Tagged in: march

Tampa Bay Buccaneers to sign WR Cole Beasley to practice squad

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will sign Cole Beasley to their practice squad, a source confirmed to ESPN, adding the 11-year veteran to a short-handed wide receiver corps.

Beasley was released by the Bills in March and did not sign with another team as a free agent in the offseason.

The Bucs plan to elevate Beasley to their active roster soon, according to NFL Network, which first reported the signing Tuesday. The Bills had granted Beasley permission to seek a trade in early March but lastly released him in a move that created about $6.1 million in salary-cap space.

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Beasley, 33, now will join a Tampa Bay team entering its Week 3 showdown versus the Packers without star receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended one game for his role in Sunday’s brawl with the Saints.

The Bucs also are dealing with injuries to veteran receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, who both missed their triumph over the Saints.

Evans’ appeal of his one-game suspension was heard Tuesday, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. James Thrash, who is jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFLPA was the appeals officer. A ruling is expected this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

Beasley concluded with 82 receptions in each of the past two seasons with the Bills and has been a reliable slot receiver over his 10-year career with Buffalo and the Cowboys.

He missed a match during the 2020 season after testing positive for COVID-19 while being unvaccinated and reportedly was fined multiple times for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols.

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Four-time All-Pro OT Mitchell Schwartz retires from NFL

Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a four-time All-Pro selection, announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after nine seasons.

Schwartz, 33, didn’t play last season after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last March. He had surgery last February for a back injury that prematurely ended his season in 2020 and snapped a streak of 134 consecutive starts.

In his statement posted to social media on Thursday, Schwartz wrote that he has been doing rehab ever since that surgery.

“I’m currently feeling as good as I have since then, but it’s clear my body won’t ever be the same. The nerve pain down my legs is no longer a daily occurrence, but it might never fully go away,” he said in the statement.

Schwartz spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who picked him in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Cal. He signed with the Chiefs in 2016 as a free agent and was an All-Pro each season from 2016 through 2019, including being selected to the first team in 2018.

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He had a streak of 7,894 repeated offensive snaps to start his career before briefly being knocked out of a midseason game in 2019.

He didn’t miss a game that season, however, and also started each of the Chiefs’ three postseason games, including their 31-20 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV to earn his first championship ring.

“Winning the Super Bowl was the pinnacle of my career,” he said. “I’ve met so many great people and forged relationships that will last a lifetime. Football was a big part of my life and always will be. I love the game and have a passion for sharing my knowledge. But I never defined myself as a football player.”

Indeed, the affable offensive lineman has built a massive following as much for his cooking demonstrations as his often-searing critique of the NFL. “Mitch in the Kitch” videos are posted on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and his own blog.

“I’ve enjoyed so much my time in the NFL and walk away feeling fulfilled,” said Schwartz, whose brother, Geoff, played six NFL seasons. “I have other interests that I’ll have more time to explore: food/cooking and my ‘Mitch in the Kitch’ series, travel, golf, horology. But most importantly, I’ll have more time with my wife, Brooke, and our two little dogs.”

He ended his statement by thanking the city of Kansas City and Chiefs fans.

“My last thank you is to Kansas City, and all the Chiefs fans. Being a Chief is so much more than putting on a red jersey. It has been a privilege to represent you on and off the field,” he said in the statement.

“The bond I’ve formed with this city and the people here lasts forever and is a big reason why Brooke and I are staying in KC long term.

“There was no better indication of the magnitude of Chiefs Kingdom than the parade. Seeing that Sea of Red was amazing and put into perspective just how many people cheer us on, knowing there were many more that couldn’t attend. This city and its support is hard to describe until you’ve felt it personally. I am forever a Chief and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”

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Aaron Rodgers: ‘Definitely’ will finish career with Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers stated Tuesday he doesn’t know how many more seasons he will play — admitting that the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in March shouldn’t be an indicator — but he knows where he will conclude his career.

A year after he skipped the Green Bay Packers’ mandatory minicamp as part of his offseason of discontent with the organization, he was asked whether he planned to finish his career with the only team he has ever played for in the NFL.

“Yes, definitely,” Rodgers said.

That was in doubt as recently as March, when everything from retirement to asking for a trade was on the table.

Rodgers put any of that doubt to rest on Tuesday after the first practice of the Packers’ mandatory minicamp. He had previously skipped most of the voluntary offseason program to instead work out in Southern California.

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” Rodgers said with a smile, channeling his inner Marshawn Lynch.

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He may have only been half joking. A source said that last June, after Rodgers skipped the mandatory minicamp, the team sent him a letter informing him that he would be fined for his absence.

Tuesday’s practice was his first opportunity to throw to newly acquired receivers.

Sammy Watkins (signed as a free agent) and 2022 draft picks Christian Watson (second round), Romeo Doubs (fourth round) and Samori Toure (seventh round).

The only key member of the Packers’ offense not in attendance was receiver Allen Lazard, who has not yet signed his restricted free-agent contract.

“I miss the guys,” Rodgers said, “I love being around the guys. It’s been a nice offseason. I appreciate my [training] team back in Southern California and the work we put in. But it’s good to be back out here with the guys. Good to meet Christian and Romeo and get reacclimated with some of the older guys. It’s just about timing and them feeling the cadence and the urgency and stuff, and just nice to be back in the building with these people.

“They’ve been great about me taking care of myself the way I best need to. Obviously it’s worked out the last couple years by my play, and I expect nothing less.”

Packers coach Matt LaFleur originally wasn’t sure how much work he would give Rodgers on Tuesday, but after seeing that the reigning MVP was in good shape, he allowed Rodgers to take part in almost every drill, including some 11-on-11s that were at a jog-through speed.

The Packers are coming off three straight 13-win seasons but failed to reach the Super Bowl in any of them, including two losses in the NFC Championship Game.

And now Rodgers has to deal with life after Davante Adams, the All-Pro receiver who wanted out of Green Bay and was traded this offseason to the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Russell Wilson ‘feels great’ after first minicamp with Denver Broncos

Year 1 of the Russell Wilson experience for the Denver Broncos officially got underway Monday as the team went through the first day of a three-day voluntary veteran minicamp.

The Broncos completed the blockbuster trade to obtain Wilson in March, and he has since quickly found his way around the city at sporting events and the Children’s Hospital. His purchase of a suburban Denver mansion became a viral sensation.

But Monday was the first time Wilson and the rest of his teammates were on the field with Broncos first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett and the team’s staff.

It was a heavyweight battle of enthusiasm and energy with Hackett filling in at running back to work through some play-action scenarios when many of the team’s players were in special-teams drills.

“I told him at the end, congratulations on our first practice together,” Wilson said. “… To give him little handoffs here and there, somebody called him ‘White Lightning,’ I don’t know, but he looked good over there.”

“I always wanted to play running back,” Hackett said. “… There was some special teams going on … we’ve got to get out there and give them a look, I feel like I have it a realistic look.”

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Asked about his 40 time, Hackett added “let’s not talk about that.”

Wilson has spent time with the team’s pass-catchers and running backs in recent weeks, first at throwing sessions in San Diego shortly after the trade to go with some workouts locally as the Broncos opened their offseason program April 16.

But the existing minicamp, though still limited by the league’s offseason practice rules, was the first practice with all of the coaches mingling with all of the players. And it was clear Wilson’s presence has changed the dynamic of things.

“This guy loves practice, out there at there at the end, he’s like ‘We’re done, can’t we do more?’ I’m like, ‘Man, I’d love to, but baby steps,'” Hackett said of Wilson.

“To be here, standing right here, now that I’m here, it feels right,” Wilson said. “It feels great, I’m excited about it, and also too, at the same time, there’s a lot more to do.”

Hackett stated the Broncos are in the beginning of the installation of the playbook on offense.

“[Monday] was just kind of the very basics of what we do,” he said. “Then we’ll slowly start expanding that with the guys through Phase 2 and the OTAs.”

The Broncos have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, and Wilson, when he starts Week 1, will be the 11th different quarterback and 12th different player to start a game behind center for the Broncos since Peyton Manning retired after the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win.

Running back Phillip Lindsay started behind center versus the New Orleans Saints during the 2020 season. “Been an amazing experience so far,” Wilson said. “… If I was going to go somewhere, I had to go somewhere that wanted to win. And this is one of those places that definitely wants to do that.”

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Quinton Dunbar, Detroit Lions reach 1-year deal

Veteran defensive back Quinton Dunbar is signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions, his agency, Elite Loyalty Sports, revealed Monday.

Dunbar joins the Lions after an injury-plagued season with the Seattle Seahawks, who added him last March only to see him play in six games — all starts — because of a knee problem that required season-ending surgery.

Dunbar, 28, finished 2020 with one interception and five passes defended.

Lions general manager Brad Holmes had said the secondary was an area of focus for his team, which also signed free-agent cornerback Corn Elder last week.

“The corner position — and I can say it with more than just the corner position — is a position that we’ll continue to address now throughout the entire process, up until the draft and even after the draft, if need be,” Holmes told reporters last week, according to The Detroit News.

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“But it’s definitely a position that is not gonna be overlooked or ignored. It is a young group that we have now. I really like the group that we have, in terms of the youth and the upside. … But that is a position that we’ll continue to look to address now and through the draft.”

The Seahawks acquired Dunbar for a fifth-round pick in a March trade with the Washington Football Team.

He missed most of the offseason program and the start of training camp while dealing with armed robbery charges that were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Dunbar made 25 starts over five seasons with Washington, which signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Florida in 2015. He started his NFL career as a wide receiver, then was converted to cornerback as a rookie. He has 10 career interceptions and a sack in his six seasons.

Washington signed Dunbar to a three-year, $10.5 million contract after the 2017 season. The Seahawks inherited the final year of that deal, which paid Dunbar roughly $3.34 million in 2020.

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