Colin Kaepernick gets ripped by ex-49ers teammate over anthem protest

Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest the national anthem on Friday has become a lightning rod of controversy around the NFL over the past two days.

The hope, though, is that he can help the team this season, channeling the disruptive play that helped the 6-foot-5, 280-pounder notch 26 sacks, 24 quarterback hurries, 50.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles over 41 games with the Buckeyes.

Bosa’s holdout triggered bad blood from both sides while bubbling into a nasty public-relations mess for the Chargers. With their first-round prize finally on the roster, it’s time for everyone to bury the hatchet and prepare the newbie pass-rusher for the season ahead.

In return for Lee and a Browns 2017 seventh-round pick, the Panthers shipped a 2018 fourth-round selection and 2014 undrafted punter Kasey Redfern to Cleveland.

Panthers punter Mike Scifres exited Friday’s preseason tilt with the New England Patriots with a knee injury after taking a shot to the leg.

It’s a depth signing for the ‘Skins, who plan to roll out a D-line led by Chris Baker, Kedric Golston and Ricky Jean-Francois. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the club dump Jenkins if younger talent becomes available in the oncoming flood of league-wide cuts.

The team’s plan is to try and trade Sanchez, but if that doesn’t work, the Broncos will likely cut him sometime before Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, according to PFT. Every team in the NFL has to trim their roster down from 90 to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon.

Sanchez became expendable on Monday after the Broncos named Trevor Siemian as their starting quarterback. Paxton Lynch will serve as Siemian’s backup, which left Sanchez as the odd man out.

It’s been pretty clear for the past week that the Broncos were going to get rid of Sanchez. The quarterback didn’t play a single snap against the Rams on Saturday, which is notable because it was Week 3 of the preseason and starters genuinely play at least a half during Week 3.

Sanchez fell out of favor in Denver after a rough outing against the 49ers in Week 2 of the preseason. The low point of Sanchez’s short Broncos career came late in the first half when he fumbled two times in a 45-second span.

“I just squandered a great opportunity to separate myself and I put the team in a bad situation,” Sanchez said after Denver’s 31-24 loss to San Francisco. “There’s no excuse for that, poor, poor quarterback play.”

Although the Broncos are looking to trade Sanchez, that’s going to be almost impossible. For most teams, there would be no use in making the Broncos a trade offer for Sanchez if they think he’s going to be released, because in that case, they could sign him without giving up any compensation after he’s cut.

On the other hand, the Broncos could possibly find a trading partner if a desperate team comes calling. For instance, if the Cowboys decided they really, really wanted a veteran backup quarterback while Tony Romo’s out.

Tony Romo lasts just one series vs. Seahawks, but Ezekiel Elliott has encouraging debut

SEATTLE — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo could enter the regular season with the fewest preseason snaps he has had since he became the starter.

After he injured his back on the third play of Thursday’s 27-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Romo’s preseason will consist of just 16 snaps if he does not play in the Sept. 1 preseason finale against the Houston Texans. Romo, 36, has not played in a preseason finale since he became the full-time starter in 2007.

Romo played 13 snaps in the Cowboys’ second preseason game Aug. 19 against the Miami Dolphins. In three drives, he has completed five of six passes for 60 yards.

Since undergoing offseason back surgery in 2013, the Cowboys have been mindful of Romo’s preseason work. In 2013, he played in 69 preseason snaps in three games. In 2014, he played in 50 snaps in two games. Last season, he played in 24 in two games.

The Cowboys rely heavily on Romo. As he goes, they go. They have gone 15-4 with him as the starter the past two seasons and 1-12 without him. He missed 12 games last season because of a twice-broken left collarbone.

Good to see them: Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith made his preseason debut after missing the first two games because of a stinger. Chaz Green took over at left tackle in the second quarter, but Smith wanted to get some preseason snaps under his belt. Defensive end Benson Mayowa and defensive tackle Maliek Collins opened training camp on the physically unable to perform list, but they were able to start against the Seahawks. It was the third different starting defensive line in three games. Linebacker Justin Durant also made his preseason debut after the Cowboys worked the veteran into condition after signing him before training camp.

Coach Ben McAdoo even said as recently as last week that he hadn’t been able to make a fair evaluation on Cruz. The jury was still out after almost two full seasons on the sideline and a slow start to training camp.

Even when Cruz did participate in practice early this summer, his snaps were often limited. He was working primarily with the second and third teams and being brought along slowly.

The art of the slide has become vital to Robert Griffin III

BEREA, Ohio — At the end of an innocuous play in one of the many offseason practices at the Cleveland Browns facility, Robert Griffin III jumped from the ground and started walking with authority.

“Who says he can’t slide?” Griffin screamed to no one on particular.

Washington coach Jay Gruden emphasized the need to slide. Teammates lamented when he didn’t. And Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones even posted on Twitter that he would teach Griffin how.

“I’ve learned my lesson from my mistakes in the past,” Griffin said.

Like everything with Griffin, the test will come in the regular season when the game is faster and the defenses more complex.

Not only will have he have to stand in the pocket, read the defense and throw — even Jackson admitted teams will try to make him a pocket passer because they don’t believe he can do it — but he will have to react to the rush.

Jackson does not want Griffin to forgo running. He knows Griffin’s ability can bring something to the offense. He just wants Griffin to be smart when he does run.

Naturally, there will be times when Griffin may have to try for the extra yard, perhaps if it’s late in the game or if a key first down is needed.

But there will also be times when he’ll have to sacrifice a few yards to save his health — even if it means the Browns have to punt on the next down.

“You have to be out there playing, not standing next to me,” Jackson said. “I think he’s gotten that message.”

Not trying to be Tom Brady before games. Garoppolo said he’s learned things from Brady about how to approach things before a game, calling Brady a tremendous quarterback while lauding his longevity. But Garoppolo said the key is to not try to be someone else. “Each quarterback kind of has a different style of how they lead, how they approach everything, and me and Tom are real similar in ways but different in ways, too,” Garoppolo said. “It’s one of those things; you have to make it your own. You don’t want to come in and be phony and be someone you’re not.”

Getting into regular-season routine. With the Patriots traveling to face the Carolina Panthers on Friday for the team’s third preseason game, Garoppolo said this week will have more of a regular-season feel. “You try to get into your routine and everything like that,” he said. “Third preseason game, that’s about as close as you’ll get to a regular-season game, so that’s what we’re trying to do.”

A fan of joint practices. The Patriots are one of 15 NFL teams to hold joint practices this year, and Garoppolo hopes they continue into the future. “I love the joint practices, personally,” he said. “You’re with [teammates] 14-15 hours a day, so after a while it’s refreshing to get a new face in there, new tendencies. The competitiveness obviously comes out; against the Bears in practice that was pretty evident.”

First hit always a good starting point. Garoppolo touched on the difference between the preseason opener and Week 2 and how the first game is a breaking-in process of sorts. “First preseason game, you always want to get the kinks out and everything,” he said. “Honestly, I haven’t been hit in over a year, so it’s always good to get that first one out of the way. Once you start rolling, it’s just football after a little while.”

Winning — in any fashion — will have to do for Team USA

“Obviously everybody wants us to win by a lot of points, but it’s not how it’s gonna go this time,” Team USA star forward Kevin Durant conceded Sunday after Tony Parker-less France refused to cave and fell just shy of a momentous upset in a 100-97 escape for the Yanks in these teams’ Group A finale.

“We’ve gotta be prepared for a grind-out game,” Durant continued. “I think we showed the last three games we can grind it out.”

Give the Americans that much. They are finding ways to prevail even though defensive struggles continue to plague a group that legitimately believed as recently as five days ago that this was a shutdown outfit that would snuff out anyone and everyone.

“They’ve still got a team full of All-Stars,” France center Rudy Gobert said. “Today they didn’t play very good and still won. So they’re still the favorite.”

Added French veteran Boris Diaw, Gobert’s new teammate with the Utah Jazz: “They haven’t been dominating, but they haven’t lost either. They’re still unbeaten, so we can’t say that they’re struggling.”

Except that we most certainly can.

The French entered Sunday’s play as the second-rated defensive team in the tournament. They certainly haven’t been flowing at the other end like Australia or Serbia, yet managed to make a run at triple digits despite the fact that Parker was forced to watch the whole game from the bench in a white team hoody, held out as a precaution after a toe bruise he suffered Friday night against Venezuela.

Kyrie Irving (12 assists, zero turnovers) was clearly more intent on getting teammates involved Sunday — especially after Durant mustered just four field-goal attempts Friday night against Serbia — while Klay Thompson busted out of his hard-to-believe shooting slump in a vintage Klay way. But we’ve seen precious little progress from the Americans over these past three games, starting with the Australia scare.

That’s the worry.

It’s probably unreasonable to expect them function like a true team after essentially a month together. Comparing these Yanks to this generation of French players — who’ve largely been a unit for six years, as wily coach Vincent Collet pointed out — is harsher still.

Yet it seems more than fair to have expected Team USA in one of these last two games, against either Serbia or France sans Parker, to look more like a unit than it has.

Or to expect the Americans to register more than the whopping two blocked shots they’ve managed in the past two games.

“This isn’t a tournament that we’re going to just dominate,” Team USA swingman Paul George said. “There’s talent around this world and they’re showcasing it. For us, it’s just figuring out how we’re going to win. We’re having spurts of dominating, but we’re just not finding ways to put a full 40 minutes together.”

Krzyzewski lamented what he described as a fourth-quarter letdown when the Americans “felt like we had the game won.” George spoke of squandering “that moment when we looked like we were gonna steamroll ’em.”

Down 16 late in the third quarter, playing “loose” and “free” to use Krzyzewski’s words and undoubtedly inspired by the troubles Australia and Serbia caused the heavy favorites, France uncorked a rally that clinched yet another uncomfortable postgame round of what’s-wrong probing from the assembled media before the medal round.

Team USA won’t know who it faces in Wednesday’s quarterfinals until after Monday’s final round of games in Group B, but France looms a potential semifinal opponent.

With Parker surely back at the controls.

And let’s not even start with the stuff about all the various studs back home who, for whatever reason, either couldn’t be here or chose not to. There certainly are several top American stars who aren’t here, but it should be an official IOC rule: No one who plays, coaches or roots for Team USA is ever allowed to complain about what the roster might be missing.

“At the end of the day, no one will ask you anything else except if you won [gold],” Krzyzewski said. “While you’re approaching that winning the whole thing, you’re asked a whole bunch of other things.

“I think we’re getting getting better offensively and we have to get better defensively. Just a succinct comment in that regard.”

Translation: Coach K essentially just confirmed that this tournament has already been too tough to worry one whit about style points.

One night doesn’t matter in the big picture, and there wasn’t much to take from Goff’s performance. But Prescott opened some eyes in Dallas. Maybe by the end of the preseason the Cowboys will feel good about having a rookie as Romo’s main backup.

Goff didn’t start for the Rams. That’s still Case Keenum’s job. Goff relieved him in the second quarter and had a rough start. His first pass was late over the middle and batted away. On his second dropback, he got blasted by the blitz and the ball popped up in the air and was intercepted.

He completed his first NFL pass, over the middle to fellow rookie, tight end Tyler Higbee. Then he hit Higbee on a strong throw for a first down on third-and-3. Goff had rookie receiver Pharoh Cooper over the middle for a nice gain late in the first half, but Cooper dropped it when he was hit.

It’s almost impossible to be thinner at backup quarterback than the Seattle Seahawks.

Their No. 2 quarterback, Trevone Boykin, is an undrafted rookie. Their No. 3 quarterback, Jake Heaps, was undrafted in 2015, cut after one preseason incompletion last year with the New York Jets. He spent the rest of his fall playing in a semi-pro league.

Favre, Dungy highlight Hall of Fame induction, but others also shined

With chants of “Go, Pack, Go” raining down before he took the stage for his speech, Favre had to feel like he was at Lambeau Field. The stands were full of Green Bay Packers fans, and Favre delivered a vintage No. 4 performance — long, mostly brilliant and all from the heart.

It centered emotionally around his late father, Irv, who died in 2003 and whom Favre said would have been his presenter had he still been alive. Favre honored his father that week almost 13 years ago by going out and playing a great game in beating the Oakland Raiders. He topped that Saturday night by telling a heartfelt story of the inspiration his father was to him throughout his life.

“I want you to know, Dad, that I spent the rest of my career trying to redeem myself,” Favre said through a trembling voice, several times fighting back tears and needing to pause before continuing. “I hope I succeeded.”

Favre also mixed in his trademark humor, rambled through several great stories and turned in one of the longest, but certainly also one of the most memorable speeches, in Hall history.

Dungy’s former wide receiver, Marvin Harrison, kicked off the ceremony. Introduced by Jim Irsay, the quiet Harrison — who rarely did interviews during his 13-year career — started his speech by joking that he had no plans to “break the record for the shortest speech,” and he kept to his word more than surpassing the 3-minute, 46-second speech of former Pittsburgh Steelers defender and scout Jack Butler.

Harrison’s quarterback, Peyton Manning, predicted the length of his receiver’s speech to be 9:20. Former Colts center Jeff Saturday went with five minutes. Harrison blew them away, clocking in at just over 11 minutes.

And he made more than one funny line. The Philadelphia native thanked Colts fans for being the “best in the NFL,” apologizing to the legion of Packers fans who made the trip for Favre. Harrison added: “In Philadelphia, if you get the coin toss wrong, they want to trade you the first thing Monday morning.”

Harrison had a complex legacy in the NFL, but there was little doubting his greatness as a player — and it turns out he’s a bit funnier than we thought.

St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace was a quiet man, too, and often took a backseat to his more famous “Greatest Show on Turf” teammates — including fellow Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, whom Pace thanked along with the trio of Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, three players Pace said he hoped he could stand alongside as Hall of Famers one day.

DAVIE, Fla., Aug. 8 (UPI) — If you’re looking to add some juice to your fantasy football team this season, don’t skip past Jarvis Landry.

The Miami Dolphins wide receiver has averaged 97 receptions for 987 yards and 4.5 touchdowns in his first two seasons in the NFL. Landry has started 25 of 32 games. Last season he piled up 166 targets and 110 receptions to earn his first Pro Bowl nod.

Look for Landry’s stock to keep ascending.

“I feel myself getting better,” Landry said Monday at Dolphins training camp. “[Receivers] Coach [Shawn] Jefferson and these receivers, they push me everyday. Not only that, but the defensive backs…these guys push me everyday. We compete at a high level and that’s what coach Adam [Gase] wants. In that environment, the level rises.”

Even though teammate Kenny Stills doesn’t play fantasy football, he said he would take Landry as his top wide receiver.

“Jarvis can just do it all,” Stills said. “He gets a ton of targets and what he does with the ball in his hands after the catch is amazing. It’s something I get to watch everyday and I’m looking at in my game.”

“Jarvis can be as good as he wants to be just like everyone else,” Stills said. “He’s a hard worker and I think the sky is the limit for him and I think he knows that. We are pushing each other every day to reach our full potential and we want to see where that takes us.”

While his former LSU teammate and roommate Odell Beckham Jr. ranked No. 1 in UPI’s top 150 fantasy players, Landry is typically seen as a third or fourth round option.

Brett Favre says induction speech will mirror his career

“He kind of poked fun at Green Bay and Minnesota being in the same locker together,” Favre said. “But there’s no doubt how I will be remembered, and that’s as a Packer, as it should be. I wouldn’t trade my 16 years in Green Bay for anything.”

Even the New York Jets got a mention on Friday. Favre played one season for the Jets after the Packers traded him in 2008. A promising start to the season ended in disappointment and injury; Favre struggled through a torn biceps in his throwing arm.

“Well, I threw six touchdowns in one game, and Yippee,” Favre said with a laugh. “But it’s the only time I ever did it. I’ll say, and I’m [no] excuse guy, but before I tore my biceps, I was playing pretty good and we were 9-3, I think, and not hitting on all cylinders, and I thought there was tremendous [upside]. Our last good game was against New England on a Thursday night, and it went downhill from there as my biceps got worse and ultimately ended up in surgery. I would have liked to have seen how it have ended up if I had not had a torn bicep.”

Favre said he’s now at peace with how his career ended and his renewed relationship with the Packers. He said there are no longer any scars with the Packers, who inducted him into their hall of fame and retired his No. 4 last year.

“I feel like they’re 100 percent healed,” he said.

Favre said he doesn’t miss the game, even though he admitted it’s hard to find anything that compares to the competitive drive of playing in the NFL.

“I retired three times; you’d think I’d be an expert, which I was at that part,” Favre said. “But I never really got away. It didn’t last long. I really never knew what it would be like when I was not out there.

“You can’t cut grass and get the same feeling as throwing a touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe, but the good news is, when the first regular-season game was underway the following year after I retired, I didn’t feel like I needed to be there.”

CINCINNATI — Believe it or not, Vontaze Burfict’s first day of a new football season is a lot like your kids’ first day of school: full of nerves, butterflies and excitement.

“The first day out here I had the little jitterbugs,” the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker said late Thursday. “[But] I felt good and my injury feels good. Everyone else had three days ahead of me with pads and everything, so the first day I put pads on I felt a little heavy. But you just have to get used to it.”

Burfict was back in the Bengals’ practice lineup after missing the start of training camp with an undisclosed injury that landed him on Cincinnati’s active/non-football injury list just before camp started. He came off that list early Thursday.

Last month, coach Marvin Lewis said he has no plans to play Burfict in preseason games. Much of the coach’s reasoning stems from the fact that he believes he knows what Burfict can do on the field, and he also wants to keep Burfict as healthy as possible ahead of his looming three-game suspension.

Burfict will miss the first three games of the season due to his sometimes overly aggressive playing style. A hit to the head of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in the Bengals’ playoff loss to Pittsburgh in January was the tipping point for the league.

Lewis reiterated Thursday his desire to hold Burfict’s contact to a minimum.

“I’m not looking for anything special out of Vontaze,” Lewis said. “Just go out and practice and do his job. This is not an eye-opening day for Vontaze Burfict, so nothing special out of him. Just stay healthy.”

Dirk Koetter says Cameron Brate is Bucs’ starting TE

According to several reports, Seferian-Jenkins has been splitting out wide as a receiver during the early days of Bucs camp, though this is likely just the product of typical camp cross-training. Seferian-Jenkins was dismissed from the field last month during a minicamp practice, though the team described it as a “wake-up call,” according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. He was not lining up correctly, drawing Koetter’s ire.

“I don’t worry about Cameron Brate,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “I worry about myself and doing what the coaches tell me to do. You know what? If Cameron Brate is No. 1, that’s great. If it’s best for the team, I want what’s best for the team. I want to win as many games as I can. That’s what’s most important. Whatever role I have is whatever role I have.”

With Jameis Winston entering a crucial second season and running back Doug Martin entering the second phase of his career, a good, knowledgeable tight end can make all the difference. Just like Tampa Bay was not taking chances in letting Koetter go somewhere else this offseason, Koetter is not taking chances with his pass catchers and run blockers.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 gets inducted on Saturday. Shutdown Corner will profile the eight new Hall of Famers, looking at each of their careers and their impact on the game.
Is it possible to list only one?

Stabler’s crowning moment was his Super Bowl championship in 1977, which came on the back of a season in which he led the league in passing and won the Bert Bell Award as the NFL’s player of the year.

But there are two famous plays that, together, sum up who Stabler was. The first was the “Ghost to the Post,” Stabler’s 42-yard pass to Dave Casper that allowed the Raiders to send a 1977 playoff game against the Baltimore Colts into overtime. Stabler then won the game with a 10-yard touchdown strike to Casper in double overtime.

There’s also the famous “Holy Roller” play — known to some as the “Immaculate Deception.” Down 20-14 to the Chargers with 10 seconds remaining, Stabler’s Raiders needed a touchdown. “The Snake,” as he was so accurately nicknamed, found himself surrounded by three rushers and getting thrown to the ground. He subsequently flipped the ball forward, the first of two blatantly intentional forward fumbles. The second was recovered by the Raiders in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown.

Foles is likely the best option for the Cowboys at this point. The team’s other top options, according to Rapoport, include executing a trade with the Browns for Josh McCown or plucking Jimmy Clausen out of free agency.

The Cowboys have fourth-round rookie Dak Prescott on the roster, but the team lacks an experienced veteran behind starter Tony Romo. Cowboys fans could argue that owner and general manager Jerry Jones didn’t do enough to bolster this ultra-critical position in the offseason, especially after watching Dallas burn to the ground last autumn when the combination of Moore, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel floundered in Romo’s place.

DeAndre Hopkins ends holdout, reports to camp

Texans general manager Rick Smith, though, made it crystal clear that Houston wouldn’t cave into any demands from the Hopkins camp. Holding out was always a long-shot strategy, but the wideout will eventually be paid for what he is — one of the premier pass-catchers in the NFL.

After initially planning a press conference for Sunday afternoon, Hopkins, who was granted reinstatement to the active list from the reserve/did not report list on Sunday, now plans to address his situation with the media on Monday, Rapoport reported.

In just his third season, Hopkins in 2015 tallied a whopping 31.6 percent of the team’s passing targets, ripping through secondaries for 1,521 yards and 11 touchdowns off 111 grabs. It’s worth noting that he put up those titanic numbers playing with a cavalcade of subpar passers.

While Brock Osweiler still has plenty to prove under center, having Hopkins back on the field gives this J.J. Watt-less Texans team a much better chance to compete in the AFC South.

It’s also another reminder that holdouts rarely work out for players.

San Francisco’s quarterback competition has officially begun.

Niners coach Chip Kelly told reporters on Sunday that Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert will divide first-team reps evenly.

“We are going to split it right down the middle. I think we’ve got 24 reps today with the ones,” Kelly said. “So (Colin Kaepernick) and Blaine (Gabbert) will split it right down the middle with the ones and twos.”

There were rumblings this offseason that Gabbert was the leader in the clubhouse. During organized team activities Gabbert took control of the offense and even showed signs of leadership while Kaepernick recovered from various ailments. A stark contrast for a QB who was ran out of Jacksonville after three atrocious seasons.

Kaepernick, who underwent offseason surgeries on his right thumb and left knee in January after having left shoulder surgery in November, has a skill set that would seem to be ideal in Kelly’s offense. Yet the Nevada product has regressed since the 49ers lost to Baltimore in Super Bowl XLVII, and now he’s stuck in a rather grotesque QB battle.

Back in 2012, it would have been laughable to consider Kaepernick being locked in a battle with Gabbert. But times have certainly changed, and Kelly said there’s no timetable to name a starting quarterback.