Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

This will be Cameron Heyward’s 14th NFL season. He has played all 14 seasons in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers defensive lineman, though, also wants an extension on a contract that pays $16 million this year. He wants to play another three years.

So, there is a possibility Heyward could finish his career elsewhere, something he recently conceded.

But last week, Steelers fans didn’t take kindly to his broaching the possibility of finishing his career in Cleveland, where he has family and his wife is from. It prompted Heyward to post a statement on social media Sunday.

“The goal is to be a Steeler for the rest of my career,” Heyward wrote. “Anyways on a more important front, Happy Father’s Day y’all.”

Heyward previously has said he wants to be a “one-helmet guy,” but he obviously is frustrated by the pace of talks as he stayed away from the offseason program. The Steelers, as an organizational policy, stop contract negotiations once the season starts.

A first-round pick of the team in 2011, Heyward is scheduled to become a free agent in 2025.

The football team might not currently be in the top quartile of the upper quartile, but its house is.

Lucas Oil Stadium is hosting the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, with a pool built on the floor of the venue.

Via Pat Forde of, the first day of the event set an all-time attendance record, with 20,689 present. It was “easily” the biggest crowd ever to witness the swimming trials.

The swimming trials continue through June 23, with the full U.S. Olympics trials running until June 30. Peacock has extensive coverage, along with every event of the Olympics, which start next month in Paris.

There’s currently a one-year, $19.99 offer for Peacock.

And tell ‘em I sent ya.

(There’s probably no way to do that. It’s just fun to say.)

Texans receiver Tank Dell was on pace for 73 receptions for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie before breaking his fibula. His return with a year under his belt, combined with the addition of Stefon Diggs, has Texans fans with far higher expectations than last season.

Houston, though, isn’t going to catch anyone by surprise this season.

The Texans are defending AFC South champions, with much improved Super Bowl odds after also adding Joe Mixon, Danielle Hunter and Azeez Al-Shaair, among others, this offseason.

We ready,” Dell said Saturday, via Aaron Wilson of KPRC. “We’re all excited. We know we have a target on our back. We got a lot of things we want to accomplish: Super Bowl, playoffs, things like that. So, we’re ready to go work.”

Dell’s fractured fibula is fully healed as is his leg, which had a gunshot wound through it when he was a victim in a shooting this offseason in Florida.

He participated in the team’s offseason program, and he will be among the receivers who get in work with C.J. Stroud sometime in the next month.

Dell said he believes he will improve on his rookie season when he made four touchdown catches of 20 yards or more.

“I’m way better,” Dell said. “I feel like I’m way better than I was last year at this time. The little bit of experience I got before I got injured, I already know the playbook. So, I don’t have to put too much stress on that. I’m just working every day. I know I’m ready.”

The Chiefs’ unusual offseason continues.

PFT has confirmed that defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs has been arrested, again. This time, he’s charged with domestic violence/burglary. (Ryan Phillips of Tuscaloosa Patch had it first, as best we can tell.)

Court records show a $5,000 bond. It’s not clear whether he has been released from custody.

Buggs was charged last month with a pair of misdemeanors in an animal cruelty case. His lawyer argued that the prior charges were part of an ongoing “subversive campaign” to force the closure of a hookah lounge Buggs that owns in Tuscaloosa.

The 27-year-old Buggs was a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in 2019. He has spent time with the Raiders and Lions. He joined the Kansas City practice squad in January, and has since been signed to the 90-man roster.

The Chiefs have had multiple off-field issues this year, led by eight pending felony charges against receiver Rashee Rice arising from a street-racing incident in Dallas.

Most teams keep close to the vest the various different scenarios that might have played out in round one. The reason is simple. Teams don’t want to undermine the guy they ultimately got.

The Rams have leaned all the way into the potential alternative scenarios, via their cooperation with The Pick is In, a 90-minute documentary regarding the 2024 draft.

Video from inside the Rams’ draft house shows their efforts to try to trade up to No. 10 with the Jets. Rams G.M. Les Snead offered Jets G.M. Joe Douglas the 19th overall pick and a second-round selection, pick No. 52.

While the Jets were on the clock, Rams coach Sean McVay separately called Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell to confirm he wouldn’t be inclined to trade back if O’Connell’s guy (J.J. McCarthy) was there. (It’s possible that the Vikings made the move from No. 11 to No. 10 because O’Connell became concerned by McVay’s call that the Rams were thinking about jumping the Vikings in order to get McCarthy.)

After the Jets traded down to No. 11 with the Vikings, the Rams tried again to move up. Snead offered No. 19, 52, and a third-round pick (No. 99) for No. 11 and No. 185, in round six. Douglas declined.

The Rams kept trying, until the Raiders took tight end Brock Bowers with the 13th pick. (The Rams offered the 19th pick and the 52nd pick for No. 13 and No. 112 to Las Vegas. The Raiders stayed put.)

It became clear from the context that the Rams wanted Bowers. After the Raiders took Bowers, the Rams became focused on a potential Aaron Donald replacement, in the form of Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy.

That didn’t last long, because Murphy went just three picks later. And coach Sean McVay correctly sensed that No. 16 — Seattle — was the floor for Murphy.

The Rams ultimately remained at No. 19 and took Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse. And while they were happy about it (because what else would they say?), the peek inside the draft room makes it clear that they wanted Bowers first and then Murphy, before settling for Verse.

Even without the candor from the Rams, we already knew that’s how it goes on draft night. Teams have considered every scenario, and plenty of them plot for ways to get a guy they want, when they know he might not otherwise fall to them. For the Rams, neither of their top two targets did.

The biggest, and most unlikely, story of the week came from the Jets, where quarterback Aaron Rodgers capped his “bullshit that has nothing to do with winning needs to get out of the building” offseason by skipping the two-day mandatory minicamp.

It sparked a debate between those who thought it was a big deal and those who made a big deal out of complaining about those who thought it was a big deal. Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, for example, said this on X: “Are y’all really making a big deal because a 15+ year HOF QB missed 2 days of practice after being with the team all throughout Phase 1, 2, & 3 of OTA’s??”

Of course, it’s not just practice. It’s mandatory minicamp. The centerpiece of the offseason program. The two days (the Jets reduced it from three) that everyone is required to be present.

It was also the last two days of the offseason program. And it culminated in an important message to the locker room at large. On Wednesday, coach Robert Saleh addressed the significance of the weeks between the end of the offseason program and the launch of training camp.

“We’ve always called the next part — so, after this, is Phase Me,” Saleh told reporters. “You’ve got Phase 1, 2, 3, now Phase Me. And it’s the 40 days off and it’s a great opportunity for the individual player to be selfish to himself. It’s a great opportunity to create separation on the competition with the way they approach the offseason. You can go to the beach and party and drink, or you can hit the gym and hydrate. There’s different ways everyone approaches these next 40 days. And you can gain ground on your competition, you can separate from your competition, or you can lose your entire ’24 season with the way you approach these next 40. So the message is to be deliberate and to attack this thing and to put yourself in position to be great in ’24.”

When communicating that message, is it better to have a 15-year Hall of Fame quarterback present to reinforce it? Is it better if he hasn’t already started “Phase Me” by putting himself ahead of the team and missing the mandatory minicamp?

If Saleh’s message is as important as he says it is, who better to reinforce it than the guy who has been doing this for 20 years?

“It’s not a half the time thing, it’s not a sometimes thing, it’s not a most of the time thing, it’s an every time thing. If you want to be a winning organization, and to put yourself in position to win championships and be competitive, everything that you do matters.”

That’s what Rodgers said in January, just before he said that “bullshit that has nothing to do with winning needs to get out of the building.”

Many tried to downplay Rodgers’s absence by saying it will have nothing to do with the football season to come. While there won’t be a bright-line connection, little things can make a dotted-line difference.

Beyond the fact that Rodgers wasn’t there for two days of practice during which something might have happened on the field that could be built upon later, Rodgers wasn’t there to hammer home the significance of devoting the break to making more gains, not pissing away the gains that have been made.

“It’s not a half the time thing, it’s not a sometimes thing, it’s not a most of the time thing, it’s an every time thing. If you want to be a winning organization, and to put yourself in position to win championships and be competitive, everything that you do matters.”

We won’t know whether Rodgers could have sent the message more effectively than Saleh did. We won’t know whether the Jets would have been better inspired to do all the right things during the break, if they’d heard it from Saleh and from Rodgers. And if the Jets struggle when camp begins and/or the season starts, it won’t be obvious that Rodgers’s absence from mandatory minicamp contributed to it.

Regardless, at a time when he could have delivered an impassioned plea to teammates to put the team above themselves over the next 40 days, Rodgers put himself above the team. And if you think that has no impact on the team, you really need to think again.

On Saturday, we pointed out that Tom Brady will be present in St. Louis today, with the assignment from his $37.5 million-per-year employer to hand out the UFL Championship MVP trophy. It would make sense for him to be using the Fox game as a way to better prepare himself for his first season of calling NFL games.

Maybe he will.

In response to our X post on the matter, Andrew Marchand of said that Brady “probably is” calling the game. But not for TV.

It makes sense for him to do that. If he’s already going to be giving up Father’s Day to be in St. Louis for the game, why not use it as a way to practice what he always preaches about hard work and commitment and doing what’s hard and such?

It would be great to hear him do the game. And it would generate bigger ratings for Fox.

Of course, it would also be the first opportunity for social media to sink its jagged teeth into Tom’s neck. After what’s happened to Tony Romo in recent years, Fox surely is sensitive to the possibility that Brady will become a pin cushion for criticism.

The next question is whether Brady will work the Fox preseason game — Saints at 49ers, on August 18. Fox has touted the Week 1 Cowboys-Browns game as his debut. While it would be useful for Brady to work a live game before 30 million tune in for Week 1, Fox might not want to run the risk that his dry run goes over like his live roast: Many people will watch it, and Brady will regret doing it.

For now, keep your eyes peeled for Brady in St. Louis today. If anyone at the game sees him in a booth with a headset, snap a photo and send it in.

UPDATE 11:00 a.m. ET: Marchand reports that Brady won’t be calling the game on a practice basis. However, he will be visiting the broadcast booth during the second quarter of the Brahmas-Stallions game.

On the “owners most likely to pack and leave if they don’t get what they want” scale, David Tepper would be at the very top.

That’s an important point for the powers-that-be to keep in mind as Charlotte City Council prepares to take up later this month Tepper’s request for $650 million in free money to upgrade the stadium where the Panthers play.

Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer, a noted Tepper agitator, makes the case for giving Tepper what he wants. The reasoning is simple. If Charlotte doesn’t, the Panthers will leave, along with the Charlotte FC MLS team he owns. And then Charlotte would try to get another NFL team to replace the Panthers, at a cost far in excess of the $650 million Tepper wants.

Public sentiment, as reflected by hardly reliable online commentary, is 85 percent (in Fowler’s estimation) against the proposal. Not giving Tepper the money, however, makes it more than 85 percent certain that he’ll go somewhere that will. (The best hope is that his hostile-takeover personality, which includes hostile drink throwing and marginally hostile hat removal, could be an impediment to getting taxpayer money elsewhere.)

Fowler’s request, and it’s a smart one, is that the council seek a longer commitment than 2039 from Tepper, in exchange for the money. That’s only 15 years away, and that’s when the bill will be even bigger to renovate, or possibly to replace, Tepper’s playground.

All of this is happening at a time when the mood seems to be smaller than ever to subsidize billionaire sports owners. For the NFL, the ever-exploding value of franchises will make it even harder to persuade the average person to feel good about the Dennis Moore approach to stadium financing.

Steal from the poor, and give to the rich.

The folks on Charlotte City Council need to think of it that way. And they shouldn’t get too twisted up by the possibility of Tepper leaving.

Really, where would he go? Which community would fork over billions to build him a new stadium?

The Chiefs currently are benefitting from a Missouri vs. Kansas-style border battle. Fortunately for Charlotte, Tepper has already obliterated the bridge to Rock Hill.

The Patriots’ first attempt at finding a franchise quarterback to succeed Tom Brady failed when Mac Jones couldn’t get the job done. Now they’re onto their second attempt at replacing Brady after drafting Drake Maye with the third overall pick.

Brady said he has spent time with Maye and told him that whether he succeeds or not is ultimately up to him.

“I’m very fortunate to be around him, and I like him a lot,” Brady said of Maye in an interview with Yahoo Sports. “I’ve heard great things about him. But his opportunity is going to be really what he makes of it, and how he wants to develop it, and how he wants to attack his profession, like we all do. It’s not where you’re at when you’re 22, it’s who you’re around when you’re 22. Who inspires you to be better? Who develops you?”

Maye has not yet been handed the starting job and is expected to begin training camp behind Jacoby Brissett on the depth chart. That indicates the Patriots intend to bring Maye along slowly. Brady thinks how well Maye develops will be mostly up to Maye himself.

The UFL is taking a back seat to auto racing.

Via Mike Mitchell of, Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed that UFL games will move to Friday nights in 2025. Fox needs the weekend broadcast windows for its new deal with IndyCar.

For now, there’s no specific number of UFL games that will be affected. Shanks said “many” games will move to Fridays.

Friday nights will be open on Fox because WWE Smackdown moves to USA Network in October.

The UFL has a 10-week regular season and a two-week postseason.

It’s also unclear when the UFL season will commence in 2025. It possibly will start closer to the Super Bowl than it did in 2024.

The move could make it harder to generate significant ratings. Attendance also could be impacted by playing games on Friday night.

Regardless, the UFL has done well in its first year — but not well enough to stay in a better weekend slot on Fox.

The inaugural UFL season ends on Sunday in St. Louis, with a championship game between the San Antonio Brahmas and the Birmingham Stallions.