Breaking News Other Sports Slider Top news US sports

NFL notebook: Bears LB Smith reportedly ends holdout

Linebacker Roquan Smith, the only remaining unsigned draft pick, has agreed to terms on his four-year rookie contract with the Chicago Bears, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. 
The two sides are finalizing the language in the contract before Smith signs, according to the report.
Smith, the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft, missed all of training camp, but the Chicago Tribune reported the deal is expected to be finalized in time for Smith to join the Bears for their joint practices against the Denver Broncos beginning Wednesday in Englewood, Colo.
Smith is slotted to earn $18 million guaranteed over four years. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported the contract is expected to include about $11 million in bonuses.

–Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery could be in line to begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, according to a published report.
Per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, Jeffery could remain on the PUP list as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. The 28-year-old Jeffery went under the knife shortly after the Eagles posted a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
By rule, any player who is on the physically unable to perform list at the start of the regular season must miss at least the first six weeks of the campaign.

–Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown might be injured again.
Brown returned to practice Saturday after missing 10 days with a quadriceps strain, but multiple media outlets reported that Brown limped off the practice field Monday after participating in some individual drills.
No information regarding the severity of the injury was immediately available, so it is too soon to know whether Brown will miss any time.

–With running back Jerick McKinnon bothered by a calf strain and running back Matt Breida sidelined with a should injury, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday the team plans to sign Alfred Morris.
Shanahan hopes to have Morris on board when the team heads to Houston on Tuesday to hold joint practices with the Texans on Wednesday and Thursday before the game against Houston on Saturday.
Morris played for the Dallas Cowboys the past two seasons, and last season he rushed 115 times for 547 yards and a touchdown while playing 14 games, including five starts.

–New York Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley gave his team a scare after appearing to injure his left leg during Monday’s practice.
Barkley, who was the second overall pick of the 2018 draft, reeled in a pass down the sideline from quarterback Kyle Lauletta before coming up a bit gimpy. Members of the medical staff were summoned after the play.
Per multiple media outlets, Barkley was seen with a wrap and ice pack around his left leg. That wrap was removed prior to the conclusion of practice and the 21-year-old had no visible effects while walking off the field.
“Think he’s all right. We’ll find out,” coach Pat Shurmur said, via northjersey.com.
Lauletta talked with Barkley following practice and didn’t express any worry to the New York Post. “He’s fine,” Lauletta told the newspaper. “He didn’t say anything about that. He’ll be good to go.”

–The Denver Broncos announced they have signed linebacker A.J. Johnson.
Johnson is a rookie who was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference selection at the University of Tennessee from 2011-14.
Last month, Johnson and Tennessee teammate Michael Williams were cleared of rape charges that led to them both being dismissed from the Tennessee football program.
“A.J. hasn’t had the opportunity to play football for the last three years while resolving a serious legal matter,” general manager John Elway said in a statement. “We’ve had several conversations with him since he’s been cleared and have become very familiar with his background and character. Our organization is confident A.J. is ready to move forward and resume his playing career.”
The Broncos also signed safety Shamarko Thomas, released linebacker Stansly Maponga and placed safety Jamal Carter on injured reserve.

–Guard Forrest Lamp missed his entire rookie season because of a knee injury, but the Los Angeles Chargers still see him as part of their future.
Lamp started competing for his place on the depth chart on Monday, when the Chargers announced he was activated from the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Multiple media outlets reported he practiced on Monday — his first since the injury.
The Chargers drafted Lamp in the second round last year, but he suffered a torn ACL last August that ended his season before it started. He had another knee operation in the spring, which delayed his return.

–Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson had an interesting means of sending a message to wide receiver Antonio Callaway.
Rather than sit the rookie, Jackson decided to play Callaway for the majority of Thursday’s preseason opener against the New York Giants.
“I was trying to make him play the whole game if we could. I did not want him to come out,” Jackson said of Callaway, who failed to inform the Browns that he was cited for marijuana possession and a suspended license last week. “That was part of the consequence of what he has been through, and he knows it. That is what it was. Either you sit him or make him play. I thought it was better to make him play. Make him play as long as he could. There were a couple of times he kept waving to come out, and we said, ‘No, stay in.'”

–Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is expected to make his preseason debut this weekend against the Denver Broncos.
Robinson has been sidelined since tearing an ACL in his left knee on the third play from scrimmage in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ season-opening 29-7 win over the Houston Texans.
Signed to a three-year, $42 million contract in the offseason, Robinson will participate in the Bears’ joint practices with the Broncos.

–New York Jets coach Todd Bowles said he isn’t going to stand for his players engaging in any extracurricular activity.
That means no fighting, boxing or wrestling on the field. Well, those activities — in some form — were on display during Sunday’s joint practice with the Washington Redskins, as several skirmishes and two sizable brawls marred the session.
One of the brawls saw the action spill into an area where fans watched practice. No players or fans appeared to get injured in the fight.
“Fights are not to be tolerated and had,” the 54-year-old Bowles said. “We are not trying to fight them and they’re not trying to fight us. They want to be boxers and wrestlers, they probably want to be in another sport. We are trying to get better, again, they’re trying to get, we’re trying to get better. Some things happen, overzealousness.
“I talked to my guys and coach (Jay) Gruden talked to his guys and we’ll just have better practices (Monday) because that is just a waste of time to me.”
On Monday, Gruden took responsibility for his players’ actions, but said he would consider suspending them if they fight again.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars suspended All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. for a week as the result of an incident after Sunday’s practice.
Fowler was involved in a fight with teammate Yannick Ngakoue and they had to be separated twice. Ramsey then became upset that the media were filming the altercation between Fowler and Ngakoue and directed profanities toward the press.
The team responded by suspending the two “for violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player.”

–The Arizona Cardinals signed Gerald Hodges to a one-year contract and waived fellow linebacker Jeremy Cash with an injury designation, the team announced.
Hodges enjoyed his best season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, when he recorded a career-high 80 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Hodges played in 11 games with the Saints last season and had three special teams tackles.
Cash sustained a knee injury during the third quarter of Saturday night’s 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

–Jimmy Garoppolo has found himself under the spotlight ever since he joined the San Francisco 49ers midway into last season.
That spotlight became infinitely brighter after he posted a 5-0 mark as a starter with the 49ers before parlaying that success into a five-year, $137.5 million contract in February.
So, does the 26-year-old Garoppolo ever dwell on how his life has changed so quickly over the last few months?
“I like to think about it at certain times,” Garoppolo told Peter King of NBC Sports.com, courtesy of the latter’s “Football Morning in America” column.
“When I’m in here working, you just don’t have any time to think about it. But every once in a while, it’s good to sit back and smell the roses as my dad would put it … not now. Now, it’s grind mode. Don’t really have a lot of time for that.”

–The Minnesota Vikings announced that they have placed offensive lineman Nick Easton on injured reserve and signed guard Kaleb Johnson.
Easton started 12 games for the Vikings last season and was filling in at center for Pat Elflein during training camp before suffering a neck injury. Easton is likely to miss the entire season.
Johnson, 25, joins Minnesota after being released by the Chicago Bears. He played collegiately at Rutgers and entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore in 2015. He has never played in a regular-season NFL game.

–New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick shed little light on the status of cornerback Jason McCourty.
After saying that McCourty is “very professional,” “hardworking” and “picked things up well,” Belichick was rather vague after being asked if the 31-year-old’s absence in Thursday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins was, per a reporter’s question, “a result of you knowing what you had in him or an injury?”
“The guys we played, we played. The guys we didn’t play, we didn’t play. We’ll play other guys this week and we’ll see how it goes,” Belichick said in comments distributed by the team.
“I mean, you all know I’m not talking about anybody’s injuries, so there’s no point in even bringing that up.”

–Issues related to the construction of a new stadium for Premier League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur has led the regular-season game between the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks to be moved to Wembley Stadium.
Tottenham’s new stadium, which was built to NFL specifications with some funding from the NFL, was scheduled to be open in time for Tottenham’s Sept. 15 game against Liverpool. The Oct. 14 regular-season Seahawks-Raiders game was also scheduled to be played there.
However, the stadium is not expected to be ready in time, and Tottenham’s game against Liverpool has been moved. The Raiders-Seahawks has been moved to Wembley Stadium, which is the site for the two other NFL games to be played in London this season.

Buffalo Bills quarterbacks A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman returned to the practice field one day removed from sustaining minor injuries in practice.
Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll told reporters that McCarron and Peterman are fine, according to The Athletic.
Multiple media outlets reported that McCarron injured his lower right leg on Sunday while Peterman appeared to hurt his right arm after falling during team drills.

–Joel Bitonio, who has started 47 games in four seasons at left guard for the Cleveland Browns, says he is getting more comfortable at his new position — left tackle.
Bitonio made his first start there in the team’s preseason opener after being moved to left tackle earlier this month. He is the replacement for Joe Thomas, a 10-time Pro Bowl player and future Hall of Famer who retired in March.
“I am getting there,” Bitonio said. “You finally play in a game and starts to become more of a reality. Practice is practice. I am getting there. I think that every day I get a little more comfortable. I feel more comfortable in my stance, position in the huddle and things like that. It is getting there.