Grant Delpit will miss the entire 2020 NFL season after rupturing his Achilles tendon, the Cleveland Browns announced on Tuesday.

Rookie safety Delpit sustained the injury during practice on Monday and will undergo surgery to correct the issue.

The second-round pick out of national champions LSU had to deal with a high ankle sprain throughout his final college season but arrived at the Browns' training camp in full health.

He had spent time working with the first-team defense when Karl Joseph, who signed a one-year, $2.5million contract with Cleveland in free agency, was granted rest.

After receiving unanimous first-team All-American honours in 2018, Delpit won the Jim Thorpe Award in a junior year that saw him accumulate 65 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and seven pass breakups for the undefeated Tigers.

The Browns are scheduled to begin their 2020 season at the Baltimore Ravens on September 13.

Roger Goodell made clear his remorse at the way the NFL handled Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem, saying: "I wish we had listened earlier".

The quarterback opted to kneel during the 2016 season in protest against racial injustice and police brutality. He was released at the end of the campaign by the San Francisco 49ers and has not played in the league since.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. A settlement was reached in his case in February 2019.

Appearing on former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho's YouTube series titled 'Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man', Goodell was asked what he would say in a public apology to Kaepernick 

"Well, the first thing I'd say is I wished we had listened earlier, Kaep, to what you were kneeling about and what you were trying to bring attention to," he told Acho.

"We had invited him in several times to have the conversation, to have the dialogue. I wish we had the benefit of that.

"We never did and, you know, we would've benefited from that. Absolutely."

Goodell also spoke about the topic of players kneeling in general, insisting such an action has been misinterpreted as being unpatriotic and anti-military.

Instead, the commissioner believes it is a message to "bring attention to something that needs to get fixed".

"It is not about the flag. The message here that what our players are doing is being mischaracterised," Goodell said.

"These are not people who are unpatriotic. They're not disloyal. They're not against our military. In fact, many of those guys were in the military and they're a military family.

"What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed.

"That misrepresentation of who they were and what they were doing was the thing that really gnawed at me."

The Baltimore Ravens have confirmed the release of Earl Thomas after an altercation with Chuck Clark in practice.

Seven-time Pro Bowler Thomas clashed with his team-mate during training camp on Friday, with reports alleging a punch was thrown at his fellow safety.

And on Sunday the Ravens announced they had taken decisive action against the 31-year-old.

"We have terminated Earl Thomas' contract for personal conduct that adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens," the team said in a statement.

Posting to his Instagram story shortly after the news was confirmed, Thomas wrote: "Appreciate the Ravens organization for the opportunity.

"Had a great run ... Wish things would have ended different but you live and you learn.

"Thank you [Ravens GM] Eric DeCosta and everyone else who played a role in bringing him to B-More. Wish you guys the best."

Thomas signed a four-year deal in the previous offseason and was voted to the Pro Bowl after starting 15 games, in which he made 47 tackles and had two interceptions, helping the Ravens to a 14-2 regular season record.

 

The NFL is investigating several positive coronavirus tests from clubs serviced by the same laboratory.

With the 2020 season set to get under way on September 10, the NFL was dealt a setback following a number of positive results from Saturday's round of testing.

However, with all of those coming from one lab that serves a number of franchises, the league announced it was looking into the matter as teams initiated precautionary measures.

An NFL statement read: "Saturday's daily COVID testing returned several positives tests from each of the clubs serviced by the same laboratory in New Jersey.

"We are working with our testing partner, BioReference, to investigate these results, while the clubs work to confirm or rule out the positive tests.

"Clubs are taking immediate precautionary measures as outlined in the NFL-NFLPA's health and safety protocols to include contact tracing, isolation of individuals and temporarily adjusting the schedule, where appropriate.

"The other laboratories used for NFL testing have not had similar results."

The Cleveland Browns announced they had been informed of positive results among players, coaches and support staff, though none were displaying symptoms.

Despite concerns over the accuracy of the tests, Cleveland have ordered those who were shown to have contracted COVID-19 to self-isolate.

A Browns spokesperson said: "After consistently receiving encouraging results from daily testing since returning to the facility in July, the Cleveland Browns' COVID-19 testing process conducted yesterday initially indicates multiple individual presumptive positive cases that include players, coaches and support staff.

"Although we have received indication from the NFL that they are investigating irregularities in lab results that have also impacted other clubs, out of an abundance of caution, we will immediately follow our comprehensive infectious disease emergency response plan and pause any activity in our building today and conduct meetings virtually.

"As per plan procedure, the team is also diligently reviewing proximity data for contact tracing and instructed self-isolation for those who tested positive and others as appropriate even though they all remain asymptomatic.

"Our facility is currently undergoing a thorough deep-cleaning and disinfecting process and is closed to all personnel for the day. We will provide updates as testing results are confirmed and more information is available."

The Chicago Bears were informed of nine positive results from Saturday's testing but said on Sunday they had been confirmed as false positives.

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane revealed they were one of "10 or 11" teams dealing with the issue and would consequently be missing players during practice on Sunday.

Head coach Ron Rivera is aiming to maintain his focus on the Washington Football Team after revealing his skin cancer diagnosis this week.

Rivera, who was hired at Washington in January after leaving the Carolina Panthers, has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, although it is at an early stage and "very treatable and curable".

The coach is determined to lead Washington in the coming NFL season and believes the distraction could help him.

"It is very good [to focus on coaching], it really is," Rivera said. "That's one of the things that the doctors talked about: when I can work, focus.

"Focus on that because it'll detract from the other things that are going on. A lot of the time that helps get people get through situations and circumstances.

"My intent is to do everything that I'm supposed to do, follow the doctors very carefully and, again, the things that I can do, I will do."

Rivera is aware he may yet have to take some time to himself, though, adding: "For me, personally, it's another challenge. It's a challenge that I accept, I understand what it is.

"I'm realistic about it. I've got to continue to be the person that I am and be disciplined about it, go about my business, do things that I need to do, take care of those things.

"But more importantly, and one of the doctors said it very eloquently, is that: 'At some point, coach, you're going to have to be selfish. Take care of you.'

"So again, I'm realistic about this. I'm trying to be realistic about the approach."

The coach even suggested his potential absence could prove a "learnable moment" for Washington.

"Without a doubt," he said. "Because to me - let's say coach has to step back - are we going to wait for somebody else to step up or are we going to step up ourselves?

"So, I think this is all part of our growth, I really do. Again, it's going to be a learnable moment and we'll find out a lot more about ourselves."

Bill Belichick refused to rule out the possibility of the New England Patriots using a platoon system at quarterback in the opening weeks of the new NFL season.

Following the departure of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots have signed Brian Hoyer and Cam Newton to join Jarrett Stidham on the depth chart at the position.

The trio have been sharing reps during training camp but the cancellation of the preseason amid the coronavirus pandemic has denied them the chance to play before Week 1 of the 2020 campaign.

Head coach Belichick has a decision to make over who starts, though made clear during a media call on Wednesday that he will do whatever gives his team the best chance of winning - including using more than one option in games.

"It might [be a benefit]," Belichick told the media when asked about the possibility of utilising multiple quarterbacks.

"Look, I always say, I'll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win. So, whatever that is, I would certainly consider that.

"If it's run unbalanced line, or double unbalanced line, or 23 personnel. Whatever it is. If it helps us win, then I would consider anything."

Former NFL MVP Newton signed with New England on July 8 after being released by the Carolina Panthers.

Hoyer is in his third stint with the franchise, while Stidham was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft who completed just two passes last season while serving as Brady's back-up.

"Right now, we want to try and give everybody an opportunity to work out the basics. We are really doing that at all the positions," Belichick said of the quarterback situation.

"Everybody is rotating through, we're trying to give everybody an opportunity to run the basic plays and get the fundamentals down.

"Of course, at some point we will have to not equalise the reps, that's obvious, but we're not there now."

The Patriots open the campaign against the Miami Dolphins on September 13.

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has returned to practice after missing three days with hamstring tightness.

Hopkins was stunningly traded to the Cardinals from the Houston Texans in the offseason for the meagre return of a 2020 second-round pick, a 2021 fourth and running back David Johnson.

There had been speculation Hopkins was holding out because the Cardinals have not given him a new contract, something he was said to have requested from the Texans prior to his shock trade.

He put that to bed on Twitter on Tuesday and his return to the field will be a welcome sight for a Cardinals team looking to contend in the NFC West in 2020.

Hopkins is a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2017 and has topped 1,000 yards in five of his seven seasons.

The Cardinals finished 5-10-1 and last in the NFC West last season but are expected to improve after quarterback Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in the 2019 draft, was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Lamar Jackson is encouraged by what he has seen from Dez Bryant on social media amid reports the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver is in Baltimore for a tryout with the Ravens.

Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2014, has not played a snap since the 2017 season.

He signed with the New Orleans Saints in November 2018 but suffered a torn Achilles in practice after just two days with the team.

The 31-year-old said this month on Twitter that he just wants "a chance" and it appears league MVP Jackson would have no issue with the Ravens handing him that opportunity.

"We've got a lot of great receivers on the team right now," Jackson said on Tuesday.

"It's up to the front office. I've been seeing Dez Bryant on Instagram and stuff like that, running his routes, competing against cornerbacks.

"He's looking pretty good on social media. If the front office likes him, we'll have to see when he gets here."

The Ravens are inexperienced at the receiver position. They drafted Marquise Brown in the first round and Miles Boykin in the third round of last year's draft and added the third-round selection of Devin Duvernay and the sixth-round pick of James Proche in 2020.

Jackson has been impressed with the effort that group is showing to this point in training camp.

"They're workaholics right now," Jackson added. "It's just the second day. We're just going to have to keep stacking."

The Dallas Cowboys waived Gerald McCoy after the defensive tackle's season was ended before it even started.

McCoy ruptured his right quadriceps tendon in practice with the Cowboys on Monday and will miss the 2020 NFL campaign.

The six-time Pro Bowler was hurt during the Cowboys' first padded practice session at training camp and had to be helped from the field.

Dallas only signed McCoy to a three-year contract in March. He will now undergo surgery to repair the damage this week, according to the team's website.

The Cowboys – who will save around $3.25million on the cap this year – remain open to bringing McCoy back in 2021.

"I know Gerald in just the short time that we got to know him," Cowboys executive vice-president Stephen Jones said on Tuesday.

"But knowing from our studies, he'll push. He's a warrior. He'll get back. And in my opinion, he'll end up playing for the Dallas Cowboys, albeit not this year. But I see him putting on a [Cowboys] uniform on in the future."

Picked third overall in 2010, McCoy spent his first nine years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2019.

The 32-year-old has recorded 59.5 sacks and forced six fumbles during his career.

Dallas will open their 2020 season against the Los Angeles Rams on September 13.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans said Tom Brady is already one of his favourite team-mates as he lauded the legendary NFL quarterback.

Brady swapped the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers via NFL free agency following 20 seasons in Foxborough, where he won six Super Bowl championships.

The 43-year-old quarterback and three-time MVP is already making an impact in Tampa Bay, where he has impressed Evans.

"He's the GOAT, on and off the field. It's crazy. He's a superstar – the most accomplished player in our game in history, and he's just like everybody else," Evans said on Tuesday.

"He just works extremely hard, he's always taking care of his body. He loves his family. He loves family time. He's just cool. He's a real down-to-earth guy.

"He's already up there as one of my favourite team-mates, and we've only had a few practices together. So that says a lot. I'm learning a lot from him and hopefully we can tear it up this year."

Evans – a three-time Pro Bowler – is on the cusp of his seventh successive 1,000-yard season to start his career in the NFL.

The 26-year-old made 13 appearances last season, tallying 1,157 yards for eight touchdowns.

"It's cool. He's trying to turn me into a living legend as well, so I'm appreciative of that," Evans said of Brady.

The Buccaneers will open their season against the New Orleans Saints on September 13.

Aaron Lynch has informed the Jacksonville Jaguars he is retiring from the NFL for personal reasons.

The 27-year-old is expected to be placed on the team's reserve/retired list on Tuesday, the Jaguars confirmed in an announcement.

Lynch's decision came a day after fellow defensive lineman Rodney Gunter was forced into retirement due to a heart problem.

Defensive ends Lynch and Gunter had both signed for the Jaguars this year and were yet to play for the team.

Lynch had 20 sacks in six seasons in the league, having spent four years with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Chicago Bears.

The Jaguars have significant issues across the line, as Al Woods and Lerentee McCray opted out due to coronavirus, while Dontavius Russell and Brian Price were lost to injury.

That followed the offseason exits of Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell, while Yannick Ngakoue is yet to sign his franchise tag tender.

Timmy Jernigan was among the players signed this week to provide some reinforcement.

Bruce Arians believes Tom Brady has already answered whether he can still throw an effective deep ball on his first day of padded practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Six-time Super Bowl winner Brady, who has been questioned over his arm strength at the age of 43, threw a deep touchdown to Scotty Miller on the first passing play of Monday's session.

Arians suggested that trend continued throughout the opening padded practice of the Bucs' training camp.

He feels the quarterback is making a swift adaptation to a new aggressive offense after his 20-year stay with the New England Patriots came to an end.

"He answered that question the first day," said Arians, per ESPN.

"I think he was dropping 60-yard dimes. Our job is to make sure he maintains that strength and not overwork it because he's an over-worker.

"[His first padded practice was] everything I expected. He's still learning some guys. He was a little bit hesitant on a throw with a young receiver - they got their hands on it. He's throwing to the right guy all the time.

"The 7-on-7 is what it's supposed to look like - completion after completion. In the blitz drills, he's seeing how we call it, how we protect it. 

"He's doing a real good job with his hots and sights. He's right where he needs to be. I'm not worried about him."

Tight end O.J. Howard was also impressed, saying of Brady: "He does a really good job of putting the ball in a spot where you have the opportunity to make plays and run after the catch. 

"It allows the defender not to make a play on it."

Brady's first padded practice with the Bucs came after he had discussed his blockbuster offseason decision to change teams with Peter King of NBC Sports.

"I made a decision to do something different," explained Brady. "It was a very thoughtful decision. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. 

"Really since the moment I got here they [the Bucs] have embraced me. 

"They have embraced me with the opportunity to go and lead the team - that's a big responsibility for me.

"It's my 30th year playing football, including high school, and it's the first time I've ever had an offensive coach so that provides something a little bit different for the quarterback.

"In the condensed format that we have, we are trying to get on the same page, trying to really understand each other.

"They obviously know how I have done things, I'm trying to understand how they do things so that it can be as efficient as possible.

"Again also understanding that we have both come from different backgrounds and ideas, which is totally fine. I've really enjoyed the opportunity of getting to understand the way they do things."

Washington Football Team veteran Alex Smith said he is excited and feels like a teenager again after being activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list having almost lost his life following an horrific leg injury in 2018.

Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the NFL quarterback suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula two years ago.

However, the 36-year-old and three-time Pro Bowler was cleared for football activity on Sunday, capping a remarkable recovery.

"In the football world, I'm a dinosaur," Smith told ESPN. "But I felt like a 16-year-old again. The nerves, the feeling of excitement, obviously anxiety.

"All that stuff of being alive, the range of emotions of going out there with your team-mates. That's why you play. It felt good to get those nerves going again."

Smith, who went down in November 2018, led Washington to a 6-3 record in 2018, completing 205 of 328 passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdown and five interceptions before being sidelined.

"I know a lot of people probably think it's funny that I'm even pursuing this," Smith added. "I really feel like I need to see where this ends. I need to, I need to see what my limitations are, what I'm capable of.

"I really feel like I've been faced with this giant challenge in life. I can't help it. I think that my three little kids see everything that I do. And for me, just kind of continuing to push this and see where it goes, you know, and, and no expectations."

"There are steps," Smith continued. "This isn't something where you just immediately run out there. The next one is to get into team drills and, and obviously see if you can go out there and defend yourself, see if I can go out there and move around.

"Can I adapt? Can I go out there and play football at this level? It's something that will reveal itself."

Washington, meanwhile, made an historic appointment after Jason Wright became the first African-American team president in NFL history on Monday.

Former San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals running back Wright, 38, will oversee the business aspects of the team, while head coach Ron Rivera will maintain control over all on-field footballing decisions.

"From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organisations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me," Wright said in a statement.

"The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organisation – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.

"As a DMV local and fan, I've been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder's vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team."

Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs announced plans to play NFL home games at a greatly reduced capacity in 2020, while also revealing enhanced health and safety protocols designed to minimise the risk of fans being exposed to coronavirus. 

The Chiefs, who will kick off the NFL season against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, are set to limit attendance to approximately 22 percent capacity and will implement physical-distancing measures in seating areas as well as high-traffic areas. 

Arrowhead Stadium has a listed capacity of 76,416. The plan will limit attendance to under 17,000 fans.  

The revised safety protocols will require all staff members to go through a health screening, which includes a questionnaire and temperature check, upon entering the stadium.

Kansas City will also install hand sanitising stations throughout the stadium and will prohibit fans from using banknotes when making transactions. Parking must also be pre-paid before entering the stadium. 

Fans will also be required to wear face coverings at all times, except for when eating or drinking. The Chiefs will provide commemorative masks to all patrons attending any of the first three home games.  

"The club is introducing a number of changes to the fan experience as the safety of fans, vendors, staff, players and coaches is the utmost priority during this unprecedented NFL season," the team said in a statement. 

The Chiefs will begin ticket sales for the first three home games on August 24, with season ticket holders owning first preference in order of tenure.

Tickets will be sold in grouped pods of seats and will be limited to six seats within the same pod.  

Gerald McCoy ruptured his right quadriceps tendon in practice with the Dallas Cowboys and will miss the 2020 NFL season.

The defensive tackle was hurt during the Cowboys' first padded practice session at training camp and had to be helped from the field.

Dallas only signed the six-time Pro Bowler to a three-year contract in March. He will now undergo surgery to repair the damage this week, according to the team's website.

McCoy heading to injured reserve is a major blow for the Cowboys, who also signed Aldon Smith, Dontari Poe and Everson Griffen during the offseason to revamp their defensive line.

"First and foremost we're disappointed for Gerald," Stephen Jones, Dallas' chief operating officer, said.

"I know he was fired up about being here. But also, it's disappointing for us. He was one of our major acquisitions here in the offseason and free agency.

"But having said that this will give Trysten Hill and Gallimore an opportunity to really step up now. Two young players we will need to come through for us."

Picked third overall in 2010, McCoy spent his first eight years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2019.

The 32-year-old has recorded 59.5 sacks and forced six fumbles during his career.

 

 

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