Tagged in: cleveland

Pittsburgh Steelers sign DT Larry Ogunjobi to one-year deal

Former Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday.

The Steelers did not disclose financial terms of the contract.

Ogunjobi now will have played for the Cleveland Browns, Bengals and Steelers, leaving the Baltimore Ravens as the lone AFC North team not to have had him on their roster.

Ogunjobi had also visited the New York Jets since his three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears fell apart after he failed his physical on March 18. The Bears wouldn’t say why he failed the physical, but Ogunjobi did undergo offseason surgery to repair a right foot injury.

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The Steelers had a glaring need for defensive line depth after the retirement of Stephon Tuitt earlier this offseason.

Ogunjobi will be most important in stopping the run, a major focus of the 2022 Steelers after the run defense concluded last in the league a season ago. Ogunjobi had 12 tackles for loss last season in Cincinnati and has 41 in his career.

Ogunjobi has a little history with the Steelers. He was involved in the 2019 on-field altercation between Browns defensive end Myles Garrett and Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph and was suspended one game.

Last campaign, Ogunjobi was part of the overhaul that helped the Bengals go from the lowest sack total in the NFL in 2020 to 11th in 2021, registering a career-high seven, which was tied for the third most of any interior defensive lineman, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

His sack total last season was nearly half of his combined total over four seasons with the Browns (14.5).

Ogunjobi, 28, missed most of Cincinnati’s run to Super Bowl LVI after he suffered a season-ending foot injury in the wild-card victory versus the Las Vegas Raiders. Overall, the 2017 third-round draft pick has 21.5 career sacks with 229 tackles and two forced fumbles.

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Jadeveon Clowney re-signed with Cleveland Browns so he could play again with Deshaun Watson

Jadeveon Clowney admitted Thursday that he ultimately decided he would be re-signing with the Cleveland Browns once he knew quarterback Deshaun Watson was headed to Cleveland, too.

“I thought I played well here last year, and I feel like I can get better and pick off from what I did last year,” the defensive end said when listing the reasons he returned to the Browns.

“Then my boy came here, Deshaun.”

Clowney is coming off a breakout season with the Browns after signing a one-year deal last year. Playing opposite All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, Clowney concluded with nine sacks; both Garrett and Clowney ranked in the top four in the NFL in pass rush win rate.

“Me and [Garrett] did some good things together,” Clowney said as the Browns completed their final minicamp practice at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“We got along well. We played well together. We fed off each other. We’re going to do the same thing this year, even better. … We got a good thing going from last year. We want to keep it going this year.”

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What tipped the scales for Clowney, though, was the chance to play again with Watson, his former teammate with the Houston Texans.

“I was all about where my boy Deshaun was going,” Clowney said. “I just wanted to go play with him and see what I can do with him again.”

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round picks to the Texans.

A source told ESPN that Clowney spoke to Watson the week of the trade while Watson was still considering joining the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers or Atlanta Falcons and that, in their conversation, Clowney gave Cleveland and the Browns a strong endorsement.

“I told him if he goes [to Cleveland], then I will follow him over here,” Clowney said. “That’s what it came down to.”

It is still unclear when Clowney will actually get to play with Watson, though. Watson is facing 24 active civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions.

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL is investigating whether he violated its code of conduct and the league interviewed the quarterback in person last month as part of its investigation.

At the league’s spring meeting, commissioner Roger Goodell said that he thought the NFL was nearing the end of its investigation but that he couldn’t give a timeline for when a ruling might be made. Watson has maintained his innocence, reiterating Tuesday that he never “harassed” or “disrespected” or “forced” any woman.

Clowney said he isn’t worried that a potential Watson suspension could derail Cleveland’s season.

“We’ve got a good defense, we can hold it together,” he said. “We did good last year, and we were banged up on offense all over the place and our defense played well for what we had going on. … We’re going to be all right.”

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Center Alex Mack announces retirement after 13 NFL seasons

After 13 NFL seasons, Mack announced his retirement via Twitter and in conjunction with the 49ers on Friday morning, bringing an end to a career that included seven Pro Bowl selections, three second-team All-Pro nods and a spot on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team for the 2010s.

“After 13 seasons and 204 games for 3 teams, I have decided to hang up my cleats,” Mack wrote on Twitter. “I am so grateful to the game of football and everything it has given me. From the very start it helped shape who I am and taught me life lessons. I started to play football because it was fun and that never changed…

“I always tried to hold up my end of the bargain and never let anyone doubt my effort.”

Mack, 36, earned his final Pro Bowl appearance last season, his only year spent in San Francisco. He signed with the 49ers as a free agent in March of 2021 in a move that not only reunited him for the third time with coach Kyle Shanahan — the pair also worked together in Atlanta and Cleveland — but was something of a full-circle moment for Mack, who played at the University of California in nearby Berkeley.

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At the time, Mack signed a three-year contract but made it clear that he was playing on a year-to-year basis and would evaluate whether to continue at the end of each offseason. Mack stayed committed to that this offseason, leaving many wondering what he was going to do all offseason.

At the NFL owners meetings in late March, Niners general manager John Lynch expressed optimism that Mack was going to return, saying that “all signs are him coming back and being a part of us.”

Lynch’s tone changed dramatically just before the draft about a month later when he stated that he would let Mack make his own announcement when he was ready.

On Thursday, Mack and the Niners agreed to a reworked contract that dropped his base salary for 2022 from $5 million to $1.12 million and from $3.35 million to $1.165 million in 2023. The move saved the 49ers more than $4 million in cap space this season, money they quickly used to sign their nine-player draft class.

On Friday, Mack made his retirement official and the 49ers released a statement thanking Mack for his contributions.

“The center position in the NFL is the heartbeat of an offense and Alex’s intellect, consistency, love for the game and professional approach made a lasting impression over the course of his 13 NFL seasons,” Lynch and Shanahan said in a statement. “Congratulations to Alex on a highly decorated NFL career and we wish him nothing but success in his post-playing career.”

Mack was initially the 21st overall pick by Cleveland in the 2009 NFL draft. He earned three Pro Bowl nods and was a second-team All-Pro once in seven seasons with the Browns before landing three Pro Bowl berths and two second-team All-Pro spots in five years with the Falcons.

The 49ers now find themselves looking for a replacement at a position Shanahan values greatly in his offense.

Internal veteran options include Jake Brendel, who has been working with the starters during the offseason program, and Daniel Brunskill, who started at right guard last season but played some center in 2020.

San Francisco also has a trio of rookies — Nick Zakelj, Dohnovan West and Jason Poe — who could factor into the mix, though Shanahan has traditionally been reluctant to play someone inexperienced at center.

Outside of the building, veteran JC Tretter is the best center on the free-agent market, though he comes with questions about a knee issue that prevented him from practicing much of last season.

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Cleveland Guardians 3B Jose Ramírez injures shin; manager Terry Francona to have minor surgery

Cleveland Guardians star third baseman José Ramírez will undergo X-rays and other tests on his right shin after being injured during an at-bat in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Ramírez collapsed in pain after fouling a ball off his shin in the eighth inning.

After going down, he rolled onto his back in the dirt near home plate, and the 29-year-old Ramírez needed several minutes to recover. He then hobbled back into the batter’s box and promptly hit a single for his 34th RBI.

Ramírez was pulled for a pinch-runner after the hit.

Guardians manager Terry Francona stated Ramírez, one of baseball’s best all-around players, will have his leg checked for any serious damage.

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“He’s pretty sore,” Francona said. “Hit above his (protective) pad, just below his knee. For him to react like that, he’s a pretty tough kid. He’s going to get some X-rays, but he’s sore.”

Ramírez has been in a slump of late, but he’s still the biggest threat in Cleveland’s lineup and the Guardians can’t afford to be without him for too long.

It’s possible he could miss a game or two, dependent on the X-ray results.

Ramírez signed a seven-year, $141 million contract extension with Cleveland on the eve of opening day.

Meanwhile, Francona, who just returned to the team after being out with COVID-19, will miss Friday’s series opener versus Detroit to have a minor surgical procedure. He’s expected to be back Saturday.

Francona was sidelined for much of the past two seasons with serious medial issues. He managed just 14 games in 2020 due to gastrointestinal issues, and stepped away last July following foot surgery.

Bench coach DeMarlo Hale will fill in for Francona versus the Tigers.

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Nets’ Andre Drummond says final two regular-season outings are ‘must-win games’ for Brooklyn

As the Brooklyn Nets prepare for their final two regular-season games of the season, they do so in control of their own playoff destiny.

If the Nets — currently seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 42-38 record — win their final two matches, they will lock up the seventh seed and would host the East’s first play-in game next Tuesday night.

Veteran center Andre Drummond left no doubt where his team’s mindset is heading into Friday’s game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers — the team that sits one slot ahead of the Nets.

“I think they’re must-win games for us,” Drummond said after Friday’s shootaround. “I think we know what’s ahead of us and we know what’s going to happen if we do win these two games. I think our sense of urgency is a little bit higher than what it was before, and I think we’re prepared to take that next step.”

The Nets, who have dealt with a range of injuries, a teamwide COVID-19 outbreak in December and Kyrie Irving’s part-time status from January to March because of his decision not to get the COVID vaccine, remain confident that they can still catch the rhythm they need to make a long run in the postseason.

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“If we’re playing well heading into the play-in game, then those two games take care of itself and we should win ’em,” guard Seth Curry said. “But if we’re not playing well, then we’re probably not going to get out of the play-in game anyways.

“So it’s just a matter of [playing] our style of play, having confidence and being in a good rhythm playing our best basketball.”

Both Drummond and Curry have been solid since being dealt, along with Ben Simmons and two future first round picks, to the Nets in a trade-deadline deal that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Despite the fact that Simmons still hasn’t played for the Nets because of a back injury — and a playoff return remains a very unclear possibility — Brooklyn remains steadfast in the belief that they can still win a title this year.

“I think it’s everybody’s mindset in the beginning of the year, is to try and win a championship,” Drummond said. “I think with this team we have a special group of guys here — anything is possible, it’s the NBA at the end of the day. Anything can happen.

“We just got to hang our hat, put our best foot forward … so we do have that mindset that we can win. I think everybody has that same mindset. For us, we’re just trying to stay within ourself and make things happen.”

For Curry, that means continuing to play through pain in his left ankle.

After missing the past two games, Curry scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 110-98 win over the New York Knicks. “It’s pretty much the same, man,” Curry said of his ankle injury.

“Just trying to manage it — and got through it and played through some pain. So it’s just an everyday managing thing, trying to get through end of the season into the playoffs, giving the team what I can. I feel like if Tiger can shoot 1 under at Augusta yesterday, I can play through a little bit of pain for the rest of the season.”

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Baker Mayfield requests trade from Cleveland Browns, says it is in ‘best interests of both sides to move on’

Baker Mayfield has requested a trade from the Browns, telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that it is “in the best interests of both sides” for Cleveland to split with the star quarterback.

“It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on,” Mayfield told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “The relationship is too far gone to mend. It’s in the best interests of both sides to move on.”

The Browns, however, have informed Mayfield’s camp that they are “not accommodating his request.”

Mayfield’s request comes on the same day the Browns learned they were out of the running to obtain quarterback Deshaun Watson in a trade from the Houston Texans.

The Browns were one of four teams to meet with Watson in the past week to gauge his interest in waiving his no-trade clause, but they now face significant doubt at the quarterback position.

A source told Trotter earlier Thursday that the Browns, upon falling out of contention to acquire Watson, would prefer to move forward with Mayfield. But Mayfield’s request might force Cleveland to trade the quarterback who won the 2017 Heisman Trophy and then got picked first overall in the draft.

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Mayfield has strong interest in the Colts, who are in the market for a quarterback after trading Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders, and considers Indianapolis offers a good chance for him to win, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

As Cleveland officials were flying back from their Tuesday meeting with Watson, Mayfield posted a statement on social media thanking the city of Cleveland and its fans “who truly embraced who I am.”

“With many uncertainties, here is where my head and heart is,” Mayfield wrote as an introduction to his message, which he addressed to Cleveland and posted to Instagram and Twitter.

A source told Trotter that Mayfield and his camp learned about the Browns’ meeting with Watson over social media.

Mayfield has endured a tumultuous tenure in Cleveland, where he has played under four head coaches through his first three seasons in the league. But he led Cleveland to its first playoff victory in 26 years after the 2020 season and finished in the top 10 in the league in QBR.

Mayfield suffered a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 of this past season and struggled the rest of the way, finishing 27th in QBR as the Browns missed the playoffs and concluded with a disappointing 8-9 record.

Mayfield, who underwent surgery to repair the labrum Jan. 19 and is expected to be fully cleared well before training camp, is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $19 million in 2022.

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Dallas Cowboys agree to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper to Cleveland Browns

The Dallas Cowboys agreed to trade wide receiver Amari Cooper and a sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a 2022 fifth-round pick and a sixth-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

The deal is pending a physical and should be concluded by the middle of next week.

The Browns entered this offseason on the hunt to rebuild Baker Mayfield’s wide receiving corps, which was a massive disappointment last year.

The Browns had high hopes that Odell Beckham Jr. could return to being a No. 1 wide receiver after suffering a season-ending injury in 2020. Instead, he was released by the team in early November.

OBJ went on to win a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, while Cleveland’s passing game cratered on the way to a disappointing 8-9 finish.

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The Browns, in fact, didn’t have a single wideout top 600 receiving yards, and only Jarvis Landry had more than 35 receptions.

Landry already was a question to return before the Browns landed Cooper.

He has a $16.6 million cap hit with no guaranteed money left on the final year of his deal and seemed unlikely to be back, barring a drastic restructuring of his contract.

The Browns have granted permission to Landry to seek a trade, according to sources. In February, Landry tweeted that he’d like to remain in Cleveland, but the ball was in the Browns’ court. Landry is not a free agent but has no guaranteed money left on his deal.

Cooper, meanwhile, gives the Browns a proven No. 1 receiver they so desperately needed after the Beckham debacle.

Cooper, who turns 28 in June, ranked eighth in the league during his time in Dallas in targets (428) among receivers, seventh in receptions (292), ninth in receiving yards (3,893) and ninth in receiving touchdowns (27), according to ESPN Stats & Information data.

Cooper’s future with the Cowboys had been in question going back to last off-season when the club opted not to restructure his contract.

While he signed a five-year, $100 million contract in 2020, it was effectively a two-year deal worth $40 million with his 2021 base salary of $20 million not becoming fully guaranteed until March 20.

The Cowboys started trade talks at the NFL Scouting Combine and had multiple teams interested, per sources. In moving on from Cooper, the Cowboys will have CeeDee Lamb move into the No. 1 receiver role. Lamb caught 79 passes for more than 1,000 yards last season and was added to the Pro Bowl. The Cowboys selected Lamb in the first round in 2020 and gave him the No. 88, a sign of what they believed he could become.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to ‘my true self’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting “back to my true self” after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield’s left shoulder in California.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The Browns stated the likely time period for Mayfield’s recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN.

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Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will start light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited basis, the team said.

After the Browns’ Week 17 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield admitted that he was “pretty damn beat up.”

With Cleveland already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield sat out the team’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 9.

Even though Mayfield concluded 27th in the league in QBR (35.3) this season, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry declared last week that the Browns “fully expect” the 2018 No. 1 draft pick to be their starting quarterback in 2022 and “bounce back” from his injury-plagued season.

Mayfield will be entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him close to $19 million in 2022 after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield to have shoulder surgery ASAP, won’t play Sunday

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield won’t play Sunday versus the Cincinnati Bengals, so that he can move forward with surgery to repair the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Mayfield’s surgery could happen as soon as this week. A league source told ESPN that Mayfield could be back in time to participate in OTAs, which typically take place in May or June around the league.

Mayfield, who has been playing with the shoulder injury since Week 2, admitted following Monday night’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that he was “pretty damn beat up.” Mayfield was sacked nine times in the game.

“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” said Mayfield, who’s been playing with a harness on the shoulder to prevent it from popping out of place. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”

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The Browns (7-9) were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday when the Bengals clinched the AFC North Division title.

Mayfield, who quarterbacked Cleveland to its first playoff triumph in 26 years last season, has struggled since suffering the shoulder injury, ranking 26th in the league in QBR (35.2).

On Monday, he also became the first NFL quarterback since 2019 to throw 10 consecutive incompletions, and the first since 2017 to be sacked at least five times and have five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the same game.

On Tuesday, Stefanski acknowledged that the shoulder injury and harness had affected Mayfield’s performance this season, but had no regrets about not giving him an extended rest to recover at any point.

“Throughout this whole thing, we have tried to make the right decision based on all the information available to us,” Stefanski said. “Constant dialogue with our medical staff, with Baker, and throughout have really felt comfortable based on all that information that he was able to play.”

Mayfield is under contract with Cleveland through the 2022 season, with the Browns having already exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield confirms he’ll have shoulder surgery

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield confirmed Monday night he will be having offseason surgery to repair the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder, an injury he has played through since Week 2.

With the Browns already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield also didn’t rule out sitting for Cleveland’s final match on Sunday versus the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, but he said he would be conferring with his agent and family before making that decision.

“I’m an extremely competitive guy,” Mayfield said following Cleveland’s 26-14 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football. “Now it’s time for me to start looking at what’s in the best interest of me and my health.”

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In another rough outing, Mayfield was sacked nine times by the Steelers, who also intercepted him twice. At one point in the first half, Mayfield failed to complete a pass on 10 consecutive throws, the NFL’s longest incompletion streak since 2019, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Mayfield also became the league’s first quarterback since 2017 to be sacked at least five times and have five passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the same game.

“It’s not gonna always be pretty or smooth, but I’m a fighter,” he said. “If anybody ever questions how much I want it, just turn on this tape. It wasn’t pretty, but I kept going, kept swinging; that’s who I am, and that’s what I will continue to be.”

In addition to the torn labrum, Mayfield has battled left foot soreness and a right knee contusion this campaign. He also has had to wear a harness on the left shoulder to prevent it from popping out of place again.

“I’ve continued to lay it out on the line when I haven’t been healthy and tried to fight for our guys,” Mayfield said. “Right now, I’m pretty damn beat up, to be honest with you. There’s no way around it. I gave it everything I had tonight.”

Mayfield is under contract with Cleveland through the 2022 season, after the Browns exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract last offseason for $18.86 million.

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