Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva became the best-selling player in the NFL by midday Monday.
Alejandro Villanueva’s appearance on the field, as the only Steelers player to leave the tunnel for Sunday’s national anthem, led to confusion for some teammates, a source said.
These are very divisive times for our country, Tomlin said. For us, as a football team, it’s about us remaining solid. We are not gonna be divided by anything said by anyone. That’s the thing that I posted to our guys. I said, ‘If you feel the need to do anything, I’m going to be supportive of that. As Americans, you have that right.’ But whatever we do, we’re gonna do 100 percent, we’re gonna do together. We’re not gonna let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda. This collection of men, we’re chasing something here in 2017, and we’re not gonna play politics with football players, with football coaches.
We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, to remove ourselves from the circumstance. People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re gonna be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That’s our intentions, and we’re gonna play and play to win.
Washington Redskins safety Su’a Cravens didn’t shed light on why he might retire, but in his Snapchat story Monday afternoon he said he needed to do what made him happy.
Bears coach John Fox said during his postgame press conference that Cooper understands the full scope of his error, and that both Cooper and the team have already moved forward.
He will learn from it, Fox said. Nobody feels worse than (Cooper) does. It’s a matter of focus and finishing. He understands that.
Cooper was also flagged for defensive holding in the third quarter, a penalty that set up a one-yard touchdown run for Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. But the day wasn’t all bad for Cooper, who had a couple key pass breakups and contributed two tackles as the Bears held the Steelers to just 70 yards rushing and sacked Ben Rothlisberger three times.
To overcome those mistakes is a great thing, said Cohen. It shows our character. We’re a fighting team.
As for the batted ball, there was confusion regarding the decision upon review, but referee Clete Blakeman explained the ruling after the game.
Tight end Jimmy Graham briefly left Seattle’s win over San Francisco after his ankle got caught underneath him. He later returned and finished the game, but coach Pete Carroll said Monday that Graham’s status for this week is uncertain as his ankle remains sore. Graham has only four catches for nine yards (with two drops) so far, so an injury is the last thing he needs to be dealing with as he tries to get things going. Carroll was optimistic that wide receiver Paul Richardson, who caught the winning touchdown against the 49ers, will be able to play this week despite dislocating a finger earlier in the San Francisco game. — Brady Henderson
Every New York Jets player, coach and staff member linked arms during the anthem. Acting owner Christopher Johnson, the younger brother of owner Woody Johnson, was among them.
For the first time, there were players on the New York Giants — Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins — who knelt during the anthem. Other players stood with arms locked.
More than 10 Kansas City Chiefs players sat during the anthem. On the opposing sideline, most Los Angeles Chargers players locked arms, a few sat down and one — Melvin Ingram — took a knee.
Signed following his surprising preseason release by New York, Pennington possessed the veteran poise and leadership the Dolphins desperately needed under center coming off a 1-15 record the prior year. The 2008 Dolphins went 11-5 and reached the playoffs as Pennington completed 67.4 percent of his passes with just seven interceptions.
Any shot at Pennington holding off 2008 second-round draft pick Chad Henne from assuming his starting spot ended with shoulder injuries in 2009 and 2010. Pennington then retired following a torn ACL suffered in a pickup basketball game during the 2011 offseason.
Baltimore also is now the first team since the 1992 Steelers to record at least four interceptions in the first two games of a season. Carr did his part with a fourth-quarter pick of Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer that helped Baltimore keep Cleveland (0-2) scoreless on its final four possessions.
That doesn’t mean the Steelers defensive end has forgotten his roots.
Heyward’s inspiration to play football came from his late father. Craig Ironhead Heyward not only forged an 11-year career (1988-98) as a big-bodied running back. His size and fun-loving personality also helped Hayward become a cult figure whose popularity led to a memorable soap commercial.
Although his father died from cancer in 2006 at age 39, Cam Heyward said Wednesday he continues to hear fun stories about Ironhead to this day.
Just a couple weeks ago, a woman was able to hand me some photos of my dad from when he was in college, Heyward told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. One of them was with him wearing these short, skinny jean shorts.
Aside from the Cousins situation, Green endorses the recent youth movement in Washington, as well as the changing of its locker room culture. The Redskins over the past couple seasons have gone the way of building through the draft and also have found pieces via undrafted free agency.
In particular, Green likes the fact that his old team has eschewed some of the trouble-makers on the roster.
Character is a big thing for Green, now 57. In his partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Centene, Green is backing the Strong Youth, Strong Communities program. He said the goal is to establish what he calls a non-negotiable foundation to make their own stances and beliefs based on what is good and right; what will help them and their friends be successful.
Jay Cutler started for the Dolphins on Sunday, and out came the old Jay Cutler jokes.
But make no mistake: Miami is not Chicago, and this Jay Cutler is not that Jay Cutler.
Well, he kind of is, because he’s playing for Adam Gase again. But that’s the only similarity. Cutler was paid well as a suddenly-wanted quarterback to elevate a playoff team. His situation with the Dolphins is a lot different than being a lame duck with little support on a lost Bears team.
The most talked-about throw Cutler made in his Dolphins debut, a 19-17 win over the Chargers, is one that didn’t land anywhere near intended wide receiver Kenny Stills … or in bounds. His Hail Mary fail on his final pass attempt of the first half got way too much attention given what he did near the end of the second half.
The Jets have been burned by workhorse and speed backs early, and Jay Ajayi is both of those rolled up into one premier package. While Jay Cutler won’t need to do much and will keep it simple playing off Ajayi, Josh McCown (Cutler’s former backup in Chicago) will have trouble doing much with limited time on the field.
This is not a misprint. In a battle of winless teams, Cleveland is in the rare position of being a road favorite. The Browns have been competitive early, and the Colts fought as much as they could in Week 2. Go horseshoes over lucky dogs, with a winning kick from venerable Adam Vinatieri in a non-shootout between Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.
Guards at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass., find a shank in Hernandez’s cell during a search of his prison block. After the incident, he was taken out of the general population and put in an isolated unit.
Ernest Wallace, a friend of Aaron Hernandez, is acquitted of murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. But Wallace is found guilty of being an accessory after the murder.
Jose Baez, the noted Florida attorney who defended Casey Anthony in 2011, is retained to serve as lead counsel for Hernandez during the former NFL star’s double-homicide trial.
After drawing just two targets during the Carolina Panthers’ week one win, Devin Funchess saw six targets in Week 2. The rise in targets is almost definitely attributable to Greg Olsen leaving the game early in the first quarter with a foot injury as all of Funchess’ targets subsequent to the injury. The best part of those targets is the depth at which they were thrown as five of those six targets came at least 13 yards down the field.
The depth of those targets is sweet, but this week’s opponent is sweeter. The New Orleans Saints’ passing defense can only be described as nonexistent. After finishing dead last in the league last year by allowing 274 passing yards per game, they’ve actually found a way to make that seem respectable as they’ve allowed a whopping 389 passing yards per game this year. -K.D.
Speaking of streaming against the Colts’ suspect defense, Higgins is a fun pairing with Kizer in deeper leagues given the instant rapport the two enjoyed in Week 2. Corey Coleman is headed to injured reserve, meaning a batch of meaningful targets are up for grabs in Cleveland. Higgins was targeted on a whopping 28.6 percent of his team-leading 35 routes in Week 2, evidence he might be the key beneficiary of Coleman’s absence over the next several weeks. -J.M.
As we expected, Moss responded to Griffin’s series of tweets. He spoke with CSN Mid Atlantic about his comments, and wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t trying to bad-mouth Griffin in the way he thought.
Moss says he believes RGIII should still be a starting quarterback, but points to how he handled Shanahan’s exit as a reason why he doesn’t have a job.
At this point, there isn’t much more to say on the situation. Moss and Griffin have each shared their thoughts, and it’s probably time to move on from this incident.
Goff, off and winless as a rookie, posted the type of nearly perfect performance that’s associated with the game’s elite QBs (22-of-28 passing, 292 yards, three TDs, 145.8 rating). He’s looking the part of franchise quarterback he was expected to be when LA drafted him No. 1 overall last year.
All that said, neither Goff or Gurley is close to being the Rams’ best player. That’s Aaron Donald, the most dominant defensive player in the league, who finished off the Niners’ furious comeback with a ferocious takedown of 49ers QB Brian Hoyer. Unfortunately for Donald, he hasn’t received the type of newfound support Goff and Gurley got, and that will dash any high hopes LA has for making the NFC playoffs.
Donald’s dominance aside, LA made Hoyer look like he was back with the Patriots and channeling Tom Brady. The 49ers had zero touchdowns in their first two games against Carolina and Seattle, two recent NFC powers with top defenses. They had five TDs against the Rams, and had game flow been different, Carlos Hyde would have gashed their run defense a lot more �� similar to how the Redskins powered through it in Week 2.
Bradford, seeking a second opinion, met on Friday with orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, who performed the ACL repairs in 2013 and 2014 on the same left knee that has troubled Bradford since last week and caused him to miss Friday’s practice, team and league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Bradford reported Friday morning to the team’s medical personnel that he was feeling fairly pronounced pain in his knee, a day after there was optimism expressed by Zimmer that the quarterback was feeling better and had a chance of playing Sunday.
It didn’t change, Zimmer said.
The Giants, who face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, know a third straight loss to start the season would be demoralizing. Only three teams since the current playoff format was established in 1990 have started 0-3 and qualified for the playoffs.
Honestly, it’s a must-win game, Pierre-Paul said. We know we need this game. It’s a division game. I don’t see us going 0-3.
The primary reasons are the talent and personalities in the locker room. It goes along with coach Ben McAdoo’s belief that it is filled with talented men of integrity.
This has JPP believing a third straight loss isn’t on the horizon.
The players that we got, man. I don’t see it, Pierre-Paul said. The players that we got aren’t going to allow that. Even with our defense, we started off last year pretty bad. We picked it up. I don’t know how we picked it up. Just communication and Coach [Steve Spagnuolo] is giving us the right calls.
Tomlinson, the Chargers’ all-time rushing leader and a Pro Football Hall of Famer who’s now a TV analyst, let Elliott have it, saying he absolutely quit on his teammates.
And Tomlinson wasn’t alone.
The dean of NFL writers, The MMQB’s Peter King, singled out Elliott in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. Wrote King:
At the time of the interception, Harris was about five yards away from Elliott. Elliott immediately stopped and put his hands on his hips and didn’t chase Harris. Harris ran to his left, passing maybe four yards from Elliott at their closest point. Eventually, in a zig-zag course, Harris ran back to his right and was tackled by a Dallas lineman.
I was just like, ‘Wow! If I’d see my dad in that right now, I probably would have freaked out.’
Heyward has honored his father’s legacy by becoming one of the NFL’s premier defensive linemen. The Steelers will need that strong play to continue with fellow end Stephon Tuitt likely out for at least one game with a biceps injury suffered in Sunday’s 21-18 win over Cleveland.
Heyward praised Tuitt and congratulated him on the new five-year, $60 million contract extension he signed just before the regular-season opener. Heyward, though, also believes the Steelers can weather Tuitt’s absence because of the unit’s depth that includes Tyson Alualu, the former Jaguars first-round pick who notched five tackles in extensive snaps against the Browns.
The Redskins went into L.A. with the right plan of going power run-heavy to take pressure off Kirk Cousins in a new offense. It also better protects and rests their defense. Cousins will need to figure it out soon, however, with shootouts ahead.
If there’s any team built to recover from 0-2, it would be them, given how strong their defense is at full strength. The problem is the defenses of the Eagles, Chargers, Broncos and Seahawks can go after their struggling offense in four of the next five games. Big Blue might already have blown everything.
The Bills have tightened the screws defensively with their personnel responding to Sean McDermott, but their offensive limitations didn’t take long to manifest.
Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t exactly lit it up quite yet, and Le’Veon Bell has been running more in neutral. But they’re making plenty enough big plays on both sides of the ball with a much-improved defense overall.
You knew you were going to get that Tom Brady in New Orleans, making things look Big Easy again no matter what injuries befell them. Now it’s time for the defense to regroup and make a notable statement.
Jacksonville punctuated the victory with a fake punt on the last play of the third quarter, with Corey Grant taking a direct snap 58 yards before Fournette punched it in from the 3.
As proud as he is of Watson, Cam Newton and other black quarterbacks who followed his lead, Briscoe is encouraged by the support offered to today’s protesters by their white teammates and co-workers. It’s not just African-Americans speaking out; it’s society as a whole, he said. Back in the day we were alone in our protests and in our pain.