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  • Colts owner Irsay donates 10,000-plus masks
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Sunday he secured more than 10,000 N95 masks and is donating them to the Indiana State Department of Health.

    • Healthcare workers across the nation are in dire need of the masks and other personal protective equipment to keep them safe as they fight the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.

      Irsay tweeted Sunday that the health department would distribute them "as most urgently needed."

      Last month, Irsay donated $1 million to the Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to help feed children who are out of school and those who have lost income during the pandemic.

      On Thursday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft arranged for the team plane to transport 1.2 million masks from China to Massachusetts, where one of the largest outbreaks of the coronavirus has been met with a shortfall of personal protective equipment.

      More than 300,000 of the masks were delivered to the hard-hit state of New York.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: QB Newton willing to wait for right fit
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Former league MVP Cam Newton continues to be without a team, but he apparently is willing to wait to move to his next NFL city.

    • Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, is a free agent. The Panthers signed Teddy Bridgewater last month to fill the quarterback position.

      ESPN's Chris Fowler said Sunday on "SportsCenter" that Newton is letting the next several weeks play out.

      "I spoke to a source close to Cam Newton and he's willing to wait right now if he has to," Fowler said. "He's going to be patient. He wants to get his spot back as a high-level starter. He's highly motivated to do so. There simply aren't a lot of starting jobs available. So if he has to wait until after the draft, or maybe somebody gets injured, he is willing to do that. He knows the Patriots or maybe one of those teams could be looking. He doesn't know what they're going to do, obviously, just yet. They haven't played their hand."

      New England enters the season without a returning starting quarterback since 1993, when rookie Drew Bledsoe entered the league. When Bledsoe was injured in 2001, Tom Brady took over and held the job through the 2019 season.

      Brady signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month.

      The Los Angeles Chargers also have been mentioned as a fit for Newton. After not re-signing veteran Philip Rivers in free agency, the Chargers have Tyrod Taylor as their presumptive starter.

      The Panthers released Newton on March 24, saving $19.1 million in salary-cap space.

      Newton, who turns 31 in May, is coming off of Lisfranc surgery and had a shoulder operation prior to the 2019 season.

      In limited action in 2019, Newton passed for 572 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. Overall, he has thrown for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions in 125 games (124 starts). He also has rushed for 4,806 yards and 58 scores.

      Newton was the NFL MVP in 2015 when he passed for 3,837 yards and a career-best 35 touchdowns while leading Carolina to the Super Bowl. He was intercepted 10 times and also rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Oilers coach Biles dies
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Former Oilers head coach Ed Biles has died at 88, the Houston Chronicle reported on Sunday.

    • Per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Biles had been battling leukemia for some time prior to his death.

      Biles served as a freshman coach (1956-61) and later head coach (1962-68) at Xavier University before becoming an assistant coach with the New Orleans Saints in 1969. He later worked for the New York Jets before being hired by Houston as the team's defensive backs coach in 1974.

      Biles worked as a defensive coordinator under Bum Phillips the following year and helped the Oilers advance to the AFC Championship Game in 1978 and 1979, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers both times.

      Biles took over for the fired Phillips following the 1980 season. The Oilers posted a 7-9 mark in the first season under Biles before recording a 1-8 mark in the strike-shortened 1982 campaign.

      An 0-6 start to the 1983 season led to the firing of Biles, who did not coach again in the NFL.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Saints K Dempsey dies after battle with COVID-19
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 5, 2020

    Record-setting New Orleans Saints kicker Tom Dempsey has died due to complications of the coronavirus, his family told NOLA.com. He was 73.

    • The outlet reported Dempsey tested positive for COVID-19 on March 25. He also had been battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia at a senior living facility in New Orleans.

      "Our thoughts and prayers are extended to (wife) Carlene and the entire Dempsey family on the passing of their dear Tom," Saints owner Gayle Benson said in a statement on Sunday morning. "The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time."

      Dempsey, who was born without fingers on his right hand and without toes on his right kicking foot, set a then-NFL record with a 63-yard field goal on Nov. 8, 1970. The kick at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans lifted the Saints to a 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions.

      The record was first matched by the Denver Broncos' Jason Elam in 1998 and later broken by Denver's Matt Prater with a 64-yarder in 2013.

      "Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations," Benson said in a statement. "He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humor. He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

      Dempsey was inducted into the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 1989. The modified shoe he kicked with is on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

      Dempsey played 11 NFL seasons with the Saints (1969-70), Philadelphia Eagles (1971-74), Los Angeles Rams (1975-76), Houston Oilers (1977) and Buffalo Bills (1978-79).

      He made 159 of 258 field goals and 252 of 282 extra points in 127 games, and earned a Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro honors as a rookie in 1969.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Browns interested in DE Clowney
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 4, 2020

    The Cleveland Browns have shown interest in free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, ESPN reported on Saturday.

    • Per the report, some around the league believe the Browns had been closer to a deal than other suitors for Clowney, who has not gotten the offers he has hoped for from other teams or the Seattle Seahawks, who he played for in 2019.

      Clowney, 27, was reportedly seeking more than $20 million annually when he hit free agency in mid-March, but his market has developed slowly. One factor could be his injury history -- which includes microfracture surgery on his knee and core muscle surgery after the 2019 season -- and the inability for teams to give players a physical in person during the coronavirus outbreak.

      An ESPN report earlier this week said Clowney has dropped his asking price to $17-18 million annually, with the Tennessee Titans showing interest and the Seahawks still hoping to re-sign him.

      While not all salaries for free agent signings have been reported, the Browns have the most cap space in the NFL currently, per Spotrac's projections, at $43.6 million.

      They added defensive end Adrian Clayborn on a two-year, $5.8 million deal, and they also have Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon at the position. Vernon, however, could be released for a $15.5 million cap savings at any time.

      Clowney tallied 31 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception in 13 games (11 starts) in his first season with Seattle in 2019. The Seahawks acquired Clowney prior to last season in a trade with the Houston Texans.

      The top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Clowney has 236 tackles, 32 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 75 career games (66 starts) with the Texans (2014-18) and Seahawks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NFL teams to conduct draft from homes
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 4, 2020

    The 2020 NFL Draft now will be a stay-at-home affair as top team officials will participate in the April 23-25 event from their individual residences, ESPN reported Saturday.

    • With coronavirus cases and deaths still on the rise, the NFL will set an example for extreme social distancing during the most popular weekend of the offseason as the living room becomes the war room.

      Team facilities have closed, and the league called off plans to hold a splashy draft in its newest market, Las Vegas. Players will participate virtually from their own homes instead.

      NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the draft would take place on its regularly scheduled dates. The initial plan, before Saturday's report, was to conduct the event with as few people on hand as possible.

      There were recommendations to delay the draft as physical, intellectual and psychological testing of top college talent reportedly has been interrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      The Cincinnati Bengals have the No. 1 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft after finishing the 2019 season with a 2-14 record. Their selection will be followed by the Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns. The Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will draft last in the first round, 32nd overall.

      --Field Level Media

  • Browns sign veteran CB Johnson
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 4, 2020

    The Cleveland Browns officially signed free agent cornerback Kevin Johnson on Saturday.

    • Terms were not disclosed, but multiple outlets reported last month that the two sides had agreed on a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

      A first-round pick (16th overall) by Houston in 2015, Johnson played four seasons with the Texans before spending the 2019 campaign with the Buffalo Bills.

      Johnson, 27, has appeared in 51 career games (19 starts) and has 164 tackles, 19 passes defensed, one sack and one interception.

      --Field Level Media

  • Antonio Brown reportedly charged in alleged assault of driver
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown is facing three criminal charges related to an alleged assault of a moving truck driver in January.

    • A Broward County (Fla.) court document obtained by ESPN revealed that Brown is charged with felony burglary conveyance, misdemeanor battery and misdemeanor criminal mischief charges.

      Brown allegedly was involved in a dispute with a moving-truck driver outside his Hollywood, Fla., home on Jan. 21. The driver was attempting to deliver Brown's household items from California, per the criminal complaint.

      The NFL likely will review the charges against Brown, who is also being investigated by the league over a lawsuit filed by a former trainer that alleges the wide receiver sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions.

      Brown, 31, played in just one game during the 2019 season, getting cut by both the then-Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots.

      A four-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, Brown has recorded 841 receptions for 11,263 yards with 75 touchdowns in 131 career games with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2010-18) and the Patriots (2019).

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: TE Seals-Jones agrees to deal with Chiefs
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, Yahoo Sports reported Friday night.

    • Financial terms were not disclosed for Seals-Jones, who likely will provide depth behind five-time Pro Bowl selection Travis Kelce.

      Seals-Jones, 25, recorded 14 receptions for 229 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in 14 games (three starts) with the Cleveland Browns last season.

      Seals-Jones has 60 catches for 773 yards and eight touchdowns in 39 career games (nine starts) with the Arizona Cardinals (2017-18) and Browns.

      The reported addition of Seals-Jones comes after the Chiefs saw fellow tight end Blake Bell head to the Dallas Cowboys in free agency.

      Deon Yelder and Nick Keizer are the lone remaining tight ends on Kansas City's roster behind the 30-year-old Kelce, who had 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and five touchdowns last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Texans' O'Brien defends trade of WR Hopkins
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    In his first public comments since the trade, Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien defended the decision to send All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals last month.

    • "I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team," O'Brien told season-ticket holders on a conference call Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "We love DeAndre Hopkins, but he had three years left on his deal, and he wanted a raise. We weren't going to be able to go in that direction."

      O'Brien also touted the package the Texans received in return. Houston acquired the Cardinals' 2020 second-round pick and running back David Johnson while also swapping their own 2020 fourth-round pick for Arizona's fourth-rounder in 2021.

      "We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks," O'Brien said. "It involved an excellent three-down running back who's hungry and humble and can't wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team."

      The trade was widely panned and has brought heavy criticism upon O'Brien, who has served as the Texans' de facto general manager since GM Brian Gaine was fired last June, less than 18 months after Gaine was hired. O'Brien officially added the GM role to his title on Jan. 28.

      In a story published by The Athletic on Wednesday, an anonymous executive from another team called the trade "a joke," adding, "How the David Johnson contract was included in the deal just astounds me."

      Johnson is due $11.2 million guaranteed this season, the third-highest salary of any running back in the NFL. The 28-year-old has totaled 2,191 scrimmage yards (averaging 4.8 yards per touch) and 16 touchdowns over the past three seasons after posting 2,118 scrimmage yards (5.7 average) and 20 touchdowns during his All-Pro season of 2016.

      Hopkins, who turns 28 in June, is coming off three consecutive first-team All-Pro selections, tallying 315 catches for 4,115 yards and 31 touchdowns in 46 games over that span. He has three years and $39.9 million -- none guaranteed -- remaining on his contract.

      Multiple reports since the trade have described friction between O'Brien and Hopkins, including the team's concerns about Hopkins' tendency to miss practices and sometimes pre-game warmups before playing through injuries in games.

      O'Brien was clear that his focus is on his group of players, rather than an individual.

      "Whatever decisions we make will be made in the best interest of the team," O'Brien said. "Capital T. Capital E. Capital A. Capital M."

      Team chairman and chief operating officer Cal McNair said he remains confident in O'Brien and executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby leading the personnel department.

      "It's important that the focus is the team," McNair said, according to the Chronicle. "I would think as a fan, I would be really excited that your leadership can make bold moves and can go make the moves that make the team better. It's an exciting time for us."

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL could move 2024 Super Bowl due to Mardi Gras
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    The NFL is considering moving the 2024 Super Bowl out of New Orleans due to potential conflicts with Mardis Gras that emerged with the pending expansion to a 17-game season.

    • New Orleans, which was awarded Super Bowl LVIII during a meeting in 2018, would not lose the game entirely, but rather have it pushed back a year or two. No decision has been made.

      The game is scheduled for Feb. 4, but that date was set with a 16-game NFL schedule. If a week were to be added to the schedule, the game would be played on Feb. 11 -- presenting a conflict with Mardi Gras beginning on Feb. 13.

      "The New Orleans Host Committee, led by the New Orleans Saints and Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, has remained in close communication with league officials about the change to a 17-game regular season, as it relates to the city hosting Super Bowl LVIII in 2024," Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel said in a statement on Friday. "During the bid process in 2018, it was contemplated and discussed of the possibility of an extended schedule based on a new CBA. The Bid Committee, the New Orleans Saints and NFL worked together to build in contingencies if a potential conflict with Mardi Gras should affect the Super Bowl date.

      "Mutually agreed upon terms during the bid process granted assurances that the NFL and Host Committee would explore all options for still hosting the game in 2024, or, agreeing to host the Super Bowl in a future year when the citywide calendar permits."

      The 17-game schedule, per terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, will be installed as the norm sometime between 2021 and 2023.

      The NFL has yet to award the 2025 Super Bowl. The other upcoming host cities are Tampa, Fla. (2020 season), Inglewood, Calif. (2021) and Glendale, Ariz (2022).

      New Orleans has hosted the big game 10 times, trailing only Miami (11) for the most in Super Bowl history. The city most recently hosted Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season, when the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers after a mid-game power outage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rams officially re-sign DT Brockers
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    The Los Angeles Rams officially re-signed defensive tackle Michael Brockers on Friday, ensuring he'll return for a ninth season despite a previous verbal agreement with Baltimore.

    • In their announcement, the Rams did not reference a physical, but multiple outlets reported Brockers passed his physical.

      Last Friday, Brockers' deal with the Ravens -- reported to be worth $30 million over three years, with $21 million guaranteed -- fell through due to concerns about a high ankle sprain he sustained late last season. With players and teams unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, the situation proved unresolvable, leading the Ravens to move on and Brockers to return to the Rams.

      His contract with Los Angeles reportedly is a three-year pact worth $24 million, with an additional $7.5 million available via incentives.

      Earlier this week, Brockers discussed his scuttled agreement with Baltimore on the Green Light podcast, a show hosted by former Rams defensive end Chris Long.

      "It was a done deal," said Brockers, who has been at his home in Houston during the offseason. "But going through physicals, you know how that works. Being a little bit older in the league, they see a couple things.

      "... I did my physical here in Houston. I go to the doctor, they take X-rays and I did an MRI," he continued. "... Baltimore's doctor gets to look at it, and he says, ‘You know, I'm not a specialist, but I'm going to send it to a guy that I truly trust, and he's a third-party doctor.' ... I guess that doctor told him I might need something like a surgery, and they were like, ‘Oh.'"

      Brockers, 29, said the ankle hasn't bothered him as he has worked out this offseason.

      A first-round pick of the Rams in 2012, he has played in 123 of a possible 128 games, including 121 starts, over eight seasons, collecting 23 sacks. He had three sacks and nine QB hits last year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rex Ryan calls WR Cooper overpaid but apologizes for word choice
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Former NFL head coach Rex Ryan ripped Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper on Friday, saying the Pro Bowl free agent was a "turd" undeserving of his recently signed $100 million deal in Dallas.

    • Ryan later apologized for his word choice.

      The blustery Ryan, never one to hold his tongue, said Cooper didn't deserve a big payday on ESPN's "Get Up" program.

      "To me, this is the biggest disappearing act in the National Football League," Ryan said. "He doesn't show up on the road ... when he's against the top corners, that guy disappears."

      Cooper and Dak Prescott were both unrestricted free agents entering the offseason. The Cowboys used the exclusive franchise tag at a cost of more than $30 million to keep Prescott.

      Cooper's deal makes him the second-highest paid wide receiver in the NFL behind Julio Jones, who will make $22 million with the Atlanta Falcons.

      "I wouldn't have paid this turd," Ryan said of Cooper.

      Later Friday, Ryan appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and said, "I can't believe I used that word. Obviously it was a poor choice by me to say what I said about Amari. Quite honestly, I think the world of every player and have a great deal of respect for every player in the National Football League, including Amari Cooper."

      Ryan went on to reiterate his stance about Cooper being overpaid, restating the reasons for his opinion, before adding, "But what I added at the end of that, I want to apologize to Amari again and hope he accepts my apology."

      Cooper, 25, was the fourth overall pick in 2015 and was traded to the Cowboys from the then-Oakland Raiders in 2018.

      Cooper appeared on the injury list most of the final eight games last season with leg and ankle injuries. In the final three games of 2019 and with the Cowboys fighting for a playoff spot, Cooper was limited and caught a total of nine passes for 135 yards and no touchdowns.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bears GM: Starting QB an 'open competition'
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to earn his starting job for the Chicago Bears, general manager Ryan Pace acknowledged Friday.

    • In a conference call, Pace told reporters that there will be an "open competition" between Trubisky and veteran Nick Foles, acquired by the Bears this offseason.

      "Mitch is really embracing it," Pace said. "All he wants to do is be the best quarterback he can be for the Chicago Bears. Nick, same thing."

      The Bears selected Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. In his second season, he led Chicago to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title, but the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the wild-card playoff round.

      Trubisky made the Pro Bowl in 2018, completing 67 percent of his passes for 3,223 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. But the 25-year-old regressed in 2019, connecting in just 63.2 percent of passes with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as the Bears missed the playoffs.

      Foles, 31, spent last season in Jacksonville, which signed him to a four-year, $88 million contract. The veteran backup, who won the 2018 Super Bowl MVP when he filled in for Carson Wentz for the Eagles, broke his collarbone in the season opener and eventually lost the starting spot to rookie Gardner Minshew.

      Earlier this week, Foles agreed to give up the $56.9 million remaining on Jaguars deal and instead shifted his base pay to a fully guaranteed, three-year, $24 million deal. That includes an opt-out clause after the 2020 season and $8 million guaranteed in 2020.

      Foles threw for just 736 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions in four games last season. He has passed for 11,901 yards with 71 touchdowns and 35 interceptions in 58 games with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012-14, 2017-18), then-St. Louis Rams (2015), Chiefs (2016) and Jaguars (2019).

      --Field Level Media

  • Raiders sign DB Randall, CB Apple back to free agency
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Defensive back Damarious Randall signed a one-year deal with the Las Vegas Raiders as an agreement with free agent Eli Apple deteriorated.

    • Apple agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal on March 16 but the two sides failed to finalize the contract and he returned to free agency on Thursday.

      Randall spent the past two seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who acquired him from the Green Bay Packers in a trade that involved quarterback DeShone Kizer.

      A first-round pick in 2015, Randall moved from cornerback to safety with the Browns.

      Randall, 27, has played in 65 career games, recording 290 tackles, 14 interceptions, two touchdowns and two fumble recoveries.

      Apple, 24, was selected 10th overall in the 2016 draft by the New York Giants. He was traded to New Orleans in October 2018 and played in 25 games with the Saints, tallying 58 tackles, two interceptions and 13 passes defensed.

      Overall, he has 233 tackles, three interceptions, six fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in 55 career appearances (48 starts).

      Earlier this week, defensive lineman Michael Brockers re-signed with the Los Angeles Rams after his deal with the Baltimore Ravens never came to fruition. And last Friday, the New York Jets failed to reach a final deal after agreeing to a contract with safety Marqui Christian, who also played with the Rams last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Chiefs WR Watkins restructures deal to stay in KC
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    Sammy Watkins restructured his contract to receive $7 million of the $16 million he's owed from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 as incentives.

    • According to multiple reports, Watkins helped create $5 million in salary-cap space for the Chiefs, who had $171 left under the cap before the move.

      "I'm back KC LETS GET IT ..! #RUNITBACKTOUR" Watkins wrote via Twitter.

      The deal also adds a no-trade clause, according to ESPN.

      Watkins, 26, signed with the Chiefs in free agency in March 2018 with a $21 million signing bonus as part of a three-year, $48 million contract.

      With several other priorities on the roster for the Chiefs, Watkins' contract had to be addressed this offseason for him to return.

      He publicly contemplated a "break" from football after making $34 million in the first two years of the deal but decided to return as primarily a third option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes behind receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.

      In 76 games, he has 284 receptions for 4,244 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NFL zeros in on draft structure
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 3, 2020

    As the NFL maintains its plan to hold the draft April 23-25, the originally scheduled dates, the league reportedly issued a memo Thursday outlining two options it is considering as to how teams would participate in the event.

    • According to a report by NFL.com, a league memo sent to all clubs said the league is considering either allowing each club to work out of its own facility (subject to medical approval) or to work remotely, but only at a private residence and while adhering to limits on the number of team personnel gathering in one spot.

      The NFL last week shut down all club facilities for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      While the league has scrapped plans to hold the draft along the Las Vegas Strip because of the COVID-19 outbreak, it has remained steadfast in holding the draft on its scheduled dates. Multiple reports have suggested the draft could end up being held in a way akin to the way the league conducted the event into the mid-1980s, with teams calling in their picks rather than the televised spectacle it has become.

      Under Option 1, according to the memo obtained by NFL.com, teams would be allowed to conduct draft operations out of team facilities, "subject to mandatory health and safety guidelines issued by Dr. (Allen) Sills, which will include limitations on the number of permitted club personnel at the facility and rigorous cleaning requirements."

      Earlier Thursday, Sills, the league's chief medical officer, spoke with NFL.com and stated numerous hurdles remain before the league would be able to reopen in time to conduct a full regular season without pushing back any game dates.

      Under the second option, team personnel would spend the draft working in "personal residences, with a clear prohibition on any number of club personnel gathering in one residence," according to the report.

      "The NFL will decide on (1) or (2) above based on several factors, most notably guidance from Dr. Sills, the CDC and the impact of any shelter in place or similar executive orders that are imposed in club jurisdictions," the memo went on to explain.

      If the second option is chosen, per the memo, "then no club will be permitted to operate from any club facility or off-site location (other than a private residence and adhering to the guidelines)."

      On Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints announced plans to turn the Dixie Brewing Company into their draft night war room. The bar is owned by the Benson family, which also owns the Saints.

      A total of six or seven people, including team scouting personnel, head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, would be at the brewery. Payton tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19, but he announced on March 26 that he was symptom-free.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL medical chief: Plenty of hurdles before league can reopen
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    Though the NFL has yet to push back any major events because of the coronavirus pandemic, its chief medical officer on Thursday cautioned many steps remain before the league might be able to resume on-field activities.

    • Dr. Allen Sills told NFL.com that widespread testing would need to be available before the league could even contemplate reopening the league for full business.

      On Tuesday, NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash said the league expects to start the 2020 season as scheduled with the Kansas City Chiefs opening Week 1 against an as-yet unnamed opponent on Thursday, Sept. 10.

      "That's our expectation. Am I certain? I'm not certain I'll be here tomorrow. But I'm planning on it," Pash said.

      NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent added the NFL's plan is for a "full" and "normal" regular season.

      "I don't think that I would interpret those comments to say that that is absolutely what's going to happen," Sills said of the comments about the season running on time and in full.

      Sills added that getting point-of-care testing and a quick turnaround on results would be critical to decision-making when it comes to reopening facilities. Government-mandated lockdowns and stay-at-home orders will also be a consideration, according to the report, as allowing some teams to reopen facilities while others are forced to keep theirs closed could become a competitive-balance issue.

      "As long as we're still in a place where when a single individual tests positive for the virus that you have to quarantine every single person who was in contact with them in any shape, form or fashion, then I don't think you can begin to think about reopening a team sport," Sills said. "Because we're going to have positive cases for a very long time."

      According to the report, Sills added that it will be difficult to look at how large groups of fans could be allowed to gather for a game until a vaccine is available.

      "We will make those decisions in consultation with our experts at the time," Sills said. "That decision will not be made in isolation. The NFL will not be charting a course different than other professional sports, other parts of society -- college sports, universities, businesses."

      The NFL last week shut down all team facilities for at least two weeks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-All Pro OT Boselli out of hospital after bout with COVID-19
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    Former NFL offensive tackle Tony Boselli is out of the hospital after a harrowing battle with the coronavirus.

    • The former Jaguars All-Pro was hospitalized for five days and spent time in the intensive care unit at Jacksonville's Mayo Clinic before being released Tuesday.

      "When I first got sick, I thought it wasn't a big deal," Boselli told CBS Sports. "I was 47 and healthy. I thought I'd be back to myself. It went the wrong way quickly."

      Boselli said to ESPN, "It was kind of fuzzy, but I remember (the pulmonologist) saying, 'If we don't get your oxygen stabilized we're going to have to go to the next level.' I remember lying there thinking, 'What do you mean, if this doesn't work?' He says, 'We don't know what direction this is going to go.'

      "I don't know if I ever was like I thought I was going to die, but I remember having the conversation with myself: I don't want to die here."

      He wound up improving over the next day, so he never needed to be placed on a ventilator.

      "Thankfully I recovered, but there was no guarantee," Boselli told the Jaguars' website. "You've got to take it seriously, and the main message is: These health care experts and workers that are talking about this? They're not making this up.

      "Take it from someone who was in the hospital and had these people working on me: They're risking everything themselves to take of people. It's serious. It's real. We need to do what people are being asked to do."

      Boselli was selected to the Pro Bowl on five occasions and earned three All-Pro selections with the Jaguars, who selected him with the second overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft. He played in 91 games (90 starts) with the Jaguars from 1995-2001.

      Boselli has been a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame each of the past four years.

      Boselli also was a three-time All-American at Southern California from 1992-94 and was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2014.

      As of Thursday evening, more than 1 million people around the world had been diagnosed with COVID-19, with nearly 53,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, nearly 245,000 had tested positive for the virus, and more than 5,900 had died.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Raiders, Apple unable to reach agreement
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    It looks as if Eli Apple can add his name to the list of players back on the free agent market after a deal he thought he had in place fell through.

    • According to ESPN's Adam Schefter on Thursday, the cornerback and Las Vegas Raiders couldn't finalize a contract, meaning the four-year veteran remains on the open market.

      Back on March 18, multiple outlets reported that Apple and the Raiders agreed to a deal, though terms were not disclosed.

      Apple, 24, was selected 10th overall in the 2016 draft by the New York Giants. He was traded to New Orleans in October 2018 and played in 25 games with the Saints, tallying 58 tackles, two interceptions and 13 passes defensed.

      Overall, he has 233 tackles, three interceptions, six fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in 55 career appearances (48 starts).

      Earlier this offseason, defensive lineman Michael Brockers re-signed with the Los Angeles Rams after his deal with the Baltimore Ravens never came to fruition. And last Friday, the Jets failed to reach a final deal after agreeing to a contract with safety Marqui Christian, who also played with the Rams last season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Broncos reach deals with TE Vannett, DE Harris
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    The Denver Broncos signed tight end Nick Vannett to a two-year contract and re-signed defensive end Shelby Harris to a one-year deal on Thursday.

    • Terms weren't disclosed, but multiple outlets previously reported that Vannett's deal was for $5.7 million and Harris' was for $3.25 million.

      Vannett, 27, was drafted in the third round in 2016 by the Seattle Seahawks and was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers last September.

      He has 61 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns in 55 career games (22 starts) with the two teams.

      Harris, 28, started all 16 games for the Broncos last season and posted career highs with 49 tackles and six sacks.

      He hasn't missed a game in three seasons with Denver, totaling 122 tackles, 13 sacks, 16 passes defensed, one interception and one blocked kick in 48 contests (22 starts).

      A seventh-round pick by Oakland in 2014, Harris tallied 14 tackles and one sack in eight games with the Raiders during the 2014 and '15 seasons before being released in May 2016. He did not appear in an NFL game in 2016, spending part of the year on the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad.

      --Field Level Media

  • Tagovailoa's medical recheck 'overwhelmingly positive'
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    Tua Tagovailoa received "overwhelmingly positive" results from a voluntary medical recheck Thursday, the quarterback's representatives told ESPN and NFL Network.

    • The comprehensive exam was performed by a third-party physician chosen by NFL team doctors. All 32 team doctors and trainers were able to provide input on the type of exams they wanted, and the results were shared with every team, according to the representatives.

      The use of an independent doctor for the recheck is a side effect of the global coronavirus pandemic.

      Draft prospects who are medically unable to participate at the annual NFL Scouting Combine are usually invited to return to Indianapolis for a recheck in the weeks leading up to the draft, something that wasn't possible this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

      Tagovailoa underwent two surgeries during his junior season at Alabama in 2019, one on his right ankle in October and another in November to repair a posterior wall fracture and dislocated hip.

      The 2018 Heisman Trophy runner-up told ESPN on Wednesday that he was "100 percent" and could play as a rookie in 2020 if he were asked to do so.

      The NFL draft is scheduled for April 23-25, and Tagovailoa is widely expected to be one of the top picks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Buccaneers re-sign QB Gabbert
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a one-year deal Thursday, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported.

    • The 30-year-old journeyman will serve as a backup to Tom Brady and continue his relationship with head coach Bruce Arians.

      The Buccaneers signed Gabbert a year ago, but he dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder in a preseason game and was placed on injured reserve in September.

      Gabbert played for Arians in Arizona during the 2017 season, completing 95 of 171 passes for 1,086 yards, six touchdowns and six interceptions in five starts (2-3 record).

      The 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by Jacksonville, Gabbert owns a 13-35 record as a starter and has 48 touchdown passes and 47 interceptions in 56 games with the Jaguars (2011-13), San Francisco 49ers (2014-16), Cardinals (2017) and Tennessee Titans (2018).

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Titans RB Henry signs $10.2M franchise tender
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry signed the one-year, $10.2 million franchise tag tender but general manager Jon Robinson said the team hopes to work out a long-term deal.

    • ESPN reported the 26-year-old Henry signed the tender Thursday.

      "I met with Derrick like I met with all of the guys whose contracts were going to be up at the end of the season," Robinson said. "We told him we would start working on that but couldn't get to an agreement on that one, so we used one of the avenues that were available to us to keep Derrick.

      "He's an important part of our football team. I've spoken to his representatives after we've used the tag. And we want to continue to have those discussions and back-and-forths in hopes of reaching some kind of long-term agreement. We will kick those conversations off again probably, certainly before training camp gets ramped up and going."

      Henry claimed the 2019 NFL rushing title with 1,540 yards last season and led the league with 303 rushing attempts.

      The first-time Pro Bowl selection was also a workhorse in the playoffs. He had 446 rushing yards and two TDs in the postseason as the Titans posted road upsets of the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.

      A second-round pick in 2016 out of Alabama, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner has rushed for 3,833 yards and 38 touchdowns in 62 games with the Titans. He also has 57 catches for 578 yards and three scores.

      "I want to stay with the Tennessee Titans," Henry said earlier this offseason. "They are the ones that took a chance on me -- 31 teams passed on me on the draft and they selected me. I have a lot of love for Tennessee. I have a lot of love everyone in that organization."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Jaguars want first-round pick and more for DE Ngakoue
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, April 2, 2020

    A first-round pick and then some is the asking price of the Jacksonville Jaguars for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue.

    • ESPN reported the 25-year-old defensive end is on the trade block, with the Jaguars pushing to receive at least a first-round pick, a bounty that matches what Jacksonville requested for cornerback Jalen Ramsey at the trade deadline in October 2019.

      Ngakoue said via Twitter his "time is up" in Jacksonville. Unhappy about being given the franchise tag, Ngakoue announced via social media in March that he wasn't interested in a long-term agreement with the Jaguars.

      NFL Network reported multiple teams have reached out to the Jaguars with trade offers for Ngakoue, who immediately responded via Twitter: "Let's agree to disagree . Why hold a man from taking care of his family. It's obvious my time is up in my current situation. Let's both move on

      @Jaguars."

      Ngakoue has been outspoken via social media about his desire to exit Jacksonville since the team used the franchise tag to keep the defensive end off the free-agent market. Ngakoue said in early March he has no desire to stay with the Jaguars, who have traded away several stars from a stellar defense in the past six months -- cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are gone, defensive end Calais Campbell was traded and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus was allowed to leave.

      Under the franchise tag rules, the Jaguars have until mid-July to give Ngakoue a long-term deal. Ngakoue said he was ready to move on from the Jaguars after negotiations for a long-term deal stalled.

      "The Jaguars are aware I no longer have interest in signing a long term contract in Jacksonville. Duval, I love you and gave you guys everything I got. I'm thankful for the journey and look forward to continuing my career elsewhere," Ngakoue wrote on Twitter at the time.

      Using the franchise tag, the Jaguars are able to reserve first-refusal rights with Ngakoue's contract through the start of the new league year.

      Under the tag, Ngakoue would get a one-year deal worth more than $19.3 million should the sides not reach agreement on a long-term deal, according to Over the Cap.

      He has posted 37.5 sacks in four seasons with the Jaguars, which ranks second in franchise history. Jacksonville made Ngakoue, a Maryland product, a third-round selection (69th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

      Last year, he started all 15 games he played for the Jaguars, totaling a career-high 41 tackles (13 for loss), with eight sacks, six passes defensed, four forced fumbles and one interception.

      --Field Level Media