Monthly Archives: July 2016

Le’Veon Bell plans to appeal suspension in August

Last year, the Steelers went 7-3 in the 10 games Bell missed. He rushed for 556 yards and three touchdowns over six games last year. His 2014 season — 1,361 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 83 receptions for 854 yards and three touchdowns — stands as the benchmark of his potential.

Let’s start with the look.

Okay…NOW it’s official.

We have re-signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t pass the NFL quarterback eye test. He wasn’t blessed with the stature of Cam Newton, arm of Carson Palmer or presence of Aaron Rodgers. If we’re being honest, he looks more like a tertiary character on Game Of Thrones. If we’re being totally honest, he might best resemble a veteran place kicker who fell down a well.

Fitzpatrick’s decision to grow out his hair and beard during his contract standoff feels like a clever ploy from the Harvard guy. It’s like Fitzpatrick is telling us (and the rest of the NFL), “Isn’t it funny people were making such a big deal about me? I’m Ryan Fitzpatrick! There’s no need to take me seriously! You should probably focus elsewhere.” Fitzpatrick might just be the NFL’s answer to Billy Hoyle. A hustler disguised as a chump.

Fitzpatrick’s unassuming nature is one of the reasons Jets fans fell for him. Well, that and the fact that he was stunningly productive last year. He set the Jets’ franchise record with 31 touchdown passes, a reality that gets more shocking with time. His three-pick, crash-and-burn in Buffalo in Week 17 was unfortunate, but he was very nearly a hero there, too. Look it in, Kenbrell!

Over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old corner earned 30 passes defensed to go along with four interceptions. Last season, Slay allowed a passer rating of 90.1 when targeted in coverage with a completion percentage of 63.2. He was targeted 68 times, per NFL Media research.

Slay will lead a youthful Lions cornerback group that enters training camp with 2014 fourth-round pick Nevin Lawson slated to start opposite. Slay has shown the ability to travel with opposing No. 1 receivers and could be asked to do much more shadowing in 2016.

After the Lions lost two game-changing talents the past two years on both sides of the ball (Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson), locking down Slay was a priority for new general manager Bob Quinn. Friday’s payday ensures he’ll wear Honolulu Blue for the foreseeable future.

Bengals sign a kicker who has never made a field goal or extra point

“I played on the USA [national soccer] team and all that,” Brown said. “I was like top 40 for my class in the country out of high school. It was rough (to give up). But at the same time, no black people kick. I was like, ‘I’ve never kicked before. The odds are against me.’ I tried to fight it for the longest, but God’s going to get you to do what he wants you to do. I’m just doing his will I guess. I ended up going with it, just kept the faith and it led me here.”

While the Bengals know Brown will need a lot of work, they thought enough of him to give him a chance.

“He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said. “I thought he did OK. He’s got leg strength, but what you’re trying to bridge is how far the gap is between ready to play versus a project. Is the project part worthwhile? Will it be meaningful? There is a little bit of something there. That’s why he’s still here. He’s coachable.”

And Brown has already gotten the attention of Bengals’ incumbent kicker Mike Nugent.

“We kicked together (Monday) — very good,” Nugent admitted. “He hit the ball very consistently today and you can just tell, by talking to him for a couple minutes, that he’s coachable,” Nugent said. “I’m really big on that. You can talk to a kid for five minutes and be like all right, this kid is not listening to me. He was very coachable.”

“Coachable” is a good start, though the reality is that Brown — like most rookies — faces long odds to make it out of training camp.

If actions speak louder than words, Jimmy Haslam doesn’t seem to be a patient man. But maybe the Browns owner has changed. Two years after paying $100,000 for a study informing his franchise to draft Teddy Bridgewater — only to have a hobo convince Haslam that Johnny Manziel was the better choice — the team drafted another quarterback.

This time, the Browns waited until the third round to take former USC Trojan Cody Kessler. But unlike seasons past, Haslam will let the men he hired to run his football team do their jobs. And that includes first-year coach Hue Jackson, who has an impressive history when it comes to developing quarterbacks.

“His track record’s been pretty good,” Haslam said of Jackson, via Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “You all understand as well as we do the importance of that position. You just look at the teams that are really good in the NFL and for the most part they’re really good at that position.

The receiver explained in March that if he had moved or if someone had moved him, then he probably would’ve died on the field.

“I didn’t realize how serious it was until it was over,” Lockette said. “The doctor told me pretty much my skull, all the muscles, all the ligaments that connect my vertebrae. If I would have stood up then, the weight of my head, left right, front back, I would have died.”

During the time that Lockette was motionless on the field, a wrong move by anyone could’ve killed him.

“If one of my teammates had come over and pulled my arm just barely, I might have died,” Lockette said. “If the returner at the time would have broken a couple tackles and they would have fell on me on the field, I would have died.”

Fantasy Reaction: Le’Veon Bell suspension

Stepping in for Bell, DeAngelo Williams proved to be a valuable commodity for the Steelers and fake football managers. In Bell’s stead, Williams averaged nearly 18 carries per contest. He was FF’s RB1 overall from Weeks 9 through 16, closing out the season with 1,274 total yards and 11 scores. In a position to start 2016 as the team’s workhorse, the 33-year-old’s stock is, once again, on the rise. The virtual game’s most valuable handcuff, DWill’s ADP should easily jump into the sixth round.

Managers set on drafting an elite wideout in the first round would be wise to lean into Bell’s value. That strategy, however, will cost owners two roster spots, as Williams is a must-own commodity. Yet, given the growing number of platoon backfields… it’s a price worth paying.

Since December, the fight between the NFL and NFLPA over the report has gotten ugly. In June, the NFL blamed the NFLPA for delaying interviews with the players named in the report. When the NFL pushed to interview the players named in the report, Harrison countered by saying the league needed “credible evidence” since Sly recanted the allegations he had previously made.

Harrison even took the fight to Instagram, saying he’d only agree to an interview if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came to his house before training camp.

This latest report appears to serve as confirmation that Goodell turned down Harrison’s invitation.

Since assault allegations against Cowboys rookie Ezekiel Elliott surfaced Friday morning, Elliott himself has remained silent. Those on his side, though, are speaking out in his defense.

First, his agent’s office told TMZ, “I can assure you [the allegations] are not true.” Now, his father, Stacy Elliott, has released a statement defending his son, who denied the accusations when he spoke with police.

According to Elliott’s father, his son did “nothing wrong.” His statement, which comes via ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s Facebook page, in its entirety:
“The reported allegations and internet postings regarding our son are completely false. Ezekiel has done nothing wrong. The police have investigated this matter and eyewitnesses have verified the lack of any wrongdoing. The actual evidence in this matter clearly indicates what the real motivation was behind the police being called. We are confident that when the truth comes to light it will reveal the falsity of these claims. Ezekiel has been fully cooperative with the police and will continue to do so — along with cooperating with the NFL — moving forward.”