Eagles

NFL Notes: Cardinals ink Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald to 1-year extensions

NFL Notes: Cardinals ink Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald to 1-year extensions

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and quarterback Carson Palmer have signed one-year contract extensions with the Arizona Cardinals.

The deals put Fitzgerald under contract through the 2017 season and Palmer through 2018.

Fitzgerald, holder of virtually all the franchise receiving records with statistics among the NFL's all-time greats, turns 33 on Aug. 31.

Palmer is 36 and entering his fourth season with the Cardinals. He set franchise records and personal bests for yards passing, touchdown passes and quarterback rating in leading Arizona to a 13-3 record last season.

Fitzgerald's 109 catches last season broke the franchise mark he set a decade earlier.

General manager Steve Keim said in a news release that the signings reaffirm the team's intention that "these two great players end their stellar careers with the Cardinals."

Patriots: Brady talks decision to not appeal suspension
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Addressing reporters for the first time since opting not to pursue further appeals of his four-game suspension in the "Deflategate" saga, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called it a personal decision and said he is trying to move on.

The four-time Super Bowl winner spoke to the media Friday at New England's training camp. He is allowed to practice with the team and play in the Patriots' preseason games but will miss the first four regular-season games.

"I tried to come out here and just focus on what I need to do to get better and help our team," he said. "I'll be excited to be back when I'm back, and I'll be cheering our team on, hoping they can go out and win every game."

Brady was suspended for his role in the use of deflated footballs in the 2014 AFC championship win over Indianapolis. He initially won a court appeal, but that was overturned, and Brady chose not to continue the legal fight.

The 39-year-old led the league with 36 touchdown passes last season. He must be away from the team beginning Sept. 3, the day of final cuts, and can return on Oct. 3, the day after the Patriots' fourth game of the season, against AFC East rival Buffalo. The first game for which Brady will be eligible is Oct. 9 at Cleveland.

The suspension will snap his streak of 126 consecutive games played -- 112 in the regular season and 14 playoff games.

Asked if it was a difficult decision not to pursue legal avenues to dismiss the suspension imposed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Brady replied:

"I think it's just personal and I've tried to move on from it so I try to, like I said, focus on the positive and being out here with my teammates and getting better. I don't want to go out and do anything but try to be a great example for your teammates, and we've got a lot of competitive guys that are down here on the practice field, and I think that's where the focus needs to be (see full story)."

Chiefs: Nick Foles signing announced
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs announced the signing of quarterback Nick Foles on Friday, giving them a veteran backup to Alex Smith and alleviating one of the biggest question marks on the roster.

The sides had agreed to terms of a contract earlier this week.

Foles was granted his release from the Rams this past summer after they chose quarterback Jared Goff with the first pick in the NFL draft. Foles had been linked to the Cowboys before deciding to sign with Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who originally drafted him in Philadelphia.

Foles was expected to begin practicing with the Chiefs on Friday.

Kansas City was poised to begin the season with Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray or rookie Kevin Hogan as the No. 2 quarterback. None of them have taken a meaningful snap in the NFL.

Bills: LB Reggie Ragland injures left knee
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills rookie linebacker Reggie Ragland left practice Friday with a left knee injury.

Bills coach Rex Ryan says the team does not believe any knee ligaments were damaged, but Ragland will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the injury.

The non-contact injury took place in a team drill near the end of Buffalo's morning practice. Ragland was going after the ball carrier on a running play before pulling up and going to the ground. He was able to walk to the locker room under his own power.

Ragland is projected to start at inside linebacker for Buffalo after being drafted 41st overall. The Bills are already without first-round pick Shaq Lawson, projected to start at outside linebacker.

In other Bills injury news, Ryan said defensive tackle Marcell Dareus (undisclosed non-football illness) will likely return to practice on Monday.

NFL: Montee Ball sentenced to jail for domestic abuse
MADISON, Wis. -- Former NFL and Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has been sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and battery for his role in two domestic abuse incidents. 

In an agreement with prosecutors, the 25-year-old Ball entered the plea to three of six charges against him. Ball was charged with battery and disorderly conduct in February after his girlfriend told police he had thrown her across a Madison hotel room. About a month later, a previous girlfriend told police she had been assaulted by Ball in 2014. He was charged with strangulation, substantial battery and disorderly conduct. 

A Dane County judge Friday also ordered Ball to serve 18 months of probation. Ball holds touchdown records at Wisconsin. He was drafted by Denver in 2013 and cut after two seasons.

Cowboys: Trial set in Darren McFadden civil lawsuit
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A federal judge in Little Rock has scheduled an August 2017 jury trial in Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden's lawsuit against his longtime business manager.

McFadden filed the $15 million civil lawsuit in June against Michael Vick of Mabelvale and 10 others named only as "Doe." The lawsuit alleges that Vick misappropriated and mishandled money throughout McFadden's NFL career, including $3 million lost in a bitcoin business venture.

In court filings this week, the case was set for a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker the week of Aug. 21, 2017. 

In his response to the lawsuit, Vick, who is not the former NFL player, denies all allegations and asks that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Eagles working out Jordan Matthews

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USA Today Images

Eagles working out Jordan Matthews

Jordan Matthews, who had the 11th-most catches in NFL history by a player in his first three seasons, worked out for the receiver-desperate Eagles Tuesday, six weeks after he was released by the Patriots, according to a league source.

As of mid-afternoon, the Eagles had not formally signed Matthews, but the source said Matthews left the workout hopeful a deal would get done.

Matthews caught 225 passes for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns from 2014 through 2016 with the Eagles before being traded in the 2016 preseason to the Bills in the Ronald Darby deal.

Matthews managed only 25 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown in 10 games with the Bills before being released and joining the Patriots, who released him with an injury settlement just a few days into training camp after he suffered a hamstring injury during practice.

He’s been rehabbing ever since.

The Eagles have been desperate for receiver help following injuries to Mike Wallace and Mike Hollins and with Alshon Jeffery still trying to return after offseason shoulder surgery.

The Eagles released DeAndre Carter on Tuesday to make room for running back Josh Adams, which left them with only Nelson Agholor, Shelton Gibson and Kamar Aiken healthy and available (see story).

Matthews this past spring, in an appearance with Sirius XM NFL Radio, accused the Eagles’ training staff of a “two really bad diagnoses” of knee and ankle injuries.

The Eagles have since replaced their entire training staff.

Re-signing Matthews makes sense since he has a history with Carson Wentz, who will make his first start of the season Sunday at the Linc against the Colts.

Wentz completed 73 passes for 804 yards and three TDs to Matthews in 2016, and only Zach Ertz (135) and Nelson Agholor (81) have caught more of Wentz’s passes in his two NFL seasons.

Matthews also has a history with Nick Foles. They played together here in 2014, Matthews’ rookie year, and Matthews had 30 catches for 278 yards and two TDs from Foles before he got hurt halfway through.

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Eagles have just 3 healthy receivers 5 days from kickoff

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USA Today/AP Images

Eagles have just 3 healthy receivers 5 days from kickoff

With a couple injuries in their running back room, the Eagles made a move on Tuesday, promoting Josh Adams from the practice squad to the active roster. That wasn’t much of a surprise. 

But the corresponding move was a little more of an eyebrow-raiser. 

Even though Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) doesn’t appear ready to return, even though Mack Hollins (groin) is on IR, and even though Mike Wallace fractured his fibula on Sunday and is out indefinitely, the Eagles waived DeAndre Carter. 

That leaves them with three healthy receivers just five days from Carson Wentz’s first game back:

Nelson Agholor

Kamar Aiken

Shelton Gibson 

Agholor is very good, so don’t say Wentz has no one to throw to. No. 13 had a breakout season last year and is off to a pretty good start in 2018, even without Jeffery on the field drawing attention. You don’t need to worry about Agholor, but these injuries are forcing him to play outside more than he did last season. 

But Aiken wasn’t even on the original 53-man roster as he healed from a hamstring injury. He played an incredible 62 snaps on Sunday, just a few days after being brought back. He caught five passes, the most he’s caught in a game since the regular season finale back in 2015. Aiken, 29, wouldn’t be a bad fourth or fifth guy on the depth chart, especially because he plays special teams. But with these three guys left, the 29-year-old is probably going to start against the Colts. 

And while Gibson, a fifth-round pick in 2017, had a great preseason, the Eagles seem hesitant to play him. He barely played in the opener and had 35 snaps without a catch on Sunday. Gibson has just two career catches, which both came at the end of the last regular season. 

So what the heck are the Eagles going to do? 

Head coach Doug Pederson on Monday said Jeffery is still “week to week,” which means he isn’t ready to return. Help will eventually come when he’s back, but it won’t be this Sunday against the Colts. 

In Tampa, we saw the Eagles play Josh Perkins an awful lot, which is probably because of his background as a converted receiver. He did an OK job, catching four passes for 57 yards, but he dropped one. And are you really convinced Perkins is the answer? Yeah, probably not. 

The Eagles will likely use a lot more two-tight end sets and better make a more concerted effort to get rookie Dallas Goedert involved. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said they need to find a way. But in the past, we’ve seen that Pederson loves to run 11 personnel (Zebra) with three wideouts. They can’t do that right now, unless you want to see a lot of Aiken and Gibson on the field. 

There are three receivers on the practice squad, including Braxton Miller. But on Monday, Pederson said Miller hasn’t had time to learn the Eagles’ offense because he’s been on the scout team. 

The last possibility — the one fans are clamoring for, and understandably so — is to bring in a free agent receiver or acquire one through a trade. This seems relatively likely, based on numbers alone. It could just be bringing back Markus Wheaton. Or maybe they make a call about Jeremy Maclin or Jordan Matthews, someone who knows the offense. 

But they better act fast. The clock is ticking until the game on Sunday and the Eagles’ receiving corps is now a glaring weak spot. 

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