suspect in the double murder. He was set to turn himself at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, and that was the story Tur expected to be telling. As minutes passed, tension grew, with hundreds of reporters gathered for the perp walk. Finally, LAPD Cmdr. Dave Gascon publicly declared Simpson was a fugitive. The search began. California Highway Patrol officers finally spotted Simpson on the 5 Freeway in Orange County. He was in the back seat of his friend Al Cowlings’ Ford Bronco, sobbing and holding a gun. Tur was already in the area, driven by her hunch. Her CBS colleagues heard that the FBI had triangulated Simpson’s cellphone and found he was at the El Toro Y interchange in Irvine. “So I glanced down and spotted the Bronco with police cruisers on its tail. I screamed to the station, ‘We’ve got him,’ and began the broadcast,” she recalled. With Simpson holding the barrel of a .357 magnum to his head in the back of the Bronco as Cowlings drove north on the 405 Freeway, the networks interrupted regularly scheduled programming to air the pursuit. NBC cut between it and Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets. Tur was overhead when the white Bronco weaved through throngs of spectators and pulled into Simpson’s estate, where he surrendered to police. “It wasn’t the first pursuit I covered or the last,” she said, “but it was the most memorable.” The rest is history.
NFL Suspends Cowboys’ Gathers For One Game – Dallas Cowboys tight end Rico Gathers has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, it was announced Friday. If Gathers makes the 53-man roster, he will miss the Sept. 8 opener vs. the New York Giants and be eligible to return to the team the next day. Gathers was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana by Frisco, Texas, police before the start of last season. In March, Gathers reached a deal with the district attorney, reducing the charge to a Class C misdemeanor, 90 days deferred adjudication and a fine. Gathers, a 2016 sixth-round pick, caught three passes for 45 yards last season. He is in a fight to make the 53-man roster this season and spent the offseason working as the fourth tight end behind Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz. He might not be the only Cowboys player to hear from the league in terms of discipline. Defensive end Tyrone Crawford was involved in an incident early in the offseason in Panama City, Florida, and Ezekiel Elliott was caught on film knocking down a security guard at an event in Las Vegas. Neither Crawford nor Elliott was arrested, but both players are still subject to penalty via the league’s personal conduct policy.
Roberts Waived After Lions-Pats Trade Rescinded – One day after trading third-year tight end Michael Roberts to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 seventh-round pick, the Detroit Lions announced Friday that the deal was rescinded because conditions weren’t met. The Lions then waived Roberts, per the club. Roberts didn’t pass his physical with the Patriots, a source told ESPN. The Patriots are transitioning without the retired Rob Gronkowski and have a thin tight-end depth chart headlined by four-year veteran Matt LaCosse, 38-year-old Benjamin Watson and younger players Stephen Anderson and Ryan Izzo. Watson will miss the first four games of the season due to an NFL suspension. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Roberts, who entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft choice of the Lions in 2017 out of Toledo, was projected to compete for a roster spot in New England. He had played in 23 regular-season games over the past two years, totaling 13 catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns, but faced longer odds to make the Lions’ roster this year at a crowded spot.
Bowlen, Longtime Broncos Owner, Dies At Age 75 – Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith once said Pat Bowlen was “the one behind everything we did, the one who gave us the championship feeling.” And for more than three decades directing one of professional sports’ most successful, most passionately followed teams, Bowlen always said his overriding principle as he sat at his desk each day was that, “We’re No. 1 in everything,” and that was the fuel for everyone who worked alongside him. Bowlen died Thursday night at his Denver-area home after a years long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, just under two months before he was set to be formally enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 75. He is survived by his wife, Annabel; their five children, Patrick III, John, Brittany, Christianna and Annabel Victoria; his first wife, Sally Parker; and their two children, Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallace; his brothers Bill Bowlen and John Bowlen; and sister Mary Beth Jagger. In Bowlen’s 35-year tenure as Broncos owner, the team had as many Super Bowl trips, seven, as losing seasons, and the Broncos won three of those Super Bowls (XXXII, XXXIII and 50). Since 1984, the Broncos had the most winning seasons (21) in the NFL and second-most playoff appearances (18). Bowlen, known as “Mr. B” to many who worked for him, was also the first owner in pro football history to oversee a team that won 300 games in his first 30 years at the helm. He is the only owner to reach the Super Bowl with four head coaches: Dan Reeves, Mike Shanahan, John Fox and Gary Kubiak. But it was not only the team’s on-field success that was Bowlen’s signature; it was his mixture of humanity, compassion and the ever-present expectation of success that he showed all of the team’s employees, both inside and outside of the players’ locker room. Bowlen had stepped away from the team’s day-to-day operations just before the 2014 season, quarterback Peyton Manning‘s third year with the team and one season before the Broncos’ most recent Super Bowl win in 2015. Bowlen and his family paid $71 million for the Broncos to gain controlling interest in separate transactions ($51 million for 60.8% interest in 1984 and $20 million for the remaining 39.2% in 1985) and the franchise is now valued at $2.6 billion in the latest Forbes rankings. Since Bowlen stepped away from the day-to-day operations, he put the team’s control in the Bowlen Family Trust as team president and chief executive officer Joe Ellis, who is one of the three trustees, took over the daily operations. Pat Bowlen was born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. He attended Oklahoma University and worked in his father’s oil and gas company before carving out his own business in real estate.
Colts Agree To 4-Year Extension With CB Kenny Moore – The Indianapolis Colts are using their massive amount of cap space to lock down one of their own. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Colts and corner Kenny Moore have agreed to terms on a four-year extension, per sources informed of the deal. The contract is expected to make Moore the top-paid slot corner in the NFL in terms of new money, Rapoport added. Justin Coleman held that distinction earlier this offseason, signing a four-year, $36 million contract with $16 million guaranteed with the Detroit Lions. Moore had one year left on his contract, worth $645,000, then would have been a restricted free agent. The Colts preemptively locked him down. Paying a player when they could have had him under control the next two years for cheap speaks to what the team brass thinks of Moore’s play. An undrafted free agent in 2017 out of Valdosta State, Moore landed with the New England Patriots but couldn’t crack the final 53-man roster and was waived during final roster cuts. The Colts swooped in and claimed Moore the next day. The addition proved big for an Indianapolis team that had struggled to find consistency and health at the corner position. Moore played 16 games as a rookie, starting five, and compiled 38 tackles, five passes defended and one interception. In 2018, Moore became a regular in the slot, earning 77 tackles, 11 passes defended and three INT in 15 starts. Given the proclivity of three-receiver sets in today’s NFL, slot corners are becoming more valuable by the year — ask Chris Harris Jr. in Denver. After just two seasons with Moore, the Colts identified their future at the position and made sure to lock him down for the foreseeable future. Colts general manager Chris Ballard said he would use the team’s cap space to pay homegrown talent. Extensions like Moore’s — who joins punter Rigoberto Sanchez and long snapper Luke Rhodes in getting new deals — underscores the point.
Patriots Acquire TE Roberts From Lions – The New England Patriots are acquiring third-year tight end Michael Roberts from the Detroit Lions for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020, a league source confirmed to ESPN. The Patriots are thin at tight end as they transition without Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement in March. Four-year veteran Matt LaCosse was taking No. 1 reps in mandatory minicamp. He had a career high 24 receptions with the Broncos last season. Meanwhile, veteran Benjamin Watson figures to be part of the mix, but he will miss the first four games of the season due to an NFL suspension. Stephen Anderson, who spent the 2018 season on New England’s practice squad, rounds out the top of the depth chart along with 2018 seventh-round pick Ryan Izzo. The Patriots inherit Roberts’ contract, which has two years remaining. Roberts is due to earn a base salary of $645,000 in 2019 and $735,000 in 2020. The Lions had drafted Roberts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Toledo. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Roberts has played in 23 regular-season games over the past two years, totaling 13 catches for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. This is the latest in a litany of trades made between the Lions and Patriots since former New England staffer Bob Quinn took over as Detroit’s general manager in 2016 — including trading linebacker Kyle Van Noy to New England and making moves during various NFL drafts.