stats-recaps1
National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Patriots slated to visit White House
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will make their fifth trip to the White House on April 19, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Thursday.

    • The Patriots have met George W. Bush and Barack Obama during their previous title reigns. Their come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI has set up a date with President Donald Trump.

      While quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft view Trump in a favorable light, the same cannot be said for some of the members of the Super Bowl winning team.

      Tight end Martellus Bennett, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, joined running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Don't'a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Devin McCourty in stating that they will not attend for either political or personal reasons.

      Brady is on record as saying he is a friend of Trump while Belichick sent a congratulatory letter to the now President in the final days of his campaign. Kraft attended a campaign donor dinner with Trump after his election and even rode in Air Force One.

  • Goodell: Blandino gets final say on all replays
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Senior vice president of NFL officiating Dean Blandino could be in for a few hectic Sundays at replay headquarters.

    • Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that all NFL replays will be subject to approval by Blandino, not the referee on the field.

      "We are going to centralize the replay back here in New York," Goodell told ESPN. "Dean Blandino will have the final decision. We think that will move it much quicker."

      How the league will handle the circumstance of simultaneous replays in separate games is uncertain.

      Goodell said Thursday the pace-of-game changes he plans to drive this offseason include replay adjustments. The video review protocol also now affords referees to announce the review result in the stadium without waiting for TV commercial breaks.

      Goodell wants officials to "get going, be ready to play."

      He told USA Today that trimming commercial breaks to four per quarter – some games including six or more last season – will also be discussed next week at owner's meetings in Phoenix.

      "You're always going to be re-evaluating these areas and trying to say, what do we do better here?" Goodell said. "Whether it’s in our officiating mechanics, whether it's in our commercial mechanics and how work with our TV partners, what we do in our stadiums -- all those things are going to continue to be high priorities for us."

  • Report: Saints' Payton kicked tires on Manziel
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel were discussing a return to the league for the embattled quarterback during last month's Super Bowl, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday.

    • Payton also was interested in Manziel possibly joining the Saints in the future, according to the report. Manziel has struggled with substance abuse and legal issues since being selected by the Cleveland Browns with a first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 draft.

      Manziel, who is subject to suspension for a violation of the league's personal-conduct policy, has claimed to have rededicated himself to football and cleaned up his life.

      Manziel has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in two NFL seasons. Nicknamed "Johnny Football," Manziel has been out of football since being released by the Browns in March 2016.

      From a Saints' perspective, quarterback Drew Brees is 38 years old and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. New Orleans' current quarterback group consists of Brees, Luke McCown and Garrett Grayson.

  • Raiders up next in Goodell's All The Wrong Moves series
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    NFL owners will discuss a pitch next week followed by a decision whether to allow the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. That this is even a matter of discussion is another indication of the failed leadership of Roger Goodell, the league's commissioner.

    • The NFL is a league whose success has been built on the back of television and the riches that TV confers on the league and its teams. So, given that, why exactly would it make sense to move the Raiders from the nation's No. 6 market (the San Francisco Bay Area) to No. 42 (Las Vegas)?

      Certainly it doesn't make sense based on any logical measures.

      There are more people in the Bay Area, which has a population of more than seven million, compared to 600,000 in the Las Vegas area.

      There is more money in the Bay Area, where the median household income is more than $63,000, highest in the nation, compared to $42,000 in Las Vegas.

      And there is certainly more NFL history in the Bay Area, both with the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. Further, there is a more stable population in the Bay Area than in Las Vegas, which depends on transient tourists for the most significant part of its economy.

      No, there is not a single level on which moving the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas makes a shred of sense, no matter how much loot Vegas interests are willing to commit to the building of a stadium. The NFL ought to be acutely aware of the danger of flirting with eager cities instead of taking care of the cities you already have, after having the Rams move from Los Angeles to Anaheim to St. Louis and ultimately back again, and the Raiders having moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and back again.

      But it might happen and, if it does, you can place the blame strictly at the feet of the commissioner for lack of strong leadership.

      Look, dealing with these teams and their owners is difficult, let's admit that. But that's why Goodell is paid in the neighborhood of $30 or $40 million a year — to solve difficult problems and to exert leadership.

      It makes no sense, zero, none, to take a franchise that has been selling out its games in a crummy stadium in a huge market, and move it to any kind of stadium in a much smaller market away from its loyal fan base.

      Sure, the city of Oakland doesn't have the money to throw at the Raiders to built the kind of palace, say, Jerry Jones put up in Texas. Oakland doesn't have the money to throw at the Raiders to build almost any kind of playpen, probably.

      But let's think about this for a minute.

      The Raiders' Bay Area neighbors, the San Francisco 49ers, had to move to Santa Clara, in the suburbs of San Jose, because they couldn't get a new stadium built in San Francisco. It just so happens that the 49ers' stadium in Santa Clara is about 10 miles closer to Oakland's city hall than it is to San Francisco's city hall.

      Thus, the solution to the Raiders' stadium problem is so simple, it's nuts that the league isn't forcing it down Mark Davis' gullet. Just as the Giants and Jets share a stadium in New Jersey, and the Rams and Chargers in a couple of years will be sharing a stadium in Los Angeles, the 49ers and Raiders ought to be sharing a stadium in the Bay Area.

      Levi's Stadium is not in San Francisco, and it is not in Oakland. For that matter, it is not in San Jose, either, although it is much closer to San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley, than to either of the other two cities. And that's a good thing, because the nation's richest zip codes are a heck of a lot closer to Levi's Stadium than they were to Candlestick Park or than they are to the Oakland Coliseum.

      Strong leadership from the NFL office should have made this happen long ago, but one of the reasons Paul Tagliabue was not voted into the Hall of Fame was his inability to solve the league's California problem. Yeah, we know, even the late, revered Pete Rozelle couldn't satisfy the late Al Davis, and it was on Rozelle's watch that the Raiders moved the first time, to L.A.

      That is ancient history. Times have changed. The price tag for new stadiums has gone through the roof. So has the NFL's income, particularly from television, and did we happen to mention that the Bay Area is a much more significant market than the Las Vegas area?

      Further, what makes a move like this particularly idiotic at this time is that the Raiders are by far, the more attractive Bay Area team for the first time in ages. They are coming off their first winning season and playoff year in 14 years, they have a terrific young quarterback in Derek Carr, and they are a team clearly on the rise, in contrast to the 49ers, who were 2-14 last year and have no idea who their next quarterback is going to be.

      With a strong leader, the NFL would be able to force the only sensible solution, for the Raiders and 49ers to share a stadium. Unfortunately, at just the time the league needs strong leadership, it has Roger Goodell.

      --Ira Miller is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered the National Football League for more than five decades and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He is a national columnist for The Sports Xchange.

  • Kosar addresses insensitive Dwight Clark remark
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar wrote on Twitter that he meant "no disrespect" to Dwight Clark after making a comment on Cleveland radio about the ex-tight end's ALS diagnosis.

    • "We had a bad weekend with Gale Sayers being diagnosed (with dementia) ... Dwight Clark with ALS," the 53-year-old Kosar said on Wednesday on ESPN Radio in Cleveland. "I could make a joke about his struggles in picking players when he was here. It almost makes me wonder if maybe it started earlier."

      Clark served as the Browns director of football operations when the franchise resumed operations. He was with the club from 1999-2002.

      Kosar, who received requests from many for an apology, took to Twitter to address the comment.

      "I absolutely Ment (sic) no Disrespect to Dwight! I Spoke strongly about the need for prevention & care before U Get to This Sad Point!" Kosar wrote.

      Kosar played for the Browns from 1985-1993 and is the team's second all-time leading passer.

      Clark is best known for being on the receiving end of "The Catch" in the 1982 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

      Clark, now 60, recently acknowledged that he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in late 2015 after visits to six neurologists and three ALS specialists.

  • Packers TE Bennett blasts NFL celebration training
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett isn't a fan of the NFL's plan to instruct players how to properly celebrate on the field in an upcoming video.

    • Bennett vented his displeasure in a series of messages on Twitter that were directed at the NFL and Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations.

      "An educational training video on celebrations? Spend that money on something else like a video on investments or something that will help the players," Bennett wrote. "Who gives a (expletive) what guys do when they celebrate. Do something impactful. Y'all wasting guys time with this (expletive). Let the players express their individuality and creativity. Y'all gonna make an educational video on how we should talk next?"

      Bennett wasn't done, saying that the NFL wants players to be robots, not individuals.

      "An educational video on appropriate celebrations. Not signing up for that class," Bennett wrote.

      Bennett, who signed a three-year deal with the Packers earlier this month, said that he would not be in attendance when the video will be shown at training camp. The 30-year-old said he would excuse himself to use the restroom instead.

      Bennett's colorful response came on the heels of Vincent's matter-of-fact reason for the video.

      "We're developing an educational training video for players to show clear examples of appropriate and inappropriate celebrations," Vincent wrote.

      Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked during his State of the NFL speech in Houston during Super Bowl week about the stern reaction to post-score celebrations.

      "That's something we'll look at," Goodell said. "But it's also something that we've been dealing with for well over 35 years since I've been in the league in the same concept: balancing sportsmanship, avoiding taunting and trying to allow players the ability to express themselves in an exuberant way to celebrate. We think that's great. We want to see more of that. We want to see the players do that. But we want to see them do it respectfully to their teammates and their opponents."

      Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was infamously fined for his twerking celebration Week 1 following a touchdown against the Washington Redskins.

  • Packers re-sign RB Michael
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, March 23, 2017

    The Green Bay Packers addressed their limited backfield by re-signing running back Christine Michael to a contract.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael joins converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the lone running backs on the roster.

      Michael was claimed off waivers on Nov. 16 with Green Bay dealing with injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy has signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Starks was released.

      Michael provided a change of pace for Montgomery last season. The 26-year-old Michael had a 42-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in Week 15 to highlight an otherwise pedestrian six-game stretch with Green Bay.

      Michael finished with 31 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown in 2016. He has 254 carries for 1,080 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 37 career games with the Dallas Cowboys, Seahawks and Packers.

  • Vikings RB Murray has surgery on ankle
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Running back Latavius Murray, signed by the Minnesota Vikings last week, underwent successful ankle surgery Wednesday.

    • The Vikings said in a statement that they were aware that Murray would require surgery prior to the team signing him on March 16. Dr. Bob Anderson performed the procedure in Charlotte, N.C.

      "Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp," the team said in a statement.

      The 27-year-old Murray was signed as a free agent to replace perennial Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, who was not re-signed and allowed to walk after Minnesota declined to pick up his 2017 option.

      Murray spent his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and led them in rushing the past two. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 after rushing for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns. He has rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns (12 in 2016) in 45 games (31 starts).

  • NFL notebook: Goodell wants to improve pace of game
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims he has heard the average fan's discontent about the pace of the game and intends to do something about it.

    • In an email addressed to the fans on Wednesday, Goodell wrote that the NFL will make a series of changes that will help improve "the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of necessary disruptions to the game on the field."

      Case in point, Goodell told the USA Today that "it drives me crazy" when he's watching a game that shows a kickoff sandwiched around a pair of commercial breaks.

      "We call those 'double-ups.' They actually occurred 27 percent of the time (on kickoffs last season). And that's still too high for us," Goodell said.

      Goodell promised in the email that the league will tweak in-game timing and replay reviews, with next season to feature starting of a clock after a player goes out of bounds and the duration of halftime. A play clock also will be instituted after extra points.

      A vote is expected at the league meetings next week in Phoenix on a replay system in which referees review plays on tablets, rather than a fixed sideline monitor. The referees will provide input to the officiating headquarters in New York, which will make the final decision.

      --NFL owners could vote next week at the league meetings on the Oakland Raiders' proposed move to Las Vegas.

      The league meetings begin Sunday in Phoenix and run through March 29. The Raiders need the approval of 24 of 32 owners to relocate to Las Vegas.

      According to CSN California and CBS Sports, relocation is on the owners' agenda and a vote could come as early as Monday. A vote also could be postponed until the owners' May meetings in Chicago.

      One team owner told ESPN's Dan Graziano that a vote next week is "more probable than not." A vote would be contingent on the Raiders securing a lease and fulfilling other obligations, according to ESPN. Raiders owner Mark Davis filed an application with the league in January to move the team from Oakland to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.

      --Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will not face a felony charge in an alleged spitting incident at the Hamilton County Jail.

      Jones still faces charges of assault, obstruction of official business and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

      Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters issued a statement decrying Jones for his behavior, for which three misdemeanor counts remain. Deters said the harassment with a bodily substance charge was dismissed at the request of the prosecution.

      --The Miami Dolphins restructured linebacker Koa Misi's contract for the 2017 season, allowing him to stay with the team, according to multiple reports.

      Misi was scheduled to earn $4.1 million this season with a salary-cap hit of $4.8 million.

      The 30-year-old Misi was limited to three games last season due to a neck injury. The seven-year pro missed 21 games the last three seasons.

      --The Jacksonville Jaguars may have found their replacement for Julius Thomas by signing fellow tight end Mychal Rivera to a contract.

      Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team for Rivera, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported it's a one-year deal with a team option for a second season.

      Rivera endured his least productive of his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders in 2016, reeling in just 18 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown. The 26-year-old's best campaign came in 2014, as he had 58 catches for 534 yards and four scores.

  • Jaguars sign TE Rivera
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    The Jacksonville Jaguars may have found their replacement for Julius Thomas by signing fellow tight end Mychal Rivera to a contract on Wednesday.

    • Terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team for Rivera, but Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reported it's a one-year deal with a team option for a second season.

      Rivera endured his least productive of his four seasons with the Oakland Raiders in 2016, reeling in just 18 receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown. The 26-year-old's best campaign came in 2014, as he had 58 catches for 534 yards and four scores.

      Rivera has 146 receptions for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns in 61 career games with the Raiders.

      Rivera will join fellow tight end Marcedes Lewis in a bid to replace Thomas, who was traded to the Miami Dolphins in the offseason.

  • Prosecutor drops Pacman Jones' felony charge
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will not face a felony charge in an alleged spitting incident at the Hamilton County Jail.

    • Jones still faces charges of assault, obstruction of official business and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors.

      Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters issued a statement Wednesday decrying Jones for his behavior, for which three misdemeanor counts remain. Deters said the harassment with a bodily substance charge was dismissed at the request of the prosecution.

      Jones, 33, was apprehended for turning violent when he was approached at the Downtown Millenium Hotel late in on the night of Jan. 2. Jones allegedly kicked at and head-butted police officers who took him into custody.

      When he arrived at the jail early on Jan. 3, Jones, according to court records, spit on a jail nurse who attempted to provide treatment. Deters said Wednesday the nurse was seeking a civil suit against Jones.

  • Goodell outlines changes to improve pace of play
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell claims he has heard the average fan's discontent about the pace of the game and intends to do something about it.

    • In an email addressed to the fans on Wednesday, Goodell wrote that the NFL will make a series of changes that will help improve "the flow and pace of the game, and commercialization and the number of necessary disruptions to the game on the field."

      Case in point, Goodell told the USA Today that "it drives me crazy" when he's watching a game that shows a kickoff sandwiched around a pair of commercial breaks.

      "We call those 'double-ups.' They actually occurred 27 percent of the time (on kickoffs last season). And that's still too high for us," Goodell said.

      Goodell promised in the email that the league will tweak in-game timing and replay reviews, with next season to feature starting of a clock after a player goes out of bounds and the duration of halftime. A play clock also will be instituted after extra points.

      A vote is expected at the league meetings next week in Phoenix on a replay system in which referees review plays on tablets, rather than a fixed sideline monitor. The referees will provide input to the officiating headquarters in New York, which will make the final decision.

      "What we're looking to do is take that down time out, which is not entertaining," Goodell told USA Today. "And in our research, we had biofeedback, so we could see what they were watching and you could tell when they're not as interested in what's happening in the broadcast.

      "In today's day and age, we have to give our fans every reason to watch what's happening, find what they see on television and in the stadium as compelling. Don't give them a reason to turn away."

  • Dolphins LB Misi restructures contract
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    The Miami Dolphins restructured linebacker Koa Misi's contract for the 2017 season, allowing him to stay with the team, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    • Misi was scheduled to earn $4.1 million this season with a salary-cap hit of $4.8 million.

      The 30-year-old Misi was limited to three games last season due to a neck injury. The seven-year pro missed 21 games the last three seasons.

      The 6-foot-3, 256-pound Misi had 22 tackles last season and 78 in 2015 while playing 13 games, all starts. For his career, he owns 360 tackles, 12 sacks and two forced fumbles.

      General manager Chris Grier was concerned about Misi's neck injury when he talked to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.

      "Koa right now is coming off significant neck surgery so we've just got to see where it is," Grier said. "But right now he's in our plans. We'll see. He's got a checkup again in May so it'll be probably the first time we'll really know where he'll stand in terms of his football career going forward."

  • Owners may vote next week on Raiders' proposed Vegas move
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    NFL owners could vote next week at the league meetings on the Oakland Raiders' proposed move to Las Vegas,.

    • The league meetings begin Sunday in Phoenix and run through March 29. The Raiders need the approval of 24 of 32 owners to relocate to Las Vegas.

      According to CSN California and CBS Sports, relocation is on the owners' agenda and a vote could come as early as Monday. A vote also could be postponed until the owners' May meetings in Chicago.

      One team owner told ESPN's Dan Graziano that a vote next week is "more probable than not." A vote would be contingent on the Raiders securing a lease and fulfilling other obligations, according to ESPN.

      Raiders owner Mark Davis filed an application with the league in January to move the team from Oakland to Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.

      The team is proposing to build a $1.9 billion domed-roof stadium in Las Vegas, near the Strip. The stadium would be financed with $750 million in public funding and a $650 million construction loan from Bank of America, with the Raiders and the NFL adding an additional $500 million mostly from the sales of personal seat licenses.

      The Raiders would still need to sign a lease with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board, which is not expected to review the terms again until after the Phoenix meetings.

      The proposed stadium also would become home for UNLV's football team, and Las Vegas officials expect the facility to open in 2020. The Raiders would need to play the 2019 season in a temporary facility because they have only two years remaining on their Coliseum lease.

      Ronnie Lott, a former Raiders defensive back, is working with Oakland officials on a plan to build a $1.3 billion stadium near the Coliseum, but it appears to be a long shot considering the lack of interest from Davis and NFL executives.

      The Raiders would pay a transfer fee in the range of $325 million to $375 million in connection to the proposed move to Las Vegas, Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported. That would be considerably less than the $650 million the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers each paid to move to Los Angeles.

  • NFL notebook: Panthers' Newton to undergo shoulder surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Star quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers will undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff next Thursday, but expects to be ready for the start of training camp, the team announced.

    • Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (back) and wide receiver Damiere Byrd (knee) also will undergo surgery. Johnson and Byrd also are expected to be back in time for camp.

      As a result, none of the three will participate in the Panthers' organized training sessions.

      Newton's injury occurred in the Panthers' Week 14 game against the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers. He played in each of the team's remaining three games and underwent offseason MRI exams to monitor his progress.

      Newton, the 2015 league MVP, will begin an early throwing program 12 weeks following the surgery. Should he progress well from there, Newton will resume throwing with the team at 16 weeks.

      --The Atlanta Falcons announced a five-year contract extension through June 2022 for team president and CEO Rich McKay.

      McKay, 58, joined the Falcons as the team's general manager in 2004. He was promoted to president in 2008 after the Falcons hired Thomas Dimitroff.

      McKay is also president of AMB Sports & Entertainment Group and played a key role in the development of the Falcons' new stadium, Mercedez-Benz Stadium. He is also credited with bringing new Major League Soccer expansion team Atlanta United to the city.

      --Colin Kaepernick is the latest target of President Donald Trump's verbal jabs.

      At a rally in Kentucky on Monday, Trump took credit for the fact that no NFL team has signed the free agent, saying he wanted to share the news with "the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag."

      "They (NFL teams) don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump," Trump said. "Do you believe that?"

      Kaepernick drew national attention for his decision to kneel during the national anthem before games earlier this season.

      He has since announced that he will not kneel during the anthem going forward.

      --The Miami Dolphins locked up linebacker Kiko Alonso with a contract that runs through the 2020 season.

      Miami tendered Alonso at the first-round restricted free agent compensation level of $3.91 million for 2017. According to the NFL Network, the two sides agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal with $18.5 million guaranteed that begins with the 2018 campaign.

      --Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Kamar Aiken signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, the team announced.

      Aiken, 27, played for the Baltimore Ravens last season, and had 29 catches for 328 yards and one touchdown. He had a better season in 2015, when he posted team highs in receptions (75), receiving yards (944) and receiving touchdowns (five).

      --Manti Te'o and the Saints have agreed on a two-year deal to bring the former Chargers linebacker and defensive co-captain to New Orleans, ESPN reports.

      Last season, Te'o sustained a season-ending Achilles' tendon tear in Week 3 against the Indianapolis Colts.

      --The Minnesota Vikings finalized their agreement with wide receiver Adam Thielen.

      The contract extension is reportedly worth $17 million over three years with $11 million guaranteed. Thielen was a restricted free agent and the Vikings initially tendered him at the second-round compensation level of $2.746 million.

      --Former San Francisco 49ers running back Shaun Draughn has agreed to a contract with the New York Giants, according to multiple reports.

      The Giants also retained one of their core defensive players when they re-signed linebacker Keenan Robinson.

      --Defensive end Tyson Alualu agreed to sign a two-year deal to join the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team announced.

      Alualu spent his first seven seasons with Jacksonville after being selected by the Jaguars with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

      --North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed approximately 63 of 70 passes during a scripted throwing session on Tuesday attended by an estimated 75 scouts representing virtually every NFL team.

      Among the big names in attendance were San Francisco 49ers' general manager John Lynch and Pittsburgh Steelers' general manager Kevin Colbert, two clubs potentially in need of a young quarterback. No NFL head coaches attended the workout.

      --Washington Huskies cornerback Sidney Jones, a top NFL prospect, underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon.

      Jones is expected to resume running in four months, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

      Jones, widely expected to be a first-round pick, sustained the injury while working out for NFL scouts at the Huskies' recent pro day.

      --The Atlanta Falcons signed three free agents -- fullback Derrick Coleman, guard Hugh Thornton and fullback Soma Vainuku.

      Vainuku and Coleman are being brought in to compete for the starting job at fullback.

  • Dolphins sign Alonso to three-year, $25 million extension
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    The Miami Dolphins locked up linebacker Kiko Alonso with a contract that runs through the 2020 season.

    • Miami tendered Alonso at the first-round restricted free agent compensation level of $3.91 million for 2017. According to the NFL Network, the two sides agreed to a three-year, $25 million deal with $18.5 million guaranteed that begins with the 2018 campaign.

      Alonso led the Dolphins with 115 tackles last season and also had two interceptions. He tied for the NFL lead with four fumble recoveries.

      Alonso was a second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2013 and racked up 159 tackles and four interceptions while earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. He missed the following season with a knee injury before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles the following offseason.

      After one season with the Eagles, he was traded to the Dolphins on March 9, 2016.

  • Colts add Aiken to group of receivers
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Kamar Aiken signed a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts, the team announced Tuesday.

    • Aiken, 27, is expected to add depth to the Colts' receiving corps.

      Aiken played for the Baltimore Ravens last season, and had 29 catches for 328 yards and one touchdown. He had a better season in 2015, when he posted team highs in receptions (75), receiving yards (944) and receiving touchdowns (five).

      Aiken has played for the Ravens (2013-16), Chicago Bears (2012), New England Patriots (2012) and Buffalo Bills (2011).

      In 51 career games, including 20 starts, he has caught 128 passes for 1,539 yards and nine touchdowns.

      "Kamar is a tough competitor and has shown he can be a consistent wide receiver in this league," said Colts general manager Chris Ballard. "He adds a nice complement to our wide receiver group and we look forward to watching him compete."

  • Falcons sign three free agents
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    The Atlanta Falcons signed three free agents -- fullback Derrick Coleman, guard Hugh Thornton and fullback Soma Vainuku -- on Tuesday.

    • Vainuku and Coleman are being brought in to compete for the starting job at fullback, the Falcons said in a release.

      Coleman was signed by Seattle in December of 2012 and played in 31 games with seven starts for the Seahawks. He has 11 career receptions for 91 yards with two receiving touchdowns. He also had 10 carries for 35 yards.

      Thornton was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the 2013 draft out of Illinois. He played in 37 games for the Colts, with 32 starts, playing both left and right guard.

      Vainuku was signed by the Houston Texans in 2016 out of the USC, but was waived/injured in September.

  • Kaepernick the target of Trump jab
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Colin Kaepernick is the latest target of President Donald Trump's verbal jabs.

    • But the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback's former coach, Jim Harbaugh, is stepping up to his defense.

      At a rally in Kentucky on Monday, Trump took credit for the fact that no NFL team has signed the free agent, saying he wanted to share the news with "the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag."

      "They (NFL teams) don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump," Trump said. "Do you believe that?"

      Kaepernick drew national attention for his decision to kneel during the national anthem before games earlier this season.

      He has since announced that he will not kneel during the anthem going forward.

      Harbaugh, who coached Kaepernick in San Francisco from 2011 until he was fired in 2014, said he still believes in Kaepernick's ability as a quarterback.

      "I think he's an outstanding player," Harbaugh, now the coach at Michigan, said on PFT Live on Tuesday. "I think he's a great competitor who's proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player.

      "... Colin will be just fine. He'll just keep plugging away, and I think you'll see he'll have a great career and be a great quarterback. Win championships."

      Kaepernick began last season on the bench but took over as the starter later in the season, throwing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 90.7 rating.

      San Francisco (2-14) had the second-worst record in the NFL last season and holds the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

      On March 3, Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

  • Panthers QB Newton to undergo surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Star quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers will undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff next Thursday, but expects to be ready for the start of training camp, the team announced.

    • Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (back) and wide receiver Damiere Byrd (knee) also will undergo surgery. Johnson and Byrd also are expected to be back in time for camp.

      As a result, none of the three will participate in the Panthers' organized training sessions.

      "It is well-documented and well-researched that overhead throwing athletes commonly have wear and tear to their rotator cuffs," Carolina head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion told Panthers.com.

      "As a result of the MRI, we modified all of Cam's work in the weight room and on the field for the final three weeks of the season."

      Newton's injury occurred in the Panthers' Week 14 game against the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers. He played in each of the team's remaining three games and underwent offseason MRI exams to monitor his progress.

      "We developed a plan for Cam to take a period of rest, a period of rehabilitation and treatment, and then start a gradual throwing program the first part of March," Vermillion said.

      "Cam started his program, and the early parts of his rehab had been going well. However, as we worked to advance him into the next stage -- the strengthening stage, the throwing stage -- he started to have an increase in his pain level and started having pain while throwing.

      "As a result, Dr. Pat Connor (head team physician) felt the most prudent procedure would be to arthroscopically repair the shoulder."

      Vermillion said Newton will begin an early throwing program 12 weeks following the surgery. Should he progress well from there, Newton will resume throwing with the team at 16 weeks.

      Newton, 27, passed for 3,509 yards with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season for Carolina (6-10), which missed the playoffs after finishing last in the AFC South.

      Johnson underwent surgery on Tuesday at Carolinas Medical Center after alerting the Panthers of recent back pain. Vermillion said Johnson received an epidural injection, but did not progress well.

      After the surgery, Johnson is expected to up and moving on Wednesday.

      Byrd, 24, sustained the knee injury while working out on his own, and an MRI exam revealed torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Dr. Connor will perform a scope on his knee at the Carolinas Medical Center on Thursday.

  • Jones undergoes surgery, expects to play in 2017
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Washington Huskies cornerback Sidney Jones, a top NFL prospect, underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon on Tuesday.

    • The procedure was performed by Dr. Robert Anderson. Jones is expected to resume running in four months, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

      Jones, widely expected to be a first-round pick, sustained the injury while working out for NFL scouts at the Huskies' recent pro day.

      The Diamond Bar, Calif. native offered an update his Twitter account Tuesday.

      "Surgery was great. The doctor said that I will for sure be playing this upcoming season. #DontCountMeOut," Jones wrote.

      Jones totaled 39 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed and 2 1/2 sacks in 14 games with the Huskies last season. In three seasons at Washington, Jones had 145 stops, eight picks, 21 passes defensed and 8 1/2 sacks.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Jones as the 13th-best cornerback and the 73rd-best prospect overall in the 2017 draft class.

  • Trubisky solid but not spectacular in throwing session
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Continuing the positive momentum he created at the Scouting Combine a couple weeks ago, North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed approximately 63 of 70 passes during a scripted throwing session on Tuesday attended by an estimated 75 scouts representing virtually every NFL team.

    • Among the big names in attendance were San Francisco 49ers' general manager John Lynch and Pittsburgh Steelers' general manager Kevin Colbert, two clubs potentially in need of a young quarterback. No NFL head coaches attended the workout.

      The Cleveland Browns, owners of the No. 1 and No. 12 overall picks and with a clear need at quarterback, were conspicuously absent. The club reportedly has a private workout already set up with Trubisky, an Ohio native.

      Trubisky also has upcoming meetings scheduled with the 49ers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New York Jets, according to Pro Football Talk.

      Trubisky, a possible top five pick and NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated quarterback for the 2017 draft, elected to stand on his impressive Combine performance when it came to the measurable drills, which preceded a throwing session that one observer on hand for the workout characterized as "solid, but not spectacular."

      Trubisky started his workout with several short passes to the flats and across the middle with a "rusher" forcing him to move. The drill demonstrated the quick feet and balance that stood out on tape and wowed scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine with his 4.67-second 40-yard dash.

      As the workout continued, Trubisky delivered several impressive tosses down the field that showed off his touch and velocity. Despite throwing outdoors in gusty conditions, Trubisky was consistently accurate, though he did occasionally force receivers to adjust to passes slightly behind them.

      One clear exception, however, was a rollout to his right late in the throwing session in which he sailed a deep corner over his intended receiver.

      The 6-foot-2, 222-pound Trubisky is often knocked for his less-than-ideal 13 career starts (all in 2016) but he is surprisingly polished, showing a quick set-up and delivery of the ball, as well as the ability to throw from different platforms. As he was chased Tuesday, Trubisky showed off his improvisational skills, firing passes over the top, from a three-quarters delivery and even side-armed.

      There were several drops of catchable passes, lowering Trubisky's completion rate but overall it was a very solid performance, similar to the one he had in Indianapolis and what Clemson's star Deshaun Watson (one of Trubisky's top competitors) showed at his Pro Day last week.

      Trubisky was obviously the star attraction but the NFL scouts and coaches on hand showed plenty of interest in North Carolina's "other" prospects, a list which included six more Tar Heels invited to the Combine, including running backs Elijah Hood and T.J. Logan, wide receivers Mack Hollins, Bug Howard and Ryan Switzer and defensive tackle Nazair Jones.

      Hollins, who led the nation with an average of 24.8 yards per reception last year, was unable to work out after pulling his hamstring during 40-yard dash testing last month in Indianapolis.

      The Cincinnati Bengals seemed especially interested in the Tar Heels' duo of runners with positional coach Kyle Caskey putting Howard and Logan through drills. The Bengals, of course, already have a former North Carolina running back on the roster in former second-round pick Giovani Bernard.

      Meanwhile, it was a representative of the Chicago Bears putting Jones through his workout.

  • Alualu opts to sign two-year deal with Steelers
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    It didn't take long for Tyson Alualu to make up his mind.

    • After a free agent visit with the Steelers on Monday, the 29-year-old defensive end decided to sign a two-year deal to join Pittsburgh.

      The Steelers announced the signing on Tuesday.

      "As soon as you walk in the building you get a sense from talking to the people, it's real genuine," Alualu told Steelers.com. "Just a place that loves to win, so I would love to be a part of that. Just excited about this opportunity."

      Alualu spent his first seven seasons with Jacksonville after being selected by the Jaguars with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

      In 110 career games (88 starts), Alualu has totaled 258 tackles, 17 1/2 sacks, six passes defensed and a pair of forced fumbles.

      He is expected to play behind starters Cameron Heyward, Javon Hargreave and Stephon Tuitt on the defensive line. While playing mostly at defensive end last season, Alualu has also played at the tackle position.

      "That has been a part of my strength, the versatility of being able to play inside and outside," Alualu told the Steelers' website. "Whatever the coaches want me to play, whatever position, I am just willing to play anything to help out, help this team."

      Last season, Alualu totaled 37 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble in a career-low 14 games (10 starts) with the Jaguars.

      Alualu was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2010 and was First-team All-Pac-10 in 2009, the final season of his standout college career at California.

  • Vikings finalize deal with WR Thielen
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    The Minnesota Vikings finalized their agreement with wide receiver Adam Thielen on Tuesday, the team announced.

    • The contract extension is reportedly worth $17 million over three years with $11 million guaranteed. Thielen was a restricted free agent and the Vikings initially tendered him at the second-round compensation level of $2.746 million.

      Thielen is under club control through the 2020 campaign.

      Thielen, 26, enjoyed a breakout season in 2016, reeling in 69 receptions for a team-leading 967 yards and five touchdowns. The 26-year-old Minnesota native made just $600,000 last season after collecting 20 catches in his previous two years with the club.

      Thielen played college football at Division II Minnesota State.

  • Giants sign RB Draughn, retain LB Robinson
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    Former San Francisco 49ers running back Shaun Draughn has agreed to a contract with the New York Giants, according to multiple reports. Terms of Draughn's contract were not reported.

    • The Giants also retained one of their core defensive players when they re-signed linebacker Keenan Robinson. He is the second linebacker brought back by the team in as many days, as Mark Herzlich signed a new contract on Monday.

      Draughn, 29, rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games (one start) with the 49ers last season.

      The former North Carolina standout is also a pass-catching threat, snagging a career-high 29 balls for 263 yards and two scores.

      Before joining the 49ers, Draughn spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears, rushing for 723 yards and seven touchdowns.

      Draughn also has 597 career receiving yards in 57 career contests.

      Robinson, who signed with the Giants last year as a free agent from the Washington Redskins, played in all 17 games with seven starts, including one in the NFC Wild-Card game.

      In his first season with the Giants and fifth in the NFL, Robinson finished fourth on the team with 79 tackles (52 solo), and had seven passes defensed. He also had four special teams tackles (two solo).

      Robinson had six tackles (four solo) and knocked down a pass in the Giants' postseason game in Green Bay.