NFL Wire News

NFL notebook: Wells defends Deflategate investigation


The Sports Xchange

Ted Wells responded Tuesday to allegations by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s agent that the Deflategate investigation was biased.

Speaking during an afternoon conference call, Wells said, “The conclusions in the report represent the independent opinions of me personally, and those opinions were not influenced in any way shape or form by anyone in the league office.”

Brady’s agent, Don Yee, questioned Wells’ investigation after Brady was suspended for four games in 2015 by the NFL on Monday and the Patriots were fined $1 million and stripped of a first-round draft pick in 2016.

“All of this discussion that people at the league office wanted to put some type of hit on the most popular, iconic player in the league, the real face of the league, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Wells said. “It’s really a ridiculous allegation. What drove the decision in this report was one thing — it was the evidence. I could not ethically ignore the import and relevancy of those text messages and the other evidence.”

Wells referred specifically to a text message by Patriots employee Jim McNally calling himself “deflator.”

–Four days after Dante Fowler Jr. went down for the season with a left knee injury in his first NFL practice, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft reached agreement with the Jacksonville Jaguars on a four-year, $23.5 million contract.

Fowler’s rookie contract is the maximum allowed under the NFL’s slotting system and is fully guaranteed, according to

On the first day of rookie minicamp after the draft, the first-round defensive end from Florida tore his anterior cruciate ligament during 11-on-11 drills.

The 6-foot-3, 261-pound Fowler is expected to return for the start of training camp in 2016.

–Former All-American wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been rebuffed in his attempt to return to playing in the NFL.

According to multiple reports citing The Associated Press, the NFL has denied Blackmon’s reinstatement.

The former Oklahoma State star was the fifth pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 NFL Draft. But after four games in the 2013 season, Blackmon was suspended indefinitely for a second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

–Former New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lance Moore reached agreement with the Detroit Lions on a one-year contract, according to the team’s website. Moore spent last season with the Steelers after eight years with the Saints.

–Earlier this year, ESPN televised its first NFL playoff game and now the network has announced that it again will broadcast a NFL wild-card game during the 2015 season.

The game, as well as the network’s pregame show will be simulcast on ABC for the first time.

Wild-Card Weekend is Jan. 9-10.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed draft picks, claimed two players off waivers and released one player.

Signing were linebacker Kwon Alexander, the Buccaneers’ fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft; wide receivers Kenny Bell and Kaelin Clay, selected in the fifth and sixth rounds; and running back/fullback Joey Iosefa, a seventh-round draftee.

The Buccaneers also picked up safety D.J. Swearinger from the Houston Texans and linebacker Khaseem Greene from the Chicago Bears off waivers and released safety M.D. Jennings, who signed with Tampa Bay during the offseason.

–The Washington Redskins announced they signed first-round pick Brandon Scherff.

Washington has Scherff, the fifth overall pick, penciled in as its starting right tackle.

–The Cleveland Browns signed third-round pick Xavier Cooper and sixth-round pick Malcolm Johnson.

However, the Browns and No. 12 overall pick Danny Shelton have yet to agree on a contract despite previous reports that they had, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

–The Kansas City Chiefs signed six of their nine draft selections as well as 11 free agents.

Second-round pick center Mitch Morse, fourth-round pick linebacker Ramik Wilson, fifth-round picks linebacker D.J. Alexander and tight end James O’Shaughnessy, sixth-round pick defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches and seventh-round selection wide receiver Da’Ron Brown have come to terms with the team.

–The Oakland Raiders signed undrafted free agent wide receiver Austin Hill, the team announced.

To make room on the roster for Hill, the Raiders waived wide receiver Milton Williams III.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers signed second-round draft pick

cornerback Senquez Golson to a four-year contract, the team announced.

–The New Orleans Saints signed their first- and third-round picks in the 2015 NFL Draft — linebacker Stephone Anthony and cornerback P.J. Williams — to four-year contracts.

–The Arizona Cardinals signed two fifth-round draft picks to four-year deals: linebacker Shaq Riddick and wide receiver J.J. Nelson.

–The New England Patriots signed free agent linebacker Dekoda Watson to a contract. The 27-year-old Watson has compiled 120 tackles, three sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries during his five-year NFL career.

— The Buffalo Bills signed sixth-round draft pick tight end Nick O’Leary and seventh-round pick wide receiver Dezmin Lewis.

— The Chicago Bears picked up tight end Chris Pantale off waivers after his release from the New York Jets. The 6-foot-5, 254-pound Pantale spent most of the past two seasons on the Jets’ practice squad.

— The Atlanta Falcons signed running back Tevin Coleman, their third-round NFL Draft pick who rushed for 2,036 yards for the Indiana Hoosiers last season.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed sixth-round draft pick safety Derron Smith.

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