AROUND THE NFL
The Redskins are shutting down T TRENT WILLIAMS amidst continued hostilities.
The Washington Redskins have placed Trent Williams on the reserve/non-football injury list, ending his season.
The team announced the move Thursday, ending a monthslong saga involving the star offensive tackle and the team. Sources said the Redskins likely will look to trade Williams in the offseason, something they were reluctant to do so before the deadline, barring the ability to land a playmaker or a high pick.
Williams last week revealed a cancer diagnosis that played a part in his lengthy holdout and distrust of the team’s medical staff and organization.
He said he told the team of the medical issue six years ago and that a growth on his head grew substantially over time. The 31-year-old said he had a tumor removed from his skull and needs to get checked out every six months to make sure he’s OK.
The seven-time Pro Bowl selection underwent three surgeries during the offseason to remove the tumor and remained away from the team during that time. Williams said it got pretty serious, and he was “told some scary things” by doctors that changed his outlook on life.
The Redskins later released a statement saying they requested that the NFL’s Management Council convene a joint committee with the NFL Players Association to review the medical records and care given to Williams.
After reporting to the Redskins on Oct. 29, Williams told the team that he felt discomfort on his scalp after putting on a helmet during his physical. It was enough for the Redskins to fail his physical. The team had been trying to find a customized helmet for Williams.
Williams also expressed dissatisfaction with his contract, which runs through 2020 without guaranteed dollars. Despite returning, he would not commit to playing again for the organization that drafted him fourth overall in 2010.
The holdout was an expensive one for Williams. He was fined at least $1.2 million this summer while also losing 25% of his signing bonus proration for missing training camp, and another 25% for missing the first game. He missed eight game checks at $638,000 per week as well. In total, the holdout cost him approximately $7 million.
The NFLPA also came to Williams’ defense Sunday, tweeting a statement that accused NFL Network and former Redskins general manager and current network analyst Charley Casserly of using misinformation in an attempt to tarnish the offensive tackle’s reputation.
Gotta love the “discomfort” from the helmet.
More comments from Williams. Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com:
Washington closed the door on Trent Williams returning this season by putting him on the non-football injury list yesterday.
But according to Williams, the door, the road leading up to it, and everything else was already ablaze well before then.
Williams told Mike Jones of USA Today that he wants to play again, but knows it’s not likely to be in his current place of employment.
“I feel like everything has run its course,” Williams said. “I mean, I do want to play football still and I’m not a free agent until after the 2020 season, so who knows. But the bridge has definitely been burned, and any efforts now, basically are, in my opinion, pretty much just CYA.”
Williams stayed away this offseason, amid concerns about his medical care for a tumor on his head. Since then, the team has requested a third-party investigation of the care he received, which only deepened the divide.
“If I felt like they were genuine, I’d be all for it,” Williams said. “They’re not doing it to find out what went wrong. They’re doing it to cover their butts.
“Mine isn’t the only situation they got wrong. There are a lot of situations they could have looked into. Why didn’t they do it before now? Why didn’t they do it in Colt [McCoy’s] case? [McCoy needed multiple surgeries to repair his broken leg] And they keep putting out these false reports. That’s never helpful. I just feel like regardless of what the findings of the investigation are, they’re going to try to find a way to paint me negatively and make themselves look better.”
Williams also said he thought recent leaks and stories about him were planted by the organization, out of a desire to make him look greedy. He acknowledges there were talks about a new contract at one point, but that wasn’t the reason for his unhappiness.
“I had a lot of anger about my situation,” Williams said. “I felt like they could have worked something out if they really wanted me. But the breaking point was how things played out with my health and how I felt like I was mistreated. I put this organization first for so long, but they never took it seriously, and I do stand for something, and I felt like it’s not just a stand for me, but for future players as well. Because let’s be honest, they’ve got a bad track record.”
Williams is likely to be traded this offseason, but the team had chances to do that this year, making it look like a spite-driven decision.
DE MARIO ADDISON has returned to the Panthers after a family tragedy. Darin Gantt of ProFootballTalk.com:
The Panthers gave defensive end Mario Addison some space, letting their leading pass-rusher skip last week’s game to be with his family in Alabama after the death of his brother.
Addison’s back to work this week, but he admitted the emotional wounds haven’t healed and probably won’t for some time.
“I’m fair. I always say I’m fair,” Addison said, via Brendan Marks of the Charlotte Observer. “I can’t say I feel good. I can’t say I’m happy. Can’t say I’m sad, depressed, or angry, because I’m all of them. Like all of them in one, and it can change every two minutes, you know what I’m saying?”
Addison’s brother Gjamal Antonio Rodriqcus was shot and killed, and a suspect has been arrested for capital murder.
The Panthers sent staffers to Alabama for the funeral, and teammates and coaches have tried to support Addison through the loss, including by putting his jersey on the sidelines during last week’s win over the Titans. And while he’s still coping with the loss, Addison said being back at work has helped in its own way.
“I really wanted to get away from Birmingham. You know, it’s a lot of memories, and I’m having a whole lot of mixed emotions while I was there,” Addison said. “I just wanted to get away and be back with these guys, and just actually use football to kind of clear my mind. That’s one of the reasons why I came back.”
At the same time, his brother’s still on his mind. Addison said he hopes he can honor his brother’s memory by playing well — though that’s a small comfort at the moment.
RB ALVIN KAMARA is back after a 2-game absence. Mike Triplett of ESPN.com:
Alvin Kamara will be back in the New Orleans Saints’ lineup Sunday and said he plans to play like he hasn’t “missed a beat.”
Kamara, who missed the Saints’ past two games before their Week 9 bye because of knee and ankle injuries, said he felt good after returning to full practice participation on Thursday. And coach Sean Payton said, “I fully expect him to be ready to play” at home Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
The running back said he feels fresh after three Sundays off but wouldn’t call it a benefit because he missed being on the field.
“It’s like a downfall, kind of, because I wish I was out there,” Kamara said with a smile. “I’m happy to be back, just happy to be back practicing on the field with my teammates, happy to be back kind of like a regular functioning member of this team. Because when you’re hurt, you’re kind of like on the back burner a little bit. You kind of miss out.”
Kamara insisted that there is no jealousy or selfish desire to take his role back from veteran backup Latavius Murray, however.
Murray ran wild in Kamara’s absence, with at least 150 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in each game.
Kamara said he will be happy to share the workload with Murray going forward — like he did over the past two years with Mark Ingram.
“It’s not like I’m selfish. I don’t need the ball every play. He’s fully capable, too. So I think we’ll get a good balance going, and it will be hard to stop,” said Kamara, who said he talked to Murray early this season about how the touches would eventually balance out, even though Kamara was getting a heavy share of the workload at the time.
“And he was like, ‘I’m good. I’m not tripping,'” Kamara added. “I think it’s an unselfish team. … So however it shakes out, it shakes out. I’m ready.”
With PK ROBBIE GOULD ailing, the 49ers have signed PK CHASE McLAUGHLIN.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould has a quad injury and is “very much in doubt” for Monday’s key divisional matchup against the Seattle Seahawks according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
The 49ers have signed former Los Angeles Chargers kicker Chase McLaughlin as a precaution and he is likely to be in uniform kicking for the team Monday night. McLaughlin, a rookie out of Illinois, made 6-of-9 field goals and 7-of-7 extra points in four games with the Chargers this season.
Gould, a 15-year NFL veteran, was actually franchise-tagged by the team this offseason before signing a two -year, $10.5 million contract in July. He had connected on 96% of his field goal attempts since joining the 49ers in 2017 but is definitely having an off-year by his standards, making only 13-of-20 thus far in 2019.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
WR BRANDIN COOKS is back from his scouting trip to Pittsburgh. At least he is far enough along in the concussion protocol that he can write a post on Instagram. Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:
Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks traveled to Pittsburgh this week, but he will not play against the Steelers this weekend.
Cooks made the trip to meet with doctors about the concussion he suffered in Week Eight. He also made a trip to consult with them during the team’s Week Nine bye and the head injury is the second one that Cooks has suffered this season. He also had one last year and one in Super Bowl LII in February 2018, which has led to some concern about his football future.
In a post to Instagram on Thursday, Cooks wrote that he isn’t going anywhere but back to the field.
“Whether some like it or not I’m far from that end destination when it comes to this game,” Cooks wrote. “I’m thankful that this soon will be something in the past. Time and time again my God is faithful and blessed nothing serious. Can’t wait to get back on the field this year. Like my good ole pal Spongebob Squarepants says ‘I’m ready I’m ready I’m ready . . . ‘”
Cooks hasn’t been ruled out beyond this week, but passing the concussion protocol is never a guarantee so it remains to be seen just how soon this concussion will be in the wideout’s past.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
QB PHILIP RIVERS was not happy with his play on Thursday. Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers both started and ended Thursday night’s game with interceptions, and he put the loss to the Raiders on himself.
Rivers said after the game that his interceptions on the Chargers’ first two drives, plus the last drive, on which the Chargers got plenty of chances because of Raiders penalties, were disappointing.
“The two [first-quarter] interceptions and then eight plays not getting anything” at the end of the game, Rivers said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m disappointed I didn’t do a better job in those . . . spots especially.”
Rivers said his interception on a pass to Keenan Allen was a huge mistake.
“I just missed the throw to Keenan. He was wide open. I just missed it. It just sailed on me,” Rivers said.
It was one of the worst outings of Rivers’ career, and with the Chargers now at 4-6, it was a game that made it clear that this team is going nowhere.
What the NFL can’t do, a flu bug may be doing – slowing down QB LAMAR JACKSON. Tom Pelissaro of NFL.com:
The Baltimore Ravens will be going from facing an undefeated foe to a winless one this week.
On Thursday, they prepared to do so without Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens quarterback missed Thursday’s practice due to an illness. The illness is not serious and will not impact his availability for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero added.
Baltimore is soaring after taking down the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in a 37-20 primetime win last week, and Jackson has been the talk of the town yet again after accounting for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) and completing 17 of 23 passes for 163 yards and a 107.7 passer rating.
Since Baltimore’s Week 4 loss to Cleveland, Jackson has quietly assembled a standout season that could land him in the MVP conversation should he continue at this pace. Right now, Jackson is in line to set the new single-season rushing record for a quarterback, a mark currently owned by game-changing signal-caller Michael Vick. He has more rushing yards (637) by himself than the entire Bengals roster does this season (476), and the Ravens are on pace to become the first team to average more than 200 rushing yards per game since the 1977 Chicago Bears.
The Browns lock up their center. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
The Browns never have to worry about the guy snapping the ball to Baker Mayfield, and now they don’t have to give it a second thought for at least the next three years.
On Thursday, they reached agreement on a three-year, $32.5 million contract extension with center JC Tretter who’s anchored the position for the past two seasons. The deal, first reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, includes more than $23 million guaranteed.
The $10.8 million average places him among the top five highest-paid centers in the NFL.
“JC’s a leader in that room in general, and he makes a bunch of the calls up front,” coach Freddie Kitchens said on his radio show on 92.3 The Fan. “He and Joel [Bitonio] kind of lead that room and it’s always comforting for a young quarterback to have a guy that he can depend on to make some of the calls or even confirm some of the calls he wants to make in the heat of the moment.”
Kitchens praised Tretter for gutting it out on a high ankle sprain last season.
“I tell those guys when training camp starts that once they put the pads on they’re not going to feel fine or perfect again until February and JC [is] the ultimate warrior per se when he played last year with basically a high ankle sprain all year and just kept grinding it out, kept showing up,” he said. “He practiced for the most part, wasn’t as full-go as you’d like him to be but he was able to get to the game and play well being a little hurt.”
Brooke Pryor of ESPN.com admires the way Mike Tomlin has navigated a season without ANTONIO BROWN, LeVEON BELL and BEN ROETHLISBERGER:
“It is good to be .500 at the turn like we talked about early in the week given where we have come from,” Tomlin said Sunday. “It’s going to still be a while. We will work forever trying to get that September stench off of us, but that is life in this thing, and I appreciate the effort and fight. It is good to be sitting at 4-4. I never thought I would hear myself say that.”
While Tomlin doesn’t often ruminate on the big picture at the midway point of the season, his players say he deserves credit for righting a ship that could have veered seriously off course. In navigating the locker room through the offseason Antonio Brown drama, the Week 2 Ben Roethlisberger injury and the poor start, Tomlin is in the midst of one of his best coaching jobs.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the best of Mike Tomlin,” offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva said. “From a leadership standpoint, from an ability to motivate his players and to get the best out of the current circumstances. Awesome.
“I’m sure that he’s going to look back at this year and look fondly at some of the lessons that we’ve all learned because obviously it’s been a different season. It’s one that we all are struggling to write and hopefully finish on a good note.”
The Steelers traded Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell during an eventful offseason. That’s when Villanueva first recognized Tomlin, a man who thrives in adversity, was doing some of his best leadership work.
“We did not have an easy offseason…” Villanueva said. “The way we finished last year was very challenging. It’s a new era. Connectivity is making things a lot more complicated in a lot of ways. It’s making things harder for athletes. It’s making things harder for the cohesion of the team. He’s had to step up in a big way to control the narratives that are going around a locker room to make sure that everybody is singularly focused on the task. That is a very, very difficult job. Not just because of the events that have happened, but just the fact that you’re seeing the Steelers logo on television 24/7.”
From there, it got more and more chaotic. There was the three-game losing streak to start the season that included the loss of Roethlisberger. Then came the breaking in of two first-time starting quarterbacks.
Through it all, Tomlin remained the organization’s steadfast rock. That’s what the locker room needed him to be.
“He hurts for us,” tight end Vance McDonald said. “He hurts for the fact that we set an expectation and obviously it didn’t meet our goal. He hurts for the fact that we’ve had injuries at certain positions and it puts strain and a lot of stress on a lot of guys at different spots. At the end of the day, he points out the fact that the standard is the standard. He doesn’t expect anything else regardless of who’s playing where. It’s hard.
“I guarantee it’s hard for him to do, but the fact that he does it every day and there’s never any faltering. It’s still consistent. As a player, it’s easy to play for.”
It’s not that Tomlin is drastically changing how he leads. He’s made subtle changes this year to motivate his players and adjust to their needs. Since returning from the bye, Tomlin has ended practices early, sometimes by nearly half an hour. The shortened, non-padded practices have gone a long way to heal players.
After beating the Colts on Sunday, Tomlin spread the word in the locker room: the team would celebrate “Victory Monday.” An extra day off to reward the team for its win — something uncommon so early in the season. Upon hearing the news, the players cheered as loudly as they did when they entered the locker room after the win.
“It’s so big for us, for our bodies,” McDonald said. “It’s something that will raise morale, as petty and silly as that sounds. This is our job, but when we get little nuggets like that at the front end of a day, it really makes guys work that much harder. It’s a reward for hard work. It’s trust from him to us, recognizing that we are a veteran group and we can handle that.”
Even as his players took a couple moments to reflect on the job Tomlin has done, the coach’s moment of contemplation didn’t last. By Tuesday afternoon, it was back to business.
“I don’t look at it from a big picture perspective,” said Tomlin, about how the season had challenged him. “I’m just trying to meet the challenges week in and week out. At the turn, for a moment after that game, I paused just to take a look at where we were after eight games, but I immediately backed into my singular focus, as I expect our football team to be. We’ve got a good team coming in here this week off of a bye. We’ve got to keep the training rolling, and so we’re focused on that.”
Of Pittsburgh’s eight remaining games, five (2 CLV, at Cin, ARZ, at nyj) are very winnable, the Rams this week and the Bills are doable and they could face a clinched Ravens team in Week 17.
10 Sun, Nov 10 LA RAMS
11 Thu, Nov 14 @ Cleveland
12 Sun, Nov 24 @ Cincinnati
13 Sun, Dec 1 CLEVELAND
14 Sun, Dec 8 @ Arizona
15 Sun, Dec 15 BUFFALO
16 Sun, Dec 22 @ NY Jets
17 Sun, Dec 29 @ Baltimore
NEW YORK JETS
The Jets have soothed S JAMAL ADAMS. Ryan Braziller of the New York Post:
It took roughly a week, a number of social media posts and multiple media sessions, but the Jets’ decision-makers and Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams finally cleared the air.
On Monday, Adams said he sat down with coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas to discuss his frustration and disappointment with them for talking to other teams about moving him.
“We just cleared it up. He apologized, I apologized and we’re good,” Adams said of Douglas. “It’s simple.”
When asked how he is feeling about the talk, Adams said: “I’m smiling. I’m good.”
The Friday before the Oct. 29 trade deadline, Adams met with Gase and Douglas and expressed his interest in being a Jet long-term. On Monday, his agent told him the team was shopping him.
After the Jets opted to keep the young star following discussions with the Cowboys and Ravens, Adams tweeted Douglas “went behind my back.” He told reporters the next day “it hurt me” and he was unsure about his future with the Jets. Douglas and Gase tried to talk to Adams, but he didn’t want to discuss the matter with them, saying he needed time and instead spoke to owner Christopher Johnson last Thursday.
They finally talked on Monday.
“It was a good talk. It went well,” Adams said. “I told them, I don’t hate those guys. I have nothing but respect for them. We’ve moved on, we apologized to each other. We went about it in a little different way on both ends and it is what it is. You live and you learn. It’s not going to hurt our relationship or how I feel about this organization or whatever it is.”
THIS AND THAT
Someone needs to take the phone away from WR ANTONIO BROWN. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:
Receiver Antonio Brown is frustrated, and rightfully so. Caught in the gears of a system that has him serving an unpaid suspension while the NFL figures out whether to formally impose upon him an unpaid suspension, Brown feels at a visceral level that he’s being screwed. And, from time to time, he lashes out.
He lashed out earlier today with a profane tweet that included his latest vow to never play in the NFL again. On Thursday afternoon, he backtracked with a new tweet — and deleted the first one.
“I’m just very frustrated right now with the false allegations and slander to my name,” Brown said on Twitter. “I love football and I miss it. I just want to play and I’m very emotional about that. I’m determined to make my way back to the NFL asap.”
Brown is scheduled to meet with investigators next Thursday. Whoever prepares him for that meeting needs to prepare him to process the frustration he definitely will experience when pressed for details as to allegations made by the woman who has sued him for sexual assault and rape, especially since part of his rage comes from his belief that he’s being slandered. Investigators trained in spotting signs of dishonesty may interpret anger and frustration while being questioned as evidence of guilt.
And that’s a basic reality that could make it difficult for Brown, even if he’s innocent. Some people are excellent liars. Others have a hard time communicating what ultimately is the truth. The worst outcome for Brown would be that he’s innocent but unable to set aside his rage long enough to say what needs to be said in order to ensure that a true and accurate story is told.
ESPN.com is going to pay Stephen A. Smith a lot more money to do less work. Ryan Young of YahooSports.com:
Stephen A. Smith has branded himself as one of the most recognizable personalities on ESPN, if not all of the sports media world.
Now, he’s going to be paid like it.
Smith and ESPN have reached an agreement after months of negotiations on a five-year deal worth nearly $8 million per year to keep him at the network, according to the New York Post. He is now set to be ESPN’s highest-paid on-air personality.
The 51-year-old has been with the network since 2005, making waves with his involvement on “First Take,” “The Stephen A. Smith Show,” ESPN’s NBA coverage and more. According to the Post, Smith will remain on “First Take” each morning and expand his role on “SportsCenter” — including hosting a special Wednesday night edition ahead of their NBA slate that night throughout the season. His radio show, however, is reportedly set to end next year.
ESPN, per the report, is also exploring ways to involve Smith with its subscription service “ESPN+.”
Smith’s new deal surpasses that of Mike Greenberg’s, who was the previous highest-paid ESPN sportscaster. The “Get Up!” host reportedly earns $6.5 million per year. “PTI” hosts Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are “believed to be in Greenberg’s neighborhood,” too.
We can only wonder if impending free agent Tony Romo will take his talents to Bristol for more than Smith’s $8 mil per.