NFL Wire News

NFL notebook: Brady could hear from league next week


The Sports Xchange

All signs indicate NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is ready to announce next week a possible suspension for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News reported that several league sources said Goodell considers Brady’s role in Deflategate a serious violation.

According to Myers, “the NFL is convinced, according to sources, that connecting all the dots of the evidence supplied by Ted Wells leads to one conclusion: Brady cheated.”

Bovada, a gambling website, has posted three prop wagers around Brady’s potential suspension: Will he be suspended for at least one game, will he be suspended for the full 2015 season and how many games will he be suspended?

Since the NFL released the 243-page Wells report on Wednesday, estimates of the length of the suspension have been debated throughout the country on social media and sports talk shows, by reporters and columnists. Everyone seems to have an opinion.

If he is suspended, Brady would be the highest-profile NFL player ever to receive such a punishment in the 96-year history of the league.

The Wells report concluded that the Patriots “more probable than not” violated NFL rules and Brady “was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities” of the deflated game balls.

Wells found Brady and the Patriots’ equipment staff were all likely culpable in reducing the psi, mandated at 12.5 pounds, of 11 footballs in the AFC Championship game in January against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts brought the issue to the attention of the league, sparking a four-month investigation.

In his summary, Wells wrote about the irregularities in the footballs used in the game when the Patriots routed the Colts 45-7 to win the AFC title. The Patriots went on to beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots, Brady, locker room attendant Jim McNally and equipment assistant John Jastremski could be punished by the league.

—If Goodell suspends Brady, backup Jimmy Garoppolo will be ready to fill in, according to the second-year quarterback’s personal coach.

“From the exchanges I’ve had with Jimmy, I can tell you Tom’s been great with him, and helping him understand NFL defenses, along with the offense,” Jeff Christiansen told the Boston Herald. “He’s got nothing but great things to say about the whole situation. He feels very fortunate. With Tom’s professionalism and willingness to help the kid, I’m sure he’ll do real well if that happens.”

During his rookie season in 2014, Garoppolo completed 19 of 27 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown.

—Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, appearing Saturday at a 50th anniversary celebration of the Miami Dolphins franchise, took a jab at Brady and the Patriots

In the past, the 85-year-old Shula has questioned the integrity of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, referring to him in January as “Beli-cheat.”

Shula coached the Dolphins for 26 seasons and won 347 games in his 33-year career, an NFL record.

“It was always done with a lot of class, and a lot of dignity,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach said Saturday. “We didn’t deflate any balls. They all had the right amount of air in them. We always tried to do it by the rules and set an example for those that are looking for an example. That’s what I think I take more pride in than anything else in the years that I’ve been associated with the Dolphins.”

—Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Dante Fowler Jr.’s rookie season lasted less than an hour, but the team is optimistic the defensive end will bounce back from a torn ACL.

Fowler suffered the injury in his left knee during 11-on-11 drills on the first day of the Jaguars’ rookie minicamp Friday and he will miss the 2015 season

Fowler, a pass rusher out of Florida, fell to the ground clutching his left knee. He walked gingerly off the field with the help of two trainers and was quickly carted back into EverBank Field before going to the hospital to be examined by the team’s medical staff.

The 6-foot-3, 261-pounder is facing surgery and rehab that could last 10 months before he can return for the 2016 season. A date for surgery has not yet been set.

“It was just one of them unfortunate things,” Fowler said Saturday. “If I would have never got hurt yesterday, we would have been talking about probably how good I was in practice. I was feeling good.

“It was a great first hour. Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of good years to come.”

Fowler’s optimistic smile and comments were proof of what head coach Gus Bradley said moments before about the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

“It’s a tough deal for him to go through,” Bradley said. “I’m very optimistic after a chance to meet with him. His spirit, I see why we drafted him when we did. His spirit, his mindset going into this, I don’t know, I find it hard to be matched.”

—Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith continues to like what he sees from No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston after the second day of rookie minicamp.

Smith said the former Florida State quarterback still is studying the playbook, but he is eager to learn. Winston signed his rookie, four-year contract — worth $25.35 million, including a $16.7 million signing bonus — the day after the Bucs selected him in the 2015 NFL Draft last week.

“He’s getting better,” Smith said of Winston after Saturday’s practice at One Bucs Place. “As you talk about that starting spot, there’s a lot to learn for all of the rookies, but for the quarterback, that’s a big playbook. He’s cramming like it’s the final exam right now and doing a good job. We’ve seen marked improvement from the moment we gave him his playbook. Jameis is a bright guy. He’ll be able to get it all.”

Winston stayed up until 1 a.m. Friday to familiarize himself with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter’s playbook. The 21-year-old Winston went to greet his rookie teammates Thursday when they arrived on the bus from the team hotel for that night’s introductory meeting.

—Winston filed a countersuit against accuser Erica Kinsman, and he said again in the federal court filing that he did not rape the woman.

Winston’s attorneys, John F. Myers and David Cornwell Sr., filed a counterclaim Friday against Kinsman in court in Orlando, Fla.

Last month, attorney John Clune filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kinsman, who accused Winston of rape in December 2012. Her suit seeks damages of more than $150,000 for “intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of forcible rape.”

Kinsman, a former Florida State student, accused the former FSU quarterback of raping her in December 2012 at Winston’s apartment in Tallahassee, Fla. The state attorney’s office announced in December 2013 it would not pursue criminal charges against him. A retired Florida Supreme Court judge ruled in December 2014 there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove Winston violated Florida State’s student code of conduct.

Winston’s three counterclaims alleges that Kinsman has defamed him and damaged his potential for endorsement income. Winston also answered Kinsman’s accusations by categorically denying them.

—Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who last month at a fundraiser boldly promised a Super Bowl win, now sees a longer career with the team building one of the best offensive lines in the league.

The 35-year-old Romo believes the Cowboys’ new offensive line will help extend his years in the NFL.

“When you have a good offensive line like we do the thought definitely crosses your mind to ensure you do everything possible to play longer than maybe what you had envisioned,” Romo told the Dallas Morning News at Emmitt Smith’s Celebrity Invitational Gala on Friday. “We’ll reassess that in a few years. My wife will tell you, I’m talking a little more long term than I maybe had been. So we’ll see.”

Romo also was involved when owner and general manager Jerry Jones landed offensive lineman La’el Collins, a former LSU first-round prospect who went undrafted.

Romo, who avoided offseason back surgery for the first time in two years, could be looking at playing past the age of 40 with better protection from the offensive line. Romo is signed through 2019, when he will be 39.

—The Atlanta Falcons announced the signing of cornerback Jalen Collins, who was a second-round pick out of LSU, and four other rookies.

The Falcons also signed East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy (fourth round), Clemson defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (fifth), Eastern Washington tackle Jake Rodgers (seventh) and San Jose State cornerback Akeem King (seventh).

—The New England Patriots signed third-round draft pick defensive lineman Geneo Grissom to a contract.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but the National Football Post reported it was a four-year deal worth $2.891 million and includes a signing bonus of $581,948

—The Cincinnati Bengals added Robert Livingston to their coaching staff as offensive quality control/special teams assistant.

Livingston had been a Bengals scout since 2012. He came to the Bengals from Vanderbilt, where he served as defensive quality control coach in 2011.

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