Majority of Dallas Cowboys creating training-camp ‘bubble’?

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 8/11/20

Many within the Dallas Cowboys are creating their own isolated bubble experience to protect themselves from COVID-19 before on-field training camp practices begin on Friday.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer, a majority of Dallas players, coaches, and other personnel will set up shop at the Omni Hotel that is located next to the franchise’s practice facility.

ESPN’s Ed Werder reported rookies and free agents are already at the hotel.

Staying at the Omni is optional for everyone associated with the Cowboys, but joining the makeshift bubble is “strongly suggested,” per ESPN. The Cowboys believe the bulk of players on the roster will make the hotel their summer home.

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NFL officials reportedly remain confident full season can be played

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 8/9/20

There have been some doubts recently over the college football season being played, but the NFL reportedly remains as confident as ever behind closed doors.

NFL officials have privately been expressing a “high degree of confidence” that there will be a full 2020 season, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It’s possible that some teams will be required to follow bubble protocols in their cities with extended hotel stays and other unique guidelines, but there is still optimism for an uninterrupted season after no players were added to the COVID-IR list on Saturday.

Teams have yet to begin practicing in pads, so there are some hurdles to clear. The NFL understands that there will likely be issues that pop up like players not being able to practice and/or having to miss games, but there is not a sense it will be enough to shut the season down or force the cancellation of games.

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NFL changes COVID-19 testing protocol following Matthew Stafford drama

Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Vincent Frank | Last updated 8/7/20

It’s going to be a process to make sure that the COVID-19 testing protocols around the NFL are up to snuff with the 2020 regular season slated to start in about a month.

One of the biggest recent issues was the false-positive Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford received last weekend. Detroit placed him on the reserve/COVID-19 list despite the fact that he was not showing any symptoms and had not come into contact with someone who contracted the virus. Stafford’s wife, Kelly, blasted the NFL over this and what seem to be questionable protocols. Something has now been done about this.

NFL changes COVID-19 testing protocol 

The league announced on Friday that if a player has no known confirmed infection, is asymptomatic but tests positive, he would only be given two more tests to to confirm. If these are negative, said player would not be considered infected.

Putting aside the technical terms, this changes the landscape as it relates to COVID-19 testing around the NFL. It also takes into account false-positives, which have increasingly become an issue around the United States. Previously, an “infected” player would have to test negative three consecutive times over a multi-day period.

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The best and worst moves of the NFL offseason

Posted 5 hours ago | By Seth Trachtman

It was a wild NFL offseason despite the COVID-19 pandemic. With training camp underway, here’s a look at the best and worst moves.

Best: Broncos trade for A.J. Bouye

Best: Broncos trade for A.J. Bouye
Reinhold Matay / USA Today Sports Images

Denver moved on from Chris Harris Jr., but got an extremely capable replacement in Bouye. The former Texan and Jaguar is coming off a sub-par year, but he’s a strong fit for Vic Fangio’s defense and was had for only a fourth-round pick. He was in need of a change of scenery and has the supporting cast to help him rebound at age 29.

Worst: Bears sign Jimmy Graham

Worst: Bears sign Jimmy Graham
Cary Edmondson / USA Today Sports Images

Graham was a bust in two seasons with Green Bay, but the Bears are taking a risk that the five-time Pro Bowler has something left. However, this is more than a flier, as Chicago handed Graham a two-year, $16 million contract after he had only 38 catches last season. The fact the Bears followed up that signing by using a second-round pick on tight end Cole Kmet is even more puzzling.

Best: Browns sign Jack Conklin

Best: Browns sign Jack Conklin
Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports Images

For all the criticism Baker Mayfield received last season, the fact was that Cleveland’s offensive line was below average. The Browns fixed that issue in a big way, signing Conklin to a three-year, $42 million contract. Soon after, the Browns used a first-round pick on Jedrick Wills to play left tackle, shoring up both tackle spots. Mayfield now has everything he needs to succeed in his third season.

Worst: Bears sign Robert Quinn

Worst: Bears sign Robert Quinn
Matthew Emmons / USA Today Sports Images

The oft-injured Quinn was able to rehab his value in Dallas last season with 11.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hits, enough to get a massive five-year, $70 million contract with $30 million in guaranteed money from the Bears. Chicago needed help for Khalil Mack, but it should be noted that 2019 was Quinn’s first double-digit sack output since 2014. Pass rushers are at a premium in the NFL, but the Bears are taking on a lot of risk with the 30-year-old’s contract.

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NFL players who have opted out of the 2020 season

Posted 3 hours ago | By Angie Kozak

The 2020 NFL season is set to kick off on September 10, with the Texans visiting the Chiefs on “Thursday Night Football.” The NFL has held steadfast that the upcoming campaign will occur as scheduled, but not every player will be joining their respective teams. Part of the NFLPA’s agreement with the league allows players to opt out of the season if they are uncomfortable due to coronavirus concerns or fall into a “high risk” category. The reigning Super Bowl champions saw their longtime starting guard, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, be the first player to decide to skip this season, and his absence will be felt. Who else has decided to sit out this season? 

Marcus GilbertArizona Cardinals

Marcus Gilbert, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals will have to hold a competition to see who will replace Gilbert at RT. Michael Chow/The Republic-Imagn Content Services, LLC

Offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert missed all of last season with a knee injury after the Cardinals acquired him in a trade with the Steelers in March 2019. Injuries have plagued Gilbert his entire career, as he has played in just 12 games since 2017 and has played a full 16-game slate just twice since he entered the league in 2011 as a second-round pick. He also received a PEDs-related suspension in 2017. The Cardinals will likely hold a competition between rookie Josh Jones and Justin Murray to see who will end up protecting Kyler Murray’s blindside. 

Andre Smith, Baltimore Ravens

Andre Smith, Baltimore Ravens
Andre Smith will miss his first season with the Ravens. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive lineman Andre Smith joined the Ravens in January 2020 as a depth signing, then inked a one-year extension with the team in February. He would have been a depth lineman this season as well. But the Ravens will have to look for depth elsewhere after his opt-out.

De’Anthony Thomas, Baltimore Ravens

De'Anthony Thomas, Baltimore Ravens
De’Anthony Thomas won’t be returning kicks for the Ravens this season. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens confirmed the opt-out of De’Anthony Thomas, who worked as a return specialist for Baltimore last season, appearing in nine games for the team as a midseason pickup. Thomas averaged 23.7 yards per return in the Ravens’ postseason matchup against the Titans.

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Odell Beckham Jr. feels ‘NFL season shouldn’t happen’

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 8/3/20

With NFL players opting out of the 2020 campaign left and right, one player is preparing for the season to not happen at all. 

In an interview with Lane Florsheim of the Wall Street Journal, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said he believes the season is only being held so that owners can make money. 

“Obviously with everything that’s going on, it doesn’t make sense why we’re trying to do this,” OBJ said. “I can understand basketball was already in the playoffs. Five-on-five basketball in an arena is going to be more intense than regular-season games. Hooping is different than playing an eleven-on-eleven contact sport where there’s 80 people in a locker room. We’re not ready for football season. So why are we trying to push forward? It’s obviously for their money. And that bothers me because there’s always been this—and I hate saying it like that—but the owners’ [attitude is], ‘Oh we own you guys,’ and just kind of that unfairness going on that they don’t see us as human. I just feel like the season shouldn’t happen and I’m prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn’t mind not having it.”

Beckham Jr. didn’t indicate whether or not he’d opt out of the season. If he does, he’ll become the first Browns player to do so.

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Dwayne Haskins: Joe Burrow and I ‘couldn’t stand each other’ during Ohio State QB battle

By Blake Harper | Last updated 8/4/20

Before putting together the most statistically dominant season in college football history, Joe Burrow spent years struggling to rise up the depth chart at Ohio State, with Burrow ultimately transferring to LSU after losing out on the starting job to Dwayne Haskins. And according to Haskins, the two were not on the best of terms during their battle for the starting job.

“I love Joe but during that battle, for almost two years, me and Joe couldn’t stand each other,” Haskins said on FOX’s Ring Chronicles. “Every day, whether it was morning workouts or when we had to do mat drills and it’d be me and him on the mat drill, it was gritty. Or it was practice and me and him are trying to get in front of each other to get a rep to throw to one of the starting receivers. It was always this heated competition but we knew we got the best out of each other. He made it hard for me and I made it hard for him and I didn’t let him take it away.”

The tension between the two makes sense, as both quarterbacks were surely under the impression that it was their time to be under center for the Buckeyes. And while Haskins makes it clear that the two are good now, it’s not hard to imagine that they were not on the friendliest of terms as they battled it out.

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Eagles’ Marquise Goodwin opts out of 2020 NFL season

Marquise Goodwin has become the latest player to opt out of the upcoming NFL season, joining a growing list of players who are prioritizing their safety instead of taking the risk in playing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Goodwin was set for his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles, after spending the last three years with the San Francisco 49ers. Goodwin signed a one-year, $1.35 million deal with Philadelphia, which will now be put on hold until next season. Goodwin’s decision, according to Ian Rappoport, was primarily motivated by his family, as his wife gave birth to their daughter earlier this year after suffering multiple miscarriages.

“Source: #Eagles speedy WR Marquise Goodwin plans to opt-out for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns,” Rappoport tweeted. “He has informed the team, who traded for him during the draft. Goodwin has a 5-month daughter after his wife previously had three miscarriages. Family is the most important.”

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By Blake Harper | Last updated 7/28/20

Chiefs Super Bowl star Damien Williams opts out of 2020 NFL season

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams has opted out of playing in the 2020 NFL season scheduled to occur amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The Chiefs confirmed the news via social media, and general manager Brett Veach offered his support of Williams’ decision:

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 7/29/20

NFL to announce Antonio Brown’s suspension this week?

Antonio Brown retired then unretired this past week. A week after creating more headlines, the All-Pro receiver could finally get what he’s been hoping for – a shot at returning to the NFL and a definitive suspension for the upcoming season.

After being investigated by the NFL for multiple sexual misconduct accusations, then pleading no contest to a felony burglary with battery charge stemming from an incident in January, the NFL could soon announce Brown’s suspension.

Will Antonio Brown play in the NFL again?

Antonio Brown is vying for a return to the NFL after he spent the past year in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Brown burned plenty of bridges between his arrest, off-field behavior and being released by two NFL teams. Fortunately for him, NFL teams can’t seem to say no to his talent.

Multiple teams are interested in Brown, but that doesn’t come without some conditions. Before signing him to a deal, clubs want Brown to sign a team-friendly deal and for the NFL to announce a potential suspension for his various off-field transgressions.

Fortunately, per the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, rumblings around the league on Sunday indicated the NFL could announce its ruling on Brown this week. Once that happens, teams could move quickly to sign the 32-year-old receiver.

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Originally posted on Sportsnaut | By Matt Johnson | Last updated 7/27/20