Author: Shalise Manza Young

Washington ends Su'a Cravens season a day before he reportedly intended on showing up

Washington safety Su’a Cravens, a second-round pick just a year ago, may not have officially retired yet, but he won’t be playing in 2017.

On Monday, Washington officially placed Cravens on the reserve/left squad list, which by rule means he cannot play this year.

But get this: according to ProFootballTalk, the team did so knowing that Cravens intended to return on Tuesday. And Cravens may still show up at the team facility on Tuesday.

Messy.

Washington S Su’a Cravens won’t be playing this season after the team surprisingly placed him on the reserve/left squad list. (AP)

Citing a source, PFT reports Washington was aware of Cravens’ plan to report on Tuesday, but still decided on Monday to move Cravens from the exempt/left squad list to the reserve/left squad list. The reserve designation means he cannot play this season.

According to PFT, Cravens wasn’t told of the team’s move until after it had already been made.

Under the rules of the exempt/left squad status, Washington was required to send Cravens a “five-day letter,” which informed him that if he didn’t return to the team within five days, he could be placed on the reserve/left squad list.

So even though Cravens was under the impression that Washington was giving him four weeks, once the five days elapsed and he hadn’t returned, Washington was able to make this change.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

Cravens has been away from the team for just two weeks.

The 53rd overall pick in 2016, Cravens played in 11 games as a rookie with three starts, and was penciled in as a full-time starter this year. But earlier this month, there were reports that he was considering retirement at just 22 – surprising but not unheard of given the past few years in the NFL.

Team officials tried to talk him out of the decision, but placed him on the exempt list and gave him a month to “resolve personal issues,” as reported by the Washington Post at the time.

It is possible that Cravens could file a grievance, but as of right now, he cannot play for Washington – or any other team – for the 2017 season.

 

 

Report: Vikings believe Sam Bradford has bone bruise

On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings played in Pittsburgh against the Steelers without starting quarterback Sam Bradford, who was unable to make it through pre-game warmups due to a knee issue.

And then after the game, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer gave an answer that was about as clear as mud when asked about Bradford, saying Bradford is “fine,” but then saying he could be on the shelf for as long as six weeks.

While there was a report on Sunday that Bradford, who has dealt with two torn ACLs, does not have any structural damage, there wasn’t any clarity on what exactly he’s dealing with.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) tosses a football during warmup time before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

But on Monday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, citing a source, said the Vikings believe Bradford has a bone bruise:

#Vikings QB Sam Bradford is believed to have a bone bruise, source said. They’ll see how his knee responds to an injection and go from there

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 18, 2017

Pelissero added that the plan is to see how Bradford’s “knee responds to an injection and go from there.”

A short time later, in his press conference, Zimmer said Bradford is “day to day” and that he didn’t have a crystal ball to show him when exactly the quarterback would be able to play again.

“If wish I did, I’d call some games better,” Zimmer quipped.

Zimmer told reporters he was being facetious on Sunday when he said Bradford could miss up to six weeks, adding, “Honestly, I don’t know how long he’ll be out,” and that he doesn’t think the injury will be long term. Giving the impression that Bradford might be able to play this week, Zimmer said he thought Bradford had a chance to play against Pittsburgh before he saw the quarterback’s pregame workout.

With Case Keenum starting in Bradford’s stead, the Vikings lost to the Steelers, 26-9, falling to 1-1.

NFL Week 2 Superlatives: No one does team spirit like Marshawn Lynch

We’re unveiling a new feature this season – weekly NFL superlatives. It’s meant to be a lighthearted look at Sunday’s games, as we highlight best dressed, most athletic, and even class clown. Here’s the picks for Week 2:

Most Team Spirit: Marshawn Lynch, Oakland Raiders

We’re only two weeks into this feature, and we’ve already highlighted Lynch twice. But it’s hard not to – the NFL is better with Lynch in it. On Sunday, he held a one-man dance party on the Oakland sideline, celebrating a late-game touchdown by his teammates, Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree. Earlier on Sunday, the Skittles-o-phile arranged for vending machines to be placed around the city giving free bags of the candy so he could share his favorite treat with fellow residents of his home city.

Best Shoes: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

Unfortunately, the NFL’s archaic uniform rules mean that players who take the time to get custom cleats made can only wear them during warm-ups without being fined by the No Fun Police. So if you arrived at kickoff for the Vikings-Steelers game, you didn’t get the chance to see Diggs’ “Wheel of Fortune”-themed shoes. As the team’s Twitter feed noted, they were money.

Best Dressed: Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Speaking of money, Fitzgerald draped himself in the color of money on Saturday for the Cardinals’ trip to Indianapolis. It’s not an outlandish look like we’ve seen on some players, but it’s certainly distinctive: a double-breasted green suit and matching carry-on bag. We like it, Fitz.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

Class Clown: Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

Bortles continues to be King of Garbage Time. With his team down 30-3 with 10 minutes left against the Tennessee Titans, Bortles went 9-for-9 for 134 yards as he led Jacksonville to two meaningless touchdowns. Before that? He was 11-for-25 for 89 yards, two interceptions and a lost fumble on a strip-sack. We’re now four years into Bortles’ career and it seems nothing has changed.

Most Athletic: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

If there was ever an NFL equivalent of Michael Jordan’s dunk from the free throw line, this might be it: Kelce took off from the 5-yard line to jump over safety Corey Graham and stretch for the goal line, giving Kansas City the go-ahead score. He immediately followed that up with one of the few touchdown celebrations that can still get a player in trouble, but we digress.

Best Smile: Jay Cutler, Miami Dolphins

Cutler isn’t exactly known as Mr. Sunshine. But after leading the Dolphins from a 17-10 deficit midway through the third quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers to a 19-17 win with three field-goal-producing drives, Cutler trotted off the field at StubHub Center with an honest-to-goodness grin.

Favorite Senior: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Yes, there’s a decade until Brady qualifies to receive an AARP card. But given the way he’s playing, he might still be in uniform when it arrives in his mailbox. Against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Brady was nearly flawless: 30-for-39, 447 yards, three touchdowns, no picks. According to the NFL, it was the 52nd time in his career Brady threw at least three scores with no picks, passing his old rival, Peyton Manning, for most ever.

Class Couple: Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders

Carr may call Khalil Mack one of his best friends, but Mack plays on defense, so Carr needs a different BFF in the huddle with him. On Sunday, that was Crabtree. Crabtree was on the receiving end of all three of Carr’s touchdown passes against the Jets, in the first, second and fourth quarters. Carr was 23-for-28 on the day, and a big reason for his high percentage was Crabtree, who caught all six passes thrown his way.

Best Two-Sport Athlete: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

As a three-sport prep star in North Carolina, Gurley was a stellar hurdler, and on Sunday, he showed he still has perfect hurdling form, clearing Washington’s Bashaud Breeland during a sideline run that ended in a touchdown. This track coach was too happy seeing my two favorite sports in one play.

Wait, what? Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer gives odd answer on Sam Bradford's health

On Sunday, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford sat out his team’s 26-9 road loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a left knee injury.

And while Bradford doesn’t have any structural damage in his knee – great news for a player who’s dealt with two torn ACLs – it was clear in early warmups on Sunday that he wouldn’t be able to play and see if he could do as well against the Steelers as he had against the Saints on Monday night.

Come again? Vikings coach Mike Zimmer gave a confusing answer on Sam Bradford’s status. (AP)

But if you’re wondering when Bradford might come back, you weren’t getting much clarity from Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer after the game.

“Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he’s fine.” -Mike Zimmer on Bradford’s status

— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 17, 2017

“Sam is fine,” Zimmer said, via the team’s Twitter. “He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he’s fine.”

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

Wait, what?

If Bradford plays next week, then yes, that falls within the definition of “fine.” But as injuries go, being sidelined for six or seven games isn’t exactly “fine.” Maybe that’s just us though.

Case Keenum started for the Vikings and the offense generated just 237 yards against Pittsburgh, converting just 5 of 15 third downs. Keenum was 20-of-37 for 167 yards with no touchdowns and no picks.

More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Of course Rob Gronkowski’s 69th touchdown was special
Joe Flacco ties dubious NFL record
Report: Cowboys owner ‘impeding’ new contract for NFL commissioner
Brady becomes latest NFL star to support Kaepernick

Panthers' Greg Olsen suffers broken foot, timetable for return unknown

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has been rounding into form over the early weeks of the season, after sitting out almost all of the preseason as he rehabbed shoulder surgery.

But as he works his way back to 100 percent – which may still be a ways off given the drilling he took against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday – Newton will be without his most trusted target.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen told reporters he broke his foot against Buffalo; it’s currently unknown how long he’ll be out. (AP)

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen suffered a right foot injury in the first half against the Bills, and spent the rest of the game on crutches on the sideline.

In the locker room postgame, he told reporters he has a broken bone in the foot.

“Just running, planted my foot and I felt it pop. Knew something was up,” Olsen said. “I knew something wasn’t right. Came in and took, an x-ray, it was straightforward. It’s disappointing, obviously – I’ve always prided myself on being out there and playing, just sometimes things are out of your control.”

Greg Olsen describes what happened pic.twitter.com/umq9TVwb2N

— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) September 17, 2017

It is unclear at this point how long Olsen will be out; he said he will be evaluated by doctors on Monday and expects to miss “a lot of games.” Though he appears upset, Olsen quickly noted that his Panthers team is 2-0.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

Olsen isn’t kidding about “being out there”: now in his 11th NFL season, he has only missed two games in his career, and those were in his rookie season with Chicago in 2007. Over the last three seasons he’s been indispensable for Newton and the Carolina offense, topping 75 catches and 1,000 yards each year. Not surprisingly, he’s been a Pro Bowler each of those years as well.

Guess which college can boast four of its former quarterbacks as Week 2 NFL starters?

College pride doesn’t end once players get to the NFL. Spend time in an NFL locker room leading up to big Saturday matchups and you’ll inevitably hear some trash talk, and come Monday, you may see one teammate grudgingly wearing the colors of another teammate after losing a friendly bet.

But this Sunday, four NFL quarterbacks can say with pride that they gave their college program a major feather in its cap.

And it’s not a school you’d expect.

Yes! Colts QB Jacoby Brissett helped his college program, N.C. State, make a bit of history on Sunday. (AP)

For just the third time ever, four of the starting quarterbacks on Sunday are products of the same program, and it’s North Carolina State.

With the Indianapolis Colts starting second-year pro Jacoby Brissett, who began training camp with the New England Patriots but was traded to the Colts on Sept. 1, N.C. State got to four. Brissett joins longtime Los Angeles Chargers starter Philip Rivers, first-year Chicago Bears starter Mike Glennon, and Super Bowl champ Russell Wilson of the Seahawks. Wilson began his career with the Wolfpack, but transferred to Wisconsin.

According to Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, Sunday is the third time four of the 32 starters at quarterback all went to the same school: it happened in 2014 for Michigan State and in 2009 for USC.

The Spartans quartet was Drew Stanton for Arizona, Brian Hoyer for Cleveland, Kirk Cousins for Washington and Nick Foles for Philadelphia (as if you needed yet another reminder of how fleeting things can be in the NFL, just three years later only Cousins has remained with the same team; Foles is back with the Eagles after spending the last two years with the Rams and Chiefs).

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

For the Trojans, it was Matt Leinart with the Cardinals, Mark Sanchez with the Jets, Carson Palmer with the Bengals and Matt Cassel with the Chiefs.

The Wolfpack QBs may be enjoying some NFL success, but their presence alone didn’t lead to a ton of success for N.C. State. As noted by Giglio, in 11 seasons with Brissett, Glennon, Wilson or Rivers as starter, N.C. State compiled an 84-57 overall record and 42-46 mark in ACC play. The school hasn’t won an ACC title since 1979.

More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Report: Cowboys owner ‘impeding’ new contract for NFL commissioner
Bucs, Jags, Dolphins sport ‘One Florida’ helmet decals
Thanks to knee, Bradford is out against Steelers
Portrait of a Fan: Ravens’ ‘Captain Dee-Fense’

Brady voices job support for Kaepernick; Exiled QB breaks silence

In recent weeks, we’ve seen some of the biggest names in the NFL – Aaron Rodgers, Von Miller, Thomas Davis, Richard Sherman among them – say that exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick deserves a chance to play in the league. And now, arguably the most recognizable football player on the planet has backed them up.

In December 2012, Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers, beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. (AP)

In conjunction with the upcoming release of his book, “The TB12 Method,” New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady did an interview with CBS’ Norah O’Donnell, with the first part airing Sunday.

Asked about Kaepernick, Brady said he believes the 29-year-old is worthy of a roster spot:

Tom Brady on if Colin Kaepernick can play again in the NFL: pic.twitter.com/uGubeyAXfU

— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 17, 2017

“I sure hope so,” Brady said. “I’ve always watched him and admired him, the way that he’s played. He was a great young quarterback, he came to our stadium and beat us, and took his team to the Super Bowl in 2012. He’s accomplished a lot in the pros as a player and he’s certainly qualified, and I hope he gets a shot.”

Other than a few messages here and there on social media, Kaepernick has been largely quiet since he became a free agent. He spoke up, however, to the New York Daily News’ Shaun King, telling the publication that he was eager to return to the league.

“I’m ready right now. Working out daily,” Kaepernick said.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

On Dec. 16, 2012, Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers beat Brady’s Patriots at Gillette Stadium, 41-34. Kaepernick was 14-for-25 that day, but had 221 passing yards, four touchdowns (including one to former New England star Randy Moss), one pick, and 28 yards rushing.

More NFL coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Report: Cowboys owner ‘impeding’ new contract for NFL commissioner
Bucs, Jags, Dolphins sport ‘One Florida’ helmet decals
Thanks to knee, Bradford is out against Steelers
Portrait of a Fan: Ravens’ ‘Captain Dee-Fense’

Report: Dallas owner Jerry Jones 'impeding' contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell

We may get confirmation soon that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is the most powerful man in the NFL – or at least the most powerful owner.

Via a Sunday morning report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, Jones has “slowed down, if not impeded” the contract extensions for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

And Jones isn’t even an official member of the six-man Compensation Committee, which determines Goodell’s salary package.

“If not for Jerry,” one person familiar with the contract negotiations told ESPN, “this deal would be done.”

Not so fast: According to an ESPN report, Dallas owner Jerry Jones, right, is impeding contract talks with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. (AP)

[Enter the $150K Baller football contest. $10 to play and $15K to 1st place]

Goodell’s current contract as commissioner expires in 2019, and according to the ESPN report, it was expected that the extension would have been in place before the season kicked off last week. But now that Jones has made himself the seventh member of the compensation committee, it’s not clear if or when a deal will be done.

There is a conference call scheduled for Wednesday for compensation committee members, and ESPN sources said that call is expected to produce a specific term proposal for Goodell; Jones will be on the call.

The ESPN report said it’s a “source of contention” whether Goodell will receive a firm proposal after the conference call. Some owners believe the contract extension is imminent, another ESPN source said, “there’s no way that happens right now.”

Though in the past Jones has denied that he’s part of the compensation committee, ESPN league sources said Goodell was informed that Jones would take part in the contract extension process around the same time Goodell was deciding whether or not to suspend Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott for violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy, stemming from incidents in 2016.

The six official members of the compensation committee are chairman Arthur Blank of the Falcons, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-owner John Mara, Texans owner Bob McNair and Steelers owner Art Rooney II. Jones reportedly sees himself as representing the other 26 owners not on the committee.

ESPN sources said McNair believes there should be a significant restructuring of Goodell’s contract.

Jones is arguing much the same; one source told ESPN he has argued for months that other owners believe Goodell makes “way too much money” and wants to see both a pay cut for Goodell and change to the formula that determines the commissioner’s compensation.

In his 11 years as commissioner, Goodell has made over $200 million, including a salary of $44 million in 2015.

Jones reportedly believes other members of the league office are also overpaid.

“Jerry’s not saying, ‘Don’t hire Roger.’ He’s saying, ‘I hate this [proposed] deal; redo it,’” one ESPN source said.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

One owner who supports Goodell said there is also a question of whether Goodell will accept the terms of a new extension, particularly as it is expected to be performance-based and would include incentives that would enable Goodell to earn close to what he has in the past.

Jones is not pleased with the six-game suspension given to Elliott, and that case is now in the courts. That’s just one example of the acrimony between Jones and Goodell, which likely stretches back to 2011, when Goodell punished Dallas and Washington for treating the uncapped 2010 season like an uncapped season.

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Lions revoke season tickets of man who used racial slur to describe African-American fans

A Detroit Lions fan who posted a racist Snapchat during Sunday’s season opener has had his season tickets revoked, the team announced on Thursday.

The fan took to the social media site after taking a picture of an African-American man and woman sitting during the national anthem with the caption, “ignorant (racial slur).”

(The man couldn’t be too committed to the anthem himself if he was taking photographs while it was playing, but we digress.)

Lions players celebrate a touchdown during their Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals. (AP)

[Enter the $150K Baller football contest. $10 to play and $15K to 1st place]

Initially, the fan, who was identified as Detroit-area business owner David Doptis (he also posted the Snapchat photo to Facebook, though it has since been deleted), denied posting the picture, but then appeared to change his story in a Facebook post.

The Lions released a statement earlier this week that did not mention of the Snapchat slur, but which stressed that “all fans are respectful and considerate to each other regardless of their personal beliefs or differences.”

But the team code of conduct for fans states that tickets can be revoked for behavior including inappropriate behavior toward others, such as using foul or abusive language or obscene gestures.

Via the Detroit Free Press, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said revocation of tickets was the right move.

“We do have a fan behavior code of standards and I think without question that our organization followed up, found out who the individual was and obviously he no longer has season tickets in our stadium,” Caldwell said. “So I think it was handled appropriately and I think those things happen sometime.”

The woman in the photograph, also a season-ticket holder, told Detroit affiliate Fox 29 that she had no idea her picture was being taken. She has been sitting during the anthem in protest of the third stanza of the song, which condones killing self-emancipated slaves.

Lions safety Glover Quin told the Free Press he hadn’t seen the Snapchat post but heard about it, and there’s no place for any kind of racism.

“People should be able to do what they want to do,” Quin said. “If they want to stand up, sit down, people have their choice, their freedom. But no type of racism, in my opinion, should be tolerated.”

A new approach: Vikings hire 18-year old to work as 'Gen Z advisor'

So this is a new one – and definitely…unique: the Minnesota Vikings have hired a recent high school graduate who calls himself a “Gen Z guru” to consult with the team on how to attract and keep young fans.

Jonah Stillman is an 18-year old who is a 2017 graduate of Minnetonka High School, which is only 10 miles from the Vikings’ current facility. According to a statement from the Vikings, Stillman’s job will include consulting with the team “on a variety of club business initiatives, including team marketing and fan activation efforts, Vikings Entertainment Network (VEN) and digital media content and strategy, U.S. Bank Stadium fan experience, STEM opportunities with the future Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and workplace culture.”

The Vikings have hired 18-year old Jonah Stillman to consult with the team on how to appeal to Gen Z individuals. (Minnesota Vikings)

The Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, or TCO Performance Center, will be the Vikings’ new headquarters, scheduled to open in six months.

But back to Stillman.

He and his father, David, have written a book, “Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace,” and they also run a company, Gen Z Guru, which has done three national studies and one global study on the workplace and marketplace attitudes of Gen Z’ers.

Gen Z is the generation after what we call millenials, individuals born between 1995-2012; in an interview with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Stillman calls it a “huge mistake” to lump Gen Z in with millenials.

“I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to help both the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings to reach a younger demographic of fans,” Stillman said. “Working with an organization as exciting as the NFL will be an exciting addition to the list of clients I have worked with. The NFL and Vikings have done an amazing job of exposing me to all facets on the game. This, combined with my ongoing research, will allow us to introduce new enhancements to both the in-game and every day football experience.”

He added that Minnesota deserves credit for trying to reach the younger generation.

[Enter the $150K Baller football contest. $10 to play and $15K to 1st place]

“The Minnesota Vikings are a great example of an organization that is taking the time to get to know Generation Z,” Stillman said. “They have the unique position of both employing Gen Z’ers as well as trying to reach them as fans. With a mixture of having a great social media presence and authentic workplace communication, the Vikings are on the right track to engaging Gen Z.”

Stillman said he’s long been a fan of the Vikings, and his family is longtime season-ticket holders, and he’s “always been a fan of players who seem to have an innate ability to connect with kids authentically,” mentioning Stefon Diggs as one Minnesota player who fits that bill.

Kudos to the Vikings for trying something new, but the only foolproof method for gaining and keeping fans of any age is winning.