Eagles

NFL Notes: Bills host free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin

NFL Notes: Bills host free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- With prompting from running back LeSean McCoy, free-agent receiver Jeremy Maclin is making the Buffalo Bills the first stop in his bid to land a new job.

The Bills announced they were hosting Maclin for a visit on Tuesday, four days after the seven-year veteran was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for salary-cap reasons. Maclin has twice topped 1,000 yards receiving, but is coming off a season in which he was slowed by injuries and had career lows with 44 catches, 536 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

McCoy revealed during his charitable softball tournament last weekend that he began lobbying for the Bills to sign Maclin. McCoy said it wouldn't be a surprise if the receiver signed with Buffalo.

The two spent five seasons playing together in Philadelphia, and McCoy was a member of Maclin's wedding party last month.

Maclin is also familiar with several members of Buffalo's coaching staff, including first-time head coach Sean McDermott, who was the Eagles defensive coordinator in 2009-10.

Buffalo lacks experienced depth at receiver behind starter Sammy Watkins.

Jets: Team planning to part with WR Decker
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are planning to trade or cut wide receiver Eric Decker, the latest move in what has been an offseason purge of veterans with big contracts.

General manager Mike Maccagnan says Tuesday night that if the Jets can't deal Decker, they will move forward without him.

Decker's departure will save the Jets $7.25 million on the salary cap. The news came a few hours after New York cut linebacker David Harris after 10 seasons.

Decker, 30, had 163 catches for 2,183 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons with the Jets, although he was limited to just nine receptions for 194 yards and two TDs in three games last year because of a shoulder injury. He had his torn rotator cuff repaired last November -- just over a month after having surgery on his hip, which had also been ailing him.

Decker appeared to be recovering nicely this offseason while participating in organized team activities the past few weeks, although he sported a red no-contact jersey during team drills.

Patriots: Gronkowski ready for new season
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When healthy, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski can be one of the most devastating weapons in the NFL.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end is one of quarterback Tom Brady's favorite targets. Seemingly able to run through opposing defenses at will, Gronkowski is the first tight end with three straight seasons of 10 or more touchdowns (2010-12), and with three seasons of 1,000 or more yards receiving and 10 or more touchdowns. A three-time All-Pro, he led the league with 17 touchdown receptions in 2011, his second pro season.

The problem for Gronkowski and the Patriots has been his ability to stay on the field. He appeared in eight games last season before undergoing December back surgery -- the third in his career -- missing the Patriots' stunning comeback win in the Super Bowl. The last time he appeared in all 16 regular-season games was 2011. Since his rookie year, he has appeared in 88 of 112 regular-season games.

Gronkowski is confident he's fully ready for the 2017 season.

"Definitely no doubts," he said Tuesday after the first of the Patriots' three-day mandatory minicamp at Gillette Stadium. "All the hard work you put in is what you're going to get out of it. So, I love to put in the work, love the challenge sometimes. So ... now I'm good to go.

"It's always important whenever I get a little setback like that that happened, just get back to where I need to be and I feel like I am, doing everything out here, and competing. It's fun" (see full story).

Raiders: Lynch decided on comeback after team announced move
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- For Marshawn Lynch, the decision to come out of retirement and resume his NFL career was made as soon as the league announced his hometown Raiders were leaving for Las Vegas.

Lynch wanted to give Oakland fans one last chance to cheer an Oakland native playing for an Oakland team.

"Maybe them staying probably wouldn't have been so big for me to want to come and play," he said Tuesday in his first news conference since joining the Raiders in April. "But knowing that they were leaving and a lot of the kids here probably won't have an opportunity to see most of their idols growing up being a hometown no more. With me being from here, continuing to be here, it gives them an opportunity to get to see somebody that's actually from where they're from and for the team that they probably idolize."

The NFL approved the Raiders' proposed move to Las Vegas starting in the 2020 season on March 27. The following week, Lynch visited the Raiders to talk about the possibility of coming out of retirement.

That happened three weeks later when Seattle agreed to trade Lynch's rights to Oakland in a deal that included a swap of late-round draft picks in 2018. Lynch agreed to a restructured $9 million, two-year deal that includes incentives that could increase the value even more.

There were billboards welcoming Lynch back home and palpable excitement for Oakland fans.

"It was heartfelt," Lynch said. "At the end of the day, I still walk outside. Besides the billboards and all of that, I really just get out with the people. The billboards are for the commercial people. When you get outside and you walk in the cracks you get to find out what's real" (see full story).

Packers: Fans give stranded House ride to Green Bay
GREEN BAY, Wisconsin -- Packers cornerback Davon House got a lift to Green Bay from a couple of fans.

House was stranded Monday night at the Minneapolis airport while trying to get to Tuesday's organized team activities session. House tweeted that he needed a ride, and two brothers obliged.

Mike Johnson of Hudson, Wisconsin, picked up House for the four-hour ride. His brother Chad Johnson, who lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, rushed off to meet the other two.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports the brothers took House to Green Bay's airport to get his car. House offered to pay for the ride, but the brothers refused.

House insisted they follow him to Lambeau Field, where the brothers got to go into the locker room.

David Akers on years with Eagles: 'The fans changed my life'

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David Akers on years with Eagles: 'The fans changed my life'

Editor's note: This story originally ran Aug. 31.

When you talk about David Akers, you pretty much have to talk about opening day 2000.
 
It wasn’t just the hottest game in NFL history and one of the Eagles' greatest wins over the Cowboys, it was the start of an 11-year run in which the Eagles went to the playoffs nine times, reached five NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl and averaged 10½ wins per year.
 
And when Akers talks about memories of his 12 years with the Eagles, he has to start on that blazing hot afternoon, Sept. 3, 2000, at Texas Stadium.
 
"It was my first game, first year as a full-time kicker, my first kickoff as a full-time kicker," Akers recalled. "And Andy Reid comes in before the game and says if we lose the coin toss, we're opening the game with an onside kick.
 
"I was like, 'You're kidding, right?' I was really worried about not doing well and now we're starting the game with an onside kick? I had already been cut by three teams, and I was like, 'Man, if I screw this up, I might as well just pack up and leave.' "
 
As we all know, Akers' onside kick was perfect, Dameane Douglas recovered, and just a few minutes later Donovan McNabb's TD pass to Stanley Pritchett had the Eagles on their way to a historic 41-14 win over the Cowboys in what came to be known as the Pickle Juice Game.
 
Before he was finished with the Eagles, Akers scored a franchise-record 1,323 points and played a franchise-record 188 games. Along with Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas and Brian Dawkins, he became one of four players in franchise history to play in 10 postseason wins.
 
On Wednesday evening, Akers learned that this fall he'll become the 50th inductee in the Eagles Hall of Fame.
 
Akers is scheduled to be inducted Oct. 23 at halftime of the Eagles-Redskins game at the Linc.
 
“I loved my time in Philly," said Akers, who kicked here from 1999 through 2010. "The fans changed my life. People talk about the billboard we left (when he left Philly), but honestly, it was a true bottom-of-the-heart thank you from my family.
 
"I hope when the fans look at everything, they know I tried the best I could. I always did it for the team, the organization, the fans, and the reality is that none of us are perfect and obviously I would like to have some field goals back in my career, but if I rewrote how things went down, I probably wouldn’t change very much. And I wouldn’t change where I played my 12 years."
 
After getting cut by the Panthers, Redskins and Falcons as an undrafted kicker out of Louisville, Akers found a home in Philadelphia. And even though he finished his career with brief stops in San Francisco and Detroit — it was with the 49ers that he tied the then-NFL record with a 63-yard field goal — it was in Philly that he put up historic numbers and made five of his six Pro Bowls.
 
In NFL history, only three kickers have played in more postseason wins with the same team than Akers — Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots has played in 15, Adam Vinatieri played in 13 for the Patriots and Roy Gerela of the 1970s Steelers played in 11.
 
"The one thing about Philly fans, they’re so passionate, and it was an honor to play for them as long as I did," Akers said. "They go to the games when we're not doing well. They let you hear it but they're always going to be there. And when you're doing well? This is the greatest city to be around when you're playing well, and guys who don’t get a chance to experience that, it’s a shame."
 
Akers ranks 12th in NFL history with 1,721 points and 11th in history with 386 total field goals. He's the No. 2 scorer in NFL postseason history with 175 points, 59 fewer than Vinatieri.
 
He's also 12th in NFL history with 27 field goals over 50 yards.
 
And now he joins five former teammates — Dawkins, McNabb, Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook and Troy Vincent — along with Jim Johnson as the seventh representative of the Andy Reid Eagles in the team's Hall of Fame.
 
“When Mr. Lurie (owner Jeffrey Lurie) called me, I have to say that I was shocked but humbled just because I have so much gratitude for what the Eagles did for me," Akers said.
 
"They gave me the opportunity when the Redskins and Panthers and Falcons had not been successful for me. My first kickoff in the NFL went 90 yards for a touchdown the opposite way, and I missed a 49-yarder, then got cut two days later.
 
"It's unbelievable how quickly those 12 years went with the Eagles. Such great runs with so many wonderful players and great coaches, a lot of who were very successful after moving on from the Eagles."
 
Akers learned he had been selected to the Hall of Fame Wednesday night during the Taking Flight for Autism fundraiser at the Linc.
 
"Obviously the one thing that sticks with me is the last time I played in an Eagles uniform is not a day I'd like to remember (2010 playoff loss to the Packers)," he said.
 
"So it was a little surreal being back on the stage at the Linc where a lot of other positive memories happened. Looking back on my career, just overwhelmed with gratitude, to be honest with you."

Best of NFL: Ezekiel Elliott's 3 TDs, 219 yards lead Cowboys past 49ers

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Best of NFL: Ezekiel Elliott's 3 TDs, 219 yards lead Cowboys past 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Ezekiel Elliott gained 219 yards from scrimmage and tied a career high with three touchdowns just days after a legal reprieve put his suspension on hold and the Dallas Cowboys beat the winless San Francisco 49ers 40-10 on Sunday.

Elliott was granted his second temporary restraining order on Tuesday, putting his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations on hold and then gave the Cowboys (3-3) a big boost on the field.

Elliott matched his season total of rushing touchdowns with two in the first quarter and then took a short pass from Dak Prescott 72 yards for another touchdown on Dallas' first possession of the second half to put the 49ers (0-7) away. Elliott ran for 147 yards on 26 carries to go with the big catch, setting a career high in scrimmage yards in a game.

That performance spoiled the starting debut of rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who was sacked five times, lost two fumbles and failed to lead the 49ers into the end zone until he scored on a run with the game out of hand in the fourth quarter (see full recap)

Super Mismatch: Patriots continue mastery of Falcons
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and the New England Patriots toyed with the Atlanta Falcons -- sound familiar? -- 23-7 in a fog-filled Super Bowl rematch Sunday night that wasn't particularly super.

New England scored the final 31 points to win the NFL championship in February. Placards and shirts reading 28-3 were ever-present in and around Gillette Stadium as the Patriots (5-2) scored the first 23 points in this prime-time mismatch. The Falcons (3-3), who led New England by that 25-point margin in the third quarter of the Super Bowl before folding, were outplayed throughout this one.

While Atlanta looked tentative, if not intimidated, Brady and his offense clinically tore apart the Falcons. Mixing runs and passes, New England controlled the clock and field position. And its defense, ranked at the bottom of the entire league through six weeks, stymied the NFL's fifth-ranked offense.

Brady threw a shovel pass to Brandin Cooks that traveled perhaps a foot, and the receiver used his speed to get into the left corner of the end zone. The other TD was a 2-yarder to James White, who had three touchdowns, including the winner, in the Super Bowl (see full recap).

Goff leads Rams to shutout as Cardinals' Palmer breaks arm
Already one of the more dynamic offenses in the NFL, the Los Angeles Rams found a new gear against the Arizona Cardinals.

Jared Goffran for a touchdown and threw for another and Greg Zuerlein made four field goals as the Rams won for the first time in three appearances in Britain, beating the Cardinals 33-0 at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.

Goff completed 22 of 37 passes for 235 yards with an interception and Todd Gurley ran for 106 yards and a touchdown for the NFC West-leading Rams (5-2), who finished with 425 yards of offense - their most in a game in more than three years.

Los Angeles has also won five of its first seven games for the first time since 2003, which was the last time the Rams finished with a winning record.

"We haven't been in this position, but we're definitely grateful," Gurley said. "We've just got to take it game by game."

Arizona (3-4), meanwhile, heads home with significant questions after quarterback Carson Palmer broke his left arm in the second quarter (see full recap).

Saints recover late to topple Packers 
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The way that the New Orleans Saints won on the road on Sunday might serve as a valuable lesson in their quest to return to the playoffs.

The defense gave up a long touchdown run on the first series to the Green Bay Packers. Drew Brees had two interceptions — and the Saints weren't even out of the first quarter yet at Lambeau Field.

But Brees bounced back to throw for a touchdown and run for another, Mark Ingram rushed for a score and the Saints recovered for a 26-17 win.

Green Bay lost its first game with Brett Hundley starting at quarterback for the injured Aaron Rodgers (see full recap).

Wilson throws 2 second-half TDs, Seahawks D dominates Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Russell Wilson threw three second-half touchdown passes and the Seattle Seahawk limited the New York Giants' receiver-depleted offense to 177 yards in a 24-7 win on Sunday.

Wilson hit Doug Baldwin with a go-ahead 22-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. He put the game away with a 38-yard TD throw to Paul Richardson on a play that had to be reviewed because of simultaneous possession and he closed out the scoring with a 1-yard toss to Jimmy Graham with 2:14 to go.

The Seahawks (4-2) limited the Giants (1-6) to 46 yards rushing, 14 first downs and just 24:34 in time of possession. The defense only forced one turnover, but the fumble by Eli Manning led to the Richardson touchdown.

The Giants, who stunned Denver on Sunday night for their first win, were only in this game because their defense made plays and limited the Seattle to a field goal in the first half despite being on the field for more than 20 minutes (see full recap)