Despite a breakout second NFL season capped by an unexpected run to the Super Bowl, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is not resting on his accomplishments.

Burrow and the Bengals have entered preparations for the 2022 season with a sense of unfinished business after coming up just short of earning the franchise's first NFL championship. 

To illustrate that point, the league's 2021 Comeback Player of the Year revealed he is taking his personal trainer with him to an upcoming trip to Las Vegas with teammate Jesse Bates, simply because he does not want to miss a workout between now and training camp.

"That is a great message for our team," Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters following Tuesday's voluntary practice. 

"When your leadership is making those statements, it trickles down to the entirety of the roster. If they want to keep up, they have got to get on that level.

"That is what we want as a team. That is where we want to get to, and we have just got to be prepared when the first day of training camp rolls around that we don't miss a beat."

Burrow enters the summer in a better place physically than a year ago, when he was completing the recovery process from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his promising 2020 rookie campaign after 10 games. 

The 25-year-old said the knee sprain he sustained during the fourth quarter of Cincinnati’s 23-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI has not been an issue during offseason workouts.

"I have just been able to focus on the entirety of myself, weight room and conditioning, on field, throwing, mechanics, all of it's not really focusing on the knee," Burrow said. 

"It's just getting back to where I was prior. And I've been able to focus on the entirety of myself as a player."

Burrow made tremendous strides in his second NFL campaign, setting Bengals season records for passing yards (4,611) and touchdown passes (34) and leading Cincinnati to its first playoff appearance since 2015.

The 2020 number one overall pick still feels there is room for further improvement and said he is focused on taking his play to the next level.

"Continue to be critical of yourself and the things that you can improve on and continue to raise the level of play of your teammates. I don't think he has any hesitancy to do that," Taylor said. 

"That's what's encouraging. You want a guy who's really got the mental makeup of exactly what you want from your quarterback.

"We have extremely high expectations for Joe, but I don't think anyone has higher expectations than he has for himself. And that is a great starting point for a guy that's leading your team like that."

The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed on a four-year contract extension with Minkah Fitzpatrick to make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the deal, which was confirmed by Fitzpatrick's representatives, will pay him over $18.4million annually.

Fitzpatrick will receive $36million in guaranteed money at signing.

A first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Steelers a year later, having expressed dissatisfaction with his role on the Dolphins' defense.

Since then, he has established himself as one of the premier safeties in the NFL.

Fitzpatrick was named a first-team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020 and has 11 interceptions since the start of the 2019 campaign.

Only three safeties, Justin Simmons (14), Quandre Diggs (13) and Tyrann Mathieu (13) have registered more interceptions in that time.

He has also racked up 27 pass breakups, tied for seventh-most in the NFL, during that span.

The 2021 NFL season saw the advent of the 17-game schedule. Some players would like to see the number of off weeks increase as well.

Speaking on comedian Kevin Hart's Cold as Balls programme, San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle said he would be very much in favour of a second bye week added to the schedule.

"There's a huge physical toll," Kittle said about the season's current structure. "Seventeen games is a lot. It's a lot of games with one bye, whether it's Week 4 or the bye is Week 11.

"I'm advocating for two byes. If you can get that to happen, that would be cool."

Kittle, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who earned first-team All-Pro honours in 2019, has missed at least two games in each of the last three seasons due to injuries, including a broken bone in his foot that limited him to eight games in 2020.

The NFL did add a second bye week during the 1993 season but scrapped the idea after just one year.

Kittle's wish is not likely to be granted, at least any time soon. The NFL's current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expanded the regular season and increased the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, runs through the 2029 season.

The NFL Players Association reportedly pushed for a second bye week during negotiations for the present CBA that took place in 2020, but the league wound up getting its request to have an 18th week added to the schedule for the purpose of playing another game.

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he is "praying" quarterback Kyler Murray will have signed his new contract before training camp begins next month.

Earlier in the offseason, Murray removed references to the Cardinals on his Instagram account before his agent Erik Burkhardt issued a statement calling for the QB, who is entering his fourth NFL campaign, to be shown "a real commitment" by the franchise.

There have been reports suggesting Murray will not attend training camp under his current deal, which runs through the 2023 season, as he seeks a lucrative extension.

Kingsbury was asked about his QB's contract status when he faced reporters after the first day of Arizona's minicamp, which Murray has reported for.

"I'm praying before training camp," Kingsbury said about when the contract could be resolved.

"I just want him there day one of training camp. Personally - I'm being selfish here – I would love for him to be there the first day.

"I'm not sure [if he will report to training camp without a new deal] - that would be a Kyler question."

"We're about to make him, I'm sure, the highest-paid player in this franchise's history and so he understands what comes with that," added Kingsbury, per ESPN.

"The guys know what he can be at his best, and anytime we can get the whole band out there, things pick up.

"He is the leader of this franchise. [General Manager] Steve [Keim], Michael [Bidwill], myself, we understand what he can be and where we want to take this thing with him as our leader. 

"It will be great for this organisation when this is wrapped up."

In the 2021 season, Murray threw for 3,787 yards with 24 touchdown passes and added five rushing TDs, while he had the second-highest pass completion rate in the NFL of 69.2 per cent.

Murray was the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and an 11-6 record last season was the Cardinals' best for six years.

They lost to divisional rivals the Los Angeles Rams, who went on to win the Super Bowl, in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson repeated that he is innocent of the inappropriate sexual conduct alleged in the now 24 lawsuits against him when speaking publicly for the first time in nearly three months.

Despite the increasing number of civil suits against him, including two more filed within the last 15 days, Watson has insisted he is innocent.

Watson is accused of sexual assault and harassment by over two dozen massage therapists who visited his home for private sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said on Monday that he plans to file two more lawsuits against the embattled quarterback.

"I never assaulted anyone," Watson told reporters on Tuesday following practice at Browns mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. I just want to clear my name.

"I've been honest and I've been truthful about my stance. I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That's what I've been saying since the beginning and I'll continue to do that until all the facts come out."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Watson hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months, including all 24 plaintiffs.

Despite Watson’s legal troubles, the Browns convinced him to drop his no-trade clause and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract after acquiring him this off-season.

The 26-year-old quarterback had criminal complaints dropped in two Texas counties, but both he and the Browns continue to face public backlash.

Watson’s short-term future on the field hangs in the balance as the NFL conducts its own investigation into whether he has violated the league’s code of conduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell said during spring meetings that the investigation was nearing an end but would not name a target date.

"I can't control that," Watson said. "I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.

"That's all I can do, is be honest and tell them exactly what happened. They have a job, and so I have to respect that. And that's what we want to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's best for the league."

A week after calling the United States Capitol insurrection a 'dust-up,' Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio apologised to his team on Tuesday before they opened their three-day mandatory minicamp. 

Commanders coach Ron Rivera said the apology was "well-received" and Del Rio met individually with several players to further address his comments. 

"Jack spoke to the team this morning during the team meeting and was very open and contrite and apologised and was open to questions," Rivera said.

"He said, 'Guys, if you have any questions come see me and let's talk about that.' It was good. I'm about reconciliation." 

Del Rio created a stir last week when he compared on social media the protests following the police killing of George Floyd and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The 59-year-old Del Rio, who had regularly posted conservative opinions to his Twitter account, then defended his tweet when asked about it following an offseason practice. 

''People's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,'' Del Rio said last Wednesday.

''And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it's kind of two standards.'' 

Rivera fined Del Rio $100,000 last week, and said Tuesday the fine was issued because the comments created a distraction for the team. 

"This is not about the fact he exercised his right to free speech," Rivera said. "This is about what impacted this football team. I believe in the First Amendment very strongly. 

"It's a very serious question and topic, but at the end of the day, it did impact us. That's why I did what I did." 

Del Rio also apologised in a written statement last week despite also saying he stood by what he said. 

The Washington Commanders open their three-day minicamp on Tuesday but Terry McLaurin is not planning on attending, according to reports.

The fourth-year wide receiver is seeking a contract extension as he moves into the final year of his rookie deal and will not report to camp as the two sides remain far apart on negotiations, according to ESPN.

If he were to miss all three days, McLaurin - who is slated to make $2.79million in 2022 - would be fined more than $95,000. He would also miss out on practice time with new Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz.

Despite playing with several mediocre starting quarterbacks over the last three seasons in Taylor Heinicke, Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins Junior and Case Keenum, McLaurin has put up stellar numbers.

A third-round pick in 2019, McLaurin has led the team in receptions and receiving yards each of the last three years, and is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Since 2019, his 3,090 receiving yards rank 14th in the NFL, while his average of 13.9 yards per catch ranks 11th among the 61 players with at least 150 receptions.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he would still be leading the team if Tom Brady did not decide to come out of retirement.

Not long after Tampa Bay’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Brady retired and the Buccaneers were left without a proven quarterback on their roster.

Less than six weeks later, the seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback opted to return and two weeks later, Arians announced that he would be stepping down as head coach and moving into a role in the Bucs' front office, with Todd Bowles becoming the new head coach.

The new Senior Football Consultant explained he was unwilling to leave Bowles with uncertainty at the quarterback position, with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask on the roster.

"I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play," Arians said. "I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody in the draft.

"That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine and Kyle. Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”

Because of the timing, rumours circulated that a rift existed between Brady and Arians, but Arians stuck to his line that he had already been thinking about quitting and did not want to leave Bowles with an unsettled quarterback situation.

Arians, who turns 70 in October, also said that he was “upset” with the hiring cycle and expected both Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich to get head coaching jobs. He also admitted that the upcoming season would have been his last anyway.

“I had a bunch of people lined up to take their jobs,” Arians said. “When they were both here and Tom came back, I thought it was the perfect time.”

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has heard plenty of criticism from NFL pundits and fans about his arm strength and his deep throws.

One person not questioning his arm is new team-mate Tyreek Hill.

Speaking on his new podcast, 'It Needed To Be Said', Hill was asked by co-host Julius Collins who has the stronger arm, Tagovailoa or Hill's former quarterback with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes.

"Obviously, I'm going to go with 15 as the strongest arm, but as far as accuracy-wise, I'm going with Tua all day," Hill said.

Acquired in a trade with the Chiefs in March, Hill defended his new quarterback, saying he has plenty of arm strength and is adept at running an offense.

"I've had a chance to see Tua throw the ball, to myself, but he's that dude, bro," Hill said.

"What a lot of people don't know – I'm not just sitting just saying this because he's my quarterback now, I'm not trying to get more targets right now – what I'm trying to say is Tua is that deal, bro.

"Bro, he has a heck of an arm. He's accurate. He can throw the deep ball, and he actually goes through his reads, where people are on Twitter saying, 'Oh, he doesn't go through his reads'. Man, this dude is that dude."

Tagovailoa has come under fire for having nominal success on deep balls despite this being considered the golden age of passing with all the rules that give offenses an edge in the wide-open NFL.

Among the 30 quarterbacks with at least 300 attempts last season, only the New York Giants' Daniel Jones had fewer pass plays of 25-plus yards than Tagovailoa's 16, with 15.

Tagovailoa attempted just 11 passes of more than 20 yards in 2021, completing three of them for 112 yards with an interception. Meanwhile, Mahomes went 27 for 63 (42.9 per cent) for 1,098 yards with seven TD passes and two picks on throws of at least 20 yards.

However, Tagovailoa did throw more catchable balls on all throws last season, ranking fifth in well-thrown percentage at 81.0 per cent, while Mahomes ranked 12th at 79.5 per cent.

Hill threw more shade in Mahomes' direction, saying he did not need the 2018 NFL MVP to excel, pointing to a game against the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, when Matt Moore started for an injured Mahomes and the three-time All-Pro wide receiver finished with six catches for 140 yards.

"I just want people to understand I went for 150 with Matt Moore as my quarterback," Hill said. "I love you, Matt Moore.

"Versus the Minnesota Vikings. If you don't remember that game, 150 and one touchdown with Matt Moore as my quarterback. And Tua T is 10 Matt Moores. I love Matt Moore, but Tua T is 10 Matt Moores."

It is not surprising for a player to throw so much support behind a new team-mate the way Hill is embracing Tagovailoa, but it is still quite startling to see Hill give so much love to Moore while spurning Mahomes.

This will be Mahomes' first season without the six-time Pro Bowler Hill, so time will tell how the Kansas City offense operates without the dynamic playmaker.

Hunter Renfrow became the latest wide receiver to get a new contract, agreeing to a two-year, $32million extension with the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Renfrow’s new deal includes $21m in guarantees, a source confirmed to ESPN, and comes after the Pro Bowl slot receiver caught 103 passes in a breakthrough season, the third-highest single-season total in franchise history.  

Current teammate Darren Waller had 107 receptions in 2020 and Hall of Famer Tim Brown had 104 in 1997. 

Speaking to the media after the announcement, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels shared why he values the Clemson product so highly.

"We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with Hunter Renfrow, and look forward to seeing him in Silver and Black for years to come," he said.

"Hunter is one of the true leaders on this team and he exemplifies the values of this organisation in how he comes to work every day. He is a tremendous teammate on and off the field and the entire Raider Nation is excited to see what the future holds for Hunter." 

Renfrow, Waller and offseason acquisition Davante Adams should give the Raiders one of the most productive trios of pass catchers in the league. 

Adams was acquired from the Green Bay Packers in March and the Raiders wasted no time in singing the star receiver to a five-year, $141.25m contract that includes a reported $67.5m in fully guaranteed money.  

Adams’ deal is the largest ever for a wide receiver and was the largest for any non-quarterback in NFL history in terms of annual value and total value, before the Los Angeles Rams signed defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a new $95m contract restructure earlier this week.  

Renfrow is the third key Raiders player to get an extension in the offseason under the new regime led by McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Quarterback Derek Carr signed a three-year, $120.5 million extension in April after edge rusher Maxx Crosby got a four-year, $94 million deal in March. 

Renfrow has 208 catches for 2,299 yards and 15 TDs in his three seasons in the NFL.  

The Washington Commanders have fined defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $100,000 for his dismissive comments about the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol building and for comparing the insurrection to protests against police brutality.  

Head coach Ron Rivera announced the fine with a statement on Friday, while public hearings are ongoing with the House of Representatives Jan. 6 investigative committee.  

On Wednesday, Del Rio referred to the attack on the Capitol building as a "dust-up" compared to the protests that took place in the summer of 2020 after George Floyd was killed in police custody.  

"I can look at images on the TV [of the Floyd protests] — people's livelihoods are being destroyed. Businesses are being burned down. No problem," he said on Wednesday. "And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards, and if we apply the same standard and we're going to be reasonable with each other, let's have a discussion.” 

Later on Wednesday, Del Rio issued an apology for his comment.  

"Referencing that situation as a dust-up was irresponsible and negligent and I am sorry," he said in a statement.

"I stand by my comments condemning violence in communities across the country. I say that while also expressing my support as an American citizen for peaceful protest in our country."

The NAACP has called for Del Rio to resign or to be fired.  

Rivera's statement said Del Rio's fine will be donated to the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.  

"As we saw last night in the hearings, what happened on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was an act of domestic terrorism," Rivera said. "A group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, and as a result lives were lost, and the Capitol building was damaged. 

"I want to make it clear that our organisation will not tolerate any equivalency between those who demanded justice in the wake of George Floyd's murder and the actions of those on January 6 who sought to topple our government."

The Las Vegas Raiders have signed wide receiver Hunter Renfrow to a two-year extension.

Renfrow has emerged as a critical part of the Raiders' offense since being drafted in the fifth round in 2019.

And he has been rewarded with a $32million extension that includes $21m in guaranteed money, according to multiple reports from NFL Network.

He becomes the third high-profile Raider to receive a lucrative extension this offseason, following quarterback Derek Carr and edge rusher Maxx Crosby.

With his future now secured, Renfrow will hope to form a prolific pass-catching triumvirate with tight end Darren Waller and Davante Adams, for whom the Raiders traded in a blockbuster deal in March.

Renfrow has caught 208 passes for 2,299 yards and 15 touchdowns across his three seasons in the NFL.

Renowned as one of the NFL's best route runners from the slot, Renfrow enjoyed a career year as the Raiders made the playoffs in 2021.

He finished last season with 103 catches for 1,038 yards – his first 1,000-yard campaign – and nine touchdowns.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll didn’t seem overly concerned that star wide receiver D.K. Metcalf did not attend this week’s mandatory minicamp – subjecting himself to a $93,000 fine in the process – and said he expects a new contract to get finished this offseason. 

Metcalf, who is in line for a huge extension as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, stayed away from camp this week in a somewhat surprising decision. He did attend the voluntary portion of team’s workout program earlier this spring amid his unsettled contract situation and his recovery from foot surgery. 

Because his absence to the mandatory portion of camp was unexcused, he accumulated fines worth over $93,000 for missing all three days, but when Carroll was asked if the team plans to impose those fines, he declined to answer, citing his policy on not publicly discussing such matters. 

Carroll did, however, express the desire to have Metcalf back with the team, and said he had faith in general manager John Schneider's abilities to get a deal done.

"A decision had to be made," Carroll said. "We missed him. He had done a nice job of contributing, being part of everything we had done and then he is just not here.

"So I can’t say much about for what he hasn’t done here, but we’d love to have him with us. We've been through this for years, you know [with other star players] – and it's a challenging time. 

"We've had so many high-profile guys that have gone through this process – and how's that worked out for us? We figured it out in time.

"[Schneider] is on it, and he's as experienced as you can get at handling this stuff, and D.K.'s got great representation, and D.K. is a heck of a kid.'' 

Metcalf is due to earn about $3.99million for the upcoming season, and he figures to be in line for an extension similar to those awarded to new Philadelphia Eagle A.J. Brown, and reigning Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp of the Los Angeles Rams, in excess of $20m per year. 

The 24-year-old has not missed a game since Seattle selected him with the 64th overall pick in the 2019 Draft, and has accumulated 216 receptions for 3,170 yards with 29 touchdowns.  

In the end, All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams chose the Las Vegas Raiders over staying with the Green Bay Packers.  

The five-time Pro Bowl selection confirmed to reporters that the Packers offered him more money this offseason than the Raiders, with whom Adams signed a five-year, $141.25million contract extension after being traded.  

After the Packers traded Adams in March for a first-round draft pick and a second-round draft pick, reports surfaced that Green Bay was willing to pay the star receiver just as much – and maybe more – than Las Vegas.  

Adams confirmed those reports in a press conference Thursday.  

"You guys have heard Green Bay offered this, which is higher than what I was [going to make with the Raiders] and all of that. And, yeah, I’ll say it, it was true. OK, it was true," Adams said.

"But there’s much more that goes into it. And family is a big part of it for me. So, geographically being here, it makes it a lot easier for me to stay connected to my family year-round. 

"And this isn’t year two, or I’m not trying to necessarily fight for a job or anything like that to where you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do – you’ve got to stay out there. I had the choice, and the choice was for me to come here and raise my family on the West Coast and come out here and have some fun in the sun." 

Adams, who ranks second all-time in Packers history with 73 receiving touchdowns, leaves four-time MVP and 38-year-old quarterback Aaron Rodgers to reunite with Derek Carr, who was Adams' quarterback at Fresno State.  

"[Rodgers and I] talked throughout the whole process," Adams said in his press conference.  "Just like what he said the other day, we had talks about his future and what he thinks his duration in Green Bay or just football in general would look like. 

"And that played into my decision as well because where I am in my career – and this isn’t a shot at any other quarterbacks in Green Bay. I love Jordan Love especially, he’s a great guy. But I’ve got aspirations of doing really, really big things and being remembered.  

"And it just wasn’t really a point in my career that I was willing to sacrifice Aaron not being there after a year or two. So my decision was to be here and he respected that, he understood that."

Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams likely will not be cleared to practice when the team begins training camp in July, head coach Dan Campbell told reporters on Thursday.

Williams, the number 12 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is still recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee the former Alabama All-American suffered in the College Football Playoff national championship game in January.

"I don't see him being ready for training camp, I don't see that," Campbell said following the Lions' mini-camp practice.

"We're going to do this thing the right way, and when he's ready, he'll be ready. But no, I don't feel like you're going to see him out there day one."

The Lions remain optimistic that Williams will be ready for the team's season opener on September 11, although offensive coordinator Ben Johnson recently acknowledged the possibility of scaling back the young speedster's role early on as he gets acclimated.

Johnson told the Detroit Free Press last week Williams' situation differs from that of fellow wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who joined the Lions midway through last season and immediately was installed into the team's receiver rotation.

Reynolds was a veteran player who had a familiarity with quarterback Jared Goff, as the two were team-mates with the Los Angeles Rams for four seasons.

"It's going to be a challenge because you can't really compare it to the Josh Reynolds situation from last year," Johnson said. "We didn't really know him and what he necessarily did best, but at least there was a comfort level between him and the quarterback, and we don't have that [with Williams].

"That's a real struggle for us. [The aim] is to get him back, to get him healthy, and then as many reps as possible with the quarterbacks so that we know exactly where he's going to be, we can anticipate the throw."

ACL injuries typically require eight-to-nine months to completely recover from, which would have Williams at full strength right around the start of the season.

The Lions were not deterred by the injury, as they traded up 20 spots with NFC North rival the Minnesota Vikings to choose Williams with the number 12 pick. The 21-year-old was one of six wide receivers taken in the first 18 selections.

Williams established himself as an elite prospect during his lone season at Alabama, becoming one of college football's most explosive receivers after transferring from Ohio State. His 15 touchdown receptions in 2021 tied for third in the FBS and he led the Crimson Tide with 1,572 receiving yards on 79 catches.

Nine of Williams' 15 touchdown catches were from 40 or more yards, leading the FBS last season, while his 11 receptions of 40 or more yards tied for second among major college players.

"He's a special talent," Goff said. "I know they're going to make sure he's as healthy as possible, but selfishly, I want him back as soon as possible."

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