Eagles

NFL Notes: Fights break out in several training camps

NFL Notes: Fights break out in several training camps

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As the weeks progress in NFL training camps, it's not unusual to see players grab each other by the jersey, wrestle, yell a few profanities and then get separated by teammates as the coaches repeatedly blow their whistles.

It's the old boys-will-be-boys approach, and the New York Giants have been going through it lately as camp stretches into its second week and players don shoulder pads.

Coach Ben McAdoo doesn't mind it. He wants his team to be physical. He wants his players to know what it is like to hit and be hit.

What the second-year head coach doesn't want is the prolonged scrums. Invariably, someone gets stepped on or knocked down and an injury happens.

"The extracurricular stuff after the whistle is something that irritates the vets, and those are the things we need to put an end to," McAdoo said Thursday. "You can be physical and you can be heavy-handed; you can fit your pads in and you can finish, but when that whistle blows, that extra stuff after the whistle is unnecessary."

Seahawks: Clark ejected for punching Ifedi
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark was tossed from practice Thursday after punching teammate Germain Ifedi in the face during a heated skirmish between offensive and defensive linemen.

Defensive tackle Malik McDowell also reported to the team after missing the first three practices of training camp after injuring himself in an ATV accident.

Clark was sent off for the final half hour of practice after his punch dropped Ifedi to the ground. Ifedi also left practice as he was being attended to by trainers after the incident.

"Disappointed we had a couple guys get after it today," coach Pete Carroll said. "There's no room for fighting in football. It is not part of this game. It's not supposed to be part of this game, and we frown upon that very heavily. Real disappointed that that happened today. We have to learn and get better and be right."

Dolphins: Tannehill reinjures left knee
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill reinjured his left knee in practice Thursday when it buckled as he scrambled and fell without being hit.

Tannehill walked slowly off the field accompanied by trainers. He underwent an MRI, but results weren't definitive regarding the extent of the injury, and further assessment was expected Friday.

"You see your quarterback go down, you think the worst," tight end MarQueis Gray said. "He's in all of our prayers, and we hope he's back on the field."

Tannehill missed last season's final four games, including a playoff loss at Pittsburgh, after spraining two ligaments in the same knee. He decided against surgery and took part in all offseason drills.

He was wearing a brace when his knee gave out near the right sideline while running full speed to escape tackle Ndamukong Suh. Tannehill stayed on the ground at least 15 seconds surrounded by teammates before rising and leaving the field.

"I saw him buckle and go down. There was no contact on the play," offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said. "The initial reaction is, `OK, next man up.' That's football. It's going to happen somewhere in this season. The game doesn't stop. You go on to the next play. And then, obviously, my personal thing is, `Boy, I sure hope it isn't serious'" (see full story).

Patriots: Fans’ adoration highlights Brady’s 40th birthday
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Tom Brady was already the oldest player on the Patriots roster before he stepped out on the practice field for training camp Thursday.

He spent the abbreviated workout being constantly reminded he's now a 40-year-old quarterback.

From a sculpture spelling out "G.O.A.T." that was erected near the entrance of the practice field gate to multiple chants of his name to sporadic "Happy Birthday" serenades from spectators -- everything revolved around No. 12 and his 40th birthday.

"It's fun. It reminds you that Tom's old. Very old," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. "But I think he has a lot of fun with it. A lot of guys sung `Happy Birthday' in the locker room. But it's also a reminder of how good he's been. Forty years old and still our best player" (see full story).

NFL: Goodell says Kaepernick not being blackballed
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says teams aren't blackballing Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem last year.

"No, teams make decisions (based) on what's in the best interest of their team ... and they make those decisions individually," Goodell said Thursday following his appearance at a forum with about 200 fans at the Denver Broncos' indoor practice facility.

Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers on March 3, has drawn interest from Seattle and Baltimore but remains unemployed a year after throwing for 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games. Several teams have signed lesser backups without giving Kaepernick a call.

Goodell demurred when asked if he thought Kaepernick should be in the league based strictly on his talent.

"There are other people who make those evaluations and that's a decision that those teams all make individually," Goodell said. "It's not one that I would make as a commissioner" (see full story).

NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

NEW YORK — Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills (see full story). 

Packers place QB Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday after the quarterback had surgery on his broken collarbone.

Rodgers would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. But coach Mike McCarthy has said that there is no timeline for Rodgers' return, and that the two-time NFL MVP might miss the rest of the season.

"Everything went very well is my understanding talking with (team doctor Pat McKenzie), and he's recovering," McCarthy said Friday morning. The Packers did not practice Friday.

The procedure on Rodgers was done Thursday outside of Green Bay. He was hurt in the first quarter in a 23-10 loss last weekend to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers posted an Instagram message early Friday thanking well-wishers for their "love, support, thoughts and prayers" in a photo of himself in a hospital bed (see full story).

Injured QB Jameis Winston will start against Bills
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week's 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking "mental reps" while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

"Jameis threw the ball well today," Koetter said following the team's hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. "Jameis is our starter. He will be out there."

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft (see full story). 

Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

It was late last Thursday night in Charlotte, well after the celebrating in the locker room subsided and well after most of his teammates had already gotten on the bus to take them to the airport. 

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, with a heavy brace on his right leg, emerged from the visitors' locker room and limped through the cement bowels of Bank of America Stadium. The pissed off look plastered on his face as he left the field after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter had given way to a look of resignation. He knew. 

Maragos was officially placed on injured reserve Thursday, which means the Eagles will have to continue what they hope will be a magical season without one of their unquestioned leaders. 

"It was rough, man," said fellow special teamer Najee Goode, who collided with Maragos on the play that injured him. "That's my dawg. Chris is a beast. He brings a lot of energy to special teams. But we're going to replace him. He's still going to be there, making sure we do what we need to do." 

If any team is prepared to get over the loss of a player like Maragos it might be these Eagles. They've already survived — thrived, really — after losing Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood for varying lengths of time. 

But like when they lost Sproles for the season, the Eagles are going to miss more than just Maragos' on-field play. He's also the captain of Dave Fipp's excellent special teams' group. Maragos, one of five captains on the team, said at the time he was voted a captain that it meant more to him than any other accomplishment in his career. 

And that's saying a lot. Maragos' story is pretty amazing. He was originally a wide receiver in college until then-Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw Maragos track down a DB after an interception and moved him to defense on the spot. Eventually, Maragos worked his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before coming to Philly. 

Early in his time with the Birds, Maragos actually played a significant role on defense. But when the new coaching staff arrived, it was clear his role would be on special teams, so he threw himself back into it. And he's been incredible. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year, $6 million extension that goes through the 2019 season and was already off to a good start in 2017. He led the Eagles in special teams snaps with 126 (74 percent) and was tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with six. 

How the heck do you replace that? 

"I don't think you'll ever be able to fill Chris' role," tight end and special teamer Trey Burton said. "He plays such a big role on special teams. He was able to do so much, but we're going to have to do something. Everybody's going to have to step up."

Head coach Doug Pederson said it will be "tough" to replace Maragos, but the team will probably do it with a committee approach at first. That means more Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Even recently signed draft pick Nate Gerry will have a role if he's active. 

Perhaps the bigger loss will be Maragos' leadership. He's one of just five players on the team who has won a Super Bowl, and he's always happy to answer any questions his teammates have — about football or life. 

In his absence, Goode said he and Burton will attempt to fulfill that leadership void as much as possible. 

"It's really tough," Burton said. "That's my best friend. Him not being here, being around as much. It's tough for him too because he's out of the loop on things and doesn't really know. He would love to be here and in meetings and stuff but he's not going to be able to."

While Maragos won't be around for a while, Burton expects him to visit more once he's healed more. And he'll certainly be watching. 

"Heart's heavy, but I lift my eyes," Maragos tweeted Thursday. "I'll miss being out there with my brothers but I promise you this, I'll be back stronger!"

That's good news for 2018, but the Eagles will have to go the rest of the season without him. Maragos apparently had a message for his teammates. 

"He knows injuries happen," Goode said. "We play full speed and that's something that comes with the game. His whole thing — Chris is a great team dude — was that we keep propelling and keep getting better for the future."