NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE NEWS-GRONK, BRADY-TRUMP

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Did anyone actually believe this was a real possibility? No offense to Barstool, but the higher-ups in New England were not about to leak a major trade to some Boston fan-boy bloggers. That’s not how things work in Foxborough.

Nonetheless, what this fake trade rumor did expose is that trading ​Rob Gronkowski-however unlikely it appeared just a few days ago–would actually be a brilliant move by the Patriots. By 

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has responded to reports that he’s facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances.

“I am very sorry — I don’t know what happened,” Edelman wrote on his Instagram story on Friday. “I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened. I apologize to the Kraft family, my coaches, teammates and fans. As this matter is being appealed, I can’t say anymore but no matter what, I will be ready to play and pursue another championship with our team and for Patriots fans around the world.” By Kevin Patra

First, an unconfirmed report surfaced this morning the Patriots were ​working on a deal to trade Rob Gronkowski. Since then, it was suggested that New England had offers on the table from both the Titans and 49ers for one of the best tight ends ever to do it.

The latest stunner, though? Per reporter Adam Kurkjian, New England was on the verge of trading No. 87, but Tom Brady threatened to retire if a deal went through. By 

Matt Patricia is in danger of losing his players. This was my main observation from three days of mini camp this week. The Detroit Lions rookie coach wants things done his way. And his way means running as punishment. Lots and lots of running.

That’s not likely to endear him to his players, many of whom are experienced professionals who don’t need or care to be treated like junior varsity tryout players. “These are true professionals,” rookie running back Kerryon Johnson said Tuesday while marveling at the talent level difference between college and NFL players. “These are grown men, 30, 35, 25.” By 

After the transition from Alex Smith to​ Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs made sure the young quarterback had the weapons necessary to succeed. So, they went out and got the top receiver on the market in Sammy Watkins.

Now in Kansas City, Watkins had glowing praise for the Chiefs offense, one in which he will have to line up at various receiver positions. By 

The Dallas Cowboys offense has gotten worse this off season, as the losses of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten can’t be replaced with like-for-like moves. But in leaning on a full season of Ezekiel Elliot, the Dallas Cowboys will look to rebound this upcoming season and get back to the playoffs. However, let’s identify three games this season that the Cowboys absolutely will not win. By 

Why new Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy has a chance to take his second-year QB to the next level. Plus, why Ty Montgomery’s jersey number matters, what it means to miss OTAs, and revisiting the Seahawks’ decision to pass in Super Bowl XLIX. By ANDY BENOIT

The Baltimore Ravens joined the Cleveland Browns in drafting a quarterback in the first round, taking Lamar Jackson 32nd overall. Joe Flacco remains the starter for now, but it won’t be long before Jackson is pushing him. By NFL Trade Rumors

Houston Texans safety Andre Hal has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the team announced. By Jenna West

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of residential burglary, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. By CHARLOTTE CARROLL

The Cleveland Browns and running back Duke Johnson have agreed to a three-year contract extension worth up to $15.6 million, the team announced on Thursday. By CHARLOTTE CARROLL

Josh Gordon is the next Cleveland Browns player likely to be extended, opines Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. While Grossi says he’ll have to first prove to GM John Dorsey that he can stay on the field, he “can see the Browns rewarding him with a multi-year deal to head off a possible huge payday in unrestricted free agency in 2020.” By NFL Trade Rumors

If not for the fractured leg that ended Chris Carson‘s season in early October, it’s fair to wonder if the Seahawks would have targeted San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny with their first-round draft pick.

It’s easy to forget that Carson was among the NFL’s most impressive rookies last September, outplaying veterans Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy with a decisive running style and a well-rounded skill set. Seattle’s ground attack never recovered from his loss, as the offense turned one-dimensional for the season’s final three months. By Chris Wesseling

Miami Dolphins players Arian Foster (29), Kenny Stills (10) and Michael Thomas (31) kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game last September in Foxborough, Mass. (Steven Senne/AP)

President Trump and his supporters often claim that most Americans back the president’s stance on NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

After the NFL adopted a policy that could bring disciplinary action to players who kneel or make other protests during the national anthem, Trump told Fox and Friends… By Eugene Scott

U.S. President Donald Trump held out an olive branch in his feud with National Football League players on Friday, asking them for recommendations as he considers pardoning several thousand people who may have been unfairly treated by the criminal justice system.

But civil rights activists were skeptical of Trump’s gesture, given his repeated use of a controversy around the national anthem at NFL games to stoke the country’s culture wars, and his fraught relationship with the African-American community. By James Oliphant

 

 

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