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Thread: 2018 nfl football sneak peek at teams/predictions/news/notes/picks etc. !

  1. #31
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    Teams to Watch - NFC
    July 10, 2018


    Several up-and-comers made their move in the National Football Conference last season, and their offseason transactions have given them staying power. Five teams that didn’t reach the postseason in 2016 qualified last season, one of those being the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Thus, Philly is the favorite to repeat as conference champions, but like we saw, anything can happen.

    It’s easy to go with the defending champs after posting a league-best win total and claiming their first Super Bowl title – with a backup quarterback no less. But it’s much tougher to win with a target on your back. And the NFC is stacked in 2018. The Rams reached the postseason for the first time in 13 years and strengthened their defense during the offseason to complement the NFL’s highest scoring offense.

    Minnesota landed Kirk Cousins in an effort to lift them to Super Bowl glory. And Green Bay will have two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers back behind center after they stumbled without him in 2017.

    NFC Odds

    Philadelphia Eagles +365
    Los Angeles Rams +498
    Minnesota Vikings +535
    Green Bay Packers +700
    New Orleans Saints +850
    Atlanta Falcons +1000
    San Francisco 49ers +1385
    New York Giants +1430
    Dallas Cowboys +1800
    Carolina Panthers +2300
    Detroit Lions +3150
    Seattle Seahawks +3500
    Washington Redskins +4000
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers +4350
    Chicago Bears +6300
    Arizona Cardinals +7200


    NFC TEAMS TO WATCH

    Philadelphia Eagles
    Current Odds: +365


    With all the contributing pieces returning, the Eagles are in a good spot for another run at a Super Bowl and they hit the board as the favorite at +365. Carson Wentz is back from his knee surgery that cost him the final few games of the regular season and the postseason run. Wentz led the offense with 33 touchdown passes before getting hurt in a Week 13 matchup with the Rams. And it looked like he took any championship hopes with him. Nick Foles got all the glory leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl win over the Pats, earning MVP honors along the way. And he’s back to help form the best quarterback duo in the league.Philly snuck up on the pack last season going from worst in the NFC East in 2016 to Super Bowl champions. With that comes the added pressure of trying to repeat while playing a first place schedule. Only one NFC team has repeated since 1998 and the field is as strong as ever. A good sign for the Eagles is that they don’t rely on one player. We saw them overcome the loss of Wentz, Jason Peters and Jordan Hicks to win it all last year.

    Atlanta Falcons
    Current Odds: +1000

    There is value with Atlanta at +1000 to win the NFC. The Falcons are the only NFC team to reach the postseason in each of the last two seasons and they are just two years removed from a Super Bowl trip. They led the league in scoring in 2016 only to have a significant drop last season under first year OC Steve Sarkisian. The addition of Calvin Ridley to go along with Julio Jones should put some pop back in the passing game and Sarkisian should feel more comfortable after taking over for Kyle Shanahan. This is his offense now. The scary part about the Falcons is their defense. Dan Quinn built a beast during his days in Seattle and he has Atlanta looking like a top unit. And that’s necessary in the NFC South.

    New Orleans Saints
    Current Odds: +850


    Fellow South member New Orleans also looks scary good heading into 2018. After three straight seven-win seasons, the Saints busted loose last year to win 11 games and the division. They have a solid group of young players acquired through the draft and Drew Brees is showing no signs of slowing down at his advanced age. They had the top two rookies from each side of the ball last season and the defense improved significantly. Brees needs to stay healthy since there is no Plan B in place yet, and the Saints could be a bargain at +850.

    Minnesota Vikings
    Current Odds: +535


    Minnesota landed the biggest free agent prize in Kirk Cousins and they could be the scariest team in the conference. The offense wasn’t poor under Case Keenum last season, but the addition of a high-caliber signal caller could be what gets them to their first Super Bowl since the 1976 season. The Vikings had the NFL’s stingiest defense last season and they’ve been strong under Mike Zimmer. They should again be good at stopping opponents. Cousins has a better supporting cast than he had at Washington with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs among the best pass-catchings duos in the league.

    Los Angeles Rams
    Current Odds: +498


    It was a season to remember for the Rams under first-year head coach Sean McVay. They had a seven-game improvement from 2016, won their first division title since 2003 and ended a 12-year playoff drought. Sustaining success is much tougher but the Rams have a core group that could rule the NFC West for a few years. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley had breakout years as the Rams went from the lowest scoring team in 2016 to the highest scoring club last season. Adding Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib will also help a defense that ranked 19th in yards allowed per game.
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    NFL notebook: Bills' McCoy denies domestic violence accusations
    July 10, 2018


    Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy denied accusations of domestic violence, child abuse, animal cruelty and performance-enhancing drug use in a statement posted on his Instagram account on Tuesday.

    Earlier on Tuesday, a woman posted a graphic image that showed McCoy's reported former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, bruised and bloodied. The post also accused the 29-year-old McCoy of beating his dog until it developed kidney failure and "viciously" beating his son.

    "For the record, the totally baseless and offensive claims made against me today on social media are completely false," McCoy wrote. "Furthermore, I have not had any direct contact with any of the people involved in months."

    Police in Milton, Ga., released a statement in response to the incident, detailing how officers responded to a home invasion at 3:18 a.m. Tuesday, although McCoy was not mentioned by name.

    "The preliminary investigation indicates that this residence was specifically targeted by the suspect or suspects, and not a random incident," the statement read. "When officers arrived they found one victim who had been physically assaulted by a lone intruder. During the altercation, the suspect demanded specific items from the victim. An adult female victim was treated and released at North Fulton Regional Hospital. A second adult female victim also sustained a minor injury during the incident."

    --The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the league's new national anthem policy.

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced in May that the league would enact a national anthem policy for the 2018 season that requires players and league personnel to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room. The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other personnel do not show respect for the anthem.

    "Our union filed its non-injury grievance today on behalf of all players challenging the NFL's recently imposed anthem policy," the NFLPA said in a statement. "The union's claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL's governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.

    "In advance of our filing today, we proposed to the NFL to begin confidential discussions with the NFLPA Executive Committee to find a solution to this issue instead of immediately proceeding with litigation. The NFL has agreed to proceed with those discussions and we look forward to starting them soon."

    --Former NFL cornerback Brandon Browner was charged with multiple felonies, including attempted murder.

    Police in La Verne (Calif.) also charged Browner with three other felonies -- robbery, burglary and false imprisonment -- in the wake of his arrest Sunday for allegedly breaking into a home of an ex-girlfriend who has a restraining order against him.

    Browner also faces two misdemeanor charges of child endangerment for allegedly attacking the victim with her two children present. He was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

    A Super Bowl winner with both the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, Brown could face a possible maximum life sentence in prison if convicted.

    --Former Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander will not have to worry about one issue entering Wednesday's NFL Supplemental Draft.

    Alexander, one of five players available in the draft, received a clean bill on his drug tests, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network.

    There have been character concerns surrounding Alexander, who was dismissed from Virginia Tech in May due to academics. Alexander also was arrested on a marijuana-related charge in 2016, but he has passed all of his drug tests over the past eight months, Garafolo reported.

    Alexander, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal and Mississippi State safety Brandon Bryant are considered the top players in the supplemental draft. Oregon State linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu and Grand Valley State running back Martayveus Carter are also available.

    --New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper wants to create a more open "family" atmosphere in the wake of the troubles that surrounded previous owner Jerry Richardson.

    Tepper addressed this topic, the Richardson statue outside Bank of America Stadium and the team's coaching staff during Tuesday's introductory press conference with reporters.

    "I like to have an open environment. Where everybody feels safe like a family," said Tepper, the founder of global hedge fund Appaloosa Management, based in Miami Beach, Fla. He paid $2.275 billion for the right to own the team.

    The Panthers came under fire in December when Sports Illustrated published a report alleging that Richardson was accused of racial and sexual harassment. The 81-year-old Richardson, who elected to sell the team amid a league investigation, was fined $2.75 million by the NFL on June 28.

    Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill weighed in on the recent alcohol-related arrest of general manager Steve Keim, vowing there will be consequences for what he termed "inexcusable" behavior.

    Bidwill told radio station KFYI on Tuesday that Keim made an "enormous mistake," referring to the general manager's arrest on charges of driving under the influence in Chandler, Ariz., on Wednesday.

    "First of all, I'm extremely disappointed," said Bidwill. "It's inexcusable. He did bring it to our attention right away that night and has been extremely remorseful and contrite. He's taken steps to make things right, but the reality is that there is a process in place that the league has and there are going to be consequences here."

    Keim could be subject to disciplinary action for a violation of the NFL policy on personal conduct. More details from the incident became available Tuesday with the release of the police report, which noted that Keim refused to participate in a number of sobriety tests. Keim willingly provided his name to officers, according to the report, but he identified himself as the team's director of security.

    --DeMarco Murray was quite complimentary of both fellow running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Marcus Mariota when asked about their respective futures with the Tennessee Titans.

    Murray, who was released by the Titans in March, addressed both players when talking to ESPN's Adam Schefter recently.

    "I think Derrick's a smart guy. He's a fast guy, very physical, athletic, and now that I'm not there I think he can hone in on being the guy," the 30-year-old Murray said, via Titans Wire. "And if they use him the right way and if he can consistently be the every down back, I think he has a great future, a bright future."

    Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur told reporters last month that the running game will remain the focal point of the offense with free-agent signee Dion Lewis joining incumbent starter Henry in the backfield.

    --Washington Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice continued his generous offseason by surprising his mother with a new car.

    Guice, who was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, shared a video on Twitter of his mother's reaction as he arrived at her Baton Rouge, La., home in a white Jaguar SUV with a bow on the hood.

    His mother, Beulah, could barely contain herself before her son christened the car with a bottle of champagne.

    Guice was raised by his mother after his father was murdered when he was young. The 21-year-old Guice's most recent gift comes on the heels of raising money for cancer research and taking random Redskins fans to the movies.

    --New Orleans Saints stars Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore are looking to elevate the bar after becoming the first teammates since 1967 to win NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

    "We talk about it all the time, we're just trying to be the best," the 22-year-old Lattimore said, via the New Orleans Advocate. "We won rookie of the year, now we're trying to win Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year."

    Lattimore, a cornerback, is focusing his attention on his technique as opposed to "training for the 40" at the combine like he did prior to the 2017 draft.

    "That process, the draft-combine-pro day, it's a tiring process," Kamara said. "It's hard, coming from college, transitioning from being an amateur to a pro. It's hard, there's some growing pains. I was learning as I go, but now I have some experience, I know how to manage my time."

    --Tony Romo may have retired from playing in the NFL, but that doesn't mean he is through with competitive sports.

    The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS analyst matched his old jersey number by breezing to a staggering nine-stroke win at the Racine Tri-Course Amateur Championship. He also won the tournament in 2004.

    "I stayed aggressive," Romo told The (Racine) Journal Times. "I took mostly conservative lines and aggressive swings, and that's the approach you take when you have a lead. When you're hitting it as solid as I've been hitting it, you can trust it -- commit to the swing and hit it.

    "I was able to do that throughout the week. It was hard to do when you're not hitting it where you're aiming, but I was (doing that) this week."

    -- New York Giants defensive tackle A.J. Francis went on a profane tirade on Twitter after the Transportation Security Administration allegedly left open the urn carrying his mother's ashes.

    Carrie Leanne Francis died on June 26, according to a post on her son's Instagram account. A.J. Francis posted a picture Monday of his clothes covered with what appeared to be ashes in his suitcase along with a notice of inspection from TSA.

    "Hey you (expletive) at TSA next time you (expletive) feel the need to go thru my mother's ashes for no reason, make sure you close it back so her remains aren't spilled on all my clothes... the least you pieces of garbage can do is your (expletive) job," the 28-year-old Francis said in a tweet.

    AskTSA responded to Francis' complaints with an explanation, apology and condolences.
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    First Coach to be Fired
    July 11, 2018


    NFL Props – First Coach Fired in 2018 Regular Season

    Teams usually wait until the season is over to make coaching changes, that’s why the first Monday after the regular year ends is termed “Black Monday.” That’s not always the case, however.

    Sometimes a club is so bad or fails to reach expectations that a move is made during the season. There were seven coaching changes following the 2017 season with only one – Giants Ben McAdoo – relieved of his duties prior to the end of the season.

    Coaches are hired to be fired and five other coaches were dismissed after the conclusion of the 2017 regular season and one retired, leaving the door open for seven new men to test their luck.

    We can eliminate those seven from our list, and the odds at BookMaker.eu for the first coach fired during the regular season doesn’t include any of them.

    The heat is on Cleveland’s Hue Jackson, who is the favorite at +317 to get the axe first. He has the highest losing percentage of any coach that’s been around for two seasons and it was amazing he was retained after going winless last year.

    The Browns have just one victory in Jackson’s tenure and with an upgraded roster, the pressure is on him to win and win early.

    Odds For First Head Coach Fired During 2018 NFL Regular Season

    No Coach Fired +306

    Cleveland Browns - Hue Jackson +317

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Dirk Koetter +516

    Denver Broncos - Vance Joseph +548

    Field (any other coach fired) +621

    Miami Dolphins - Adam Gase +781

    New York Jets - Todd Bowles +1330

    Washington Redskins - Jay Gruden +1387

    Dallas Cowboys - Jason Garrett +1829

    Baltimore Ravens - John Harbaugh +1879

    Seattle Seahawks - Pete Carroll +2113

    Houston Texans - Bill O'Brien +2201

    Cincinnati Bengals - Marvin Lewis +1167

    Carolina Panthers - Ron Rivera +4500


    Coaches To Watch

    Hue Jackson
    Current Odds +317


    It’s hard not to put Jackson at the top of the list and the odds are favorable. In his two years the Browns have won just one game and last season they became the second club ever to go winless during a 16-game regular season. Ownership made changes elsewhere within the organization and you can bet Jackson has a short leash entering 2018. Much more than just a few victories are expected for the Browns this season and if they stumble out of the gate, Jackson’s shelf life will have expired. He isn’t a bad coach, enjoying success as an assistant and coordinator. However, some guys are meant to be in the background and Jackson is one of them.

    Dirk Koetter
    Current Odds +516


    The Tampa Bay coach was given the job to mentor Jameis Winston, and that hasn’t worked out. With the 2015 No. 1 overall pick stagnant in his development, the Bucs haven’t progressed after going 9-7 and narrowly missing the postseason in 2016. The team stumbled to a 5-11 record last season and failed to win a number of close games. With Winston suspended for the first three games in 2018 with matchups against New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the seat will get warm quickly under Koetter’s derriere.

    Jason Garrett
    Current Odds +1829


    Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones doesn’t go for the quick fix and make changes on a whim. He also doesn’t care for mediocrity. And that’s what the Boys have been under Jason Garrett, who enters his eighth full season with just two playoff appearances and one victory. When those two playoff years are eliminated, Garrett has a record of 42-46. He’s failed to build a consistent winner and even has former players calling out his competence as a head coach. The Boys need to be better because that’s what their owner expects, giving Garrett has plenty of value at +1829.

    Vance Joseph
    Current Odds +548


    John Elway went out on a limb with the hiring of Joseph, and after a 5-win campaign the branch is about to snap off. Three years removed from a Super Bowl victory, the Broncos were atrocious in Joseph’s maiden season. Elway isn’t shy about pulling the trigger on any move and if he feels the club isn’t responding, you can bet Joseph will be the scapegoat.
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    NFL Notebook: Giants, Redskins pick up DBs in Supplemental Draft
    July 11, 2018


    In today's pass-happy era, one can never have enough defensive backs.

    That likely was the mindset that led NFC East rivals New York and Washington to invest third- and sixth-round selections in the NFL's Supplemental Draft, making it the first time since 2010 that multiple players were picked in the league's annual second-chance draft.

    The Giants invested an early pick -- technically the third selection of the third round of the draft -- into the draft's top-rated prospect, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal.

    Washington, which was slotted 20th, selected Virginia Tech defensive back Adonis Alexander three rounds later.

    With the selections, both clubs forfeit the corresponding selections in next spring's draft.

    Once the players come to a financial agreement with the clubs, they are eligible to practice and potentially play immediately.

    --Running back LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills reportedly has hired a prominent attorney as police investigate a home invasion in Milton, Ga., in which his ex-girlfriend was assaulted.

    According to WSBTV.com in Atlanta, defense attorney Don Samuel will represent McCoy, who has not been charged or even mentioned by authorities as a suspect.

    Samuel, who defended former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis during his 2000 murder trial in Atlanta, said he is "getting up to speed" on the case and added that he will be speaking with the Milton Police Department.

    McCoy's former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon was bruised and bloodied in what Milton Police called a "targeted" home invasion early Tuesday morning. A friend of Cordon's accused McCoy on social media of being responsible, even though he was in South Florida training at the time of the incident. McCoy has denied any involvement.

    --Free-agent cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was involved in a physical altercation in which he was attacked by an employee associated with an Atlanta airport, according to a published report.

    Per TMZ Sports, Jones was at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Tuesday night when Frank Ragin -- an employee of the facilities management company ABM -- "made a gesture" toward him. Police said the two exchanged words before a fight ensued, with Ragin causing a laceration to Jones' face following a strike with a closed fist.

    TMZ Sports reported that police said Ragin also hit Jones' female companion at some point during the fight, injuring her hand. Jones soon knocked Ragin to the ground with a punch to the face. He then hit Ragin one more time before another man helped break up the fight.

    Police determined that Ragin was the primary aggressor, and he was arrested on two counts of battery. Ragin was taken to an area hospital to be treated for his injuries.

    --Jeff Fisher, who has coached in the NFL for 22 seasons, is in talks with FOX about joining the network's team as an analyst in the studio or the booth, the Sporting News reported.

    FOX will begin hosting Thursday Night Football this season with its No. 1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. Indications are that means Buck and Aikman will take some Sundays off.

    The 60-year-old Fisher has said he would prefer another coaching job in the NFL, but FOX has invested an additional $550 million per year for the broadcast rights to "Thursday Night Football" and might make him an offer he can't refuse.

    Fisher has coached the Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans and the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, compiling a 173-165-1 in the regular season and 5-6 mark in the postseason. His 165 regular season losses are tied for the most in NFL history.

    --Eli Manning admitted to being pleased that the New York Giants opted against selecting a quarterback of the future with the second overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

    The Giants passed over Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen to select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed 217 times for 1,271 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. The 6-foot-3, 233-pound Barkley also caught 54 passes for 632 yards and two scores, as well as returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

    "It was kind of a vote of confidence in that they trusted in me that I can play at a high level, can win games, take us deep in playoffs and win championships and win championships still," Manning told Sirius XM NFL Radio.

    "And you know what? I want to prove them right and I want to make them look smart and make them to have made the right decision in doing that. I want to go out there and do great things, do my job and lead this team and make guys around me better and do what I'm supposed to do to put us in position to win those games."

    --Free-agent linebacker Connor Barwin is setting the bar high for his next employer.

    Barwin told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he's looking for something specific from a team looking to add him to its roster.

    "We've had interest from a number of teams all offseason," Barwin said. "The offers I have, I think I'll make my decision before camp starts. I'm not going to go somewhere that I don't think can win a Super Bowl."

    Barwin recorded 34 tackles and five sacks in 14 games for the Los Angeles Rams last season. The 31-year-old was playing in his first year with the Rams after four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He admitted that he had conflicting emotions after watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl.

    --Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown turned 30 years old on Tuesday.

    A signature birthday in one's life to be certain, but Brown wasn't worried about that number representing a potential decline in his skills on the football field.

    "I don't pay attention to my age," the six-time Pro Bowl selection said, via ESPN. "I'm feeling great, I'm healthy and I'm in great shape. I feel as long as I have that, I can continue to be productive. ... Life is all about challenges and working to be the best. You never want to limp away from the game."

    Brown hasn't limped much at all during his NFL career. In fact, his 733 receptions for 9,910 yards are more than any other wideout since he entered the league as a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

    --Safety Brandon Bryant of Mississippi State, who was passed over in the NFL Supplemental Draft, is expected to sign with the New York Jets, the NFL Network reported.

    Bryant was one of three eligible prospects who were not selected in the Supplemental Draft. Only two players, Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal by the New York Giants and Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander by the Washington Redskins, were chosen.

    Bryant is expected to be a backup to Jets' starting safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, who both were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

    --The Cleveland Browns didn't make a selection during the NFL Supplemental Draft, but they did hold a workout with defensive back Jordan Holland, the NFL Network reported.

    Holland most recently played last season with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL and is the son of assistant coach Johnny Holland of the San Francisco 49ers.

    Jordan Holland, 23, is a 5-foot-10, 190-pound cover man who was undrafted out of Prairie View A&M in 2016.

    The Browns have been rebuilding heir secondary, selecting cornerback Denzel Ward in the first round of the NFL Draft, signing E.J. Haines and Justin Durrie, and trading for safety Damarious Randall.
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    NFL notebook: McCoy's house visited by police 3 times
    July 12, 2018


    Police have visited the Georgia home of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy three times in the past year, according to a published report.

    McCoy is the subject of a police investigation in which his ex-girlfriend was assaulted at his home early Tuesday morning in Milton, Ga. The incident has been termed a home invasion by police.

    The Athletic reported Thursday that Milton police were called to McCoy's residence for domestic disputes three times since July 2017, although they found no evidence of violence in either instance.

    McCoy's former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, was bruised and bloodied in what Milton Police called a "targeted" home invasion early Tuesday morning.

    A friend of Cordon's accused McCoy on social media of being responsible, even though he was in South Florida training at the time of the incident. McCoy has denied any involvement in the incident.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been named in two separate lawsuits by women who claimed he sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious.

    One day after a Jacksonville, Fla., station reported that Dareus was being sued for sexual assault stemming from an incident in April, he also was named in a suit involving a different woman that dates to January 2017, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    The earlier incident occurred on Jan. 7, 2017, in Lutz, Fla., two days before the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, the newspaper reported.

    The woman alleged that Dareus groped her at a party, which featured alcohol, drugs and up to a dozen strippers. She said she later woke up in bed with Dareus and "began to immediately realize that there had been sexual physical acts upon her person."

    --The Pro Football Hall of Fame will ostensibly ignore former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens during this year's induction proceedings.

    Joe Horrigan, the Hall's executive director, told Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network that Owens will not be individually introduced at the Gold Jacket ceremony. In addition, Owens will not be announced the following night at Canton's annual induction ceremony.

    Owens announced last week that he will return to his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to celebrate his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement on Aug. 4.

    "The focus is on the guys who are here," Horrigan said. "... There's no reason to bring him up as an individual. He's not here."

    --Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to help the family of a Wisconsin firefighter killed in an explosion, multiple media outlets reported.

    Watt, who is the child of a firefighter, was born in Waukesha (Wis.) and played collegiately at Wisconsin.

    The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year donated to a GoFundMe page created for Sun Prairie (Wis.) Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr, who was killed Tuesday evening.

    A natural gas leak in Sun Prairie led to an explosion that injured 15 and killed Barr on Tuesday evening. Barr leaves behind a wife, Abby, and 3-year-old twin daughters.

    --Former NFL referee Terry McAulay said the NFL's revised rules on kickoffs could cause issues for the officials this season.

    McAulay retired last month and will serve as an on-air rules analyst for games on NBC Sunday Night Football.

    The 59-year-old spoke to ESPN.com about the rules, specifically where players line up prior to the kick, the elimination of wedge blocking and where the receiving team's players are permitted to initiate blocks.

    "It isn't getting as much press, but the kickoff change, this may be the biggest change I've ever seen," McAulay said. "People know so little about it. There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. ... I spoke with a special-teams coordinator who is excited about it, and I know we all feel it can be great for the game. But (officials) have to wait and see. There are a lot of intricate rules in terms of what (players) can and cannot do."

    --Adonis Alexander wound up in the NFL Supplemental Draft due to some off-field transgressions in college. He vowed not to be tripped up by similar issues at the professional level.

    Alexander, who was taken by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of Wednesday's supplemental draft, said he will not repeat the same mistakes that he did at Virginia Tech.

    Academic issues led to the defensive back's dismissal from the school in May. Alexander also was suspended twice by the Hokies, including once for a marijuana-related charge in 2016.

    "I have definitely used it as a learning tool," said Alexander via the Redskins' official website. "I definitely made some mistakes at Virginia Tech but I'm using those -- just learning from them. Using them to help form a better character, form myself as a man. I'm trying to benefit from the things I did in the past in a good way."

    --Las Vegas will become home to the Oakland Raiders in 2020 and the city's long wait for an NFL franchise finally will be realized.

    A $1.8 billion stadium is about 15 percent complete and is being built on the far south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

    And on Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Personal Seat Licenses will cost up to $75,000 apiece.

    PSLs are agreements that give fans the opportunity to purchase season tickets. According to the Las Vegas newspaper, there are three tiers of PSLs and in total they will generate $160 million.

    --Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara has set the bar extremely high for this season.

    "I'm really looking for a 10-pick season," Amukamara told the Chicago Tribune.

    A lofty goal to be certain since Amukamara has just seven interceptions over the span of his entire seven-year NFL career. In fact, his last pick was in September 2005 when he intercepted then-Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

    "I'm reaching for the stars, right?" the 29-year-old Amukamara said. "But at the same time, I know what I'm capable of. I know how hard I've worked. And every year I keep putting those goals out there. Because when it finally does happen, I can circle back to the time that I said it."

    --A current Dallas Cowboys star player will join a prominent former one when the second National Fantasy Football Convention gets underway this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has joined former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo as a part owner of the group. Executive Director Andy Alberth and business partner Mark Hulme are also part owners.

    Elliott is expected to attend the event which reportedly will include Los Angeles Rams star running back Todd Gurley and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon as well as Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

    "It's more than doubled from where it was last year," Alberth told the newspaper. "The players are excited. The fans are excited. It's Disneyland for fans of all ages.

    --Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and wife, Ciara, tagged a pair of rhinos during their recent trip to South Africa.

    The duo participated in a rhino microchipping trip outside of Cape Town as a means to combat poaching.

    "Ciara and I worked to help save two Rhinos from poachers by microchipping them today!" Wilson wrote on Instagram. "It's an important task because over 5,000+ Rhinos have been killed by poachers in the past 6 years. We all need to play a part in an effort to Save the Rhinos in Africa from being wiped off the earth.

    "We were able to name them after our kids' middle names, Zahir and Princess! We can't wait to meet again! Run safe & free babies! #SaveTheRhinos"

    --The New York Giants had a changing of the guards, signing Zac Kerin and waiving Ethan Cooper.


    Kerin has appeared in 14 regular-season games, making one start, in four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.

    An undrafted free agent out of Toledo, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Kerin appeared in four games in 2015 and nine in 2016 for the Vikings, but he was waived at the start of training camp a year ago. The Detroit Lions claimed Kerin on waivers and he made his first NFL start on Sept. 24 last season.

    Cooper has never appeared in an NFL game. He spent most of the 2016 season on New York's practice squad and spent the past offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers before he was cut in early September.

    --The Baltimore Ravens placed rookie center Alex Thompson on the reserve/did not report list.


    The move came one day after Baltimore's rookies were schedule to report for training camp on Wednesday.

    Thompson signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth. He started 44 of 45 games at the school.

    --Former NFL coach Jeff Fisher will serve as an analyst for FOX in at least one game next season, according to a published report.

    Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that Fisher will be joined by play-by-play announcer Dan Hellie for the Sept. 30 game pitting the New York Jets against the host Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Marchand reported that more opportunities could be in line for Fisher, who was dismissed by the Los Angeles Rams with three games remaining in the 2016 season.

    FOX will begin hosting Thursday Night Football this season with its No. 1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. Indications are that means Buck and Aikman will take some Sundays off.

    --Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II will stand trial after a judge in Vista, Calif., ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.

    Winslow will face a number of felony charges, including rape and kidnapping, as well as multiple misdemeanor charges including indecent exposure and trespassing, per the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Superior Court Judge Harry Elias set bail at $2 million for Winslow, who may face additional charges during a hearing scheduled for later Thursday afternoon.

    The 34-year-old Winslow stands accused of raping two women and exposing himself to a third. He also was accused of entering the homes of two other women with the intent to rape, prosecutors alleged.

    --The Alliance of American Football hopes to generate fan interest by stocking team rosters with players who have local ties.

    J.K. McKay, the head of football operations for the Alliance, told Pro Football Talk that the league will put an emphasis on keeping players as close to the colleges where they played.

    The eight-team AAF is scheduled to begin its inaugural season in February 2019, one week after the Super Bowl is played. The league has franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego.

    "You want to keep local kids home when you can," McKay told PFT. "It creates fan interest. Our Birmingham team will have Alabama and Auburn, and that will draw some fan interest."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: McCoy's house visited by police 3 times
    July 12, 2018


    Police have visited the Georgia home of Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy three times in the past year, according to a published report.

    McCoy is the subject of a police investigation in which his ex-girlfriend was assaulted at his home early Tuesday morning in Milton, Ga. The incident has been termed a home invasion by police.

    The Athletic reported Thursday that Milton police were called to McCoy's residence for domestic disputes three times since July 2017, although they found no evidence of violence in either instance.

    McCoy's former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, was bruised and bloodied in what Milton Police called a "targeted" home invasion early Tuesday morning.

    A friend of Cordon's accused McCoy on social media of being responsible, even though he was in South Florida training at the time of the incident. McCoy has denied any involvement in the incident.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has been named in two separate lawsuits by women who claimed he sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious.

    One day after a Jacksonville, Fla., station reported that Dareus was being sued for sexual assault stemming from an incident in April, he also was named in a suit involving a different woman that dates to January 2017, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

    The earlier incident occurred on Jan. 7, 2017, in Lutz, Fla., two days before the national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, the newspaper reported.

    The woman alleged that Dareus groped her at a party, which featured alcohol, drugs and up to a dozen strippers. She said she later woke up in bed with Dareus and "began to immediately realize that there had been sexual physical acts upon her person."

    --The Pro Football Hall of Fame will ostensibly ignore former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens during this year's induction proceedings.

    Joe Horrigan, the Hall's executive director, told Clark Judge of the Talk of Fame Network that Owens will not be individually introduced at the Gold Jacket ceremony. In addition, Owens will not be announced the following night at Canton's annual induction ceremony.

    Owens announced last week that he will return to his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga to celebrate his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement on Aug. 4.

    "The focus is on the guys who are here," Horrigan said. "... There's no reason to bring him up as an individual. He's not here."

    --Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt donated $10,000 to help the family of a Wisconsin firefighter killed in an explosion, multiple media outlets reported.

    Watt, who is the child of a firefighter, was born in Waukesha (Wis.) and played collegiately at Wisconsin.

    The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year donated to a GoFundMe page created for Sun Prairie (Wis.) Fire Department Capt. Cory Barr, who was killed Tuesday evening.

    A natural gas leak in Sun Prairie led to an explosion that injured 15 and killed Barr on Tuesday evening. Barr leaves behind a wife, Abby, and 3-year-old twin daughters.

    --Former NFL referee Terry McAulay said the NFL's revised rules on kickoffs could cause issues for the officials this season.

    McAulay retired last month and will serve as an on-air rules analyst for games on NBC Sunday Night Football.

    The 59-year-old spoke to ESPN.com about the rules, specifically where players line up prior to the kick, the elimination of wedge blocking and where the receiving team's players are permitted to initiate blocks.

    "It isn't getting as much press, but the kickoff change, this may be the biggest change I've ever seen," McAulay said. "People know so little about it. There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. ... I spoke with a special-teams coordinator who is excited about it, and I know we all feel it can be great for the game. But (officials) have to wait and see. There are a lot of intricate rules in terms of what (players) can and cannot do."

    --Adonis Alexander wound up in the NFL Supplemental Draft due to some off-field transgressions in college. He vowed not to be tripped up by similar issues at the professional level.

    Alexander, who was taken by the Washington Redskins in the sixth round of Wednesday's supplemental draft, said he will not repeat the same mistakes that he did at Virginia Tech.

    Academic issues led to the defensive back's dismissal from the school in May. Alexander also was suspended twice by the Hokies, including once for a marijuana-related charge in 2016.

    "I have definitely used it as a learning tool," said Alexander via the Redskins' official website. "I definitely made some mistakes at Virginia Tech but I'm using those -- just learning from them. Using them to help form a better character, form myself as a man. I'm trying to benefit from the things I did in the past in a good way."

    --Las Vegas will become home to the Oakland Raiders in 2020 and the city's long wait for an NFL franchise finally will be realized.

    A $1.8 billion stadium is about 15 percent complete and is being built on the far south end of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

    And on Wednesday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Personal Seat Licenses will cost up to $75,000 apiece.

    PSLs are agreements that give fans the opportunity to purchase season tickets. According to the Las Vegas newspaper, there are three tiers of PSLs and in total they will generate $160 million.

    --Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara has set the bar extremely high for this season.

    "I'm really looking for a 10-pick season," Amukamara told the Chicago Tribune.

    A lofty goal to be certain since Amukamara has just seven interceptions over the span of his entire seven-year NFL career. In fact, his last pick was in September 2005 when he intercepted then-Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

    "I'm reaching for the stars, right?" the 29-year-old Amukamara said. "But at the same time, I know what I'm capable of. I know how hard I've worked. And every year I keep putting those goals out there. Because when it finally does happen, I can circle back to the time that I said it."

    --A current Dallas Cowboys star player will join a prominent former one when the second National Fantasy Football Convention gets underway this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas.

    Per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has joined former Dallas quarterback Tony Romo as a part owner of the group. Executive Director Andy Alberth and business partner Mark Hulme are also part owners.

    Elliott is expected to attend the event which reportedly will include Los Angeles Rams star running back Todd Gurley and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon as well as Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

    "It's more than doubled from where it was last year," Alberth told the newspaper. "The players are excited. The fans are excited. It's Disneyland for fans of all ages.

    --Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and wife, Ciara, tagged a pair of rhinos during their recent trip to South Africa.

    The duo participated in a rhino microchipping trip outside of Cape Town as a means to combat poaching.

    "Ciara and I worked to help save two Rhinos from poachers by microchipping them today!" Wilson wrote on Instagram. "It's an important task because over 5,000+ Rhinos have been killed by poachers in the past 6 years. We all need to play a part in an effort to Save the Rhinos in Africa from being wiped off the earth.

    "We were able to name them after our kids' middle names, Zahir and Princess! We can't wait to meet again! Run safe & free babies! #SaveTheRhinos"

    --The New York Giants had a changing of the guards, signing Zac Kerin and waiving Ethan Cooper.


    Kerin has appeared in 14 regular-season games, making one start, in four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.

    An undrafted free agent out of Toledo, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Kerin appeared in four games in 2015 and nine in 2016 for the Vikings, but he was waived at the start of training camp a year ago. The Detroit Lions claimed Kerin on waivers and he made his first NFL start on Sept. 24 last season.

    Cooper has never appeared in an NFL game. He spent most of the 2016 season on New York's practice squad and spent the past offseason with the Pittsburgh Steelers before he was cut in early September.

    --The Baltimore Ravens placed rookie center Alex Thompson on the reserve/did not report list.


    The move came one day after Baltimore's rookies were schedule to report for training camp on Wednesday.

    Thompson signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Monmouth. He started 44 of 45 games at the school.

    --Former NFL coach Jeff Fisher will serve as an analyst for FOX in at least one game next season, according to a published report.

    Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported that Fisher will be joined by play-by-play announcer Dan Hellie for the Sept. 30 game pitting the New York Jets against the host Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Marchand reported that more opportunities could be in line for Fisher, who was dismissed by the Los Angeles Rams with three games remaining in the 2016 season.

    FOX will begin hosting Thursday Night Football this season with its No. 1 team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the booth. Indications are that means Buck and Aikman will take some Sundays off.

    --Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II will stand trial after a judge in Vista, Calif., ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.

    Winslow will face a number of felony charges, including rape and kidnapping, as well as multiple misdemeanor charges including indecent exposure and trespassing, per the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    Superior Court Judge Harry Elias set bail at $2 million for Winslow, who may face additional charges during a hearing scheduled for later Thursday afternoon.

    The 34-year-old Winslow stands accused of raping two women and exposing himself to a third. He also was accused of entering the homes of two other women with the intent to rape, prosecutors alleged.

    --The Alliance of American Football hopes to generate fan interest by stocking team rosters with players who have local ties.

    J.K. McKay, the head of football operations for the Alliance, told Pro Football Talk that the league will put an emphasis on keeping players as close to the colleges where they played.

    The eight-team AAF is scheduled to begin its inaugural season in February 2019, one week after the Super Bowl is played. The league has franchises in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Diego.

    "You want to keep local kids home when you can," McKay told PFT. "It creates fan interest. Our Birmingham team will have Alabama and Auburn, and that will draw some fan interest."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    NFL notebook: Owens reveals why he's skipping HOF
    July 15, 2018


    Terrell Owens shared a glimpse as to why he has elected against attending the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony next month.

    Owens, who will celebrate his big day on Aug. 4 at his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, responded to a person on Twitter who was criticizing the wide receiver for citing Jerry Kramer's decades-long snub.

    "I'm SO HAPPY for JERRY (Kramer)!!" Owens wrote. "(He) shouldn't have had to wait that damn long either! I'm doing this for guys like him. Past, present and the future."

    Kramer, 82, was a pivotal member on Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers teams that won five NFL championships as well as the first two Super Bowls. The guard was named to the NFL's All-Decade team for the 1960s and -- for the time being -- remains the lone member of the league's 50th Anniversary Team that resides outside of the Hall of Fame.

    Prior to his modern-era eligibility expiring in 1988, Kramer was a Hall of Fame finalist nine times. He also was a senior finalist in 1997.

    A finalist for the past three years, Owens was selected for enshrinement in the Class of 2018 along with linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and safety Brian Dawkins. They will be joined by Bobby Beathard (contributor) and seniors committee nominees Kramer and Robert Brazile.

    Owens caused a stir last month by declaring that he would not be in attendance for the festivities in Canton, Ohio.

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday that it will ostensibly ignore the 44-year-old Owens during this year's induction proceedings.

    --Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas criticized Terrell Owens for his decision to boycott this year's enshrinement ceremony.

    Thomas, who starred for the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, said he is upset that Owens will not attend the Aug. 4 ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

    Owens will instead celebrate his big day at his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

    "I'm a little ticked off that he's not coming," Thomas told the Professional Football Researchers Association Convention on Saturday, according to the Buffalo News. "But it's his choice. ... I think it was a bad P.R. move on his part, but I do get it. ... Every guy thinks they should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I remember Deacon Jones telling me after I didn't get in the first time ... he said, 'Whether you're going to get in the first time, the second time, the third time, it's when you get in that you should enjoy it.' "

    --Defensive ends Demarcus Lawrence and Ezekiel Ansah are expected to play on the franchise tag this year, according to a published report.

    NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that both players likely will not receive long-term deals with their respective teams prior to Monday's deadline, "barring a significant turn of events."

    If deals are not signed and approved by the league before 4 p.m. ET, the sides cannot agree to new contracts until after the regular season is over.

    Lawrence, who has been seeking a long-term contract from the Dallas Cowboys, is set to play for just over $17 million in 2018 with the franchise tag.

    The 26-year-old Lawrence started all 16 games last season and amassed a career-high 14.5 sacks.

    Ansah recorded a team-high 12 sacks, 44 total tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery last season with the Detroit Lions despite missing two games with a back injury.

    The 29-year-old Ansah has registered 44 sacks over his first five seasons, including 14.5 sacks in 2015. He had just two sacks the following year while being bothered by a high ankle sprain that limited him to 13 games.

    --The Los Angeles Rams chose to slap a franchise tag on safety Lamarcus Joyner back in April. The two sides have been talking, but no long-term deal is expected to be reached, a league source told ESPN.

    They have until Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline to agree to a multi-year deal. If a new contract isn't signed, Joyner will play this season on the franchise tag. The Rams could then tag him again next offseason or he would become a free agent.

    The Rams decided to franchise Joyner instead of receiver Sammy Watkins, who later left for the Kansas City Rams. The 27-year old played slot corner his first three years in the league before moving to safety in 2017, where he notched his first three career interceptions.

    --Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is thinking positive as it relates to the franchise tag negotiations surrounding superstar running back Le'Veon Bell.

    Tomlin told WAVY Channel 10 in Virginia that he would like the Steelers to sign Bell to a long-term contract prior to Monday's deadline (4 p.m. ET).

    "Obviously we want to get a deal done, he wants to get a deal done, everybody has said that," Tomlin said. "Now it's just about the negotiators getting into a room and doing what it is they need to do. I'm excited and hopeful. Hopefully we'll have some exciting news before Monday."

    Tomlin expressed a similar sentiment prior to last year's deadline, when the Steelers failed to sign Bell. The running back didn't report until training camp ended and signed his $12.12 million tag on Sept. 4.

    Should Bell and the Steelers fail to come to terms this time around, he will play on this year's tag -- worth $14.5 million. Multiple media reports have Bell seeking at least $17 million annually.

    --Tony Romo's admittedly early prediction of the Green Bay Packers facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Super Bowl LIII drew a response from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

    The NFL's official Instagram account posted a photo of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey with the prediction of Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned CBS analyst.

    Brady, who is a five-time Super Bowl champion and three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, opted to chime in on Instagram.

    "We will see tony, we will see !" the 40-year-old Brady wrote.

    Romo picked the Jaguars in part because they "had the Patriots on the ropes" in the AFC Championship Game. With that said, Romo was quick to praise the Patriots for their consistency over the years.

    "You can never count out New England," Romo said. "As long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are breathing, the easy pick is them."

    --Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles signed a one-year, $1.415 million contract extension in May. That appears to be his last NFL deal as he announced his decision to retire after the 2018 season.

    In a blog post, the 35-year-old Sproles said he plans to play just one more NFL season. He had planned to make 2017 his final season but he tore his ACL in Week 3 so he decided to return for 2018.

    "I feel like I left a lot out there, and I couldn't let my career end like that," Sproles wrote in the post.

    "I'm excited to come back and I am even more excited to come back to the defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles," Sproles wrote. "We have something special here with the team, the fans, and the city. We made history bringing the first Lombardi trophy to Philly and now we want to go back-to-back."

    --Cleveland Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is ready to take the next step in his development, according to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

    "I'm so excited to see how well (Ogbah's) doing out here this year," Williams said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctively, not overthinking and not as afraid to make a mistake as he was last year because we moved him into a new position. Knock on wood, staying healthy, he's going to really stand out this year."

    Ogbah, a second-round pick in 2016, had 29 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games last season before a broken foot landed him on injured reserve.

    The 24-year-old will also have another year under his belt with fellow defensive end Myles Garrett, who was the top overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft.

    --Doug Pederson took the high road and turned a negative into a positive when addressing former New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo's comments about the Philadelphia Eagles' chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions.

    McAdoo lobbied the following shot last week to the New York Post:

    "I think Philly, how much success has Philly had?" McAdoo said. "I think they're gonna have a hard time handling success."

    While Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills quickly dismissed McAdoo's words as "irrelevant," the Philadelphia coach took a different approach.

    "I think there's a point there," Pederson said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I mean, quite honestly, complacency can set in. You can skip an OTA, you can maybe skip a workout or whatever. But what I saw from our players was not that. Our players showed up for OTAs, they spent time getting themselves ready.

    "... It is my job to make sure they don't get complacent and we stay hungry and there is an edge. And we're going to get everybody's best each week and that's what we want. I think anybody that plays on Sunday wants to play the best.

    "So now we've got the targets on our backs and we're going to embrace that and get ready this training camp and we are going to try to defend. But at the same time, we're going to take it one week at a time and build the season just like we did last year."

    --Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles may be willing to take less money in the future so the team can fill other needs to make the team better, he recently said in an interview.

    Bortles could have played out his $19 million fifth-year option for this season but instead signed a three-year, $54 deal a month after helping the Jaguars reach the AFC championship game. The deal includes $26.5 million guaranteed over the first two years.

    Bortles said he preferred the security of the multi-year deal because he did not "really care about how much money" was in the one-year option.

    Bortles praised New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for taking less money over the years to free up resources to improve other areas of the team. Bortles hinted he may do the same in the future.

    "I think definitely the way the Tom has done it is the way to try to model," Bortles recently told Sirius XM NFL Radio. "Having guys and putting pieces around him was definitely something. When you take up a ton of money you kind of limit your team and who they can help you out with and put around you. I'm not naive enough to say that we don't need a run game. We also need a good defense, we need good receivers, we need all these pieces. You can't play as a quarterback and do it yourself so I'm more than willing to take less money than somebody else might in my position to put good guys around us."

    --Arizona Cardinals All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson has praised rookie quarterback Josh Rosen, but believes veteran Sam Bradford should still be the starter.

    Earlier this month, Peterson said he has been very impressed with Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft. However, Bradford signed a one-year, $20 million contract with the Cardinals in March and is the presumed starter.

    Peterson told NFL Network recently that he agreed the veteran should get the starting nod.

    "Well, right now I'd probably take Sam due to his experience," Peterson said. "Due to some of the records that he has in the league. Because when Sam is healthy and is on the field and has talent around him, he's a top-10 quarterback."

    The 30-year-old Bradford has a lengthy injury history, appearing in only two games with the Minnesota Vikings in 2017. He has played 80 of a possible 112 regular-season games. If he can stay on the field, the former Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in 2010 is expected to be under center in Week 1.

    --Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has routinely shown a soft spot in his heart for children.

    Kelce surprised 10 kids at his first annual Elite Pro Skills Camp on Saturday with a free shopping spree at DICK'S Sporting Goods.

    "It's something that my mother taught me," the 28-year-old Kelce said Saturday of the gesture, per the Kansas City Star.

    Kelce's charity, Eighty-Seven & Running, shared some photos from the experience over social media. Per its Twitter account, Eight-Seven & Running is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and support to empower disadvantaged youth to cultivate their talents and achieve success.

    The generosity is nothing new for Kelce, who hosted a private shopping experience for 50 underserved children in December 2016 at a JC Penney in Independence, Mo.

    --Odell Beckham Jr. is recognized wherever he travels, due in large part to his colorful wardrobe and daring sense of style.

    Perhaps it comes as little surprise that the New York Giants wide receiver was named Sports Illustrated's Most Fashionable Athlete of 2018, which will be on newsstands Monday.

    "Everybody was getting their suits and I was wondering, what can I do to be different?" the 25-year-old Beckham told Sports Illustrated. "That blazer might have been a size too big at the time, but I just had to have it. To me, it was the hottest thing in the world."

    Beckham made the list during its inaugural issue in 2016. The three-time Pro Bowl selection won the "Swag" Award last year.

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady also made the "Fashionable 50" list, despite receiving questionable reviews from several of his peers for wearing an all-black suit with elaborate designs on the lapels at a recent Met Gala.

    --Former Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kevin Dyson is best known for two memorable plays during his NFL career.

    Although he famously fell short of the goal line during the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV, Dyson wasn't denied in his doctoral pursuit recently -- and he couldn't be happier.

    "A lot of people have looked at me crazy when I've said this, but to me this is a lot greater accomplishment than being drafted in the first round, than my football career," the 43-year-old Dyson told The Tennessean. "... I went to school so I could play sports. I had to be eligible. I didn't take education nearly as seriously as I should have and as I do as an adult. So this was greater because I've never considered myself academic. ...

    "Athletically, I was blessed with some gifts and I enhanced those skills. Until a few years ago, I never wanted to do anything like this. That's why it's my greatest personal accomplishment. It's my Mount Everest."

    Dyson's two-year climb ended in him claiming a doctorate in education in leadership and professional practice. He also has two master's degrees from Trevecca, in education and leadership.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wagers to Watch - Week 1
    July 17, 2018


    Early NFL week 1 odds roundup: Top Betting Lines

    The opening week of the NFL season is still about a month and a half away, but with the lines for Week 1 are already up at YouWager.eu, which means that it might be time to start thinking about getting some wagers on. No matter what people think, it is never too early to bet on football, so keep in mind that the odds posted now may well be the best that you get for the games you like.

    The odds will start to shift, and not necessarily in your favor, once preseason begins and injuries and other issues start to taint some teams that you may otherwise have liked.

    Let’s take a quick look ahead to Week 1 to see what games & odds you should start betting right now.

    Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (OVER 46 )


    The opening game of the new season looks as though it might well be a good one. The defending Super Bowl champions are not being given an easy game after they hoist their championship banner, as they are going against what is potentially the best offense in football. The Eagles are going to want to put on a show in their first game back home after being crowned, while the Falcons will know that they are going to need to put some points on the board to get out of Philly with a win. I think we could well be in shootout territory here, which is why I really like the OVER.

    Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) at Cleveland Browns

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have absolutely owned the Cleveland Browns over the past few seasons, going 9-1 SU in their last 10 meetings. Things are not quite so concrete ATS, though, as the Steelers are just 5-4-1 there, which may lead you to believe that the Browns can keep this one close. If you look at those last 10 games, though, you will see that the Steelers have outscored the Browns by an average of over 7 PPG, which is why I believe the 6-point spread here is a decent pick at good odds. Yes, the Browns have made some big moves, but it is still going to take time for this group to gel, assuming they even do.

    Tennessee Titans (-1 ) at Miami Dolphins

    2017 was a breakthrough year for the Tennessee Titans, as they made it to the playoffs and managed to win a game there. I think that this team is ready to take another step forward this season, and they may end up being your eventual AFC South winners. They have a tricky opening day game against the Dolphins on the road, but you have to wonder what we are going to get out of Miami this season. They are coming off a 6-win season and don’t look to have done much to improve. Games between these two are traditionally tight, but I think the Titans can win and cover this small spread.

    Kansas City Chiefs (+3) at LA Chargers

    Yes, there are some doubts about the Chiefs this season given that they will have a young QB starting under center from day 1. There are sure to be some mistakes made along the way, but the general consensus on Patrick Mahomes is that he has what it takes to be a solid starting QB in the NFL. I am betting that we find that out early on, as I like the Chiefs to head into LA and get the win. KC are 8-2 against the Chargers in their last 10 meetings, outscoring them by an average of around 10 PPG.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Handicapping 49ers (8.5)
    July 17, 2018


    The team with the most hype surrounding them heading into the 2018 NFL regular season is definitely the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers won their last five games a year ago and they look to be even better this season.

    San Francisco will have a full season with Jimmy Garoppolo under center and the 49ers went out and added big time free agents in Richard Sherman and Jerick McKinnon. They also got Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey in the first round of the NFL Draft. Expectations are sky high for the 49ers this season.

    Let’s look at the win total for the 49ers, their schedule for the 2018 regular season and our win total prediction.

    San Francisco 49ers 2018 Regular Season Win Total
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-120)


    San Francisco 49ers 2018 Schedule Analysis

    Sept. 9, at Minnesota


    The opener for the 49ers is a difficult one, as the Vikings have a tough defense. What might help San Francisco’s cause is that this will be the first regular season game for Kirk Cousins with the Vikings. It is also a bit of a revenge game for McKinnon who plays against his former team.

    Sept. 16, vs. Detroit
    The 49ers should be able to handle the Lions, as it may take new head coach Matt Patricia some time to get everyone on the same page in Detroit.

    Sept. 23, at Kansas City
    The early season schedule is definitely difficult for the 49ers, as they have to travel to take on Kansas City in Week 3. The Chiefs have a new starting quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, but winning at Arrowhead is never easy.

    Sept. 30, at L.A. Chargers
    The Chargers don’t have much of a home field edge, so there may be as many San Francisco fans in the stands for this one as Charger fans. This is a winnable road game for the 49ers.

    Oct. 7, vs. Arizona

    The Cardinals have a new quarterback in Sam Bradford and a healthy David Johnson, so this may not be an easy home game, but it is one that the 49ers need to win.

    Oct. 15, at Green Bay
    This is a Monday night contest and it figures to be a shootout between Garoppolo and Rodgers. It is not out of the question that the 49ers could find a way to win this one.

    Oct. 21, vs. L.A. Rams
    This is a Sunday night game and a huge one for the 49ers, as the Rams are considered the team to beat in the NFC West. The winner of this one will likely take the early lead in the division.

    Oct. 28, at Arizona
    This is not a sure win for the 49ers, as they have lost their two at Arizona, both by three points. If the 49ers are serious division contenders, they simply have to win games like this on the road.

    Nov. 1, vs. Oakland
    This will be a Thursday night game and it should be an interesting one with Shanahan facing his former mentor Jon Gruden.

    Nov. 12, vs. N.Y. Giants
    This is another Monday night game for the 49ers and they get some extra time to prepare. The 49ers should be able to control this game throughout and get the home win.

    November 19 – BYE

    Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay

    The 49ers get a lot of time to prepare for this one and that should help them, as they travel to the East Coast. The 49ers have only played the Bucs in Tampa once in the last 14 years.

    Dec. 2, at Seattle
    This is a Sunday night game and huge one for Richard Sherman as he faces his former team for the first time. The Seahawks are not the power they once were and this is a winnable road game for San Francisco.

    Dec. 9, vs. Denver
    This is a letdown spot for the 49ers after facing the Seahawks, and this year’s Denver team should be much better with Case Keenum under center.

    Dec. 16, vs. Seattle
    This will be the second matchup in four weeks between the 49ers and Seahawks. The Seahawks had won nine straight in this series before the December 2nd game.

    Dec. 23, vs. Chicago
    This will be the fifth straight season these teams have played and it has been even, with each team winning twice. This should be a home win for the 49ers, as they are farther along than the Bears.

    Dec. 30, at L.A. Rams
    The regular season finale could be a huge one, as these two teams are expected to battle for the NFC West this season.

    2018 San Francisco 49ers Win Total Prediction

    There is no question the 49ers are going to be a team to watch this season and they may very well be good enough to win the NFC West. The schedule is difficult and the win total is high at 8.5, but the 49ers have the look of a playoff team in 2018 and that means they should win at least nine games and go over their win total.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Futures Outlook - AFC East
    July 17, 2018


    NFL Futures – Odds To Win AFC East

    The AFC East has been owned by the New England Patriots over the last nearly two decades and 2018 doesn’t appear to be any different. There are questions surrounding the Pats, mainly the age of Tom Brady and the loss of Julian Edelman for the first quarter of the season. But even that isn’t enough to deter oddsmakers from setting the Pats as a heavy favorite. In fact, New England is the heaviest favorite at -680 to win any division in the NFL.

    The Pats have won the East for a league record nine straight seasons and 15 times in 17 seasons since Brady became the starter. We can throw away the 2008 campaign when Brady went down in the opener with a knee injury and the Pats finished second. That means the duo of Brady and Bill Belichick were denied the division crown just one time. That’s a remarkable run. The Pats could slip to nine or 10 wins and still claim the division with a group of rebuilding teams.

    2018 AFC East Odds

    New England Patriots -680
    Miami Dolphins +845
    Buffalo Bills +1400
    New York Jets +1500

    Division Breakdown

    Are the Pats really worth taking a wager on? That’s the big question. Bettors will have to put down a good chunk to see a worthwhile return, but it will likely pay off for the 10th season in a row. New England’s dominance starts within the division where the Pats have won nine of the last 10 games against their AFC East foes. Over the last five seasons they are 22-8 against the Jets, Bills and Dolphins with Buffalo and New York winning just two games in that time.

    New England is easily the best team in the division heading into 2018, but that will change soon. Brady will be 41 by the time the season starts and he looked old and slow in the Pats’ Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia in February. But despite that unusual showing, Brady had another MVP season, throwing for a league-best 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns. He threw the most passes in the NFL last season and was intercepted only eight times.

    There will be some changes to the roster in 2018. Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks are gone and Edelman will miss the first four games due to a suspension. That leaves holes in the receiving corps. But it also opens up Rob Gronkowksi to have a big season. It doesn’t seem to matter who the Patriots are missing, Belichick is a master at bringing in players to fill needs. He’s done it his entire career and who doesn’t want to play for a team that contends every season?

    We thought Brady was done last year, and the year before that. But he keeps coming back for more. As long as he’s running the offense, there are no problems. The Pats led the NFL in total yards last season while finishing second in scoring. They’ve finished among the top-four in points every year since 2010 twice leading the NFL. Defense was an issue in 2018. The Pats ranked 29th in yards allowed, but they stiffened when it mattered, giving up 18.5 points per game to place fifth in the league.

    The battle is for second place in the division with the Dolphins getting the early edge at +845. The return of Ryan Tannehill plays a part in that, but the Fins lost some important pieces to their offense. Jay Ajayi, who was leading the team in rushing, was dealt during last season, and the NFL’s leader in receptions Jarvis Landry was traded to Cleveland this offseason. The defense lost Ndamukong Suh and it’s hard to imagine the Dolphins competing, despite the moves that improved team chemistry.

    It was a season fans in Buffalo have waited nearly two decades for. The Bills ended the longest active playoff drought by qualifying for the playoffs last season for the first time since the 1999 season. It didn’t last long with an excruciating 10-3 loss to Jacksonville in the wild card game. And it’s hard to argue that the Bills are better heading into 2018. Tyrod Taylor was traded away and A.J. McCarron is the new starter, at least for now, keeping the seat warm for Josh Allen. Buffalo was arguably one of the worst playoff teams and the cloud surrounding LeSean McCoy could be a factor in their expected return to non-playoff combatant in 2018.

    The Jets are the longshot at +1500 and they showed competitiveness that few expected last season. With the No. 3 overall pick in the draft the Jets landed what many believe is their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold. Gang Green hasn’t had one of those since the days of Joe Willie Namath in the early years of the franchise and Todd Bowles isn’t in a hurry to rush the youngster. That means the Jets are at least a year away from contending, but they could finish second if things go their way.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Fade Alert - Bills
    July 17, 2018


    A strange thing happened to the Buffalo Bills last season on their attempt to to miss the playoffs for an 18th straight year.

    They made it.

    They gave it their best not to make it tanking by trading down from 10th to 27th in the draft, dealing Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby - two of their best players - for draft picks and letting Stephon Gilmore walk to the Patriots.

    Yet the Bills snuck into the playoffs by virtue of the fourth tiebreaker when the Bengals scored on a 49-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Boyd with 44 seconds left to beat the Ravens, 31-27, in Week 17. That play eliminated Baltimore and put Buffalo in the postseason.

    Buffalo was outscored by 57 points last season. The Bills were fortunate going 6-2 in one-score games and that it was an overall down year in the AFC. The Chargers, Ravens, Texans, Broncos and Colts all figure to perform better this year.

    The Bills figure to perform worse because of a downgrade at quarterback from Tyrod Taylor to either A.J. McCarron, or rookie Josh Allen, losing perhaps their three best offensive linemen, the expected continued downward trend of LeSean McCoy - if he's not suspended - and perhaps the league's most brutal first-half schedule.

    McCarron is immobile and unproven far more suited to being a backup than starter. The Bills are really going to miss Taylor's legs and toughness with offensive left tackle Cordy Glenn going to the Bengals, center Eric Wood retiring and left guard Richie Incognito in retirement, too, at least for now. Buffalo also has one of the worst group of wide receivers in the league.

    McCoy is 30. His 3.9 rushing average per carry was the lowest of his nine-year NFL career. He's looking at defenses stacked against the run and nearly a new offensive line.

    Buffalo had a below average defense last season ranking 18th in points allowed and 26th in yards given up. So the Bills' defense isn't nearly equipped to carry a weak offense.

    Then there's the schedule. The Bills open up with a road game against the Ravens. Then host the Chargers, who beat them by 30 points last year. That's followed by consecutive road games against the Vikings and Packers.

    Buffalo is home to the Titans in Week 5. But then are away matchups against the Texans and Colts. If you count the final preseason game against the Bears in Chicago, Buffalo will have played six of eight games on the road since Aug. 30. The Bills are home in Week 8 - but that's against the Patriots. So it's entirely realistic to project the Bills to be 1-7, if not 0-8.

    If the Bills fall out of contention, they probably would turn to Allen, who completed just 56 percent of his throws in college and was intercepted in 21 of his last 25 games. He would be a disaster if he had to start as a rookie. The Bills are used to disasters having started Nathan Peterman against the Chargers last year. Peterman lasted a half having thrown five interceptions and trailing, 37-7, before mercifully being pulled. I have to wonder just how much defensive-minded coach Sean McDermott knows about offense with his decision to bench Taylor for Peterman in that game.

    I'm not sure how good of a coach McDermott is right now. I do know this: The deck is stacked against him. These Bills aren't winning seven games.
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    NFL notebook: Bell likely to skip training camp
    July 17, 2018


    Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell plans to repeat last year's script by skipping training camp before reporting ahead of the season opener, his agent said on Tuesday.

    "Barring something exceptional ... that is correct," agent Adisa Bakari said on Sirius XM NFL Radio after being asked if Bell plans to follow his steps from last year. Bell has been unable to reach a long-term deal with the Steelers after receiving the franchise tag in consecutive offseasons.

    The Steelers report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., for training camp on July 25. They open their season on Sept. 9 against the AFC North-rival Browns in Cleveland.

    Bell is set to make $14.5 million this season under the franchise tag. He will become a free agent after this season.

    "His intention was to retire as a Steeler," Bakari told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is this now likely will be Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler."

    Bell, who signed on Sept. 4 last year, struggled to get going in the early weeks of the 2017 season before finding his stride. In last season's Sept. 10 opener against the Cleveland Browns, Bell had 10 carries for 32 yards and three receptions for 15 yards in the Steelers' 21-18 victory.

    The 26-year-old was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2017, when he led the NFL in regular-season carries with 321 while gaining 1,291 rushing yards. He also had 85 receptions for 655 yards.

    --Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will undergo an unexpected checkup after "something came up" in his recovery from surgery that removed oral cancer and reconstructed his upper jaw.

    Kelly said the upcoming visit to New York will occur during the second week of August.

    "I'm not sure what's going on," Kelly said Tuesday at his football clinic for children at St. John Fisher College, per ESPN. "I have some things that I want to have looked at, and then we'll go from there. I don't know whether I'm going to be here for two days, four days or in and out. And then hopefully I pray when September has rolled around that I can finally bite into a piece of meat and not soup every day."

    Kelly underwent planned follow-up surgery on his upper jaw in June in preparation for permanent dentures to be inserted in September.

    The 58-year-old announced in March that scans showed evidence of cancer returning in his upper jaw.

    Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw in 2013 and underwent surgery. After doctors determined the cancer had spread to his nasal cavities, he underwent additional treatments and had another surgery in March 2014.

    --Even though television ratings for NFL games were down last year, the league's revenue was up.

    Each of the league's 32 teams took in $255 million in national revenues in 2017, according to a report by ESPN's Darren Rovell. That adds up to $8.16 billion for the entire league, and that is a 4.9 percent increase over 2016.

    Financial figures were revealed Monday by the Green Bay Packers, a team that is a public company.

    National revenue comes from a variety of sources, including the league's TV deals with NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN and DirecTV, as well as licensing and merchandise revenues. The television contracts make up most of that total revenue.

    That money is divided evenly among the 32 teams.

    --One of football's most famous voices could be returning to the broadcast booth but this time on the radio side.

    According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday, Brent Musberger agreed to a three-year deal to serve as the Oakland Raiders radio play-to-play.

    Citing two sources, the newspaper said the move could be made official later this week.

    The final year of the deal is 2020 when the Raiders are slated to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas.

    --Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was suspended for five weeks after pleading guilty to extreme DUI, the team announced Tuesday.

    Keim was arrested July 4 in Chandler, Ariz. and his blood-alcohol content was .19.

    He also was fined $200,000 and the team said it will donate the money to the Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    "Once again, I apologize to everyone who has been negatively impacted by my actions and incredibly poor judgment, in particular the Cardinals, our fans and my family," Keim said in a statement released by the team. "I fully deserve and accept the punishment that has been issued. My goal is to do everything I can to grow from this personally and help others learn from my inexcusable behavior."

    --Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones attended quarterback Matt Ryan's passing camp, per rookie Calvin Ridley's Snapchat post.

    Ridley, who was the 26th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, posted a picture of an 11-person group that included Jones. In addition to Ridley, Jones and Ryan, tight ends Austin Hooper and Eric Saubert, wide receivers Justin Hardy, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Hall, Reggie Davis, rookie Russell Gage and assistant equipment manager Kenny Osuwah are in the photo that has since been posted by the team.

    Jones elected against participating in the Falcons' voluntary offseason program and did not attend the team's mandatory minicamp in a bid to rework his contract. The five-time Pro Bowl wideout is set to make $10.5 million in 2018 in the third season of a five-year, $71.25 contract extension he signed in 2015.

    --Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has committed to play in his 15th season in 2018.

    While Fitzgerald hasn't decided on 2019 and beyond, the 11-time Pro Bowl selection did reveal he'd only play for the Cardinals if he does suit up.

    "If I'm not playing in Arizona, I won't be playing anywhere," Fitzgerald said, via the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I've built a good life for myself down there. Playing in the same place for 15 years is a true blessing."

    Fitzgerald, who reportedly mulled retirement the past two seasons, said in January that he'd play for as long as he can perform at high level.

    --Disenchanted Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has made it known that he's interested in playing for the Dallas Cowboys and he was at it again Monday.

    In an Instagram post on Monday, he said, "Always been the underdog ain't nothing new. Extend ... if you don't want me let's make a trade happen. I understand it's a bizz."

    Thomas began following the Cowboys' official Instagram account just recently. That comes after he told Dallas coach Jason Garrett after the Seahawks' win over the Cowboys last year that when Seattle "kicks him to the curb, please, the Cowboys, come get em."

    Thomas skipped the Seahawks' mandatory minicamp in June. He is demanding a contract extension for a trade. In 2018, he will make $8.5 million during the final year of his contract with the Seahawks.

    --Jacksonville Jaguars first-round pick Taven Bryan agreed to a four-year contract worth $10.2 million with a $5.5 million signing bonus, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday.

    The contract also includes a team option for a fifth year on Bryan, who was the 29th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 22-year-old is expected to join the Jaguars rookies at training camp on Wednesday.

    Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com wrote the following of the 6-foot-5, 291-pound defensive tackle heading into the draft:

    "One of the most gifted interior players in this draft class, Bryan has outstanding athleticism and upper body power, but is currently a liability vs. the run and needs to turn his splash plays into consistency."

    --Tom Stephens, who was an original member of the Boston Patriots, has died. He was 82.

    The New England Patriots said in a release on Tuesday that Stephens passed away while surrounded by loved ones at his home last Thursday in Naples, Fla. No cause of death was given for Stephens by the team.

    Selected in the 11th round by the Baltimore Colts in the 1959 NFL Draft, Stephens signed with the then-Boston Patriots of the AFL for their inaugural season in 1960. He appeared in 49 games over five seasons as both a defensive back and tight end, recording 41 receptions for 506 yards and five touchdowns.

    --Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has reached agreement with the Los Angeles Rams on a five-year contract extension, the team announced Tuesday.

    The extension puts Cooks under contract through the 2023 season.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported the extension is worth $80 million. It means Cooks is on the books for $88 million over six years with the Rams,

    "Brandin Cooks has shown himself to be a class act on and off the field since the first day he joined our team," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "He's a proven professional in this league and signing him to a long-term contract was always our goal. We're excited to keep Brandin in a Rams uniform through 2023."

    Los Angeles acquired Cooks during this offseason. The Rams traded their 2018 first-round selection (No. 23 overall) and sixth-round selection (No. 198 overall) to the New England Patriots in exchange for Cooks and a fourth-round pick (No. 136 overall).

    --Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has been reinstated by the NFL after sitting out last season because of a substance-abuse policy violation, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

    Gregory's lawyer, Daniel Moskowitz, told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that the NFL did not oppose Gregory's petition to be reinstated.

    "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life," Moskowitz said. "I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of his family."

    Gregory's most recent game was the final game of the 2016 regular season. He played in just two games that season and recorded one sack with nine total tackles. Gregory played in 12 games with no starts in 2015 as a rookie, and he had 11 total tackles and no sacks that season.

    --The Carolina Panthers announced Richard Rodgers as the secondary coach on Tuesday in the wake of former defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigning for inappropriate conduct.

    Fuller resigned May 4 amid complaints about inappropriate workplace conduct. The Charlotte Observer reported that Fuller, 39, who joined the Panthers as a coaching assistant in 2013, sent inappropriate texts and emails to an unknown number of female staff members.

    Rodgers is in his seventh season with the Panthers and was the assistant defensive backs coach since 2015 after initially joining the team as a special teams' assistant in 2012.

    Last season, seven of Carolina's nine interceptions in the final nine weeks were from its secondary, helping the Panthers accumulate the league's third-best turnover differential at plus-eight. Since 2015, Carolina's 51 interceptions are second in the NFL.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Musberger agrees to Raiders radio deal
    July 17, 2018


    One of football's most famous voices could be returning to the broadcast booth but this time on the radio side.

    According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday, Brent Musberger agreed to a three-year deal to serve as the Oakland Raiders radio play-to-play.

    Citing two sources, the newspaper said the move could be made official later this week.

    The final year of the deal is 2020 when the Raiders are slated to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas.

    Oakland's current radio voice is Greg Papa, who might not be aware of the change according to the newspaper. Papa has been the Raiders' play-by-play man since 1993 after taking over for Bill King.

    Musberger, 79, currently writes a weekly sports betting column for the Review-Journal and helped launch the VSIN (Vegas Stats and Information Network) after retiring from a 27-year broadcasting career with ABC and ESPN. With the legalization of sports betting in several states, content from the service are published in various newspapers.

    Before his stint with ABC and ESPN, he hosted "NFL Today" from 1975 to 1989 on CBS. where he was best known for his catchphrase "You are looking live". At CBS, he also did play-by-play for the NBA finals, college basketball, college football and the Belmont Stakes.

    After leaving CBS in 1990, he was the halftime host of Monday Night Football on ABC from 1990 to 1995.
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    Futures Outlook - AFC North
    July 18, 2018


    NFL Futures – Odds To Win AFC North

    The biggest surprise coming out of the AFC North is that the Cleveland Browns ( +1000 ) have the same odds as the Cincinnati Bengals to win the division. Not surprising is that the Pittsburgh Steelers are overwhelming favorites at -257 to win their third straight division title and fourth in five seasons.

    On the surface everything looks great in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t hinted at retirement this offseason and the Killer B’s are back to form one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. However, there is no Ryan Shazier playing defense, Le’Veon Bell’s contract continues to be a mess, as does Antonio Brown’s head.

    While that probably doesn’t lead to the Steelers falling from their perch at the top, it could be just enough of a distraction to give the Baltimore Ravens a chance. The best bet is that the Browns and Bengals will be battling for last place and it’s hard to think the Ravens have done enough to make up the difference from last season. It’s been three seasons since Baltimore has been to the playoffs, their longest stretch since their first four years in Maryland, and they are hungry.

    AFC North Odds

    Pittsburgh Steelers -257
    Baltimore Ravens +374
    Cleveland Browns +1000
    Cincinnati Bengals +1000


    Division Breakdown

    It’s Pittsburgh’s division to lose, and much like the Patriots in the East, the Steelers have a soft division schedule. The price isn’t as steep as the Pats’ but it’ll take a healthy wager to get some return. With Big Ben slinging the ball to Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Bell doing what he does, scoring points won’t be a problem. Bell’s ongoing contract dispute with the club could be a distraction, but this is a veteran group with stern leadership that will stick to playing football once the bell rings.

    Finding a leader on defense to take over for Shazier is an absolute necessity. The Steelers were solid when he played, but they struggled after he was injured and giving up 45 points to the Jags in the playoffs was an embarrassment. Without help defensively, the Steelers aren’t good enough to win the AFC, but getting through the division is a likely scenario.

    It’s hard to pick the second-best team in the division and one could make an argument that it isn’t Baltimore. The Ravens, and especially Joe Flacco, have regressed the last few seasons and the club drafted Lamar Jackson to push the veteran signal-caller. The Ravens have always been about defense and they’ve won a lot of games behind one of the best units in the NFL. That was the case last season as Flacco averaged less than 200 yards passing per game.

    There were some issues, mainly with the receivers, and the Ravens addressed those by bringing in Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead to help out the 29th ranked passing game. Alex Collins was a stud over the final month of last season and Terrell Suggs is still plugging away on defense. I think the Ravens have a good shot at toppling the Steelers as long as the injury bug doesn’t sink them.

    The Browns had another good haul in the draft and should win some games this season. Expecting them to compete for a division title is too much, though. This is a club that has only one victory in the past two seasons after all. And winning 10 games, which is the minimum it would take to get to the top, is an exaggeration. Winning six games would make a great season, and the earlier in the season the better for Hue Jackson.

    Jackson staying in Cleveland after an ohfer last season was perplexing, but not as much as Marvin Lewis still being gainfully employed in Cincinnati. The Bengals haven’t won a postseason game under Lewis, but they got there seven times in an 11-year stretch. That was enough to keep him around. But after two sub-.500 seasons there is reason to be concerned. After playing near the top of the division and conference for many years, maybe it’s time the Bengals sneak up on the pack. The talent is there and the offense can be good with its bevy of weapons. The onus is on Andy Dalton and Lewis to pick up the rest of the club and if they do the stripes could make some noise in the North.
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    Futures Outlook - AFC South
    July 19, 2018


    NFL Futures – Odds To Win AFC North

    The Jacksonville Jaguars made it to the AFC Championship game in 2017 and nearly knocked off the mighty New England Patriots for a berth in the Super Bowl. They have their ferocious defense back and will be the favorites to win the AFC South as the Jaguars prep for another deep playoff run.

    However, the division title is no given as there are a couple of up-and-coming teams competing with them.

    The Houston Texans were riddled with injuries a season ago but flashed some serious talent. They have superstar defensive end J.J. Watt teaming with Jadeveon Clowney on the line, while safety Tyrann Mathieu was added in free agency and will aim to get back to his All-Pro ability after past knee injuries. The team’s hopes will likely come down to the star power of Deshaun Watson, the second-year quarterback who looked like a star a season ago before tearing his ACL.

    The Tennessee Titans are another interesting team. They made the playoffs a year ago after an up-and-down campaign and hope the offseason additions of running back Dion Lewis and cornerback Malcolm Butler will help their cause. Marcus Mariota regressed in 2017 and will need to live up to his vast potential for this team to have a shot at the AFC South title.

    The longshot among the group is the Indianapolis Colts. They do not have a lot of talent across the board and the team’s entire hopes will ride on the arm of Andrew Luck. He missed all of last season with a shoulder injury and it remains to be seen if he will ever return to the level of a star. It will be tough for the Colts to remain a competitor unless Luck is a Pro Bowler again in NFL betting.

    AFC SOUTH ODDS
    Jacksonville Jaguars +171
    Houston Texans +208
    Tennessee Titans +277
    Indianapolis Colts +570


    AFC SOUTH STANDINGS (2017 Season)
    Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6)
    Tennessee Titans (9-7)
    Indianapolis Colts (4-12)
    Houston Texans (4-12)


    Odds Analysis

    The Jaguars were a much better team than the Titans last season even though they only finished one game apart in the standings. However, there are some worries. The offense isn’t that good as quarterback Blake Bortles needs to prove he is a better-than-average quarterback for the team. The defense is great but had fantastic health in 2017 and must hope none of its stars like Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye or Calais Campbell go down with ailments. Despite the worries, Jacksonville has the right odds.

    The Texans are the only team that can realistically knock them off. If Watson can build on last year and Watt stays healthy, this team is dangerous on both sides of the ball. It’s a bit of an unknown on both fronts but Houston has some of the best talent in the division and should be in the mix.

    The Titans’ odds are much too good, as are the Colts. Neither team has a legitimate shot at winning the AFC South as the other two teams are much better. Avoid Tennessee at all costs as the team may not even finish above .500 this year and do not pay out very well at all. The Colts are at least a bigger underdog but there is a lack of talent around Luck that makes another losing season likely.

    Don’t over thing the pecking order in the AFC South as the Jaguars will win a second straight division crown in NFL wagering.

    AFC South ATS Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars to win the AFC South
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