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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Football

Eagles coach says Carson Wentz’s back is healed ‘as far as I know’

Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz admitted earlier back in April that his back still was not completely healed from stress fractures that cut his 2019 season short, but it seems as though he has come a long way over the past two months.

Wentz has been a full participant in OTAs and minicamp, and Eagles coach Doug Pederson was asked on Thursday if the quarterback’s back is fully healed. He reiterated that Wentz has had no limitations and said the back has not been an issue “as far as I know.”

A stress fracture is the type of injury that can linger, so the Eagles will probably play it safe with Wentz throughout training camp. Either way, the massive new contract they gave him indicates they are not concerned about his long-term health. With Nick Foles now out of the picture, the Eagles will do everything they can to make sure Wentz stays on the field for all of 2019.

Calvin Johnson rips Lions again over signing bonus

Calvin Johnson sad

Calvin Johnson made well over $100 million during his nine seasons playing in the NFL, but the former Pro Bowler is a man of principle. And until the Detroit Lions pay him the remainder of his signing bonus, he doesn’t want anything to do with the team.

Johnson said earlier this month that he is only going to reconcile with the Lions if they “put that money back in my pocket.” The money he is referring to is the portion of his signing bonus from his 2012 contract that the team forced him to pay back after he retired. Johnson shared more of his thoughts on the situation in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week.

While the exact amount that Johnson paid back has not been disclosed, it is believed to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million. The contract he signed with the Lions in 2012 included a $16 million signing bonus, and that money is prorated over the course of the deal. When he retired before playing out the eight-year contract, the Lions forced Megatron to pay some money back.

Johnson will likely reconcile with the Lions eventually the same way Brett Favre did with the Green Bay Packers, but it doesn’t sound like he is going to back down. We highly doubt he needs the extra $1 million, so he clearly just feels the organization is in the wrong after all he accomplished on the field.

Patriots acquire TE Michael Roberts in trade with Lions

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are still looking for options to replace Rob Gronkowski in he wake of the star tight end’s retirement, and they are hoping a trade they have completed with the Detroit Lions will help.

According to numerous reports, the Lions have agreed to trade tight end Michael Roberts to the Patriots for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

Roberts, a fourth-round pick in 2017, caught just nine passes for 100 yards last year, but three of them were touchdowns. He’s 6-foot-5 and should provide the Patriots with a big body in the red zone, which is something they need with Gronk gone.

Jason Witten raves about Dak Prescott’s improvement

Dak Prescott

Jason Witten and Dak Prescott spent two years together on the Dallas Cowboys before Witten’s short-lived retirement. It has, however, given Witten time away, and a different view of Prescott’s personal development.

On Wednesday, Witten had nothing but praise for Prescott, stating that the quarterback had improved since he last threw to Witten in 2017.

Witten played with Prescott during the quarterback’s impressive rookie season, in which he led Dallas to 13 wins. The tight end would be quite familiar with Witten’s development.

The feeling is mutual, as Prescott has said very similar things about Witten. If they’re both right, the Dallas offense could be an explosive unit in 2019, but training camp hasn’t even started yet and it’s still early.

Jack Easterby at center of Patriots’ tampering charge against Texans

Jack Easterby

A new executive hired by the Houston Texans named Jack Easterby is at the center of the New England Patriots’ tampering charge against the Houston Texans.

The Patriots on Wednesday filed tampering charges against the Texans for their pursuit of Nick Caserio to fill their GM vacancy. The Texans fired Brian Gaine suddenly on Friday after just one year on the job. The surprising move came a day after Easterby, a former Patriots employee, attended the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony at the home of team owner Robert Kraft, where Caserio was also present.

NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo says the Patriots may be connecting the presence of Easterby at the ceremony to the firing of Gaine the next day, along with reports that Caserio was immediately viewed as Houston’s top target.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio says evidence of potential tampering could come from proof of interactions between Easterby and Caserio.

Easterby was a former team chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2011-2012 and hired to serve as a life coach/character coach for the Patriots from 2013-2018. He left the Patriots earlier this year after feeling uneasy over Kraft’s massage parlor case, according to The Boston Globe. He ended up hired by the Texans and began working for them in April. He is serving as their executive vice president of team development, and his influence within the franchise is said to be growing.

Report: Patriots file tampering charges against Texans over Nick Caserio

Nick Caserio

The New England Patriots have filed tampering charges against the Houston Texans over the AFC South team’s pursuit of Nick Caserio.

Caserio serves as the Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel and is viewed as their de facto GM, with Bill Belichick retaining final say over the roster. The Texans last week announced the firing of Brian Gaines after one season on the job as their GM. Reports immediately said Caserio would be Houston’s leading target for the job.

The Texans tried to interview Caserio for their GM vacancy last year but were turned down by the Patriots. They formally requested permission to speak with him again this year but have not heard back. That is likely due to the Patriots deciding tampering charges were in order.

The implications of a tampering accusation means the Patriots believe that the Texans have gone behind their back to speak with Caserio about the job.

Being a general manager is considered a higher title than director of player personnel, and teams generally allow their employees to interview for jobs that would be promotions. The Patriots feel differently in this case.

In a December 2014 interview, Belichick praised Caserio.

“He contributes in a lot of different ways and I’m glad I have him. I need him,” Belichick said.

Caserio has worked in the Patriots’ organization since 2001, working in scouting and even serving as a wide receivers coach. He has spent most of his time working in personnel and has held his current role since 2008.

Titans to retire jersey numbers of two franchise icons

Tennessee Titans

There will be some nostalgia for the Tennessee Titans this season.

Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk announced Wednesday that the franchise will retire the uniform numbers of Steve McNair and Eddie George this season.

McNair and George formed a fearsome offensive tandem together throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. George was an All-Pro, while McNair won an MVP award.

Tragically, McNair was killed in 2009, so that ceremony will likely be a particularly emotional one. It’s certainly safe to say that both players are well-deserving of the honor, and some would say it should have happened even sooner.