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  • Ravens LB Orr announces retirement ... again
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zachary Orr announced his retirement from the NFL due to a congenital spine condition.

    • Orr went in-depth with his explanation for his decision on The Players' Tribune, just two months after he ended his initial retirement in January.

      "Today, I'm officially retiring from professional football ... again," the 25-year-old Orr wrote. "And I'm even more at peace this time around because the teams have spoken. If there was any way I could come back, I would."

      Orr wanted to rejoin the Ravens, but was told by general manager Ozzie Newsome that "he would need to pass a physical."

      "So the Ravens flew me up to Baltimore for a workout and a physical," Orr wrote. "But at the end of the day, their doctors stood by their initial decision and said they couldn't clear me to play -- not with my spinal condition. They said it was too big a risk, both for them and for me."

      Orr wrote that he visited five additional teams and interviewed "with another 11 over the phone" since becoming an unrestricted free agent.

      "I wanted to end my career as a Raven. And even though it didn't happen the way I envisioned, I've done that," Orr wrote.

      Orr was initially placed on injured reserve after suffering a herniated disk Christmas day against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the career-ending congenital condition was not diagnosed until he underwent a physical after the season.

      Orr was born with his C1 vertebra not fully formed -- an issue found in less than 1 percent of the population. The condition however, doesn't show up with a regular X-ray or MRI.

      An after-season CT scan finally revealed the problem. Orr previously did not have that test because there was no history of neck problems, and therefore, not necessary.

      Orr evolved from an undrafted player from North Texas to a starter this season. He tied for eighth in the NFL with 132 combined tackles and earned second-team All-Pro honors.

  • Saints get good practice work with other teams
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The New Orleans Saints have entered the most intense part of their preseason camp with extended work against the Los Angeles Chargers and the Houston Texans over a 10-day period.

    • They traveled to Los Angeles four days ahead of their second preseason game to get in two days of full practices and a walk-through Saturday before facing Los Angeles in a game Sunday night. After returning home they will have a similar practice routine with the Texans before facing them in their home preseason debut Aug. 26 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

      Head coach Sean Payton said he thought the Saints were "crisper" in Friday's practice than they were in Thursday. On both days, the reduced heat and humidity of Southern California compared to Southeastern Louisiana was welcomed.

      "(Chargers head coach) Anthony (Lynn) and I have worked together before and so you have two staffs that are clearly on the same page as to what our goals are and that's to improve our teams," Payton said after practice Friday. "You can do that with each other at home, but whenever you have the chance to expand or play or work with another team you see different personnel. You see different schemes and you see looks that you haven't been used to.

      "I think from a football standpoint, just the competition versus another opponent (is valuable). From a climate standpoint, the training conditions are outstanding."

      --New Orleans fired two team doctors after it was discovered that starting cornerback Delvin Breaux's leg injury was misdiagnosed. Breaux missed two weeks of training camp and the preseason opener because of what was believed to be a contusion, but when the injury didn't get better, further examination determined that Breaux had a fractured fibula. He underwent surgery Aug. 17 and is expected to miss at least six more weeks.

      "You're always trying to give the best opinion possible," head coach Sean Payton said. "It's one of those positions with every team there's always that level of importance to come up with the right opinion. For years, those guys (Deryk Jones and Misty Suri) have done a great job. Yet, there's a point in which we just felt as an organization that change was going to be necessary for us. We will be in the process of going through different candidates and who we think (we should hire)."

      --The Saints search for a long snapper continues to evolve with the evaluation of tight end John Phillips in that position. The team released last year's long snapper, Justin Drescher, in the offseason but brought him back after two newcomers -- Chase Dominguez and Thomas Gafford -- proved to be inadequate replacements early in training camp. Now Drescher and Phillips are competing.

      "You're constantly looking at your roster and it's not often that you can have a dual position player like that, but when you can it's like gold because now you potentially have a tight end, (and) a guy that can long snap," Payton said of Phillips potentially becoming the long snapper. "I know it's not the norm and yet there's a lot of value in something like that."

  • LT Thomas says Osweiler should be starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    BEREA, Ohio -- Brock Osweiler will make his second straight preseason start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns when they face the Giants on Monday night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, but head coach Hue Jackson's main mission is getting an extended look at rookie DeShone Kizer. Osweiler played four series in the preseason opener and might get less time against the Giants.

    • "It doesn't mean anything for the regular season," Jackson said. "This is this game. (Osweiler) will walk out first. (His playing time) could decrease. I want to see these young guys play quite a bit. That's why I'm putting (Kizer) out there second."

      Second-year quarterback Cody Kessler will follow Kizer. Kevin Hogan will play in mop-up time in the fourth quarter.

      Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas said Osweiler should start the season opener against the Steelers on Sept. 10.

      "I could be totally wrong. I might be going out on a limb here, but I think they're grooming Brock to be the starter in Week 1 based on what I've seen," Thomas said. "To be honest, I don't think DeShone will be the starter in Week 1. It is a competition, but I would expect Brock to win because of his experience.

      "A rookie quarterback is the hardest position to get ready to play in your first year. There's no doubt he could win it. I definitely expect Brock to win it just because, like I said, my personal philosophy is it takes at least two or three years to have a basic level of NFL defenses and offenses to be able to operate proficiently out there."

      Jackson said he wants to name his regular-season starter before the Browns play their third preseason game on Aug. 26 in Tampa.

      --Starting left guard Joel Bitonio and starting nose tackle Danny Shelton suffered knee injuries and are "week to week" in their recovery process. Neither will play against the Giants, but Jackson expects both to be ready for the opener.

      --The Browns, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission have submitted a bid to host the 2019 or 2020 NFL draft in northeast Ohio, the Browns announced on Thursday.

      The announcement coincided with a visit to the team training complex in Berea, Ohio, from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell sounded enthusiastic about the plan, but he said 23 other cities have also submitted bids.

      "This area being the birth place of pro football, and obviously the way the draft has evolved is a tremendous reflection on the community," Goodell said. "The passion for football here on all levels right down to youth football and sports in general, this would be a great community (to hold the draft).

      "I'm thrilled northeast Ohio submitted an application. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet, but I'm sure it will be great."

  • Rookie McKinley to make debut Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley is likely to make his debut against the Steelers on Sunday. The staff gave McKinley, the team's first-round pick, a full load of practice this week and he came through with flying colors.

    • "He had a really good week of camp," Quinn said. "After Miami, we said we are now going to take him up from half the reps to the full amount like everybody else. It's something that I'll discuss with him. All systems look good. I haven't discussed it with him, but he had a really good week.”

      He's recovering from a surgically repaired right shoulder.

      "He's probably a little stronger than what I thought," Quinn said. "That's not to say that was a weakness, but the strength that he's able to set an edge with, I knew that part of his game was good, but until you see it on film compared to seeing it live, it's a big difference."

      --Second-year man Wes Schweitzer will start at right guard against the Steelers.

      "That was really by design for me heading into training camp," Quinn said. "I knew Week 1 I was going to start Ben and Week 2 I wanted to start Wes. Don't read into it past that. Both are going to play almost the equal amount of plays."

      The Falcons are looking to replace Chris Chester, who retired during the offseason.

      "I wanted both of them to have the opportunity to go out with the first group," Quinn said.

      --Two-time Pro-Bowl running back Devonta Freeman was placed in the league's concussion protocol on Sunday. The team originally thought he had heat related problems.

      Freeman suffered a concussion against the Colts in 2015 and missed one game.

      --Quinn was not happy with an even ratio in the opener against Miami, a 23-20 loss.

      "Let's be sure, one of the big topics for us is the ball," Quinn said. "For us to come out in a zero turnover margin, we got two and we gave two away, that's not really the style we'd like to play."

  • Bears RB Howard injures eye
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard sustained a corneal abrasion during a walk-through practice Friday and has been ruled out for the team's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

    • Howard, who was selected to the Pro Bowl last season, did not travel with the team to Arizona for Saturday's game.

      Multiple outlets reported that the Bears are of the mindset that Howard's injury is minor.

      Howard rushed 252 times for 1,313 yards with six touchdowns in 15 games last season and had 29 receptions for 298 yards and a score. The 22-year-old rushed three times for four years in the preseason opener last week.

      Fellow running back Jeremy Langford is nursing an ankle sprain and is also ruled out of Saturday's contest. Rookie Tarik Cohen and Ka'Deem Carey are expected to carry most of the load versus the Cardinals.

  • Steelers start Dobbs at QB as Big Ben rests
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    LATROBE, Pa. -- Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Josh Dobbs makes his second consecutive preseason start Sunday, against the Atlanta Falcons at Heinz Field.

    • The team's No. 1 quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, is resting and backup Landry Jones is still working back from an abdominal injury.

      Dobbs was 8-for-15 with one touchdown and two interceptions in his first NFL game against the Giants last week.

      "It's really been a tremendous opportunity for him to get some big-time reps and exposure because of the injury to Landry," head coach Mike Tomlin said. "Landry has been perking up and I'm sure he'll be back in the fold as a full participant soon."

      Undrafted free agent Bart Houston will finish the game after Dobbs comes out.

      --Defensive coordinator Keith Butler wants to play more man coverage in the secondary this season, but training camp injuries to several defensive backs put those plans on the back burner. Starting free safety Mike Mitchell and cornerbacks Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton, two players who were going to push William Gay for the starting slot corner duties, have missed large portions of camp with injuries.

      "Our young guys, we have to see what we have in the secondary," Butler said. "We have to get those guys back and see what we can do in camp in terms of the coverages we plan on playing. I don't know what we can do. I don't know about Cam Sutton. I don't know about him. I don't know about Senquez Golson."

      Sutton worked in practice in a limited capacity this week and is not expected to play against the Falcons Sunday.

      The next few weeks before the regular season begins will be very important for the injured players. Butler has to know his options soon.

      "We don't know what he can do yet," Butler said. "Anytime they miss camp they don't get the reps they need. In this setting, playing with their teammates is the big thing. They learn to play together. They have communication. You get the communication problems out of the way.

      "I told Mike Mitchell the same thing two years ago when we went down to New England. It was his first game back. He hadn't practiced or played with the first team (in training camp). He got a baptism by fire. I don't want that for these guys. I want them to be ready to play."

      --Rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt has been impressive during training camp and has apparently earned the starting job over veteran James Harrison. Outside linebackers coach Joey Porter told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Watt and third-year player Bud Dupree, a first-round pick in 2015, will start and there will not be a rotation as has been the case in the past few seasons.

      Head coach Mike Tomlin wouldn't confirm the decision, but it would not be a major surprise if that's what the coaching staff is thinking. Harrison turned 39 in May and likely would be better served playing fewer snaps. And it's natural to try to get first-round picks involved quickly.

      However, it is worth pointing out that Porter made proclamations about playing time for his payers in the past, and those proclamations didn't always hold true. Two years ago, Porter said he was going to give Jarvis Jones the same opportunity as Watt. Jones did start, but Harrison ended up playing starter's snaps because of Jones' ineffective play.

      Notes: Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a bone bruise in practice this week and is unlikely to play against the Falcons ... Linebacker Ryan Shazier (hamstring) hasn't practiced in two weeks and is not expected to play against the Falcons ... Center Maurkice Pouncey (right leg) is expected to return to practice soon ... Cornerback Cameron Sutton practiced on a limited basis this week after missing the first two weeks of camp with a lower body injury. The next step is playing in team contact drills next week ... Cornerback Senquez Golson (hamstring) missed three weeks of practice.

  • Winston still learning about good decisions
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    TAMPA -- Quarterback Jameis Winston continued his fast start this preseason, going 21-of-29 passing for 196 yards and leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to three scores on the team's first three possessions.

    • But one play demonstrated how much he still has work to do protecting the football.

      On third-and-goal from the Jacksonville 7-yard line, Winston's shoulder pad was grabbed by defensive end Dante Fowler as he and stumbled backward while defensive tackle Sheldon Day held onto his left leg.

      Just before hitting the turf, Winston blindly chucked the football into the end zone as if it were a sweat band into the crowd. The pass was intercepted by safety Barry Church, but Winston was bailed out when it was ruled a sack because his forward progress had stopped.

      When Winston made it to the sideline after his horrific decision, head coach Dirk Koetter didn't look like he was having much fun. Hard Knocks may need to run a couple warnings for adult language prior to Episode 3.

      "Not what we're looking for. Elite quarterbacks don't make that play," Koetter said.

      According to Koetter, Winston attempted 29 passes and made 27 good decisions Thursday. He threw an ill-advised bench route to Chris Godwin that was late and into double coverage. Then came the wedding bouquet toss in the end zone.

      "In the heat of the moment, when those plays are going on, Jameis feels like he can save the day, that he can turn it into a play," Koetter said. "And then there's plays like last night when he makes it worse. That's just a hard lesson to learn because he's done it successfully before."

      Winston was hard on himself after the game.

      "This team did so good, that's the only play we're going to sit up there, and coach is going to write it three times: You can't do it. You can't do it. You can't do it." he said. "Especially with a good drive like that. We've got a field goal in the bag. I'm beating myself up way more than coach is.

      "Coach expressed his in words. I'm hurt. I'm disappointed in myself. But we still got the win, that's all the matters. Plus, that play didn't even count."

      It didn't count, but it matters. This 2017 Bucs season almost feels like a referendum on Winston, who has 33 interceptions and nine lost fumbles in his first two years.

      At 23, he's already begun to show signs that experience is his best teacher. He's completed 71.4 percent of his passes this preseason, which is about 11 percent higher than his career average. Koetter says the same accuracy has been charted in training camp.

      "When we started (the game), they were taking deep drops," Koetter said. "I think he had five checkdowns in the first half. That's a good sign. We've been preaching patience to him and he started off that way."

  • Prescott getting better on deep throws
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    FRISCO, Tex. -- Quarterback Dak Prescott was one of the stars of training camp, according to Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

    • "He has gotten better every day," Linehan said. "You look from the start of camp to the finish. He has had a great camp. He has showed physical improvements. The anticipation and his arm strength looks better and it was good to begin with. I see him improve, but not just in his intangible stuff which is so great but his physical stuff things."

      One area specifically that Prescott has gotten better with is throwing the deep ball. He has made a point to challenge himself and take more chances in that area and it has paid off in training camp.

      Last year in camp, Linehan said he got maybe 10 plays with starters in practice during camp so it was hard to develop the chemistry that is necessary to throw down the field.

      Linehan said Prescott has hit more deep balls in camp this year than the team has in previous camps he's coached since he's been with the Cowboys and that includes a few years with Tony Romo.

      "The outside part of the field, he does a really good job of that," Linehan said. "We get a lot of respect with our running game. Being able to do that, especially not just one-on-one throws but down field, I think we improved our ability to do that in a lot of ways. We've hit a lot more deep balls this camp than we have in previous camps in my opinion, so that's a good sign.

      “He threw a back-shoulder (pass) to Cole Beasley (Wednesday), probably the best throw I've seen him make in a long time. You have to throw that one place and you have to have a guy like Cole who can adjust and keep his feet in. That's pro football right there, and I'm not sure he would have tried that last year. Those are a couple of examples. The best thing he does is we call the plays, he runs the plays and executes the plays. That's what the quarterbacks who win in this league do, and that's how we do it here."

      --Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett closed camp Thursday with positive reviews of his team. He said the players came in with the right attitude and laid a good foundation for the season.

      "I thought guys came in, they were ready to practice, they did a good job preparing themselves in the time that we had off before camp and we got right to work," Garrett said. "To me, having the opportunity to play in the Hall of Fame Game was really good for our team. I thought just a chance to see a lot of young guys in a game-type environment has been good for us. I think it's helped their development and growth throughout camp. Now to have three more games to get some of the more veteran players ready and to get our entire football team evaluated the way we need to, it's a great opportunity for us. Guys came to work every day, we laid a really good foundation for our team, we're excited to get back to Dallas and continue our work."

      Although the Cowboys started camp early because of the extra preseason game and the trip to Canton for owner Jerry Jones' induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Garrett said their time in California appeared to go by fast because everybody was so passionate and focused on their work in camp.

      He expects the same attitude and production when the team resumes practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco on Monday following Saturday's preseason home opener against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium.

      The Cowboys will have six practices open to fans at the Ford Center.

      "I think it will be a great experience for our team," Garrett said. "Most of those practices will be inside. That's an environment that we've practiced in really throughout the season last year, and our guys go in there and we come to work. We're still in a training camp mode. The schedule for next week is certainly going to feel like what's it's been out here for the last four weeks. We're in that training camp mentality. We have to continue to lay the foundation for our team. No better place to do than at The Star."

  • NFL notebook: Patriots rookie DE Rivers injures knee
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    New England Patriots defensive end Derek Rivers' rookie season may be over due to a knee injury.

    • The Patriots fear they have lost their top pick (third round, 83rd overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Youngstown State for the entire season, league sources told ESPN on Friday.

      Rivers, 23, was injured on a kickoff coverage drill Wednesday in a joint practice in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., with the Houston Texans.

      Before the Patriots traveled to Houston for a preseason game Saturday night, the team sent Rivers back to Boston for more tests. Those tests reinforced the team's initial fear of a season-ending knee injury, according to ESPN.

      --The Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback job is now open for competition after Blake Bortles' second consecutive mediocre preseason outing.

      Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after the Jaguars' 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field on Thursday night that Bortles and Chad Henne will share first-team reps before making a decision for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Houston Texans.

      "I'm looking for someone that's going to lead this offense," a frustrated Marrone said after the game. "I'm not happy with the performance today. I'm not going to sit here and B.S. anyone. Everyone saw it out there. Whatever you want to call it, I'm still trying to evaluate who the best person is at that position."

      The 25-year-old Bortles, the third overall pick in 2014 and the Jaguars' starter since Week 4 of his rookie season, was ineffective in his four series in the first half against the Bucs, all of which ended in punts. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards and was sacked once. The Jaguars only crossed midfield one time while Bortles was in the game. He has completed 11 of 18 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in two preseason games.

      --The Baltimore Ravens signed center Jeremy Zuttah to a two-year deal after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers.

      Zuttah's deal is worth nearly $4 million in base salary, with a maximum of $6 million in incentives, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

      Zuttah started three years in Baltimore (2014-16) before being traded to San Francisco in March. The Ravens originally acquired Zuttah in March 2014 from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

      To make room, the Ravens waived/injured wide receiver Kenny Bell, who injured a hamstring earlier this month. Bell, a fifth-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 2015, spent his first season on the injured reserve list and then was released by the Buccaneers just before the 2016 season.

      --The Arizona Cardinals signed linebacker Ryan Langford and waived wide receiver Marquis Bundy.

      The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Langford was with the Houston Texans during training camp and the preseason in 2016 after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent out of New Mexico.

      Langford, 24, played his final two collegiate seasons at New Mexico (2014-15) after beginning his career at Iowa Western. He played in 13 games as a senior at New Mexico in 2015, recording 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three passes defensed and an interception.

      Bundy signed with the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent last year and spent most of the season on the practice squad. He was on the active roster for six games but did not play. In two preseason games this year, Bundy made five catches for 73 yards.

      --The Indianapolis Colts signed free agent guard Terran Vaughn and waived/injured outside linebacker Deiontrez Mount.

      If Mount clears waivers, he will revert to the Colts' injured reserve list. He suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday's preseason opener against the Detroit Lions.

      The 6-foot-3, 306-pound Vaughn spent time on the Buffalo Bills' practice squad in 2016. He previously participated in the Oakland Raiders' 2016 offseason program and training after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of Stephen F. Austin.

      The 6-5, 253-pound Mount spent time on the Colts' active roster and practice squad last season. He played in five career games, recording one interception and one pass defensed with the Colts (2016) and Tennessee Titans (2015).

      --The Washington Redskins waived wide receiver Kendal Thompson from injured reserve with an injury settlement, the team announced.

      Thompson has been unable to practice due to a leg injury.

      Thompson signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent out of Utah in May 2016. He was waived prior to the start of last season and was signed to the team's practice squad.

      Washington brought him back on a future/reserve contract in January.

  • Redskins waive Thompson with injury settlement
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    The Washington Redskins waived wide receiver Kendal Thompson from injured reserve with an injury settlement, the team announced Friday.

    • Thompson has been unable to practice due to a leg injury.

      Thompson signed with the Redskins as an undrafted free agent out of Utah in May 2016. He was waived prior to the start of last season and was signed to the team's practice squad.

      Washington brought him back on a future/reserve contract in January.

      Thompson has transitioned from quarterback to wide receiver, with his lone catch for eight yards coming with Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. He began his career at Oklahoma before transferring to Utah for his final two seasons.

  • Ravens bring back C Zuttah
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    The Baltimore Ravens signed center Jeremy Zuttah to a two-year deal Friday after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers.

    • Zuttah's deal is worth nearly $4 million in base salary, with a maximum of $6 million in incentives, a source told NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

      Zuttah started three years in Baltimore (2014-16) before being traded to San Francisco in March. The Ravens originally acquired Zuttah in March 2014 from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

      Zuttah could challenge for a spot as the starting center or provide veteran depth for an offensive line ravaged by injuries.

      The Ravens lost starting left guard Alex Lewis to a season-ending shoulder injury. Promising rookie Nico Siragusa tore multiple ligaments in his knee and is also out for the year.

      To make room, the Ravens waived/injured wide receiver Kenny Bell, who injured a hamstring earlier this month.

      Bell, a fifth-round draft choice of Tampa Bay in 2015, spent his first season on the injured reserve list and then was released by the Buccaneers just before the 2016 season.

  • Cardinals sign LB Langford, waive WR Bundy
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    The Arizona Cardinals signed linebacker Ryan Langford and waived wide receiver Marquis Bundy on Friday.

    • The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Langford was with the Houston Texans during training camp and the preseason in 2016 after signing as an undrafted rookie free agent out of New Mexico.

      Langford, 24, played his final two collegiate seasons at New Mexico (2014-15) after beginning his career at Iowa Western. He played in 13 games as a senior at New Mexico in 2015, recording 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, three passes defensed and an interception.

      Bundy signed with the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent last year and spent most of the season on the practice squad. He was on the active roster for six games but did not play. In two preseason games this year, Bundy made five catches for 73 yards.

  • Jaguars open QB job between Bortles, Henne
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    The Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback job is now open for competition after Blake Bortles' second consecutive mediocre preseason outing.

    • Head coach Doug Marrone told reporters after the Jaguars' 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field on Thursday night that Bortles and Chad Henne will share first-team reps before making a decision for the Sept. 10 season opener against the Houston Texans.

      "I'm looking for someone that's going to lead this offense," a frustrated Marrone said after the game. "I'm not happy with the performance today. I'm not going to sit here and B.S. anyone. Everyone saw it out there. Whatever you want to call it, I'm still trying to evaluate who the best person is at that position."

      The 25-year-old Bortles, the third overall pick in 2014 and the Jaguars' starter since Week 4 of his rookie season, was ineffective in his four series in the first half against the Bucs, all of which ended in punts. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 65 yards and was sacked once. The Jaguars only crossed midfield one time while Bortles was in the game. He has completed 11 of 18 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in two preseason games.

      "I'll approach it the same way," Bortles said after the game. "I'll approach tomorrow as I treated yesterday and as I treated today. I don't think anything changes from my mindset or anything there. I think it's my job to go out there and earn the respect and trust of those guys as well as the coaching staff, and that's what I'm kind of on a mission to do."

      In his three NFL seasons, Bortles has thrown for 11,241 yards with 69 touchdowns and 51 interceptions in 46 games. The Jaguars picked up Bortles' fifth-year option for 2018 that is guaranteed for injury only.

      Henne came into the game late in the first half to work with the first-team offense Thursday night. He threw two first-half passes, which were dropped in the end zone by Keelan Cole and Allen Robinson as the Jaguars trailed 12-0 at halftime.

      Marrone told ESPN at halftime he was upset with the entire offense and not just Bortles. He sent the first team back on the field with Henne starting the third quarter. Henne finished the game 6 of 10 for 44 yards in two drives.

      Henne, 32, has played only one regular-season snap since Week 3 of the 2014 season. He has made 53 career starts with the Miami Dolphins (2008-11) and Jaguars (2012-16), throwing 58 touchdowns and 63 interceptions.

      "I always took it as I'm always competing and never really said I'm the backup, even though that's the way it was," Henne said. "I still study hard and try to prove in practice what I can do. All I can do is to try to get myself better prepared each week."

      Jacksonville's third preseason is next Thursday night at home against the Carolina Panthers.

  • Patriots fear DE Rivers (knee) lost for season
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, August 18, 2017

    New England Patriots defensive end Derek Rivers' rookie season may be over due to a knee injury.

    • The Patriots fear they have lost their top pick (third round, 83rd overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Youngstown State for the entire season, league sources told ESPN on Friday.

      Rivers, 23, was injured on a kickoff coverage drill Wednesday in a joint practice in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., with the Houston Texans.

      Before the Patriots traveled to Houston for a preseason game Saturday night, the team sent Rivers back to Boston for more tests. Those tests reinforced the team's initial fear of a season-ending knee injury, according to ESPN.

      The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Rivers, who was projected to be part of a rotation at defensive end, played 41 snaps in last Thursday night's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 41 sacks in his college career, including 14 as a senior in 2016.

  • DT Donald's holdout might last into Rams season
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    IRVINE, Ca. -- The holdout of Los Angeles Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald moved into the third week, with reports that he could be so entrenched in this contract dispute into the regular season.

    • So, what originally seemed a mild distraction is moving in a more serious direction.

      "Our approach is exactly the same, we're continuing to try and find a solution," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "He's a very important part of what we want to do. In the meantime, we've got a lot of great guys out here that are working hard and getting ready for this Oakland game, and just approaching every single day with the situations that we're throwing at them.

      "Whether that report is true or not, we're continuing to try to find a solution and we've got some time until that does come. We've got to always have contingency plans in place. But, like I said, that doesn't change our approach because we're still trying to find that solution to get Aaron here and be a part of what we're doing and if not we need to be ready to adjust."

      The addition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins made an immediate impression on the Rams, who are marveling over the much-needed athletic ability he brings.

      In fact, second-year quarterback Jared Goff had to take a step back after a pass completion to Watkins when his new teammate flew across the field upon catching the ball.

      "I did a little bit," Goff said. "You try not to, but I did kind of turn around, like, 'Everyone see that? All right.' It was a good catch and hopefully something that won't be quite a surprise anymore."

      Said head coach Sean McVay: "When the ball is in his hands you can feel his speed and his juice down the field. I thought it was good to get him out here. He was comfortable with the things we were asking him to do, so it was great to have Sammy out there and get him in the mix."

      Goff had a couple of bad days with interceptions on Monday and Tuesday. He rebounded on Wednesday and Thursday with much crisper practices. And said he'd learn from the mistakes earlier in the week.

      "I was being a little bit aggressive the last couple days," Goff said. "Some plays I can't make. I'm still learning and still growing. You should test your limits a little bit, I think, but at the same time I have to be smarter than that and take care of the ball better than that, and I will. In practice, you just try some things you might not try other times, but you still have to be smart with it."

      NOTES: Wide receiver Josh Reynolds, a rookie from Texas A&M, returned to practice Thursday after missing a few days with leg issues and made an immediate impact. ... Among others not practicing Thursday were cornerbacks Kayvon Webster, Nickell Robey-Coleman, and Mike Jordan; wide receiver Tavon Austin; running back Lance Dunbar; Offensive lineman Andrew Donnal and linebackers Samson Ebukam and Nic Grigsby.

  • Chiefs like Kpassagnon's versatility
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    ST. Joseph, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs second-round draft pick Tanoh Kpassagnon found himself lining up at multiple defensive positions in the preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers, including defensive tackle, end and outside linebacker.

    • "They're definitely trying to see where I can fit best," Kpassagnon said. "It was fun. I like it."

      The 6-foot-7, 280-pound Kpassagnon possesses a blend of athleticism and quickness that belies his size. Former general manager John Dorsey said following his selection that he projected Kpassagnon as a five-technique defensive end lining up outside the tackle. He also said the rookie from Villanova could add additional weight to his frame.

      Yet, the Chiefs now appear comfortable keeping Kpassagnon at his current weight and utilizing him at multiple positions. Defensive line coach Britt Reid said the rookie displays a rare versatility.

      "Especially going from nose to end all the way to outside 'backer, very rare," Reid said.

      Kpassagnon spent practice this week working on his coverage skills. He found himself racing step-for-step with veteran running back C.J. Spiller. He picked up a pass defended by breaking up the catch.

      "I knew I could do it," Kpassagnon said. "I actually got to get better at, being able to turn around and then get a pick off that. That's not enough."

      Lining up as a linebacker in coverage is new to Kpassagnon, but it's a role he relishes an opportunity to try.

      "Playing an outside linebacker position is difficult fun and difficult too," Kpassagnon said. "But I like being everywhere. You kind of get to know the whole defense."

      --Chiefs quarterbacks came out firing down field in the preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers but don't be surprised if the team focuses on the run Saturday night on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals.

      Head coach Andy Reid said the team's emphasis on the passing game short-changed his running backs. The team rushed for just 31 yards on 14 carries. Reid wants to bolster that effort through a better performance from his offensive line.

      "When it really comes down to it you still have to get a body on body, secure that level one so there's not penetration and give the back at least a chance," Reid said. "If you're not blocking a secondary defender then just give them a chance to make that guy miss."

      Incumbent starter Spencer Ware remains first in line in the backfield, but rookie Kareem Hunt now receives the plurality of second-team snaps ahead of Charcandrick West and Spiller.

      One of the more intriguing candidates in the backfield is Spiller. Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy says Spiller still has remarkable speed and can contribute in all aspects of the offense.

      "We know he can do a great job of running it," Bieniemy said. "But also he has done a great job of making plays down field in the pass game and he is doing a great job picking up blitzes."

      Spiller believes he still has the legs to play at a high level, but he also believes he's a more patient runner than in his younger days.

      "There's still a lot of stuff that I have to get better at to become a better football player, to heighten my football IQ so that's why you go through training camp to try to get better at those things before the season gets started," Spiller said.

      --Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith called it "crazy" that former teammate Colin Kaepernick remains on the sidelines without a NFL quarterback job.

      "It is crazy to think that he is not playing," Smith said. "That is a crazy thing because like I said as good as he was playing, young, strong, I felt like he had a long career ahead of him and it is crazy at this point he is out of a job."

      Kaepernick opted out of his contract with San Francisco in March, officially making him a free agent. He emerged as a polarizing figure last season after choosing not to stand during the national anthem as part of a social justice protest.

      Smith described the controversy involving Kaepernick as something he never saw coming.

      "My relationship with Kaep is we always got along really well," Smith said. "He was always extremely respectful with me so he and I got along really well."

      Kaepernick and Smith found themselves involved in quarterback controversy during San Francisco's 2012 Super Bowl season. The 49ers went 6-2-1 with Smith as starter before a concussion knocked him from the lineup for two games. Kaepernick filled in ably and finished the season as the team's starter.

      The former 49ers quarterback Smith said he hasn't spoken with Kaepernick for a long time.

      "Obviously a lot has changed since then, but it is hard to even comment on it," Smith said. "Like I said, I don't know. There is a lot going on in that landscape right now."

      Smith said he would have no problem welcoming Kaepernick as a teammate once again.

      "He was always someone who was really, really respectful," Smith said. "He was a really good teammate. He cared, so yeah, no question."

      --The Chiefs closed training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., but the future location of the team's training camp remains up in the air for now.

      "It is something that we'll sit down and talk about as an organization," team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said when asked about returning in 2018, "but personally I hope we'll be able to come back."

      The club and Missouri Western State University, the host of the team's training camp the past eight seasons, hold mutual options for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. University officials indicate they are ready to execute their option.

      The state of Missouri helped recruit the Chiefs to move their training camp to St. Joe after 19 seasons in River Falls, Wis. The agreement provided the Chiefs with $25 million in tax incentives contingent upon the team remaining in Missouri for 10 years. The organization needs two more years to complete the arrangement without facing partial repayment of the incentives.

      Team president Mark Donovan said the club continues exploring its options. He believes it difficult the Chiefs would move their camp to another off-site location in Missouri.

      "We like it here," Donovan said. "We like the relationship, we like the efficiency, we like the familiarity and consistency. So, I think it would be tough for somebody to come in and wow us and take it away from here."

      The team could, however, move to the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex, the team's headquarters and practice facility located near Arrowhead Stadium.

      Relocating to the training complex means addressing obstacles such as housing for the team's players and coaches, logistical support such as meals and security and accommodating fans.

      Hunt said he plans to consult with head coach Andy Reid and general manger Brett Veach before making a final decision.

      "I know Andy feels very positive about having training camp here, Brett feels very positive about having training camp here," Hunt said. "I think it's a good experience for our fans who are able to drive up from Kansas City."

      Reid said he supports whatever decision Hunt makes, but spoke positively about the experience in St. Joseph.

      The people here have been phenomenal," Reid said. "They have done a nice job for us and we appreciate that."

  • Chiefs make bid for NFL draft
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City officially threw its hat in the ring this week to land the NFL draft.

    • "We always have 'what's that next big event?' on our radar as a sports commission and a city," said Kathy Nelson, president & CEO of the Greater Kansas City Sports Commission & Foundation. "We're always working in tandem with everyone with the Chiefs about what would it take."

      Local officials began visiting the draft in 2015 in anticipation of making a play for the annual event. Chicago hosted the draft in 2015 and 2016 before the move to Philadelphia this season. New York City hosted the event from 1965 to 2014.

      NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, during a visit to Kansas City in June, said 14 cities sent representatives to this year's draft in Philadelphia. The bidding process covers drafts for 2019 through 2023.

      "The game and the standards keep going up," Goodell said during his Kansas City visit. "But I think this community, in fact I met with some of them when we were in Philadelphia, I think they could do a great job with the draft."

      Kansas City's bid leans heavily on assets such as the Sprint Center, Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium as potential sites. Nelson also noted the location of 23 military bases within a 300-mile radius of Kansas City, including Whiteman Air Force Base, Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley. The commission's pitch to the NFL proposes an aggressive strategy for engaging military personnel with the event.

      "I think that will stand out," Nelson said.

      She added that Kansas City's easy access for football fans makes the city an appealing destination for the NFL. Kansas City is located within a day's drive for 55 million people. The city's location also places it within a three-hour flight from anywhere in the continental United States.

      "That makes it pretty easy to get to, come enjoy something, spend the night and get back the next day or spend the weekend here," Nelson said.

      Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley in June called landing the NFL draft an "awesome" opportunity for the team, fans and the city.

      "I think getting a Super Bowl here or a draft here, just the more events and the more people that can come through here, the more eyes that are on the city, I think it will just be a huge benefit to the people who are here," Conley said. "I think everyone will fall in love with it the way I have."

      Rabid football fans in Kansas City also provide a compelling attraction to the NFL, Goodell said.

      "To me it's about passion," the commissioner said. "It's about passion and having your own experience for a draft that's going to reflect well on this community and football."

  • Mutual admiration sociey for Belichick
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Jimmy Johnson knows a little something about building a powerhouse NFL franchise, as he did in Dallas in the early 1990s. Through his longtime friendship with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, Johnson has probably had some influence on the dynasty that shows little sign of slowing down these days in New England.

    • When the two met decades ago at the Kentucky Derby, no one could have predicted where Belichick would ascend to in the world of football. But his spot, according to Johnson, is quite clear.

      "He's the best ever, and I made that statement before the (Super Bowl), but I also made that statement a year ago and two years ago," Johnson told Patriots.com recently. "It's not something I just recently decided. Having watched Bill over the years, it goes all the way back to Cleveland, when we first met and built a relationship.

      "He covers all the bases. He's very thorough. He approaches the job in a way that every coach should envy. And one thing about his teams, they're always better prepared than their opponents. And that's because of him."

      Like Belichick, Johnson oversaw both coaching and personnel in his time in Dallas and later with the Dolphins. It's an almost infinitely demanding responsibility that generally is too much for those who are even given the chance to wear both hats.

      "The job is almost overwhelming, and obviously you've got to have the right kind of people assisting you and helping you do it the right way," Johnson said. "And Bill does. But there's very few in the NFL, and very few that's been in the NFL who can do all the jobs that he does.

      "I'll just say one more thing about Bill Belichick: He's the best."

      Belichick had a couple of his coaching friends from other sports on hand as guests during the joint practice action with the Texans. That included former Major League Baseball manager Tony La Russa and former Indiana University men's basketball coach Tom Crean.

      "When we're together, I'm asking the questions, he's talking, and I'm taking notes. He's not taking my notes," LaRussa said with a chuckle before highlighting what he sees as the strength of his pal's coaching style.

      "I believe his ability and his staff's ability, and his team's ability to start at zero every year - refuse to think about last year - is an important part of why they are so consistent. It's easy to celebrate the next year. The ability to turn the clock to zero is really impressive and very hard."

      "My relationship with Tony has been great," Belichick said. "I've learned a lot from somebody as accomplished as he is in another sport. I'll never forget the time he let me get in the dugout with him for an exhibition game. Baseball - it seems like just throw it and hit it, but there's a lot more to it than that. I saw just how much there is on every single pitch and the focus, concentration, all of that."

      Crean offered up his observations about Belichick, the coach and the person.

      "Everything matters every day," Crean said. "As simple as that sounds, it's very complex and hard because there are so many things that can distract, that can interrupt that, can get in the way of it. When I think of fundamentals, and preaching the fundamentals and details on a day-to-day basis - and then watching it come out in his team - that's one place you're going to look. He leaves nothing to chance. It would be hard to imagine something missing his radar or the people that are around him.

      "He's been very, very good to me, very helpful," added Crean. "I think that's one of the reasons he's such a great leader, great developer of teams, programs, players. He's always inquisitive. You can get an idea of how great he is with his team because of the way he helps his friends."

      "Again, different sport," Belichick said of his kinship with Crean, "but I learned a lot from his organization ... Different motivations, teachings, he is a very progressive guy ... We speak pretty frequently."

  • Lynch comically addresses 'elephant in the room'
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    NAPA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders Running back Marshawn Lynch talked for the first and only time on the final day of training camp, but did not elaborate on his decision to remain seated on a cooler, eating a banana, during the national anthem.

    • Asked about addressing the "elephant in the room" with regard to his actions, Lynch said, "I think the elephant left the room because a little mouse ran in here. Didn't they say elephants are scared of mice or something? That (expletive) left the room."

      Later, Lynch was asked about fans wearing his jersey and if he had any thoughts on whether they should sit or stand during the anthem.

      His response was to answer a question that wasn't asked.

      "When we run 74 or something like that, where I have to scan and read on both sides, that is pretty difficult," Lynch said. "For the most part, I'm a veteran so I can make it work."

      --With left tackle Donald Penn a no-show because of a contract holdout, offensive line coach Mike Tice was taking the pragmatic approach to being without the blind-side protector of quarterback Derek Carr.

      "Where I'm at right now is I have to get us ready to go out and beat Tennessee (on Sept. 10)," Tice said. "Right now, I have Marshall Newhouse on the left and Vadal Alexander on the right and David Sharpe doing a little bit more each day, playing both sides.

      "I can't sit here and wonder when DP is going to come back ... that's reality right now. I can't think that there's going to be something else there until it's there."

      --Shalom Luani, a seventh-round draft pick out of Washington State, appears to be a core special teams player and could figure in the defensive secondary plans before long given his nose for the ball.

      "I think there is something called instinct," Luani said. "Preparation is something, but add instincts to it and you become a better player ... just got to find the ball. See ball, get ball, that's all it is."

      Assistant head coach John Pagano, who does most of his work with communication on the back end, is coaching Luani up as much as he can without taking away his natural ability.

      "You never, ever want to over-coach a guy that has great instincts," Pagano said. "You want to let him see ball, go get ball and have the ability to do that. He has a great knack right now for getting around the football and it's been going on since OTAs and rookie camp."

      --For the third straight year, head coach Jack Del Rio opted to keep all training camp workouts in-house rather than work with another team.

      While the 49ers were scrimmaging the Denver Broncos nearby, the Raiders stayed among themselves.

      "I think it just depends on where you are in your development," Del Rio said. "I made a decision the last three years to do it this way and not seek an opponent."

      The Raiders last scrimmaged with an opponent in 2014 with the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, a one-day practice that included fights both on the field and in the stands.

      The 49ers were visitors to Napa in 2008 and 2009.

      --The homecoming of Marshawn Lynch may not include even a cameo appearance from the Oakland native son when the Raiders host the Rams in Week 2 of the preseason.

      "We're going to get our squad ready to go for the first game," Del Rio said. "We've got work to do and we'll have a plan deciding how long and who and when and all that kind of stuff. The idea is to be strong and healthy and fit and conditioned as possible for the regular season."

  • Seahawks C Britt gets three-year extension
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension, multiple outlets reported on Thursday.

    • The deal is worth $27 million with Britt collecting $13.25 million in the first year, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

      Britt started 16 games as a rookie at right tackle after being selected with a second-round pick in the 2014 draft. The 26-year-old was later shuffled to guard and then center, where he started 15 games a season ago.

  • Seahawks RB Rawls to miss Friday's game
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls will sit out Friday's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings with an ankle injury.

    • Coach Pete Carroll made the announcement on Thursday and named Eddie Lacy as the team's starter for that contest.

      Rawls was given the nod ahead of Lacy for last week's preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. He rushed two times for five yards.

      The 24-year-old had 109 carries for 349 yards and three touchdowns last season. He missed seven games with a fractured fibula.

      Lacy, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, carried the ball four times for 10 yards last week versus the Chargers.

  • Josh Gordon reinstatement not under consideration
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    The reinstatement of suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon is not on the immediate agenda of Roger Goodell, the commissioner announced Thursday.

    • Goodell offered his stance on Thursday when asked about Gordon at a fan forum in Cleveland.

      "(It's) not under active consideration to my knowledge, at least it hasn't gotten to my desk yet," Goodell said, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

      The league denied Gordon's reinstatement petition on May 11, two months after the embattled 26-year-old wideout filed papers to have his indefinite suspension lifted.

      Goodell reinstated Gordon on a conditional basis last season but the Pro Bowl receiver checked into the rehab facility in September and put his career on hold. Gordon spent 30 days in a New Hampshire facility.

      Browns head coach Hue Jackson said then that Gordon's tenure was over in Cleveland and wished him well even though the team still holds his rights for at least one more season. Gordon was scheduled to rejoin the team at practice last Oct. 3 and play Oct. 9 against the New England Patriots before deciding to check into the rehab facility.

      The NFL has suspended Gordon four times for violating its substance-abuse policy.

      Gordon has been suspended for 43 of his last 48 games and hasn't played in an NFL game since Dec. 21, 2014.

      The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gordon had 87 catches for a league-leading 1,646 yards in 2013, his second year in the league.

  • QB Newton still limited in practice
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    NASHVILLE -- Quarterback Cam Newton didn't take part in the scrimmage situations during the first day of joint workouts with the Tennessee Titans, but he was involved in some 7-and-7 drills when the teams gathered for the second of those workouts Thursday.

    • So, while there has been progress shown as he comes back following offseason shoulder surgery, there continues to be an incomplete sample.

      Newton has been praised by head coach Ron Rivera for bringing energy and enthusiasm to workouts, though his role needs to be much more than a cheerleader for the Panthers to be comfortable entering the season.

      The Panthers play their second preseason game Saturday when they take on the Titans in Nashville.

      The status of Newton, who didn't play in the first preseason game, remains unclear. Rivera said that situation will be evaluated after Thursday and Friday, but the odds of Newton playing in that preseason matchup appear slim.

      --The Panthers haven't participated in combined workouts with other NFL teams often, but there were positive reviews coming from the sessions this week with the Tennessee Titans. The teams meet in a game setting for a preseason matchup Saturday afternoon in Nashville.

      "Just to change it up," veteran tight end Greg Olsen said of the scrimmaging, noting it's only the second time in his career when he has been involved in this type of setting. "Get some different looks. It's nice to get some reps against different styles. ... Guys played hard and competed."

      Rivera said he liked the different looks that his team was confronting. He said the sessions were valuable.

      "I really appreciated the tempo," he said. "I feel very good about what we got done."

      Any feistiness between the teams was kept to a minimum.

      "We came from both sides and kept it professional," linebacker Thomas Davis said.

      --Meanwhile, Davis has a contract extension, so that puts to rest at least one of the potential uneasy feelings for a veteran player entering the season.

      Davis, who has been one of the franchise's most popular players, received a one-year extension that goes through the 2018 season. Terms weren't released by the team, though reports have listed the deal being worth $6.76 million.

      It came through negotiations that involved interim general manager Marty Hurney, who returned to the organization to replace fired Dave Gettleman about a week before the opening of training camp.

      Davis, 34, praised Hurney's role, and he dismissed any notion of frustration.

      "I was confident this was going to get done," Davis said. "It's a negotiation for a reason. ... It's all about moving forward."

      That leaves Olsen's request for a contract extension still unresolved.

  • 49ers sign LB Skov to one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Shayne Skov to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

    • Skov recorded two defensive tackles in 24 games over three seasons with the 49ers and 12 more on special teams.

      The 27-year-old San Francisco native was waived by the club on May 2.

      Skov collected 355 tackles, 17 sacks and five forced fumbles during his college career with Stanford.

  • Former Patriots NT Williams dies
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Former New England Patriots nose tackle Lester Williams died on Wednesday at his home in Birmingham, Ala., the team announced.

    • The Patriots did not divulge the cause of death for Williams, who was 58.

      Williams started for New England in Super Bowl XX and recorded 99 tackles, five sacks and three fumble recoveries during his four-year stint with the Patriots (1982-85).

      Williams was selected with one of New England's two first-round picks in the 1982 draft. He was selected 27th overall out of the University of Miami.

      "I am very proud to be part of the 1982 draft class, and having Lester Williams as a part of that class made playing defense a lot more fun," said linebacker Andre Tippett, who was selected with a second-round pick.

      "As a nose tackle, Lester was a key to our success in the 3-4 defense. I remember how frustrated opposing centers became playing against him. He anchored the line for us and was a great teammate to play alongside. On behalf of the entire organization, our thoughts and prayers are with Lester's family, friends and former teammates who are mourning his loss today."

      Williams also played one season with the then-San Diego Chargers (1986) and Seattle Seahawks (1987).