Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday he failed to live up to his responsibilities in 2018 as team captain.

“I lacked in leadership,” he told reporters at organized team activities, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “Because that’s my job as the leader of this team, to get us to the playoffs. I’m gonna need to focus and refocus my energy and time on, how can I be a better leader to get us back to the playoffs?”

The admission came a day after Roethlisberger publicly apologized to former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for using the media to criticize him during the season. 

A frayed relationship between Roethlisberger and Brown led the latter to request a trade after the 2018 campaign. Roethlisberger said he tried to mend fences with Brown but wasn’t able to connect with him.

“It was hard to process it, because I never knew anything,” he said of the wideout’s exit. “Last time we spoke was on Thursday before the last game. We hugged. We had a great talk. Everything was good. I knew nothing. So, it was hard for me to know anything. Then I heard from a third party there were issues. I reached out to him many times, sent him texts, sent him calls – this is all before the season was over. Never heard back. So I could never really find out what was going on.

“For me, that’s why it was so confusing. I didn’t know where it came from. … I never really saw any of it coming. I would have loved to have had the chance to talk to him. That’s why I said yesterday, whatever I did to offend him, I apologize for it. I tried to do that in person, talk to him. He wouldn’t allow me to.”

Roethlisberger led the league in passing last year, but the mercurial Steelers went 9-6-1 and missed the postseason for the first time since 2013. Pittsburgh suffered from internal discord throughout the season, with Roethlisberger, Brown, and Le’Veon Bell all drawing attention to themselves for various reasons.

In an attempt to develop a tighter-knit locker room in 2019, Roethlisberger noted he’s making a greater effort to get to know his teammates, recently taking a group his lake house.

“You just have to focus on the guys that are here and make sure they are good,” he said. “Everyone I’ve talked to is good with me. … We’ve been attacked from all angles this year, this offseason. We just need to stick together and have each other’s backs.”

Chris Long is no longer an active member of the NFL, which gives the now-retired defensive end the freedom to speak about topics he would’ve been forced to avoid during his playing career.

The two-time Super Bowl winner did just that Wednesday on the “Dan Patrick Show,” opening up about his belief that the NFL should ease restrictions on marijuana and revealing he took the banned drug while in the league.

“We should be headed to a place where we allow players to enjoy what I would not even call a drug – it’’ far less dangerous than guzzling a fifth of alcohol and going out after a game,” Long said, according to Yahoo Sports’ Shalise Manza Young.

“Chances are the player won’t even make it to the club (laughs) to do this sort of thing that we all kind of wag our finger at when we hear about a guy getting in a fight or getting a DUI, you’re never going to read about him sitting on the couch and binge-watching ‘Game of Thrones’ again.

“I think from a standpoint of what’s safer for people and the player, certainly people in the spotlight, it is far less harmful than alcohol, it is far less harmful than tobacco, and at various points in the league’s history, they have engaged in partnerships on different levels with those respective industries.”

Long opted not to make a guess at the league-wide usage of marijuana – which some ex-players have previously put as high as 89 percent – but admitted he regularly used it to help deal with the pressures of NFL life.

“I’m not a dry snitch, I’m not going to put a percentage on how much the league smokes, but I certainly enjoyed my fair share on a regular basis throughout my career,” Long said. “So, you know, and I was never afraid to say that and I’m able to say it more explicitly now: if not for that, I’m not as capable of coping with the stressors of day-to-day NFL life. A lot of guys get a lot of pain management out of it. Toradol did more pain management for me.”

On Tuesday, the NFL and NFL Players Association announced a new initiative aimed at researching players’ pain management, which could potentially lead to a change in the league’s attitude toward marijuana.

Despite the Oakland Raiders‘ constant support of Derek Carr, speculation the team would target a quarterback in the draft ran rampant all offseason.

The Raiders ultimately didn’t land a new passer following rumored interest in two of the class’ top prospects, Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins, the latter of whom was available with the team’s top first-round pick.

Carr said Tuesday there was a “minus-47 percent chance in my mind” Oakland would take a quarterback, but admitted to finding the process draining. 

“Honestly, it got annoying after a while,” Carr said after the team’s first OTA practice, according to ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “I’m like, ‘Really, they don’t have nothing else to talk about?’ And I didn’t help the situation, trying to challenge people to fights.” (After being criticized by ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman in January, Carr tweeted out for the two TV analysts to meet him in the UFC’s Octagon.)

The 2014 second-round pick appeared to be on track to become one of the league’s best pivots after an MVP-caliber season in 2016. However, Carr’s performance since then has failed to meet expectations, and the arrival of head coach Jon Gruden last year did little to help cement Carr’s place as the team’s franchise player.

Oakland could potentially move on from Carr following the 2019 campaign. Although he’s contracted through 2022 after signing a $125-million extension in 2017, releasing him next offseason would incur a dead money hit of just $5 million versus a cap hit of $22.5 million, according to Spotrac.

Carr, though, is confident he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

“They pretty much said that, literally every time it came up,” Carr said. “If it came up. And we’re not just playing for this year. I’m honestly going to be here for a long time.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are nearing a one-year deal with free-agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, citing a source.

Tampa Bay’s big addition on the interior comes just one day after the club parted ways with its longtime leader, six-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy.

Selected No. 2 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2010 – one spot ahead of where McCoy landed with the Bucs – Suh has put together a phenomenal pro career. He’s started 142 games over nine seasons, recording 56 sacks while earning three first-team All-Pro nods.

The 32-year-old now joins the Buccaneers after a one-year stint in Los Angeles, where his presence alongside Aaron Donald helped the Rams get to their first Super Bowl since 2001.

For the first time in more than four decades, the Buffalo Bills have issued O.J. Simpson’s No. 32 to another player.

Running back Senorise Perry, who joined the Bills in March after spending the past two seasons with the Miami Dolphins, has been wearing Simpson’s old jersey number during Buffalo’s offseason program.

“I thought it was retired, but then I was told it was available,” Perry told Tim Graham of The Athletic. “Boom, I took it.”

Simpson has no issue with the Bills giving out his number. 

“Whatever they do is fine with me,” the Hall of Fame running back said. “That’s how I feel. When I played there, I tried to honor the team. Since I left, I always tried to honor the Bills.”

Simpson played for the Bills from 1969 to 1977, winning four rushing titles during that time.

The New England Patriots have signed star wide receiver Julian Edelman to a two-year contract extension worth $18 million, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported, citing a source.

Fresh off earning MVP honors in the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl victory, the 32-year-old Edelman also reportedly received an $8-million signing bonus along with $12 million in guaranteed money.

The extension will begin after the remaining year on his current contract and will keep Edelman in New England through the 2021 campaign, which would be Tom Brady‘s age-44 season.

A former college quarterback who landed with the Patriots as a seventh-round pick in 2009, Edelman has long been one of the league’s most productive slot receivers.

The 2019 campaign marked one of his most efficient to date, as he racked up 74 receptions for 850 yards and six touchdowns after returning from a four-game suspension to start the year.

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster will miss the 2019 season after tearing his ACL during practice Monday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Foster is believed to have incurred additional damage to his knee and is meeting with medical specialists to determine the full extent of the injury, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Foster was reinstated to the Redskins’ roster in April after the NFL determined it had no grounds to suspend him following its review of a domestic violence complaint.

The third-year defender was acquired last season via waivers from the San Francisco 49ers, who cut ties with him amid troubling allegations.

Foster appeared in only six games last year, compiling 29 tackles for the 49ers, but he flashed excellence as a rookie, posting 72 tackles in 10 games.

The 25-year-old was a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2017, and he was expected to anchor the Redskins’ linebacker corps in 2019.