National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    NFL notebook: League to research goal-line camera use
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NFL will start research and development on Monday into New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick's idea to add cameras to the goal line to assist with replay, Albert Breer of NFL Media reported Sunday.

    • At last week's owners meetings in Phoenix, Belichick reportedly criticized the NFL for not wanting to pay the cost of goal-line and sideline cameras. The extra cameras could give officials better replay angles and more accuracy of reviews.

      Belichick and the Patriots proposed the rule change the last two years, but the rule wasn't adopted. This time, the league tabled the proposal. Since 2011, all scoring plays have been subject to review.

      According Breer, the league wants to determine the right technology and then how to best integrate the cameras into the replay system that will work in all 31 stadiums.

      --Several teams selecting within the top five picks in the NFL Draft on April 30 have scheduled to bring in Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota for a pre-draft visit. That includes the Washington Redskins, owners of the fifth overall pick, whose interest could prove to be more than a smokescreen.

      General manager Scot McCloughan said recently that the team has yet to decide whether it will pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Robert Giffin III's contract, and coach Jay Gruden said RG3 has the starting job "right now."

      --Expecting to hit a home run with a blockbuster contract extension soon, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson paid a visit to the Texas Rangers for the second straight year and hit a home run in batting practice Saturday.

      The Rangers picked Wilson in the Triple-A segment of the Rule 5 draft in 2013, and he took ground balls with the team for a day last spring. On Saturday in Surprise, Ariz., he took ground balls again and also took some swings in the cage.

      --New Orleans Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested in Miami on Sunday morning for resisting an officer without violence.

      Dixon, 24, was booked into jail at 5:50 a.m. and held on $1,000 bond. It's unclear why Dixon was arrested.

      According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints are aware of the arrest and reporting the situation to NFL security.

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Report: NFL to research adding goal-line cameras
    By The Sports Xchange

    The NFL will start research and development on Monday into New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick's idea to add cameras to the goal line to assist with replay, Albert Breer of NFL Media reported Sunday.

    • At last week's owners meetings in Phoenix, Belichick reportedly criticized the NFL for not wanting to pay the cost of goal-line and sideline cameras. The extra cameras could give officials better replay angles and more accuracy of reviews.

      Belichick and the Patriots proposed the rule change the last two years, but the rule wasn't adopted. This time, the league tabled the proposal. Since 2011, all scoring plays have been subject to review.

      According Breer, the league wants to determine the right technology and then how to best integrate the cameras into the replay system that will work in all 31 stadiums.

      According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Belichick strongly voiced his displeasure in a closed-door meeting last week that included NFL head of officials Dean Blandino.

      Belichick was angry that the league -- with its billions of dollars a year in revenue -- isn't willing to pay to make the officiating better.

      "We spend money to send the Pro Bowl to Brazil, we spend money to go overseas to London, but we can't spend money to have four cameras in the end zone, four cameras to help determine the correct call in the end zone on certain plays?" Schefter reported that Belichick said.

      New York Giants co-owner John Mara, a member of the Competition Committee, told Newsday last week there was insufficient support for the proposal to have fixed cameras installed at the goal lines and sidelines for all stadiums. He cited cost and inconsistent configurations of different stadiums.

      When asked about the proposal last week at the AFC Coaches Breakfast, Belichick did not seem hopeful that it would pass.

      "It's disappointing every year we can't afford that as a league," Belichick said. "They brought that up as a concern. It was kind of surprising to hear that."

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Redskins GM: Mariota an option with fifth pick
    By The Sports Xchange

    Several teams selecting within the Top 5 picks on April 30 have scheduled to bring in Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota for a pre-draft visit. That includes the Washington Redskins, owners of the fifth overall pick, whose interest could prove to be more than a smokescreen.

    • General manager Scot McCloughan said recently that the team has yet to decide whether it will pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Robert Giffin III's contract, and coach Jay Gruden said RG3 has the starting job "right now."

      So would the Redskins seriously consider making another run at landing a franchise quarterback toward the top of the draft?

      "It's a definite consideration, no doubt about it," McCloughan told CSNWashington.com. "It's the most important position on the field."

      RG3's fifth-year option would pay him $16 million. The team also has Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy under contract.

      "We've had some early discussion on it," McCloughan said of the fifth-year option. "We're still talking it through."

      The Redskins could certainly be attempting to drum up interest in the fifth pick, or hope their scheduled visit with Mariota early next month encourages a team to leapfrog Washington, thereby pushing another prospect the Redskins have their eyes on to slide into their lap.

      "There's a lot of people that will be available with the fifth pick," Gruden said, per CSNWashington.com. "We're gonna look at 'em all and make a good Redskins decision. Whoever that is will be a big help for us."

      --NFLDraftScout.com is a property of The Sports Xchange, distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com

  • Sunday, March 29, 2015
    Saints CB Dixon arrested in Miami
    By The Sports Xchange

    New Orleans Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested in Miami on Sunday morning for resisting an officer without violence.

    • Dixon, 24, was booked into jail at 5:50 a.m. and held on $1,000 bond. It's unclear why Dixon was arrested.

      Dixon was undrafted in 2014 out of Northwest Missouri State. He played in 16 games for the Saints last season, making 18 tackles.

      According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Saints are aware of the arrest and reporting the situation to NFL security.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Seahawks QB Wilson homers at Rangers camp
    By The Sports Xchange

    Expecting to hit a home run with a blockbuster contract extension soon, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson paid a visit to the Texas Rangers for the second straight year and hit a home run in batting practice Saturday.

    • The Rangers picked Wilson in the Triple-A segment of the Rule 5 draft in 2013, and he took ground balls with the team for a day last spring. On Saturday in Surprise, Ariz., he took ground balls again and also took some swings in the cage.

      "I haven't swung a bat in about two years," he told The Seattle Times. "I lasered one out of left-center field, so that was good to stay back and drive it left center. It feels good hitting a home run. There's something special about throwing a touchdown, but hitting a home run is a good feeling too."

      "It's an honor just to be here," added Wilson, who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies out of high school and played in their minor-league system for two years while also playing football at North Carolina State.

      "Growing up as a little kid, I dreamed of playing two sports and I always played both. Just to be here and have this opportunity, I'm grateful. It's truly humbling to be able to play with these big-leaguers, guys like Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus."

      Wilson, who has led the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowl appearances, is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Seahawks are expected to give him a deal worth at least $20 million a year and guaranteeing more than $60 million.

      At the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix earlier this week, coach Pete Carroll said, "It's tracking very well. It's been a process that we have laid out. It's really putting all the pieces together in due time, and it's happening very well. We have continued concerns about putting it together with some of the guys as well as Russell, but it's been a big focus for us and the timing is coming."

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    NFL notebook: Pagano plans to coach Colts for 'years to come'
    By The Sports Xchange

    Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano released a statement to downplay his job security with the team.

    • Pagano is entering the final season of his original four-year deal, and reportedly the Colts won't offer him a contract extension before the 2015 season begins.

      Pagano released a statement Friday night suggesting he plans to be with the Colts for a long time.

      "Be where your feet are," Pagano wrote. "What do I mean? Cancer taught me to be thankful for today. All I'm concentrating on is today. Then tomorrow. My focus right now is on the draft, bringing in players that can help us continue to grow, get better, and continue to 'Build the Monster.' I look forward to coaching the Colts this season and for many years to come."

      Since taking over the Colts, Pagano has helped lead the franchise to three consecutive 11-5 seasons that included trips to the playoffs. This past season, the Colts reached the AFC Championship and lost to the New England Patriots 45-7.

      According to an NFL.com report on Thursday, the Colts have no plans to extend Pagano before next season. Another report said the Colts offered Pagano a one-year extension with a small salary increase, which he declined.

      ---Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has taken a pay cut that will give the team more than $3.2 million in salary cap relief, according to reports Saturday.

      ESPN.com reported that Greenway's base salary for 2015, the final year of his deal with Minnesota, has been reduced from $7 million to $3.4 million. Greenway will receive $1 million in guaranteed money and can make up to $600,000 from various bonuses.

      The restructured deal creates $3.225 million in cap space for the Vikings. The 32-year-old Greenway previously would have counted $8.8 million against the cap.

      Greenway, a two-time Pro Bowler, has played his entire eight-year career with the Vikings after being drafted in the first round in 2006. He recorded a career-low 93 tackles last season despite appearing in just 12 games. In his career, he has recorded 992 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 30 passes defensed, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles.

      ---The New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins are among the teams planning to privately work out former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

      The New York Daily News reported Friday that Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, director of college scouting Rex Hogan and director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger will all be in Eugene, Ore., this weekend to watch Mariota at the Ducks' facilities. The Jets have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Mariota as the No. 2 quarterback in the draft behind Florida State's Jameis Winston, the likely No. 1 pick by the Buccaneers.

      NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Saturday that the Bucs will work out Mariota on April 7, the Chargers on April 15 and the Redskins are setting up a visit in Ashburn, Va. The Tennessee Titans, who have the No. 2 pick, also have scheduled visits with Mariota.

      ---Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans, who underwent a second knee surgery on Dec. 8, was walking without a limp at a promotional event on Saturday and said he his progressing in his rehab.

      Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft out of South Carolina, sustained a torn lateral meniscus and articular cartilage damage in the Texans' opener and had arthroscopic knee surgery the next day.

      "Very encouraged," Clowney said. "Everything is looking good right now for me. I'm feeling better than I was previously. Just hoping to stay on this track and work towards getting back."

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Clowney (knee) progessing in rehab
    By The Sports Xchange

    Linebacker Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans, who underwent a second knee surgery on Dec. 8, was walking without a limp at a promotional event on Saturday and said he his progressing in his rehab.

    • Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft out of South Carolina, sustained a torn lateral meniscus and articular cartilage damage in the Texans' opener and had arthroscopic knee surgery the next day.

      "Very encouraged," Clowney said. "Everything is looking good right now for me. I'm feeling better than I was previously. Just hoping to stay on this track and work towards getting back.

      " ... Rehab is (a lot) tougher than playing. You gotta be in there earlier than everybody, you've gotta leave later than everybody. That's a lot tougher than playing."

      Clowney said he had to stay off his feet for six or seven weeks after the surgery, but now is doing several hours of rehab every day.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Mariota getting workouts for teams
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins are among the teams planning to privately work out former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

    • The New York Daily News reported Friday that Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan, head coach Todd Bowles, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, director of college scouting Rex Hogan and director of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger will all be in Eugene, Ore., this weekend to watch Mariota at the Ducks' facilities. The Jets have the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Mariota as the No. 2 quarterback in the draft behind Florida State's Jameis Winston, the likely No. 1 pick by the Buccaneers.

      NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Saturday that the Bucs will work out Mariota on April 7, the Chargers on April 15 and the Redskins are setting up a visit in Ashburn, Va.

      The Tennessee Titans, who have the No. 2 pick, also have scheduled visits with Mariota.

      If Mariota is the No. 2 overall pick, he would also be the No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart with the Titans, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

      "You're talking about taking a quarterback with the first or second pick, you're probably going to play that guy," Whisenhunt said this week of the Oregon quarterback. "As far as whether or not he's ready to do it, we're still in the process of evaluating. We like what we've seen so far, he's a talented player."

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Pagano plans to coach Colts for 'years to come'
    By The Sports Xchange

    Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano released a statement to downplay his job security with the team.

    • Pagano is entering the final season of his original four-year deal and reportedly the Colts won't offer him a contract extension before the 2015 season begins.

      Pagano released a statement Friday night suggesting he plans to be with the Colts for a long time.

      "Be where your feet are," Pagano wrote. "What do I mean? Cancer taught me to be thankful for today. All I'm concentrating on is today. Then tomorrow. My focus right now is on the draft, bringing in players that can help us continue to grow, get better, and continue to 'Build the Monster.' I look forward to coaching the Colts this season and for many years to come."

      Since taking over the Colts, Pagano has helped lead the franchise to three consecutive 11-5 seasons that included trips to the playoffs. This past season, the Colts reached the AFC Championship and lost to the New England Patriots 45-7.

      According to an NFL.com report on Thursday, the Colts have no plans to extend Pagano before next season. Another report said the Colts offered Pagano a one-year extension with a small salary increase, which he declined.

      Pagano signed a four-year contract in 2012. He missed most of his first season while battling leukemia. Bruce Arians took over, earned Coach of the Year honors and was hired by the Arizona Cardinals.

      General manager Ryan Grigson, who hired Pagano, also is entering the final year of his contract, although the team has an option for 2016.

  • Saturday, March 28, 2015
    Vikings LB Greenway takes pay cut
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has taken a pay cut that will give the team more than $3.2 million in salary cap relief, according to reports Saturday.

    • ESPN.com reported that Greenway's base salary for 2015, the final year of his deal with Minnesota, has been reduced from $7 million to $3.4 million. Greenway will receive $1 million in guaranteed money and can make up to $600,000 from various bonuses.

      The restructured deal creates $3.225 million in cap space for the Vikings. The 32-year-old Greenway previously would have counted $8.8 million against the cap.

      Greenway, a two-time Pro Bowler, has played his entire eight-year career with the Vikings after being drafted in the first round in 2006. He recorded a career-low 93 tackles last season despite appearing in just 12 games. In his career, he has recorded 992 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 30 passes defensed, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles.

      General Manager Rick Spielman earlier this month said he wanted Greenway back.

      "We'd love to have Chad Greenway back and finish (his career) as a Minnesota Viking," Spielman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    NFL notebook: Sam says he's not only gay NFL player
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, said he is not alone as a gay player in the league.

    • According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sam declined to estimate how many gay athletes play in the NFL, but he said several players contacted him after the St. Louis Rams made him a seventh-round draft pick last year.

      "I am not the only gay person in the NFL," Sam said during a speech in Dallas on Thursday. "I'm just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

      "Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there (are) gay NFL players. There's gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

      "The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are (on). I'm just saying there's some famous people, and I'm not the only one."

      --- The Carolina Panthers claimed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin off waivers and also signed wide receiver Jarrett Boykin to a one-year contract.

      Martin was released Thursday by the San Francisco 49ers, one year after the 49ers traded for Martin in the aftermath of a bullying incident in Miami.

      The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin played in 15 games and started nine last season for the 49ers, who acquired him from the Dolphins last March for a 2015 seventh-round draft pick.

      In Miami, Martin was the subject of alleged bullying from former teammate Richie Incognito and had left the team after starting in 23 games over two seasons.

      Boykin, 25, played his first three seasons with the Green Bay Packers. In 2013, he caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns. But, in 2014, he took a backseat to rookie Davante Adams and caught just three passes for 23 yards in 13 games.

      ---The Minnesota Vikings signed veteran cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

      Newman, 36, reunites with coach Mike Zimmer for the third time. Newman also drew interest from the New England Patriots.

      In his 12-year career, Newman has started 172 of 174 games played and recorded 786 tackles and 37 interceptions.

      Newman, the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, played in Zimmer's defenses in Dallas (2002-2006) and Cincinnati (2012-2013).

      ---The Wilf family will contribute an additional $19.5 million toward upgrades to the Vikings' ongoing $1.06 billion stadium project.

      The family contribution, according to owner Mark Wilf, will be nearly $551 million, with the $498 million difference falling to the public, which voted in favor of the stadium to replace antiquated downtown Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Minnesota Twins had been co-tenants of the stadium until constructing their own outdoor venue downtown, Target Field.

      ---The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Alan Ball to a one-year contract.

      The 6-foot-2, 197-pound University of Illinois product has appeared in 93 NFL games, with 44 starts, over eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

      In 2014, Ball started seven games for the Jaguars, recording 22 tackles and one interception. He missed the final nine games due to a biceps injury.

      ---The Tennessee Titans re-signed cornerback Brandon Harris to a one-year contract.

      A second-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2011, Harris played three seasons with Houston before signing with the Titans last year. He made 11 tackles in 11 games as a reserve in 2014.

      ---The San Francisco 49ers waived cornerback Cameron Fuller.

      The 49ers signed the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Fuller to the practice squad on Dec. 16. He was promoted to the active roster on Dec. 26 and was active for the team's final game against the Arizona Cardinals but did not play.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Titans re-sign CB Harris
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tennessee Titans re-signed cornerback Brandon Harris to a one-year contract Friday.

    • A second-round draft pick of the Houston Texans in 2011, Harris played three seasons with Houston before signing with the Titans last year. He made

      11 tackles in 11 games as a reserve in 2014.

      The 25-year-old is expected to compete for a backup spot behind Perrish Cox and Jason McCourty.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Panthers claim OT Martin off waivers
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Carolina Panthers claimed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin off waivers on Friday.

    • Martin was released Thursday by the San Francisco 49ers, one year after the 49ers traded for Martin in the aftermath of a bullying incident in Miami.

      The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin played in 15 games and started nine last season for the 49ers, who acquired him from the Dolphins last March for a 2015 seventh-round draft pick.

      In Miami, Martin was the subject of alleged bullying from former teammate Richie Incognito and had left the team after starting in 23 games over two seasons.

      Incognito was out of the NFL last season after he was suspended in November 2013 by the Dolphins for his part in the bullying incidents but signed with the Buffalo Bills last month.

      The 25-year-old Martin was drafted in the second round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of Stanford, where he played under former Cardinal and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Panthers sign WR Boykin
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Carolina Panthers signed wide receiver Jarrett Boykin to a one-year contract Friday.

    • Boykin, 25, played his first three seasons with the Green Bay Packers. In 2013, he caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns. But, in 2014, he took a backseat to rookie Davante Adams and caught just three passes for 23 yards in 13 games.

      Boykin played high school football in Charlotte, N.C., where the Panthers are based.

      "It means a lot being from the area and having the opportunity to come back and get a chance to play for the Panthers," Boykin told the team's website. "But at the end of the day, it still boils down to how I go about my business on the field. I have to prove myself all over again."

      The Panthers' receiving corps is fairly light behind 2014 first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin and veteran Jerricho Cotchery.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    49ers waive CB Fuller
    By The Sports Xchange

    The San Francisco 49ers waived cornerback Cameron Fuller on Friday.

    • The 49ers originally signed the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Fuller to the team's practice squad on Dec. 16. He was promoted to the active roster on Dec. 26 and was active for the team's final game against the Arizona Cardinals but did not play.

      Fuller, 24, played collegiately at New Mexico State.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Bears sign CB Ball
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Alan Ball to a one-year contract Friday.

    • The 6-foot-2, 197-pound University of Illinois product has appeared in 93 NFL games with 44 starts over eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-14), collecting 178 tackles, six interceptions, 34 pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He has added 38 special teams tackles during his NFL career.

      In 2014, Ball started seven games for the Jaguars, recording 22 tackles, one interception, three pass break-ups and one tackle for a loss. He missed the final nine games last season due to a biceps injury.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Wilfs throw in another $20M for Vikings stadium
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Wilf family will contribute an additional $19.5 million toward upgrades to the Minnesota Vikings ongoing $1.06 billion stadium project.

    • The family contribution, according to owner Mark Wilf, will be nearly $551 million with the $498 million difference falling to the public, which voted in favor of the stadium to replace antiquated downtown Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. The Minnesota Twins had been co-tenants of the stadium until constructing their own outdoor venue downtown, Target Field.

      Target Field has hosted the MLB All-Star game and the new Vikings' stadium has been awarded a Super Bowl in 2018.

      The Wilf family's latest financial contribution goes toward enhancements in the plaza, food service equipment, entertainment areas in the stadium, upgrades to retractable seating and a deck overlooking downtown Minneapolis.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    Sam says 'I am not the only gay person in NFL'
    By The Sports Xchange

    Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, said he is not alone as a gay player in the league.

    • According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sam declined to estimate how many gay athletes play in the NFL, but he said several players contacted him after the St. Louis Rams made him a seventh-round draft pick last year.

      "I am not the only gay person in the NFL," Sam said during a speech and question and answer session in Dallas on Thursday. "I'm just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

      "Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there's gay NFL players. There's gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

      "The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are (on). I'm just saying there's some famous people, and I'm not the only one."

      Sam spoke at the 2015 Dallas Holocaust Museum Upstander Speaker series. According to the Star-Telegram, he gave an 11-minute prepared speech, which he said his publicist helped write, before a 35-minute Q&A.

      After being drafted by the Rams last May, Sam was waived in the final roster cutdown to 53 players and subsequently signed to the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad. He was released on Oct. 21 and didn't get a tryout with another team for the rest of the season.

      Sam, the former SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, was one of 105 participants in the league's first veteran combine in Phoenix, where he ran the 40 in 4.99 seconds.

      "Hopefully I'm not being discriminated (against) because I'm gay," Sam said Thursday. "I don't believe that I'm being discriminated (against) because I'm gay. I just want to know if I'm truly not in the NFL, it's because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you've got to prove that I can't play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I'll leave it at that."

      Sam, 25, has been competing on this year's "Dancing with the Stars." He cited his NFL unemployment as a possible reason other players haven't come out.

      "Dancing with the Stars is my employer," Sam said. "That's my main source of income. ... I'm unemployed, and I don't believe I'm out of the NFL because I'm gay. But if it was a reason, it can hurt their livelihood, and you don't want to take that chance."

  • Friday, March 27, 2015
    CB Newman rejoins Zimmer, signs with Vikings
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Vikings signed veteran cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

    • Newman, 36, reunites with coach Mike Zimmer for the third time. Newman also drew interest from the New England Patriots.

      In his 12-year career, Newman has started 172 of 174 games played and recorded 786 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 37 INTs, 169 passes defensed and forced eight fumbles, recovering 11. Newman's 37 INTs rank third among active players.

      Newman, the fifth overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003, played in Zimmer's defenses in Dallas (2002-2006) and Cincinnati (2012-2013).

      Last season in Cincinnati, he recorded 72 tackles, 14 passes defensed and one interception.

      Newman will join a Minnesota secondary that includes Xavier Rhodes, Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    NFL notebook: Patriots LB Hightower out 6-7 months
    By The Sports Xchange

    New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower reportedly will be out six to seven months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right labrum.

    • Hightower had surgery Feb. 10, according to the Boston Globe.

      The injury kept Hightower out in Week 14 against the San Diego Chargers, but he returned to play the rest of the season -- other than an insignificant Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills.

      Hightower had 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing with the injury, according to the Globe.

      Hightower is the fourth Patriot to undergo surgery this offseason. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer also had a torn labrum repaired, right guard Ryan Wendell underwent shoulder surgery as well, and defensive tackle Chris Jones had a torn calf muscle fixed.

      ---Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano reportedly turned down a one-year contract extension and will finish the final year of his deal in 2015.

      The Colts offered Pagano a one-year extension with a small salary increase, which he declined, according to a report Thursday by Dianna Marie Russini of NBC's Washington affiliate.

      Ian Rapoport of NFL Media initially reported Thursday that Pagano would not receive an extension before the 2015 season.

      Pagano signed a four-year contract in 2012, and the Colts have won 11 games and reached the playoffs in each of Pagano's three years. He missed most of his first season while battling leukemia.

      ---Nebraska junior pass rusher Randy Gregory tested positive for marijuana at the NFL combine in February.

      Gregory is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 overall prospect in the draft.

      "I blame myself," Gregory told NFL.com's Kimberly Jones. "And I know it sounds cliché, but there's really no one else I can blame."

      Gregory's past drug use was a concern in league circles before the failed test, dating back to high school and his time at junior college. NFL scouts often point out that marijuana testing at the NFL combine is more of an "idiot test" because every prospect and agent knows about it well ahead of time.

      ---One year after the San Francisco 49ers traded for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin in the aftermath of a bullying incident in Miami, the team released him on Thursday.

      The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin played in 15 games and started nine last season for the 49ers, who acquired him from the Dolphins last March for a 2015 seventh-round draft pick.

      If none of the 31 other NFL teams claim Martin off waivers, he would become an unrestricted free agent.

      In Miami, Martin was the subject of alleged bullying from former teammate Richie Incognito and had left the team after starting 23 games over two seasons.

      ---The Minnesota Vikings signed Babatunde Aiyegbusi, a 6-foot-9, 351-pound offensive lineman from Poland, on Thursday.

      Aiyegbusi, 27, has played in Europe the past two years -- helping the Wroclaw Giants win the championship in the Polish American Football League and the Dresden Monarchs advance to the semifinals of the German Football League in 2014. He did not play college football.

      The Vikings also waived linebacker Justin Anderson and guard Jordan McCray on Thursday.

      ---Defensive tackle Pat Sims, who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, returned to the Cincinnati Bengals.

      A third-round pick by the Bengals in 2008, Sims played his first five seasons in Cincinnati before signing with the Raiders in 2013. He signed another one-year deal with Oakland last year.

      The Bengals did not release terms of his contract, but the Cincinnati Enquirer reported it is a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $870,000.

      In 92 games, including 41 starts, Sims has 264 tackles, seven sacks and one interception.

      ---Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for one year.

      Heyward-Bey caught three passes in 16 games with the Steelers last season and is likely to be the team's fourth or fifth wide receiver, contributing mostly to special teams.

      Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick in 2009, has played six seasons with the Raiders, Colts and Steelers.

      ---New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz won't be rushed back from a torn patellar tendon and subsequent surgery last October.

      Coach Tom Coughlin said the timetable with Cruz is highly conservative, and the team is going to count on him only after seeing him back on the field.

      While Cruz is running straight ahead at the team facility as part of his rehab and Coughlin said he looks "good and light," the Giants are not sure he will be on the field for the season opener in September, 11 months after he was hurt.

      ---The murder trial of Aaron Hernandez was interrupted by a bomb threat at the Bristol Superior Court courthouse in Fall River, Mass., on Thursday afternoon.

      The threat was called in at about noon, and people were evacuated from the building and positioned on the other side of the street.

      The trial resumed after 2 p.m. following a search of the area.

      Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Odin Lloyd.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    Patriots LB Hightower out 6-7 months
    By The Sports Xchange

    New England Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower reportedly will be out six to seven months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right labrum.

    • Hightower had surgery Feb. 10, according to the Boston Globe.

      The injury kept Hightower out in Week 14 against the San Diego Chargers, but he returned to play the rest of the season -- other than an insignificant Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills.

      Hightower had 33 tackles and 1.5 sacks while playing with the injury, according to the Globe.

      Hightower is the fourth Patriot to undergo surgery this offseason. Right tackle Sebastian Vollmer also had a torn labrum repaired, right guard Ryan Wendell underwent shoulder surgery as well, and defensive tackle Chris Jones had a torn calf muscle fixed.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    Vikings sign 6-9 Polish lineman
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Minnesota Vikings signed Babatunde Aiyegbusi, a 6-foot-9, 351-pound offensive lineman from Poland, on Thursday.

    • Aiyegbusi, 27, has played in Europe the past two years -- helping the Wroclaw Giants win the championship in the Polish American Football League and the Dresden Monarchs advance to the semifinals of the German Football League in 2014. He did not play college football.

      The native of Olesnica, Poland, would be the fifth Polish-born player to play in the NFL. The others: kicker Rich Szaro (1975-79), kicker Chester Marcol (1972-80), defensive tackle Jason Maniecki (1996-98) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (2000-present).

      Aiyegbusi participated in a pro day at the University of Texas-San Antonio on Monday and tried out for the Vikings on Wednesday.

      The Vikings also waived linebacker Justin Anderson and guard Jordan McCray on Thursday.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    49ers release OT Martin
    By The Sports Xchange

    One year after the San Francisco 49ers traded for offensive tackle Jonathan Martin in the aftermath of a bullying incident in Miami, the team released him on Thursday.

    • The 6-foot-5, 312-pound Martin played in 15 games and started nine last season for the 49ers, who acquired him from the Dolphins last March for a 2015 seventh-round draft pick.

      If none of the other 31 teams in the NFL claim Martin off waivers, he would become an unrestricted free agent.

      In Miami, Martin was the subject of alleged bullying from former teammate Richie Incognito and had left the team after starting in 23 games over two seasons.

      Incognito was out of the NFL last season after he was suspended in November 2013 by the Dolphins for his part in the bullying incidents but signed with the Buffalo Bills last month.

      The 25-year-old Martin was drafted in the second round by the Dolphins in 2012 out of Stanford, where he played under former Cardinal and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    Report: Colts' Pagano turns down one-year extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano reportedly turned down a one-year contract extension and will finish the final year of his deal in 2015.

    • The Colts offered Pagano a one-year extension with a small salary increase, which he declined, according to a report Thursday by Dianna Marie Russini of NBC's Washington affiliate.

      Ian Rapoport of NFL Media initially reported Thursday that Pagano would not receive an extension before the 2015 season.

      Pagano signed a four-year contract in 2012, and the Colts have won 11 games and reached the playoffs in each of Pagano's three years. He missed most of his first season while battling leukemia. Bruce Arians took over, earned Coach of the Year honors and was hired by the Arizona Cardinals.

      General manager Ryan Grigson, who hired Pagano, also is entering the final year of his contract (the team has an option for 2016).

  • Thursday, March 26, 2015
    DT Sims returns to Bengals
    By The Sports Xchange

    Defensive tackle Pat Sims, who spent the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, returned to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday.

    • A third-round pick by the Bengals in 2008, Sims played his first five seasons in Cincinnati before signing with the Raiders in 2013. He signed another one-year deal with Oakland last year.

      The Bengals did not release terms of his contract, but the Cincinnati Enquirer reported it is a one-year deal for the veteran minimum of $870,000.

      In 92 games, including 41 starts, Sims has 264 tackles, seven sacks and one interception.

      "Pat was a good player for us here and we think he can fill a role for us this year," Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes said. "He lends a physical dimension. He's a very aggressive run player, and we're happy to have him back."