Football is in the air.
All 32 teams have fully reported to camp, and the countdown to the NFL season has officially begun. There is news across the league, so for the first time this season let’s catch up with the top NFL news stories after Friday.
Every day we’ll pick five stories in no particular order to reflect the top NFL news of the day. We’ve survived the slow season, so expect nothing an avalanche of news from around the league over the next few weeks.
Jason Verrett Suffers Serious Injury
The first major injury of training camp appears to have occurred in Los Angeles. The Chargers don’t even officially open camp until Saturday, but lost corner Jason Verrett to a serious injury during a conditioning drill on Friday. Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Verrett suffered a torn left Achilles, ending his season before the start of training camp. Verrett is a former Pro Bowler and first round pick, but has been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career.
Dez Bryant Talking to Browns
Dez Bryant is still without a team as camps get underway, but Cleveland has become the first team to make their interest public. Bryant’s representatives have started talks regarding a one-year deal for the former Cowboy, and the two parties could meet as soon as Monday. The Browns wide receiver corps suffered a setback earlier this week, as Josh Gordon removed himself from the team for, in his words, “part of my overall health and treatment plan.” Dez Bryant is represented by Roc Nation, who also represent Browns coach Hue Jackson.
Sam Darnold Yet to Sign Rookie Contract
The New York Jets got their camp underway, but they did so without their top draft pick. Some regarded Sam Darnold as the best player in this year’s draft class, but he was absent for his team’s first practice of the season. Darnold is still holding out on his rookie contract, and it’s preventing the USC stud from starting his career. According to New York Daily News reporter Manish Mehta, it’s Darnold’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, keeping the issue from getting resolved. Mehta is reporting that Sexton wants Darnold’s contract to come without offsets, something that hasn’t happened with any of the other top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. The teams have agreed on financial terms, but this contract stipulation is apparently keeping the future of the Jets off the field.
New Contracts Getting Signed as Veterans Report to Camp
Veterans are reporting to camp, and some are taking care of business first. Two of the latest were in Tennessee, as Delanie Walker and Taylor Lewan both inked extensions before returning to action. The Titans made Lewan the highest-paid lineman in football, inking him to a five-year deal worth $80 million. Walker, who is 33 and entering his 13th NFL season, signed an extension worth $17 million over the next two seasons. Walker has been crazy productive when healthy for the Titans, and has seen at least 100 targets in four consecutive seasons.
Shortly after the Lewan deal, the Falcons extended their best lineman for a similar price. Tackle Jake Matthews signed a five-year extension worth $80 million, as the Falcons sign another key piece to a long-term deal. The biggest holdouts in the NFL are still Rams defender Aaron Donald and Steelers back Le’Veon Bell.
Dak Prescott Makes His Stance Known on Anthem Issue
One day after Jerry Jones and his son made their feelings known regarding kneeling for the anthem, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott gave his thoughts on the issue to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News:
“I never protest,” Prescott said. “I never protest during the anthem, and I don’t think that’s the time or the venue to do so. The game of football has always brought me such peace, and I think it does the same for a lot of people — a lot of people playing the game, a lot of people watching the game, a lot of people who have any impact of the game — so when you bring such controversy to the stadium, to the field, to the game it takes away. It takes away from that, it takes away from the joy and the love that football brings a lot of people.
“For me, I’m all about making a change and making a difference, and I think this whole kneeling and all of that was just about raising awareness and the fact that we’re still talking about social injustice years later, I think we’ve gotten to that point. I think we’ve proved, we know the social injustice, I’m up for taking the next step whatever the next step may be for action and not just kneeling. I’ve always believed standing up for what I believe in, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
“I respect what all those guys believe in,” Prescott said. “If they believe it’s going to make a change and it’s going to make a difference then power to them. But for me, I believe in doing something, action. It’s not about taking a knee. It’s not necessarily about standing. We can find a different place to make our country better. And obviously I’m not naive and I’m very aware of the injustice that we have going on, but I’m about the actions that we can do to fix it rather than the silent protest.”
Source: Heavy Sports