Monthly Archives: May 2017

Sherman calls story on Seahawks’ discord ‘nonsense’

Richard Sherman strongly dismisses the reported discord within the Seattle Seahawks’ locker room.

On Thursday, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham dropped an in-depth story detailing the growing strained relationship between offensive and defensive players dating back to before their Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots. Within the story, Wickersham cited sources both on and off the record giving a glimpse inside the locker room.

Sherman was the focal point of the article and his inability to get over Malcolm Butler’s title-shifting interception.

“He’s always looking at what other people are doing,” a former Seahawks assistant coach told Wickersham about Sherman. “He’s made it personal. It’s your fault we’re not winning. It wears guys thin.”

That was just one of the many points in an article that suggested a rift between Sherman, Russell Wilson and other Seahawks.

“Sherman, who like Wilson declined comment for this story, thinks [Pete] Carroll hasn’t held Wilson or many young Seahawks to the defense’s championship standard,” Wickersham wrote. “He’s been disillusioned not only by that single play (Butler’s interception) more than two years earlier but also by his coach’s and quarterback’s response to it.”

Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday, Sherman rejected the premise of the story.

“It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” Sherman said.

Seattle teammate Michael Bennett also disputed the article, tweeting at ESPN: “this article is trash and should be on TMZ. It’s all gossip, I’m surprised this came from you.”

Added Bennett: “I love (Russell Wilson). Great teammate and friend and even better human. I was at his house last week and he gave me BBQ ribs.”

Aaron Donald not at start of Rams OTAs; sides talking contract

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Rams general manager Les Snead said contract talks between the team and All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald are in a “serious” stage, and he reaffirmed the Rams “like Aaron and want him to be around.”

The optimism shared by Snead signals that new deal for Donald is expected before the start of training camp — if not sooner, much sooner.

Donald wasn’t in attendance for Day 1 of organized team activities Monday, prompting speculation that he was either injured or staying away for contract reasons. Snead confirmed the latter, adding that the team was aware Donald would not be at OTAs. Though Snead did not say it, he didn’t deny that Donald was staying away to avoid injury until a deal is finalized.

Donald, who turns 26 Tuesday, is believed to be training at home in Pittsburgh, according to a source.

Donald, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons, is scheduled to earn $1.8 million this season — well below market value for one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL. The two-time All-Pro and 2014 defensive rookie of the year has recorded 28 career sacks, four forced fumbles and 164 tackles in his career — huge production for an interior player.

While Snead declined to get into specifics, he said “you always look at comparisons” to other players’ deals when formulating a new contract. In other words, Donald is about to become one of the highest paid defensive tackles — if not one of the highest paid defensive players — in the NFL.

Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s average annual salary is $19.1 million. Jets DT Muhammad Wilkerson and Eagles DT Fletcher Cox each average just more than $17 million. Those contracts could shape the framework of a potential new deal for Donald.

The numbers likely will be higher since new deals tend to reset the market and because of Donald’s age, impact and projected future production.

Opening of Inglewood stadium delayed until 2020

The opening of the new joint Rams and Chargers stadium in Inglewood, Calif., has been delayed until 2020.

Both clubs confirmed the one-year push back on Thursday, releasing statements that cited an unexpected amount of rainfall for a delay in construction. The new Los Angeles Stadium was set to open in time for the 2019 season, but will now open in the summer 2020, per both teams.

Developers broke ground on the site in November of 2016, per The Los Angeles Times.

“Unfortunately, Southern California experienced record-setting rain this winter,” a statement from the Rams read. “Despite bringing drought relief to the region, the rain fell during the mass excavation period of construction when no other work could proceed in wet conditions. As a result, we experienced significant delays and lost the better part of two months from early January into the beginning of March.”

Per the L.A. Times, water at times stood up to 12 to 15 feet deep from all the rain this past winter, causing the site to resemble a “lake” during the excavation period. The newspaper also noted that the nearby Los Angeles International Airport received 15.4 inches of rain from November to February, which is more than double the average amount of rainfall for the area.

The Chargers confirmed that they will now play at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center in Carson, California through 2019. According to the L.A. Times, the Rams plan on playing at the Coliseum in Los Angeles for two more years — a move that is allowed under the terms of their current lease from the University of Southern California.

In a statement, Chargers president of business operations A.G. Spanos cited the need to have a flawless opening.

“Our focus is always on the fan experience,” Spanos said. “Our future home will be the best stadium in the NFL and deliver a transformational experience for Chargers fans. If getting it right means pushing back the completion date, then I think the extra year is well worth it.

“Construction is our family business, so we understand the challenges that come with a project of this magnitude. At StubHub Center we are creating an unparalleled environment for watching NFL football, and considering that no other venue in the league brings you closer to the action, we think Chargers fans will enjoy our three years in Carson.”

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who is already touting the snug StubHub Center as an advantage, said he is looking forward to playing in Carson.

In terms of the current state of the stadium’s construction site, the Rams noted that “the stadium bowl is 90 feet deep and fully excavated.” Construction crews have already “removed six million cubic yards of dirt,” per the Rams.

The L.A. Stadium is set to host Super Bowl LV in February 2021. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted that stadiums are required to be open for two seasons before they can host a Super Bowl, so the L.A. site would need a waiver from owners to host in 2021.

According to the L.A. Stadium’s official website, the 70,000 seat stadium will sit in a “district” with a 6,000-seat performing arts space, mammoth office spaces, 300 hotel rooms, “modern residences” and 25 acres of “public parks, open space, pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths.”

The ambitious, $2.6 billion project will be the second NFL stadium to host multiple NFL teams at the same time, after MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes victim of aggravated robbery

Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick Patrick Mahomes got out of a sticky situation unscathed.

The Chiefs quarterback and three others were robbed Friday night in Tyler, Texas, the Smith County Sherriff’s Office confirmed to NFL Media.

Sgt. Darrell Coslin with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said Mahomes and three friends returned home after attending a baseball game. Upon pulling into the driveway, another car blocked them in. A robber got out of his vehicle and approached Mahomes and the others, acting as if he had a gun in his waistband. The robber demanded the victims’ goods, who complied.

Per police, the robbery was random and Mahomes, who is from Tyler, was not targeted.

After getting a description of the vehicle, police found the car in the area a short time later. The stolen property was found in the car. No gun was seen during the robbery and no gun was recovered, police said.

Police arrested Michael Pinkerton and Billy Ray Johnson. Pinkerton confessed to the robbery during an interview with deputies, according to police. He is charged with felony aggravated robbery and being held on bond. According to police, it’s unclear if Johnson was in the car when the robbery took place. He is charged with felony tampering with evidence (he was found with some items) and possession of narcotics.

The Chiefs released the following statement: “The team is thankful Patrick and everyone involved are safe because that’s what’s most important.”

Ex-Cards, Pats WR Michael Floyd signs with Vikings

Michael Floyd’s short foray into unemployment has ended.

The maligned former first-round pick signed with the Minnesota Vikings after a quiet free agency, the team announced Wednesday. Floyd, 27, most recently played with the New England Patriots. He was dismissed from the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 14 — two days after he was arrested on drunken driving charges in Scottsdale, Arizona.

According to a police report obtained by NFL.com, Floyd was “unconscious behind the wheel of his running vehicle at the intersection in Scottsdale” just before 3 a.m. He pleaded guilty to an extreme DUI charge in February and was sentenced to jail and counseling.

“Coach [Mike] Zimmer and I are confident Michael Floyd has learned and grown from his past decisions,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said in a statement. “He has accepted full responsibility and is taking encouraging steps to improve. We have offered Michael the full support and assistance of the Minnesota Vikings organization and our player development programs. We are aware that Michael is subject to discipline from the NFL and will work with both him and the NFL in a professional manner. We are excited to have Michael and believe he can be a productive member of our football team and community.”

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Floyd’s contract buffers the Vikings from many risks. The heavily-incentivized deal is worth $1.5 million for one year, but could be worth as much as $6 million.

Floyd caught 33 balls for 446 yards and four touchdowns over his final 13 games with the Cardinals, and added an additional four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown while with the Patriots.

The move will obviously be applauded by Vikings fans looking for more offensive punch. The team relied heavily on Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph and Adam Thielen during the first year of the Sam Bradford era, though none produced a 1,000-yard season. Laquon Treadwell, the team’s first-round pick in 2016, appeared in just nine games, catching one pass for 15 yards.

Floyd’s speed and imposing frame add a different dimension for the Vikings. During his short stint with the Patriots, he also revealed his willingness to block aggressively downfield — welcome news for the team’s brand-new running back tandem of Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, this could be Floyd’s best chance at remaining in the NFL. He is still young for the position and could find open arms in a place where he was twice named the state’s high school football player of the year.

Panthers OT Michael Oher cited for misdemeanor assault

Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Michael Oher has been cited for allegedly assaulting an Uber driver in Nashville, Tennessee.

The incident was reported on April 14, and Oher has been ordered to appear in court on May 8 for the misdemeanor assault charge.

Oher, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, is best known as the subject of the 2009 Hollywood movie “The Blind Side.”

“We are aware an incident occurred involving Michael,” team spokesman Steven Drummond said. “We have no further comment at this time.”

According to the incident report acquired by ESPN.com, the Uber driver told Nashville Metro police that he picked up Oher and four other friends to go to a restaurant. The driver told police that Oher suggested the driver did not know where he was going and an argument broke out.

The argument continued at the destination of the ride as Oher and the driver got out of the car. The report said “the victim then put his hands towards the suspect’s face and the suspect pushed him down onto the ground.”

The report said the driver also claimed “that the suspect then kicked him in the leg while he was on the ground.”

The other passengers then, according to the report, got out of the car and restrained Oher.

Oher missed the final 13 games of the 2016 season with a concussion. He remains in the concussion protocol, but team officials are hopeful he will be ready for the 2017 season.

Oher was the starting left tackle at the time of the concussion, but he is expected to move to the right side with the signing of free agent Matt Kalil.

RB Jamaal Charles scheduled to meet with Broncos Tuesday

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Jamaal Charles, who has caused the Denver Broncos plenty of headaches over the course of his touchdown-filled career, will meet with the Broncos on Tuesday.

If Charles passes a physical and the Broncos’ medical staff gives a favorable prognosis, the expectation is for the Broncos and Charles to try to close out a contract for the veteran running back.

Charles, 30, who tore his right anterior cruciate ligament in October 2015, played in just three games last season because of pain in his knees. He had just 12 rushing attempts for the season before the Chiefs put him on injured reserve in November.

He had arthroscopic surgery on both knees, which prompted the move to injured reserve. The Chiefs could have activated Charles and moved him to the active roster for their final regular-season game, but they chose not to.

They then released him after season’s end. Charles also tore his left ACL in 2011, so the Broncos’ medical staff will likely be a big voice in the decision. But the Broncos are poised to try to sign Charles, as a situational player, if they get a favorable medical report.

Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway and coach Vance Joseph have made no secret they are looking for more potential big-play pop at running back. Their projected No. 1 back at the moment — C.J. Anderson — is coming off knee surgery, while Devontae Booker had a productive rookie season.

The Broncos also signed former Ravens running back Bernard Pierce as a “futures” player this past January. They then traded Kapri Bibbs to the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend and selected Coastal Carolina running back De’Angelo Henderson on Saturday.

Henderson, who ran a sub-4.5 40-yard dash at the scouting combine is the fastest of the team’s backs. Booker, Anderson and Pierce all have similar styles, so if Charles passes a physical and can resurrect even some of his past explosiveness, the Broncos would want to add that to their offense.

Charles has four 100-yard rushing games against the Broncos in his career, including a 259-yard effort during the 2010 season.