Monthly Archives: August 2017

Cheap Teddy Bridgewater Jersey

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, one year removed from a horrific knee injury that some thought would end his career, is “all-in, trying to get ready to play,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday.

Bridgewater is rehabbing daily at the team’s practice facility, and Zimmer said the quarterback has “progressed a lot.”

“I don’t watch him every single day because he’s over there off to the side while we’re practicing,” Zimmer said. “But the reports I get are all positive. And he knows where he’s at and where he’s got to get to. I think he’s progressing well.”
On Aug. 30, 2016, Bridgewater dislocated his knee and tore several ligaments, including the ACL, when he went down during a noncontact drill at practice.

The injury ended a 2016 season that had been full of promise. In 2015, Bridgewater had led the Vikings to their first division title since 2009 and had been selected to the Pro Bowl. He led the league in completions in the red zone.
If Bridgewater starts the season on the physically unable to perform list, he would be eligible to come off after six weeks.

When asked what Bridgewater would have to show to be able to come off the PUP list, Zimmer said, “He’s got to be able to protect himself on the field and be able to do the movements that are required by his position.”

“When he’s there, he’ll practice,” Zimmer added.

Zimmer also talked about the team’s move in the aftermath of Bridgewater’s injury, trading a first-round pick in 2016 to acquire Sam Bradford from the Eagles. Despite a 5-0 start, the Vikings finished 8-8, third in the NFC North, and missed the playoffs.

Zimmer said he believes the trade for Bradford was a good move.

Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater is working his way back after he dislocated his knee and tore several ligaments, including the ACL, during a noncontact drill at practice on Aug. 30, 2016.

Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater is working his way back after he dislocated his knee and tore several ligaments, including the ACL, during a noncontact drill at practice on Aug. 30, 2016.

“I still think the trade was the right trade for us,” he said. “Obviously, it was a freak thing that happened with Teddy, but I don’t know, I guess you always handle it the best way you can and try to figure it out.”

The Vikings will start the season with Bradford, backed up by Case Keenum, who was signed in the offseason. In May, the team declined the fifth-year option on Bridgewater’s contract, so he’ll be a free agent after the 2017 season.

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant says he took an “intentional” late hit from Indianapolis Colts safety Matthias Farley while on the ground during Saturday’s 19-15 loss.

While discussing how he bulked up in the offseason to prepare for NFL physicality, Bryant referenced a screen play early in the second quarter that resulted in a gang tackle. Cornerback Vontae Davis brought Bryant down by his right ankle, and with his left knee down, Farley flew in for an upper-body hit.
“I feel better about my body and my ability on the field. I don’t have to worry about taking so many injuries from different plays like yesterday where he tried to hurt me,” Bryant told ESPN. “Just making sure my body feels good and I stay in shape.”

Asked about the nature of the hit, Bryant said it was “definitely intentional.”

“I was already on the ground. It is what it is,” Bryant said. “My foot was already bent. … [Farley] just came in and hit me.”

Replays showed Bryant getting bent backward on the play, but he got up on his own.

Bryant, who is under conditional reinstatement after missing all of 2016 for multiple drug offenses, lost 3 yards on the play and finished the game with 23 yards on five catches.

He is the Steelers’ starting No. 2 receiver after recording 15 total touchdowns in his first 21 NFL games.

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New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo wasn’t willing to reveal a detailed timetable on injured wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, who were both knocked out of Monday’s 10-6 preseason loss to the Cleveland Browns.

“Odell has an ankle [injury]. We’ll see how he responds to treatment,” McAdoo said Tuesday during a conference call. “Brandon has a shoulder [injury], and again we just have to see how these two guys respond to treatment.”

Asked if Beckham had a high ankle sprain or a low ankle sprain, McAdoo again decided to play it coy.
“It’s an ankle,” he said.

Initial X-rays on both players were negative. McAdoo said both players will be evaluated day by day based on how they respond to treatment.

McAdoo also didn’t directly answer a question about how Beckham felt Tuesday after he took a hard hit to the leg from Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun.

“He’s going through treatment. Got a scan. Has an ankle,” McAdoo said.

Even though Beckham was optimistic after the game, it wasn’t reassuring listening to McAdoo the following day with the regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys 19 days away. Beckham was “very sore” on Tuesday morning, a source told ESPN.

McAdoo was slightly more expansive on Marshall, who was injured after being exposed on a hit from Browns rookie safety Jabrill Peppers in the first half.

“We just had him in here for a treatment session, and we’ll take it day to day,” McAdoo said.

Beckham left the game early in the second quarter. He walked off the field and jogged into the locker room before hunching into a ball in the hallway of FirstEnergy Stadium. Beckham returned to the sideline out of his uniform and in a hoodie for the second half and jogged into the locker room after the contest.

The Giants’ next preseason game is Saturday night against the New York Jets. McAdoo doesn’t intend to alter his plan with the Giants starters despite losing several key players to injury against the Browns.

“I think you have to play the game to get better at the game,” McAdoo said.

McAdoo said after the game Monday that Beckham would play if he was ready.

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 NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer, whose claims of police corruption in the 1970s were chronicled in an Al Pacino movie, joined dozens of current and former officers Saturday at a rally in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the NFL.
Kaepernick, the former starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.

He opted out of his contract in March and became a free agent, but so far no NFL teams have signed him for the upcoming season.

The gathering in Brooklyn featured about 75 mostly minority officers wearing black T-shirts reading “#imwithkap.”

One exception was retired officer Frank Serpico, whose exploits were featured in the 1973 film “Serpico.”

He admitted to not being a football fan but said he felt it was important to support Kaepernick for his stance.

“He’s trying to hold up this government, up to our founding fathers,” said Serpico, 81.

Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who said he was heading to work after the rally, spoke of the need for racial healing in the country.

“Until racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it and then we do what we have to do to solve it. Unfortunately we’re going to have these issues,” he said.

Marquise Goodwin paused: out of the track a year ago, so there is no information to the USADA

The United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended Marquise Goodwin on Tuesday for one year for failing to provide his whereabouts for drug testing, but the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver said in a statement that he is no longer competing in track and field.

USADA said in a statement that Goodwin received three whereabouts failures in a 12-month period. USADA requests the information from a select group of athletes for out-of-competition drug testing.

USADA said Goodwin’s suspension began on April 1, the date of his third whereabouts failure.

Goodwin, however, said in a statement provided by the 49ers that he decided to stop competing in track and field so he could focus on his football career and therefore did not supply his whereabouts information to USADA.

“Never in my life have I failed a test,” he said. “I have never been opposed to testing and, in fact, have always been compliant with each and every protocol and policy associated with my competitive career in track and field. More than a year ago, I decided to cease competing in the sport in order to concentrate 100 percent on my NFL career. Therefore, I discontinued all practices associated with competing in track and field, including submitting my ‘Whereabouts’ information.

Marquise Goodwin says he has given up on competing in track and field so he can focus fully on his NFL career.

Marquise Goodwin says he has given up on competing in track and field so he can focus fully on his NFL career.

“It appears that because I did not inform USADA of my plans, my name was inadvertently included in their 2017 testing pool. I greatly appreciate the support of the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League as I work to clarify this matter,” he said in the statement.

The 49ers confirmed that Goodwin had given up his track and field career in order to fully concentrate on football. The team also said that the NFL will not discipline Goodwin under its policy against performance-enhancing drugs.

“Marquise informed our organization quite some time ago that he has no intentions of competing in track and field and has been entirely focused on his football career for more than a year. We have been in touch with the League office regarding this matter, and understand that Marquise will not be subject to discipline under the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances as a result of USADA’s decision,” the team said in a statement.

Goodwin, 26, failed to qualify to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics, when he finished seventh in the men’s long jump at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Eugene, Oregon, last July. He jumped 27 feet, ¾ inches, more than a foot short of Jeffrey Henderson’s winning jump of 28 2¼ inches.

Goodwin, who was with the Buffalo Bills when he competed in the trials, signed with the 49ers as a free agent, receiving a two-year, $6 million contract with $4.45 million guaranteed.

After the playoffs, Martavis Bryant returned to Steelers

LATROBE, Pa. — Martavis Bryant is not yet back to his old, explosive self after his first padded training camp practice in two years. But he vows to be very soon.

Bryant, who’s under conditional NFL reinstatement but was cleared for preseason work last week, said after Sunday’s session that he’s still getting his timing and football conditioning down. Bryant and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed on a few potential connections but got a big gain over the middle late in practice.

“I’m working on getting ready — I’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Bryant told reporters. “When the time comes, I’ll be ready to go … It’s been a long time. I’m just happy to be out here with my brothers.”

Both Bryant and the Steelers had expected the playmaker to start training camp with the rest of the team July 28, but the league hadn’t graduated the receiver to preseason work as part of his return from multiple drug violations and suspensions that cost him all of 2016.

Martavis Bryant, who's under conditional NFL reinstatement but was cleared for preseason work last week, said after Sunday's practice that he's still getting his timing and football conditioning down, but "when the time comes, I'll be ready to go."

Martavis Bryant, who’s under conditional NFL reinstatement but was cleared for preseason work last week, said after Sunday’s practice that he’s still getting his timing and football conditioning down, but “when the time comes, I’ll be ready to go.”

Bryant spent the first two weeks of camp attending meetings and catching passes on an auxiliary field during practices. Bryant said he has “no clue” what the holdup was, but but said he has done everything the league has asked of him.

Bryant, who has 15 touchdowns in 21 NFL games, received a warm reception from Steelers fans attending practice at St. Vincent College, but Bryant said if there’s any resentment from fans, he’s not sweating it.

“I’m out here to get better with my teammates and play football — outside of that, I’m not worried about it,” he said.

Bryant is confident the league will clear him for regular-season action, as he plans to “just handle my business, do what I’m supposed to do, maintain my sobriety.”

The Steelers’ quartet of Bryant, Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell (who’s under the franchise tag and hasn’t reported to camp) has spent a total of 21 minutes of game action together since 2015. Injuries and suspensions have affected the group.

Bryant, who said he recently had a “great conversation” with Roethlisberger to clear up any misunderstandings about his time away from the team, is expecting a big return for the big four.

“We’ve definitely got something special,” Bryant said. “The more work we put in, the better off we’ll be … When Le’Veon gets back, we’re going to put him to work as well.”

Martavis Bryant was cleared by the NFL to participate in the Steelers preseason game

LATROBE, Pa. — The NFL has cleared wide receiver Martavis Bryant to participate in preseason practices and games, according to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Bryant is still under conditional reinstatement and hasn’t been cleared for regular-season games, but Bryant has done what the league has asked of him since serving a yearlong suspension for multiple drug violations.

“[Bryant] will continue to be evaluated as to his readiness to participate in regular-season activities under the terms of his conditional reinstatement,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement.

Bryant participated in offseason work but was benched for training camp practices until now. Recently, he has been working out on an auxiliary field during those sessions.

Bryant is unlikely to play in Friday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants since he hasn’t logged a practice and the team travels on Thursday.

Bryant is an enormous talent, scoring 15 touchdowns in his first 21 NFL games. He has also missed 20 games for drug violations. Bryant said in the spring that he has been clean for a year and has redirected his life.

Welcome to Branden Albert is hypocritical about the Jaguar

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars are unlikely to allow recently retired offensive tackle Branden Albert to return to the team, which is the correct way to handle what has become a bizarre — and somewhat confusing — situation.

Albert doesn’t help the Jaguars much, if at all, on the field. During the only three training camp practices in which he participated, he looked nothing like a two-time Pro Bowl left tackle. He didn’t move well, had trouble in one-on-one pass-rush drills and seemed to be really bothered by the heat and humidity despite spending the past three seasons in Miami.

Cam Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-round pick (34th overall) appeared to be the better player and almost certainly would have won the starting job anyway. Albert would have been relegated to a backup swing tackle or maybe even moved inside to guard.

But the bigger reason for not allowing Albert to return goes to the culture and atmosphere that executive VP of football operations Tom Coughlin and head coach Doug Marrone are trying to establish. They are trying to inject more discipline and accountability into a franchise that has won only 17 games over the past five seasons. Allowing Albert to return wouldn’t fit that.
Albert skipped the Jaguars’ entire offseason conditioning program and organized team activities, which was his right under the collective bargaining agreement because they are voluntary workouts. As a nine-year veteran he certainly knows how to get his body in shape and prepare for a season, and he did participate in the mandatory three-day minicamp in mid-June and reported for training camp with the rest of the veterans.

Branden Albert's decision to retire should be the end of his association with the Jaguars.

Branden Albert’s decision to retire should be the end of his association with the Jaguars.

But after only three practices in four days Albert abruptly decided to retire. That was just before the hardest stretch of what Marrone promised to be the most physical training camp the franchise has seen since Coughlin’s first tenure here ended in 2002. The Jaguars went five consecutive days in full pads last week (six out of seven days because the first day in full pads came before the players’ first day off), which is rare in today’s NFL.

That was designed to hopefully begin to instill some of the toughness that Coughlin and Marrone said was missing from the team the past several seasons. It might not have been as grueling as Marrone would have liked because temperatures rarely topped 90 degrees — a rarity for August — but it was still a brutal week, and the team had its most physical practice of camp last Thursday.

Albert missed it all after walking into Marrone’s office last Monday morning to announce his retirement. He was gone from the facility before lunch, which meant he spent a total of seven days with his teammates: three days of minicamp and four days of camp, including an off day.

Letting Albert return now, when the grind of camp becomes more manageable now that preseason games are beginning, certainly wouldn’t fit the Jaguars’ mantra of accountability and discipline. Can’t imagine his teammates, who slogged through the past week while he was off, would be very welcoming, either.
Not to mention that it’s also bad optics for a franchise that, quite frankly, has been one of the league’s worst over the past decade. They’ve had a top-five draft pick for an NFL-record six consecutive years, they’ve lost 11 or more games in each of the past six seasons, and they haven’t had a winning record since 2007.

A player near the end of his career with declining skills and a recent battle with injuries at one of the most critical positions on offense retires for a week then re-joins a team that can’t get out of its own way? It’s the Jaguars? OK, that fits.

The Jaguars should tell Albert no thanks and move forward. They’ve already gotten back the seventh-round draft pick they sent to Miami for Albert in March. Don’t further compound the mistake of trading for him in the first place.

Derek Carr is looking forward to Marshawn Lynch running through his face,

NAPA, Calif. — What does Derek Carr think will happen after he hands off the football to Marshawn Lynch in a regular-season game?

“He’s going to run through some people’s faces,” the Oakland Raiders quarterback said of his new running back. “I think that’s what he’s going to do. He’s going to protect the quarterback … he’s good at that. Very physical. That part of the game is fun to him.

“I tend to like to slide or go over people, and he likes to go through them.”

Yes, that’s part of the reason the Raiders acquired Lynch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks after he came out of his one-year retirement: to be a punishing runner in a high-octane offense.
So it matters little that through four training camp practices DeAndre Washington has been the one taking most of the snaps with the first team. The job description is all Lynch.

The addition of Marshawn Lynch has elevated already high expectations for the Raiders, coming off a playoff season.

The addition of Marshawn Lynch has elevated already high expectations for the Raiders, coming off a playoff season.

“Just to play in Oakland,” Lynch said in June, “is like a dream come true, or something like that.”

The addition of Lynch has elevated the already high expectations for Oakland, which is coming off a 12-4 season and its first playoff appearance since the 2002 season.

The anticipation is palpable at camp, though Carr is trying to quell it in Napa.
“You always want people saying good things around this time,” Carr said. “But also we know that that’s only because of what happened last year; that’s not even this team. We know what we need to do better.

“We didn’t even beat Kansas City … last year. So I don’t know why everyone is so excited.”

Indeed, while Carr’s first career NFL victory came against the Chiefs, in 2014 after an 0-10 start to the season, he is a combined 1-5 against them.

“We have a lot more work to do to be a better football team,” Carr said. “I understand the excitement of the people that we have, but I don’t understand the excitement of how we finished so far. We need to do a better job there. I think that that’s what keeps our team focused.

“One day when we reach our goal, we’ll look at it and say, ‘Well, that was cool, now we know how to do it’ kind of a thing. Always looking forward to that.”

Almost as much as anticipating Lynch running through someone’s face.

Rookie Josh Jones hit, intercept him into the team defense plan

GREEN BAY, Wis. — When rookie Josh Jones kept making play after play in the offseason practices, there was the typical guarded reaction around the Green Bay Packers.

“We like to reserve judgment when it’s just helmets and shorts,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said at the time. “But I think he looks the part.”

Two days into full-pads practices, Jones continues to make plays.
On Monday, he not only came up with his first training camp interception, but he also had a pass breakup and at least one quarterback pressure that would have been a sack had he been allowed to deliver a hit.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on versatile defender Josh Jones: "He plays with a tenacity, he's always around the football."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on versatile defender Josh Jones: “He plays with a tenacity, he’s always around the football.”

“I’m excited to see what he does in preseason,” veteran cornerback Davon House said.

If Jones continues on his current path, he’ll likely pass that test as well. The second-round pick from N.C. State is on course for a significant role on defense, whether it’s at safety or inside linebacker — or some combination of both.
Jones and another hard-hitting young player, Kentrell Brice, appear to be in a battle for playing time in a package called “Nitro” in which defensive coordinator Dom Capers uses a safety — usually Jones or Morgan Burnett — at inside linebacker and then plays five defensive backs.

“He’s for sure a thumper,” House said of Jones. “He made a pick today, so he can cover, too.”

Jones’ interception came on a perfectly timed break on a pass Brett Hundley threw to the flat for running back Devante Mays. Jones said he read the play the entire way.

“I expected him to throw that,” Jones said. “And I was going to be there.”

Jones’ hard-hitting mentality almost caused a fight in the first padded practice, when he hit rookie receiver Malachi Dupre and then got an earful from veteran tight end Richard Rodgers. Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels said it has already become clear that Jones is “here for business” — an attitude that he says the Packers need more of on defense.

“He’s exactly who we thought he was,” Daniels said of Jones. “He comes in with the right attitude, comes on the field with bad intentions. He has the right type of attitude that you want on defense. It’s nice to have him here. He’s already setting himself up to be a great leader here, just by the way he goes about his business.”

Said Packers coach Mike McCarthy: “He plays with a tenacity, he’s always around the football. He’s very instinctive, has that excellent range, so he’s off to a good start.”

As for Jones’ next step — that preseason opener on Aug. 10 against the Eagles — there’s little reason to think he won’t keep doing what he has done.

“I don’t look backwards, I don’t look forwards,” Jones said. “Today is the day. What I did today is in the past. Now I’m looking on what can I improve? I’m not worried about Aug. 10. I’m not worried about what happened yesterday. It’s just, I’m focused on what I did today.”