NFL Wire News

NFL notebook: Brady’s appeal hearing set


The Sports Xchange

An appeal hearing for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension over Deflategate will begin June 23, according to a report on Friday.

The hearing could be extended to June 25, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The NFL suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 season in connection with the Patriots using underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts in January. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick refused to comment on the suspension Friday, saying the team had already moved on to next season.

—The Atlanta Falcons released linebacker Prince Shembo after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with the death of a former girlfriend’s dog.

Shembo, 23, is accused of killing the dog, according to Gwinnett (Ga.) County police. He was not taken into custody as of Friday afternoon, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo,” the Falcons said in a statement. “We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”

A Yorkie named Dior died of blunt force trauma, according to a necropsy report. Denicia Williams had reported to police on April 19 that her former boyfriend killed the dog.

Shembo, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Falcons in 2014 from Notre Dame, played in all 16 regular-season games last year and finished his rookie campaign with 59 tackles.

While at Notre Dame, Shembo was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of a Saint Mary’s College student in his dorm room in 2010 but never charged. Lizzy Seeberg, a 19-year-old freshman, died 10 days later by taking an overdose of an antidepressant.

—Offensive tackle Ryan Harris rejoined the Broncos on Friday, two days after Denver lost starting left tackle Ryan Clady to a season-ending knee injury.

The Broncos signed Harris, an unrestricted free agent, to a one-year contract and placed Clady on injured reserve.

The 6-foot-5, 302-pound Harris, drafted by the Broncos, also played for current head coach Gary Kubiak in 2012-13 with the Houston Texans.

Harris is an eighth-year player who spent his first four NFL seasons (2007-10) with the Broncos after being selected by the club in the third round (70th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft from Notre Dame. He has appeared in 94 regular-season games (54 starts) and two postseason contests during his career, which has also included stops in Houston and Kansas City (2014).

—St. Louis Rams running back Trey Watts received a four-game suspension from the NFL on Friday for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Watts will sit out the first four games of the regular season before he is eligible to return on Oct. 5 after the Rams’ game against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 4.

But before the suspension takes effect, Watts will be eligible to participate in all offseason activities and in preseason games with the Rams.

Watts made the team as an undrafted free agent from Tulsa last year and played in 14 games as a rookie, rushing for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is the son of former Oklahoma quarterback and U.S. Congressman J.C. Watts.

—One week into the great quarterback battle, no blood was drawn at One Bills Drive. During the four workouts, Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor split first-team reps fairly evenly, and without using these exact words, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan indicated that this is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

On Friday, the Bills added another quarterback to the mix, claiming Matt Simms one day after he was released by the New York Jets.

The 26-year-old Simms, the son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and played for Ryan and current Bills quarterback coch David Lee. Simms has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards and one touchdown during his NFL career.

The Bills also waived quarterback Jeff Tuel.

—The Minnesota Vikings, playing their home games outside this season before moving back into a new dome stadium next year, could have a home-field advantage on the longer extra-point kicks in 2015.

The NFL announced last week that extra points will now be kicked from the 15-yard line with two-point conversions remaining at the 2-yard line. The new rule also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns.

The Vikings are a cold-weather team this season at TCF Bank Stadium, and special teams coach Mike Priefer likes it that way.

Priefer said the new PAT rule will make kicks tougher on cold days, giving the Vikings an edge over their opponents.

“I’m excited about it. I think it will be a home-field advantage for us because it’s nasty,” Priefer told the Pioneer Press. “TCF is a nasty place to kick in November and December, and our guys will be ready for it. We’ll be used to it, absolutely.”

—The Kansas City Chiefs promoted five members of the team’s player personnel staff on Friday.

Chris Ballard (formerly director of player personnel) will now serve as the team’s director of football operations; Mike Borgonzi (formerly assistant director of pro scouting) and Brett Veach (formerly pro and college personnel analyst) promoted to co-directors of player personnel; Ryne Nutt (formerly Northeast area scout) to Southeast area scout; and Matt Donahoe (formerly national scout) to Northeast area scout.

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