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Thread: 2018 nfl football sneak peek at teams/predictions/news/notes/picks etc. !

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  1. #26  
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    Future Bets - NFC West
    July 7, 2018



    Is a L.A. Rams Dynasty Within the Division on its way?


    Now that July 4th has come and gone, it's time to really start focusing on all things football as the season is just around the corner. I've had you covered so far with a look at four of the eight divisions in the league (NFC South, NFC North, AFC East, AFC North) and it's time to continue that look forward with the third NFC division to cover: the NFC West.


    Last year we saw a changing of the guard in the NFC West with the L.A. Rams winning the division crown thanks to a 11-5 SU record. The Rams got a division title just one year after selecting QB Jared Goff with the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft and the path of this franchise really looks bright.


    They've got their young stud QB entering his 3rd NFL season, their young stud coach entering his second with the club, and have built such a deep and complimentary team on both sides of the ball that it's hard not to see the Rams as favorites to repeat in this division.


    But are they going to take the proverbial step back this year or continue on their upward ascent?


    Odds to Win NFC West
    L.A. Rams (-125)
    San Francisco 49ers (+300)
    Seattle Seahawks (+400)
    Arizona Cardinals (+1000)



    I'll get to my discussion on the Rams again in a bit, but regarding these division future prices it's easy to dismiss Arizona right off the bat. The Cardinals are in that transition phase the Rams were in back in 2016 when they had a rookie QB coming to town as “the Savior” working with a new coach that hopefully can build said team into a perennial contender.


    Arizona had been there back in 2015 when they went all the way to the NFC Championship game, but they were a veteran-laden squad then that had only really gotten older in the two years since. The Cardinals knew it was time to hit the reboot button on their franchise and get a lot younger, and having QB Josh Rosen as the new face of the future, the future is bright for this Arizona organization, just not the future of the 2018 NFL season.


    San Francisco is an interesting case study as they spent the past few years rotting away at the bottom of this division while they searched for a franchise QB. They got theirs in a trade with New England last year when they brought in Jimmy Garappolo and he provided an exponential amount of hope with his play late last season. Garoppolo didn't lose a game as the starter for the 49ers and after signing a big extension this off-season, the 49ers are his to run for the next few years.


    Yet, the 49ers were so bad for so long that I'm not sure finding their guy under center is going to be enough to turn it into a division winner a year later. San Francisco still lacks a lot of playmaking weapons around Garoppolo – especially at WR – and things never seem to work as smoothly as they do in the final 5-6 games of a lost season like the 49ers had going for them last year. Similar to the Rams of 2016-17, this 49ers group is probably a year away from serious consideration as a division winner, but they should be a much improved squad that could end up division champs if a few things break their way.


    Which leads me to Seattle who have still pushed the “pause” button on their rebuild/reload as the championship window they had wide open in the early stages of this decade have probably been shut closed. Many big names of Seattle title teams have moved on and all the salary cap issues they've dealt with the past few years after paying big sums of money to those big names has left the Seahawks cupboards rather bare in terms of overall depth. Seattle basically is the “Russell Wilson Show” these days and will probably continue to be in 2018.


    Wilson is a dynamic playmaker that can create huge plays out of nothing, but I'm not sure even that can carry Seattle over the hump. The Seahawks home field advantage is another great factor working in their favor, as is the whole idea of you can't completely cast aside a past champion with the resume the Seahawks have this decade, but it really does look like Seattle isn't ready or willing to admit their past missteps and are hesitant to hit refresh.


    That makes them a tough team to count on either way – they could show that veteran scowl and compete for this division crown again, or age and lack of depth really shows its face and a 4-12 season is the end result – and because of that it makes the +400 odds on the Seahawks a little intriguing.


    It's a huge payout if Seattle throws back the clock for one more year, which they surely could do, but given that this is a team that won or threatened to win this division every year this decade outside of last season and the oddsmakers still have them as 3rd best in the odds to win tells me it's probably better to pass on Seattle's chances in 2018.


    Which leaves me with no other choice but to back the L.A. Rams again this year as they've got all the tools to get things done. The offense is going to be better and more comfortable in Year 2 of the Sean McVay era, and considering how well this offense was a year ago, that's a scary thing for opponents (and probably a good thing for 'over' bettors).


    Defensively, the Rams have improved significantly as well, and although it was just a lone playoff game of experience for them last January, that type of experience can prove invaluable for a talented young team with a very young core like the Rams have. To have that taste of winning end as early as it did only gave this Rams team more of an appetite for more this year and it should come there way. L.A. simply has too many playmakers on both sides of the ball not to run away with this division, barring injury.


    So until the 49ers get a few more playmakers on the outside and Arizona goes through their growing pains with a young QB, it looks like we may indeed have a L.A. Rams dynasty on our hands in the NFC West for at least the next year or two.



    Best Bet: L.A. Rams to win division (-125)
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    NFL notebook: Cardinals GM Keim cited for DUI
    July 7, 2018



    Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim could be facing league disciplinary action after he was cited for driving under the influence July 4.


    Police in Chandler, Ariz., confirmed to multiple Arizona media outlets that Keim was arrested Wednesday morning during a traffic stop.


    Keim, who could be in violation of the NFL policy on personal conduct, apologized in a statement released through the team. He has been with the Cardinals since 1999 and served in a number of capacities. He was promoted to general manager in 2013.

    -- The NFL announced its roster of 121 game officials for this season Friday, which is three fewer than last year
    .


    Among the newcomers are seven college officials promoted to the NFL, including Land Clark (Pac-12), Matt Edwards (Big Ten), Chad Hill (SEC), Anthony Jeffries (SEC), Tony Josselyn (SEC), Mark Stewart (Big 12) and Don Willard (Big Ten).


    Though the NFL gained seven officials, it lost 10. Longtime referees Terry McAulay, Ed Hochuli, Gene Steratore and Jeff Triplette retired earlier this year. The other six are side judge Laird Hayes, field judge Buddy Horton, line judge Jim Howey, field judge Jon Lucivansky, line judge Ron Marinucci and down judge Ed Walker.

    -- NFL teams have until July 16 to work out long-term contracts with franchise-tagged players.



    Of note, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah and Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner have franchise tags on them.


    If deals are not signed and approved by the league before 4 p.m. ET on July 16, the sides cannot agree to new contracts until after the regular season is over.


    Lawrence, Ansah and Joyner have each signed one-year franchise tenders. However, Bell has not signed the franchise tender.


    The Cowboys and Lawrence are expected to engage in contract talks next week, according to the Athletic.


    -- Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett was an emerging star in his second NFL season, landing Pro Bowl honors and living up to the expectations of a first-round draft pick.


    That 2015 season seems like a distant memory for Verrett, who has played five games since because of a knee injury that ruined each of the past two years.


    As he prepares to enter his fifth NFL season, Verrett is determined to recapture the form that had him on track to becoming one of the league's best at his position.


    Verrett started 14 games during his Pro Bowl campaign, registering 47 tackles and three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. But he has been unable to stay on the field in his other three seasons, appearing in 11 games. A shoulder injury landed him on injured reserve in his rookie year and a partially torn ACL in his left knee ended the 2016 season after four games.


    He underwent surgery to repair the knee but experienced soreness in the 2017 opener and went back on IR two weeks later. That led to another knee surgery.


    -- The New York Giants were among the league's worst teams at getting after the quarterback last season and lost their top pass rusher to free agency. They attempted to shore up the position by taking two defensive linemen in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the biggest hope for boosting the sack total will come from within.


    Defensive end Olivier Vernon, signed to a free-agent contract two years ago, will shift to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme to maximize his pass-rushing skills.


    New York is counting on an impactful season from Vernon, particularly after Jason Pierre-Paul signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason. Pierre-Paul had a team-high 8.5 sacks in 2017.


    Despite missing four games with an ankle injury, Vernon collected 6.5 sacks last season. He started all 16 games and registered 8.5 sacks in 2016 after signing a five-year, $85 million contract that included $52.5 million in guaranteed money.


    -- Running backs Frank Gore of the Miami Dolphins and LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills may be AFC East rivals, but that does not affect their friendship. The running backs are working out together and complimented each other on Instagram Friday.


    Gore has spent 13 years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts. In March, he signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins.


    McCoy posted a photo of himself with Gore on Instagram with a caption that read: "When you talk about greatness you talking Frank Gore," McCoy wrote. "Learning from the best."


    Gore returned the favor by commenting on McCoy's Instagram post. "The best running back in the NFL Shady McCoy 10 years in still doing it," Gore wrote.


    -- Duce Staley was hoping to move up the coaching ladder after being part of a Super Bowl-winning staff with the Philadelphia Eagles last season.


    However, while Staley did have another title added to his resume, he was bypassed for two offensive coordinator jobs in the offseason.


    The Eagles considered Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh to run the offense before selecting the latter as Frank Reich's replacement. Staley, the running backs coach with the Eagles, was elevated to assistant head coach upon the announcement of Groh's promotion.


    Staley also was in the mix for the offensive coordinator's post with the New York Giants, a job that eventually went to Mike Shula, who served in a similar capacity with the Carolina Panther
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    NFL notebook: Seahawks, Cowboys reportedly discussing S Thomas
    July 8, 2018



    Multiple reports indicate trade talks between Dallas and Seattle for veteran safety Earl Thomas are heating up.


    Talk of Thomas being unhappy and wanting to play in Dallas sparked rumors during the NFL Draft of a potential trade, but the Seahawks' reported price of a second-round pick was too steep for the Cowboys. Now with the start of training camp just weeks away, talk of Thomas to Dallas was reignited on Saturday.


    Thomas, a former University of Texas player, reportedly told Dallas coach Jason Garrett to trade for him after a December game between the Seahawks and Cowboys.


    Thomas is set to make $8.5 million entering the final season of a four-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2014. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has skipped organized team activities throughout the summer.


    -- With the NFL supplemental draft just days away on July 11, the Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills have been listed as likely teams who might make a splash.


    Of the five players available, the most interesting, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, could land on the shores of Lake Erie, with the Browns or the Bills. Every team sent a representative to Beal's supplemental workout, where he ran a wind-assisted 4.4 in the 40-yard dash as well as a 4.55 40 against the wind.


    The Browns have two picks in the third round, and Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com projects Beal as a third-round pick.


    The other players available in the supplemental draft are Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant, Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander, Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter.


    -- Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was pleased to discover that the "home team" recovered his lost wallet.


    A man, who was identified only as "Charles" in a tweet by ABC6 in Indianapolis, discovered Luck's lost wallet on a bike ride. The Good Samaritan returned the wallet to a security guard at the Colts' training facility.


    Luck took a few moments to pay it forward, signing a football to go along with a special note for "Charles."


    "Many thanks! You made my life much easier, ha! Thanks for reminding me of the 'kindness of strangers,'" the 28-year-old Luck wrote.


    With his money and credit cards secure, the three-time Pro Bowl selection can focus on returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season.


    -- Johnny Manziel came to the Canadian Football League with plenty of fanfare, although that noise has been silenced by the play of Jeremiah Masoli.


    Manziel once again watched from the sideline as Masoli tied a CFL record with his ninth consecutive game of at least 300 passing yards in the Hamilton Tiger-Cats' 18-13 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The record is held by Montreal's Sam Etcheverry (1956) and Saskatchewan's Kent Austin (1991), according to TSN.


    While the former Oregon standout leads the league with 1,378 passing yards, Manziel has been reduced to the role of a spectator. A former Heisman Trophy winner at Texas A&M, Manziel has not played in a regular-season game since the end of the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns.


    -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said he needs to help fill the void left by retired tight end Jason Witten.


    "There is no question that I need to step up because he's gone," the 31-year-old Lee said, via the Dallas Morning News.


    "I think it's a responsibility for me, similar to how it was for Jason Witten. Jason kind of set the tone for us. Not only did he set the pace leadership-wise, but he also knew that you had to pass the leadership down and you had to be gracious and try to help guys. That's something I am really trying to do also. If you want to have a great team, the leaders got to bring guys in. You can lead by example, but you've also got to get the young guys working the right way too."


    Lee had 101 tackles and one interception in 11 games last season. He missed five games with hamstring issues.


    -- The helmet worn by Eli Manning when he and the New York Giants rallied to beat the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII is expected to fetch more than $130,000 at auction.


    The bidding begins Monday at the Goldin website and will continue through Aug. 2 when bidding will end in a live auction at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.


    The Giants were significant underdogs and trailed the Patriots 7-3 in the fourth quarter. Manning led the Giants to two fourth-quarter scores, including the winner to wide receiver Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left in the game.


    According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, if Manning's helmet does bring in $130,000, it will be the most expensive helmet sold in auction. A helmet worn by Rudy Ruettiger while at Notre Dame sold last year for $126,500, Rovell said.


    -- Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley said he's motivated by the city's newest arrival: LeBron James.


    A four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, James announced last Sunday that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the second time in his career -- this time to join the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year, $154 million contract.


    Gurley spoke about the impact of James joining the Lakers will have on the Rams during an appearance Saturday on the "PFT PM" podcast with Mike Florio.


    "Once I heard about the LeBron signing, it just kind of made me wanna go out and just work out," the 23-year-old Gurley said. "The guy's been to the Finals the last seven, eight years so that's coming to the city. The NBA Finals is coming to the city. That's what LeBron brings."


    -- Former NFL tight end Dwight Clark's final resting place resides next to a memento from his most famous play.


    Clark, who died last month, was cremated and his ashes were buried next to the goal post from the Candlestick Park end zone where he secured "The Catch," the winning touchdown in the NFL Championship Game on Jan. 10, 1982.


    That goal post now resides on former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo's ranch in Montana. Former 49ers coach Steve Mariucci tweeted a video showing the goal post and Clark's final resting place.


    Clark reeled in 506 passes for 6,750 yards and 48 touchdowns during his career with the 49ers. He died June 4 after a battle with ALS. He was 61.


    -- Los Angeles Chargers first-round pick Derwin James made good on his promise to purchase a home for his mother.


    James, who was the 17th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, received a $7.1 million signing bonus as part of his four-year, $12.39 million deal with the Chargers.


    The safety wasn't shy about letting the world know about his mother's new two-story house.


    "Today was a special day. Bought my momma her dream house I always promise her since a kid," James wrote. "I don't think there is anybody more deserving in the world then her. Love you."


    The 21-year-old James had 186 tackles and three interceptions in three seasons at Florida State.


    -- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin decided to put a portion of his new three-year, $20.3 million contract to good use. He bought his mother and sister a new house.


    On Thursday, Goodwin posted a video to Instagram that shows the manner in which he surprised his mother, Tamina, and sister, Deja, who has cerebral palsy. The latter two were blindfolded until Goodwin revealed their new home.


    "I know mama... I can feel your energy in this video! All the obstacles WE have overcome," Goodwin wrote. "Man...I love you so much mama... thank you for EVERYTHING! Especially blessing me with a sis like my Deja!!!"


    Goodwin notably played through personal anguish last season, as his infant son died from pregnancy complications. Five weeks later, his father died before a game against the Tennessee Titans.


    The 27-year-old Goodwin had career highs in catches (56) and receiving yards (962) to go with two touchdowns last season.


    -- The Indianapolis Colts might not be that far off from being a contender in the AFC once again. At least that's the feeling second-year safety Malik Hooker has been spreading this offseason.


    There's a renewed energy and vibe around the Colts. Frank Reich is the new coach, and the staff has been revamped. And of course there's quarterback Andrew Luck, who has not played in a game since Jan. 1, 2017.


    Much of the Colts' success hinges on Luck and his rehabilitated shoulder. But even if Luck isn't under center, Hooker thinks the Colts still can contend.


    "I'm definitely the guy that I feel like we're capable of winning now," Hooker told the team's website. "You know, we've got a lot of great players, a lot of good players coming back as well. So I feel like this year, we've got a young, fast and good, physical team, so I feel like we're definitely capable of winning now."


    -- Josh McCown is No. 1. Teddy Bridgewater is No. 2. Rookie Sam Darnold is No. 3. The New York Jets head into training camp with a clear definition of what their quarterback room looks like, but Jets fans should not be surprised if that changes sooner rather than later.


    Darnold, the team's top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, was impressive in minicamp and seems to get better each day, according to McCown, who gushed about the 21-year-old on Sirius XM radio during the weekend.


    "With Sam, we have the right guy, he's wired the right way, he loves the game, he asks the right questions and he's willing to work. ... That's the foundation. You have to have that," McCown said.


    -- Washington expected wide receiver Josh Doctson to fill a huge void when he was drafted two years ago with the 22nd pick in the first round out of TCU. The reality is that Doctson has been a huge disappointment.


    Doctson does not have a 100-yard receiving game, nor has he caught more than four passes in a game. ut as he prepares for training camp and his third year, he says he's ready to take a huge leap forward.


    "Every new year I'm looking to be better. I have been better," Doctson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Saturday during a football camp he hosted at TCU. "Just off the field maturing, off the field understanding how to be a NFL player," he said.


    Last year, he had 35 receptions for 502 yards and six touchdowns, but with Terrelle Pyror leaving via free agency, the door is open for Doctson to be the No. 1 wide receiver. And new quarterback Alex Smith could make a difference for Doctson.
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    NFL notebook: Bills' McCoy denies domestic violence accusations
    July 10, 2018



    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy denied accusations of domestic violence, child abuse, animal cruelty and performance-enhancing drug use in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Tuesday.


    Earlier on Tuesday, a woman posted a graphic image that showed McCoy's reported former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, bruised and bloodied. The post also accused the 29-year-old McCoy of beating his dog until it developed kidney failure and "viciously" beating his son.


    "For the record, the totally baseless and offensive claims made against me today on social media are completely false," McCoy wrote. "Furthermore, I have not had any direct contact with any of the people involved in months."


    Police in Milton, Ga., released a statement in response to the incident, detailing how officers responded to a home invasion at 3:18 a.m. Tuesday, although McCoy was not mentioned by name.


    "The preliminary investigation indicates that this residence was specifically targeted by the suspect or suspects, and not a random incident," the statement read. "When officers arrived they found one victim who had been physically assaulted by a lone intruder. During the altercation, the suspect demanded specific items from the victim. An adult female victim was treated and released at North Fulton Regional Hospital. A second adult female victim also sustained a minor injury during the incident."


    --The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the league's new national anthem policy.


    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in May that the league would enact a national anthem policy for the 2018 season that requires players and league personnel to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room. The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other personnel do not show respect for the anthem.


    "Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL's recently imposed anthem policy," the NFLPA said in a statement. "The union's claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL's governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.


    "In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon."


    --Former NFL cornerback Brandon Browner was charged with multiple felonies, including attempted murder.


    Police in La Verne (Calif.) also charged Browner with three other felonies -- robbery, burglary and false imprisonment -- in the wake of his arrest Sunday for allegedly breaking into a home of an ex-girlfriend who has a restraining order against him.


    Browner also faces two misdemeanor charges of child endangerment for allegedly attacking the victim with her two children present. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.


    A Super Bowl winner with both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, Brown could face a possible maximum life sentence in prison if convicted.


    --Former Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander will not have to worry about one issue entering Wednesday's NFL Supplemental Draft.


    Alexander, one of five players available in the draft, received a clean bill on his drug tests, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network.


    There have been character concerns surrounding Alexander, who was dismissed from Virginia Tech in May due to academics. Alexander also was arrested on a marijuana-related charge in 2016, but he has passed all of his drug tests over the past eight months, Garafolo reported.


    Alexander, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant are considered the top players in the supplemental draft. Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter are also available.


    --New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper wants to create a more open "family" atmosphere in the wake of the troubles that surrounded previous owner Jerry Richardson.


    Tepper addressed this topic, the Richardson statue outside Bank of America Stadium and the team's coaching staff during Tuesday's introductory press conference with reporters.


    "I like to have an open environment. Where everybody feels safe like a family," said Tepper, the founder of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, based in Miami Beach, Fla. He paid $2.275 billion for the right to own the team.


    The Panthers came under fire in December when Sports Illustrated published a report alleging that Richardson was accused of racial and sexual harassment. The 81-year-old Richardson, who elected to sell the team amid a league investigation, was fined $2.75 million by the NFL on June 28.


    Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill weighed in on the recent alcohol-related arrest of general manager Steve Keim, vowing there will be consequences for what he termed "inexcusable" behavior.


    Bidwill told radio station KFYI on Tuesday that Keim made an "enormous mistake," referring to the general manager's arrest on charges of driving under the influence in Chandler, Ariz., on Wednesday.


    "First of all, I'm extremely disappointed," said Bidwill. "It's inexcusable. He did bring it to our attention right away that night and has been extremely remorseful and contrite. He's taken steps to make things right, but the reality is that there is a process in place that the league has and there are going to be consequences here."


    Keim could be subject to disciplinary action for a violation of the NFL policy on personal conduct. More details from the incident became available Tuesday with the release of the police report, which noted that Keim refused to participate in a number of sobriety tests. Keim willingly provided his name to officers, according to the report, but he identified himself as the team's director of security.


    --DeMarco Murray was quite complimentary of both fellow running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Marcus Mariota when asked about their respective futures with the Tennessee Titans.


    Murray, who was released by the Titans in March, addressed both players when talking to ESPN's Adam Schefter recently.


    "I think Derrick's a smart guy. He's a fast guy, very physical, athletic, and now that I'm not there I think he can hone in on being the guy," the 30-year-old Murray said, via Titans Wire. "And if they use him the right way and if he can consistently be the every down back, I think he has a great future, a bright future."


    Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur told reporters last month that the running game will remain the focal point of the offense with free-agent signee Dion Lewis joining incumbent starter Henry in the backfield.


    --Washington Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice continued his generous offseason by surprising his mother with a new car.


    Guice, who was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, shared a video on Twitter of his mother's reaction as he arrived at her Baton Rouge, La., home in a white Jaguar SUV with a bow on the hood.


    His mother, Beulah, could barely contain herself before her son christened the car with a bottle of champagne.


    Guice was raised by his mother after his father was murdered when he was young. The 21-year-old Guice's most recent gift comes on the heels of raising money for cancer research and taking random Redskins fans to the movies.


    --New Orleans Saints stars Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore are looking to elevate the bar after becoming the first teammates since 1967 to win NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.


    "We talk about it all the time, we're just trying to be the best," the 22-year-old Lattimore said, via the New Orleans Advocate. "We won rookie of the year, now we're trying to win Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year."


    Lattimore, a cornerback, is focusing his attention on his technique as opposed to "training for the 40" at the combine like he did prior to the 2017 draft.


    "That process, the draft-combine-pro day, it's a tiring process," Kamara said. "It's hard, coming from college, transitioning from being an amateur to a pro. It's hard, there's some growing pains. I was learning as I go, but now I have some experience, I know how to manage my time."


    --Tony Romo may have retired from playing in the NFL, but that doesn't mean he is through with competitive sports.


    The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS analyst matched his old jersey number by breezing to a staggering nine-stroke win at the Racine Tri-Course Amateur Championship. He also won the tournament in 2004.


    "I stayed aggressive," Romo told The (Racine) Journal Times. "I took mostly conservative lines and aggressive swings, and that's the approach you take when you have a lead. When you're hitting it as solid as I've been hitting it, you can trust it -- commit to the swing and hit it.


    "I was able to do that throughout the week. It was hard to do when you're not hitting it where you're aiming, but I was (doing that) this week."


    -- New York Giants defensive tackle A.J. Francis went on a profane tirade on Twitter after the Transportation Security Administration allegedly left open the urn carrying his mother's ashes.


    Carrie Leanne Francis died on June 26, according to a post on her son's Instagram account. A.J. Francis posted a picture Monday of his clothes covered with what appeared to be ashes in his suitcase along with a notice of inspection from TSA.


    "Hey you (expletive) at TSA next time you (expletive) feel the need to go thru my mother's ashes for no reason, make sure you close it back so her remains aren't spilled on all my clothes... the least you pieces of garbage can do is your (expletive) job," the 28-year-old Francis said in a tweet.


    AskTSA responded to Francis' complaints with an explanation, apology and condolences.
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    First Coach to be Fired
    July 11, 2018



    NFL Props – First Coach Fired in 2018 Regular Season


    Teams usually wait until the season is over to make coaching changes, that’s why the first Monday after the regular year ends is termed “Black Monday.” That’s not always the case, however.


    Sometimes a club is so bad or fails to reach expectations that a move is made during the season. There were seven coaching changes following the 2017 season with only one – Giants Ben McAdoo – relieved of his duties prior to the end of the season.


    Coaches are hired to be fired and five other coaches were dismissed after the conclusion of the 2017 regular season and one retired, leaving the door open for seven new men to test their luck.


    We can eliminate those seven from our list, and the odds at BookMaker.eu for the first coach fired during the regular season doesn’t include any of them.


    The heat is on Cleveland’s Hue Jackson, who is the favorite at +317 to get the axe first. He has the highest losing percentage of any coach that’s been around for two seasons and it was amazing he was retained after going winless last year.


    The Browns have just one victory in Jackson’s tenure and with an upgraded roster, the pressure is on him to win and win early.


    Odds For First Head Coach Fired During 2018 NFL Regular Season


    No Coach Fired +306


    Cleveland Browns - Hue Jackson +317


    Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dirk Koetter +516


    Denver Broncos - Vance Joseph +548


    Field (any other coach fired) +621


    Miami Dolphins - Adam Gase +781


    New York Jets - Todd Bowles +1330


    Washington Redskins - Jay Gruden +1387


    Dallas Cowboys - Jason Garrett +1829


    Baltimore Ravens - John Harbaugh +1879


    Seattle Seahawks - Pete Carroll +2113


    Houston Texans - Bill O'Brien +2201


    Cincinnati Bengals - Marvin Lewis +1167


    Carolina Panthers - Ron Rivera +4500



    Coaches To Watch


    Hue Jackson
    Current Odds +317



    It’s hard not to put Jackson at the top of the list and the odds are favorable. In his two years the Browns have won just one game and last season they became the second club ever to go winless during a 16-game regular season. Ownership made changes elsewhere within the organization and you can bet Jackson has a short leash entering 2018. Much more than just a few victories are expected for the Browns this season and if they stumble out of the gate, Jackson’s shelf life will have expired. He isn’t a bad coach, enjoying success as an assistant and coordinator. However, some guys are meant to be in the background and Jackson is one of them.


    Dirk Koetter
    Current Odds +516



    The Tampa Bay coach was given the job to mentor Jameis Winston, and that hasn’t worked out. With the 2015 No. 1 overall pick stagnant in his development, the Bucs haven’t progressed after going 9-7 and narrowly missing the postseason in 2016. The team stumbled to a 5-11 record last season and failed to win a number of close games. With Winston suspended for the first three games in 2018 with matchups against New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the seat will get warm quickly under Koetter’s derriere.


    Jason Garrett
    Current Odds +1829



    Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones doesn’t go for the quick fix and make changes on a whim. He also doesn’t care for mediocrity. And that’s what the Boys have been under Jason Garrett, who enters his eighth full season with just two playoff appearances and one victory. When those two playoff years are eliminated, Garrett has a record of 42-46. He’s failed to build a consistent winner and even has former players calling out his competence as a head coach. The Boys need to be better because that’s what their owner expects, giving Garrett has plenty of value at +1829.


    Vance Joseph
    Current Odds +548



    John Elway went out on a limb with the hiring of Joseph, and after a 5-win campaign the branch is about to snap off. Three years removed from a Super Bowl victory, the Broncos were atrocious in Joseph’s maiden season. Elway isn’t shy about pulling the trigger on any move and if he feels the club isn’t responding, you can bet Joseph will be the scapegoat.
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    NFL Notebook: Giants, Redskins pick up DBs in Supplemental Draft
    July 11, 2018



    In today's pass-happy era, one can never have enough defensive backs.


    That likely was the mindset that led NFC East rivals New York and Washington to invest third- and sixth-round selections in the NFL's Supplemental Draft, making it the first time since 2010 that multiple players were picked in the league's annual second-chance draft.


    The Giants invested an early pick -- technically the third selection of the third round of the draft -- into the draft's top-rated prospect, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal.


    Washington, which was slotted 20th, selected Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander three rounds later.


    With the selections, both clubs forfeit the corresponding selections in next spring's draft.


    Once the players come to a financial agreement with the clubs, they are eligible to practice and potentially play immediately.


    --Running back LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills reportedly has hired a prominent attorney as police investigate a home invasion in Milton, Ga., in which his ex-girlfriend was assaulted.


    According to WSBTV.com in Atlanta, defense attorney Don Samuel will represent McCoy, who has not been charged or even mentioned by authorities as a suspect.


    Samuel, who defended former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis during his 2000 murder trial in Atlanta, said he is "getting up to speed" on the case and added that he will be speaking with the Milton Police Department.


    McCoy's former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon was bruised and bloodied in what Milton Police called a "targeted" home invasion early Tuesday morning. A friend of Cordon's accused McCoy on social media of being responsible, even though he was in South Florida training at the time of the incident. McCoy has denied any involvement.


    --Free-agent cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was involved in a physical altercation in which he was attacked by an employee associated with an Atlanta airport, according to a published report.


    Per TMZ Sports, Jones was at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday night when Frank Ragin -- an employee of the facilities management company ABM -- "made a gesture" toward him. Police said the two exchanged words before a fight ensued, with Ragin causing a laceration to Jones' face following a strike with a closed fist.


    TMZ Sports reported that police said Ragin also hit Jones' female companion at some point during the fight, injuring her hand. Jones soon knocked Ragin to the ground with a punch to the face. He then hit Ragin one more time before another man helped break up the fight.


    Police determined that Ragin was the primary aggressor, and he was arrested on two counts of battery. Ragin was taken to an area hospital to be treated for his injuries.


    --Jeff Fisher, who has coached in the NFL for 22 seasons, is in talks with FOX about joining the network's team as an analyst in the studio or the booth, the Sporting News reported.


    FOX will begin hosting Thursday Night Football this season with its No. 1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. Indications are that means Buck and Aikman will take some Sundays off.


    The 60-year-old Fisher has said he would prefer another coaching job in the NFL, but FOX has invested an additional $550 million per year for the broadcast rights to "Thursday Night Football" and might make him an offer he can't refuse.


    Fisher has coached the Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, compiling a 173-165-1 in the regular season and 5-6 mark in the postseason. His 165 regular season losses are tied for the most in NFL history.


    --Eli Manning admitted to being pleased that the New York Giants opted against selecting a quarterback of the future with the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.


    The Giants passed over Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen to select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed 217 times for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Barkley also caught 54 passes for 632 yards and two scores, as well as returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.


    "It was kind of a vote of confidence in that they trusted in me that I can play at a high level, can win games, take us deep in playoffs and win championships and win championships still," Manning told Sirius XM NFL Radio.


    "And you know what? I want to prove them right and I want to make them look smart and make them to have made the right decision in doing that. I want to go out there and do great things, do my job and lead this team and make guys around me better and do what I'm supposed to do to put us in position to win those games."


    --Free-agent linebacker Connor Barwin is setting the bar high for his next employer.


    Barwin told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he's looking for something specific from a team looking to add him to its roster.


    "We've had interest from a number of teams all offseason," Barwin said. "The offers I have, I think I'll make my decision before camp starts. I'm not going to go somewhere that I don't think can win a Super Bowl."


    Barwin recorded 34 tackles and five sacks in 14 games for the Los Angeles Rams last season. The 31-year-old was playing in his first year with the Rams after four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He admitted that he had conflicting emotions after watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl.


    --Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown turned 30 years old on Tuesday.


    A signature birthday in one's life to be certain, but Brown wasn't worried about that number representing a potential decline in his skills on the football field.


    "I don't pay attention to my age," the six-time Pro Bowl selection said, via ESPN. "I'm feeling great, I'm healthy and I'm in great shape. I feel as long as I have that, I can continue to be productive. ... Life is all about challenges and working to be the best. You never want to limp away from the game."


    Brown hasn't limped much at all during his NFL career. In fact, his 733 receptions for 9,910 yards are more than any other wideout since he entered the league as a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.


    --Safety Brandon Bryant of Mississippi State, who was passed over in the NFL Supplemental Draft, is expected to sign with the New York Jets, the NFL Network reported.


    Bryant was one of three eligible prospects who were not selected in the Supplemental Draft. Only two players, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal by the New York Giants and Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander by the Washington Redskins, were chosen.


    Bryant is expected to be a backup to Jets' starting safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, who both were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.


    --The Cleveland Browns didn't make a selection during the NFL Supplemental Draft, but they did hold a workout with defensive back Jordan Holland, the NFL Network reported.


    Holland most recently played last season with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL and is the son of assistant coach Johnny Holland of the San Francisco 49ers.


    Jordan Holland, 23, is a 5-foot-10, 190-pound cover man who was undrafted out of Prairie View A&M in 2016.


    The Browns have been rebuilding heir secondary, selecting cornerback Denzel Ward in the first round of the NFL Draft, signing E.J. Haines and Justin Durrie, and trading for safety Damarious Randall.
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    NFL notebook: McCoy's house visited by police 3 times
    July 12, 2018



    Police have visited the Georgia home of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy three times in the past year, according to a published report.


    McCoy is the subject of a police investigation in which his ex-girlfriend was assaulted at his home early Tuesday morning in Milton, Ga. The incident has been termed a home invasion by police.


    The Athletic reported Thursday that Milton police were called to McCoy's residence for domestic disputes three times since July 2017, although they found no evidence of violence in either instance.


    McCoy's former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, was bruised and bloodied in what Milton Police called a "targeted" home invasion early Tuesday morning.


    A friend of Cordon's accused McCoy on social media of being responsible, even though he was in South Florida training at the time of the incident. McCoy has denied any involvement in the incident.


    --Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been named in two separate lawsuits by women who claimed he sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious.


    One day after a Jacksonville, Fla., station reported that Dareus was being sued for sexual assault stemming from an incident in April, he also was named in a suit involving a different woman that dates to January 2017, according to the Tampa Bay Times.


    The earlier incident occurred on Jan. 7, 2017, in Lutz, Fla., two days before the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, the newspaper reported.


    The woman alleged that Dareus groped her at a party, which featured alcohol, drugs and up to a dozen strippers. She said she later woke up in bed with Dareus and "began to immediately realize that there had been sexual physical acts upon her person."


    --The Pro Football Hall of Fame will ostensibly ignore former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens during this year's induction proceedings.


    Joe Horrigan, the Hall's executive director, told Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network that Owens will not be individually introduced at the Gold Jacket ceremony. In addition, Owens will not be announced the following night at Canton's annual induction ceremony.


    Owens announced last week that he will return to his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to celebrate his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement on Aug. 4.


    "The focus is on the guys who are here," Horrigan said. "... There's no reason to bring him up as an individual. He's not here."


    --Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to help the family of a Wisconsin firefighter killed in an explosion, multiple media outlets reported.


    Watt, who is the child of a firefighter, was born in Waukesha (Wis.) and played collegiately at Wisconsin.


    The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year donated to a GoFundMe page created for Sun Prairie (Wis.) Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr, who was killed Tuesday evening.


    A natural gas leak in Sun Prairie led to an explosion that injured 15 and killed Barr on Tuesday evening. Barr leaves behind a wife, Abby, and 3-year-old twin daughters.


    --Former NFL referee Terry McAulay said the NFL's revised rules on kickoffs could cause issues for the officials this season.


    McAulay retired last month and will serve as an on-air rules analyst for games on NBC Sunday Night Football.


    The 59-year-old spoke to ESPN.com about the rules, specifically where players line up prior to the kick, the elimination of wedge blocking and where the receiving team's players are permitted to initiate blocks.


    "It isn't getting as much press, but the kickoff change, this may be the biggest change I've ever seen," McAulay said. "People know so little about it. There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. ... I spoke with a special-teams coordinator who is excited about it, and I know we all feel it can be great for the game. But (officials) have to wait and see. There are a lot of intricate rules in terms of what (players) can and cannot do."


    --Adonis Alexander wound up in the NFL Supplemental Draft due to some off-field transgressions in college. He vowed not to be tripped up by similar issues at the professional level.


    Alexander, who was taken by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of Wednesday's supplemental draft, said he will not repeat the same mistakes that he did at Virginia Tech.


    Academic issues led to the defensive back's dismissal from the school in May. Alexander also was suspended twice by the Hokies, including once for a marijuana-related charge in 2016.


    "I have definitely used it as a learning tool," said Alexander via the Redskins' official website. "I definitely made some mistakes at Virginia Tech but I'm using those -- just learning from them. Using them to help form a better character, form myself as a man. I'm trying to benefit from the things I did in the past in a good way."


    --Las Vegas will become home to the Oakland Raiders in 2020 and the city's long wait for an NFL franchise finally will be realized.


    A $1.8 billion stadium is about 15 percent complete and is being built on the far south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip.


    And on Wednesday, the Las Vegas *************** reported that Personal Seat Licenses will cost up to $75,000 apiece.


    PSLs are agreements that give fans the opportunity to purchase season tickets. According to the Las Vegas newspaper, there are three tiers of PSLs and in total they will generate $160 million.


    --Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara has set the bar extremely high for this season.


    "I'm really looking for a 10-pick season," Amukamara told the Chicago Tribune.


    A lofty goal to be certain since Amukamara has just seven interceptions over the span of his entire seven-year NFL career. In fact, his last pick was in September 2005 when he intercepted then-Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.


    "I'm reaching for the stars, right?" the 29-year-old Amukamara said. "But at the same time, I know what I'm capable of. I know how hard I've worked. And every year I keep putting those goals out there. Because when it finally does happen, I can circle back to the time that I said it."


    --A current Dallas Cowboys star player will join a prominent former one when the second National Fantasy Football Convention gets underway this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas.


    Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has joined former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo as a part owner of the group. Executive Director Andy Alberth and business partner Mark Hulme are also part owners.


    Elliott is expected to attend the event which reportedly will include Los Angeles Rams star running back Todd Gurley and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon as well as Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.


    "It's more than doubled from where it was last year," Alberth told the newspaper. "The players are excited. The fans are excited. It's Disneyland for fans of all ages.


    --Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and wife, Ciara, tagged a pair of rhinos during their recent trip to South Africa.


    The duo participated in a rhino microchipping trip outside of Cape Town as a means to combat poaching.


    "Ciara and I worked to help save two Rhinos from poachers by microchipping them today!" Wilson wrote on Instagram. "It's an important task because over 5,000+ Rhinos have been killed by poachers in the past 6 years. We all need to play a part in an effort to Save the Rhinos in Africa from being wiped off the earth.


    "We were able to name them after our kids' middle names, Zahir and Princess! We can't wait to meet again! Run safe & free babies! #SaveTheRhinos"

    --The New York Giants had a changing of the guards, signing Zac Kerin and waiving Ethan Cooper.



    Kerin has appeared in 14 regular-season games, making one start, in four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.


    An undrafted free agent out of Toledo, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Kerin appeared in four games in 2015 and nine in 2016 for the Vikings, but he was waived at the start of training camp a year ago. The Detroit Lions claimed Kerin on waivers and he made his first NFL start on Sept. 24 last season.


    Cooper has never appeared in an NFL game. He spent most of the 2016 season on New York's practice squad and spent the past offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers before he was cut in early September.

    --The Baltimore Ravens placed rookie center Alex Thompson on the reserve/did not report list.



    The move came one day after Baltimore's rookies were schedule to report for training camp on Wednesday.


    Thompson signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth. He started 44 of 45 games at the school.


    --Former NFL coach Jeff Fisher will serve as an analyst for FOX in at least one game next season, according to a published report.


    Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that Fisher will be joined by play-by-play announcer Dan Hellie for the Sept. 30 game pitting the New York Jets against the host Jacksonville Jaguars.


    Marchand reported that more opportunities could be in line for Fisher, who was dismissed by the Los Angeles Rams with three games remaining in the 2016 season.


    FOX will begin hosting Thursday Night Football this season with its No. 1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. Indications are that means Buck and Aikman will take some Sundays off.


    --Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II will stand trial after a judge in Vista, Calif., ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.


    Winslow will face a number of felony charges, including rape and kidnapping, as well as multiple misdemeanor charges including indecent exposure and trespassing, per the San Diego Union-Tribune.


    Superior Court Judge Harry Elias set bail at $2 million for Winslow, who may face additional charges during a hearing scheduled for later Thursday afternoon.


    The 34-year-old Winslow stands accused of raping two women and exposing himself to a third. He also was accused of entering the homes of two other women with the intent to rape, prosecutors alleged.


    --The Alliance of American Football hopes to generate fan interest by stocking team rosters with players who have local ties.


    J.K. McKay, the head of football operations for the Alliance, told Pro Football Talk that the league will put an emphasis on keeping players as close to the colleges where they played.


    The eight-team AAF is scheduled to begin its inaugural season in February 2019, one week after the Super Bowl is played. The league has franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego.


    "You want to keep local kids home when you can," McKay told PFT. "It creates fan interest. Our Birmingham team will have Alabama and Auburn, and that will draw some fan interest."
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    NFL notebook: Owens reveals why he's skipping HOF
    July 15, 2018



    Terrell Owens shared a glimpse as to why he has elected against attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony next month.


    Owens, who will celebrate his big day on Aug. 4 at his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, responded to a person on Twitter who was criticizing the wide receiver for citing Jerry Kramer's decades-long snub.


    "I'm SO HAPPY for JERRY (Kramer)!!" Owens wrote. "(He) shouldn't have had to wait that damn long either! I'm doing this for guys like him. Past, present and the future."


    Kramer, 82, was a pivotal member on Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers teams that won five NFL championships as well as the first two Super Bowls. The guard was named to the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1960s and -- for the time being -- remains the lone member of the league's 50th Anniversary Team that resides outside of the Hall of Fame.


    Prior to his modern-era eligibility expiring in 1988, Kramer was a Hall of Fame finalist nine times. He also was a senior finalist in 1997.


    A finalist for the past three years, Owens was selected for enshrinement in the Class of 2018 along with linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and safety Brian Dawkins. They will be joined by Bobby Beathard (contributor) and seniors committee nominees Kramer and Robert Brazile.


    Owens caused a stir last month by declaring that he would not be in attendance for the festivities in Canton, Ohio.


    The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday that it will ostensibly ignore the 44-year-old Owens during this year's induction proceedings.


    --Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas criticized Terrell Owens for his decision to boycott this year's enshrinement ceremony.


    Thomas, who starred for the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, said he is upset that Owens will not attend the Aug. 4 ceremony in Canton, Ohio.


    Owens will instead celebrate his big day at his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.


    "I'm a little ticked off that he's not coming," Thomas told the Professional Football Researchers Association Convention on Saturday, according to the Buffalo News. "But it's his choice. ... I think it was a bad P.R. move on his part, but I do get it. ... Every guy thinks they should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I remember Deacon Jones telling me after I didn't get in the first time ... he said, 'Whether you're going to get in the first time, the second time, the third time, it's when you get in that you should enjoy it.' "


    --Defensive ends Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah are expected to play on the franchise tag this year, according to a published report.


    NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that both players likely will not receive long-term deals with their respective teams prior to Monday's deadline, "barring a significant turn of events."


    If deals are not signed and approved by the league before 4 p.m. ET, the sides cannot agree to new contracts until after the regular season is over.


    Lawrence, who has been seeking a long-term contract from the Dallas Cowboys, is set to play for just over $17 million in 2018 with the franchise tag.


    The 26-year-old Lawrence started all 16 games last season and amassed a career-high 14.5 sacks.


    Ansah recorded a team-high 12 sacks, 44 total tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season with the Detroit Lions despite missing two games with a back injury.


    The 29-year-old Ansah has registered 44 sacks over his first five seasons, including 14.5 sacks in 2015. He had just two sacks the following year while being bothered by a high ankle sprain that limited him to 13 games.


    --The Los Angeles Rams chose to slap a franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner back in April. The two sides have been talking, but no long-term deal is expected to be reached, a league source told ESPN.


    They have until Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline to agree to a multi-year deal. If a new contract isn't signed, Joyner will play this season on the franchise tag. The Rams could then tag him again next offseason or he would become a free agent.


    The Rams decided to franchise Joyner instead of receiver Sammy Watkins, who later left for the Kansas City Rams. The 27-year old played slot corner his first three years in the league before moving to safety in 2017, where he notched his first three career interceptions.


    --Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is thinking positive as it relates to the franchise tag negotiations surrounding superstar running back Le'Veon Bell.


    Tomlin told WAVY Channel 10 in Virginia that he would like the Steelers to sign Bell to a long-term contract prior to Monday's deadline (4 p.m. ET).


    "Obviously we want to get a deal done, he wants to get a deal done, everybody has said that," Tomlin said. "Now it's just about the negotiators getting into a room and doing what it is they need to do. I'm excited and hopeful. Hopefully we'll have some exciting news before Monday."


    Tomlin expressed a similar sentiment prior to last year's deadline, when the Steelers failed to sign Bell. The running back didn't report until training camp ended and signed his $12.12 million tag on Sept. 4.


    Should Bell and the Steelers fail to come to terms this time around, he will play on this year's tag -- worth $14.5 million. Multiple media reports have Bell seeking at least $17 million annually.


    --Tony Romo's admittedly early prediction of the Green Bay Packers facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Super Bowl LIII drew a response from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.


    The NFL's official Instagram account posted a photo of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey with the prediction of Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned CBS analyst.


    Brady, who is a five-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, opted to chime in on Instagram.


    "We will see tony, we will see !" the 40-year-old Brady wrote.


    Romo picked the Jaguars in part because they "had the Patriots on the ropes" in the AFC Championship Game. With that said, Romo was quick to praise the Patriots for their consistency over the years.


    "You can never count out New England," Romo said. "As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are breathing, the easy pick is them."


    --Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles signed a one-year, $1.415 million contract extension in May. That appears to be his last NFL deal as he announced his decision to retire after the 2018 season.


    In a blog post, the 35-year-old Sproles said he plans to play just one more NFL season. He had planned to make 2017 his final season but he tore his ACL in Week 3 so he decided to return for 2018.


    "I feel like I left a lot out there, and I couldn't let my career end like that," Sproles wrote in the post.


    "I'm excited to come back and I am even more excited to come back to the defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles," Sproles wrote. "We have something special here with the team, the fans, and the city. We made history bringing the first Lombardi trophy to Philly and now we want to go back-to-back."


    --Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is ready to take the next step in his development, according to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.


    "I'm so excited to see how well (Ogbah's) doing out here this year," Williams said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctively, not overthinking and not as afraid to make a mistake as he was last year because we moved him into a new position. Knock on wood, staying healthy, he's going to really stand out this year."


    Ogbah, a second-round pick in 2016, had 29 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games last season before a broken foot landed him on injured reserve.


    The 24-year-old will also have another year under his belt with fellow defensive end Myles Garrett, who was the top overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.


    --Doug Pederson took the high road and turned a negative into a positive when addressing former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo's comments about the Philadelphia Eagles' chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions.


    McAdoo lobbied the following shot last week to the New York Post:


    "I think Philly, how much success has Philly had?" McAdoo said. "I think they're gonna have a hard time handling success."


    While Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills quickly dismissed McAdoo's words as "irrelevant," the Philadelphia coach took a different approach.


    "I think there's a point there," Pederson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I mean, quite honestly, complacency can set in. You can skip an OTA, you can maybe skip a workout or whatever. But what I saw from our players was not that. Our players showed up for OTAs, they spent time getting themselves ready.


    "... It is my job to make sure they don't get complacent and we stay hungry and there is an edge. And we're going to get everybody's best each week and that's what we want. I think anybody that plays on Sunday wants to play the best.


    "So now we've got the targets on our backs and we're going to embrace that and get ready this training camp and we are going to try to defend. But at the same time, we're going to take it one week at a time and build the season just like we did last year."


    --Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles may be willing to take less money in the future so the team can fill other needs to make the team better, he recently said in an interview.


    Bortles could have played out his $19 million fifth-year option for this season but instead signed a three-year, $54 deal a month after helping the Jaguars reach the AFC championship game. The deal includes $26.5 million guaranteed over the first two years.


    Bortles said he preferred the security of the multi-year deal because he did not "really care about how much money" was in the one-year option.


    Bortles praised New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for taking less money over the years to free up resources to improve other areas of the team. Bortles hinted he may do the same in the future.


    "I think definitely the way the Tom has done it is the way to try to model," Bortles recently told Sirius XM NFL Radio. "Having guys and putting pieces around him was definitely something. When you take up a ton of money you kind of limit your team and who they can help you out with and put around you. I'm not naive enough to say that we don't need a run game. We also need a good defense, we need good receivers, we need all these pieces. You can't play as a quarterback and do it yourself so I'm more than willing to take less money than somebody else might in my position to put good guys around us."


    --Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson has praised rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, but believes veteran Sam Bradford should still be the starter.


    Earlier this month, Peterson said he has been very impressed with Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft. However, Bradford signed a one-year, $20 million contract with the Cardinals in March and is the presumed starter.


    Peterson told NFL Network recently that he agreed the veteran should get the starting nod.


    "Well, right now I'd probably take Sam due to his experience," Peterson said. "Due to some of the records that he has in the league. Because when Sam is healthy and is on the field and has talent around him, he's a top-10 quarterback."


    The 30-year-old Bradford has a lengthy injury history, appearing in only two games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017. He has played 80 of a possible 112 regular-season games. If he can stay on the field, the former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in 2010 is expected to be under center in Week 1.


    --Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has routinely shown a soft spot in his heart for children.


    Kelce surprised 10 kids at his first annual Elite Pro Skills Camp on Saturday with a free shopping spree at DICK'S Sporting Goods.


    "It's something that my mother taught me," the 28-year-old Kelce said Saturday of the gesture, per the Kansas City Star.


    Kelce's charity, Eighty-Seven & Running, shared some photos from the experience over social media. Per its Twitter account, Eight-Seven & Running is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and support to empower disadvantaged youth to cultivate their talents and achieve success.


    The generosity is nothing new for Kelce, who hosted a private shopping experience for 50 underserved children in December 2016 at a JC Penney in Independence, Mo.


    --Odell Beckham Jr. is recognized wherever he travels, due in large part to his colorful wardrobe and daring sense of style.


    Perhaps it comes as little surprise that the New York Giants wide receiver was named Sports Illustrated's Most Fashionable Athlete of 2018, which will be on newsstands Monday.


    "Everybody was getting their suits and I was wondering, what can I do to be different?" the 25-year-old Beckham told Sports Illustrated. "That blazer might have been a size too big at the time, but I just had to have it. To me, it was the hottest thing in the world."


    Beckham made the list during its inaugural issue in 2016. The three-time Pro Bowl selection won the "Swag" Award last year.


    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also made the "Fashionable 50" list, despite receiving questionable reviews from several of his peers for wearing an all-black suit with elaborate designs on the lapels at a recent Met Gala.


    --Former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson is best known for two memorable plays during his NFL career.

    Although he famously fell short of the goal line during the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV, Dyson wasn't denied in his doctoral pursuit recently -- and he couldn't be happier.


    "A lot of people have looked at me crazy when I've said this, but to me this is a lot greater accomplishment than being drafted in the first round, than my football career," the 43-year-old Dyson told The Tennessean. "... I went to school so I could play sports. I had to be eligible. I didn't take education nearly as seriously as I should have and as I do as an adult. So this was greater because I've never considered myself academic. ...


    "Athletically, I was blessed with some gifts and I enhanced those skills. Until a few years ago, I never wanted to do anything like this. That's why it's my greatest personal accomplishment. It's my Mount Everest."


    Dyson's two-year climb ended in him claiming a doctorate in education in leadership and professional practice. He also has two master's degrees from Trevecca, in education and leadership.
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