Posts Tagged ‘NFL’

General manager John Dorsey, who had expressed apprehension about the Cleveland Browns appearing on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” said Thursday he’s content with the team being featured on the program this summer.

“Like many, I was reluctant about being the featured team on ‘Hard Knocks’ but once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right,” Dorsey said in a news release announcing the Browns’ participation in the show.

Just two weeks ago, Dorsey said nothing good comes out of appearing on the five-episode show, which provides an inside look at an NFL team throughout training camp. The Browns were one of six clubs eligible to be featured on the series in 2018.

After beginning his Browns tenure 1-31, head coach Hue Jackson figures to garner plenty of attention from HBO.

“Hue and I both feel like this team is in a good place and that we are in the process of building something that will lead to success,” said Dorsey. “Being a part of ‘Hard Knocks’ will give our fans the opportunity to see how passionate the people in our building are about winning and how excited we are about getting to work and preparing for the 2018 season.”

The Browns have never before been featured on the series.

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Indianapolis Colts chief operating officer Pete Ward blamed the team’s poor season-ticket renewal numbers Thursday on the player protests that took place during the national anthem throughout last season.

“I’m unable to quantify a number, but it is a factor – to some extent – in our renewals,” he told Scott Olson of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

The Colts have seen 82 percent of season tickets renewed for the upcoming season, down from the renewal rate of 87 percent the club had at the same point a year ago. Ward acknowledged the Colts’ 4-12 record last year has also been a factor in the sagging numbers. The uncertainty surrounding quarterback Andrew Luck‘s health is likely another part of the equation.

Still, though, Ward said a number of fans have told team officials they’re giving up their season tickets because of the anthem demonstrations.

On the flip side, Ward noted the club has experienced a significant increase in the number of new season-ticket holders for the 2018 season.

Colin Kaepernick may have taken a big step forward in his attempt to prove that NFL teams colluded to keep him out of the league.

Depositions in the quarterback’s collusion case have produced internal franchise documents from the 2017 free-agent evaluation process – along with witness testimony – which establish that teams around the league viewed Kaepernick as not just worthy of a roster spot, but as a starting-caliber player, a source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

While Kaepernick’s legal team will likely need more to prove that teams actively coordinated against him following his protests during the national anthem in 2016, this evidence is a blow to the league’s argument that the quarterback remained unemployed due entirely to his on-field ability.

The Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks are the only teams known to have been actively interested in signing Kaepernick.

The Seahawks had scheduled a workout with Kaepernick this offseason, but opted to sign journeyman quarterback Austin Davis instead after postponing the visit. That was reportedly because Kaepernick declined to say for certain whether he’ll stop his anthem protests moving forward.

Meanwhile, the Ravens looked into Kaepernick when Joe Flacco suffered a back injury near the start of the 2017 campaign. However, the team passed on signing him and then did so again this offseason, instead bringing in Robert Griffin III – who was also considered when Flacco was sidelined – to bolster the depth chart.

Teams and their head coaches were both deposed in Kaepernick’s case.

For anyone wondering how Terrell Owens feels about his former head coach, Wednesday night provided all the evidence needed.

The former Dallas Cowboys receiver blasted Jason Garrett during an interview on 105.7 The Fan, questioning why he still has his job with the legendary franchise.

“When you really look at it, it doesn’t make sense for Jason Garrett to continue to have his job,” Owens said. “For me, it’s mind-boggling. I don’t understand. And I think Jerry (Jones) – again he’s the owner at the end of the day, he has to feel good with himself about the decisions – but I just don’t understand why this guy (Garrett) still has a job.”

Garrett served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in two of Owens’ three seasons with the club, so Owens is definitely familiar with playing under his leadership.

Dallas is 67-53 under Garrett’s watch, but has just one playoff win in eight seasons.

“At the end of the day, how can you keep allowing the players to be the scapegoat for what’s not happening? Especially when you have a head coach that’s supposed to be offensive-minded,” Owens asked. “They’re supposed to direct and lead the team to where it hasn’t gotten in a number of years, and they’ve pretty much been at a standstill under coach Jason Garrett.”

The Browns will be the stars of this year’s edition of “Hard Knocks,” and the man likely to be at the center of the series has no issues with HBO’s cameras getting a close-up look at his debut in Cleveland.

No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, who’s set to start the season behind starter Tyrod Taylor, said he believes the Browns could use the extra attention to their advantage during a Wednesday appearance on SiriusXM NFL.

“For me looking at it, and us as a team, I’d say it can be good if you handle it right,” Mayfield said, according to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I’ll just say that. If you think about it as a way to get on camera and try to show off and do certain things and handle it the wrong way then that can be very negative, it can be a distraction.

“But if you use it as a sense of, ‘OK, I got to block out everything else and just focus on playing ball,’ then that can be a great thing for us.”

Mayfield is no stranger to the spotlight after a standout career at Oklahoma. He also has documentary experience as he starred in a pre-draft series “Behind Baker.”

“Hard Knocks wouldn’t be there if we weren’t 0-16 last year,” Mayfield said. “So we’re working towards never having to have that situation again. I’m looking forward to being a start of something new there in Cleveland.”

The Buffalo Bills will retire Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas’ No. 34 jersey during a halftime ceremony Oct. 29.

Buffalo hosts the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football that evening.

Thomas was one of the leading running backs of his generation, earning five consecutive Pro Bowl selections from 1989-93 and winning MVP in 1991.

During his career with the Bills, Thomas was central to one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history. He led the team to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances, but Buffalo ultimately fell short each time.

Thomas was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

The Minnesota Vikings will host a day-long summit and fundraiser at the team’s new TCO Performance Center on June 21 – a few days before the Twin Cities Pride parade – with a focus on LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

“The Vikings are committed to leading efforts that raise awareness and create positive change for LGBTQ athletes across the country, and we are proud to bring together some of the nation’s thought leaders to create an engaging and impactful discussion,” Vikings CEO Kevin Warren said in the team’s announcement Wednesday morning.

“This event will highlight the role each of those involved in sports, including coaches, players, and executives, can play to promote equality within sports teams. We are also proud to raise funds for meaningful local and national LGBTQ causes.”

The Vikings will become the first NFL club to hold such an event. Guests will include Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis, triathlete Chris Mosier, and former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Vikings in making this significant event a reality, Kluwe said. “While it’s a positive step forward for both the Vikings and the NFL, what’s really critical is how we all use our platforms to improve people’s lives. We’ve pulled together true leaders who can bring legitimate change through their respective organizations and our goal is to put together an event that can be replicated by teams and leagues moving forward.”

The Vikings organized the event partly due to a pledge made to Kluwe, who threatened to sue the team in 2014 after special teams coordinator Mike Priefer was caught using anti-gay language, according to Chris Hine of the Star Tribune.

“We obviously had our issues a while ago, but this is our way of looking forward and trying to figure out how we make sure that we set the stage for that not to happen again,” Kluwe said. “I think that it’s the ideal outcome in that, at the end of the day, hopefully this will help a lot of people that otherwise might not have gotten that help.”

The day will be comprised of panel sessions discussing the role of allies of LGBTQ athletes in terms of creating an inclusive environment, the role of coaches in creating positive and winning environments, inspiring stories of high-profile LGBTQ athletes, and how leaders can transform institutions to be fully inclusive.

A reception at the end of the day will raise funds for local and national LGBTQ organizations.