NFL

NFL news and notes: Sanders & Sanu traded, Peterson will face Vikings

By Sports Desk October 22, 2019

Trades were all the talk around the NFL on Tuesday.

We look at those transactions and more in this edition of NFL news and notes.

 

Three things that matter

Broncos trade Sanders to 49ers

It was reported that the Denver Broncos dealt two-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tand a fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, with NFL Media noting the latter were in on Mohamed Sanu before he went to the New England Patriots. In return, the Broncos received third- and fourth-round picks in 2020 from the Niners.

Sanders, who should welcome the change of scenery joining a playoff contender, has 565 catches for 7,391 and 39 touchdowns over 134 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos.

Patriots acquire Sanu from Falcons

Super Bowl champions New England acquired the wide receiver from the Atlanta Falcons for a second-round pick. Sanu farewelled the Falcons and their fans on Twitter.

Sanu played at Rutgers with the McCourty brothers and Patriots assistant Steve Belichick before being drafted in 2012 by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he remained until he signed with Atlanta in 2016. He has 33 catches for 313 yards and a touchdown this season.

Hall of Fame cornerback Brown dies aged 78

No cause of death has been made public, but support has been overflowing on social media.

Willie Brown will be best remembered on the field for his interception of the Minnesota Vikings' Fran Tarkenton in Super Bowl 11 in 1977 that became an iconic moment in the game's history.

He later served as a defensive backfield coach for the Oakland Raiders from 1979 to 1988 and also was the head coach at Long Beach State in 1991.

Two things that don't matter

Peterson says he's 'ready to go'

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson insisted he will play against his former team in Minnesota on Thursday despite an MRI revealing a Grade 1 high ankle sprain and a Grade 2 low ankle sprain. Peterson initially injured his ankle during Sunday's game against the 49ers after fumbling, finishing with 20 carries for 81 yards. 

The 34-year-old, who has a long history of injuries, has rushed for 307 yards and one touchdown on 83 carries in six games this season. 

XFL reveals schedule for 2020 season

The league is set to open play February 8 when the D.C. Defenders visit the Seattle Dragons. The XFL's eight teams, which have been divided into two divisions, will have 10 games from February 8 to April 12 before the playoffs begin later that month and the championship game takes place April 26.

"It's a big moment for us,'' XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said. "We've got great time slots on the weekends. We think it's a well-designed schedule in terms of competitive balance.''

One video you have to see

Dion Jordan looks ready to get to work.

Tuesday's tweet of the day

Le'Veon Bell held nothing back as he bashed the NFL and defended his quarterback on Twitter after Sam Darnold was heard on "Monday Night Football" saying he was "seeing ghosts."

Related items

  • Bell excited to reinvent himself after teaming up with Mahomes and Chiefs Bell excited to reinvent himself after teaming up with Mahomes and Chiefs

    Kansas City Chiefs recruit Le'Veon Bell said he is excited about the opportunity to reinvent himself with the NFL Super Bowl champions.

    Bell was cut by the New York Jets last week – less than halfway through the four-year, $52.5million contract he signed as a marquee free agent in 2019.

    The three-time Pro Bowler and running back is now a member of the Chiefs after signing a one-year deal in Kansas City, where he will team up with former MVP and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes.

    Bell is determined to return to his best, having averaged 3.3 yards per carry and four total touchdowns in 17 games for the Jets following his arrival at the end of 2018.

    "I played at a high level for so long," Bell said on Wednesday. "I had two years [with the Jets] where it has not been a high level, and people kind of look at it like that.

    "So I wanted to get here, get my feet back under me, get in a good offense, get the ball when I can [and] not have too much pressure on me, just play football.

    "I think coming here will give me the opportunity to do that. There are a lot of [good] players. I don't necessarily have to worry about how many times I'm touching it."

    After sitting out the 2018 season due to a contract dispute with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bell moved to the Jets and struggled to reach his lofty heights.

    Bell was reportedly unhappy about his usage in the Jets' offense and, following the 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, liked tweets suggesting he be traded.

    The All-Pro spent three weeks on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury in the Jets' opening loss at the Buffalo Bills.

    Bell added: "I never played with a player MVP-wise."

    "It was just undeniable to try to come here to help this team any way I can help them out," Bell said. "When I decided to come here, I already knew the weapons, and there's only one football to kind of go around.

    "I think there's going to be a lot of opportunity to kind of show what I can do in space, running routes. I think this offense is a good fit for my skill set. I think coach [Andy] Reid does a good job of getting backs the ball in space. I'm glad I've got this opportunity."

    Bell has had over 1,200 rushing yards in three separate seasons, but the last of those was in 2017.

    Since entering the league as the 48th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Bell has rushed for 6,199 yards and 38 touchdowns, while receiving for 3,160 yards and eight TDs.

    Chiefs quarterback Mahomes – preparing for Sunday's clash against the Denver Broncos – said: "He's a mismatch coming out of the backfield. The way he's able to run routes, the way he's able to split out and basically be a receiver out there is pretty special.

    "He's going to get a lot of matchups I don't think he's had recently with a lot of linebackers on him, and I'm sure he's pretty excited about that."

  • Dolphins' Fitzpatrick heartbroken as Miami elevate Tagovailoa to starting QB Dolphins' Fitzpatrick heartbroken as Miami elevate Tagovailoa to starting QB

    Ryan Fitzpatrick labelled the Miami Dolphins' decision to demote him and promote Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback "heartbreaking", with the veteran questioning whether he has started his last game in the NFL.

    The Dolphins have turned to Tagovailoa – the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft – to start against the Los Angeles Rams following Miami's Week 7 bye on November 1.

    Tagovailoa will lead the way, despite Fitzpatrick overseeing blow-out victories against the winless New York Jets (24-0) and San Francisco 49ers (43-17) and a 3-3 record in Miami.

    Though his errors did not prove critical against a dismal Jets team, Fitzpatrick was underwhelming in Week 6 as he threw for 191 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

    Fitzpatrick's seven interceptions are the third-most in the NFL behind Minnesota Vikings signal-caller Kirk Cousins (10) and Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz (nine). Fitzpatrick is 18th of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in adjusted net yards per attempt with 6.62.

    The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick was always seen as the placeholder for Tagovailoa but the much-travelled quarterback – who has spent time with the Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers – told reporters on Wednesday: "I was shocked by it. It definitely caught me off guard. It was a hard thing for me to hear yesterday, just kind of digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day. It was heartbreaking for me.

    "[Head coach Brian Flores] Flo kind of said what he said and said what he said to you guys as well, and that's the decision and the direction that the organisation is going in.

    "Obviously we've talked in the past, me and you guys, about how I'm the placeholder and this eventually was going to happen.

    "It was just a matter of kind of when, not if. It still just ... it broke my heart yesterday. It's a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with, but I'm going to do my best with it."

    Fitzpatrick added: "There was a lot of stuff going through my mind yesterday, just from a personal standpoint, not necessarily with the team. Is this it? Like, was that my last game as an NFL player in terms of being the starter and going out there and playing?

    "I've been a starter, I've been benched all kinds of different ways, but this one just really more so than any of them ... this organisation and what we've been through the last year and a half, this was kind of the first place other than Buffalo where I just felt fully committed and invested and felt like it was my team.

    "To have that, I think that's a lot of the reason why I just ... my heart was so heavy yesterday. But that's the direction that the organisation and I've just got to accept it."

    Tagovailoa threw for 7,442 yards, 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in a storied career with Alabama that saw him replace Jalen Hurts for the second half of the National Championship game at the end of the 2017 season and lead them to a dramatic overtime win over Georgia.

  • Saints star receiver Thomas listed as limited with ankle and hamstring injuries Saints star receiver Thomas listed as limited with ankle and hamstring injuries

    Michael Thomas was listed as a limited participant in practice as the New Orleans Saints prepare for their Week 7 clash with the Carolina Panthers.

    All-Pro wide receiver Thomas has not featured for the Saints this season since their opening win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    A high ankle sprain kept Thomas on the sidelines and, though he was fully recovered for the Week 5 meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers, he did not play in the overtime win because of an altercation with a team-mate at practice.

    Coming off their Week 6 bye, the Saints listed Thomas as being limited because of ankle and hamstring injuries.

    It is unclear whether he will be ready for the visit of the Panthers to provide a boost for an unconvincing Saints offense.

    The Saints are 3-2 after squeaking past the Chargers, with Thomas' four-game absence keenly felt.

    He led the NFL in receiving yards in 2019 with 1,725, averaging 107.8 per game.

    This season, running back Alvin Kamara is the Saints' leading receiver averaging 79 yards per game. Veteran Emmanuel Sanders, with whom quarterback Drew Brees has taken time to establish a rapport, is next with 304 yards at a rate of 60.8 per game. 

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