Category Archives: NFL Football Player News

NFL Football Player News

Sebastian Janikowski kept career, Raiders legacy alive and kicking after shaky start

Janikowski kicked that week in a win over the Jets, then kicked again in Foxborough in the snow against the Patriots (a fairly infamous game in franchise history). A year later, he kicked in the Super Bowl. During those two postseasons, he was 11 of 12 on field goals and 12 of 12 on extra points. From then until his back injury kept him out all of last year, he missed only one game in 14 seasons.

He’s 11th all time in career scoring and 10th all time in field goals made. He shared the record for the longest field goal at 63 yards until Matt Prater hit his 64-yarder in 2013. He tried a 64-yarder in 2007, in Oakland against the Texans. He hit the upright … halfway up the upright.

Janikowski never had an Adam Vinatieri moment (he just had to witness the ultimate one that snowy night in 2002). He only made one Pro Bowl. He did a lot of his work off the dirt infield at ancient dual-purpose Oakland Coliseum. He built that legend in his own way.

He turns 40 in two weeks. He outlasted the old, less-complimentary legend of his early days. Long kicks are a great legacy. An unexpectedly long career is even better.

Like the Devils, the Islanders (29-26-7) also have a red-hot player in rookie Mathew Barzal. The Calder Trophy favorite recorded three points in Toronto to move past All-Star teammate John Tavares as the club’s leading scorer with 65 points, which is also tops among all NHL rookies. His 48 assists are tied for fifth most in the entire league.

He’s been playing really well for us all season, Islanders forward Josh Bailey said of Barzal. He’s so crafty, and he’s able to create space for himself and his linemates, and you can see the results.

Bailey also is in the midst of an excellent season with 47 assists and 62 points. On Thursday, the Islanders rewarded Bailey with a six-year, $30-million contract extension.49ers_013

Kicker Roberto Aguayo was released by the Bears, who’d claimed him off waivers after he’d been released by the Buccaneers.

So Sunday on ESPN’s “NFL Countdown,” as if a broken jaw is the same as a head cold, Ryan, with malice of forethought — he held up a marshmallow — again cheap-shotted Smith, twice saying he has “a soft chin.”

Yes, nothing funnier than Smith having his jaw broken and career interrupted by a sucker-punch thrown by a teammate. But had Ryan been known as a sportsman, a gentleman instead of a creep, ESPN would’ve had zero interest.

It’s tempting to declare that Aguayo’s NFL story is done, sealing his fate as a second-round draft choice gone terribly wrong. But sometimes NFL kickers are best educated by the school of hard knocks. Maybe Aguayo will get another chance and do better with that opportunity.

Single round of cuts… Teams had to deal with only a single round of roster cuts this year. Roster limits went directly from 90 to 53 players, eliminating the previous in-between reduction to 75 players.

Manning’s retirement appears to be all but a certainty, considering he turns 40 next month and limped through his 18th NFL season with an awful 67.9 passer rating. There is also the specter of a league investigation into allegations he obtained human growth hormone through his wife, which conveniently would go away if Manning hangs up his cleats.

Johnson, meanwhile, reportedly plans to retire this week. The Lions star, a three-time first-team All-Pro selection, is just 30 but is said to be ready to walk away because of nagging injuries to his knees, ankles and hands.

Johnson’s departure would free up an estimated $11.1 million under the salary cap for Detroit. It also would leave a huge void in the Lions’ receiving corps after Johnson had 1,000 or more receiving yards in seven of his nine seasons.

The Packers losing Aaron Rodgers made the NFC North wide open. Their offense is patched together with Case Keenum and Latavius Murray in for Sam Bradford and Dalvin Cook, but their defense is a monster.

Remember the protests? Vick went from one of the league’s more popular players to one of the most reviled for his role in a dog-fighting ring that eventually led to a federal prison sentence for the quarterback. Vick missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons before returning with the Eagles, and the protests continued. He has repaired his image, but no star player has ever faced that level of hatred during his playing

Barkley’s 92-yard touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl was another example of his awe-inspiring speed at his size.

And those numbers were with the Eagles holding onto a 24-7 lead: Doug Pederson deserves a ton of credit for putting his foot on the gas and snuffing out any hope of the Vikings coming back, and Foles deserves an equal amount of credit for executing. Philly is built on the offensive and defensive lines; Howie Roseman’s vision for this club resulted in enough depth that the Eagles could sustain a loss of their MVP quarterback (Wentz), top-tier tackle (Jason Peters) and emerging young middle linebacker (Jordan Hicks) and still secure homefield advantage and storm into the Super Bowl.

Fitzpatrick might not be the most refined cornerback to enter the NFL over the past five years, but he’s among the most athletically gifted. He’s as reliable as they come against the run too, which is an often-overlooked aspect of playing cornerback in the NFL. He made his presence felt in every area in an impressive Sugar Bowl outing against Clemson’s multifaceted attack.

He had issues against Washington’s brick wall of a defensive line beyond that, but it’s those type of home runs that separate Barkley from other recent running back prospects. Even on a day when running lanes are hard to come by, he can score from anywhere on the field.

McKinley’s passion was evident during his emotional, profanity-laced on-camera interview with the NFL Network’s Deion Sanders following his selection, as he held a picture of his late grandmother. McKinley immediately apologized for his language and said the league can fine him later. It was a sincere and moving moment, albeit possibly with a PG rating for its expletives. If McKinley brings the same intensity to his pass-rushing efforts, the Falcons’ trade up to get him will be justified.

Buffalo picked up a third-round selection in this draft and a first-rounder next year from the Chiefs to move down, and still ended up with a solid cornerback prospect in White.

akland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is set to start after missing one game with three broken transverse processes (the bony protrusion on vertebrae).

The Rodgers injury wasn’t the only one, with the Packers taking blow after blow. Quinten Rollins, Lane Taylor, Ty Montgomery, Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari all banged up.chargers_043

NFLPA invests in Bill Gates-backed dementia research fund

The NFL Players Association has invested an undisclosed amount in the London-based venture capital fund focused on developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases that billionaire Bill Gates pledged $100 million to earlier this week.

The union’s announcement comes the same week that not only Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, pledged a combined $100 million to DDF’s Alzheimer’s disease research but also that CTE was confirmed for the first time in a living former NFL player.

Alzheimer’s, like CTE and ALS, has been linked via research to repetitive brain injuries in football.

Osweiler went 0-3 as the starter for Denver while completing 53 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and five interceptions. Prior to that Trevor Siemian went 3-4 with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The second-year quarterback from Memphis went 1-1 as a starter in 2016 with one touchdown and one interception. His one win was over the Jaguars, but his loss was to the Falcons when he went 23 of 35 for 223 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Denver took Lynch with the 26th overall pick in 2016, but he has yet to take over the role as the team’s starting quarterback like the team probably envisioned when it drafted him that high. However, many knew he would be a project and it would take a while to develop him, so it is possible that he is starting to show that hetake over as the team’s starter.

Train wreck: The record isn’t terrible, but the Dolphins have been outscored by 97 points this season, third worst in the NFL. Not even the 1-9 Niners have been outscored by that much. Some narrow victories aren’t enough to save this season for Miami.broncos_070

Astros, Dodgers rewrite record book in Game 5 barnburner

The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers played deep into the night on Sunday.
Men's Adidas Toronto Maple Leafs #29 Felix Potvin Premier Black 1917-2017 100th Anniversary NHL Jersey
They went even deeper into the World Series record book.

In the year that set the regular-season record for home runs, the Astros became the first team in World Series history to have five different players homer in a game in their 10-inning, 13-12 win, which gave them a 3-2 series lead. They were the third team to hit five home runs in a World Series game overall.

Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and the Astros kept hammering away in a wild slugfest that no one saw coming, rallying against Clayton Kershaw and rocking the Dodgers 13-12 in 10 thrilling innings Sunday night for a 3-2 lead in the World Series.

World Series baseballs are slicker than the ones used during the regular season, members of the Dodgers and Astros said in a Sports Illustrated report published Sunday.

It was the first power-play goal given up by Columbus at home this season, and the first the Bruins scored against the Blue Jackets with a man advantage since Nov. 30, 2013.

Raiders: Played without two starters in their secondary with safety Karl Joseph (groin) sidelined along with cornerback David Amerson (foot). Dexter McDonald started in place of Amerson, while Shalom Luani started for Joseph.

Bills: Buffalo was Clayton Fejedelem Youth jersey also missing two starting defensive backs with safety Jordan Andrej Sekera Jersey Poyer (right knee) sidelined along with cornerback E.J. Gaines (hamstring).

The Raiders managed just 54 yards rushing, with starting running back Marshawn Lynch serving a one-game suspension for coming off the bench and shoving an official against Kansas City.

Baez’s first impression of Hill was far more auspicious. “Very classy guy, not a big league ego at all. As nice as can be … until he took the mound. I could tell right away how competitive he was. He’d strike out his mother if he had to. And his stuff was great.”

Darren Sproles could be exception to Pro Football Hall of Fame rule

LaDainian Tomlinson’s 145 career rushing touchdowns rank second all time. His 13,684 career rushing yards rank fifth. He was named first-team All-Pro three times and selected to five Pro Bowls during his 11-year NFL career with the Chargers and Jets.

He has the Lions at 3-1 this season and the only loss was a 30-26 defeat to the Falcons when Stafford appeared to lead another winning drive only to see a Golden Tate touchdown on the final play overturned following a replay review.

Caldwell said Stafford stays “loose and aggressive” during crunch time and his clutch gene also helps Caldwell and his coaching staff remain calm because they’ve “been through it a few times.”

“The big thing is they understand, if we’re close, we’ve got a chance,” Caldwell said. “We’ve done it over time to where guys believe in that whole process. It doesn’t mean we’ll be able to do it every single game – we fell short a couple weeks ago – but, nevertheless, our guys always feel like we have a chance.

“When you’ve been through quite a few of them, I don’t get that nervous in those situations.”

Goff led a comeback from a 24-13 deficit in Sunday’s 35-30 win over the Cowboys. The game-winning moment was a 53-yard touchdown throw in the third quarter, a play on which Goff hit Gurley with a perfect pass in stride. That victory followed a 292-yard, three-touchdown pass performance from Goff in an exciting 41-39 win over the 49ers in Week 3.

the Broncos led the league in defensive DVOA with a pass defense that was nearly 10 percentage points better than any other team.

Meanwhile, the Texans have released their home uniform schedule. As usual, they’ll wear solid-white for their home opener Sept. 10 against the Jaguars. They’ll also wear their red alternate jerseys on Dec. 10 against the 49ers.

It’s also worth noting that the Texans haven’t yet announced whether they’ll be adding a patch or helmet decal related to Houston’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey, but it seems highly likely that the team, and maybe the entire league, will make some sort of uni-related gesture. Stay tuned.

If you like the new look, enjoy it while you can because team owner Amy Adams Strunk has told reporters that the team will have a new uni design next season.

In fact, sportsbooks have capitalized on the ever-increasing desire for NFL coverage by releasing lines for Week 1 games months in advance. Market-setting sportsbooks like Westgate and Bookmaker opened their numbers way back in April, giving bettors four and a half months to analyze Week 1 lines.

In 2015, the Broncos led the league in defensive DVOA with a pass defense that was nearly 10 percentage points better than any other team. In 2016, the Broncos led the league in defensive DVOA with a pass defense that was nearly 20 percentage points better than any other team. I don’t think it would be safe to project that trend to continue — the Broncos have already lost DeMarcus Ware to retirement, Wade Phillips to the Rams, Shane Ray to injured reserve, and dumped T.J. Ward last week — but they could regress and still project to be the league’s best defense.

Cowboys’ Jaylon Smith will make NFL debut on Saturday vs. Colts

After a long year on the sidelines, Jaylon Smith will finally make his NFL debut.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Smith will suit up for Saturday’s preseason game against the Colts, saying he was “very excited.”

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was unaware of Lynch’s intention to sit but said he spoke with the veteran rusher after the game.

“(Lynch) said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself,'” Del Rio said. “I said, ‘So you understand how I feel. I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem, but I’m going to respect you as a man. You do your thing, and we’ll do ours.’ So that’s a non-issue for me.”

Lynch was not among the players who kneeled during Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racial injustice last season, though he did praise the controversial quarterback for taking action.

Given the Broncos’ regular-season schedule for 2017, Denver better get its quarterback situation figured out well before it hosts the Los Angeles Chargers to open the season on a Monday night. Because the remainder of the Broncos’ schedule is tough.

The Broncos will appear on national TV in primetime slots five times in 2017, which means the NFL still considers them the attractive playoff contender they are. But that also means Denver’s quest to return to the playoffs after the Super Bowl hangover that was its 2016 season will not be easy. Here’s a breakdown of the Broncos’ 2017 schedule in its entirety.

He’s the biggest bust in Redskins history as the No. 3 overall pick in 1994, but he struggled most through his final NFL season in 1997. Shuler went 4-5 in his second, final chance with two touchdowns to a whopping 14 interceptions as part of a 46.6 passer rating. It took the Saints about a decade after to find their best-ever QB, Drew Brees.dolphins_027

Richard Jefferson not ready to retire, returning for 17th NBA season

There might be a reason why LeBron James wasn’t actively recruiting players to the Cavaliers. Maybe he knew the Cavs were keeping the gang together.

After re-signing Kyle Korver, the Cavs will also get veteran forward Richard Jefferson back.

He has participated in the Derby twice, in 2013 and ’15 (he finished second in 2015), but has said he won’t participate again in the event until 2018, when the Nationals host the All-Star Game.

With two homers in Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Cardinals, Harper is tied for sixth in the NL with 20.

The five-time All-Star led the NL in fan balloting with more than 4.6 million votes this year.

Though Harper won’t participate, the field was finalized Monday with Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez joining Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, along with Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, Rockies leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon, Mike Moustakas of the Royals, Miami first baseman Justin Bour, and Twins third baseman Miguel Sano.

“I don’t believe reports,” Baker told reporters at the 2015 winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. “Who knows why? I mean, who’s to say the allegations are true? And who’s to say what you would’ve done or what caused the problem?” (Ed.: The Nationals have tried to acquire Chapman on multiple occasions, either by trade or free-agent signing.)

A DV policy is another necessary, long-overdue idea. But it doesn’t matter whether we’re not actively putting words into action and examining those words, beliefs and traditions, and how we, as Perera pointed out, “pass them down.” If MLB wants to light a path for players’ self-reflect on issues of equality and conduct, it has to commit at a level it has not yet comfortably reached.

Kahrl sees the work as essential, but also observes that changes in the industry stretch beyond players and team personnel.browns_034

Other possibilities for a spot among the protected seeds at this late stage include Notre Dame

The Louisville Cardinals, who fell to Duke in a thriller at the Barclays Center, and Baylor Bears, stunned by the Kansas State Wildcats in the nightcap in Kansas City, join Florida State and Arizona as threes. The Florida Gators, Butler Bulldogs, Purdue Boilermakers, and West Virginia Mountaineers comprise the four line, with only the Bulldogs sitting Friday from that quartet.

9, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and SMU Mustangs out of the American, the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers and an Iowa State Cyclones squad that suddenly has a great shot to win the Big 12 tourney.

Bids by Conference: ACC (10); Big East and Big Ten (7); Big 12 (6); SEC (5); Pac-12 (4); American, Atlantic 10 and West Coast (2); 23 single-bid conferences

Thanks to Thursday wins, the Michigan State Spartans, Northwestern Wildcats, Seton Hall Pirates, and Xavier Musketeers can breathe a whole lot easier heading into the weekend. On the other hand, the Marquette Golden Eagles, Providence Friars, and USC Trojans have a long weekend’s wait ahead of them after tasting conference quarterfinal defeat.

Kansas State and the Vanderbilt Commodores cannot feel safe yet, particularly a Wildcat team that’s handing the Selection Committee a poor nonconference schedule (227th compared to Vanderbilt’s No. 1). While the Commodores should be in even with a loss to the Florida Gators in tonight’s SEC Tournament quarterfinals, a win over the West Virginia Mountaineers tonight in Kansas City might not be enough to lock up a bid for the K-State.