Sports That Matters
July 28, 2019
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Ezekiel Elliott’s contract holdout doesn’t faze the player who has been around Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones longer than anyone else on the roster, even after taking a year off.
Jason Witten said “talk to me in a month” when the tight end was asked if Elliott’s absence was casting a cloud over the high expectations for a franchise trying to get past the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in nearly a quarter-century.
Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are not sweating their contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys.
“It will happen when it happens,” Prescott, heading into his fourth season as Dallas’ starting quarterback, said after Saturday’s first training camp practice. “I know I’ll be better by the time the regular season starts. That’s my focus.”
Cooper said he was “indifferent” to the negotiations, but he admitted that when he has scrolled through social media, he has seen updates regarding the potential contracts for fellow receivers Michael Thomas and Julio Jones.
Kyler Murray took off around the left end of the line, made a quick cut and raced through the secondary for a big gain, drawing a rising roar from the fans who watched it unfold right below them. It was one run during a training camp practice.
Murray wasn’t allowed to be hit, wasn’t even wearing pads. Even so, the burst and bolt was what the Cardinals and their fans had hoped to see from the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
The Cardinals released defensive end Robert Nkemdiche on Saturday, one day after he arrived at training camp out of shape. Coach Kliff Kingsbury didn’t hold back when asked Friday about how the former first-round pick showed up to camp.
The Cincinnati Bengals watched A.J. Green get carted off the field with an injury that left the receiver distraught. “You never want to see that,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. “It’s unfortunate.”
One practice into coach Zac Taylor’s inaugural season, the last-place Bengals saw their most indispensable player crumple on the field. Green ran a deep sideline pattern during a 7-on-7 drill. Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick bumped him as he knocked away the pass, and Green appeared to land awkwardly on the left foot.
The Los Angeles Rams opened training camp Saturday, and running back Todd Gurley participated in his first practice since Super Bowl LIII. Receiver Cooper Kupp also returned to practice for the first time since he tore his ACL in Week 10 of last season.
“It’s good,” Gurley said about his left knee after the 80-minute workout in which he shared reps with a deep running back rotation that included Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and John Kelly. “Out here just doing what I do. Obviously about to go do some recovery after this and just get ready for the next day.”
The Rams are taking care of one of their own. Los Angeles is giving receiver Robert Woods a raise for the 2019 season.
According to Schefter, the Rams are “adding an additional $1 million to 2019 Base Salary, and fully guaranteed a new $2 million Roster Bonus for next year.”
Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III is expected to be out four to eight weeks with a hairline fracture in his right thumb.
Griffin hit his right thumb on the helmet of a defender toward the end of Saturday night’s practice at M&T Bank Stadium, then threw his helmet on the sideline in disgust.
Tyreek Hill returned to the Kansas City Chiefs practice field Saturday amid cheers from fans. The wide receiver pumped his arms and did a high-step to illustrate his excitement at being back with the team.
Hill then looked in practice as those fans would remember him, flashing his considerable speed to catch three deep passes from Patrick Mahomes.
The Seattle Seahawks are bringing back versatile defensive back DeShawn Shead, a former special-teams standout and starter in the Legion of Boom. Shead’s deal is for one year and the veteran minimum salary.
The Seahawks announced Shead’s return Saturday, along with three other roster moves. They signed undrafted rookie linebacker Ja’Wuan James, who took part in their rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. Seattle also placed linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee on injured reserve and waived receiver Caleb Scott with a non-football injury designation.
In yet another blow to the New York Giants’ receiving corps, Golden Tate has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, he confirmed Saturday.
Tate, who said the banned substance was a prescribed fertility medication, has scheduled an appeal for Aug. 6 and a resolution is expected before the start of the regular season, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The Detroit Lions are moving on from one of their mainstays in the backfield.
The Detroit Lions officially announced the signing of defensive lineman Mike Danielson Saturday, only part of the day’s story. Detroit also released running back Theo Riddick after six seasons with the team.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said he sees more accountability and commitment through the first three days of training camp than what he said he saw during the 2018 season.
Fournette said the Jaguars didn’t approach the 2018 season with the proper intensity and mindset after their surprising run to the AFC Championship Game the year before, and that attitude played a large role in a disappointing 5-11 season. There was an element of, “We’ve arrived,” and, well, they hadn’t.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Saturday he did not get a contract extension this offseason because he prefers to go year-to-year.
Colbert’s deal now goes to May 2020 instead of aligning with that of coach Mike Tomlin, who’s under contract through 2021 with an option year for 2022 after finalizing an extension this week.
Veteran defensive end Michael Bennett has been excused for the first three days of New England Patriots training camp for “personal reasons,” director of player personnel Nick Caserio said on Saturday.
The Patriots acquired Bennett, 33, in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles on March 14, and are counting on him to help fill the void created by the free-agent departure of Trey Flowers, who led the team in sacks last season with 7.5.
Baltimore Ravens starter Lamar Jackson and rookie Trace McSorley are now the only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster, so the Ravens will likely be adding another passer in the next day or two.
The Melvin Gordon situation, and that it was looking increasingly likely the Los Angeles Chargers running back would miss regular season time.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco said recently that he did make Gordon an extension offer and we know he is seeking top of the running back market money.
The “talks are $2-$3 million apart in average salary,” reports Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports.