Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

Any members of the Green Bay Packers who may have been offended by quarterback Aaron Rodgers‘ critiques of a “piss poor” effort at practice last week may not want to pay attention to his defense of those comments, either.

“I hope we’re not that soft,” Rodgers said Monday, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I hope we can hear comments or read comments and not get offended by things. It’s a professional environment; it’s not a personal environment. The things I’m saying, I don’t have some vendetta against any player. I care about winning, No. 1, and I’m going to say and do the things that I feel like can advance us.”

The 34-year-old, six-time Pro Bowler says those types of criticisms are necessary to achieve success in the NFL.

“It’s going to be tough at some points. It’s not a popularity contest all the time. Obviously, as a human, you like being liked and appreciated, but I’m trying to win games because that’s my job,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers didn’t play in the Packers’ preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, but rookie wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown each topped 60 receiving yards with at least four receptions. Valdes-Scantling scored one of the team’s four touchdowns on the night.

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The Cleveland Browns have undergone a major overhaul but Jarvis Landry is anticipating one move that would potentially put them over the top.

Landry, who was acquired by the Browns in a March trade with the Miami Dolphins, believes his friend and New York Giants superstar Odell Beckham Jr.would be willing to play for Cleveland.

“If things like that are able to happen and the team can make it happen, then why not?” Landry said to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “He definitely would be (up for it). He would be.”

Beckham and Landry were teammates at LSU and have remained in close contact during their NFL careers.

The Giants and Beckham are negotiating a contract extension, with the three-time Pro Bowler in the final year of his rookie deal. Beckham’s agent, Zeke Sandhu, reportedly met with the Giants’ front office last week during training camp but no deal came to fruition. New York is reportedly willing to make Beckham the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

“We’ve had talks, but at the end of the day, I want him to be happy. I want him to get what he deserves and you can’t put nothing on that regardless of where it’s at,” Landry said of Beckham.

It’s merely an entertaining notion for now, but few could blame Browns fans of dreaming of a group featuring Beckham, Landry, and Josh Gordon.

For the first time since 2002, Jon Gruden stood on the sidelines of the Oakland Raiders as the storied franchise’s head coach.

The Black Hole greeted its returning star coach with a loud ovation as the $100-million man led Oakland to a 16-10 victory over the Detroit Lions in their preseason opener Friday.

“It was awesome,” Gruden said after the game, according to Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “I mean, I saw some recognizable faces that had got a little bit older, saw some old friends that mean a lot to me. Like I’ve said all along, it’s a great responsibility. The nostalgia’s worn off, so we have to do something with the opportunity, but it sure was great to see the Raider fans, and they stayed with us until the end, and I really appreciate it.”

Gruden’s return almost got off to the perfect start when Marshawn Lynch, looking re-energized by his new head coach, broke through the Lions’ defense for a 60-yard touchdown, only for it to be wiped out by a holding penalty on first-rounder Kolton Miller.

“I was really ticked off, though, after (Lynch’s run) was called back,” said Gruden. “You know, I just got to the stadium, I just called my fourth play.”

The 54-year-old’s first offseason back in the NFL has been met with mixed reviews, even before a down was played, with many questioning the additions of aging veterans like Jordy Nelson, the selection of Miller, and the handling of superstar pass-rusher Khalil Mack‘s contract dispute.

But even if it is just the preseason, Gruden is back on the scoreboard as he attempts to live up to the lofty expectations of his second stint in the league and prove his early doubters wrong.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin may have landed in his coach’s doghouse for ripping into the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton.

“There’s a time and a place for (comments) like that and this was not one of them,” head coach Sean McDermott told reporters Sunday, courtesy WKBW’s Matthew Bove.

Benjamin ranted against his former club and quarterback in an interview published Saturday. He lamented the fact he was drafted by the Panthers to begin with, and knocked Newton for being inaccurate and less knowledgeable than other accomplished pivots.

Benjamin and McDermott both came to Buffalo via Carolina. Benjamin was a first-round pick of the Panthers in 2014, while McDermott served as the club’s defensive coordinator from 2011-16. Benjamin was traded to the Bills last season.

“That’s not how I want us to handle things like that,” McDermott said. “We’ll move forward as a team and I’m hoping we’ve already done that.”

The second-year coach added that he’s already spoken to Benjamin about the way he chose to air his grievances.

“Our focus needs to be on what we’re doing,” he noted.

In six contests for the Bills last season, Benjamin put up 16 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has no problem wading into the political realm, at least when it comes to President Donald Trump’s involvement in the NFL’s national anthem controversy.

Trump has been vocal about his disdain for any protests during the national anthem, and his criticism of players and the league led to a debate over a new anthem policy. The president’s opinions on league matters get the attention of players, team owners, and league executives – and that’s part of the problem, according to Rodgers.

“I think that the more that we give credence to stuff like that, the more it’s gonna live on,” Rodgers told NFL.com’s Michael Silver.

“I think if we can learn to ignore or not respond to stuff like that – if we can – it takes away the power of statements like that.”

Trump recently turned his attention to LeBron James, questioning the NBA megastar’s intelligence in a tweet last week after James opened his I Promise school in Ohio.

Rodgers called James’ lack of a response “absolutely beautiful.”

He continued, “At a time when he’s putting on display his school, which is changing lives, there’s no need. Because you’re just giving attention to that (tweet), that’s what they want. So just don’t respond.”

Rodgers said tweeting his support of James was unnecessary as the basketball star “knows he has the support of his contemporaries, in his own sports and in other sports.”

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. took to the podium for the first time since his ankle injury abruptly ended his 2017 season nearly 10 months ago.

Beckham, currently in the final year of his rookie contract, is seeking a new deal. He never intended to hold out of training camp due in large part to his confidence that an agreement will eventually be reached.

“I’m optimistic it will all work itself out,” Beckham told reporters Saturday, via NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy. “I don’t believe in any of that stuff. I feel like they will get it done when they get it done. Let my agent and them figure it out. I just come out here and try to get all the plays down.

“Who doesn’t want to get more money? You just have to be realistic with yourself. You see what happened over the offseason. You can’t really worry about anybody else. Just let them figure it out.”

The Giants have reportedly opened negotiations with their star receiver, and Beckham insisted the reported frustration was solely created by the media.

“(The offseason trade rumors were) just noise, rumors,” Beckham said, via NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones. “I don’t know. I remember I used to say all the time, ‘don’t take it personal,’ and stuff, but I took things personal (at first). And I’ve really gotten out of my heart to not take things personal.”

Beckham carries a cap hit of nearly $8.5 million, according to Over The Cap. The former first-rounder is confident he is fully healthy and ready to dominate in 2018.

The San Francisco 49ers will honor the late Dwight Clark in a number of ways during the 2018 campaign.

San Francisco will host a tribute in Clark’s memory during its Week 7 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 21. The celebration will be highlighted by the unveiling of a statue depicting “The Catch” – Clark’s iconic game-winning touchdown in the 1981 NFC Championship Game – outside Levi’s Stadium.

49ers players will also wear “87” helmet decals throughout the season that feature Clark’s legendary catch.

Clark died June 4 after a battle with ALS. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, and later had his No. 87 retired by the 49ers.