Antonio Brown has been suspended for the first eight games of the NFL season, the league announced on Friday.

Brown is a free agent after being cut by the New England Patriots after just 11 days and one game in September.

Reports have claimed Brown will not contest the punishment, meaning should he sign for a team he would miss half of the regular season.

Wide receiver Brown was found to have breached the NFL's personal conduct policy.

The official NFL website said Brown's suspension stemmed "from his no contest plea to burglary and battery charges from a January incident in Florida" and accusations regarding allegedly intimidating text messages sent to a woman.

An NFL statement read: "Antonio Brown was notified today by NFL special counsel for conduct Todd Jones that he has been suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2020 season for multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy.

"Brown, who played one game in the 2019 season for the New England Patriots before being released, is an unrestricted free agent and may sign with any team. If he is signed before the start of the 2020 season, Brown would be eligible to participate in all of his club's preseason activities. Brown's suspension would take effect as of the final roster reduction on September 5. He would be eligible to return after the team's eighth game.

"As part of the discipline, Brown was directed to continue his programme of counselling and treatment, and that he is expected fully to cooperate with his clinicians.

"Brown was advised that any future violation of the personal conduct policy will likely result in more significant discipline."

The NFL.com website said the league is looking into civil claims of sexual assault against the 32-year-old, accusations that Brown has strenuously denied.

Injuries are common in the NFL, but there is nothing conventional about how Las Vegas Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs III hurt himself.

Ruggs – the 12th pick in this year's NFL Draft – injured his thigh while helping a friend move. 

The injury is not considered serious and the Raiders are not commenting out of respect to the 21-year-old wide receiver's medical privacy. 

Ruggs' father, Henry Ruggs Jr., said his son is fine but is using crutches to avoid putting weight on the injured leg. 

"He was trying to move a trailer or something - move furniture or something - and the trailer just kind of pinned him against a car or a wall or something," Ruggs Jr. told AL.com.

"He's pretty much OK … It was just like a little open wound on his leg, a little incision. Like something had stuck him right there on his thigh a little bit." 

The first receiver selected in April's NFL Draft, Ruggs finished his three-year career at Alabama with 98 receptions for 1,716 yards. His 24 touchdown receptions are third most in program history.

 

Eli Apple is once again off the free-agent market, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. 

This is the second time Apple has agreed to terms with a team this offseason after the 24-year-old cornerback reportedly had a deal in place with the Las Vegas Raiders in March before it ended up falling through. 

Apple now joins a Panthers team that are light on experience at cornerback after Carolina selected two in last month's NFL Draft to add depth to the position. 

The 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the New York Giants, Apple has appeared in 55 games and has made 48 starts in his four-year career, totalling 197 tackles and three interceptions.

Apple started the first 15 games last season for the New Orleans Saints before an ankle injury sidelined him for the regular-season finale and playoffs. 

The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints will each enter the 2020 season with high-profile backups.

Dallas signed Andy Dalton to a one-year, $7million contract on Saturday, the former Cincinnati Bengal following Jameis Winston in finding a new home.

Winston signed with the New Orleans Saints on a deal worth only $1.1m, a meagre sum for the NFL's passing yards leader in 2019.

They are excellent options to have in reserve and feature on our list of the best backups in the league.

 

Nick Mullens - San Francisco 49ers

Key Stat: Mullens' yards-per-attempt average of 8.31 ranked fifth in the NFL in 2018.

Mullens couldn't rescue San Francisco's 2018 season, which fell apart when Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL in Week 3. However, after he replaced an injured C.J. Beathard in Week 9 he kept the starting job for the rest of the campaign.

He impressed with his poise and his ability to run Kyle Shanahan's offense, keeping the Niners competitive down the stretch and winning three of his eight starts. Mullens was arguably the premier backup in the league going into the 2019 season but was not needed to step in as Garoppolo helped the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

Jacoby Brissett - Indianapolis Colts

Key Stat: Brissett was tied for 11th in touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2019, throwing for 18 scores and just six picks. 

The starter for the Colts last season after Andrew Luck's shock retirement, Brissett looks set to return to the backup role for the last year of his contract.

Indianapolis signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal in the offseason, with the Colts deciding to upgrade after Brissett failed to elevate a team that struggled with injuries to the playoffs last season.

Brissett, however, has an extremely strong arm, can make plays on the move and took care of the football in 2019. His 12-20 record as a starter should not discourage teams from trying to sign him next offseason or acquire him in a trade ahead of the 2020 campaign.

Marcus Mariota - Las Vegas Raiders

Key Stat: Mariota had his best statistical season in 2016, ranking in the top 10 in passer rating (95.6), TD-INT ratio (2.89) and yards per completion (12.41)

Mariota declined in 2019 and surrendered his starting role with the Tennessee Titans to Ryan Tannehill, who led them to the AFC Championship game.

The second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Mariota unquestionably has the right pedigree, having guided the Titans to a playoff win in the 2017 season.

He has the skill set as a thrower and a runner to push starter Derek Carr and it would be no surprise if the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas is marked by a quarterback controversy.

Andy Dalton - Dallas Cowboys

Key Stat: Dalton was second in the NFL with a passer rating of 106.3 in 2015, only Russell Wilson (110.1) was superior in that regard.

The Cowboys' decision to invest in another quarterback may raise eyebrows given they are still to sign starter Dak Prescott to a new deal.

However, the expectation is that Dallas will eventually get a deal done with their franchise quarterback, and Dalton gives them an insurance policy who is worthy of having a starting job.

Dalton played at an MVP level in 2015, when a broken thumb derailed his and the Bengals' Super Bowl aspirations. He never recaptured that form in Cincinnati but his availability to serve as a backup for the Cowboys is indicative of the surplus of quarterback talent in the league.

Jameis Winston - New Orleans Saints

Key Stat: Winston's 5,109 passing yards led the NFL in 2019, he racked up 54 passing plays of 25 yards or more.

Winston was once thought to be seeking a contract in the region of $30million a year as his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers neared its end.

However, his proclivity for turning the ball over - he threw 30 interceptions in 2019 - was undoubtedly a factor in him having to settle for a substantially less lucrative deal in New Orleans after the Bucs opted to sign Tom Brady.

The first overall pick in 2015, Winston carries considerable upside as a downfield passer and is the most talented reserve in the NFL.

He has yet to channel that talent into consistency but, with Drew Brees approaching perhaps the final season of his decorated career, Winston has the perfect opportunity to transform his fortunes under head coach Sean Payton.

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft returned some normalcy to the sports world, even if commissioner Roger Goodell's basement does not quite exude the same glitz as the Las Vegas Strip. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the draft to be held remotely with NFL general managers, coaches and scouts isolated in their homes instead of inside team complexes, the virtual draft ran smoothly – and without much drama early on Thursday.

In what has been widely expected for weeks, and possibly months, the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

Burrow led LSU to the national title last season, completing 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and an FBS-single season record 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions. 

The second pick also went exactly like how many draft experts had predicted for weeks, with the Washington Redskins drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. 

Young led the FBS with 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2019, and was regarded to be the most talented player in the draft class – even ahead of Burrow. 

If not for Burrow's incredible 2019 season and because of Tua Tagovailoa's injury concerns, the latter may have challenged for the top spot in the 2020 draft. 

Tagovailoa became the second quarterback off the board when he was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth pick.

One pick after Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers took Oregon QB Justin Herbert – just the third time since the 1970 merger three quarterbacks were chosen in the top six picks. 

Three teams that had selected quarterbacks in the first round of the last two drafts, used the 2020 draft to beef up their offensive lines to protect their young, franchise QBs. 

The New York Giants (Daniel Jones at six in 2019) picked Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas at fourth overall, the Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield at one in 2018) selected Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th pick, and the New York Jets (Sam Darnold third in 2018) used the next pick to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. 

After this run on tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took part in the first trade of the draft to insure their new – and aging – quarterback would also stay upright. They moved up one spot in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to select Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs at 13 to shore up the offensive line in front of Tom Brady. 

The next trade came 10 picks later as Brady's old team, New England Patriots, dealt pick 23 to the Chargers – who selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. The Patriots received a second and third-round pick from the Chargers and now have five of the first 100 picks of the 2020 draft and 13 overall. 

While it is possible New England could use one of those picks to draft Brady's replacement, the Green Bay Packers have chosen the heir apparent to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers, trading up from 30th to 26th to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

The opening round concluded with the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs selecting the first running back to bookend the first round with LSU picks, taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire – the 14th player drafted out of the SEC. 

Wide receiver is considered to be the deepest position in the draft, and six went in the first round – but none until 12, when Alabama's Henry Ruggs III became the first player ever selected by the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas. 

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying, "We think you deserve another shot".

 

First round selections:

1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
2. Chase Young (Washington Redskins)
3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions)
4. Andrew Thomas (New York Giants)
5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
6. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
7. Derrick Brown (Carolina Panthers)
8. Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)
9. CJ Henderson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10. Jedrick Wills Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
11. Mekhi Becton (New York Jets)
12. Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders)
13. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. Javon Kinlaw (San Francisco 49ers)
15. Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
16. A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons)
17. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
18. Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins)
19. Damon Arnette (Las Vegas Raiders)
20. K'Lavon Chaisson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
21. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
23. Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers)
24. Cesar Ruiz (New Orleans Saints)
25. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
26. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
27. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
28. Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens)
29. Isaiah Wilson (Tennessee Titans)
30. Noah Igbinoghene (Miami Dolphins)
31. Jeff Gladney (Minnesota Vikings)
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

The NFL Draft is a crucial part of the team-building process, with this year as important as ever even though selections will be made remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With a dramatic free agency period now largely complete, contenders for Super Bowl glory in the 2020 season have already emerged.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints are expected to feature prominently in the playoffs once more, with Tom Brady's arrival putting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mix as well.

All 32 teams understand the draft's importance, though while some of the top rosters may only need to fill one or two needs and ideally select the best player available, others are facing critical decisions that could alter the future of their franchise.

For the following eight teams, the pressure is on ahead of a 2020 draft that could impact their postseason chances, and the job security of those in charge, for many years to come.
 

Las Vegas Raiders

Armed with two first-round selections thanks to the Khalil Mack trade, the Raiders will pick at 12 and 19. Head coach Jon Gruden has had two losing seasons since signing his big-money contract, while Mike Mayock's first draft as general manager, that included three 2019 first-round picks, received mixed reviews on the evidence of last season. 

With question marks over whether Derek Carr will be the long-term quarterback, the Raiders need to give him weapons and will desperately hope to land one of the star receivers, CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs.

Secondary help with their other top pick could address another key need, with the Raiders in need of tangible progress in their first year in Vegas following the departures of Mack and Amari Cooper in exchange for draft assets over recent seasons.

New York Giants

The Giants will pick at number 4 this year, having selected at 2 and 6 over the past two years – a sign that all has not been well on the field. Running back Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones have been their previous premium selections. An offensive tackle or versatile safety-linebacker hybrid Isaiah Simmons are seen as the most likely options this time around.

After the firing of head coach Pat Shurmur, pressure is on GM Dave Gettleman to hit with that pick and his selection at 36 for a roster still needing a significant injection of talent under Joe Judge. With no playoff win since their 2011 championship season, fans are growing impatient.

Miami Dolphins

After stripping the roster bare in 2019, free agency saw the Dolphins begin to use the salary cap space they had freed up, with Byron Jones lured from the Dallas Cowboys to be made the NFL's highest-paid cornerback. 

Now it is time for the Dolphins to start making the most of their masses of draft capital. They have three picks in the first round - 5, 18 and 26 – and three more across rounds two and three (39, 56 and 70).

They face a key decision regarding their long-term future at QB, with current starter Ryan Fitzpatrick only a bridge option. If they are happy with his medical reports, the Dolphins could trade up for Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa, stay at five to see if he drops, or instead go down a different route by taking Justin Herbert or Jordan Love with one of their three first-rounders.

That is a decision of paramount importance and with so many other selections in a deep class at tackle and receiver, it is a draft that, if they get it right, could catapult the Dolphins into being perennial AFC East contenders after the New England Patriots lost Brady.

Detroit Lions

Just nine wins in two seasons since arriving from the Patriots has Matt Patricia under pressure in Detroit. After trading Darius Slay to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions have been strongly linked with cornerback Jeffrey Okudah at number three overall.

With picks near the top of the second and third rounds too, and number 85 picked up as part of the deal for Slay, Lions GM Bob Quinn has options, including trading down from three. This is a pivotal draft in the team's rebuild.

Atlanta Falcons

The Saints have won the NFC South for three straight seasons and Brady's arrival with the Bucs gives the division another powerhouse. 

That leaves the Falcons in a difficult spot, given they have underwhelmed since their Super Bowl collapse at the end of the 2016 season. The Falcons are not rebuilding, and the clock is ticking for them with QB Matt Ryan now 34 and star wideout Julio Jones 31. 

Unlike many of the other teams in this list, the Falcons are not blessed with extensive draft capital, with only number 15, 47 and 78 in the top 100. GM Thomas Dimitroff may have to pull off something special if his team are to keep pace with divisional rivals led by Brady and Drew Brees.

New England Patriots

All eyes are on the Patriots after Brady's departure. Bill Belichick has given little away, this draft will tell us if he plans to draft an immediate successor, with his other options being rolling with Jarrett Stidham at QB in 2020, and potentially beyond, or signing a free agent like Cam Newton.

The Patriots have a pick at 23 that is prompting huge debate, given they are not scheduled to make another selection until number 87. If they go QB in the first round, it will leave the roster without star offensive weapons, one of the factors that frustrated Brady towards the end of his tenure.

Belichick has praised the depth and quality of the QB class and could wait to see if a developmental option under center is available in the middle rounds while selecting an immediate contributor at another position in round one. Or, he could do nothing and build around Stidham or a veteran recruit.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are one of the most intriguing teams in this year's draft with picks at nine and 20, as well as a second-round selection at 42. Trading away Nick Foles appeared to indicate Gardner Minshew will be unchallenged at QB, but would that remain the case if the team have a high grade on Herbert or Love and either fall into their lap?

Jacksonville's defense is in a complete rebuild after last season's Jalen Ramsey trade was followed by the offseason exits of A.J. Bouye and Calais Campbell, while more receiving options for Minshew are also needed.

Two frustrating seasons have followed their AFC Championship berth and the pressure is on - this draft must set foundations to move the team towards contending again.

Minnesota Vikings

While Kirk Cousins' big-money contract extension removes any questions about the Vikings' future at quarterback, they go into the draft with some glaring needs.

The evaluations on whether they were wise to trade away Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills will be based on how they replace him with a historic class of a receivers to choose from. Cornerback reinforcements are a key requirement on the defensive side of the ball.

Having renewed their commitment to Cousins and with the Green Bay Packers to chase down in the NFC North, the Vikings - who pick at 22 and 25 in the first round - need to hit at those priority positions if they are to compete this year.

Marcus Mariota says he is under no illusions that he will be back-up quarterback to Derek Carr at the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 26-year-old penned a two-year highly incentivised contract with the Raiders, with his base 2020 salary said to be guaranteed at $7.5million and another $5.9m in potential add-ons.

Mariota won the coveted Heisman Trophy in 2014 but largely struggled during five seasons with the Tennessee Titans and lost his starting berth to Ryan Tannehill last season.

Speaking about his move to the Raiders, Mariota says he wanted to join a team that can bring out the best of his abilities even if for the time being he is behind Carr in the pecking order.

"First and foremost, this is Derek's team, and I understand that," Honolulu native Mariota told Hawaii-based KHON-TV.

"I understand that going in. My priority going into free agency was to be a part of a team that I felt could bring out the best in me. 

"Whatever happens, whatever comes of that, I'm ready for. But I do know, to play starting quarterback in the NFL, to be at that spot, is not an easy job to do. 

"And I think, when it comes down to it, a strong, stable supportive quarterback room makes that job a whole lot easier, and that's what we have to do. 

"And I'm going to do my best to support Derek in every possible way that I can, and along with that, I'm just going to try to become the best player that I can be and see where that takes me."

The Raiders went 7-9 last season and were officially renamed the Las Vegas Raiders in January.

Carr, 28, started 16 games for the Raiders last season, throwing for a career-high 4,054 yards, and is under contract through the 2022 campaign.

A day after Tom Brady's exit from the New England Patriots was confirmed, a deal was struck to send the last quarterback to defeat him in a Super Bowl to pastures new.

Brady is expected to be announced as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer after deciding to end his 20-season association with the Patriots.

However, his change of scenery is far from the only transaction affecting the NFL landscape. Here, we wrap up the significant moves reported to have been agreed as the new league year began on Wednesday.

 

Nick Foles, who got the better of Brady in Super Bowl LII, is reportedly headed to the Chicago Bears after the Jacksonville Jaguars agreed to trade him in exchange for a fourth-round pick.

The Jags are parting with Foles just a year after signing the former Philadelphia Eagle to a four-year, $88million contract. He will now provide competition for Mitchell Trubisky, whose role as the Bears' starter is under threat after a disappointing 2019.

Foles' departure allows Gardner Minshew to step in as the starter in Jacksonville. Sixth-round pick Minshew outplayed Foles, who was limited to four games because of injury, last year and will now get the chance to prove he is the Jaguars' franchise quarterback.

Brady's last game as a Patriot came in a playoff defeat to the Tennessee Titans, who made the surprising decision to deal defensive lineman Jurrell Casey to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Casey has at least five sacks in each of the last seven seasons.

The Detroit Lions were also involved in the trade market, acquiring safety Duron Harmon from the Patriots. Detroit agreed to a two-year deal with defensive linemen Danny Shelton. Both players have a connection with Lions head coach Matt Patricia from his time as New England's defensive coordinator.

Another former Patriot, center Ted Karras, is staying in the division, signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins.

The New Orleans Saints are said to have agreed a deal to bring back safety Malcolm Jenkins after he was let go by the Eagles. Jenkins was drafted by the Saints in 2009 before leaving for the Eagles in 2014.

Their NFC South rivals the Carolina Panthers released safety Eric Reid, while the Atlanta Falcons inked edge rusher Dante Fowler to a three-year contract.

Leonard Floyd will fill the void Fowler's exit left for the Los Angeles Rams, who have re-signed guard Austin Blythe and veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks have brought back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin, the pass rusher who played a key role in their Super Bowl-winning 2013 season. Reigning NFC champions the San Francisco 49ers re-signed center Ben Garland to a one-year deal.

The Los Angeles Chargers may have missed out on Brady, but they have bolstered their defense with the signing of defensive tackle Linval Joseph. Cornerback Chris Harris also intends to sign with the Chargers.

Cornerback Eli Apple will play a part in the Raiders' first season in Las Vegas, while safety Sean Davis is headed to the Washington Redskins on a one-year deal.

Tom Brady's departure from the New England Patriots might have been the big NFL news on Tuesday, but there was plenty of activity elsewhere in free agency.

As the world waits on Brady's next move after 20 seasons as a Patriot, the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers reportedly found new starting quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Teddy Bridgewater respectively.

Here, we wrap up some of the other big moves that were reported to have been agreed ahead of the new league year beginning on Wednesday.

 

Tight end Jason Witten returned to the Dallas Cowboys last season after a campaign in the broadcast booth and he will be back in 2020, but with the Las Vegas Raiders. Witten, Maliek Collins and safety Jeff Heath are all thought to be making the move from Dallas to Sin City. Linebacker Cory Littleton has also agreed terms with the Raiders, according to reports.

Vic Beasley, who led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2015, is said to be heading to the Tennessee Titans. The edge rusher has only had 18 sacks combined over the previous three seasons.

Having had 11.5 sacks in 2019 with the Cowboys, Robert Quinn's agents told NFL.com he is bound for the Chicago Bears on a five-year, $70million deal. Chicago have confirmed Leonard Floyd has been released.

Malcolm Jenkins, a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles when they won Super Bowl LII, has been released, though the team confirmed two other members of their defensive backfield, Jalen Mills and Rodney McLeod, had signed new deals.

Former Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Chargers, revealed he has been "reunited with my guy" Ron Rivera at the Washington Redskins. 

The Chargers were busy making an acquisition themselves, bringing in offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga on a three-year, $30m deal, according to NFL.com. Who he will be protecting remains to be seen, though, with the Chargers considered one of the favourites in the Brady sweepstakes.

A day after handing receiver A.J. Green the franchise tag, the Cincinnati Bengals reportedly made two signings on the other side of the ball in nose tackle D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes.

The Jacksonville Jaguars bolstered their front seven by signing ex-Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert, while cornerback Darqueze Dennard is thought to be joining too.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco 49ers, the NFC representatives in last month's Super Bowl, confirmed they had tendered one-year contracts to restricted free agents Kendrick Bourne and Matt Breida.

The Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly agreed terms with former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mariota was the second pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but struggled during his five seasons with the Titans.

The 26-year-old started six times for the Titans last season before losing his spot to Ryan Tannehill.

Mariota played 63 games for Tennessee, throwing for 13,207 yards with 76 touchdowns and 44 interceptions, and NFL Network reports he has agreed to join the Raiders.

The Raiders went 7-9 last season and were officially renamed the Las Vegas Raiders in January.

Derek Carr, 28, started 16 games for the Raiders last season, throwing for a career-high 4,054 yards, and is under contract through the 2022 campaign.

Antonio Brown has apologised to the NFL following a series of alleged off-field incidents as he played just one game in the league in 2019.

Wide receiver Brown has been without a team since he was cut by the New England Patriots after just 11 days in September amid allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he strenuously denies.

The seven-time Pro Bowler played just one game for the Patriots, who he joined from the Oakland Raiders after leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in March last year.

An arrest warrant was issued for the 31-year-old last week on charges of burglary with battery and criminal mischief, with a judge freeing Brown from house arrest on Tuesday.

Brown posted an apology to anyone he "offended or disrespected" at the Hollywood Police Department on his official Instagram page on Friday, and he has now announced regret at his recent behaviour.

"I think I owe the whole NFL an apology for my past behaviour," Brown said in an interview with ESPN. "I think I could have done a lot of things better."

On Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declared that it was the league's aim to help Brown.

"I was pleased to hear that, after 140 days, there was some positivity about me, because as of late, I've just been the cancer of the NFL," Brown said when asked what he thought of Goodell's comments.

He added of Goodell's commitment to provide help: "I'll believe it when I see it."

It will be the story that dominates the NFL offseason: What's next for Tom Brady?

The 42-year-old's quest to win an unprecedented seventh ring at Super Bowl LIV in Miami next month was dashed by the Tennessee Titans, who beat Brady's New England Patriots 20-13 in the Wild Card Round on Saturday.

With Brady currently set to be a free agent in 2020, there remains a possibility that he could begin his 21st NFL season away from Bill Belichick's team.

Here we assess Brady's potential options for next season.

 

RETIREMENT

Speaking after the defeat to the Titans, Brady had said retirement was "pretty unlikely... Hopefully unlikely".

The plyometrics fanatic has redefined what was considered possible for forty-somethings in the NFL, exulting the virtues of his 'TB12 Method' and speaking of his desire to play until he is 45.

But Father Time seems to be catching Brady, who threw just 24 touchdowns in the 2019 regular season, the fewest he has managed across a full campaign since he posted the same number in 2006.

Brady is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, a six-time Super Bowl champion and widely regarded as the best quarterback ever; at this point, carrying on may only harm his legacy. But will he want to bow out with a home playoff loss...?

STAY IN NEW ENGLAND

The most likely option is that Brady returns to Foxborough next season.

His slightly disappointing numbers this season come with caveats, most notably the lack of weapons in the passing game, the less-than-stellar offensive line and a ground attack that's remained, well, grounded.

New England drafted Jarrett Stidham last year but he was benched on his debut after throwing a pick-six from his third attempt. Asking him to step in for Brady at this stage appears too much.

Perhaps the Patriots would be better off surrounding Brady with a better cast and making one final Super Bowl push. Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown may just be up for that too.

JOIN THE INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

If Brady is to go elsewhere in 2020, it will almost certainly be to a Super Bowl contender.

The Colts can be just that. They went 10-6 in 2018 and won a playoff game and, despite losing Andrew Luck to retirement on the eve of the 2019 season, they still went 7-9 this term and would probably have made the playoffs had they had better play at the quarterback position.

Indianapolis have no long-term commitment to current starter Jacoby Brissett, who was one of Brady's former backups in New England.

The Colts have a fine offensive line, a roster stacked with young stars ready to make the next step and an offensive-minded head coach. Brady could do a lot worse, but would Indy - who are also projected to have the most cap space for 2020 - be keen given the current regime's desire to build through the draft?

JOIN THE LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Another AFC team with a possible opening at the game's most important position.

The Chargers, like the Colts, made the playoffs in 2018 and won a game, yet they were hugely disappointing when going 5-11 in 2019.

Philip Rivers might be four years younger than Brady but he looked far older this season and the Chargers can easily cut ties and look elsewhere in 2020.

Los Angeles may just be an appealing destination to California-born Brady; after all, it was to NBA veteran LeBron James.

JOIN THE LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden likes to work with veteran quarterbacks - see Rich Gannon and Brad Johnson - and 'Chucky' has offered no guarantees over current incumbent Derek Carr's future.

What better way to mark the move to a new stadium in a new city by rolling the dice and bringing Brady to Sin City?

The Raiders have a stout offensive line, a brilliant young running back in Josh Jacobs and enough cap space to sign a player of Brady's calibre.

One thing's for sure, if Brady ends up in Las Vegas, former Raider Brown will not be following him after the way he burned his bridges...

JOIN THE CAROLINA PANTHERS

A left-field suggestion, perhaps, but the Panthers have one thing that could work in their favour: A head coaching vacancy.

New England's current offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, is reportedly set to interview with the Panthers next week and both he and Brady may like the idea of joining forces and proving their worth away from Belichick.

The Cleveland Browns and New York Giants are thought to be keen on McDaniels too, though they both have young signal callers.

If Brady wants a 'home away from home' and McDaniels lands in Carolina, the Panthers might just fit the bill. 

Jay Gruden is hoping for a swift return to a coaching role, and would be open to joining his brother Jon at the Oakland Raiders.

Gruden was fired by the Washington Redskins – who on Wednesday appointed former Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera – early in the season following five straight defeats.

He has been out of work since then, though with several head coaches either already fired or set to be relieved of their duties following the end of the regular season, Gruden is eager to return.

However, Gruden will only consider a job which he feels is the right fit for him culturally, whether that is as a head coach or as an offensive coordinator.

"It's a pretty unique feeling [when you are fired]," Gruden told the Rap Sheet podcast. "You wake up at the same time in the morning ready to go to work but you don't have work to go to.

"I'm itching to do something. You definitely miss the camaraderie of the players, the coaches. You've just got to get used to it and wait for your next opportunity.

"We'll see what happens. There's going to be some changes made. Hopefully I'll be in a position to talk to some owners and get another opportunity as head coach.

"I could take a year off if I don't get that opportunity I'm looking for, we'll have to see what's available. Some of these jobs aren't easy.

"You have to make sure you look at the right player. Whether it's coordinator or head coach you've got to make sure you mesh with the people that you're working with."

The possibility of Gruden linking up with his brother Jon – who is head coach of the Raiders – has been touted, though he does not think a move is likely while his sibling has a full complement of staff.

"He's not got any job openings right now. If anything comes at a later time then I'd have to look at it," Gruden said.

"You want to make sure you work with people you know have the same core values that you have, work hard and are loyal. I know Jon fits all of that criteria, so he'd be a great guy to work for."

While Gruden is frustrated with how things ended with the Redskins, he acknowledged he expected to be fired.

"I was kind of ready for it. I knew it was going to happen," he added. "We didn't have any success, we were 0-5 at the time and there was frustration on both sides.

"Some changes had to be made and they made them. I was frustrated with the injuries and our best players never playing. We parted ways, all in good spirits and I'm ready to move on."

The San Francisco 49ers edged the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 in a wild clash to clinch the NFC's number one seed and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.

San Francisco emerged as NFC West champions and the top seeds thanks to Sunday's incredible victory in Seattle.

The Philadelphia Eagles and Tennessee Titans booked their postseason berths with wins on the final day of the regular season.

Meanwhile, AFC top seeds the Baltimore Ravens head into the bye on the back of an impressive 28-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

NINERS DOWN SEAHAWKS IN THRILLER 

The Seahawks appeared dead and buried against the 49ers, trailing 26-14 with less than four minutes remaining.

However, the final minutes were unbelievable as the 49ers somehow denied the Seahawks a first-round bye and top spot in the NFC.

Down 26-21 in the final seconds, Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister charged towards the endzone and fell just inches short of the goal-line on a fourth-down play. It came after a delay of game penalty when Seattle had the ball at the one-yard line.

Dre Greenlaw made the tackle to hold out Hollister with nine seconds remaining as the 49ers earned homefield advantage throughout the postseason after sealing their first division crown since 2012, while the Seahawks will face the Eagles in the wildcard game.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was 18 of 22 for 285 yards and no touchdowns, while Raheem Mostert (two) and Deebo Samuel (one) both rushed for TDs.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 25 of his 40 throws for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

 

EAGLES SOAR INTO PLAYOFFS, TITANS JOIN THEM

The Eagles moved through to the wildcard round after capturing the NFC East championship by beating the New York Giants 34-17.

Philadelphia (9-7) finished ahead of rivals the Dallas Cowboys (8-8), who eased past the Washington Redskins 47-16.

Failing to reach the playoffs thrust the future of out-of-contract Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett further into the spotlight but owner and general manager Jerry Jones said: "I'm not going to get into it at all, an evaluation or an assessment. I'm not. I'm going to do exactly what I always do and get up, go forward and do the best job that I can. We'll make those decisions accordingly."

The Titans, meanwhile, used a 35-14 victory against the Houston Texans to advance to the playoffs and set up a wildcard showdown with defending Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

The Oakland Raiders missed out on the playoffs following a narrow 16-15 defeat to the Denver Broncos.

 

RAVENS CAP SEASON WITH 12TH STRAIGHT WIN

Despite the absence of their star starters, the Ravens ended the regular season with another victory, this time against the Steelers.

The Ravens extended their winning streak to 12 as they improved to 14-2 for the season without Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram, Marshal Yanda and Earl Thomas.

"That puts an exclamation point on an excellent season," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Pittsburgh required a Tennessee loss to have any chance of becoming only the seventh team since 1970 to reach the playoffs following a 0-3 start.

 

RAMS SAY GOODBYE TO COLISEUM

The Los Angeles Rams farewelled LA Memorial Coliseum with a 31-24 triumph against the Arizona Cardinals.

As the Rams prepare to relocate to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, they celebrated one last victory at the historic 96-year-old venue.

"I will miss playing in the Coliseum," said quarterback Jared Goff said. "I'm really excited for SoFi. What Mr. [Stan] Kroenke has done there is going to be something that I don't think the world has ever seen, honestly. It'll be a lot of fun, but I will miss the Coliseum and will miss the history of it, the lighting of the torch, the fireworks, the whole thing. The fanbase we've built here, how much louder it was this year compared to my first year, and just seeing it grow, is really cool."

 

Week 17 results

New York Jets 13-6 Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals 33-23 Cleveland Browns
Green Bay Packers 23-20 Detroit Lions
Kansas City Chiefs 31-21 Los Angeles Chargers
Chicago Bears 21-19 Minnesota Vikings
Miami Dolphins 27-24 New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons 28-22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OT)
New Orleans Saints 42-10 Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys 47-16 Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos 16-15 Oakland Raiders
Los Angeles Rams 31-24 Arizona Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles 34-17 New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers 26-21 Seattle Seahawks
Jacksonville Jaguars 38-20 Indianapolis Colts
Baltimore Ravens 28-10 Pittsburgh Steelers
Tennessee Titans 35-14 Houston Texans

The NFL regular season comes to a close this week, with plenty still on the line.

Defending Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, need a win against the Miami Dolphins to lock up the second seed in the AFC playoffs, though they are guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

The Tennessee Titans' postseason hopes are in their own hands – a win against the Houston Texans will see them through. Meanwhile, a victory over the Seattle Seahawks for NFC West leaders the San Francisco 49ers will ensure their place in the playoffs as the top seed and give them home advantage throughout.

However, the 49ers know that if they slip up then Seattle will win the division and the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints or Seahawks will take top spot in the conference.

The Philadelphia Eagles will clinch a playoff berth and the NFC East title if they win against the New York Giants. A shock defeat would give the Dallas Cowboys the opportunity to atone for last week's loss in Philadelphia and reach the postseason ahead of them by beating the Washington Redskins.

Using data from Stats Perform, we take a closer look at all the Week 17 fixtures.

SUNDAY (all times Eastern)

Chargers (5-10) at Chiefs (11-4) 1pm

- The Chiefs have won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Chargers, but the last time these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium, 2018 Week 15, the Los Angeles triumphed 29-28.

- With Keenan Allen at 1,117 receiving yards and Mike Williams (963) and Austin Ekeler (950) within striking distance of 1000 receiving yards, the Chargers have a realistic chance of becoming the sixth team in NFL history with three players with 1,000+ yards receiving.

- The Chargers have already suffered their third 10+ loss season in the last five years, after going 11 seasons (from 2004-14) without a single 10-loss season.

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (10-5) 1pm

- The Bears have won three successive games against the Vikings, their longest streak since winning six straight over Minnesota from 2009-12.

- Entering 2019, Kirk Cousins had four straight seasons of at least 4000 passing yards, trailing only Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers for the longest active streaks in the NFL. Cousins needs 397 passing yards for a 4000-yard season in 2019, something he's never done in a home game in his career.

- Minnesota's 139 total net yards against the Packers last week were the fourth-fewest by any team in any game this season – only the Jets (twice) and Broncos have had fewer.

 

Jets (6-9) at Bills (10-5) 1pm

- Josh Allen has accounted for 29 total touchdowns this season (20 passing, nine rushing). Jim Kelly in 1991 is the only Buffalo player ever to account for at least 30 total touchdowns in a season (33 passing, one rushing).

- The Bills are 5-2 at home versus the Jets since 2012, with a +81 point differential over these seven games.

- The Jets have the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards. They would be the first team since the 1954 Eagles to rank bottom two and top two in rushing yards and opponent rushing yards, respectively.

 

Saints (12-3) at Panthers (5-10) 1pm

- The Saints defeated the Panthers at home in Week 12. New Orleans have also won the last two meetings in Carolina.

- New Orleans have never had back-to-back 13+ win seasons and the 25 wins over the past two seasons are already the most by the Saints in a two-season span all-time.

- Having won the division title for the third straight season, the Saints have tied the longest NFC South title streak that was set by the Panthers from 2013 to 2015.

 

Browns (6-9) at Bengals (1-14) 1pm

- The Browns' home win over the Bengals in Week 14 was a third straight win over their in-state rivals. Cleveland have not managed four consecutive wins over Cincinnati since a seven-game streak from 1992 to 1995.

- Cleveland were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Ravens. Their streak of 17 seasons without a playoff berth is tied for the fifth-longest in NFL history.

- The Bengals locked up the first pick in the 2020 NFL draft after a 38-35 overtime loss to the Dolphins in Miami last week. Cincinnati has drafted first overall three times in its history, taking defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson in 1994, running back Ki-Jana Carter in 1995 and quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.

 

Packers (12-3) at Lions (3-11-1) 1pm

- The Packers clinched the division title with their win over the Vikings in Week 16. Green Bay has won the NFC North title six times this decade, the most division titles by any NFC team.

- Davante Adams hauled in 13 receptions for 116 yards in that triumph, bringing his career receiving yards to 5,101.

- Green Bay holds a 99-72-7 advantage in the all-time series against the Lions and could become the third franchise to win 100 games against another franchise.

 

Dolphins (4-11) at Patriots (12-3) 1pm

- New England will be trying to earn a first-round bye for the 10th consecutive season. Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, no other team has earned a first-round bye in more than four straight seasons.

- Tom Brady has 3,836 passing yards this season. If he can reach 4,000 passing yards, it would be the third time he has thrown for 4,000 yards in a season at age 40 or older.

- Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the Dolphins with 228 rushing yards this season. No team has finished a 16-game season without a player having at least 300 rushing yards.

 

Falcons (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8) 1pm

- Since 2015, the Falcons and Buccaneers have combined for 55.1 points per game against one another, the highest-scoring matchup between divisional opponents in the NFL.

- The Buccaneers rank third in the NFL in points (436) and third-worst in the NFL in points allowed (421).

- The Falcons have 19 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, tied with the Titans for most in the NFL.

 

Cardinals (5-9-1) at Rams (8-7) 4:25pm

- The Rams won 34-7 when these teams met in Week 13 and have outscored the Cardinals 164-32 during their five-game winning streak against Arizona.

- Tyler Higbee had his first career game with at least 100 receiving yards in Week 13 against Arizona, and has now had at least 100 yards in each of the three games since.

- Arizona beat the Seahawks 27-13 in Week 16, their second straight win following six consecutive losses. Both wins came by 14 points – the first time they have won back-to-back games by at least 14 since December 2015.

 

Raiders (7-8) at Broncos (6-9) 4:25pm

- The Broncos have won six of the last seven home games against the Raiders.

- Oakland has gone 17 straight seasons without winning the AFC West, tied for the fourth-longest streak not winning their division.

- The Broncos will finish with a losing record for the third consecutive season, the second-longest streak of losing seasons in franchise history (10 straight from 1963-1972).

 

Redskins (3-12) at Dallas Cowboys (7-8) 4:25pm

- The Cowboys have won six of their last seven over the Redskins, including three straight in Dallas.

- Last week, the Redskins became the third team in the NFL this season to allow 300+ passing yards and 200+ rushing yards in a game.

- Dallas have had at least 400 total net yards in all seven home games. No team since at least 1950 has had eight home games with 400+ total net yards in a season.

 

Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) 4:25pm

- Following their 24-21 win at Tennessee two weeks ago, the Texans look to secure the first season sweep by either team since 2015, and to square the all-time series at 18 wins each.

- The Texans clinched their second straight AFC South title with a 23-20 win at Tampa Bay – Houston's fifth victory this season by three points or fewer.

- Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson did not throw a touchdown pass last week; his season total sits at 26, matching the number he threw one season ago.

 

Steelers (8-7) at Ravens (13-2) 4:25pm

- Since John Harbaugh became head coach in 2008, the Ravens are 12-11 against the Steelers, and 14 of the 23 meetings have been decided by three points or fewer.

- Pittsburgh has lost back-to-back games after winning seven of its previous eight games. The Steelers have failed to score a fourth-quarter touchdown in eight straight games.

- The Ravens have clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, and they have tied a franchise record with 13 wins.

 

Colts (7-8) at Jaguars (5-10) 4:25pm

- Jacksonville have won four straight home games against Indianapolis, tied for its third-longest home winning streak against any opponent in the team's history.

- The Jaguars lead the NFL with a 96.8 field-goal percentage this season (30-for-31), all attempted by Josh Lambo.

- Chris Conley had 56 receiving yards and a touchdown catch in Jacksonville's Week 16 loss to the Falcons, his third touchdown reception in the last two games.

 

Eagles (8-7) at Giants (4-11) 4:25pm

- The Eagles got a 23-17 overtime win at home when these teams met in Week 14, their sixth straight win over the Giants and 10th in the last 11.

- Philadelphia has converted 57.1 percent of its red zone third downs this season, the highest mark in the league.

- The Eagles' six-game winning streak is tied for their second-longest all-time against New York – they won 12 straight between 1975 and 1981.


49ers (12-3) at Seahawks (11-4) 8:20pm

- Seattle got a 27-24 overtime win in San Francisco when these teams met in Week 10. Including their win in the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks have won 13 of their last 15 games against the 49ers.

- Indeed, San Francisco have not won in Seattle since Week 16 in 2011.

- The 49ers beat the Rams on Saturday, reaching 12 wins for the first time since 2013. With another victory, they will clinch the NFC's top seed for the first time since 1997.

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