The NFL made a significant rule change in the name of player safety on Tuesday, but that wasn’t good news to one prominent player.
The league announced that owners had voted to outlaw blindside blocks, citing a statistic stating that one-third of all concussions on punts were caused by that action.
To expand protection of the player being blocked, @NFL owners voted to eliminate blindside blocks. One-third of all concussions on punts were caused by blindside blocks. With the rule change, any forcible contact by the blocker with his head, shoulder or forearm is prohibited. pic.twitter.com/abA2cENnXe
— NFL Football Operations (@NFLFootballOps) March 26, 2019
New York Jets safety Jalen Adams, however, decried the rule change as “soft as hell.”
Soft as hell. Let’s Bring out the flags! https://t.co/AvgSiwE4zr
— Jamal Adams (@TheAdamsEra) March 26, 2019
In the past, Adams has been pretty flippant about the long-term damage football can cause, and ultimately, he’s probably not alone. In that sense, his take on this isn’t a huge surprise.
- Jamal Adams
Robert Kraft issued an apology over the weekend for his alleged involvement in a sex traffic sting in Florida, but the New England Patriots owner is choosing not to admit guilt from a legal standpoint.
On Tuesday, Kraft waived an upcoming arraignment that was scheduled for later this week and officially entered a not guilty plea. He had previously pleaded not guilty to two charges of solicitation of prostitution and requested a non-jury trial, but the 77-year-old is now asking for a trial by jury.
From Palm Beach County court records: Robert Kraft waives his arraignment, pleads not guilty to all charges, and requests a jury trial. pic.twitter.com/nMhKztCodd
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) March 26, 2019
Kraft denied engaging in any illegal activity after an arrest warrant was first issued for him in the case, despite authorities saying they have clear video evidence of him engaging in sex acts at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. Prosecutors recently offered him a plea deal that would have required him to admit guilt in exchange for having the charges dropped, but Kraft and the other defendants in the case turned it down.
While his reputation has already taken a hit, the charges against Kraft came as part of an investigation into sex trafficking. All indications at this point have been that he had nothing to do with that aspect of the case, so it appears he is counting on his powerful legal team to fight the charges and win.
- Robert Kraft
The Arizona Cardinals have done their best to convince everyone that they have no idea what they are going to do with the top overall pick in next month’s draft, but make no mistake about it — Kliff Kingsbury still loves Kyler Murray.
Kingsbury was asked about Murray at the NFL coaches breakfast on Tuesday, he had nothing but good things to say about the Heisman Trophy winner. The new Cardinals coach went as far as to call Murray “one of the better dual threat players to ever play.”
Cardinals’ HC Kliff Kingsbury on what he likes about Kyler Murray: “I mean, I guess it's more what don't you like? When you watch him play, I mean he can run it, he can throw it, he's a competitor….He's one of the better dual threat players to ever play.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2019
The Cardinals hiring Kingsbury as their head coach was one of the reasons Murray’s draft stock rose so suddenly. Back when he was still with Texas Tech and was preparing his team to face Murray and Oklahoma, Kingsbury said he would take Murray with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft if he could. He now can, assuming the front office is on board.
Arizona’s brass has said everything is on the table for them with the top pick, but there are plenty of people who are convinced they are taking Murray.
Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown have raised a lot of questions about whether or not Ben Roethlisberger is respected among his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates, and you can add Bruce Arians to the growing list of people who believe the quarterback is a great leader.
Arians, who served as an offensive assistant in Pittsburgh from 2004-2011, was asked about Roethlisberger’s leadership traits at the NFL coaches breakfast on Tuesday. He had no problem throwing support behind Big Ben.
Bruce Arians on Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership: “Guys have to have thicker skin, man. He’s the leader. He’s the guy. Early in his career everybody said, ‘hey, you’re not vocal enough.’ But you had Jerome Bettis and Alan Faneca and you didn’t have to be. It’s his team.“ pic.twitter.com/i0XkdOM9Yo
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 26, 2019
Bell said in a recent interview that Roethlisberger “was a factor” in his wanting to leave Pittsburgh, and Brown made it clear this offseason that he felt the same way. However, Arians is not the only person who has seen Roethlisberger’s work first-hand and disagrees.
Multiple players who either play with or have played with Roethlisberger have come forward and said he is a good teammate and leader. Whether to believe them or some disgruntled superstars who are no longer with the Steelers is a matter of opinion.
Bill Belichick often appears as though he would rather be undergoing a root canal than answering mundane questions from the media about his football team, so it’s safe to assume the annual NFL coaches breakfast is not his favorite event. On Tuesday, the future Hall of Famer all but confirmed that.
One of the first people Belichick greeted at the breakfast was Brian Flores, a former assistant of his who is now the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. The exchange between the two was very brief, but Belichick managed to get his point across.
“This is the fun part,” Bill Belichick says while greeting Brian Flores during the NFL’s coaches’ breakfast on Tuesday in Phoenix. pic.twitter.com/25lhCTfs2E
— Safid Deen (@Safid_Deen) March 26, 2019
Flores was part of Belichick’s staff in New England for about 15 years, so he’s very familiar with the coach’s sarcasm. That was one of very few smiles we saw from Belichick, who appeared just as annoyed with the media on Tuesday as we have seen him in the past following tough losses. When asked about Rob Gronkowski’s retirement, Belichick said he has already addressed it and is not going to comment on talk that the star tight end could potentially return midseason.
Belichick was asked about the possibility of Gronkowski returning at midseason: "Not dealing in hypothetical questions."
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) March 26, 2019
Pressed for more of his thoughts on the offseason thus far, Belichick basically told reporters to take a chill pill.
Bill Belichick pitching a very complete performance during his meeting with the media at the owner's meetings.
Belichick: "Hypothetical questions. I don't really know the answer to any of those."
More Belichick: "It's March. We'll see how it goes."
— Henry McKenna (@McKennAnalysis) March 26, 2019
Belichick may have just won his sixth title with the Patriots, but he clearly hasn’t lost his edge. He’ll occasionally open up with a funny joke here and there, but the coaches breakfast in March is apparently not the place for that.
It makes plenty of sense for the New York Jets to explore the possibility of trading back from the third overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft, and general manager Mike Maccagnan has made it clear to teams that he is willing to do just that.
While speaking with reporters on Monday, Maccagnan said the Jets are “very open to potentially moving back from three.” He said moving up can be ruled out, but pick No. 3 is very much for sale.
“We’d definitely be interested if another team came with an offer that we felt was worthy of moving out of the spot. We would definitely consider that,” Maccagnan said, via Brian Costello of the New York Post. “Not to say we’re committed to doing it, but we’d definitely be very intrigued by that.”
Maccagnan said he has already had some talks with teams about trades, but they have more been about gauging New York’s asking price. The Jets currently do not have a second-round pick after they traded up in the first round to draft Sam Darnold last year, so trading back from No. 3 and trying to recoup a second-rounder would make a lot of sense for a team not in need of a quarterback.
The Jets are reportedly open to making other significant trades prior to the draft outside of just moving back from No. 3. With all the massive free agent signings they have made this offseason, they may feel they can afford to pass up on the type of impact player they would get in the top five.
- New York Jets
Johnny Manziel responded on Monday to rapper Eminem’s AAF request.
Eminem sent an all-caps tweet in which he said the startup football league should allow players to fight. The Detroit native also campaigned for a team in Detroit.
PLEASE ENTERTAIN THIS THOUGHT REGARDING THE @AAFIRON @AAFEXPRESS GAME: ALLOWING THE PLAYERS TO ACTUALLY FIGHT WOULD BE KEY TO LEAGUE’S SUCCESS LIKE HOCKEY, I WOULD WATCH EVERY GAME (EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO DETROIT TEAM YET – HINT). DON'T BLOW IT.
— Marshall Mathers (@Eminem) March 26, 2019
Eminem’s tweet referenced the Birmingham Iron-Memphis Express game on Sunday in which Manziel made his league debut. Manziel responded to the tweet and told Eminem, “I got you” and added a goat emoji — indicating his respect for Eminem as a great rapper.
I got you https://t.co/oNXEErCxHD
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) March 26, 2019
Considering the AAF has shown it’s anything but a gimmick league and actually progressive from the NFL in some regards, we’re guessing Eminem’s wish for fights won’t come true. That’s a request he might want to direct to the XFL, which doesn’t have plans for a team in Detroit yet either.