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  • Report: Cardinals TE Seals-Jones arrested in hotel dispute
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was arrested on Saturday and charged with alleged assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing in Scottsdale, Ariz., Arizona's KTAR News reported Tuesday.

    • According to the Scottsdale Police Department, the 23-year-old Seals-Jones was arrested after allegedly making contact with a restaurant employee at the W Hotel in a dispute over the tight end's attempt to use the restroom.

      Per the police report, Seals-Jones initially tried to use the bathroom near the hotel lobby before being rebuffed per hotel rules, limiting lavatory use to hotel guests. He then allegedly went to the hotel restaurant, where he was again informed restroom use was for patrons only.

      KTAR reported that a restaurant employee told police that Seals-Jones was combative and "one hand shoved him in the shoulder area." When the Cardinals tight end allegedly tried to push through to reach the restroom, he was taken to the ground by hotel staff. The police report also alleged that Seals-Jones appeared intoxicated at the time.

      "The team is aware of the incident over the weekend involving Ricky Seals-Jonesm," the Cardinals said in a statement. "While the legal process remains on-going, we will refrain from commenting further at this time."

      Seals-Jones, who the team expects to battle for the starting tight end job this summer, signed with Arizona in May 2017 after going undrafted out of Texas A&M. As a rookie, he played in 10 games with one start, catching 12 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

      News of the arrest broke just hours after the Cardinals suspended general manager Steve Keim for five weeks and fined him $200,000 after pleading guilty to extreme DUI.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: GM Keim suspended by Cardinals for DUI
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty to extreme DUI in Chandler, Ariz., on Tuesday, shortly before the team announced it has suspended Keim for five weeks and fined him $200,000, which will be donated to the Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

    • NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the Cardinals have been in communication with the league since the arrest and advised the NFL of disciplinary action. The league will not take further action, so there will be no further punishment under the league's personal-conduct policy.

      "As stated at the time of the incident, this behavior is indefensible and completely unacceptable," the Cardinals said in a statement. "While Steve has accepted full accountability and responsibility for his actions, that does not diminish their gravity nor the severity of the consequences that result from them."

      According to the Chandler Police Department forensics report, Keim's blood-alcohol content was .19 when he was arrested early on the morning of July 4, exceeding the extreme DUI benchmark of .15 and more than doubling the legal limit of .08. A Class I misdemeanor, an extreme DUI conviction can require as many as 30 days, and no less than 24 hours, in jail, with the length of sentencing depending on probation terms.

      --The Los Angeles Rams announced a five-year extension for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, putting him under contract through the 2023 season.

      Terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN reports it is worth $80 million over the five years of the extension, bringing the total to around $88.5 million over six seasons. A source told NFL Network that the deal is worth $81 million, including $20.5 million fully guaranteed upon signing and $50.5 million in total guarantees.

      Cooks, whom the Rams acquired from the New England Patriots this spring for a first-round pick and a swap of later-round picks, was entering the $8.5 million fifth-year option of his rookie contract. Yet to turn 25 as he enters his fifth NFL season, Cooks topped 1,000 yards for the third consecutive year in 2017, finishing with 65 grabs for 1,082 yards and seven scores in 16 games (15 starts).

      --Defensive end Randy Gregory of the Dallas Cowboys has been reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis, the league announced.

      Under the terms of the reinstatement, Gregory may rejoin Dallas at training camp and take part in meetings and conditioning sessions.

      Gregory was suspended without pay in January 2017 for a third time for violating the league's substance abuse policy. That came after a pair of suspensions kept him off the field for 14 games during the 2016 season.

      --More than seven years after he left the NFL, Terrell Owens appears intent on returning to professional football in the Canadian Football League this season.

      According to multiple reports, Owens invoked the 10-day clause over the weekend for the Edmonton Eskimos, who hold his negotiating rights, to offer him a contract or release him.

      Owens' agent, Jason Staroszik, told TSN his client is "absolutely, 100 percent" serious about playing in the CFL, adding that there's at least one team interested in signing the 44-year-old wideout if the Eskimos do not. Owens is set to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4.

      --Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reportedly turned down a $70 million offer before breaking off contract talks with Pittsburgh.

      Bell, who instead will play under a one-year deal worth $14.55 million due to the franchise designation, reportedly was seeking a contract worth at least $14.5 million per year.

      Bell's agent posted a comment about 2018 being his final season with the Steelers after failing to get a long-term deal by Monday's deadline.

      --Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to report for the start of New England Patriots training camp on time, according to an ESPN report.

      Gronkowski missed all of the Patriots' voluntary offseason workouts and has been working with the team on a tweak of his contract for the second consecutive year. But he did show for New England's mandatory minicamp, and he is not expected to hold out for any portion of training camp.

      Gronkowski, 29, flirted with the idea of retirement this offseason while considering a career in Hollywood, according to multiple reports. Reports also said there were lingering frustrations between him and head coach Bill Belichick, although both parties have dismissed such reports on multiple occasions.

      --Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly said he might have hit a unexpected bump on his road to recovery from cancer surgery in March.

      Speaking at his football clinic for children in Pittsford, N.Y., Kelly said he plans to visit his doctors in New York City in August for a "checkup" after "something came up." He had surgery in March to remove oral cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw.

      Kelly has been battling cancer off and on for five years. He had surgery in 2013 to remove squamous cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone, with chemotherapy following the next year when cancer was discovered in his maxillary sinus. Doctors declared him cancer free in September 2014, but he announced in March that cancer had been detected in his upper jaw.

      --The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed first-round pick Taven Bryan to a four-year deal, according to an NFL Network report.

      The news comes one day before the Jaguars' rookies and first-year players are scheduled to report to training camp.

      Like all first-round selections, Bryan will have a fifth-year team option in his contract, which will be worth $10.2 million over the first four years, with a $5.5 million signing bonus. Bryan, 22, was taken 29th overall by Jacksonville out of Florida.

      --Legendary announcer Brent Musburger will return to the announcer's booth to call Oakland Raiders games on the radio this season, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report.

      Per the report, Musburger agreed to a three-year deal to take over play-by-play duties on the team's radio broadcasts this season, which could be the Raiders' final year in Oakland.

      Greg Papa has been the voice of the Raiders since 1997, but there have been questions about his interest in following the team to Las Vegas when it moves. Per the report, Papa might not yet be aware of Musburger's hiring.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cardinals' Keim suspended five weeks, fined $200K after guilty plea
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim pleaded guilty to extreme DUI in Chandler, Ariz., on Tuesday, shortly before the team announced it has suspended Keim for five weeks and fined him $200,000.

    • In the Cardinals' statement, the team said the fine will be donated to the Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

      NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the Cardinals have been in communication with the league since the arrest and advised the NFL of disciplinary action. The league will not take further action, so there will be no further punishment under the league's personal-conduct policy.

      "As stated at the time of the incident, this behavior is indefensible and completely unacceptable," the Cardinals said in a statement. "While Steve has accepted full accountability and responsibility for his actions, that does not diminish their gravity nor the severity of the consequences that result from them.

      "Those who work within the National Football League -- particularly those in leadership positions -- bear a greater responsibility and are held to a higher standard than simply a legal one and we feel that these measures are reflective of that."

      According to the Chandler Police Department forensics report, Keim's blood-alcohol content was .19 when he was arrested early on the morning of July 4, exceeding the extreme DUI benchmark of .15 and more than doubling the legal limit of .08.

      A Class I misdemeanor, an extreme DUI conviction can require as many as 30 days, and no less than 24 hours, in jail, with the length of sentencing depending on probation terms.

      "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."

      Keim was pulled over shortly after midnight on July 4 by an officer who saw his pickup truck driving fast and drifting out of its lane multiple times. According to the report, Keim declined to take a breathalyzer test and could not take field sobriety tests due to a knee injury, but he failed to sufficiently follow a light with his eyes and was arrested. A blood test revealed his BAC level.

      Keim has been the Cardinals' general manager since 2013. He recently signed an extension through the 2022 season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Musburger to be Raiders' radio announcer
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Legendary announcer Brent Musburger will return to the announcer's booth to call Oakland Raiders games on the radio this season, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal report Tuesday.

    • Per the report, Musburger agreed to a three-year deal to take over play-by-play duties on the team's radio broadcasts this season, which could be the Raiders' final year in Oakland.

      Greg Papa has been the voice of the Raiders since 1997, but there have been questions about his interest in following the team to Las Vegas when it moves. Per the report, Papa might not yet be aware of Musburger's hiring.

      Musburger, 79, has been based in Las Vegas since leaving ESPN in 2017 and helping start the Vegas Stats & Information Network, an outlet dedicated to one of Musburger's longtime hobbies, sports betting. He spent 27 years with ESPN and ABC Sports after a 17-year stretch with CBS Sports, where he hosted "NFL Today" for 15 years.

      VSIN operates out of the South Point resort, less than seven miles south on Interstate 15 of the site of the Raiders' new stadium, which is scheduled to open for the 2020 season. The team is currently working on a home location for 2019, with both Oakland and Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas among the possibilities.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rams sign WR Cooks to five-year, $80M extension
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    The Los Angeles Rams announced a five-year extension for wide receiver Brandin Cooks on Tuesday, putting him under contract through the 2023 season.

    • Terms of the deal were not announced, but ESPN reports it is worth $80 million over the five years of the extension, bringing the total to around $88.5 million over six seasons. A source told NFL Network that the deal is worth $81 million, including $20.5 million fully guaranteed upon signing and $50.5 million in total guarantees.

      Cooks, whom the Rams acquired from the New England Patriots this spring for a first-round pick and a swap of later-round picks, was entering the $8.5 million fifth-year option of his rookie contract.

      The $16 million average of the extension ties Cooks for fourth among all NFL wideouts with Sammy Watkins, whom Cooks replaced in L.A. after Watkins joined the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency. The $14.75 million average -- including Cooks' 2018 salary -- would rank seventh among wideouts.

      "Just want to say I'm excited and blessed to be here for the next six years," Cooks said in a video posted by the Rams on Twitter. "I look forward to making a lot of memories with you guys. Go Rams!"

      Yet to turn 25 as he enters his fifth NFL season, Cooks topped 1,000 yards for the third consecutive year in 2017, finishing with 65 grabs for 1,082 yards and seven scores in 16 games (15 starts).

      Cooks spent his first three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, who took him 20th overall in the 2014 draft, before being traded to the Patriots in a package that included a first-round pick. He has 280 receptions for 3,943 yards and 27 touchdowns in 58 games (47 starts) across four seasons.

      The Rams also have been making an effort to re-sign reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, who is entering the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. Donald has told others he expects to have a deal done before the start of training camp, according to a report from CBS Sports on Tuesday.

      Donald is expected to become the highest-paid defender in football whenever a deal gets done.

      Los Angeles also has defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, franchise-tagged safety Lamarcus Joyner and starting offensive linemen Rodger Saffold and Rob Havenstein entering the final year of their contracts. Joyner will play out the 2018 season on his $11.3 million franchise tender after the sides failed to reach a long-term agreement before Monday's deadline.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cowboys' Gregory conditionally reinstated by NFL
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Defensive end Randy Gregory of the Dallas Cowboys has been reinstated by the NFL on a conditional basis, the league announced Tuesday.

    • Under the terms of the reinstatement, Gregory may rejoin Dallas at training camp and take part in meetings and conditioning sessions.

      Gregory was suspended without pay in January 2017 for a third time for violating the league's substance abuse policy. That came after a pair of suspensions kept him off the field for 14 games during the 2016 season.

      The NFL said once it verifies he has made arrangements for "clinical resources" in Dallas, he will be eligible to take part in all team activities, including practices and games.

      He must continue to comply with the terms of his reinstatement and the NFL-NFLPA Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse.

      The Cowboys selected Gregory, now 25, in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft from Nebraska. He hasn't played since the final week of the 2016 season.

      In 2015 and 2016, he combined for 20 tackles and one sack.

      The January 2017 suspension was for a minimum of one year.

      --Field Level Media

  • Fitzgerald: Won't play for any team but Cardinals
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Apparently, it's Arizona or bust for Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

    • At his youth camp Monday in his native Minnesota, Fitzgerald said Arizona will be the first and only stop of his career.

      "If I'm not playing in Arizona, I won't be playing anywhere," Fitzgerald said, according to 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 played his college ball at Pittsburgh, was the Cardinals' No. 1 selection -- the No. 3 overall pick -- in the 2004 NFL Draft. He will turn 35 next month.

      He is third in career receptions in the NFL with 1,234, just 91 short of tying Tony Gonzalez for second place behind Jerry Rice.

      Fitzgerald, who many expected to consider retirement this offseason, said age isn't a reason to retire as long as he's playing at a high level, using tennis star Serena Williams, 36, and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, 33, as examples.

      "It doesn't really matter about the age, it's about what you put into it and your mindset," Fitzgerald told the Pioneer Press. "Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it's supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play.

      "If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands."

      In his 14th season, Fitzgerald racked up 109 catches for 1,156 yards and six scores while playing in all 16 games for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

      --Field Level Media

  • Jaguars sign first-round pick Bryan
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed first-round pick Taven Bryan to a four-year deal, according to an NFL Network report Tuesday.

    • The news comes one day before the Jaguars' rookies and first-year players are scheduled to report to training camp.

      Like all first-round selections, Bryan will have a fifth-year team option in his contract, which will be worth $10.2 million over the first four years, with a $5.5 million signing bonus.

      Bryan, 22, was taken 29th overall by Jacksonville out of Florida, where he tallied 37 tackles (6.0 for loss) and 4.0 sacks as a junior in 2017.

      Considered a raw but freakishly talented player, Bryan is expected to come off the bench in a D-line rotation that includes starters Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Marcell Dareus. With Jackson and Dareus set to count nearly $25.6 million combined against the cap in 2019, Bryan could take over as a starter at defensive tackle if either is dumped to save salary.

      With Bryan's signing, only 10 first-round picks remained unsigned, including the top four picks and three others who went in the top 10.

      Jaguars quarterbacks report to camp Friday, and other veterans are scheduled to report on July 25.

      --Field Level Media

  • Agent: Owens 'absolutely' wants to play in CFL in 2018
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    More than seven years after he left the NFL, Terrell Owens appears intent on returning to professional football in the Canadian Football League this season.

    • According to multiple reports, Owens invoked the 10-day clause over the weekend for the Edmonton Eskimos, who hold his negotiating rights, to offer him a contract or release him.

      Owens' agent, Jason Staroszik, told TSN his client is "absolutely, 100 percent" serious about playing in the CFL, adding that there's at least one team interested in signing the 44-year-old wideout if the Eskimos do not.

      "He still feels like he has some football years left in him," Staroszik said of Owens. "He just loves the game and wants to get back to playing, whether it's the CFL or NFL."

      Owens is set to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 4, although he opted not to attend the ceremony. Instead, he intends to hold a celebration and make a speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. With Owens not attending, the Hall decided it will not recognize the wideout individually during the Aug. 3 Gold Jacket Dinner or the enshrinement ceremony the day after, as his name will be included only when the group as a whole is referenced.

      If he joins the Eskimos, Owens could play as soon as Aug. 2 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The team is 3-2 through five games.

      In his last NFL action, Owens had 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, turning 37 during the season. The five-time All-Pro selection ranks second in NFL history with 15,934 receiving yards, third with 153 touchdown catches and eighth with 1,078 receptions.

      --Field Level Media

  • Kelly says issue 'came up' after recent cancer surgery
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly said Tuesday that he might have hit a unexpected bump on his road to recovery from cancer surgery in March.

    • Speaking at his football clinic for children in Pittsford, N.Y., Kelly said he plans to visit his doctors in New York City in August for a "checkup" after "something came up." He had surgery in March to remove oral cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw.

      The Buffalo Bills legend, now 58, will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPYS Wednesday night in Los Angeles. He said he will see his doctors in an appointment scheduled for the second week of August.

      "It will be a checkup, but how long will I be there [until I] check out? We'll see, " Kelly told reporters. "I still have a mouth full of stitches. I'm sure they're going to pull all of those out."

      Kelly had planned follow-up surgery on his upper jaw last month to prepare for insertion of permanent dentures this fall.

      "I'm not sure what's going on," he said. "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 has been battling cancer off and on for five years. He had surgery in 2013 to remove squamous cell carcinoma of the upper jawbone, with chemotherapy following the next year when cancer was discovered in his maxillary sinus. Doctors declared him cancer free in September 2014, but he announced in March that cancer had been detected in his upper jaw.

      Kelly said he planned to channel Jim Valvano -- the former North Carolina State basketball coach for whom the Jimmy V award was named -- who accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 1993 with a memorable speech that included his often-quoted words: "Don't give up. Don't ever give up."

      "I hope the words that I say come out right, that I'm able to inspire people never to give up," Kelly said Tuesday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Gronkowski to report for Pats camp on time
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to report for the start of New England Patriots training camp on time, according to an ESPN report Tuesday.

    • Gronkowski missed all of the Patriots' voluntary offseason workouts and has been working with the team on a tweak of his contract for the second consecutive year. But he did show for New England's mandatory minicamp, and he is not expected to hold out for any portion of training camp.

      Gronkowski, 29, flirted with the idea of retirement this offseason while considering a career in Hollywood, according to multiple reports. Reports also said there were lingering frustrations between he and head coach Bill Belichick, although both parties have dismissed such reports on multiple occasions.

      Pro Football Talk reported in June that a new contract for Gronkowski is "likely" at some point, but not "imminent." After tweaking his deal last offseason, the five-time Pro Bowler earned an additional $5.5 million in 2017 via incentives for garnering his fourth career first-team All-Pro nod.

      Entering his ninth season, Gronkowski is set to make $8 million in base salary, and he's on the books for $9 million in 2019, the final year of his deal.

      Last season, Gronkowski had 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games, only the third time since 2012 he topped eight games in a season. He missed just one game due to injury in 2017, as he also missed one game due to suspension for a late hit on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Steelers RB Bell turned down $70M offer
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell reportedly turned down a $70 million offer before breaking off contract talks with Pittsburgh.

    • Bell, who instead will play under a one-year deal worth $14.55 million due to the franchise designation, reportedly was seeking a contract worth at least $14.5 million per year.

      NFL Network reported the contract Pittsburgh offered included $33 million guaranteed in the first two years and a value of $45 million over the first three years (not all guaranteed).

      Bell took to social media after the Monday deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign a long-term extension came and went quietly.

      After his agent posted a comment about 2018 being Bell's final season with the Steelers, the 26-year-old back reiterated much of what his agent said but not committing to 2018 being his last season in Pittsburgh: "to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler...both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times...to the fans that had hope, I'm sorry we let youu [sic] down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date..."

      Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a statement, saying, "Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le'Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018. We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today's deadline. Le'Veon will play this season under the exclusive franchise tag designation."

      "After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le'Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers," he continued.

      In his five seasons in Pittsburgh, Bell has had at least 1,200 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving three times. He is a two-time first-team All-Pro, has been named to three Pro Bowls and is generally regarded as the best all-around running back in the league.

      But his contract squabbles with the club have become an annual offseason ritual. ESPN reported Monday that Bell could sit out until midseason in hopes of hitting free agency fresh.

      After not signing under the franchise tag until Sept. 4 last season, Bell averaged fewer than 3.5 yards per carry through the first three weeks. But he finished with a league-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards along with 85 catches for 655 yards and 11 total touchdowns.

      The two franchise-tag contracts for Bell -- 2017 and 2018 -- will total a combined $26.62 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Saints' Loewen helps save man from SUV accident
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 17, 2018

    Saints defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen was one of several bystanders to help save a man from an SUV accident in New Orleans on Sunday.

    • Loewen told multiple media outlets he was having brunch with his wife when the Mercedes Benz SUV crashed down from the fourth story of a parking structure. The 25-year-old sprung into action to lead the charge in helping at the scene as the man was pinned and screaming in the vehicle.

      "There were a bunch of people standing around, but not approaching the car and I was like 'What's up, let's help this guy,'" Loewen told NOLA.com on Monday. "I mean, obviously there was someone in there, I wasn't going to just stand by and watch. It was a life or death situation."

      Loewen and the other rescuers couldn't pull the man out, so they flipped the SUV onto its side and back to its tires before Loewen pried the door open to speak to the man.

      Emergency workers arrived to the scene to remove the man from the vehicle, and the New Orleans Police Department said in a statement the victim is expected to survive.

      In all, Loewen said the incident lasted a couple minutes but left a lasting effect on him.

      "It was life-changing, man," Loewen told ESPN.

      "I'd say giving life, saving life, taking life or risking life are about the only time your heart's gonna beat like that. There's not many things that can do for you ... Just the feeling you get after something like that, I mean, I felt like I was in a movie. At the time, I had extreme confidence. I had no hesitation at all about what needed to be done. And it was just that kind of feeling and the adrenaline pumping. I mean, that's life to the fullest right there. I felt like I was being led by God to go help that man."

      Loewen was also sure to mention the others that helped him.

      "It was unreal that I was there at that moment to help out and to lead others to help out as well -- and others being willing to help out -- because I definitely couldn't have done that by myself. That was no act of solely me," Loewen told ESPN. "That was a lot of grown men working together for one purpose: to save one man that no one knew at the moment. We had no interest in this man's life except to save it."

      The NOPD confirmed the SUV drove off the fourth floor of the parking structure around 1:30 p.m., and an investigation into the accident is ongoing.

      Loewen signed with the Saints after going undrafted out of Arkansas in 2016.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Kickoff rule may be changed further after refs express concerns
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    NFL camps open this week. The league published its 2018 rulebook June 28. And yet the league apparently still isn't done tinkering with its kickoff rule.

    • According to a report Monday night by ESPN, an NFL spokesperson said the league is still considering "minor" changes to the rule, which is already a change from last season. Per the report, the league would have to recall the current rulebook and republish a revised edition should a change be made at this point.

      "The NFL officiating and football operations staff, with competition committee approval, may make some minor tweaks to the language to further clarify the rule. If so, that information would be circulated to all clubs and the rule book updated accordingly," league spokesman Michael Signora told ESPN.

      Last week, retired referee and new NBC Sports rules analyst Terry McAulay said the new kickoff rule "may be the biggest change I've ever seen. ... There are so many restrictions on what either side of the ball can do. 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."

      Kickoff rules were changed out of concern for player safety, especially concussions. In an effort to lower the number of high-impact collisions on kickoffs, the league outlawed running starts by the kicking team, mandated where players on the return team may line up, and eliminated wedge blocks -- where players on the return team run together to form a V-shaped wall of blockers.

      It is that last rule that reportedly has officials concerned. In essence, the elimination of wedge blocks but not double-teams means an official would need to know where a player lined up before the kickoff in order to know if a penalty occurred.

      The new rule reportedly reads: "After the ball is kicked, a double-team block is permissible only by players who were initially lined up in the setup zone. A double-team block is defined as two players from the setup zone coming together in an attempt to block for the runner."

      At the NFL's annual officiating clinic last weekend at Plano, Texas, competition committee chairman Rich McKay heard concerns from multiple participants about the rule, according to the ESPN report.

      The ESPN report states "the timing of the next round of changes is unclear. Referees and other game officials will circulate through training camps this summer to better understand how teams plan to implement the new rule."

      --Field Level Media

  • Seahawks' Thomas: 'Let's make a trade happen' if no extension
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    If Earl Thomas' feelings toward his current contract situation weren't clear enough by him skipping the Seattle Seahawks' mandatory minicamp last month, he reminded the team of his stance with an Instagram post Monday.

    • "Always been the underdog ain't nothing new," Thomas wrote as the caption to a picture of him working out. "Extend .....if you don't want me let's make a trade happen I understand it's a bizz."

      The 29-year-old Thomas is entering the final season of a four-year, $40 million deal signed in 2014. Seahawks training camp begins July 26, and it's fair to expect Thomas won't be in attendance.

      "I will not be attending the upcoming mini camp or any team activities until my contract situation is resolved," Thomas said prior to skipping the mandatory minicamp.

      "I want everyone especially the 12s to know that I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career but I also believe that based on my production over the last eight years that I've earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible. I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.

      "I'm going to continue to work my craft and put in work so that I can add to the team and give us the best chance to win. I hope my teammates understand where I'm coming from I believe this is the right thing to do."

      The Seahawks drafted Thomas 14th overall in 2010 and watched him flourish as an immediate starter. He has started 121 games with Seattle since, earning six Pro Bowl nods and helping the defensive backfield earn the moniker of "The Legion of Boom."

      Thomas was discussed in trades, reportedly including the Dallas Cowboys, during an offseason overhaul in which the Seahawks moved on from cornerback Richard Sherman (released) and defensive end Michael Bennett (traded to Philadelphia). Defensive end Cliff Avril was released with a failed physical designation, and strong safety Kam Chancellor indicated earlier this month his career is over as the result of a significant neck injury.

      Five other NFL safeties -- including Chancellor until he officially retires -- average more annually than Thomas currently makes, with Kansas City's Eric Berry leading the way at $13 million per year.

      General manager John Schneider said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February that the Seahawks are embracing the challenge of rebuilding a championship defense. He also said the team knows what it has in Thomas, who was drafted to play a specific and demanding role in coach Pete Carroll's defense.

      Schneider told a Seattle radio station in April the Seahawks were not pursuing a trade for Thomas.

      --Field Level Media

  • 49ers CB Sherman says Seahawks 'lost their way'
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    As one of the newest members of the San Francisco 49ers, Richard Sherman's divisional matchups against his former Seattle Seahawks teammates would have been interesting no matter what.

    • Sherman's remarks that the Seahawks "have lost their way" will only add to the drama.

      The four-time Pro Bowl cornerback did not hold back when discussing his former team in a story published Tuesday in Sports Illustrated's MMQB. Sherman helped the Seahawks win a Super Bowl during the 2013 season but said the franchise failed to keep a good thing going.

      "It's just unfortunate. It's really unfortunate," Sherman told The MMQB. "I think it'll all come out when they do the '30 for 30' [a television documentary series]. Mistakes and poor judgment on things ruined what could have been a really special deal. You don't have much left right now.

      "And to say you're not going to pay [All-Pro safety] Earl Thomas is just ... there's no decline in play there. He's played the game the right way. Who do you have to pay? You have the two best linebackers in the game. You have the quarterback. You have a great wide receiver in Doug (Baldwin). And you're paying [left tackle] Duane Brown."

      Sherman signed a three-year deal with the 49ers this offseason after the Seahawks released him. He ruptured his Achilles tendon last season and was limited to two interceptions in nine games. The 30-year-old California native has 32 interceptions in 105 career games, all with Seattle.

      "They've lost their way," Sherman said of the Seahawks. "It's as simple as that. They've just lost their way. When you make too many mistakes over a long period of time, you kind of dig yourself a hole. And then when you backtrack, you gotta make a bunch of rash decisions to try and fill the hole and hope that it holds up."

      The 49ers will visit the Seahawks on Dec. 2 and host their rivals two weeks later.

      --Field Level Media

  • Romo forfeits winner's check from celebrity golf tourney
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Tony Romo made tens of millions as a star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He also a pretty nice-paying gig as a TV commentator.

    • At least for now, though, Romo has not made a penny off his burgeoning golf career. That is by choice, not circumstance.

      Romo did not accept the $125,000 winner's check after clinching the American Century Championship celebrity tournament in South Lake Tahoe, Nev., on Sunday. He reportedly wants to retain his amateur status as he tries this Monday to qualify for the U.S. Amateur.

      The prize money will be donated to the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in Kansas City, Mo., as well as other charities, USA Today reported. Researchers at Stowers study the causes and treatments for cancer and other diseases.

      Romo has won back-to-back tournaments after edging out former Oakland Athletics pitcher Mark Mulder for Sunday's win. Others who notched top-10 finishes included NHL player Joe Pavelski, retired NBA star Ray Allen and fellow former quarterbacks Trent Dilfer and Mark Rypien.

      Earlier this year, Romo failed to qualify for the U.S. Open at Gleneagles Country Club in Plano, Texas, shooting a 5-over-par 77 at a local qualifier.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ravens place Yanda on PUP
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    The Baltimore Ravens placed six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda on the physically unable to perform list ahead of veterans reporting to training camp on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

    • Yanda, 33, suffered a season-ending fractured ankle in 2017, playing in only two games. That was after missing a total of four games over the previous six seasons.

      Being on the PUP list means the two-time All-Pro will continue his rehab and will not practice until he is activated. Baltimore begins its training camp earlier than most teams with the Ravens participating in the Hall of Fame Game.

      The team also placed defensive lineman Brent Urban, tight end Vince Mayle, cornerback Jaylen Hill, linebacker Bam Bradley and wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo on the PUP list.

      Players on the training camp PUP list are eligible to be activated any time before the start of the regular season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NFL teams' rev share topped $8B in '17
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    A glimpse into the Green Bay Packers' books shows that NFL teams raked in about $255 million each in 2017, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell.

    • As a public company, the Green Bay Packers must share their financial information. And the information the Packers released Monday showed the amount the teams received in revenue sharing, representing a total of more than $8 billion to the league's 32 teams.

      The money primarily came from revenue from the league's television packages, Rovell reported. That is an increase of 4.9 percent, due in part to the rising value of the NFL Thursday Night Football franchise.

      Packers president Mark Murphy said the lingering effect of some NFL issues, including the national anthem controversy, did not harm to bottom line.

      The Packers also took in nearly $200 million from local revenue sources, although Murphy said that missing the playoffs for the first time in a decade did significantly impact revenue. The Packers reported a profit from operations of $34.1 million - down from $65.4 million the previous season. Expenses also rose 11.9 percent.

      "This is the first year since 2008 that we were not in the playoffs, and I think that had an impact on us," Murphy said. "We didn't have a home playoff game and some of our visitation numbers were down a little bit. We don't see that as a negative trend."

      Since the end of last season, Brian Gutekunst has taken over for Ted Thompson as general manager and both coordinators have been changed - to Mike Pettine on defense and Joe Philbin on offense. Most important, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be back to 100 percent entering training camp.

      "Certainly, having Aaron healthy is a part of that, but I think some of the changes we've made coaching staff as well as the draft and players we've added ... I think people are excited for the season," Murphy said. "You add on top of that the 100 seasons, it should, knock on wood, be a good year."

      --Field Level Media

  • Agent: 2018 will be RB Bell's last in Pittsburgh as no franchise players reach deal
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    The deadline for players given the franchise tag to sign long-term deals passed with a relative thud Monday -- until Le'Veon Bell's agent dropped a bombshell.

    • Sixteen minutes before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that none of the four players who fall into that class -- Los Angeles Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner, Detroit defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Dallas defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, and Bell, the Pittsburgh running back -- would sign a long-term deal. Then he tweeted comments from Adisa Bakari, Bell's agent, stating that the All-Pro's days with the Steelers are numbered.

      "His intention was to retire as a Steeler," Bakari told Schefter of Bell, who will play his second straight season under the tag. "But now that there's no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will Le'Veon's last season as a Steeler. ... It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player."

      Shortly afterward, Bell himself tweeted a note to Steelers fans, reiterating much of what his agent said but not committing to 2018 being his last season in Pittsburgh: "to all my Steeler fans, my desire always has been to retire a Steeler...both sides worked extremely hard today to make that happen, but the NFL is a hard business at times...to the fans that had hope, I'm sorry we let youu [sic] down but trust me, 2018 will be my best season to date..."

      Earlier Monday, Schefter reportedly said Bell could sit out half of the upcoming season if he did not reach a long-term agreement, with the hope of being healthy for another free-agent window come next year.

      "I think it's possible Le'Veon Bell sits out first half of the year if he doesn't get a long-term deal done," Schefter reportedly said on SiriusXM. "The goal at that point would be to hit 2019 free agency healthy, not rack up another 400 touches."

      Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a statement, saying, "Even though we could not reach a long-term contract agreement with Le'Veon Bell, we are excited he will be with the team in 2018. We worked very hard to find common ground, but we were unable to accomplish that prior to today's deadline. Le'Veon will play this season under the exclusive franchise tag designation."

      "After the 2018 season is completed, we again will attempt to work out a long-term contract with Le'Veon in the hope that he will continue his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers," he continued.

      As Schefter pointed out, this would make Bell, 26, the marquee free agent next offseason.

      In his five seasons in Pittsburgh, Bell has had at least 1,200 yards rushing and 600 yards receiving three times. He is a two-time first-team All-Pro, has been named to three Pro Bowls and is generally regarded as the best all-around running back in the league.

      But his contract squabbles with the club have become an annual offseason ritual.

      After not signing under the franchise tag until Sept. 4 last season, Bell averaged fewer than 3.5 yards per carry through the first three weeks. But he finished with a league-high 321 carries for 1,291 yards along with 85 catches for 655 yards and 11 total touchdowns.

      The two franchise-tag contracts for Bell -- 2017 and 2018 -- will total a combined $26.62 million, ESPN reported.

      According to ESPN, Bell's 7,996 total yards through 62 career regular-season games is the most of any NFL player in that span since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, ahead of Eric Dickerson (7,842).

      According to NFL operations, the franchise tag rule that applies to all four of the aforementioned players reads:

      "At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2018 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club's last regular season game."

      --Field Level Media

  • Ex-QB Esiason leaving NFL radio role
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is giving up one of his media jobs.

    • Esiason confirmed Monday that he is leaving his position as analyst on Westwood One's broadcast of Monday Night Football. He said "the timing was right for me to step away," according to USA Today.

      He had worked on the Monday night broadcast for 18 years, partnering most recently with Kevin Harlan. He called the Super Bowl, as well, each of those years.

      Esiason cited a busy schedule as his reason for dropping this job. He also hosts a daily drive-time radio show in New York and works on both CBS' "The NFL Today" and on "Inside the NFL" on Showtime. He also runs the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which raises money to fight cystic fibrosis. He formed the foundation in 1993 after his son, Gunnar, was diagnosed with the condition.

      Now 57, Esiason spent 14 years in the NFL, playing with Cincinnati, Arizona and the New York Jets. He led the Bengals to the Super Bowl following the 1988 season, the same year he was named NFL Most Valuable Player.

      The New York Post reported Monday that another former MVP quarterback, Kurt Warner, is the leading candidate to take over for Esiason on the radio broadcasts.

      Newsday reported Esiason will do one more game on Westwood One -- the regular-season opener between the Falcons and Eagles in Philadelphia.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bears' top draft choice not in camp as rookies report
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Linebacker Roquan Smith, the Chicago Bears' first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, remains unsigned and did not report to training camp with the other rookies Monday, according to multiple reports.

    • Chicago's rookies were required to report Monday because the team is playing in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. The rest of the team is scheduled to report Thursday.

      Smith, who went to Georgia, was chosen with the No. 8 overall pick in the draft. He won the Butkus Award in 2017 after a season in which he had 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks for the Bulldogs. He is expected to start for the Bears this season.

      He remains one of 13 unsigned first-round draft picks, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

      Smith's salary will be set by the NFL rookie wage scale. The holdup in Smith's deal reportedly is offset language, which would outline the amount of money he'd receive if the Bears release him before his contract ends.

      The Bears' top selection in the 2017 draft, Mitchell Trubisky, signed on the opening day of rookie camp last July.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Jets releasing injury-plagued WR Smith
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    The New York Jets are giving up on injury-plagued wide receiver Devin Smith, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

    • The 37th overall pick out of Ohio State in 2015, Smith has managed just 10 catches in 14 games with the Jets.

      A torn anterior cruciate ligament cost him most of 2016 and then all of 2017 when he reinjured it during the first team workout of the year.

      Smith had one year left on his four-year rookie deal and had expressed optimism about proving himself this season.

      "I'm just taking it day by day, just keeping my faith and knowing my time is coming," Smith said from OTAs in June. "It has been tough. There are days where I sit back and ask, 'Why is this happening to me?' I try to just look at the positives and see that I'm still able to play this game and I am getting healthy."

      --Field Level Media

  • Eagles QB Wentz marries fiancee
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    Carson Wentz just keeps adding jewelry this offseason.

    • First, there was the ring for winning Super Bowl LII over the New England Patriots in February.

      On Sunday, he added an even more momentous one -- a wedding ring.

      The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback wed his fiancee Maddie on Sunday and took to social media to celebrate.

      "Such a blessing to finally get to marry my best friend! It was an incredible day and God has his fingerprints all over our story! I'm a lucky man with one amazing wife," he wrote in a post accompanied by photos from the ceremony.

      They were engaged two days after the Super Bowl.

      Wentz missed the playoffs and Super Bowl after he was injured against the Los Angeles Rams in December, tearing his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments and requiring surgery shortly thereafter.

      He was cleared last month for controlled 7-on-7 drills during organized team activities.

      --Field Level Media

  • Tomlin 'excited and hopeful' as deadline to sign Bell looms
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 16, 2018

    As the deadline to sign running back Le'Veon Bell to a long-term deal nears, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is optimistic that the team can reach an agreement with its star running back.

    • "Obviously we want to get a deal done, he wants to get a deal done; everybody has said that," Tomlin said in a television interview with WAVY Channel 10 in Norfolk, Va. "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."

      However, there are still hurdles to clear before Bell and the Steelers reach an end to their two-year contract dispute. According to ESPN, the Steelers and Bell will continue talking up until the 4 p.m. ET deadline on Monday evening, but they are not close to a deal at this time and an agreement will be challenging.

      Last summer, Bell also sought a long-term deal after being franchise tagged, to remain with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, but the two sides could not agree on terms. Bell skipped training camp last summer until eventually signing to play on $12.12 million franchise tag on Sept. 4.

      If Bell doesn't receive an offer that fits his preferences, he is prepared to play on this year's tag, which is worth $14.5 million. He has yet to sign or report to any of the Steelers' offseason workouts this summer. He cannot be fined for missing any mandatory practices until he signs his franchise tender.

      Only two NFL running backs currently make at least $8 million annually on a multi-year deal, in Devonta Freeman ($8.25 million) and LeSean McCoy ($8 million).

      In 2017, Bell earned All-Pro honors after he rushed for 1,291 yards on an NFL-leading 321 carries, caught 85 passes for 655 yards and scored 11 total touchdowns. For his career, Bell has 7,996 scrimmage yards, the most since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger in a player's first five seasons.

      --Field Level Media