Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says the New York Giants' selection of Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick of the NFL Draft "blows [his] mind".

Mayfield, the starting quarterback at the Browns, suggested the Giants were "overthinking" when they selected Jones, who was projected much lower.

The Cleveland star was similarly a slightly surprising selection last year with the first pick, but he hinted at a clear difference between himself and Jones.

Mayfield came into the NFL with a winning reputation after Oklahoma went 34-6 in his three years as a starter, while Jones was 17-19 as a starter at Duke.

"I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones," he told GQ. "[It] blows my mind.

"Some people overthink it. That's where people go wrong. They forget you've got to win.

This is Mayfield's second run-in with the Giants this off-season.

Last month, Mayfield said of new Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr, formerly of the Giants: "He's here to play in front of fans who actually care, who will actually show up to every game and pack the stadium and love him for who he is."

Jimmy Garoppolo's preseason return to action did not go exactly to plan.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback played his first game back from his season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury last September in Monday's 24-15 win over the Denver Broncos.

But Garoppolo failed to impress as he went one-for-six for zero yards and an interception, with a lousy 0.0 passer rating.

Garoppolo was replaced by CJ Beathard after three drives, but he was at least able to get his nerves out the way early.

"Obviously there was a lot of excitement," he said. "I was anxious to get out there and everything but nothing too crazy.

"It's something I haven't done in a year, obviously, so I got to knock the rust off and everything and thankfully we have a short week this week so we can bounce back quickly. But it's the first step of getting back into it.

"Obviously I'm a little frustrated but it's the NFL. Unfortunately, we don't get to play the whole game right now so I only get so many plays.

"You wish you could be out there for more so we could bounce back. But it is what it is. It's preseason right now, so we just have to take it in stride."

Although the outing was not pretty, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan believes the experience did Garoppolo good.

"He's had a year off football," the coach said. "And before that, he only played about eight games total. The more he can play, the better.

"I wish we could have kept him out there longer today but you risk everyone else, too, so I had to get those guys out of there."

Garoppolo, 27, was traded from the New England Patriots to San Francisco in 2017 and then signed a five-year contract worth $137million with the Niners last year before his early season injury.

San Francisco will visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday before wrapping up their preseason at home next Thursday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Ezekiel Elliott did not appreciate Jerry Jones' jab at him after the Dallas Cowboys' pre-season game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Elliott returned to Texas late last week after holding his own personal training sessions in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as he continues to hold out from taking part in the Cowboys' pre-season due to an ongoing dispute over his contract.

Running back Tony Pollard came in for Saturday's clash with the Rams in Hawaii, and put in an impressive display in a 14-10 win.

Cowboys owner Jones was so impressed by Pollard's performance that he joked, "Who? Now Zeke who?" following the match.

Jones later motioned to the camera and said he was just making an innocent joke, but according to Elliot was not amused, according to his agent.

"I didn't think it was funny and neither did Zeke, we actually thought it was disrespectful," Elliott's agent Rocky Arceneaux told ESPN on Monday.

Previous reports stated that Elliott will not return to the team until he has a new extension, although there have been conflicting reports on if he will sit out for the regular season.

The Cowboys are dealing with several contract situations, including potential extensions for quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout Amari Cooper. 

As Elliott continues to hold out, he has racked up more than $900,000 in fines for not reporting to camp. 

Arceneaux offered no further progress update on Elliot's contract negotiations. The running back currently has two years and $12.95 million left on his rookie deal.

The Seattle Seahawks have announced D.K. Metcalf requires knee surgery, though head coach Pete Carroll is confident the setback will not "derail" the wide receiver for too long.

Selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, Metcalf was with the team for Sunday's preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings but did not play.

Carroll confirmed afterwards that the former Ole Miss standout will have an operation when the Seahawks return home, possibly as early as Tuesday.

However, it is hoped the 21-year-old may recover in time for the start of the regular season. Seattle open their campaign against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 8.

"DK's got an injury to his knee that we found; it happened two days back," Carroll told the team's official website.

"It's something we've got to do some work on, probably Tuesday, and get him back in a hurry. We're disappointed for him, because he was off to a fantastic start, but I don't think this is going to derail him for long.

"But he does have to have some work done. We'll know more about that when we get back into town.

"The docs really have a clear look at the MRI already, what it is, and it's a really quick recovery. That still all has to happen. We're going to keep him in town and get the work done right away, and be very optimistic about the way he can get back."

Carroll also offered an update on rookie safety Marquise Blair, who was carted off the field during the 25-19 loss to the Vikings. 

"He had back spasms in the second half," Carroll said. "I don't know what that means, but he had a play and his back got tight, and it kept getting tighter and he couldn't go back."

Meanwhile, back-up quarterback Paxton Lynch will have to clear concussion protocol after taking a heavy hit from Vikings cornerback Holton Hill, who was ejected.

Le'Veon Bell will not be on the field until the games count for the New York Jets.

The Jets will hold the 27-year-old running back out for the entire preseason, coach Adam Gase told reporters after the team's Green and White scrimmage on Sunday.

"I was about 99 per cent sure heading into the season, it was all based off how he practised, conditioned, those types of things," Gase said.

"We talked about it before we started. I told him, 'We wanted to increase the reps last week', and we're going to do the same thing this week where we just get him as game-ready as possible because he's not really going to know until we get in a real game."

Bell missed all of 2018 after holding out from the Pittsburgh Steelers over a contract dispute. He then signed a four-year, $52.5million deal with the Jets this offseason.

"I feel like he's in great shape, he's been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field. I feel confident that he'll be ready to go week one," Gase said.

"He's in a good place right now. The way he's working in practice, the way he's running the ball in practice, I feel really good about him when we hit the regular season."

Bell has rushed for 35 touchdowns and made three Pro Bowls since he was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2013 draft.

"I want to do whatever coach Gase wants me to do," Bell said after a practice last week, via the team's official website.

"If he asks me to play, I'm going to go out there and play. If he tells me not to, tells me to rest, I'm going to do that ... I'm going to do whatever's best for my team."

The Jets have two preseason games remaining before they host the Buffalo Bills on September 8.

Le'Veon Bell will not be on the field until the games count for the New York Jets.

The Jets will hold the 27-year-old running back out for the entire preseason, coach Adam Gase told reporters after the team's Green and White scrimmage on Sunday.

"I was about 99 per cent sure heading into the season, it was all based off how he practised, conditioned, those types of things," Gase said.

"We talked about it before we started. I told him, 'We wanted to increase the reps last week', and we're going to do the same thing this week where we just get him as game-ready as possible because he's not really going to know until we get in a real game."

Bell missed all of 2018 after holding out from the Pittsburgh Steelers over a contract dispute. He then signed a four-year, $52.5million deal with the Jets this offseason.

"I feel like he's in great shape, he's been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field. I feel confident that he'll be ready to go week one," Gase said.

"He's in a good place right now. The way he's working in practice, the way he's running the ball in practice, I feel really good about him when we hit the regular season."

Bell has rushed for 35 touchdowns and made three Pro Bowls since he was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2013 draft.

"I want to do whatever coach Gase wants me to do," Bell said after a practice last week, via the team's official website.

"If he asks me to play, I'm going to go out there and play. If he tells me not to, tells me to rest, I'm going to do that ... I'm going to do whatever's best for my team."

The Jets have two preseason games remaining before they host the Buffalo Bills on September 8.

Le'Veon Bell will not be on the field until the games count for the New York Jets.

The Jets will hold the 27-year-old running back out for the entire preseason, coach Adam Gase told reporters after the team's Green and White scrimmage on Sunday.

"I was about 99 per cent sure heading into the season, it was all based off how he practised, conditioned, those types of things," Gase said.

"We talked about it before we started. I told him, 'We wanted to increase the reps last week', and we're going to do the same thing this week where we just get him as game-ready as possible because he's not really going to know until we get in a real game."

Bell missed all of 2018 after holding out from the Pittsburgh Steelers over a contract dispute. He then signed a four-year, $52.5million deal with the Jets this offseason.

"I feel like he's in great shape, he's been contacting about as good as anybody on the practice field. I feel confident that he'll be ready to go week one," Gase said.

"He's in a good place right now. The way he's working in practice, the way he's running the ball in practice, I feel really good about him when we hit the regular season."

Bell has rushed for 35 touchdowns and made three Pro Bowls since he was selected by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2013 draft.

"I want to do whatever coach Gase wants me to do," Bell said after a practice last week, via the team's official website.

"If he asks me to play, I'm going to go out there and play. If he tells me not to, tells me to rest, I'm going to do that ... I'm going to do whatever's best for my team."

The Jets have two preseason games remaining before they host the Buffalo Bills on September 8.

Doug Pederson believes Josh McCown will be an asset for the Philadelphia Eagles, even if he never steps on the field.

McCown came out of retirement at the age of 40 and signed a one-year deal with the Eagles after back-up quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Cody Kessler suffered injuries in NFL preseason.

Eagles head coach Pederson discussed the team's decision to add the 16-year veteran when he met with reporters on Sunday.

"It kind of falls in line with not only the injury situation, but also the fact that when we have an opportunity to add a little value, add a little depth, add a little competition to that spot, a veteran guy who has been around the league," Pederson said.

"I've said this all along, the quarterback position is not immune to any of this, so that's why we did it."

McCown spent the last two seasons with the New York Jets, appearing in 17 games and throwing 19 touchdown passes. He announced he was stepping away from football in mid-June but changed his mind when the Eagles became interested in signing him.

"It was an easy sell, to be quite honest," McCown said via the Eagles' official website. "More than anything, it was the comfort level I had talking with Doug [Pederson], where they're trying to take this thing and where they're trying to get back to and understanding the expectations that they have here.

"I've been in a lot of situations throughout my career — where I was helping a young guy or serving as a stopgap kind of guy or being part of a rebuilding situation — so to come to a situation where it was more established, where they've got the quarterback [Carson Wentz] and a veteran defense and a lot of good players on the offense, that to me was enticing."

The Eagles have two preseason games remaining before they face the Washington Redskins in week one action on September 8.

 

Antonio Brown was not with the Raiders on Sunday and Oakland general manager Mike Mayock told the wide receiver to decide if he was "all in or all out".

Brown, 31, skipped practice because he continues to be unhappy about his ongoing dispute with the NFL over his helmet, Mayock revealed when he met with reporters.

"Here's the bottom line," Mayock said.

"He's upset about the helmet issue. We have supported that, we appreciate that. At this point, we've pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief.

"So, from our perspective it's time for him to be all in or all out. We're hoping he's back soon."

The helmet Brown wore with the Pittsburgh Steelers is no longer on the NFL's approved list. He lost an arbitration appeal to use the old model, and reportedly threatened to retire if he could not use the helmet.

The Raiders acquired Brown from the Steelers in March in exchange for draft picks. He caught 74 touchdown passes and made seven Pro Bowls during his nine seasons with Pittsburgh.

"We've got 89 guys busting their tails," Mayock said.

"We’re really excited about where this franchise is going and we hope A.B. is going to be a big part of it, starting week one against Denver. End of story."

Mayock declined to take questions from the media on Sunday. Brown has also dealt with frostbitten feet, an injury caused by a cryotherapy equipment mishap, in training camp. 

The Raiders have two preseason games remaining before they host the Denver Broncos on September 9.

Former Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers running back Cedric Benson has died at the age of 36.

The fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft was killed in a traffic accident in Austin, Texas.

Benson was a four-year starter at the University of Texas before becoming the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

He spent the first three years of his career with the Bears, featuring in the Super Bowl XLI loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and had four seasons as a Bengal before finishing his career with the Packers in 2012.

"Our condolences to the friends and family of former Bears running back Cedric Benson, our fourth overall draft pick in 2005 and member of the 2006 NFC Champions team," the Bears said in a statement.

Bengals president Mike Brown added: "Cedric was a fine football player for us. He played a principal role for several years here, including a couple of playoff runs. He was from Texas, and he showed his Texas toughness in leading us to a Division Championship in just his second season with us.

"His three consecutive 1000-yard seasons displayed the talent he possessed. Our organisation is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing. The Bengals extend our deepest condolences to Cedric’s family."

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden believes star wide receiver Antonio Brown will fully participate in practice soon.

The start to Brown's first year with the Raiders has already been shrouded in turmoil. After he arrived to camp in a hot air balloon, the seven-time NFL Pro-Bowler was quickly placed on the non-football injury list.

It was later reported Brown was dealing with frostbitten feet after a cryotherapy equipment mishap.

Asked about Brown, Gruden told reporters on Saturday: "He took all the reps today in our walkthrough.

"He showed great retention and we'll see what happens here with this afternoon. 

"We're going to have a walkthrough today as well ... so we'll pick it up tomorrow."

Brown ran routes and caught passes on Thursday in Arizona ahead of the team's second exhibition game and also was part of Oakland's walkthrough back in California over the weekend.

The 31-year-old has also been embroiled in controversy surrounding his helmet. First, the NFL told Brown he could not use his old helmet because it was not approved anymore.

Brown showed up at practice with an old Pittsburgh Steelers helmet he had crudely repainted with colours approximating the Raiders design.

More recently, Brown refused to play without his old helmet. Now, the league will allow Brown to wear the specific model of Schutt helmet he loves, provided it is less than 10 years old.

While Brown is certainly keeping everyone on their toes this early in the season, his team-mates are focused on the football aspect and quarterback Derek Carr is already impressed in Brown's limited showing.

"The man's recall is unbelievable," Carr said. "He came in and, no mental errors, and in this offense, that's not easy to do. Especially, whenever you have a day off ... you come back and you're like, you've got to stay on coach Gruden's offense all the time. You can tell Antonio's been studying because he came out and didn't miss a beat. He was a part of everything we did today."

Quarterback Josh McCown has come out of retirement to join the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year deal.

The 40-year-old has put his plans for a career in broadcasting on hold to sign for the Eagles, who required additional cover at the position behind starter Carson Wentz.

After Nate Sudfeld broke his wrist earlier in preseason against the Tennessee Titans, Cody Kessler suffered a concussion less than three minutes into Thursday's fixture against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kessler's misfortune left Clayton Thorson, a 2019 fifth-round pick from Northwestern, to finish the game. He completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 175 yards, including one touchdown and an interception in a 24-10 win.

Head coach Doug Pederson said after the game the team will evaluate Kessler going forward, but he was clearly concerned about the depth chart considering he had just one healthy arm behind Wentz, who has his own unfortunate injury history.

McCown's contract could reportedly be worth as much as $5.4million, while the Eagles will be his ninth NFL team.

He has completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 17,707 yards and 98 touchdowns with 82 interceptions in 99 career games (76 starts) since the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the 81st pick in the 2002 draft.

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James is expected to be out for between three and four months due to a stress fracture in his right foot.

According to reports, James will require surgery after breaking the fifth metatarsal during practice on Thursday.

Losing the 23-year-old, who started all 16 games as a rookie last season, making the Pro Bowl and earning first-team All-Pro honours - is a huge blow for the Chargers.

They are likely to be without James for the majority of the regular season, though he could return if the team make the playoffs.

The former Florida State standout was the 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft and recorded 105 tackles, three interceptions, 13 passes defended and 3.5 sacks in his debut season.

The Chargers are also without running back Melvin Gordon, who is holding out of training camp due to a contract dispute. 

 

The week comes to an end with devastating news for two teams.

Both the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers have lost defensive stars to injury, and while it will not happen just yet, some offenses could look a lot different this time next year.

One offense already will.

Those stories and more in Friday's edition of NFL News and Notes.

 

Three things that matter

Defenses deteriorating due to injury

A couple of teams took losses to their defensive units. Some, of course, are worse than others with season-ending injuries. Others could resume their duties sometime after the regular season begins on September 5. But the dwindling defenses should still be a cause for concern against the offensive powerhouses across the league.

Two of the biggest losses came on opposite ends of the country. The Jets will be without veteran linebacker Avery Williamson after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Thursday, while the Chargers will miss all-pro safety Derwin James for a "significant amount of time" after suffering a foot injury in practice the same day.

It is yet another blow to the Chargers who have already seen injuries to their defense (safety Nasir Adderley and cornerback Trevor Williams) and offense in wide receiver Keenan Allen. 

Another aging star set to address contract

It seems like Father Time has yet to catch up to Tom Brady, who will play out his contract with the New England Patriots. But another quarterback joins Brady in the final year of his own deal. Philip Rivers will reportedly address his status with the Chargers after the 2019 season.

Both parties have agreed to wait to address a new deal, and according general manager Tom Telesco everyone is "on the same page."

This matters because unlike Brady, Rivers has struggled to put together long playoff runs — something that might factor into a new deal. The 37-year-old signal-caller has admitted playing this far into a career does not have the same guarantees.

"I think when you get to this point, you do take it one year at a time," Rivers said during training camp. "But I do expect to be playing here next year, that is the expectation. But when you're 37, you say, 'OK, let's focus on this year.' Then, 'Let's focus on next year.' Take them one at a time."

This surely matters for the Los Angeles offense — now, with postseason success this year being a motivating factor.

Patriots offense had a big boost

Josh Gordon has been reinstated by the NFL after he was suspended indefinitely in December for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the league's substance abuse policy.

The Patriots receiver will be back on a conditional basis and will not be eligible to play next week, but his return comes at the right time.

New England's offense has been struggling with injuries as Julian Edelman (non-football injury) and Demaryius Thomas (physically unable to perform) have yet to suit up. 

A healthy Gordon is just what the Patriots need. 

He caught 41 passes for 737 yards and four touchdowns for the team last year after being traded to New England before the start of the season.

Two things that don't matter

NFL tries to explain controversial offensive pass inference call​

Another season, another long list of botched calls ahead. 

It starts with a controversial offensive pass interference call on Thursday.

In the fourth quarter of the Cincinnati Bengals-Washington Redskins exhibition game, an OPI was called on Washington receiver Kelvin Harmon when he jumped and reached back for an underthrown pass over Cincinnati defensive back Davontae Harris. The call, however, was because Harmon supposedly pushed off Harris near the 50-yard line — which is outside the view of the camera angle. The Redskins challenged the call, but it was upheld.

The official NFL Officiating Twitter account later explained why the call was not overturned. 

"The on-field officials called OPI for a push off by WAS 13 at the 50-yard line, well before he jumped to catch the ball," the statement read. "There was no clear and obvious visual evidence from the available broadcast video that the ruling was incorrect, so the on-field ruling stands.

"Coaches video, not available on the game broadcast, showed that CIN 35 was off balance after contact by WAS 13, which is why offensive pass interference was called on the field.​"

Why this doesn't matter? Because it is always going to happen.

Don't expect to see stars soon

Preseason is not meant for the stars. It is a time where rosters are set and position players battle to make a name for themselves. It is why the Green Bay Packers will likely not play Aaron Rodgers over the next couple of weeks and also why Cam Newton still has yet to show off his hopefully healed arm.

Another thing that does not matter? Preseason records. It is why first-year Matt LaFleur is not necessarily concerned with quarterback Rodgers seeing the field and it also explains Newton's absence. 

"I think we'd like to see him, but you're talking about a veteran quarterback that's played a lot of football," LaFleur said Thursday after the Packers' 26-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. "I don't think it's a necessity, but it's certainly something that we'd like to see."

The Carolina Panthers are taking a similar approach. While Newton may want to show off his new throwing motion, something Buffalo Bills defensive back Captain Munnerlyn (and member of the Panthers in 2018) told reporters is like "night and day" from previous seasons, he will have to wait.

The Panthers do not want to risk any unnecessary damage, and rightfully so.

One video you have to see

What is preseason for if rookies do not show their stuff?

Friday's tweet of the day

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson hurdled his way into the end zone on Thursday.

The touchdown was called back due to an illegal block, but it earned praise from Rodgers and gave us one of Friday's best social media moments: Jackson hurdling over just about anything.

The NFL announced a partnership with rapper Jay-Z and the Carolina Panthers' Eric Reid responded to the development, which led to quite a bit of discussion on Thursday.

Plenty of that talk centred around Reid's friend Colin Kaepernick.

While Kaepernick is looking for a job in the NFL, Denver Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb is looking to build on a successful rookie season.

And then there is the developing quarterback battle in Tennessee. 

Those stories and more in Thursday's edition of NFL news and notes.

Three things that matter

Reid's response to Jay-Z's partnership with the NFL

Panthers defensive back Reid is continuing to speak his mind.

Although Jay-Z has been a vocal supporter of Kaepernick's national anthem protests, the rapper agreed to partner with the NFL and assist it with its musical and entertainment endeavours moving forward and hopes to improve its social justice initiatives along the way.

Reid fired back after the announcement of the deal via Twitter late on Wednesday, claiming the agreement was "burying" Kaepernick's career, as the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has not been on an NFL team since 2016 and is still working to find a job this season.

Given the day-to-day interactions between entertainment and the NFL, Reid will likely become vocal more throughout the 2019 season. It will be something to keep an eye on for sure.

Bradley Chubb's plans for second year

Denver's under-the-radar defensive end has big plans for 2019.

The NC State product set a franchise rookie record last year by recording 12 sacks and says he has not played to the best of his abilities just yet.

Chubb does not care about being a household name, but told NFL Network he is ready to unveil some fun "antics" in year two. Perhaps something similar to when he stole Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant's towel twice in college.

"Now I'm more comfortable," Chubb said. "I'm going to do those little antics. I feel like I'm going to start doing some of the stuff I did, like talking to guys before the play is snapped and stuff like that. A few different things. But just because I'm more comfortable now, I can really open up and be more who I am."

Chubb's improvement and personality could put him in the national spotlight, and another defensive stud next to Von Miller would make for some great entertainment.

The Titans' QB battle

It has become evident that Marcus Mariota is not a shoo-in to start for Tennessee, as reserve signal-caller Ryan Tannehill is making his case for the top spot.

Mariota is convinced he does not need to compete with Tannehill to win the job though.

"When it comes down to it, I am just competing against myself," Mariota said on Thursday. "I just try to be the best version that I can be, day in and day out."

The 25-year-old might be facing some pressure to perform against the New England Patriots in Saturday's preseason matchup.

Two things that don't matter

Antonio Brown's feud with a chef

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown is being sued for $38,000 by 'Sports Chef' Stefano Tedeschi.

The chef claims he and his staff were hired to make meals for nearly 50 of Brown's Pro Bowl team-mates in January but allegedly received no payment and he was barred from retrieving his equipment and food from an Orlando mansion Brown had rented.

This is a little bizarre, but we have come to expect things like this from Brown so it is not that surprising. 

Brown's frostbitten feet and helmet conundrum are certainly more pressing for Oakland than his spat with a chef.

Landry Jones became the XFL's first player

The XFL announced on Thursday it has signed Jones as its first player and quarterback. 

Jones will be one of the league's eight "leading quarterbacks" that will be signed in the coming months.

The 30-year-old spent five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and has not seen NFL action since 2017, so you probably should not expect him to make to much noise.

One video you have to see

Let's just say Frank Caliendo's Jon Gruden impression is a must see.

Thursday tweet of the day

Odell Beckham Jr.'s new shoes aren't your average pair of Chuck Taylors.

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