Tagged in: team

Cleveland TE David Njoku asks Browns for trade

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has demanded a trade before training camp, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.

“It is in David’s best interest to find a new team at this time,” Njoku’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said, via Schefter. Training camps starts July 28.

The Browns would like to keep him, per the report. The team exercised Njoku’s fifth-year option in April, keeping him under contract through the 2021 campaign.

The news, however, reportedly wasn’t shocking to the Browns. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the team has known for about a year that he has been unhappy in Cleveland.

Njoku, who turns 24 next Friday, missed most of the 2019 season with a broken wrist and a concussion. The former first-round draft pick out of Miami has 93 receptions, 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns in 36 matches with the Browns. He started 14 of 16 games in 2018, his second season, and caught 56 passes for 639 yards with four touchdowns.

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It may be in Njoku’s “best interest” to leave because of who joined the team.

Cleveland added Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper in the offseason, reportedly agreeing to a deal minutes into the so-called legal tampering period. They agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal that made him the NFL’s highest paid at the position.

Then in the 2020 NFL draft, the team selected tight end Harrison Bryant out of Florida Atlantic in the fourth round.

Stefanski has said he has formations including three tight ends! Njoku is with a coach who is close to being obsessed with the position.

A healthy Njoku in the proper frame of mind is with an offense where he could have a huge season.

Njoku has to realize Berry was part of the 2017 Sashi Brown front office that traded up into the first round to grab him with the 29th pick. Berry was a significant talent evaluator for that front office and has a stake in Njoku playing well. It’s part of the reason the 2021 option was picked up. Berry thinks the 24 year old can play, period.

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Brooks Koepka’s caddie tests positive

Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the Travelers Championship after his caddie, Ricky Elliott, tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The pro golfer, 30, told Golfweek that Elliott tested positive for the virus on Wednesday morning at the TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut.

“I’m going to pull out to protect everybody else. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Koepka said. “I don’t want to risk anyone’s life if they have respiratory issues or underlying conditions. The only way this tour can continue is if guys to do this sort of thing and be proactive about it.”

Koepka, Elliott, and Koepka’s coach Claude Harmon III all were originally tested for COVID-19 as a precaution after playing a practice round with Graeme McDowell, whose caddie, Ken Comboy, had tested positive.

“We all got tested Monday—myself, Claude and Ricky. We all came back negative,” Koepka said. “We had no symptoms. Nothing.”

However, Elliott’s additional test on Wednesday came out positive, which led Koepka to immediately withdraw from the Travelers Championship. “Ricky has my full support in this. I feel bad for him,” Koepka said. “We have got to do everything we can to not spread it. We have to protect the field. That’s the reason we have these rules.”

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Koepka stated he and his team have been on strict lockdown during the first three events back on tour, staying together with a chef in rented homes and leaving only to go to the golf course or get tested.

The only occasion on which someone left from isolation was on Monday, June 15, when Elliott joined McDowell and Comboy at the funeral of a close friend in Orlando.

McDowell, 40, told Golfweek that Comboy now thinks he may have been exposed to the virus during a commercial flight he took two days earlier on June 13 from Dallas to Orlando after the Charles Schwab Challenge.

Koepka said that he and his girlfriend Jena Sims, as well as his chef, are all being tested for coronavirus Wednesday at the golf course. Based on the results, he will decide whether to return home to Jupiter, Florida, or quarantine in Connecticut.

The PGA Tour has since put in place a health and safety plan that forces any player who tests positive to be “immediately isolated” for a minimum of 10 days “after the positive test and no subsequent symptoms or two negative test results at least 24 hours apart.”

The tour said that 369 players, caddies and essential personnel were all tested on-site before the RBC Heritage initiated, and none tested positive.

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Angels will furlough non-playing employees on June 1

Count the Angels among the businesses that have succumbed to the financial stresses caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The team will initiate furloughing some non-playing employees in June. The affected group includes members of the player development support staff, minor league coaches and coordinators, and most scouts. All will continue to receive healthcare benefits and have access to a new employee assistance fund, into which the Angels will deposit $1 million for grants.

“We, like businesses throughout the United States, are making difficult decisions to protect our long-term stability,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said in a statement. The Angels last month pledged to pay their full-time employees through May. So did most of the 30 teams, including the high-revenue Dodgers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and World Series champion Washington Nationals.

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But the insecurity surrounding a potential return to play in both the major and minor leagues, combined with two months’ worth of revenue losses caused by the lack of regular season games, has forced teams to reconsider their business model heading into June. The Miami Marlins will furlough 40% of their baseball operations staff.

The Cincinnati Reds declared they would furlough at least 25% of their employees effective June 1.

The Tampa Bay Rays were the first to implement aggressive cost-cutting measures, putting some employees on furlough and cutting the pay of others in late April.

The Seattle Mariners chose to avoid layoffs and furloughs. Starting June 1 and extending through October, the Mariners will cut by at least 20% the salaries of baseball operations and field staff employees who make $60,000 or more a year.

The New York Mets applied similar salary cuts for their non-playing full-time employees — with the stipulation the cuts might be extended if the season is not played. The major point of contention is MLB’s proposal of a 50-50 revenue-sharing plan between players and teams.

Players would be forced to take a larger pay cut than the one they previously agreed to — players and teams decided in March salaries would be prorated.

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Chiefs resigning DT Mike Pennel, FB Anthony Sherman

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly bringing back two members of their Super Bowl-winning team.

Defensive tackle Mike Pennel is returning to Kansas City on a one-year deal, NFL Network reported Tuesday. The Chiefs also are bringing back fullback Anthony Sherman on a one-year deal.

Pennel, who turns 29 on May 9, was a pleasant surprise for the Chiefs after they signed him as a free agent in the middle of the 2019 season. The team’s run defense improved significantly after he became part of the playing rotation for the final eight matches.

Pennel started in the Chiefs’ first two playoff games and was a backup in Super Bowl LIV, where he contributed to an interception with his hit on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second quarter.

Before joining the Chiefs, Pennel played three campaigns with the Green Bay Packers and two with the New York Jets.

He started 15 of the 69 games in which he played, and he has 126 career tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble.

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Sherman saw his role with the Chiefs decline again last campaign, when he was in the lineup on just 9% of the snaps and got the ball just six times. The Chiefs, however, continued to see value in Sherman, who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after Andy Reid was hired as head coach in 2013.

Sherman, who turned 31 in December, threw the key block on Damien Williams’ 38-yard touchdown run that clinched Super Bowl LIV for the Chiefs.

He was a special-teams regular who finished tied for second on that unit with eight tackles last season.

Over nine NFL seasons, Sherman has rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown, which came during the 2017 campaign. He also has 65 career receptions for 547 yards and three touchdowns.

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