Adrian Peterson and Le'Veon Bell will swap the pads and helmets for gloves and shorts after agreeing to meet in an exhibition boxing match later this month.

The veteran running backs are due to face off in the squared circle at Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on July 30.

Bell, a three-time Pro Bowler, made the announcement on social media.

"[And] it's official nothing else needs to be said, let's gooo," Bell, 30, posted on Twitter, accompanied with a poster promoting the bout.

Peterson is not officially retired from the NFL but made just four appearances for the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks in the 2021 season.

The 37-year-old became a star name during a 10-year stint with the Minnesota Vikings and was named MVP in 2012 - a campaign where he became the seventh player to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Peterson ranks fifth on the NFL's career rushing yards list with 14,918 and is a seven-time Pro Bowler.

Like Peterson, Bell has not officially hung up the cleats but has struggled to find a permanent home since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. Last season, he made eight appearances for the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

ESPN reported the fight will take place on the undercard of Social Gloves 2, an event promoted by YouTube star Austin McBroom.

USC and UCLA could be joining the Big Ten Conference as soon as 2024 after league officials voted Thursday to approve the schools’ application for membership.  

The move is just the latest in a wave of realignment among college football powers, moving away from the strictly regional model that had organized the sport for more than a century.  

In two years, the Big Ten will stretch from coast to coast with campuses from California to New Jersey.  

USC athletic director Mike Bohn called the conference "the best home for USC" in a statement on Thursday night. 

"Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports," he said. "We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference." 

UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block and AD Martin Jarmond also released a combined statement Thursday, announcing the move.  

"Each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time," they said. "For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come."  

With Oklahoma and Texas scheduled to join the SEC and both L.A. rivals headed to the Big Ten, many pundits have predicted continued movement until two giant leagues contain all the sport’s traditional powers.  

According to multiple reports, USC and UCLA initiated conversations with the Big Ten. The sides first met on Wednesday, with the unanimous membership vote coming just 24 hours later.  

The Pac-12 loses two charter members while negotiating a new media rights deal and leaving the conference scrambling to keep up in the realignment arms race.  

Since receiving news that Oklahoma and Texas were leaving, the Big 12 has arranged for new members in Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU.  

The Pac-12 will now likely look for new members of its own in order to keep up.  

"While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we're confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future," the Pac-12 said in a statement. 

The Big Ten is currently negotiating its own media rights deal that is expected to exceed $1 billion annually.

Terry McLaurin has become the latest receiver to be paid, as the NFL's trend of wideouts earning huge sums shows no signs of slowing.

And McLaurin's new three-year contract with the Washington Commanders is a record-breaking pact.

The deal, worth up to $71million in new money, makes the fourth-year star one of the five best-paid receivers in the NFL and notably has more than three-quarters of the value guaranteed.

Indeed, McLaurin's reported signing bonus of $28m is the largest ever given to a receiver.

The player has got the deal he wanted after skipping three weeks of voluntary OTAs and then the Commanders' mandatory three-day minicamp.

Washington bowed to McLaurin's demands, as several rival teams have with their own standout pass catchers this offseason, although others – the Green Bay Packers with Davante Adams and the Kansas City Chiefs with Tyreek Hill – have seen big names depart to earn massive contracts elsewhere.

The Commanders were determined McLaurin would not be traded, however, meaning he returns for the 2022 season, which had been set to be the last of his rookie contract.

It is uncertain who will line up at quarterback when the Cleveland Browns open their 2022 season, but Baker Mayfield is pretty sure it will not be him. 

Appearing at his youth football camp in Norman, Oklahoma on Tuesday, Mayfield was asked if there was any chance of a reconciliation with the Browns. 

“I think it’s been pretty obvious, the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” he said. 

Mayfield’s comments came the same day Deshaun Watson’s hearing began to determine whether he violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy. 

The Browns appeared content to move on from Mayfield when they traded for Watson and gave him a massive five-year, $230million guaranteed contract in March despite the fact he was being sued by two dozen women for sexual misconduct. 

Watson has long maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing, but he is likely facing a lengthy suspension from the NFL. 

Mayfield is still under contract with the Browns – due to make $18.8million this season – but said for him to suit up again for the franchise, the team has a relationship to mend.  

“I think for that to happen, there would have to be some reaching out,'' he said. ''But we're ready to move on, I think, on both sides.'' 

Part of Mayfield’s frustration with the Browns is after they acquired Watson they were unable to trade him prior to the NFL draft like he expected. Training camps begin in less than a month, and teams are set with their quarterback situations so a trade at this point is unlikely. 

''I think I got frustrated with it not happening before minicamp and all those things, but it's just the stuff that's out of my control,'' he said. ''And so, you know, let those things happen and fall in place.'' 

Mayfield helped lead Cleveland to the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2002 two seasons ago, but struggled last year while dealing with a shoulder injury and the Browns finished at 8-9. 

Other than Mayfield and Watson, the only other quarterbacks on Cleveland’s roster are Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs, so one of those two are the leading candidates to start the opener against the Carolina Panthers on September 11, if Mayfield is done with the team and Watson is banned. 

And Mayfield certainly sounds like his days with the Browns are over. 

''I'm thankful for my four years in Cleveland, and had a lot of ups and downs and a ton of learning experiences that I will forever keep with me,'' he said. 

The ACC has announced a new scheduling format for football with the elimination of divisions and the implementation of a 3-5-5 opponent structure. 

The new system, revealed on Tuesday, will come into effect from 2023. 

In the new scheduling model, all 14 ACC schools will now have three primary opponents who they will face each year. They will play each of the other 10 schools once over a two-year span – five one year and the other five the next. 

In this format, every ACC team will play all conference foes at least once at home and once on the road over a four-year cycle. 

This ends years of an unbalanced schedule that resulted in some ACC schools going nearly a decade without facing another conference member. For instance, Florida State and Pittsburgh, as well as Miami and Wake Forest have not faced one another since 2013. 

''The future ACC football scheduling model provides significant enhancements for our schools and conference, with the most important being our student-athletes having the opportunity to play every school both home and away over a four-year period,'' ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said. 

The new system eliminates the current two-division format, though the conference championship game will remain. Instead of the two division champions meeting, the top two teams based on conference winning percentage will square off in the title game. 

“In the end, it was clear this model is in the best interest of our student-athletes, programs and fans, at this time,” Phillips said. 

 

The three permanent scheduling partners for each ACC team starting in 2023 are as follows: 

Boston College: Miami, Pitt, Syracuse. 

Clemson: Florida State, Georgia Tech, N.C. State.  

Duke: North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest. 

Florida State: Clemson, Miami, Syracuse. 

Georgia Tech: Clemson, Louisville, Wake Forest. 

Louisville: Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia. 

Miami: Boston College, Florida State, Louisville. 

North Carolina: Duke, N.C. State, Virginia. 

N.C. State: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina. 

Pitt: Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech. 

Syracuse: Boston College, Florida State, Pitt. 

Virginia: Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia Tech. 

Virginia Tech: Pitt, Virginia, Wake Forest. 

Wake Forest: Duke, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech. 

A retired federal judge will make a decision on Deshaun Watson's immediate NFL future, with a hearing set to begin on Tuesday determining whether he violated the league's personal conduct policy.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback was sued by 24 women who accused him of sexual misconduct during massage sessions in 2020 and 2021, when he was with the Houston Texans.

Twenty of those civil lawsuits recently ended with confidential settlements and Watson, who will attend the hearing in person, denies any wrongdoing. 

Two grand juries in Texas have already looked at complaints against Watson and declined to indict him on criminal charges, though the NFL conduct policy does not require criminal charges in order to bring discipline.

Following an NFL investigation, it is widely reported they will seek an indefinite suspension of at least a year.

The league's personal conduct policy aims to hold players and personnel to a "higher standard" and make sure they conduct themselves appropriately.

Retired federal judge Sue Robinson is the disciplinary officer appointed for the case and will issue a verdict on whether any violation occurred.

A verdict is expected next week before training camp but that may not bring the end to the matter.

Watson's representatives and the NFL Players Association would have the ability to appeal against any punishment, such as a suspension, while the NFL could also appeal for an increased sanction if they do not agree with the verdict.

But there will be no appeals if he is cleared of the charges.

Watson is hoping to avoid being sidelined for the second season in a row. He was not suspended in the 2021 campaign but did not play for the Texans amid his legal issues, having also requested a trade.

One of the game's leading QBs, Watson was ultimately traded in March this year. The Browns gave him a record guaranteed contract of $230million over five years.

Heralded quarterback prospect Arch Manning has committed to sign with the University of Texas, ending one of the most anticipated recruiting decisions in recent memory.

Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and the grandson of Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, revealed his decision with a short message on his Twitter account.

"Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEm,” Manning tweeted.

Texas was one of three schools, along with Alabama and Georgia, that Manning made official visits to earlier this month.

The 17-year-old New Orleans native is the consensus number one quarterback of the 2023 class, and his ties to his famous family added further interest and intrigue to his recruitment.

Arch’s decision would also continue the legacy of Manning quarterbacks within the Southeastern Conference, as Texas is currently scheduled to join the SEC from the Big 12 in 2025 – a move that could theoretically come sooner if the Longhorns and Oklahoma can negotiate buyouts from their present leagues.

Both Archie and Eli Manning played collegiately at Mississippi, while Peyton starred at Tennessee before embarking on his Hall of Fame NFL career. Additionally, Arch’s father, Cooper, committed to Ole Miss as a wide receiver before a diagnosis of spinal stenosis ended his playing career shortly after high school.

Manning will be joining a Texas program that is already well-stocked at the quarterback position after landing Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, the consensus number one recruit of the 2021 class, in December.

The Longhorns also have two other highly regarded quarterback prospects in rising sophomore Hudson Card and incoming freshman Maalik Murphy. 

Former NFL defensive tackle and TV analyst Tony Siragusa has died at 55 years old.  

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the death on Wednesday. 

A member of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship team from the 2000 season, Siragusa was a fan favourite during his 12 professional seasons due to his jovial, larger-than-life personality that matched his massive frame.

Undrafted out of Pittsburgh, Siragusa signed with the Colts in 1990 and spent his first seven seasons in Indianapolis before joining the Ravens in 1997. He finished his career with 564 total tackles, 22 sacks and nine fumble recoveries in 169 games.

Following his retirement after the 2001 season, Siragusa spent more than a decade as a sideline reporter and analyst for NFL games on Fox. He was known for providing his commentary from the sidelines during game broadcasts as opposed to the traditional analyst role in a TV booth.  

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement: "Renee and I are stunned and heartbroken to learn about the sudden passing of Tony Siragusa.

"He was a special person and clearly one of the most popular players in Ravens history.

"Tony's larger-than-life personality made an enormous impact on our organisation and throughout the Baltimore community.

"On the football field, Goose was a difference-maker who contributed immeasurably to the success of many great Ravens defenses, including the record-setting 2000 Super Bowl team.

"Our deepest prayers and sympathies go out to Kathy, their three children and the rest of the Siragusa family."

A native of New Jersey, Siragusa also dabbled in acting following his NFL career, playing a recurring character on the TV series 'The Sopranos'.

The announcement of Siragusa's passing comes on the same day the Ravens confirmed the death of linebacker Jaylon Ferguson at the age of 26.

"This is a tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens," Bisciotti added. "We appreciate everyone who has expressed an outpouring of support for our players, coaches and staff."

The high school coach of heralded quarterback prospect Arch Manning says the five-star recruit is still in the process of deciding where he will play college football in 2023. 

Nelson Stewart, coach of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, told The Athletic this week that although Manning is getting closer to a decision, the highly coveted 17-year-old has yet to make a commitment as he continues to gather information from several prospective suitors. 

"There's no impulsivity to him. There's no rush," Stewart said. "When he knows, he knows. 

"Obviously he's been going through this for seven years. We're in the fourth quarter. It's just about attention to detail and supporting him."

Manning, the nephew of former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and the grandson of Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, just returned to New Orleans following a recent visit to the University of Texas. The Longhorns are considered among the favourites to land the Class of 2023's top quarterback along with Alabama and Georgia, two schools Manning also made official visits to earlier this month. 

Mississippi, where both Archie and Eli Manning played, is also viewed as a potential landing spot for the younger Manning.  

Stewart said Manning is not expected to take any more visits and will spend the remainder of the summer preparing for his senior year at Isidore Newman and working at his family's passing academy in Louisiana. He is unsure if Manning will have his decision finalised by the time the high school season begins. 

"When he's ready, he's ready," Stewart said. "This is his private time. We're just trying to give him the distance to formulate his own thoughts." 

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, the team announced on Wednesday. 

"We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson," the Ravens said in a statement.

"He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon's family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon."

Ferguson’s agent, Safarrah Lawson, said the former Louisiana Tech star died in Baltimore. A cause of death is still being determined. 

"It's with great sadness that we announce the passing of Baltimore Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson," Lawson said in a statement. "The family asks for your prayers and privacy during this trying time."

Ferguson played at Louisiana Tech from 2015-18, racking up 45 sacks to set the NCAA career record and earn the nickname of 'Sack Daddy'. 

The Ravens selected Ferguson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft and he went on to appear in 38 games (including 10 starts) with Baltimore. Ferguson totalled 4.5 sacks in his NFL career. 

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi will continue his tour of the AFC North by signing a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

Ogunjobi spent his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns before recording a career-high seven sacks, a team-high 12 tackles for loss and 49 total tackles last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.  

This is the second time this offseason that Ogunjobi has agreed to a free-agent contract, signing a reported three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears in March before that deal fell through when he failed his physical.  

Ogunjobi started 16 games last season for the Bengals but suffered a season-ending right foot injury during a Wild Card round victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Ogunjobi will replace the retired Stephon Tuitt as the third starter on the Steelers' defensive line, along with Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu.

He should help Pittsburgh improve a run defense that finished 32nd in the NFL last season in rushing yards allowed and 32nd in rushing yards per attempt. 

Rob Gronkowski is retiring from the NFL – again. 

After coming out of his 2019 retirement to spend the last two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – with whom he won the Super Bowl in the 2020 campaign – the future Hall of Fame tight end took to Instagram on Tuesday to reveal he is once again calling it a career. 

"I want to thank the whole entire first-class Buccaneers organisation for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team," he wrote. "I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field."

A four-time Super Bowl champion who won his first three titles during nine seasons with the New England Patriots, four-time first-team All-Pro Gronkowski entered this offseason as a free agent but implied if he was going to continue to play it would be with Tom Brady. 

When Brady announced in mid-March he would play again for the Buccaneers in 2022 after briefly retiring, many expected Gronkowski would also return seeing as Brady had already lured Gronk out of retirement once. 

The oft-injured 33-year-old, however, decided it was time to step away. 

"The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my team-mates and coaches for giving everything they had as well," he wrote. "From retirement, back to football and winning another championship and now back to chilling out, thank you to all."

Gronkowski retires as one of the most decorated and dangerous players at his position in NFL history. With soft hands coupled with the power to plow over would-be tacklers, Gronkowski ranks third among all tight ends with 92 career touchdown receptions, while his 9,286 receiving yards rank fifth. 

As one of Brady's most reliable and trusted targets across their time together in New England and Tampa, Gronkowski amassed 15 receiving touchdowns in the playoffs – trailing only Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's 22 for the most in NFL history. 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled all but four of the 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct brought against him, according to attorney Tony Buzbee. 

Buzbee represents the women suing Watson, who has been accused of committing sexual misconduct during massage sessions by two dozen women.

"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled," Buzbee said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won't comment further on the settlements or those cases."

One of the four women who did not settle is Ashley Solis – the first woman to accuse Watson of inappropriate sexual conduct. 

"Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story," Buzbee said. "Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court's schedule."

Watson has not commented on Buzbee's statement.

Until all 24 cases are settled, Watson's NFL future is still uncertain. The NFL is conducting its own investigation into whether he violated the league's code of conduct.

The New York Times recently reported the embattled quarterback hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months. Watson has long maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing. 

 

 

Free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh admits his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is all but over. 

Continuing his NFL career with the Las Vegas Raiders, however, "could be fun." 

Appearing on ESPN’s 'NFL Live', Suh acknowledged that signing another one-year contract to stay with Tampa Bay is unlikely to happen. 

"[I'm] excited to really just understand where I can potentially be," he said. 

"It looks like the Bucs are out of the picture, but excited to look at the other options." 

Suh spent the past three seasons with the Buccaneers on three one-year deals, and helped the franchise win the Super Bowl during the 2020 season. 

The writing was on the wall that a return to Tampa was unlikely, however, after the Bucs signed defensive tackle Akiem Hicks on May 31. 

During Monday's broadcast, Suh was asked about potentially joining the Raiders, and the five-time Pro Bowler did not hesitate to say he was interested. 

"I like it to be honest with you," he said. "Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby, I was exchanging messages with them the other day. 

"It's an interesting opportunity for sure. We'll see where it kind of ends up.

"But that AFC West is very, very tough - which would be fun. You get out of that, you're almost destined to get to the Super Bowl."

Suh doubled down on those comments a day later, tweeting out Tuesday morning, "Raiders could be fun."

Despite being 35 years old, Suh, who has only missed two games in his entire 12-year career, believes he still has plenty to offer between his contributions on the field as well as being a veteran presence in the locker room. 

In 17 games last season, he amassed six sacks, seven tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hurries. His 70.5 career sacks ranks 10th among active players. 

"I think I have a lot of great talent in my engine," he said, "and people have felt that before."

For the second straight year, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy was fined by the NFL for having practices that were deemed too physical, with the team being stripped of an organized team activity for 2023. 

After he was fined $50,000 last season, McCarthy was hit with a $100,000 charge this year for violating OTA rules that restrict too much contact during the offseason sessions. Dallas will also lose an OTA practice in 2023 as a result. OTAs with live contact are barred by the collective bargaining agreement. 

Last season, Dallas’ practice was flagged for "live contact violations" after the NFL obtained footage showing ramped-up contact from Cowboys players during 11-on-11 drills.  

They were one of three teams to be fined in 2021 and have an OTA rescinded for practice violations. San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was fined $50,000 and the organization was fined $100,000, while the Jacksonville Jaguars were fined $200,000 and former coach Urban Meyer was docked $100,000. 

Earlier this month, the Chicago Bears had to cancel an offseason workout because they violated NFL rules by having live contact during a session in May. New coach Matt Eberflus said the contact that occurred was because of overzealous players and not the team's practice structure. He said neither he nor the organization was fined. 

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