NFL

NFL news and notes: Wentz's confidence building, Gordon waiting on call that won't come

By Sports Desk August 21, 2019

A team are opting to sit the majority of their starters this week as squads prepare for their third NFL preseason game.

Another team, however, are in jeopardy of being without one of their star players into September as a contract issue continues to keep him off the field.

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

 

Three things that matter

Wentz confident in week one availability

After missing time in back-to-back seasons in 2017 and 2018, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is feeling more optimistic about his health heading into the regular season.

"I'm ready for week one," Wentz said at his news conference. "I'm really not worried about it, to be honest. Every year, coming in, it's always going to be that first hit, no matter if it's three months off, six months off, 10 months, 12 months. It doesn't really matter. That first hit wakes you up real quick and it's football mode again."

Wentz will look to play a full 16-game season for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2016 after dealing with knee and back injuries the last two years.

Gordon's holdout headed into regular season

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon could reportedly extend his holdout into September after contract talks failed to progress. Gordon, who is due to earn $5.6million in the last season of his five-year rookie deal, is seeking a new contract or to be traded from Los Angeles and has remained away from the team's facility for the entire preseason.

Gordon said earlier this week he is "just waiting on the call," though it seems the 26-year-old could be waiting a while.

Colts buck tradition and opt to rest starters

In a surprise move, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich announced most of the team's starters will not play in Thursday's third preseason game against the Chicago Bears, noting the team are still finalising their roster.

"Right now, the best thing is we’re looking to figure out who are the guys that are going to be on this roster," he said, per the team's official website. "There's spots open. This is very competitive."

It had already been determined that quarterback Andrew Luck will not practice this week. But given he is only practiced three times since April and still has not seen any preseason action, it is becoming more likely that backup Jacoby Brissett will be named the starter for week one.

Two things that don't matter

Cooper dealing with foot injury

The Dallas Cowboys receiver admitted he is dealing with plantar fasciitis in the heel of his left foot but is optimistic he will be able to resume practice at full strength this week. Amari Cooper has not been ruled out for the remainder of the preseason but it is unlikely he will take the field before the team's September 8 opener against the New York Giants.

"I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger it doesn't matter," he told reporters. "I had 1,000 yards on plantar fasciitis. I'm not really worried."

Cooper clearly is not panicked, and neither are the Cowboys, but it is certainly an injury worth monitoring.

Lewis to compete on "DWTS"

Retired linebacker Ray Lewis is set to take his famous swag to the dance floor, as it was announced he will be featured on the 28th season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." He joins fellow athlete and retired NBA star Lamar Odom as the only professional athletes to compete this season.

It is a safe bet that Lewis will break out his classic intro shuffle during the first episode.

One video you have to see

Retired defensive end Chris Long, a two-time Super Bowl champion and the 2018 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year recipient, is encouraging players to continue protesting.

Wednesday's tweet of the day

The XFL is back, as the league teased its February 2020 return by announcing team names and unveiling logos for each of its eight franchises.

Related items

  • NFL news and notes: Brown reacts to Patriots release, Ramsey could get a big extension NFL news and notes: Brown reacts to Patriots release, Ramsey could get a big extension

    With sexual assault allegations coming out against Antonio Brown, the New England Patriots made a big move on Friday.

    We take a look at New England's decision to move on from the receiver in addition to injury updates from around the league.

    Three things that matter

    Patriots cut Brown amid sexual assault allegations

    The Patriots have decided to move on from wide receiver Brown. The team announced the move ahead of their Week 3 matchup against the New York Jets. Brown's release comes after multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced since he joined the Patriots less than two weeks ago. Brown has denied the allegations. He was released by the Oakland Raiders earlier this month after an offseason filled with drama. 

    "The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown," the team said in a statement. "We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

    Brown played just one game in New England. Coach Bill Belichick was pressed with questions about Brown earlier in the day and was not willing to give any details on the receiver's status.

    "I know there are questions about Antonio," Belichick said. "We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we're looking into, but I'm not going to have any comment on any off-the-field situations or questions on that. Anything about football, I'm happy to answer." 

    Brown was accused by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit, and a second unidentified woman has also made allegations of sexual misconduct against the receiver.

    He has strongly denied the allegations through his attorney but avoided answering questions directly during Patriots media availabilities.

    Cam Newton officially ruled out for Week 3

    Cam Newton has been ruled out of the Carolina Panthers' Week 3 game against the Arizona Cardinals as he recovers from a foot injury, the team announced on Friday. Kyle Allen, a second-year quarterback who went undrafted in 2018, will start in Newton's place.

    "He felt pretty good at the end of the week," coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "But we don't want another setback. We want to make sure he's ready to roll."

    Newton re-aggravated a left foot sprain in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has not practised this week. He initially injured his foot during the preseason, forcing him to miss nearly a week of practice. The veteran was in a walking boot in the locker room on Thursday, but his prognosis beyond this week is not clear. 

    Eagles' DeSean Jackson out, team optimistic Alshon Jeffery will play 

    Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced that DeSean Jackson has been ruled out, which was somewhat expected, while he left the door open for Alshon Jeffery to play against the Detroit Lions.

    "DeSean will be out of this game," Pederson said on Friday (via the team's official website), before adding, "I'm still optimistic" about Jeffery. 

    Both receivers suffered injuries against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, forcing them to leave Sunday's game in the first half without recording a catch. Jackson is dealing with an abdominal strain that initially was announced as a groin injury, while Jeffery is recovering from a calf strain. 

    Two things that don't matter

    Jaguars reportedly prefer to keep Jalen Ramsey

    Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey made it clear he does not want to be in Jacksonville by requesting a trade – but are they willing to do whatever it takes to keep him? Ramsey could be offered a lucrative deal to entice him to stay, according to NFL Network.

    Jaguars owner Shad Khan reportedly has had several meetings at the facility hoping to solve the issues, which might include giving Ramsey the long-term contract extension he wants, according to Yahoo Sports.

    Speculation around Ramsey's future with Jacksonville came after he got into a heated exchange with coach Doug Marrone in Week 2 during a 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans.

    Tom Brady downplays criticising refs

    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady clarified that he is "pro-ref" after downplaying a couple of tweets he shared on Thursday during the Jaguars-Tennessee Titans game. He took to social media to call out the number of penalties in the game, writing: "I'm turning off this game I can't watch these ridiculous penalties anymore ... Too many penalties. Just let us play!!!!"

    On Friday, he downplayed his comments, saying he was not criticising the officials. 

    One video you have to see

    Calvin Johnson opened up about his nine-year career with the Lions, and accused the team of making him change his story about suffering a concussion. The Lions issued a statement on Friday, defending the team's medical staff and treatment of player injuries.

    "I knew I was concussed because I blacked out," Johnson told Sports Illustrated. "I wasn't seeing straight. And they wanted me to change my story."

    Friday's tweet of the day

    Brown sent a message before the Patriots announced they cut him.

  • Antonio Brown released from Patriots contract Antonio Brown released from Patriots contract

    Antonio Brown has been released from his contract by the New England Patriots.

    The news comes after multiple sexual assault allegations surfaced since the wide receiver joined the Patriots 11 days ago following his release by the Oakland Raiders.

    Brown's former personal trainer accused him of sexual assault and rape in a civil lawsuit, while a second unidentified woman has also made allegations of sexual misconduct.

    The 31-year-old has strongly denied the accusations through his attorney and he opted against discussing the matter further when he was questioned on Thursday in his first public comments since the allegations.

    It emerged late on Thursday that the anonymous woman alleges Brown has sent threatening text messages to her following the accusations.

    A statement from a Patriots spokesperson read: "The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time."

    In a post on Twitter, Brown wrote: "Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots."

    The Patriots signed Brown to a one-year contract worth up to $15million after he requested his release from the Raiders.

    His time in Oakland was defined by a series of sagas that overshadowed their preparations for the 2019 season. Brown's time on the practice field for the Raiders was limited due to foot injuries sustained by wearing incorrect footwear in a cryotherapy chamber.

    The seven-time Pro Bowler then became embroiled in a dispute with the NFL over his preferred helmet being banned on safety grounds, before a heated exchange with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock, for which he was fined, led to his Raiders exit.

    Oakland acquired Brown in March in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the four-time first-team All-Pro parting with the team that drafted him following an apparent breakdown in his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his lone game for the Patriots, a 43-0 win over the Miami Dolphins.

  • Carolina Panthers lose Cam Newton to foot injury Carolina Panthers lose Cam Newton to foot injury

    Cam Newton has been ruled out of the Carolina Panthers' Week 3 game against the Arizona Cardinals as he recovers from a foot injury.

    Newton aggravated a left foot sprain in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has not practiced this week. 

    The 30-year-old initially injured his foot during pre-season, forcing him to miss nearly a week of practice. 

    Kyle Allen, a second-year quarterback who went undrafted in 2018, will start in place of Newton, who was in a walking boot in the locker room on Thursday, though his prognosis beyond this week is not clear. 

    "He felt pretty good at the end of the week," coach Ron Rivera told reporters on Friday. "But we don't want another setback. [We] want to make sure he's ready to roll."

    Newton's absence comes after he struggled against the Buccaneers, completing just 25 of 51 passes for 333 yards and no touchdowns in a 20-14 loss.

    Allen has taken the first-team snaps all week to prepare for the possibility of Newton being sidelined. 

    The 23-year-old played in the final two games of last season, earning a start in the Panthers' season finale against the New Orleans Saints, leading the team to a 33-14 win. 

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