NFL Notebook: Bryant, Browns continue talks

The Sports Xchange

August 17, 2018 at 7:47 pm.

Nov 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a fourth quarter touchdown reception against Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) at AT&T Stadium. Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 30, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) makes a fourth quarter touchdown reception against Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) at AT&T Stadium. Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant left the Cleveland Browns’ training facility on Friday without a contract, but the sides are still talking, according to

Bryant, accompanied by his agent, Kim Miale, huddled with Cleveland team officials for two days before departing late Friday morning., citing a source, reported that Browns general manager John Dorsey and Miale talked again and will continue their discussions.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Bryant has been without a team since the Dallas Cowboys released him in mid-April in a salary dispute.

Bryant sat down with Cleveland’s in-house broadcasting team and spoke favorably of the city, adding that he thought he would look good in the orange uniform of the Browns — the same color he wore at Oklahoma State.

“I’m happy to be here, you know excited, you know just trying to work out some things,” Bryant said. “It’s a lovely place.”

Cleveland wide receiver Jarvis Landry has lobbied for the team to sign Bryant, and quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and rookie Baker Mayfield also endorsed a move to bring him aboard.

“That would be awesome,” Taylor told last week. “I’ve said this before. We know what type of talent Dez brings to the football field. He’s been a very, very good player in his time throughout this league and he adds talent to the wide receiver room.

“I hope it can get done, but like I said, that’s up to management. I definitely think he could help this team.”

The Browns have some uncertainly at wide receiver. Josh Gordon remains away from camp because of health issues and rookie Antonio Callaway could be subject to disciplinary action by the league after he was cited for possession of marijuana.

Bryant had a team-leading 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns with Dallas in 2017. The 29-year-old has gone a career-long 23 regular-season games without a 100-yard performance.

Since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, Bryant has failed to produce a 1,000-yard season or make more than eight touchdown receptions in a season.

Bryant was a touchdown machine in the first half of his career with the Cowboys, hauling in 41 scoring passes in a three-season span, capped by a career-high 16 in 2014. He was selected first-team All-Pro that year.

–Coach Jon Gruden promised the Oakland Raiders before training camp that defensive end Khalil Mack will be with the team this season, but the two-time All-Pro continues his holdout for a new contract.

Asked recently by Peter King of NBC if he expects Mack to rejoin the Raiders by the start of the season, Gruden said: “Hope so. Working on it.”

The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Mack, the No. 5 pick of the 2014 draft out of Buffalo by the Raiders, reportedly wants a new deal with $65 million guaranteed. He would make a base salary of $13,846,000 this season on the last year of his rookie contract.

Mack, 27, will lose game checks of more than $800,000 if his holdout continues into the regular season.

Gruden confirmed that he has not spoken with Mack.

“I have not been able to lately, sure haven’t,” Gruden said. “It’s been frustrating, been tough. Hoping for the best.”

Gruden told Sirius XM NFL Radio: “This is a negotiation. Joel Segal is Khalil’s agent. They’ve got their plan. General manager Reggie McKenzie and the people negotiating on our end have a plan.

“I’m coaching the team. At this time, he’s not here, and we have to focus on what we can control, and that’s just working.”

There have been reports that the Raiders and Segal have had no negotiations lately.

–Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles underwent testing on Friday after injuring his throwing shoulder in Thursday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots, but a report later in the day says he has only a minor strain.

A source told ESPN’s Adam Shefter that the Eagles are not sure if Foles will miss any playing time.

The Eagles said earlier Foles suffered a shoulder strain, and the reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player told reporters after the 37-20 loss that he was “optimistic” about the severity of the injury.

“It just sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through, but you know it feels good and we’ll check it out more thoroughly,” Foles said.

With starting quarterback Carson Wentz still rehabbing from a torn ACL that ended his 2017 season, any injury to Foles is reason for heightened anxiety for the defending Super Bowl champions.

Foles missed the preseason opener and some practice time due to neck and back spasms, but Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson was taking a cautious approach on his quarterback.

“Listen, I am going to wait until I speak to my doctors tonight, tomorrow,” Pederson said after Thursday’s game. “We will get a good evaluation on him and I will definitely keep you updated as we go.”

Foles was hurt on a strip-sack by New England’s Adrian Clayborn. The loose ball was picked up and returned for a touchdown by Ja’Whaun Bentley. Foles dropped to one knee after the hit and was clutching his arm above the elbow.

“I was getting ready to throw a deep ball and it got grabbed as I was following on through so it sort of got a little strained,” Foles said of the play. “But it feels alright, feels pretty good. Hopefully, there’s no issues.”

Foles departed after the injury with the Eagles trailing 17-0 in the rematch of Super Bowl LII. He completed 3 of 9 passes for 44 yards and was sacked three times.

“It wasn’t good, but at the end of the day, it felt good to be back out there,” Foles said. “I missed on some throws but was starting to get a rhythm and get a feel back and that takes time. That’s why we have the preseason, to go out there and play and it wasn’t good enough. I have to be better.”

Pederson was not overly concerned about the performance of Foles, acknowledging that he had trouble with his accuracy.

“I think he had some plays that he would want back and we would want back as an offense,” Pederson said. “And we just got to continue to work, you know. It’s part of the game. We have to make the corrections, you know, this next week and get ready for our next one.”

Foles did stick around and met with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after the game. Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion and MVP of the game on four occasions, failed to shake Foles’ hand after the Super Bowl victory and the subject has been brought up repeatedly during the offseason.

“I think everyone’s made a big deal about it. I don’t think Tom and I think — you know, there’s a lot of craziness,” Foles said. “I’ve always respected Tom, I met Tom several times and it was great to see him. But like I said, I think everyone made a bigger deal because at the end of the day, he’s a great dude. He’s a heck of a player, one of the greatest of all time and you know, to say hi, that’s what quarterbacks do after games.

“I know everyone made a big deal of the Super Bowl, but the Super Bowl’s chaos after. But he was nice, as he always is, so I wished him the best of luck this season.”

–Johnny Robinson, a perennial all-league safety for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1960s, on Friday was selected as the Seniors Finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019.

Robinson’s selection was made by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“I’m thrilled; I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have been selected,” Robinson said after hearing the news from Hall of Fame president David Baker.

Robinson was picked in the first round of the initial American Football League draft in 1960 out of LSU by the Dallas Texans (who later moved to Kansas City and became the Chiefs). He also was the third overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions in 1960.

After playing running back for the first two of his 12 pro seasons, Robinson was switched to safety by coach Hank Stram in 1962 and immediately became a star.

Robinson made 57 interceptions in the next 10 seasons, leading the AFL with 10 picks in 1966 and the NFL with 10 in 1970.

A key member of the Chiefs’ dominant defense in that era, Robinson was voted to seven Pro Bowls, received all-league recognition six straight years (All-AFL, 1965-69; All-NFL, 1970), and was selected to the AFL’s All-Time Team.

Robinson played on the Texans’ 1962 AFL championship team and for the Chiefs when they beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in Super Bowl IV in January 1970 in New Orleans. He had an interception and a fumble recovery in the game.

The Seniors Committee is composed of nine members of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee who consider players whose careers ended at least 25 years ago.

Robinson was first eligible for the Hall of Fame in 1977 and was a finalist from 1980 to 83 and 1985-86.

To be elected to the Hall of Fame, Robinson must receive the same 80 percent voting support by the 48-member Selection Committee on “Selection Saturday,” next Feb. 2 in Atlanta.

The Class of 2019 will be enshrined during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls in Canton next Aug. 1-4.

–San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon will sit out the remainder of the preseason.

McKinnon has been sidelined since injuring his right knee in practice on Aug. 12. San Francisco general manager John Lynch told KNBR 680 that McKinnon will not play until the regular-season opener.

The 49ers are also without their top running back, Matt Breida, who suffered a shoulder injury in San Francisco’s preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Veteran running back Alfred Morris, who was signed by the team to a one-year contract on Tuesday, probably will see plenty of action starting with Saturday’s preseason game at the Houston Texans.

McKinnon, 26, who suffered a muscle strain in his knee, is expected to anchor San Francisco’s ground game with the departure of Carlos Hyde via free agency.

Signed to a four-year, $30 million contract in March, McKinnon rushed for 530 yards and three touchdowns last season with the Minnesota Vikings. McKinnon also had 51 receptions for 421 yards and two scores.

In four seasons with Minnesota, serving primarily as a backup and change-of-pace back, McKinnon had 1,918 yards rushing with seven touchdowns and added 142 receptions for 984 yards and five scores in 58 games.

On Friday, the 49ers announced they re-signed defensive back Dexter McCoil to a one-year deal and in a corresponding move placed safety Terrell Williams Jr. on injured reserve.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound McCoil was claimed on waivers by the 49ers from the Los Angeles Chargers last October and played in eight games, making one tackle. He was waived in April.

The 6-4, 212-pound Williams signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Houston in April.

–Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams had to leave Thursday’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of an ankle injury.

Green Bay’s leading rusher a year ago, Williams appeared to escaped serious injury. The NFL Network, citing a source, reported that Williams is dealing with a minor ankle sprain and should be “fine.”

Williams, among a cluster of players battling for the starting job in Green Bay’s crowded backfield, downplayed the severity of the injury, telling reporters a defender twisted the ankle at the end of a run.

The second-year running back had only two carries for 2 yards and added one reception for 6 yards in the Packers’ 51-34 drubbing of the Steelers. He said he was unsure about whether he could have returned if it was a regular-season game.

With running back Aaron Jones was suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse, Williams and Ty Montgomery are the leading candidates to start in Week 1.

The 6-foot, 213-pound Williams rushed for 556 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie last season. The fourth-round draft pick out of Brigham Young also had 25 receptions and two scores.

In 43 games at BYU, Williams rushed for 3,901 yards and 35 touchdowns in 43 games. He ran for 1,375 yards and 12 scores during his senior season.

–Rookie Sam Darnold received the starting nod in Thursday’s preseason game, but the New York Jets are no closer to settling their muddled quarterback situation.

“It’s already been cloudy. It’s never changed. It’s the same,” coach Todd Bowles said after the Jets dropped a 15-13 decision to the Washington Redskins. “It’ll be a tough choice. We still got two more games to play. … I like all three guys.”

Darnold, who entered training camp at No. 3 on the depth chart behind incumbent Josh McCown and offseason acquisition Teddy Bridgewater, regressed a bit numbers-wise after his much-ballyhooed NFL debut of a week ago.

The No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Darnold was 8 of 11 for 62 yards and an interception on his three possessions when facing Washington’s first-string defense.

Darnold was sacked twice behind an offensive line missing two starts. He was intercepted in the red zone on a fourth-and-1 play, but Bowles absolved Darnold of responsibility on the play.

“He knew he had to get rid of it. It wasn’t open,” said Bowles, per the New York Daily News. “There were four guys over there. There were guys around him. He couldn’t really run. Put that one on our coaching staff and me. The play call should have been different. Put him in a better situation.”

Darnold had better stats in his NFL debut against the Atlanta Falcons, finishing 13 of 18 for 96 yards and a touchdown. Still, he didn’t view Thursday’s performance as a step back.

“Any game experience is huge,” Darnold told reporters. “It’s well documented, because I only played really 1 3/4 years of college football and 1 1/2 years of high school football. So every single game that I play is huge. I feel like I’m going to continue to grow and get better every single day.

“That’s what I’m most excited about … to see how much I’m going to be able to grow and get better and build chemistry with the guys in the locker room. I think we have the potential to do really good things.”

Bridgewater, trying to resurrect his career after missing nearly two full seasons following a devastating knee injury with the Minnesota Vikings, continued to do good things with New York.

Building off an impressive preseason debut, Bridgewater was sharp again against Washington, completing 10 of 15 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Bridgewater, who appeared in only one game in the past two seasons, also was sacked twice — and he didn’t mind it one bit.

“It felt great,” Bridgewater said. “Some of those plays I told him, ‘Coach, you know I’ll make better decisions than that.’ I know when to throw the ball away. … For me, I just wanted to get hit. I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do or say as a quarterback, but for me, it’s just continuing to knock down that mental block. Hey, you can do this.

“Some of those plays I could have thrown the ball away or run out of bounds, but I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could take a hit. It was fun. Get up, smile, tell the guys, ‘Hey, that was nothing. Next play.'”

McCown, who played one series in the preseason opener, sat out against Washington, but Bowles did not offer a timetable for evaluating the quarterback competition.

“We’re going to play the best guy,” Bowles said. “I’m not going to sit here and evaluate them second by second every day in the public. I understand what’s happening. … As football coaches, we understand where we are. We’re pleased with where we are.”

–The Washington Redskins saw their backfield hit with more injuries in Thursday’s preseason win over the New York Jets.

Running back Samaje Perine is expected to be sidelined for at least a week with a sprained ankle, the NFL Network reported, citing a source.

Perine was hurt on his first carry of the game, suffering the ankle injury on a 30-yard run in the 15-13 win over the Jets.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden downplayed the severity of the injury after the game.

“Looks like it was OK. Twisted ankle for Samaje,” Gruden told reporters after the game.
Washington already lost rookie running back Derrius Guice to a season-ending torn ACL in the preseason opener, Guice, the team’s second-round draft pick out of LSU, was expected to be the starter.

The Redskins received more bad news Friday on running back Byron Marshall, who also exited Thursday night’s game with a lower leg injury.

Although Gruden said it did not appear to be serious, the NFL Network reported that Marshall is expected to be sidelined for two to four weeks with an ankle injury.

Marshall had two carries for 1 yard against the Jets. He appeared in four games for Washington last season, rushing for 32 yards on nine carries.

A fourth-round selection out of Oklahoma in the 2017 NFL Draft, Perine appeared in all 16 games and made eight starts for Washington last season. He rushed for 603 yards and a touchdown on 175 carries and added 22 receptions.

Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson are other options for Washington. Also on the roster are Kapri Bibbs and Martez Carter, who rushed for 45 yards on seven carries against the Jets.

–Minnesota Vikings backup tight end Josiah Price is done for the season because of to a knee injury.

Price was hurt during Wednesday’s joint practice session with the Jacksonville Jaguars, ESPN reported.

An undrafted free agent out of Michigan State, Price appeared in four preseason games with Minnesota in 2017, making one start.

The 6-foot-4, 249-pound Price was released during the final roster reduction on Sept. 2, 2017, but he was re-signed by the Vikings in March.

At Michigan State, Price appeared in 42 games in four seasons, hauling in 104 receptions and scoring 21 touchdowns. He had 38 catches and five touchdowns as a senior.

–The Seattle Seahawks terminated the contract of defensive end Marcus Smith and announced the signing of linebacker Erik Walden.

Smith was away from the team the last two days dealing with what Pete Carroll termed a “family issue,” according to the Seattle Times.

A first-round draft pick in 2014, Smith played in 14 games for the Seahawks last season, compiling 15 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Walden agreed to a deal earlier in the week with Seattle. An 11-year veteran, he collected 4.0 sacks and 36 tackles with the Tennessee Titans last season.

“He has been an outside ‘backer and a nickel rush guy, been real physical and tough, and we’ll see how he fits into the competition,” Carroll said after Friday’s practice, per the team’s official website.

Walden, who spent four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before joining the Titans, has 36 career sacks.

In other roster moves Friday, Seattle signed running back Justin Stockton and waived cornerback Elijah Battle.

Stockton, an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech, will provide depth at running back with first-round draft pick Rashard Penny sidelined after undergoing finger surgery.

Battle signed with the Seahawks last weekend.