Malcolm Jenkins declines to answer questions about White House cancellation

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the players at the forefront of the league’s social-justice movement, met with reporters on Wednesday, for the first time since the President canceled the team’s visit to the White House.

Jenkins had nothing to say about the situation.

Via Sheil Kapadia of TheAthletic.com, Jenkins instead held up signs with handwritten messages, including one that said, You’re not listening. Other signs contained complaints about the realities of the criminal justice system, which Jenkins has been working hard to reform.

Why does that matter? Because contracts for defensive players haven’t really moved since Suh got paid. Von Miller’s 2016 deal, coming on the franchise tag, was largely the same as Suh’s, and landed at 78 percent of what Andrew Luck was making then. Quarterback contracts, meanwhile, keep moving up. Let’s say, based on those numbers, that Donald and Mack get 80 percent of what the top quarterback is getting.

Given that Owens played for so many teams — and routinely nuked the bridge back to each one — it’s possible that Owens realized during his initial visit to Canton that: (1) Hall of Fame weekend won’t be cheap; and (2) the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, and/or Bengals won’t be chipping in to cover the tab.

If Owens can instead persuade another network to televise an induction party, at which Owens would deliver his speech, the network would foot the bill for the event. And Owens would have a one-man Hall of Fame party that potentially will upstage the official enshrinement of Owens and seven others.

Interestingly enough, it was Bryce Callahan of the Bears who was tied with McCain. Callahan is regarded as one of the better slot corners in football, and his agent will surely take note of McCain’s extension. Callahan is scheduled to become a free agent after the coming season. For McCain, he’s getting a substantial raise after earning only $1,803,288 through the first three years of career, according to Spotrac.

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Brian Urlacher disappointed Darren Woodson isn’t joining him in the Hall of Fame

Former Cowboys safety Darren Woodson was among the preliminary nominees for this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class, but he didn’t make the cut. One player who did make the cut isn’t happy about that.

Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who will be enshrined in Canton in August, said that it frustrates him that Woodson has been voted down by the selection committee.

Last year, anthem protests were a toxic subject that dominated the season, as players kneeling, sitting, and raising fists during the national anthem caused fan anger, sponsorship and advertiser fallout, and may have contributed to an overall decline in television ratings.

According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com, Cook was cleared to return to team drills on Monday as the Vikings move through their final week of OTAs. He had been limited to individual drills and rehab work up until this point.

Michael Thomas, a safety for the New York Giants who last year knelt during the anthem as a member of the Miami Dolphins, indicated in an NJ.com report that he would discuss what to do in the coming season with teammates, something new head coach Pat Shurmur also indicated would happen. It’s bigger than us,Thomas said. A lot of people try to make it about something else than what it is. For me and my brothers, we know in our hearts why we’re doing it.

The Panthers likely have the same idea, although exactly how that complementary relationship breaks down remains a question that the team has to answer. McCaffrey ran the ball 117 times as a rookie while Jonathan Stewart toted the rock 198 times and head coach Ron Rivera said on Monday that he thinks McCaffrey would be just fine if he wound up around Stewart’s total in 2018.

Everybody forgets when he was in college he ran between the tackles more than anybody and he touched the ball more than anybody, Rivera said, via ESPN.com. So I don’t see why not.

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J.J. Watt writes prescription for three chill pills for Bill O’Brien

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt received his honorary doctorate degree from Baylor College of Medicine this week. Coach Bill O’Brien was asked Wednesday if Watt would insist on being called Dr. Watt.

He wrote me up a prescription this morning, O’Brien said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. He told me to take three chill pills a day and call him in the morning. I thought I’ve been more chilled out, but I guess he doesn’t think so.

Silver said with more states offering legalized sports gambling, the league wants a piece of the action to offset its additional costs.

One of the issues we had on the table and have been seeking is a so-called ‘integrity fee.’ And the notion of the integrity fee is that, as we’re now dealing potentially with 50 different jurisdictions, all with differing permutations of sports betting law, it’s going to dramatically increase the enforcement cost for the league office, Silver said. So we think the integrity fee is something we’re entitled to because we have the additional cost. Call it a royalty; call it an integrity fee. We will have additional expenses, and it’s ultimately our intellectual property and we ultimately believe we should be compensated for it.

He was on the Bengals’ practice squad during the 2017 regular season.

Orndoff started 23 of 45 career games for the University of Pittsburgh and totaled 58 receptions for 897 yards with 13 touchdowns from 2013-16.

I wouldn’t over-evaluate who is getting the first-team reps, head coach Pat Shurmur said, but I think if you’re talking about Pio specifically, he has really sort of opened his eyes that he has a chance to play.

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Mark Ingram will show up for mandatory minicamp

Mark Ingram wants a new contract, and he’s willing to let his bosses know that. But he’s not going to get fined in the process.

Via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Saints coach Sean Payton said that Ingram would be at the team’s mandatory minicamp June 12-14.

Ingram has skipped the rest of the offseason workouts with the team. He’s also been suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s PED policy, so you wouldn’t think he has the best bargaining position.

Everybody switches, so this guy guards that guy, then that guy over there and so on. Love’s initial availability is in question for Cleveland (concussion protocol). Durant, also used all over, is arguably the NBA’s second-best player after LeBron. Durant has made an effort to be a better defender, another headache in his set of spectacular skills. He’s 7 feet, has great ball-handling skills, can stretch the defense or get to the rim. Somewhere, he’ll match up with James. Again, if Durant-James is a push, the Cavs have no chance. Love scores, rebounds, stretches the defense but defensively is wanting.

White added that he’s built Ford tough in response to a question about what he’s learned about himself over the last three years and that anything I want is possible during the 2018 season. That may not be a popular outside opinion given how things have played out, but actions over the months to come will prove much more significant to White’s future than anything that comes out of his mouth.

I believe this is the best opportunity for me moving forward and I’m eager for what the future holds, Manziel said on PFT Live.

Though Manziel said he spoke with multiple NFL teams this offseason, he wasn’t keen on waiting around much longer.

I didn’t want to get into something down the road where I’m waiting until August, waiting until training camps open, and then if something doesn’t transpire I’m getting here late, he said.

Manziel was drafted 22nd overall by Cleveland in 2014. He was cut two years later following a myriad of off-field issues, including substance abuse and a domestic violence incident involving an ex-girlfriend.

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San Diego AAF team to have coaching staff filled with NFL names

The Alliance of American Football is planning to bring professional football back to San Diego with former St. Louis Rams head coach Mike Martz serving as the head coach of the franchise.

According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Martz’s coaching staff will be filled with many prominent names with NFL backgrounds as well.

The Yankees were off on Monday, then their short interleague series in Washington was reduced to a 5 1/2-inning suspended game on Tuesday and a rainout on Wednesday, then Thursday was another off day.

Friday night’s loss was just the Yankees’ fourth in their last 23 games. With Boston losing at home to Baltimore, the Yanks stayed a game up on the Red Sox for first in the AL East.

Nash averaged 12.4 field goal attempts and 4.1 3-point attempts per game during his four seasons with D’Antoni. By contrast, Harden averaged 20.1 field goal attempts and launched 10.0 3s per game this season, when he led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game.

Marsh added that he felt the Patriots miscast him as a linebacker and all but requested to be cut by the team in November.

I confronted (Bill Belichick) about all the things that were going on, he said. I won’t get into detail, but it was B.S. things they were doing. I just wasn’t a fan. And so I, basically, without asking to get cut, I kind of asked to get cut… I had confidence that I would have an opportunity elsewhere and I would take advantage of it.

Although it’s been impossible to track down any details in the day or so since Geragos said what he said, I get the feeling it’s not Lockhart. I get the feeling it could be someone in even better position to drop the kind of dime that would indeed result in, well, it would be immature to use it a fifth time.

Beyond the fact that he nailed down the $2.275 billion price just before the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates on gambling (possibly resulting in a tremendous spike in franchise values), Tepper will benefit on the back end from a tax law that allows him to essentially drive down the practical cost of the transaction by many millions of dollars.

As explained by Katherine Peralta of the Charlotte Observer, Tepper will be able to write off roughly $120 million per year for the next 15 years. A tax expert explained to Peralta that the law makes the effective price of the franchise roughly $1.7 billion.

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Austin Seferian-Jenkins offers support to Dylan Donahue

Austin Seferian-Jenkins knew the road Dylan Donahue was heading down.

Not the wrong lane of the Lincoln Tunnel specifically, but the greater issue he was dealing with.

The Jaguars tight end and former Jet has tried to help Donahue, after the Jets linebacker checked himself into rehab following a wrong-way crash into a bus.

The most important thing I want to resonate with him is truly finding what’s the underlying issue. Because it’s not necessarily just alcohol. Can he find it? Can he tame it? Nobody’s perfect. It’s not an easy road by any means. But I wanted to make sure that he finds that happiness without a substance. I just really was worried about him. First of all, I just wanted to make sure that he was good as a person and can find himself. Because he’s a really cool dude. He’s a special guy.

Donahue actually had another drunk driving arrest before the tunnel incident, but the Jets stood by the 2017 fifth-rounder, who played in just four games last year before an elbow injury ended his season.

Seferian-Jenkins stood by him too, and that support may make a huge difference.

As noted on Thursday by LawAndCrime.com, attorney Mark Geragos suggested in a Thursday tweet that efforts of the top two members of the executive branch to pressure the NFL to force players to stand for the anthem potentially run afoul of Title 18, Section 227 of the United States Code. A violation of 18 U.S.C. 227 arises if the President and/or the Vice President intended to influence, solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation, an employment decision or employment practice of any private entity and influence[d], or offers or threatens to influence, the official act of another.

A clear example of a prohibited action under 18 U.S.C. 227 would arise if, for example, the President pressures a news outlet to fire a reporter who asks too many tough questions, under threat of revoking access. While more murky as it relates to the NFL, it seems fairly clear that the President and/or the Vice President have pressured (successfully) the NFL to remove the pre-existing right of its players to protest during the national anthem.

It feels too simple to be applicable, but the language is as plain as it can be. And the punishment feels too harsh, with imprisonment of up to 15 years and potential disqualification from holding office.

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Saints place center Gabe Ikard on reserve/retired list

Former New Orleans Saints center Gabe Ikard has decided to retire from football after parts of five seasons spent in the NFL.

Clearly, the dispute regarding the facts of the interactions between the Seahawks and Kaepernick will become an issue in his collusion grievance, which already was due to include depositions of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Seahawks G.M. John Schneider. If those interactions happened verbally, the truth will be resolved by an assessment of the accuracy and overall credibility of the witnesses. If those interactions happened via email or text message, it may be a lot easier to decide who’s telling the truth, and who isn’t.

This is a common dynamic in employment litigation. Early on, the business refuses to consider settlement, opting to fight, fight, and fight some more. Then, after realizing following a few rounds (and one or two standing-eight counts) that the fight may not end well, settlement suddenly becomes far more palatable.

For Kaepernick and Geragos, the question possibly becomes whether they’re willing at this point to let the league and its teams off the ropes, or whether they choose to punch them through.

Sept. 9, 1 p.m. Perhaps a surprising inclusion, this game features a few intriguing quarterback subplots. Kirk Cousins signed with Minnesota in March, though it was once believed he would reunite with Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco. Instead, Jimmy Garoppolo is in charge after joining the Niners in a trade last October. He impressed in six games, going 5-0 as a starter, but a challenge against a stout Vikes defense should be captivating.

After a surprisingly strong rookie season, Diggs badly struggled in coverage his second year before suffering a season-ending pec injury. He bounced back with a vengeance in 2017, first in his normal nickel role, and also later in the year, when he was asked to move to safety. The hard-hitting defensive back transitioned smoothly to that new role, even recording interceptions in three straight games.

Oft-injured, Robinson has flashed potential over the years when he hasn’t been banged up. He’s started games at three different spots, including an unexpected opportunity at guard last season. Ideally, he’s best suited to back up both tackles. There’s still some untapped potential here and there’s a good chance he sticks with Detroit this season in that swing role.

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Every player is asked the same question by at least one reporter at the NFL Scouting Combine: Who do you compare yourself to in the NFL?

Responses at this year’s combine included LSU’s Derrius Guice seeing Beast Mode in himself, and N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb attempting to fuse two of the league’s best edge rushers into one star.

These things — releasing a player who’s making more money than his performance is worth — indeed happen in pro sports. But what Bryant chalked it up to — him not being one of the Garrett guys, who he said expedited his departure — isn’t as common. Not surprisingly, Jones pleaded ignorance on the latter.

We likely won’t know the depth of the locker room dynamic until most of these guys are retired and left only to tell war stories. Bryant isn’t afraid to speak his piece, but there isn’t much more to say than what’s already been said (unless he starts naming names). Instead, we’ll watch to see where he lands, and if/how Dallas (which currently has a trio of Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns and Cole Beasley at receiver) replaces him.

In 2009, Stafford joined a pitiful Lions team that had an aging Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton in the quarterback room. It didn’t take long for Stafford to win the opening day gig. The 2018 Browns traded for veteran Tyrod Taylor and signed Stanton — who must love playing for winless teams — this offseason. Taylor could open training camp as the starter if the rookie drafted isn’t ready take the reins out of the gate.

However the situation shakes out, Stafford’s advice to any rookie is to continue the work that made him the top selection.

Some of those guys are going to go to teams all across the board and different, you know, positions as a team, as an organization, as a roster, all of that, Stafford said. I think the biggest thing you can do is just go be yourself. Be yourself, work hard and let the chips fall as they may. If those guys do that, I think they’ll be successful. All those guys are super talented. You watch them play in college football and they do a great job with their teams. Just go out there, and have fun doing it.

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Griffin listens intently and scowls.

The edge isn’t going anywhere, he says. That edge has been building since I was four years old. People start getting their edge when they start getting good at football—at an older age—but I got this when I was young. I’ve been doubted since I was four years old playing football.

It only grows. It never weakens.

He wants everyone to know his twin is an athlete like everyone else, that Griffin has no limitations and is without a doubt the best defensive player in the draft.

The only thing he has to do is be Shaquem Griffin, Shaquill says. If he can be Shaquem Griffin when he gets to the league, he has nothing to worry about.

The first will be familiar to everyone already glued to this feel-good story. Griffin was four years old…in the kitchen…holding a knife…ready to slice off his deformed left hand. Every time he bumped it, it hurt. He couldn’t play ball with his brothers. His mother seized the knife and had a doctor amputate the hand the next day.

What most may not know, though, is what happened when the Griffins got home. Mom instructed Griffin not to muddy up that bandage. He ignored her and played football. Needed to play football. And he was the happiest four-year-old on the planet.

No wonder he describes that second crossroads almost as an incarceration. Those first three years at Central Florida—under head coach George O’Leary—Griffin was stuck on the scout team as his twin flourished. Stuck in Unit 412, Room C. He’s not letting O’Leary off the hook yet, no. He says he pleaded his case for playing countless times to coaches, and they’d say whatever they could to get him out of the room.

Under O’Leary, he felt like a charity case.

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Twitter is convinced Tom Brady is the man who threatened Stormy Daniels over Trump lawsuit

Daniels herself assured The View on air that the sketch was accurate according to her memory — recollections of a man threatening her in front of her then-infant daughter and telling her not to speak of her 2006 encounter with Trump. She made no suggestion, however, that said man was also Tom Brady.

As soon as that sketch made its way to Twitter, well, Twitter’s tweeters did exactly as you’d expect them to do — they hunted for culprits. And one of the most popular ones, by far, had to be Brady, the same New England Patriots quarterback who once said a Trump presidency would be great and whose team once handcrafted a Super Bowl ring for Trump.

It that’s time of year; the misinformation is flowing and I don’t expect the next 20 minutes to be any different, Keim said, opening the interview session that lasted just a tad longer than 20 minutes.

Want to know whom the Cardinals plan to take with the 15th overall pick? Forget it. Want to know if they’re willing to make a splash and trade up to snag one of the top four quarterback prospects? Nice try. Keim and Wilks weren’t about to tip their hand on any front other than to say they’re preparing as hard as ever for this year’s draft, which will be held next Thursday through Saturday, and they hope they nail it.

About the only thing Keim was willing to unveil is that the team’s primary draft board will be set by Friday, when the Cardinals will have their top 120 players ranked in order. He added that the organization has prepared 5,000 reports involving some 200 players and that the club has left no stone unturned from big schools to small schools, and we’ve certainly searched high and low.

Not for nothing, but Carroll responded last month to Sherman’s claims that Carroll’s style was meant more for college, saying that Sherman has been saying stuff his whole career, so this is nothing different. I’ve been through so much of what he has said, I take it all with a grain of salt. He’s just battling. He’s just trying to figure it out.

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