NFL Notes: Ravens TE Darren Waller suspended by league for 1 year

NFL Notes: Ravens TE Darren Waller suspended by league for 1 year

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been suspended without pay for at least one year for violating the NFL substance abuse policy.

It's the second time Waller has been suspended by the NFL for substance abuse. He missed Baltimore's first four games last season.

The league and the Ravens did not disclose Friday the substance Waller used that led to his suspension.

After his first suspension, Waller acknowledged that used marijuana. He returned to catch 10 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

The 24-year-old Waller is a former sixth-round pick with plenty of potential. The 6-foot-8, 255-pounder from Georgia Tech was expected to get plenty of playing time at a position that has become a trouble spot for the team.

Dennis Pitta appears headed for retirement after his third hip injury, Benjamin Wallace is returning from a torn Achilles tendon and Maxx Williams is coming back from knee surgery.

Raiders: OG Jackson reportedly agrees to 5-year extension
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders have locked up another member of their stellar 2014 draft class, agreeing to a five-year extension to keep guard Gabe Jackson under contract through the 2022 season.

A person familiar with the deal said Friday that it is worth $56 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal and its terms have not been announced. NFL Network first reported the deal that kicks in once Jackson's rookie contract expires after the 2017 season.

Jackson has been a key part of the Raiders offensive line since being drafted in the third round. He did not allow a sack in 628 pass block snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus, the best rate for any guard in the league.

Jackson was part of a transformative draft class in Oakland that was headlined by first-rounder Khalil Mack, who was the AP Defensive Player of the Year last season, and second-round franchise quarterback Derek Carr. After losing the first 10 games as rookies, those three have played a big role in a turnaround that led the Raiders to 12 wins last season and the franchise's first playoff berth since 2002.

Carr got rewarded last week for his play, signing a $125 million, five-year extension that also keeps him under contract through 2022.

Mack is under contract through 2018 because the Raiders exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie deal and will likely be in line for an extension next offseason.

The Raiders have invested heavily in their offensive line in recent years, especially in the interior. Oakland signed All-Pro guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 million free agent deal last offseason and Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson got a five-year, $44.5 million deal the previous offseason.

Oakland also has a Pro Bowler at left tackle in Donald Penn and signed Marshall Newhouse this offseason in hopes that he would win the right tackle job.

The strong offensive line has been key to the Raiders recent success as the team allowed a league-low 18 sacks last season.

Steelers: Burns charged with driving with a suspended license
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns has been charged with driving with a suspended license.

A Miami Beach Police report says an officer pulled over Burns' Cadillac SUV in South Beach on Thursday for having an expired tag.

The report says the 22-year-old Burns failed to produce a driver's license, and was handcuffed and taken to a county jail.

Miami-Dade County court records show Burns hadn't paid hundreds of dollars in traffic tickets and failed to appear for a hearing.

The police report says Burns' SUV was impounded and the vehicle's tag was seized.

Jail records show Burns was released on bond Friday. It couldn't be determined if he had an attorney; the case wasn't yet listed in court records.

Burns was a first-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2016.

Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

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Brian Dawkins chooses longtime teammate for Hall of Fame intro

Brian Dawkins has chosen longtime teammate and close friend Troy Vincent to introduce him this summer at Dawk's Hall of Fame induction.
Dawkins was selected in February for enshrinement in the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction class.
"The presenter that will actually be on the stage will be Troy Vincent," Dawkins said in a video posted on the Pro Football Hall of Fame's website.
"My teammate in Philadelphia. We came there the same year. Almost from Day 1 he kind of ... not kind of, he took me under his wing on becoming a professional. Not just a football player but a professional. The details. The details that he went through, the particulars of how he played the position of cornerback was the same way he lived his life (and ran) his businesses that he had off the field.
"He's a guy I can call anytime. Any time of night. And tell him 100 percent all what's going on with me, and I know he's not going to judge me, and it's not going to leave his lips (for) anybody else.
"And the most important thing for me, being a man of faith, is that I know he's going to pray with me. So all those things combined are the reasons why Troy was the perfect guy to introduce me to the Hall of Fame."
Vincent, a native of Trenton and graduate of Pennsbury High in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, spent his first four seasons with the Dolphins before signing an offer sheet with the Eagles before the 1996 season that the Dolphins didn't match.
The Eagles drafted Dawkins in the second round a month after signing Vincent, and the two spent eight years together in the secondary, reaching the playoffs five times and the NFC Championship Game three times.
During those eight seasons, Vincent reached Pro Bowls and Dawkins made the first three of his nine Pro Bowls.
Vincent retired after the 2006 season and Dawkins after the 2011 season.
Dawkins, Vincent and Eric Allen are the only Eagles defensive backs picked to five or more Pro Bowls.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2018 enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Dawkins' former Eagles teammate, Terrell Owens, will also be inducted. He hasn't yet announced who will present him.
Dawkins will be the 21st former Eagle inducted into the Hall of Fame but only the ninth who spent the majority of his career with the Eagles.

Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

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Was Carson Wentz sending Nick Foles a message with Instagram video?

Offseason quarterback controversies are a rite of passage in the NFL. A time-honored tradition, really. 

We’ve certainly had our share in Philadelphia over the years. There were calls for Ron Jaworski to sit in favor of a young Randall Cunningham. Then cries for Jim McMahon to take Randall’s place. When Andy Reid drafted Kevin Kolb in 2007, that began a groundswell that he was the better choice than Donovan McNabb. Of course, most recently we had the Michael Vick/Nick Foles back and forth. To look back now, it seems silly these were even debates.

Most of the time, when you have these “controversies,” it generally means you have no quarterback on your roster. Not always. The 49ers in the late-80’s and early-90’s had Joe Montana and Steve Young, both Hall of Famers and all-time great quarterbacks. Both also won Super Bowls for San Francisco. But that is the exception. So is the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles’ situation.

I use the word “situation” and not “controversy.” Because there is no controversy. If Wentz is cleared by the Eagles’ medical staff, he starts Week 1. Period. What Foles did was incredible and will go down as one of the great — if not the greatest — stretch we have seen in Philadelphia sports history. He came up as big as you can. But Wentz he is not. That’s no disrespect to Foles. There are a handful of people on the planet who are in Wentz’s class.

Just a refresher course on what Wentz did in 13 games last season (his second in the NFL, by the way). He threw for 33 touchdowns, seven interceptions, 3,296 passing yards and had a 101.9 passer rating. The 33 TDs were the second-most in the NFL despite his missing the final three games. He also led his team to an 11-2 record before succumbing to that knee injury late into that Rams game that clinched the NFC East. He would have been the league MVP had he not gotten hurt.

There is a great luxury having Foles on this team. Wentz does not have to come back before he is able. If he’s not ready, you have the best backup in the league to start the season. But that’s the only scenario in which Foles plays Week 1. Simply put: Wentz is the better quarterback. And he has earned the right to start the opener if cleared. 

Some people read into Wentz's Instagram video of himself throwing earlier in the week as him somehow sending a message to Foles. I don’t buy it. I think Wentz’s message was to the fans and himself that I’ll be back, better than ever.

Wentz and Foles are both good teammates who put the team above themselves. Sure, Foles is a competitor and would likely prefer to start. But there won’t be any behind-the-scenes maneuvering to undercut Wentz. And Wentz is secure enough to be able to handle a Super Bowl MVP backing him up and all that goes along with that. Not to mention a coaching staff and organization that won’t allow outside noise to become a distraction.

Wentz over Foles. There’s no quarterback controversy.