Report: Bills pursuing new stadium in Orchard Park
The team investigated a move to downtown Buffalo but has decided to stay in Orchard Park, its home since 1973. Their lease at Highmark Stadium runs out after the 2023 season.
The venue, previously called Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, New Era Field and Bills Stadium, is the fourth-oldest in the National Football League, after Soldier Field in Chicago, Lambeau Field in Green Bay and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Plans call for a new stadium to be open to the harsh Buffalo elements, with a partial covering for stands.
Per the report, the project still needs to secure funding and government approvals before construction can begin. The timeline could be as long as five years for a new stadium.
Should the project proceed, the Bills would need to extend the lease at Highmark Stadium or find a temporary home, with Toronto and Penn State University both possibilities, the station said.
Toronto is about a two-hour drive from Buffalo; Penn State four.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said during Super Bowl week in 2020 that the Bills need a stadium similar to those of other NFL teams.
"I think everyone's committed to that," he said, "whether it's a new significant renovation or whether it's a completely new facility in a new location."
Washington Football Team trademark application rejected
The trademark is "Washington Football Club," which was granted to Philip McCaulay of Virginia. Sensing the franchise one day would drop the controversial "Redskins" nickname it has used since 1933, McCaulay applied for trademarks to numerous names that he believed would be possibilities for the team.
The federal office denied the application for the trademark, which the team sought to use for apparel, on Friday. The official grounds were the "likelihood of confusion refusal" and "geographically descriptive refusal." The denial said when it comes to geographic names, they are "free for all businesses operating in the same area to inform customers where their goods or services originate."
The team can appeal by presenting evidence and arguments. They also could attempt to work with McCaulay to obtain the trademark rights.
Team owner Daniel Snyder agreed in July 2020 to strip the team of the "Redskins" name after years of protests that the name was disparaging to Native Americans. Washington Football Team was installed as a temporary name, and it will remain for the 2021 season.
It is among the list of potentially permanent names sent to season-ticket holders in April for their input. CBS Sports reported then that list included names such as Ambassadors, Belters, Defenders, First City Football Club (FCFC), Griffins, Redwolves, Rubies and Swift.
Report: Bills planning new outdoor stadium in Orchard Park
The open-air facility would include partial covering for seating areas and would require 3-5 years to finish, opening as soon as 2025 but more likely in 2026 or 2027.
The report said downtown Buffalo was given strong consideration as a building site, but remaining in Orchard Park is more cost effective.
"The team still needs to obtain government approvals in a variety of areas, including funding. All of which could delay the timeline," read the report.
The Bills have played at their current stadium, now called Highmark Stadium, since 1973. It is the fourth-oldest NFL stadium presently in use behind Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium (opened in 1972), Green Bay's Lambeau Field (1957) and Chicago's Soldier Field (1924).
Highmark Stadium has previously been known as Bills Stadium, New Era Field, Ralph Wilson Stadium and Rich Stadium.
The Bills' current lease at Highmark Stadium expires in 2023. To bridge the gap until the opening of a new facility, the team could either extend the lease with Erie County and New York or potentially play home games in Toronto or at Penn State University in State College, Pa., per the report.
Report: 5-time Pro Bowl G Trai Turner visits Steelers
The 28-year-old, a five-time Pro Bowler, was released by the Los Angeles Chargers on March 12, saving $11.5 million against the salary cap.
Turner started nine games at right guard in his only season with the Chargers in 2020, missing one game with a knee injury and six with a groin injury.
Drafted in the third round by Carolina in 2014 out of LSU, Turner started 80 of his 84 games with the Panthers from 2014-19 and made the Pro Bowl in each of his last five seasons there.
Cole Beasley talks with union after virus protocols complaints
Beasley said he is not inoculated against COVID-19 and made it clear he did not want to receive the vaccine.
"Now we have spoken and are working through it," Beasley wrote in a reply tweet to a Bills reporter. "From what Ive (sic) been told these are guidelines for preseason and it's nothing final."
On Thursday, Beasley aired complaints about the league's updated COVID-19 protocols for training camp and the preseason, which allow for fully vaccinated players to return mostly to how things were done before the pandemic but keeps stricter guidelines in place for unvaccinated individuals.
Beasley, 32, called the NFLPA a "joke" and asked if anyone will "fight for the players."
The NFL is not requiring players to get vaccinated. However, its new protocols may encourage some to do so due to the lesser restrictions.
Unvaccinated players will still need to be tested daily for COVID-19 and must keep wearing masks while in team facilities. They cannot interact with anyone outside of their team's traveling party when on the road. And they will still be required to quarantine if deemed a close contact of a high-risk COVID exposure.
For vaccinated players, these guidelines will be removed or loosened.
Other NFL players, including Washington edge rusher Montez Sweat and Carolina quarterback Sam Darnold, have expressed skepticism or uncertainty about whether to receive the vaccine.
The three vaccines authorized in the U.S. have all been deemed safe by the CDC and have high levels of efficacy.
"I'm not going to take meds for a leg that isn't broken," Beasley wrote in another post Friday. "I'd rather take my chances with Covid and build up immunity that way."
Beasley set career highs with 82 catches and 967 receiving yards in 2020, his second season in Buffalo after playing seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Tom Brady on playing until 50: 'That’s a long time. Even for me'
With that said, the 43-year-old quarterback recently was asked if he could play until he's 50. That number came up courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht, who said last month that if Brady "wants to play 'til he's 50 and he's still playing and he feels like he can still play, then he'll play until he's 50."
Brady, however, said he has his doubts about that.
"Fifty? That's a long time. Even for me, that's a long time," Brady told USA Today in advance of his 22nd NFL season. "I've always said 45 was the age that I wanted to reach and that was my goal. This year I'll be 44, so next year I'll be 45. I got a two-year contract.
"I'm going to be able to obviously play this year and God forbid anything happens but play next year and then see what happens after that. If I still want to keep playing, I might be able to do that. And if that's enough, then that would be enough."
Brady, who turns 44 on Aug. 3, won his seventh Super Bowl title in February while playing in his first season with the Buccaneers after 20 with the New England Patriots. He threw three touchdown passes in Tampa Bay's 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl MVP honors for the fifth time.
Brady threw for 4,633 yards last season and tossed a team-record 40 touchdown passes, the second-highest total in a single season in his career.
Packers have 'one plan' regardless of quarterback
"We'll have one plan," LaFleur said Thursday. "We've pretty much laid that out. Just kind of going to fine-tune some things over the next few weeks. Just in terms of logistics of our schedule and whatnot. We've got what we feel is a pretty good blueprint in terms of how to get our guys ready to play."
With Rodgers and the Packers entangled in a tense stalemate, second-year quarterback Love has taken the majority of snaps in organized tram activities and last week at minicamp.
"It's the same message it's been all the time is you're only one play away, so you always have to prepare like you're the starter," LaFleur said. "And just to be very intentional about the work that you put in, to go out there with a purpose. To be mindful and in the moment. Every rep for him is so critical, whether it's on air, on his own or it's with us in 11-on-11 situations and he's getting that constant coaching. And I think he's done a great job of embracing just the whole situation, embracing learning from every rep."
Rodgers, 37, has played with the Packers for his entire 16-year career. He has passed for 51,245 yards and 412 touchdowns, and he won a Super Bowl ring with the franchise at the end of the 2010 season.
Love was selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft by Green Bay, a move that didn't sit well with Rodgers.
Rodgers wanted offensive help that could contribute right away and definitely wasn't expecting the team to select his potential replacement.
Rodgers seemed motivated by the situation and had a stellar season that included a career-best 48 touchdown passes along with 4,299 yards and just five interceptions, helping the Packers reach the NFC title game and earning his third league MVP award.
Bears sign TE Jake Butt, DT Mike Pennel, T Tyrone Wheatley Jr.
The three free agents participated in full-squad minicamp this week as a tryout.
The Bears waived undrafted rookies Thomas Schaffler, a defensive lineman, and tackle Gunnar Vogel to make room on the roster.
Butt, who turns 26 next month, has been limited to just eight NFL games since the Denver Broncos selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He tore his ACL in his final college game in the Orange Bowl with Michigan and missed his rookie season. In 2018 he suffered the same injury, spent 2019 on injured reserve and was hampered by a hamstring injury in 2020.
He had 10 catches for 90 yards with the Broncos.
Pennel, 30, has played in 91 games (16 starts) with the Green Bay Packers (2014-16), New York Jets (2017-18) and Kansas City Chiefs (2019-20). He has 155 career tackles (eight for loss) and two sacks.
Wheatley, a tight end in college at Michigan and Stony Brook, moved to tackle in The Spring League, a developmental league for NFL hopefuls. His father, Tyrone Wheatley, was an NFL running back for 10 seasons with the New York Giants (1995-98) and Oakland Raiders (1999-2004).
Jaguars sign former first-round WR Laquon Treadwell
Treadwell, 26, has endured a slow start to his NFL career since being selected by the Minnesota Vikings with the 23rd overall pick of the 2016 draft. He has recorded 71 receptions for 750 yards and four touchdowns in 58 career games with the Vikings and Atlanta Falcons.
Treadwell caught six passes for 49 yards and a career-best two scores in five games with the Falcons in 2020.
Wide receiver Jon'Vea Johnson was waived in a corresponding move. Johnson, 25, initially was acquired of waivers from the Dallas Cowboys on March 20.
49ers DE Jordan Willis suspended six games for PED violation
Willis, 26, is still allowed to participate in offseason activities, as well as the preseason, however he will be required to steer clear of the team when the regular season begins. He will be permitted to return to the roster after the conclusion of San Francisco's Week 7 contest against the Indianapolis Colts. The 49ers have a Week 6 bye.
Willis signed a one-year contract in March to remain with the 49ers.
After playing in two games with the New York Jets last season, Willis was traded to the 49ers along with a seventh-round pick in 2021 for a sixth-round pick in 2022. He totaled 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery during his nine games with both teams.
Willis has recorded 65 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in 50 career games with the Cincinnati Bengals, Jets and 49ers. The Bengals selected Willis in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Reports: 85 percent of Dolphins, Saints players fully vaccinated
Teams that have 85 percent of their players fully vaccinated are expected to have relaxed protocols this summer and during the upcoming season, although the full nature of those relaxations has not been announced.
Earlier this month, New Orleans coach Sean Payton told the Athletic that every Saints Tier 1 and Tier 2 employee had been vaccinated. Tier 1 employees are those who have the closest contact with players, such as coaches and trainers. Tier 2 employees are those with some close contact with players, such as general managers and football operations staff.
Reaching the threshold of 85 percent for players is what teams need to achieve to relax certain restrictions on player gatherings.
On Wednesday, the NFL announced unvaccinated players would face much greater restrictions than vaccinated ones. In addition, unvaccinated employees could lose their ability to work with players directly in meeting rooms, training rooms and on the practice field.
Chiefs' Andy Reid on Le'Veon Bell: 'I wish him the best'
Over the weekend, Bell took to social media to talk about Reid.
"I'll never play for Andy Reid again," Bell wrote. "I'd retire first."
In follow-up comments on Twitter, Bell said he had a "personal problem" with Reid because of something the coach said to him without revealing what that was.
Reid made a brief remark to reporters Thursday.
"I enjoyed my time with him. I'm pulling for him," the veteran coach said. "That's how I roll. I wish him the best."
Bell joined the Chiefs last season on Oct. 17 -- three days after his release from the New York Jets.
The 29-year-old rushed for 254 yards and two touchdowns in nine games with the Chiefs. He had two carries for 6 yards in the AFC Divisional playoff win over the Cleveland Browns before being inactive for the AFC Championship Game vs. the Buffalo Bills.
Bell did not play in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bell was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers before sitting out the entire 2018 season on the franchise tag in a contract dispute.
After signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets in March 2019, Bell gained 1,250 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns in 15 starts with the team that season.
Bell has rushed for 6,453 yards and 40 touchdowns and caught 394 passes for 3,259 yards and eight scores in 88 games (81 starts) with the Steelers (2013-17), Jets (2019-20) and Chiefs (2020).
Bell is a free agent.
Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes share Madden '22 cover
The video game released in August is one of the most popular sports titles with a segment of fans who admittedly take a day off for the on-sale date.
"Whenever you first get on the cover, that's a special moment," Mahomes told ESPN. "So to be on it again, twice, with an all-time great like Tom Brady, it's a special moment that I'm glad that I'm able to do so soon after I had done it the first time.
"I'll be able to have it for the rest of my life and be able to show my kids and my kids' kids that I was on it two times."
Brady and Mahomes are each on the cover for the second time, with Brady (then with the New England Patriots) gracing Madden '18 and Mahomes on Madden '20.
Brady was MVP of Super Bowl LV as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in February. Mahomes led the Chiefs to a win in the NFL title game the previous season and won MVP honors.
The last time two players shared the cover was Madden '10 with Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu.
Brady debuted in Madden '01 with a player rating of 57, but not by name. He was listed as QB No. 12 and fourth-string with the Patriots.
Mahomes was a member of the "99 Club" last year, a nod to the near-perfect rating given to only a select class of NFL players. He has been the top-rated quarterback in Madden the past two years.
Vince Wilfork's son charged with stealing dad's Super Bowl rings
A police complaint released by the Galveston County District Attorney's Office in Texas this week revealed 23-year-old D'Aundre Holmes-Wilfork was arrested May 22 and charged with theft of property greater than $300,000.
Holmes-Wilfork was no longer listed as in custody at the jail as of Tuesday morning, according to the Galveston County Daily News.
Wilfork played in the NFL from 2004-16, primarily as a member of the New England Patriots. He won Super Bowls with the club following the 2004 and 2014 seasons. Wilfork was first-team All-Pro in 2012 and was named to the Pro Bowl five times.
According to the complaint, Wilfork reported his jewelry missing on May 10. Items cited included his two Super Bowl rings, two AFC Championship Game rings and a Miami Hurricanes college football championship ring.
Wilfork first noticed the items missing a year prior but believed them to be in storage. He was contacted by a fan earlier this year when the Super Bowl rings were up for sale, alerting him to the theft.
The person who claimed to own the rings said they were purchased from Holmes-Wilfork for $62,000 in May 2020, according to the complaint. Police have since recovered the rings.
Ravens' Lamar Jackson focused on Super Bowl, not contract
Jackson, 24, was named the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player and guided the Ravens to three trips to the postseason since entering the league as a first-round pick (32nd overall) in the 2018 draft.
"I ain't going to lie to you. I'm not really focused on that right now," Jackson said of a potential contract extension. "I'm focused on getting me a Super Bowl. Focused on getting better, and focused on working with my teammates right now ... trying to bring a Super Bowl here."
The Ravens exercised the fifth-year option for Jackson in April. He is guaranteed $23.016 million in 2022, although Jackson is scheduled to make $1.771 million this season as he enters the final season of a four-year, $9.47 million rookie contract.
"Lamar understands what's important. Look what he's done. He's going to get paid and he knows that," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday.
Jackson has appeared in 46 regular-season games with the Ravens and is 30-7 as a starter. He's thrown for 7,085 yards with 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He's also had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and has 19 touchdowns on the ground.
In the playoffs, he is 1-3 as a starter, and his completion percentage is just 55.9 percent compared to 64 percent in the regular season. He has thrown three touchdown passes and five interceptions in the playoffs.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield: 'No rush' to sign extension
"It will handle itself," Mayfield said. "I'm sure (agents) Tom and Jack Mills are handling that. I don't try and feed too much into that because it's wasting my time and energy and thought process on stuff that I am not in control of right now, so I'm gonna handle what I can control."
The Browns already have exercised the fifth-year option on Mayfield for 2022, with the top overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft set to earn $18.858 million.
Mayfield, 26, has a 23-22 record as a starter in the regular season, including an 11-5 record last season. In 2020, he completed 62.8 percent of his pass attempts for 3,563 yards to go with 26 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions.
He led the Browns to an upset 48-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wildcard playoffs. Cleveland lost to Kansas City 22-17 in the divisional round.
Jags' Brian Schottenheimer: 'Too early' to name starting QB
"It's still too early to say how this thing's going to play out," Schottenheimer said, according to ESPN.
Too early for Schottenheimer, perhaps, but all signs point to the former Clemson quarterback being under center when the Jaguars kick off the season at Houston on Sept. 12.
Lawrence is the overwhelming favorite to be the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year at +300 at PointsBet.
The 6-foot-6 Lawrence is regarded as a generational talent and the 21-year-old face of the franchise, which drafted him with the No. 1 overall pick on April 29.
He was 34-2 as a three-year starter at Clemson, completing 66.6 percent of his passes for 10,098 yards with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Lawrence led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff national championship as a 2018 freshman.
The other quarterbacks on first-year head coach Urban Meyer's roster are Gardner Minshew II, C.J. Beathard and Jake Luton.
Report: Burrow expects knee to be 100% by training camp
On Tuesday, Burrow, who tore multiple ligaments at Washington on Nov. 22, perhaps accelerated news about his recovery, said he expects to be fully healthy by the time training camp opens in late July. He estimated the injury to be about 85 percent healed, according to ESPN.
"The knee still has a little ways to go, but my upper body, my right leg, everything else feels better than it ever has before," Burrow said. "When I'm on the field and executing, I'm playing better than I ever have before. So I'll continue the program we were on and get back to 100 percent before camp."
Ten practices into the offseason, Burrow said he has had no difficulties with the knee. His comments came at the team's mandatory minicamp in Cincinnati.
Burrow, whom the Bengals took with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft out of LSU, started the first 10 games last season, completing 65.3 percent of his passes for 2,688 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed for three touchdowns.
The Bengals organization, heavily criticized for the inexperience and inability of its offensive line in Burrow's first season, expect improvements on a few fronts. He was sacked 32 times.
The team signed standout offensive tackle Riley Reiff, a nine-year veteran who has played the last four seasons with the Vikings. Cincinnati also made Clemson offensive tackle Jackson Carman its second-round pick this spring, and used a fourth-round selection on East Carolina offensive tackle D'Ante Smith.
Notably, the Bengals, who drafted No. 5 overall in April, passed on Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell and chose a wide receiver and former LSU teammate of Burrow's, Ja'Marr Chase.
Cam Newton says no extra motivation from Mac Jones' presence
When the Patriots drafted Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round in April, many wondered if Newton would feel slighted as New England's incumbent at the position.
Newton said he doesn't see it that way.
"Absolutely not," he said. "He was the right pick in my opinion. He was the best player available, and that's what the NFL draft is for."
Newton was speaking to the media for the first time since re-signing in March.
"As far as having any chip on the shoulder, you're stating the obvious," he added. "I don't need too much to get myself going. It's no disrespect to Mac. It's no disrespect to (coach) Bill (Belichick) and his decision. I support it 110 percent, because you still have to do what's right for the organization, for the long haul."
Belichick said after the draft that Newton is the team's quarterback, and Newton has taken the first-team reps so far in minicamp.
Newton has given the young quarterback the nickname "Mac and Cheese," as Newton is wont to toss nicknames around for many teammates, and he said Jones is going through what every rookie does.
"Mac and Cheese, he's pretty cool. He's quiet. I think he's trying to figure everybody out," the 32-year-old former NFL Most Valuable Player said. "I've been there before. I've been a rookie and I've been a first-round pick, where so much is asked from you.
"He's doing a great job with being everything that's advertised -- from a leadership perspective, he's holding himself accountable. That's all you can ask from a young player."
With quarterbacks Jarret Stidham and Brian Hoyer also on the roster, Newton said every one of the four wants to be the starter, and he's just happy he has more time to absorb the team's intricate offense after not signing until July of last year.
"In the latter part of the season, it just caught up to me," Newton said. "I was thinking too much. There just wasn't enough hours in the day.
"You can't simulate real, live bullets and that's what it came down to."
The Patriots struggled through a 7-9 season in 2020 and missed the playoffs in their first year without superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who played for the team from 2000-19 and won six Super Bowls for New England. He won his seventh Super Bowl championship last season after joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kellen Mond signs rookie deal with Vikings
The No. 66 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Mond brings a wealth of experience from his time at Texas A&M to the table. A four-year starter, Mond saw his touchdown-to-interception ration spike dramatically in 2020, from a 2:1 ratio up to 6:1.
He threw for 2,282 yards with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions in 10 games in 2020, leading the Aggies to a 9-1 finish. He participated in the Senior Bowl, earning MVP honors.
Mond joins returnees Jake Browning and Nate Stanley as backup options to starter Kirk Cousins. Browning has bounced on and off the roster over his two years, while Stanley was a 2020 seventh-round pick.
Cousins is coming off a 2020 that saw him throw for 4,265 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.