Eagles

NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott drops appeal, will serve rest of suspension

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NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott drops appeal, will serve rest of suspension

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped his appeal with five games remaining on his six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence.

Elliott's agents said Wednesday the decision by last year's NFL rushing leader "is in no way an admission of wrongdoing." They said Elliott's decision came from "a practical assessment of the current legal landscape."

Elliott had a hearing set in a federal appeals court on Dec. 1, four games into the suspension.

He served the first game in Dallas' 27-7 loss to Atlanta last weekend. By accepting the six games, Elliott is eligible to return for the final two games: Dec. 24 at home against Seattle and Dec. 31 at Philadelphia.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time. Prosecutors in Ohio didn't pursue the case. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal (see full story).

Bills: QB Taylor benched in favor of rookie
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rather than continue watching a pedestrian offense muddle through a third consecutive game, Bills coach Sean McDermott sent his team a jolt by making an abrupt change at quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor was benched Wednesday and rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman will make his first career start on Sunday, when Buffalo (5-4) plays at the Los Angeles Chargers (3-6).

McDermott acknowledged taking a "calculated risk" in making the switch at a time when the Bills have a winning record. They sit sixth in the AFC standings, and control their own destiny in a bid to end a 17-season playoff drought -- the longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports.

"This is about becoming better as a football team," he said. "As a decision maker, you have to be able to or willing to take calculated risks to get to where we're trying to go. And I'm comfortable doing that,” (see full story).

Browns: Team upset with comments by Gipson
BEREA, Ohio -- Several Cleveland players feel disrespected by Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson's harsh comments about the Browns.

Gipson was a Pro Bowler with the Browns before the team chose not to re-sign him as a free agent after the 2015 season.

Earlier this week, Gipson took some swipes at Cleveland's front office for letting him leave, predicted the Jaguars will score 40 points this Sunday against the NFL's only winless team and believes the Browns will "probably go 0-16."

Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said Gipson is only trying to "rile up" his teammates, but that his words have provided some extra motivation. Kirksey and Gipson are close friends.

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said he's looking forward to "prove him wrong with those comments."

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said he addressed Gipson's comments with his team and that the safety will not be disciplined (see full story).

Vikings: Sticking with Keenum at QB
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Case Keenum will start again at quarterback this week for the Minnesota Vikings.

This time he'll face his former team, the Los Angeles Rams.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced Wednesday that Keenum will keep his place running an offense that produced a season-high 38 points in the previous game at Washington. The Vikings host the Rams Sunday.

With Teddy Bridgewater back on the active roster, he's widely expected to take over sooner than later. The Vikings have won five straight games with some strong performances by Keenum, though, so a change now would be strange.

Keenum has started five and finished six of the team's seven victories this season, relieving Sam Bradford because of knee trouble. Bridgewater has not played in a non-preseason game in more than 22 months.

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

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Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Mack Hollins
Roob: Hollins wasn't really a factor later in the season, once Torrey Smith got going, but he did show early in the year what kind of player he can be, notably with that 64-yard TD catch in the second Redskins game. Depending on what the Eagles do about Smith, Hollins should be either the Eagles' third or fourth receiver this fall. Either way, he'll be here, and I expect him to make a big jump in Year 2.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Hollins caught just 16 passes as a rookie and it seemed like he just never started producing the way he seems capable of. Even when Smith struggled, Hollins got more playing time and didn't produce. The good news is he's still young and plays a role on special teams. The Eagles will probably bolster their receiving corps in some way, but if they don't, Hollins will have a shot at starting if Smith is gone next season. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alshon Jeffery
Roob: Jeffery really played better than his stats this year. He made every big catch, caught every big third-down pass, made huge plays in the end zone. Jeffery was a star receiver without a star receiver's stats. His unselfish attitude carried over to the rest of the receivers and throughout the roster. And he did it all with a rotator cuff injury that required post-season surgery. Can't wait to see what Alshon can do healthy.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jeffery didn't put up eye-popping numbers during the regular season, but if you needed any proof he's a No. 1 receiver, go back and watch Super Bowl LII, when he made that ridiculous catch in the end zone for a huge touchdown. The good thing about Jeffery is he really doesn't care at all about his numbers. There are a lot of diva receivers in the NFL, but Jeffery clearly isn't one of them. All he cared about last year was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and he certainly helped get the Eagles there. 

Verdict: STAYS

Malcolm Jenkins
Roob: Jenkins has so many roles on and off the field — community activist, NFLPA organizer, locker room leader — it's easy to forget just how good a player he is. Jenkins has been here four years and has had four very solid, very consistent, very productive seasons. He made his second Pro Bowl this year and joined Bill Bradley (3) and Dawk (7) as only the third Eagles safety since 1960 to make multiple Pro Bowls. Jenkins is signed to a cap-friendly deal through 2020 and should be an Eagle for many years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: As important as Jenkins is to the Eagles as a safety and defensive back, you could make a legitimate argument that he's even more important to the team as a leader and man. There's a reason he became the guy to follow up Doug Pederson's postgame speeches. He isn't just the leader of the defense; he's the leader of the entire team. And on the field, he's still playing at a really high, Pro Bowl caliber level. He's 30 now but is still signed through 2020 and maybe outside of Fletcher Cox is the Eagles' most important defensive player. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

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Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Darrell Greene
Roob: The Hall of Fame cornerback is now 58 years old and 21 years removed from his last Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. Oh wait … wrong Darrell Green. This is Darrell GREENE, and he's a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard out of San Diego State who's been on the Eagles' practice squad most of the last two years. The Eagles liked Greene enough to keep him around the last couple years, and unless they see something in Chance Warmack that I missed, Greene has a chance to stick around as a young O-line prospect.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Greene has been around now for the last two seasons. He was without a team for most of 2017; the Eagles didn't bring him back to the practice squad until December. The offensive guard had some real potential coming out of San Diego State, and the Eagles paid him a lot of guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent before 2016. But he's never really impressed them enough to stick around for good. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Hicks
Roob: With Hicks, it's always about durability, not ability. Hicks has played more than half a season only once in his three NFL seasons, and since he's under contract for 2018 with a modest $2.068 million cap figure, he's obviously not going anywhere. The question is what the Eagles do with him after 2018 when he's due to become a free agent. Hicks can play. We all know that. He needs to prove this year that he can stay healthy in order to get a big-money deal a year from now.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Losing Hicks was a problem in 2017 and his absence started showing up late in the season. He's a big-time playmaker. It's a shame he got hurt last year because if he didn't, he'd be in line for a payday. For now, he'll be back in the final year of his four-year rookie contract until he can prove he's the same player he was pre-injury. 

Verdict: STAYS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
Roob: Grugier-Hill must be Howie Roseman's dream. He's signed at the minimum through 2019 but is an awfully valuable member of the roster — a reserve linebacker and emergency kicker and maybe the team's best special teamer. Kamu's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: He really doesn't play at all as a linebacker, but Grugier-Hill has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL and had a real chance to be named a Pro Bowler in 2017. He led the team in special teams tackles with 19 last season. He's still young, cheap and is a big part of Dave Fipp's group. 

Verdict: STAYS