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Monday, September 16, 2019

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Report: Sam Darnold could be out more than a month with mono

Sam Darnold

The New York Jets made a very surprising announcement this week that Sam Darnold will not play in Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis, and it sounds like the best-case scenario for the quarterback would be a return after the team’s Week 4 bye. However, that is far from a guarantee.

The Jets do not have a firm return date set for Darnold and are unsure of how long he will be out, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. As La Canfora notes, mono is highly contagious and can be particularly dangerous for football players, as it leads to swelling of major organs and could leave them susceptible to rupturing. Darnold’s recovery timetable will depend on how quickly his body recovers and how long he experiences fatigue.

Darnold has also reportedly lost several pounds, which is normal for someone who is dealing with mono. Even if he starts to feel better sooner than expected, the second-year QB may have to take some time to get back in shape and pack on some weight.

The Jets struggled offensively and only scored 16 points at home against the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, and they may have an even tougher time moving the ball with Trevor Siemian starting. In Adam Gase’s defense, the head coach did not expect his quarterback to come down with a case of mono when he made his bold promise about the 2019 season.

Britney Taylor to meet with NFL over Antonio Brown allegations Monday

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown will not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list ahead of Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, but the star receiver’s status could change as early as next week.

Britney Taylor, the woman who filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Brown in court earlier this week, is expected to meet with NFL officials on Monday to discuss the case, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. The league is hoping to wrap its investigation up quickly, so officials will likely meet with Brown later in the week and then determine if any disciplinary action is warranted.

As of now, there have been no criminal charges filed against Brown. That is why the NFL has chosen to wait until speaking with both him and Taylor before making a decision about whether or not Brown should be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Taylor says Brown sexually assaulted her twice in 2017 and raped her in 2018. Brown’s lawyers and agents have dismissed the allegations as nothing more than a “money grab” from a woman who used to be friends with Brown and had a consensual sexual relationship with him. Neither the New England Patriots nor the Oakland Raiders knew of the allegations against Brown prior to the lawsuit being filed, as Brown and Taylor had been in confidential legal talks for months.

Brown is expected to play against the Dolphins on Sunday, and numerous reporters have heard the Patriots will feature him heavily.

For more on the subject:

A summary of the lawsuits filed against Antonio Brown since 2018
Britney Taylor passed lie detector test regarding Antonio Brown allegations
Britney Taylor planning to meet with NFL after her wedding
The text messages Antonio Brown allegedly sent Britney Taylor
Antonio Brown planning to file countersuit against Britney Taylor
Attorney defends Antonio Brown against ‘money grab’ allegations
Patriots react to lawsuit filed against Antonio Brown

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Report: Cowboys looking to trade former first-round pick Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton appears to have fallen out of favor with the Dallas Cowboys, so it is no surprise that they are open to trading the defensive end.

The Cowboys have had recent discussions about trading Charlton, Ian Rapoport and Jane Slater of NFL Network report. Those talks have the potential to heat up in the coming days.

Charlton was the Cowboys’ first-round pick back in 2017, but he does not appear to be in the team’s plans. He was a healthy scratch in Week 1 against the New York Giants and is not expected to be active to face the Washington Redskins on Sunday. The former Michigan star had just four sacks in 27 games over his first two seasons.

The Cowboys have been mentioned as a possible suitor for one of the last good players remaining in Miami, but it seems unlikely that the tanking Dolphins would be interested in anything other than draft picks. Charlton’s trade value is also fairly low considering teams know Dallas doesn’t want him, so they could just wait to see if the Cowboys cut him.

Cowboys interested in trading for Minkah Fitzpatrick?

Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Miami Dolphins have given Minkah Fitzpatrick permission to seek a trade, and one team to keep an eye on if talks heat up surrounding the defensive back is the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was asked on Friday if the team’s brass has had any conversations with the Dolphins in the past 24 hours, and he confirmed that they have. He did not mention Fitzpatrick by name for obvious reasons, but it would not be a surprise if the former Alabama star was the player being discussed.

Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, also represents Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper and defensive end Taco Charlton.

It is hardly a surprise that Fitzpatrick wants to be traded away from the tanking Dolphins, as he called out the team’s coaching staff following Miami’s embarrassing 59-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last weekend. A recent report indicated several players are looking to be traded away from Miami. Fitzpatrick, who was the No. 11 overall pick in last year’s draft, should have much more trade value than most other players on the Dolphins’ depleted roster.

Report: Melvin Gordon ‘still wants to be a Charger’ despite holdout

Melvin Gordon has yet to report to the Los Angeles Chargers and will likely miss several more games while he holds out for a new contract, but that does not mean the star running back is angling for a divorce from the team.

Gordon is in the final year of his rookie contract and does not want to play without a long-term extension in place. Some have compared the situation to what Le’Veon Bell went through with the Pittsburgh Steelers a year ago, but a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Gordon will wants to be a Charger and will not hold out for the entire 2019 season.

Even if Gordon was hoping for a split with the Chargers, his only hope is for the team to trade or release him. Unlike Bell, he is still under contract. Bell refused to sign his franchise tender and was thus never under contract with the Steelers, which allowed him to miss the entire season. Gordon has to be on the active roster by Week 10 at the latest to prevent his contract from tolling, otherwise he could end up in the exact same spot a year from now.

At least one team has reportedly made a trade offer to the Chargers, but a deal seems unlikely. Gordon, who is forfeiting a portion of his $5.6 million salary for 2019 while holding out, has a history of knee issues. That is almost certainly a big reason why LA is hesitant to pay him top dollar and teams are not lining up to trade for him.

Gordon rushed for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns last year in just 12 games. He has been productive when healthy, but he has played a full 16-game season just once in his NFL career.

Watch: Zion Williamson is literally too strong to play golf

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has been told he could probably have a successful career in the NFL because of his size and strength, and those qualities were on display once again on Friday. Only this time, they didn’t do the No. 1 overall pick any good.

Williamson and some other New Orleans Pelicans players hit the golf course for an event with season ticket holders and corporate sponsors, and Zion had a bit of an equipment problem while teeing off.

That’s right — the 6-foot-7, 280-pound Williamson is literally so strong that the head went flying off his iron. Not surprisingly, Charles Barkley knows exactly how that feels.

Williamson’s swing didn’t look quite as bad as Barkley’s, but the former Duke star may need to get fitted for some custom clubs if he wants to really get into golf.

Gregg Williams throws shade at Odell Beckham in response to bounty allegations

Gregg Williams was given an opportunity on Friday to defend himself against claims that he has instructed players to injure Odell Beckham Jr and other opponents in the past, and the New York Jets defensive coordinator issued a denial and then some.

For starters, Williams said he has never put out a hit on an opposing player. He also criticized the media for giving Beckham’s allegations attention, and he interrupted when one reporter noted that the star receiver is “one of the most dynamic players in the league.”

“That’s your opinion?” Williams asked. “What’s New York’s opinion — the Giants’ opinion? That’s not a question for me.”

Williams then became irritated when the Beckham questions kept coming.

Beckham said Thursday that some of his Cleveland Browns teammates have told him Williams instructed them to take Beckham out during a preseason game in 2017. Beckham suffered an ankle injury in that game on a low hit.

Williams, of course, was at the center of the Bountygate scandal with the New Orleans Saints several years ago, and some disturbing audio clips appeared to show him urging defensive players to injure opponents. Despite his suspension and the damning evidence, some of Williams’ former players have maintained that the coach did nothing wrong.

Rob Gronkowski says he had CTE but ‘fixed’ it

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski suffered a number of significant injuries during his NFL career, and many of them were to his head. Concussions and head trauma have become sensitive topics across the football world in recent years with more being learned about CTE, but Gronk says the condition is curable.

Gronkowski surprised some people this week when he said he would allow his son to play football if he had one. The former New England Patriots tight end retired at the age of 29 because his body broke down, but he told Reena Ninan of CBS News that he wouldn’t mind his son playing football because “any injury you receive is fixable.”

Gronk didn’t specifically mention the degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. However, he estimated that he sustained 20 concussions while playing football, and CTE expert Chris Nowinski commended Gronkowski for talking about it but said CTE “cannot be fixed.” Gronk disagreed and said he is living proof that “it is fixable.”

There is still a lot to learn about CTE, but at the moment it can only formally be diagnosed after an autopsy. While scans could determine if Gronkowski’s brain has any signs that are consistent with those of CTE patients, there’s no way to tell for sure if he suffers from it or did at one point.

Gronkowski is endorsing a new product that he swears has changed his life, but we doubt he has much evidence to support his claim that CTE and brain damage can be “fixed.” That’s probably a subject he needs to learn more about before making those types of claims.