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  • By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, March 25, 2017

    The Cincinnati Bengals agreed to re-sign defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry, adding depth to the position.

    • Gilberry's agents announced Friday that the 10-year veteran will be back with the Bengals in 2017.

      Gilberry, 32, first joined the Bengals in 2012 and played through the 2015 season before leaving after four years to sign with the Detroit Lions as a free agent last offseason. He suffered a sports hernia and was released after four games with the Lions.

      The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Gilberry came back to the Bengals in early November and recorded 2.5 sacks and 10 tackles in five games. He owns 34 career sacks -- 20 of those for the Bengals.

  • RB Peterson willing to take less money for right fit
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, March 25, 2017

    Former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, still unemployed, says "it's not all about the money" and he is in "no rush" to sign with a new team.

    • Peterson took to Twitter early Saturday morning to dispute an ESPN report on Friday that he was still unsigned because of his $8 million salary request.

      "It's not all about the money as EVERYONE is speculating here lately," Peterson tweeted. "You'd THINK these analysts spoke to me directly. When you don't know what's going on people will say anything to create or make a story! How prideful is it for me to put out ... I won't play for anything less than 8 million!"

      The 32-year-old Peterson became an unrestricted free agent on March 9 after the Vikings decided not to pick up their option, which would have paid him $18 million, including a $6 million roster bonus.

      "Here is something straight from the horse's mouth ... finding the best fit & helping a team in a major way win a championship is my main objective! I'm in no rush," Peterson wrote on Twitter. "Let me eliminate questions or speculation as to why ... I believe whole heartedly my God will land me right where I need to be to accomplish what I've asked from him PERIOD."

      One source from a team in the market for a running back told ESPN that he believes Peterson wanted more than $8 million in the first year.

      Peterson left the Vikings as one of the best players in franchise history. The four-time All-Pro selection had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons in nine years, including the second-best total in NFL history of 2,097 yards in 2012, but battled injuries the last few seasons.

      Peterson also led the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He has 11,747 career rushing yards with 97 touchdowns in 10 seasons -- 16th on the NFL's all-time list. He is 565 yards behind Jim Brown for 10th place.

      The former Oklahoma standout and No. 7 overall pick of the Vikings in the 2007 draft missed all but three games in 2016 after undergoing right knee surgery in September. Peterson totaled 72 yards on 37 carries.

      Peterson would have made $11.75 million in base salary with a $6 million roster bonus had his option been picked up by the Vikings, who signed former Oakland Raiders tailback Latavius Murray earlier in free agency.

      Peterson, a native of Palestine, Texas, has been linked to rumors going to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. The Green Bay Packers have interest in Peterson, but a meeting might not happen until after next month's draft, according to ESPN.

  • Decision in the Desert: Raiders to Las Vegas?
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    After National Football League owners gather in Phoenix beginning Sunday for their annual spring meeting, a vote is expected as early as Monday on relocation of the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas.

    • It will take 24 yes votes for the owners to approve the move. Insiders say the odds are good for Vegas.

      Once that is decided there could be contingencies attached. Regardless, the owners will then get on to more mundane matters, such as length of overtime, centralizing replay decisions and issues alleged to be in the interest of player safety. That is now the NFL's version of mom and apple pie. Can't vote against that, right?

      The Raiders' third franchise move, and second from the Bay Area, will culminate a tumultuous 14 months for the NFL during which three teams left one city for a glittering showcase elsewhere.

      The Rams returned to Los Angeles from St. Louis in January 2016, when the owners spurned the proposed Carson, Calif., stadium that would have housed the Raiders and San Diego Chargers.

      The second shoe dropped two months ago when the Chargers agreed to play in Rams owner Stan Kroenke's Inglewood palace. Somewhat forgotten, the Chargers actually played their first year in Los Angeles (1960). Now, it's the Raiders' turn to address a move, again, provided site selection and a lease agreement become official in Las Vegas.

      That stadium will be funded with $750 million of public money, a combined $500 million from Raiders owner Mark Davis and the league, plus a $650 million loan from Bank of America.

      It remains possible a vote could be delayed until the league's May meetings, but the likelihood is that a positive vote will occur Monday, clearing the path for the other details to be nailed down by May.

      Most notable on the lengthy list of rules and by-law changes are:

      --Prohibit what has become more frequent efforts by players to leap over the line of scrimmage in attempts to block a field goal or extra point. There is our first foray into player safety.

      Said Atlanta Falcons president and Competition Committee chairman Rich McKay, "We're not going to put players in a position in which we think there is an unreasonable risk of injury. When we met with the NFLPA it was a rule that certainly caught their attention and they favored it right from the outset given what they felt like was a danger to the player, to the leaper and the risk of injury."

      --Reduce overtime periods in the regular season from 15 to 10 minutes. Reason? Surprise, surprise. Player safety. Any overtime adds snaps to a game, and the longer the overtime, the more snaps there are. Coupled with Thursday games every week, the committee has concerns when an overtime game might be the result on a Sunday when one of the teams is playing Thursday.

      The downside? More ties, of which there were two last season. While believing it won't lead to more ties, McKay acknowledged, "Could it? It could. We're more concerned about player safety."

      Added vice-president of officiating Dean Blandino, who told ProFootballTalk Live, "There's no question that when you shorten that overtime period, the potential for ties does increase. And I don't think we feel that ties are necessarily a bad thing. They're certainly great for tiebreakers when it comes to postseason. ... We understand the potential for more ties, but the safety risks outweigh the potential for tie games."

      While the proposal is for a permanent rule, there could be a push to initially vote it in for one season.

      --Make permanent the rule used last season in which two unsportsmanlike penalties would result in an ejection. Three players were ejected in 2016.

      --Continue for another season placing the ball on the 25-yard line for a touchback on kickoff returns. In the first year of that rule in 2016, only 39.3 percent of kickoffs were returned, the lowest in league history. Not expected to pass is a proposal by the Redskins that would put the ball on the 20 if the kickoff went through the uprights. Why not try to make it permanent? Said McKay, "To get another year's worth of data, then evaluate that after the 2017 season."

      --Pace of games, not necessarily length, is also a subject the league is focusing on. Commissioner Roger Goodell will be working with the networks regarding the number of commercial breaks. From the game competition standpoint, the committee suggests that final decisions on replay be made from the league office in New York City, rather than by the referee in the stadium. Additionally, the referee will no longer go "under the hood," but instead will confer with Blandino and his employees while looking at a tablet on the sideline.

      Also, if a decision occurs during a commercial break, the referee will announce the result in the stadium, and play will then resume.

      --There are also two intriguing roster-limit items on the agenda. In one, it is proposed that the cutdown to 75 players after the third preseason week be eliminated, with one massive reduction from 90 to 53 players on the Saturday following the final preseason games.

      The other would allow a team to replace a player on the roster if declared out with a concussion. The concussed player would be classified as exempt. The player would return to active status the day after the game, but there would be no limit to how many times it could be used during the season for any players.

      --Finally, one significant by-law change will allow teams to negotiate contracts with a potential head coach in the postseason even if the coach's team is still playing. While an agreement can be reached, no contract can be executed, and no announcement of the agreement can occur until the coach's season is over.

      --Howard Balzer is the NFL Columnist for The Sports Xchange and has been to sun-drenched spring owner's meetings for four decades, including those during which the Rams were in St. Louis and the Raiders were in Oakland and others when both the Raiders and Rams were in Los Angeles. Balzer lives in St. Louis, but did work in Las Vegas. Owners will not vote on whether he can move back to Vegas.

  • Oakland submits revised stadium plan
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    Three days before a potential vote that would cement the Raiders' move to Las Vegas, the city of Oakland submitted a revised plan for a $1.3 billion stadium on the site of the current home of the vagabond franchise.

    • Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf told ESPN on Friday night, "What I am confident about is, if the Raiders want to stay in Oakland, we have a viable plan to build them a stadium with no upfront money from them, in financial terms that I believe are more favorable to them than the terms in Las Vegas -- what we know of them."

      Raiders owner Mark Davis is said to have "great support" to move the franchise from Oakland after several years of failed contract talks with the city, which will soon lose the Golden State Warriors. The popular NBA franchise opted to move into San Francisco and vacate their current building across the parking lot from o.co Coliseum, where the Raiders now play.

      A vote could be held in Phoenix during the NFL owners meetings on Monday or Tuesday, with Davis needing 24 votes of 32 franchise owners in order to begin finalizing relocation to Vegas.

      "Of course, we have something that Vegas can never offer, and that's legacy and loyalty," Schaaf told ESPN. "This team was born in Oakland. This team enjoys some of the most passionate and dedicated fans of any NFL franchise. Those things belong uniquely to Oakland."

      Under the revised plan, the Raiders and NFL would be required to contribute $500 million.

      The City of Oakland vows a commitment of $200 million toward infrastructure improvements. Fortress, a financial equity firm, would advance $150 million via land conveyance for the project.

      The NFL said it would review the revised plan.

  • Clay Matthews Sr., dead at 88
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    Clay Matthews Sr., who was the patriarch of one of the NFL's most successful family trees, died on Thursday night. He was 88.

    • The official cause of death was not immediately disclosed for Matthews, who played both on the offensive line and defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers during the 1950s.

      Matthews recorded one interception while playing 45 games over four seasons (1950, 1953-55) with San Francisco.

      His sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each enjoyed distinguished 19-year NFL careers, with the former being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 while the latter was a semifinalist in the 2017 class.

      Bruce and Clay Jr. each have sons that played in the league. Atlanta Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews and former Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Kevin Matthews are Bruce's sons. Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III and former Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings linebacker Casey Matthews are Clay's kids.

      Mike Matthews, who is also Bruce's son, is an undrafted free agent who recently signed a futures contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • NFL notebook: Bears sign QB Sanchez
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to a one-year contract on Friday.

    • Sanchez is expected to back up starter Mike Glennon for the Bears, who are coming off a 3-13 season and finished last in the NFC North.

      The 30-year-old Sanchez, the New York Jets' 2009 first-round pick (fifth overall) out of USC, visited with the Bears on Thursday and now joins his fifth NFL team.

      Glennon, who was the backup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hasn't started a game in over two years, was signed by the Bears earlier this month to a three-year deal worth $43.5 million after the team cut quarterback Jay Cutler.

      Sanchez is the third quarterback on the Bears roster, joining Glennon and Connor Shaw, who missed the entire 2016 regular season after suffering a broken leg suffered in the team's fourth preseason game.

      --The Carolina Panthers signed running back Jonathan Stewart to a one-year contract extension through the 2018 season.

      Stewart, who turned 30 on Tuesday, was set to count $8.5 million against the salary cap in 2017, but the new deal reportedly will spread the money out to save cap space.

      "It means a lot. This is a special place," Stewart said. "The fans and the organization, they've always been good to me. We're all here to win the ultimate prize. I'm just glad to be here.

      "I'm not satisfied by any means. Last year was disappointing. We just have to get back to the mindset of winning, and it's really about the little things."

      --Former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is reportedly asking for a premium price on the open market, and teams are not willing to meet the demand.

      Peterson remains unsigned during free agency and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that it is because the asking price is too high.

      A source from a team in the market for a running back told ESPN that Peterson wanted more than $8 million in the first year of a contract.

      Eddie Lacy was one of the first running backs signed in free agency, accepting a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks worth up to $5.5 million that includes a weight clause.

      --The Indianapolis Colts released defensive tackle Arthur Jones to clear salary-cap space.

      Jones, 30, was set to count $7.35 million against the cap in 2017 after the Colts signed him to a five-year, $33 million deal as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2014. Indianapolis saves about $5.15 in cap space by releasing Jones, according to ESPN.

      The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Jones started all eight games he played in 2016 and registered 30 tackles. He played in 17 regular-season games with the Colts and missed all of the 2015 season with an ankle injury. He made 53 tackles and 1.5 sacks during his time with the Colts.

      Jones received a four-game suspension during the offseason last year for using performance-enhancing drugs.

      --The Washington Redskins signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Brian Quick to add depth at the position.

      The Redskins lost starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Pierre Garcon (San Francisco 49ers) via free agency.

      Quick is the second free agent receiver to sign with the Redskins this month, joining Terrelle Pryor.

      Terms of Quick's deal were not disclosed.

      --The Dallas Cowboys signed veteran offensive tackle Byron Bell to a one-year contract.

      Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

      Bell missed the entire 2016 season after dislocating his ankle during an offseason practice while with the Tennessee Titans. He started all 16 games for the club in 2015 -- seven at left guard, eight at right tackle and one at left tackle -- after signing as a free agent.

  • Cowboys sign T Bell to one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Dallas Cowboys signed veteran offensive tackle Byron Bell to a one-year contract on Friday.

    • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

      Bell missed the entire 2016 season after dislocating his ankle during an offseason practice while with the Tennessee Titans. He started all 16 games for the club in 2015 -- seven at left guard, eight at right tackle and one at left tackle -- after signing as a free agent.

      Undrafted out of New Mexico in 2011, Bell started his career with the Carolina Panthers, signing with the club at the start of training camp. He played in all 16 games as a rookie with 12 starts at right tackle. Over the next three seasons, Bell started 47 of the 49 games he played for Carolina, including starts in all three postseason contests (2013 and 2014).

      While at New Mexico, Bell played in 37 games with 36 starts -- the final 24 at left tackle.

      Right tackle Doug Free recently informed the Cowboys he is retiring.

  • RB Peterson's demands too pricy for some teams
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    Former Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is reportedly asking for a premium price on the open market, and teams are not willing to meet the demand.

    • Peterson remains unsigned during free agency and ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Friday that it is because the asking price is too high.

      A source from a team in the market for a running back told ESPN that Peterson wanted more than $8 million in the first year of a contract.

      Eddie Lacy was one of the first running backs signed in free agency, accepting a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks worth up to $5.5 million that includes a weight clause.

      The Vikings announced last week that the team would not re-sign Peterson, who turned 32 on Tuesday. The Vikings did not pick up Peterson's option year and instead signed former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray in free agency.

      Peterson left the Vikings as one of the best players in franchise history. The four-time All-Pro had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons in nine years, including the second-best total in NFL history of 2,097 yards in 2012 but battled injuries the past few seasons.

      Peterson also led the NFL in rushing in 2015 with 1,485 yards, along with 11 touchdowns. He has 11,747 career rushing yards with 97 touchdowns in 10 seasons -- 16th on the NFL's all-time list. He is 565 yards behind Jim Brown for 10th place.

      The former Oklahoma standout and No. 7 overall pick of the Vikings in the 2007 draft missed all but three games in 2016 after undergoing right knee surgery in September. Peterson totaled 72 yards on 37 carries.

      Peterson would have made $11.75 million in base salary with a $6 million roster bonus had his option been picked up by the Vikings.

      The Green Bay Packers have interest in Peterson but a meeting might not happen until after next month's draft, according to ESPN.

      Peterson, a native of Palestine, Texas, also has been linked to rumors going to the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

      In 2014, the NFL suspended Peterson for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. He was indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier that year. He pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

  • Redskins ink WR Quick
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Washington Redskins signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Brian Quick on Friday to add depth at the position.

    • The Redskins lost starting wide receivers DeSean Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Pierre Garcon (San Francisco 49ers) via free agency.

      Quick is the second free agent receiver to sign with the Redskins this month, joining Terrelle Pryor.

      Terms of Quick's deal were not disclosed.

      Quick, 27, is entering his sixth NFL season after originally entering the league as a second-round pick (33rd overall) of the St. Louis Rams in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Appalachian State. He appeared in 67 games (23 starts) with the Rams, compiling 105 receptions for 1,499 yards and 10 touchdowns.

      Last season, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Quick appeared in all 16 games for the Rams, recording career highs in starts (eight), receptions (41) and receiving yards (564) while matching his career high in receiving touchdowns (three).

  • Colts release DT Jones
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Indianapolis Colts released defensive tackle Arthur Jones on Friday to clear salary-cap space.

    • Jones, 30, was set to count $7.35 million against the cap in 2017 after the Colts signed him to a five-year, $33 million deal as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2014. Indianapolis saves about $5.15 in cap space by releasing Jones, according to ESPN.

      The 6-foot-3, 320-pound Jones started all eight games he played in 2016 and registered 30 tackles. He played in 17 regular-season games with the Colts and missed all of the 2015 season with an ankle injury. He made 53 tackles and 1.5 sacks during his time with the Colts.

      Jones received a four-game suspension during the offseason last year for using performance-enhancing drugs.

      Jones owns 172 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in 63 career games (31 starts) with the Baltimore Ravens (2010-13) and Colts. He appeared in nine postseason contests (five starts) and tallied 22 tackles, one sack and two fumble recoveries.

  • Panthers sign RB Stewart to extension through 2018
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Carolina Panthers signed running back Jonathan Stewart on Friday to a one-year contract extension through the 2018 season.

    • Stewart, who turned 30 on Tuesday, was set to count $8.5 million against the salary cap in 2017, but the new deal reportedly will spread the money out to save cap space.

      "It means a lot. This is a special place," Stewart said Friday. "The fans and the organization, they've always been good to me. We're all here to win the ultimate prize. I'm just glad to be here.

      "I'm not satisfied by any means. Last year was disappointing. We just have to get back to the mindset of winning, and it's really about the little things."

      Stewart has spent his entire nine-year NFL career with Carolina since being selected out of Oregon with the 13th overall pick in the 2008 draft.

      Stewart ranks first in team history with 1,501 rushing attempts and stands second with 6,638 yards, a 4.42-yard average and 14 games with 100 or more rushing yards. His 45 rushing touchdowns and 51 total TDs (45 rushing, six receiving) rank third in franchise history.

      Stewart started 13 games last season and led the Panthers with 824 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 218 carries. In 2015, he earned a Pro Bowl selection after leading Carolina with 989 rushing yards with six touchdowns on a career-high 242 carries and helping the team set franchise records with an NFL-leading 500 points scored and 59 TDs while ranking second in the league with 142.6 rushing yards per game.

      In the past two seasons, Stewart's 15 rushing touchdowns are tied for eighth in the NFL and his 1,813 rushing yards rank 12th.

      In 2009, Stewart was part of NFL history when he rushed for 1,133 yards, pairing with running back DeAngelo Williams, who totaled 1,117 yards, to become the first set of teammates in NFL history to each rush for more than 1,100 yards in the same season.

  • Bears sign QB Sanchez to one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, March 24, 2017

    The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to a one-year contract on Friday.

    • Sanchez is expected to back up starter Mike Glennon for the Bears, who are coming off a 3-13 season and finished last in the NFC North.

      The 30-year-old Sanchez, the New York Jets' 2009 first-round pick (fifth overall) out of USC, visited with the Bears on Thursday and now joins his fifth NFL team.

      Glennon, who was the backup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and hasn't started a game in over two years, was signed by the Bears earlier this month to a three-year deal worth $43.5 million after the team cut quarterback Jay Cutler.

      Sanchez is the third quarterback on the Bears roster, joining Glennon and Connor Shaw, who missed the entire 2016 regular season after suffering a broken leg suffered in the team's fourth preseason game.

      Sanchez played in two games last season with the Dallas Cowboys, throwing for 93 yards and two interceptions on 10 of 18 attempts as a backup to rookie sensation Dak Prescott.

      After starting 62 of 64 games in his first four seasons with the Jets, Sanchez spent the 2013 season on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury suffered in the preseason. He then signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and started the final eight games after Nick Foles was injured, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 2,418 yards with 14 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and an 88.4 rating.

      Sanchez played sparingly with the Eagles in 2015 and then was traded to the Denver Broncos last March. He was cut by Denver on Sept. 3 and signed with the Cowboys the same day.

      Sanchez has appeared in 77 NFL games with 72 starts over eight seasons with the Jets (2009-13), Eagles (2014-15) and Cowboys (2016). He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 15,219 yards with 86 touchdowns, 86 interceptions and a 73.9 passer rating. He has a 37-35 career record as a starter.

  • NFL notebook: Brady's jerseys back with Patriots
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The stolen Super Bowl jerseys belonging to quarterback Tom Brady were returned to the New England Patriots on Thursday, the FBI announced.

    • Jerseys worn by Brady in the 2015 and 2017 Super Bowls arrived at the team's headquarters at Gillette Stadium.

      The uniform top Brady wore in last month's Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons disappeared shortly after the game and it set off an investigation led that to both jerseys being recovered in Mexico. Mexican authorities also found a 2016 Super Bowl helmet allegedly belonging to Denver Broncos linebacker Van Miller on the property of international media member Martin Mauricio Ortega.

      --The Super Bowl champion Patriots will make their fifth trip to the White House on April 19, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced.

      Their come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI has set up a date with President Donald Trump.

      Tight end Martellus Bennett, now with the Green Bay Packers, joined running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Don't'a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Devin McCourty in stating that they will not attend. Brady is a friend of Trump and coach Bill Belichick sent a congratulatory letter to Trump in the final days of his campaign.

      --Packers tight end Martellus Bennett isn't a fan of the NFL's plan to instruct players how to properly celebrate on the field in an upcoming video.

      Bennett vented his displeasure in a series of messages on Twitter that were directed at the NFL and Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations. Bennett said the NFL wants players to be robots, not individuals.

      "An educational video on appropriate celebrations. Not signing up for that class," Bennett wrote.

      --The Packers addressed their limited backfield by re-signing running back Christine Michael to a contract.

      Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael joins converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the lone running backs on the roster. He finished with 31 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown in 2016. He has 254 carries for 1,080 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 37 career games.

      --The New York Jets added depth at wide receiver by agreeing to terms with Quinton Patton.

      Patton, who visited the Jets last Saturday, had career highs with 37 catches and 408 receiving yards in 14 games last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

      The 26-year-old has 73 catches for 880 yards and one touchdown in 40 career games since being selected by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

      --The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed running back Branden Oliver to a one-year contract and safety Adrian Phillips signed his exclusive rights free agent tender to remain with the club.

      Financial terms were not disclosed by the team for Oliver, who will battle Kenjon Barner, Kenneth Farrow and Andre Williams behind starter Melvin Gordon.

      Oliver sustained a torn Achilles during a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings last summer and missed the entire 2016 campaign.

      --Senior vice president of NFL officiating Dean Blandino could be in for a few hectic Sundays at replay headquarters. Commissioner Roger Goodell said all NFL replays will be subject to approval by Blandino, not the referee on the field.

      How the league will handle the circumstance of simultaneous replays in separate games is uncertain.

      Goodell said the pace-of-game changes he plans to drive this offseason include replay adjustments. The video review protocol also now affords referees to announce the result in the stadium without waiting for TV commercial breaks.

      --New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel were discussing a return to the league for the embattled quarterback during last month's Super Bowl, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

      Payton also was interested in Manziel possibly joining the Saints in the future, according to the report. Manziel has struggled with substance abuse and legal issues since being picked by Cleveland with a first-round pick in 2014.

      Manziel has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in two NFL seasons. He has been out of football since being released by the Browns in March 2016.

      --Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar wrote on Twitter that he meant "no disrespect" to Dwight Clark after making a comment on Cleveland radio about the ex-tight end's ALS diagnosis.

      Clark, 60, served as the Browns' director of football operations when the franchise resumed operations. He was with the club from 1999 to 2002.

      Kosar, who received many requests for an apology, took to Twitter to address the comment. "I absolutely Ment (sic) no Disrespect to Dwight! I Spoke strongly about the need for prevention & care before U Get to This Sad Point!"

  • Missing Brady jerseys returned
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The stolen Super Bowl jerseys belonging to quarterback Tom Brady were returned to the New England Patriots on Thursday, the FBI announced.

    • Jerseys worn by Brady in the 2015 and 2017 Super Bowls arrived at the team's headquarters at Gillette Stadium.

      The uniform top Brady wore in last month's Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons disappeared shortly after the game and it set off an investigation led that to both jerseys being recovered in Mexico.

      Mexican authorities also found a 2016 Super Bowl helmet allegedly belonging to Denver Broncos linebacker Van Miller on the property of international media member Martin Mauricio Ortega.

      Ortega hasn't been charged in the case.

      Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the jerseys will be given to Brady when he returns to town.

      "It was great to have both jerseys returned to Gillette Stadium today," Kraft said in a statement. "I don't know that any agency could have accomplished this independently, but collectively multiple agencies -- both in the U.S. and in Mexico -- worked together to achieve the goal of retrieving the stolen property.

      "It is another example of the importance of teamwork and what can be accomplished when everyone works together. We appreciate the effort of everyone involved and look forward to returning these jerseys to Tom when he gets back to New England."

  • Jets sign free agent WR Patton
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The New York Jets added depth at wide receiver by agreeing to terms with Quinton Patton on Thursday.

    • Patton, who visited the Jets last Saturday, recorded career highs with 37 catches and 408 receiving yards while playing in 14 games last season with the San Francisco 49ers.

      The 26-year-old has reeled in 73 receptions for 880 yards and one touchdown in 40 career games since being selected by the 49ers in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

      Patton will renew acquaintances with Jets offensive coordinator John Morton, who was his first wide receivers coach in San Francisco from 2013-14.

  • Chargers re-sign RB Oliver
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The Los Angeles Chargers re-signed running back Branden Oliver to a one-year contract, the team announced.

    • Also on Thursday, safety Adrian Phillips signed his exclusive rights free agent tender to remain with the club.

      Financial terms were not disclosed by the team for Oliver, who will battle Kenjon Barner, Kenneth Farrow and Andre Williams behind starter Melvin Gordon.

      Oliver sustained a torn Achilles during a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings last summer and missed the entire 2016 campaign.

      Listed at 5-foot-8, Oliver joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and led the team in rushing with 582 yards. The 25-year-old has rushed 191 times for 690 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons with the club.

      Phillips also joined the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2014. The 24-year-old collected 38 tackles and had one interception in 14 games last season.

  • Patriots slated to visit White House
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will make their fifth trip to the White House on April 19, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Thursday.

    • The Patriots have met George W. Bush and Barack Obama during their previous title reigns. Their come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI has set up a date with President Donald Trump.

      While quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft view Trump in a favorable light, the same cannot be said for some of the members of the Super Bowl winning team.

      Tight end Martellus Bennett, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, joined running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Don't'a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Devin McCourty in stating that they will not attend for either political or personal reasons.

      Brady is on record as saying he is a friend of Trump while Belichick sent a congratulatory letter to the now President in the final days of his campaign. Kraft attended a campaign donor dinner with Trump after his election and even rode in Air Force One.

  • Goodell: Blandino gets final say on all replays
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Senior vice president of NFL officiating Dean Blandino could be in for a few hectic Sundays at replay headquarters.

    • Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that all NFL replays will be subject to approval by Blandino, not the referee on the field.

      "We are going to centralize the replay back here in New York," Goodell told ESPN. "Dean Blandino will have the final decision. We think that will move it much quicker."

      How the league will handle the circumstance of simultaneous replays in separate games is uncertain.

      Goodell said Thursday the pace-of-game changes he plans to drive this offseason include replay adjustments. The video review protocol also now affords referees to announce the review result in the stadium without waiting for TV commercial breaks.

      Goodell wants officials to "get going, be ready to play."

      He told USA Today that trimming commercial breaks to four per quarter – some games including six or more last season – will also be discussed next week at owner's meetings in Phoenix.

      "You're always going to be re-evaluating these areas and trying to say, what do we do better here?" Goodell said. "Whether it’s in our officiating mechanics, whether it's in our commercial mechanics and how work with our TV partners, what we do in our stadiums -- all those things are going to continue to be high priorities for us."

  • Report: Saints' Payton kicked tires on Manziel
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel were discussing a return to the league for the embattled quarterback during last month's Super Bowl, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday.

    • Payton also was interested in Manziel possibly joining the Saints in the future, according to the report. Manziel has struggled with substance abuse and legal issues since being selected by the Cleveland Browns with a first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 draft.

      Manziel, who is subject to suspension for a violation of the league's personal-conduct policy, has claimed to have rededicated himself to football and cleaned up his life.

      Manziel has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in two NFL seasons. Nicknamed "Johnny Football," Manziel has been out of football since being released by the Browns in March 2016.

      From a Saints' perspective, quarterback Drew Brees is 38 years old and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. New Orleans' current quarterback group consists of Brees, Luke McCown and Garrett Grayson.

  • Raiders up next in Goodell's All The Wrong Moves series
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    NFL owners will discuss a pitch next week followed by a decision whether to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. That this is even a matter of discussion is another indication of the failed leadership of Roger Goodell, the league's commissioner.

    • The NFL is a league whose success has been built on the back of television and the riches that TV confers on the league and its teams. So, given that, why exactly would it make sense to move the Raiders from the nation's No. 6 market (the San Francisco Bay Area) to No. 42 (Las Vegas)?

      Certainly it doesn't make sense based on any logical measures.

      There are more people in the Bay Area, which has a population of more than seven million, compared to 600,000 in the Las Vegas area.

      There is more money in the Bay Area, where the median household income is more than $63,000, highest in the nation, compared to $42,000 in Las Vegas.

      And there is certainly more NFL history in the Bay Area, both with the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. Further, there is a more stable population in the Bay Area than in Las Vegas, which depends on transient tourists for the most significant part of its economy.

      No, there is not a single level on which moving the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas makes a shred of sense, no matter how much loot Vegas interests are willing to commit to the building of a stadium. The NFL ought to be acutely aware of the danger of flirting with eager cities instead of taking care of the cities you already have, after having the Rams move from Los Angeles to Anaheim to St. Louis and ultimately back again, and the Raiders having moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and back again.

      But it might happen and, if it does, you can place the blame strictly at the feet of the commissioner for lack of strong leadership.

      Look, dealing with these teams and their owners is difficult, let's admit that. But that's why Goodell is paid in the neighborhood of $30 or $40 million a year — to solve difficult problems and to exert leadership.

      It makes no sense, zero, none, to take a franchise that has been selling out its games in a crummy stadium in a huge market, and move it to any kind of stadium in a much smaller market away from its loyal fan base.

      Sure, the city of Oakland doesn't have the money to throw at the Raiders to built the kind of palace, say, Jerry Jones put up in Texas. Oakland doesn't have the money to throw at the Raiders to build almost any kind of playpen, probably.

      But let's think about this for a minute.

      The Raiders' Bay Area neighbors, the San Francisco 49ers, had to move to Santa Clara, in the suburbs of San Jose, because they couldn't get a new stadium built in San Francisco. It just so happens that the 49ers' stadium in Santa Clara is about 10 miles closer to Oakland's city hall than it is to San Francisco's city hall.

      Thus, the solution to the Raiders' stadium problem is so simple, it's nuts that the league isn't forcing it down Mark Davis' gullet. Just as the Giants and Jets share a stadium in New Jersey, and the Rams and Chargers in a couple of years will be sharing a stadium in Los Angeles, the 49ers and Raiders ought to be sharing a stadium in the Bay Area.

      Levi's Stadium is not in San Francisco, and it is not in Oakland. For that matter, it is not in San Jose, either, although it is much closer to San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, than to either of the other two cities. And that's a good thing, because the nation's richest zip codes are a heck of a lot closer to Levi's Stadium than they were to Candlestick Park or than they are to the Oakland Coliseum.

      Strong leadership from the NFL office should have made this happen long ago, but one of the reasons Paul Tagliabue was not voted into the Hall of Fame was his inability to solve the league's California problem. Yeah, we know, even the late, revered Pete Rozelle couldn't satisfy the late Al Davis, and it was on Rozelle's watch that the Raiders moved the first time, to L.A.

      That is ancient history. Times have changed. The price tag for new stadiums has gone through the roof. So has the NFL's income, particularly from television, and did we happen to mention that the Bay Area is a much more significant market than the Las Vegas area?

      Further, what makes a move like this particularly idiotic at this time is that the Raiders are by far, the more attractive Bay Area team for the first time in ages. They are coming off their first winning season and playoff year in 14 years, they have a terrific young quarterback in Derek Carr, and they are a team clearly on the rise, in contrast to the 49ers, who were 2-14 last year and have no idea who their next quarterback is going to be.

      With a strong leader, the NFL would be able to force the only sensible solution, for the Raiders and 49ers to share a stadium. Unfortunately, at just the time the league needs strong leadership, it has Roger Goodell.

      --Ira Miller is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered the National Football League for more than five decades and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He is a national columnist for The Sports Xchange.

  • Kosar addresses insensitive Dwight Clark remark
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar wrote on Twitter that he meant "no disrespect" to Dwight Clark after making a comment on Cleveland radio about the ex-tight end's ALS diagnosis.

    • "We had a bad weekend with Gale Sayers being diagnosed (with dementia) ... Dwight Clark with ALS," the 53-year-old Kosar said on Wednesday on ESPN Radio in Cleveland. "I could make a joke about his struggles in picking players when he was here. It almost makes me wonder if maybe it started earlier."

      Clark served as the Browns director of football operations when the franchise resumed operations. He was with the club from 1999-2002.

      Kosar, who received requests from many for an apology, took to Twitter to address the comment.

      "I absolutely Ment (sic) no Disrespect to Dwight! I Spoke strongly about the need for prevention & care before U Get to This Sad Point!" Kosar wrote.

      Kosar played for the Browns from 1985-1993 and is the team's second all-time leading passer.

      Clark is best known for being on the receiving end of "The Catch" in the 1982 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

      Clark, now 60, recently acknowledged that he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in late 2015 after visits to six neurologists and three ALS specialists.

  • Packers TE Bennett blasts NFL celebration training
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett isn't a fan of the NFL's plan to instruct players how to properly celebrate on the field in an upcoming video.

    • Bennett vented his displeasure in a series of messages on Twitter that were directed at the NFL and Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations.

      "An educational training video on celebrations? Spend that money on something else like a video on investments or something that will help the players," Bennett wrote. "Who gives a (expletive) what guys do when they celebrate. Do something impactful. Y'all wasting guys time with this (expletive). Let the players express their individuality and creativity. Y'all gonna make an educational video on how we should talk next?"

      Bennett wasn't done, saying that the NFL wants players to be robots, not individuals.

      "An educational video on appropriate celebrations. Not signing up for that class," Bennett wrote.

      Bennett, who signed a three-year deal with the Packers earlier this month, said that he would not be in attendance when the video will be shown at training camp. The 30-year-old said he would excuse himself to use the restroom instead.

      Bennett's colorful response came on the heels of Vincent's matter-of-fact reason for the video.

      "We're developing an educational training video for players to show clear examples of appropriate and inappropriate celebrations," Vincent wrote.

      Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked during his State of the NFL speech in Houston during Super Bowl week about the stern reaction to post-score celebrations.

      "That's something we'll look at," Goodell said. "But it's also something that we've been dealing with for well over 35 years since I've been in the league in the same concept: balancing sportsmanship, avoiding taunting and trying to allow players the ability to express themselves in an exuberant way to celebrate. We think that's great. We want to see more of that. We want to see the players do that. But we want to see them do it respectfully to their teammates and their opponents."

      Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was infamously fined for his twerking celebration Week 1 following a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.

  • Packers re-sign RB Michael
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The Green Bay Packers addressed their limited backfield by re-signing running back Christine Michael to a contract.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael joins converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the lone running backs on the roster.

      Michael was claimed off waivers on Nov. 16 with Green Bay dealing with injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy has signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Starks was released.

      Michael provided a change of pace for Montgomery last season. The 26-year-old Michael had a 42-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in Week 15 to highlight an otherwise pedestrian six-game stretch with Green Bay.

      Michael finished with 31 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown in 2016. He has 254 carries for 1,080 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 37 career games with the Dallas Cowboys, Seahawks and Packers.

  • Vikings RB Murray has surgery on ankle
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Running back Latavius Murray, signed by the Minnesota Vikings last week, underwent successful ankle surgery Wednesday.

    • The Vikings said in a statement that they were aware that Murray would require surgery prior to the team signing him on March 16. Dr. Bob Anderson performed the procedure in Charlotte, N.C.

      "Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp," the team said in a statement.

      The 27-year-old Murray was signed as a free agent to replace perennial Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, who was not re-signed and allowed to walk after Minnesota declined to pick up his 2017 option.

      Murray spent his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and led them in rushing the past two. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 after rushing for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns. He has rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns (12 in 2016) in 45 games (31 starts).

  • NFL notebook: Goodell wants to improve pace of game
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims he has heard the average fan's discontent about the pace of the game and intends to do something about it.

    • In an email addressed to the fans on Wednesday, Goodell wrote that the NFL will make a series of changes that will help improve "the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of necessary disruptions to the game on the field."

      Case in point, Goodell told the USA Today that "it drives me crazy" when he's watching a game that shows a kickoff sandwiched around a pair of commercial breaks.

      "We call those 'double-ups.' They actually occurred 27 percent of the time (on kickoffs last season). And that's still too high for us," Goodell said.

      Goodell promised in the email that the league will tweak in-game timing and replay reviews, with next season to feature starting of a clock after a player goes out of bounds and the duration of halftime. A play clock also will be instituted after extra points.

      A vote is expected at the league meetings next week in Phoenix on a replay system in which referees review plays on tablets, rather than a fixed sideline monitor. The referees will provide input to the officiating headquarters in New York, which will make the final decision.

      --NFL owners could vote next week at the league meetings on the Oakland Raiders' proposed move to Las Vegas.

      The league meetings begin Sunday in Phoenix and run through March 29. The Raiders need the approval of 24 of 32 owners to relocate to Las Vegas.

      According to CSN California and CBS Sports, relocation is on the owners' agenda and a vote could come as early as Monday. A vote also could be postponed until the owners' May meetings in Chicago.

      One team owner told ESPN's Dan Graziano that a vote next week is "more probable than not." A vote would be contingent on the Raiders securing a lease and fulfilling other obligations, according to ESPN. Raiders owner Mark Davis filed an application with the league in January to move the team from Oakland to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.

      --Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will not face a felony charge in an alleged spitting incident at the Hamilton County Jail.

      Jones still faces charges of assault, obstruction of official business and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

      Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters issued a statement decrying Jones for his behavior, for which three misdemeanor counts remain. Deters said the harassment with a bodily substance charge was dismissed at the request of the prosecution.

      --The Miami Dolphins restructured linebacker Koa Misi's contract for the 2017 season, allowing him to stay with the team, according to multiple reports.

      Misi was scheduled to earn $4.1 million this season with a salary-cap hit of $4.8 million.

      The 30-year-old Misi was limited to three games last season due to a neck injury. The seven-year pro missed 21 games the last three seasons.

      --The Jacksonville Jaguars may have found their replacement for Julius Thomas by signing fellow tight end Mychal Rivera to a contract.

      Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team for Rivera, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported it's a one-year deal with a team option for a second season.

      Rivera endured his least productive of his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders in 2016, reeling in just 18 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown. The 26-year-old's best campaign came in 2014, as he had 58 catches for 534 yards and four scores.