NFL: Saints to serve suspensions

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeAugust 31, 2012


New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis' will serve his full eight-game suspension, as the NFL is expected to uphold its original ruling on the team's bounty scandal, according to an ESPN.com report.
Loomis and Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, who received a six-game ban, are scheduled to begin their suspensions Monday. Head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the season, with offensive line coach Aaron Kromer serving as coach until Vitt returns in Week 7 at Tampa Bay.
New Orleans had sought to reduce or delay Loomis' sentence due to Hurricane Isaac's effects on New Orleans and the surrounding area, according to a recent report by FoxSports.com, but Loomis won't be eligible to return until New Orleans home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Nov. 5, a source told ESPN.
Also on Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released an open letter to fans in which he reiterated the league's stance on bounties:
"Let me be clear: there is no place for bounties in football," Goodell said in the letter. "No exceptions. No excuses. Bounties are an affront to everything that competitive sports should represent. Everyone in the NFL is responsible for adhering to these rules and we are all accountable for protecting the safety of our players -- present and future."
"The bounty prohibition forbids offering or accepting any reward - cash or otherwise - for on-field misconduct, plays that incentivize or result in injury to opposing players, or for performance against an opposing player, group of players, or team. The bounty prohibition not only preserves the competitive integrity of our game, but also protects player safety by removing incentives that could lead to dangerous play or unnecessary and/or intentional injury. As a league, we will ensure that the prohibition against bounties is clearly understood and consistently enforced. Period."

---The NFL has scheduled a Friday meeting with their locked-out officials in the hopes solving their labor talks, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The sides haven't spoken in a month. The league refused to confirm the meeting and declined comment to ESPN.
Earlier Wednesday, the NFL announced that replacement officials will work the regular-season opener between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggested that regular officials could return in time for that game.
The NFL Referees Association was locked out in early June and talks on a new agreement have stalled. Replacements refs have been used during the preseason.

---The Arizona Cardinals plan to start John Skelton at quarterback for at least the season opener, the TheSidelineView.com reported Friday.
Skelton has outperformed Kevin Kolb this preseason, though neither has been terribly impressive.
Kolb has been a disappointment since coming to Arizona in a trade last year with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cardinals signed Kolb to a six-year, $65 million deal. The Eagles received a second-round draft pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the deal.
Skelton is a former fifth-round draft pick out of Fordham.
The Cardinals host the Seattle Seahawks Sept. 9.

---New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is biased, but feels Tom Brady is a better quarterback than San Francisco 49ers/Kansas City Chiefs legend Joe Montana.
"I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana," Kraft told NFL.com. "I know that's a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all time. I watch how involved he is, how driven he is. He's like (Patriots coach Bill) Belichick, he's into the details. And he's got a skill that makes him so special; he can process all of it so quickly. And then, he's just got that quality. Certain people have that sincerity. He's a very genuine guy. People can relate to him. People can trust him."
Brady, 35, has played in one more Super Bowl than Montana, but has one more win. Montana is 4-0 in Super Bowls, while Brady is 3-2, including a loss last season to the New York Giants.

---Washington defensive back Tanard Jackson was suspended indefinitely on Friday for violating the NFL's drug policy, according to FOX Sports insider Jay Glazer, dealing a significant blow to the Redskins' secondary.
Jackson is subject to review next year, but is trying to appeal the suspension, Glazer said. This is Jackson's third career suspension. He missed four games during the 2009 season and then was banned for the rest of 2010-11 after appearing in the first two games of the year.
Jackson appeared in 10 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, recording 32 tackles and two interceptions. He, Brandon Meriweather and Madieu Williams were brought in this summer to compete with holdovers Reed Doughty and DeJon Gomes.
Meriweather missed the last three preseason games with a swollen knee, but should return to start at strong safety in the opener. Williams, seven-year starter with Cincinnati and Minnesota before serving as a backup in San Francisco last year, has been at free safety since camp began.
Jackson, who had started throughout his five years in Tampa Bay, was expected to be the first safety off the bench because of his ability to play both spots.

--- The Giants released linebacker Greg Jones and running back DJ Ware on Friday, according to multiple reports.
Safety Tyler Sash, who had his appeal of a four-game suspension denied Monday, was expected to be placed on the Reserve/Suspended list, where he would not count against the 53-man opening day roster.
Jones started the 2011 regular-season opener at middle linebacker but the Giants improved their depth in the offseason, notably with the acquisition of former first-round pick Keith Rivers from the Bengals. The final preseason depth chart listed Chase Blackburn as the No. 1 middle linebacker ahead of 2011 undrafted free agent Mark Herzlich.
Ware, behind Ahmad Bradshaw and first-round rookie David Wilson at running back, was let go with Da'Rel Scott emerging as a candidate for playing time.
Defensive tackle Marcus Thomas, defensive end Matt Brouha, wide receiver Dan DePalma, wide receiver Isaiah Stanback, tight end Larry Donnell, offensive tackle Matt McCants and linebacker Jake Muasau were among the players also expected to be released Friday.

---The Philadelphia Eagles decided to cut quarterback Mike Kafka after attempts to trade him fell through, Eagles Insider reported Friday.
Kafka was the odd man out to back up Michael Vick after rookie Nick Foles and veteran Trent Edwards played well in the preseason.
"There was great competition at the QB position," coach Andy Reid said. "That's what football and training camp is all about. In the end, we had to make the difficult decision to let Mike Kafka go."
Last year, the Eagles traded quarterback Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick.

---The Eagles are expected to release cornerback Joselio Hanson, who had been in a heated competition with rookie Brandon Boykin. Philadelphia could attempt to trade Hanson before Friday's 9 p.m. ET deadline to reduce rosters to 53 players.
Hanson was released in final roster cuts before the 2011 season, signed a two-year deal four days later.
Boykin, who is 5-foot-8 but described by coach Andy Reid as physical and tough, is also an explosive return specialist. He can do a 360 slam dunk in basketball and his vertical leap is 43 inches. He was the 123rd pick in the 2012 draft and a standout at Georgia.
Hanson, 31, said at the start of training camp that he welcomed the competition. Reid first let on after the second preseason game that the battle for the third cornerback spot was too close to call. He said Aug. 23 that he'd simply take the best player into the season as his nickel cornerback.
"So you make it as simple as you possibly can in your evaluation of that and say whoever's playing the best will play in that position and that's a close competition there," Reid said. "Those guys are going after it and I thought both of them actually did some good things in the game. So, we'll just leave that as an open competition."

---The Ravens released linebacker Josh Byrnes, offensive lineman Justin Boren and offensive lineman Cord Howard.
In addition, linebacker Nigel Carr, defensive lineman Terrence Moore, wide receiver Dorian Graham, defensive tackle Nick Jean-Baptist, linebacker Chavis Williams, safety Omar Brown and defensive tackle Ishmaa'ily Kitchen were to be cut before the 9 p.m. ET deadline to reduce rosters to 53 players.
An earlier report that 2011 third-round pick offensive lineman Jah Reid had been released appeared to be incorrect.
Reid, 6-7, 340, played in all 16 games as a rookie but did not start a game last season or in the 2012 preseason.

---With two quarterbacks having 148 career regular-season starts between them, the Chicago Bears opted to not keep a third quarterback on their roster entering the 2012 season.
Releasing Josh McCown, who played well in Mike Martz's offense late in the 2011 season, was not a surprise. He's likely to be available as a free agent if the Bears develop a pressing need because of injury. He was a street free agent when he joined the Bears in November 2011.
This is the second time coach Lovie Smith has gone into a season without a third quarterback on his 53-man roster, but the last time he didn't have a third quarterback on the roster, former Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez was on the practice squad.
The Bears signed veteran Jason Campbell, who has 70 career starts, to serve as Jay Cutler's primary backup. Cutler was hurt in the 10th game last season and missed the final six games with a thumb injury. He's made 78 career starts since he was drafted in the first round by the Bears in 2006.
The Bears on Friday waived running back Armando Allen -- according to reports, which would make Lorenzo Booker the likely third running back on the roster -- and fullback Tyler Clutts.
Linebacker Jabara Williams, cornerback Isaiah Frey and safety Mark LeGree were also reportedly let go.

---The Dallas Cowboys reportedly released wide receiver Danny Coale, defensive back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, offensive linemen Pat McQuistan and Daniel Loper and quarterback Rudy Carpenter on Friday.
Coale, a fifth-round pick, didn't do enough to set himself apart according to owner Jerry Jones, who made the comments on his weekly radio show on Friday.
Owusu-Ansah was back with the team, which drafted him in fourth round of the 2010 draft, as a safety and return specialist. He spent part of 2011 with the team before he was waived and joined with the Jaguars.
Carpenter, a strong-armed pocket passer from Arizona State, could join the practice squad. He was on the Cowboys' practice squad in 2009 before he was claimed by the Buccaneers.

---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released former starting safety Cody Grimm and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, who had four sacks for the Bears last season and could be a candidate to rejoin the Bears as soon as Friday.
Grimm was a seventh-round pick from Virginia Tech in 2010. He became a starter as a rookie when Tanard Jackson was suspended by the NFL. He played well before a season-ending leg injury. Grimm entered 2011 as a starter but again wound up on injured reserve after an in-game collision with linebacker Geno Hayes.
Okoye, a first-round pick at the age of 19, spent four seasons with the Texans before signing with the Bears last season. He joined the Bengals as a free agent in April.
Other players released by the Buccaneers included linebacker Rennie Curran, safety Keith Tandy, defensive tackle Frank Okam, safety Larry Asante and running back Mossis Madu.

---Former NFL players William Joseph and Michael Bennett, once teammates with the Oakland Raiders, face prison time after separately agreeing to deals with prosecutors and admitted guilt in the same scheme.
Joseph faces a minimum prison sentence of two years for pleading guilty to theft of government money and aggravated identity theft in a scheme that also involved former Patriots practice squad player Louis Gachelin.
The players filed falsified tax returns in the names of other people and used those returns to steal the identity of those affected.
Bennett pleaded guilty to wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison.
Gachelin pleaded guilty in July to theft of government money and aggravated ID theft.

---Eagles coach Andy Reid has two years remaining on his contract and will plan to be in that position until owner Jeffrey Lurie tells him otherwise.
Lurie left no gray area about what it would take for Reid to keep his job in 2013 in a press conference with Philadelphia media on Thursday.
"I'm not worried about it," Reid said Thursday night after the Eagles' 28-10 win over the Jets. "I understand the business. I have a very good relationship with Jeffrey (Lurie), so we go play. I'm not worried about all that stuff."
Lurie said he expects substantial improvement this season and another 8-8 season would not be enough for Reid to keep his job.
"No, it would not," Lurie said, leaving open the potential that unforeseen issues or injuries might force him to reconsider. "You just have to make the best decisions you can after the season. As I said, 8-8 was unacceptable.
"I'm not going to make blanket statements...I guess if two-thirds of the team is not playing, there's always exceptions," he said.
Reid is the longest-tenured coach in the NFL. He was hired by Lurie in 1999. He also serves as executive vice president, with the power to control personnel, meaning roster decisions rest with Reid and not GM Howie Roseman.
Since that 5-11 first season in 1999, the Eagles have had just one losing season -- 6-10 in 2005. Reid is 10-9 in the postseason, and 1-4 in the NFC Championship game. Philadelphia missed the playoffs for the fourth time in Reid's 13 seasons in 2011, going 8-8 and finishing second in the NFC East.
Another season that ends in the regular season would likely doom Reid.
"I don't even care about that," Reid said. "I care about this football team and winning games now and playing well and working hard. That (contract) stuff, that's not on my mind."

---Steelers rookie linebacker Sean Spence suffered a season-ending knee injury Thursday in the preseason finale against the Panthers.
Spence, a third-round draft pick from Miami (Fla.), was listed as the No. 2 inside linebacker on the depth chart.
The Steelers acknowledged Spence suffered a significant knee injury but have not confirmed published reports that he tore two knee ligaments and dislocated his kneecap.

---The Washington Redskins waived offensive tackle Willie Smith and quarterback Jonathan Crompton amid a series of transactions required to reduce the roster from 75 to 53 from 9 p.m. ET Friday.
Crompton was released for the second time this week -- he was re-signed the first time, perhaps a trial balloon to see if he was claimed by another team. Since he was not, the Redskins could plan to bring Crompton back as a member of the practice squad when such transactions are permitted by the NFL beginning Saturday.
Smith, 25, started three games as a rookie in 2011 and has played left tackle and right tackle. He started two games in the 2012 preseason -- Aug. 18 at Chicago and Aug. 29 against the Buccaneers. He's likely to draw interest from teams in need of depth, such as Houston and the New York Jets.
The Redskins also reportedly parted with running back Tristan Davis, cornerback Travon Bellamy, defensive end Doug Worthington, offensive lineman Grant Garner, defensive lineman Delvin Johnson, linebacker Bryan Kehl, offensive lineman Tom Compton and wide receiver Terrence Austin.

---The New York Jets are expected to release 17 players on Friday afternoon, including 2010 fifth-round pick Ricky Sapp and quarterback Matt Simms.
The Jets also waived D'Anton Lynn, the son of running backs coach Anthony Lynn, and released defensive lineman Jay Richardson.
Sapp, projected as a difference-making pass rusher out of Clemson, has battled injuries since he was drafted by the Eagles in 2010.
Simms, the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, saw preseason action Thursday but the depth chart in front of him is set with Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow and Greg McElroy.
A number of the players let go could be called back this weekend as the Jets formulate their eight-player practice squad.

---The Dallas Cowboys traded a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft to the Miami Dolphins for backup center Ryan Cook.
The Cowboys, thinned by injuries to interior offensive linemen since the start of training camp, are likely to use Cook at center and as a "swing" backup who played offensive tackle in college and was a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2006.
Among Cook's 40 career starts, he has played right guard, right tackle and center.
The Cowboys might not know the status of starting center Phil Costa (back) until early next week. It's possible Cook or David Arkin, a guard who moved to center when Costa first experienced back issues, will play a significant role in Wednesday's season opener against the Giants.
With the trade, the Dolphins now have 11 total draft picks in 2013, including an additional third-round pick in the deal that sent Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears.

---Houston Texans offensive tackle Rashad Butler is out for the season with a torn triceps.
"Unfortunate," coach Gary Kubiak said announcing the injury. "Tough, tough deal."
The Texans released right tackle Eric Winston, who signed with the Chiefs as a free agent, opening the training camp competition at the position between 2011 seventh-rounder Derek Newton and Butler.
Butler was capable of filling in at left tackle behind Duane Brown.
Newton won the right tackle job, but there is little depth behind the starting tandem.

---The Dolphins released defensive end Jamaal Westerman and sixth-round pick B.J. Cunningham.
Cunningham, a wide receiver from Michigan State, and Westerman were part of the Dolphins' roster cuts ahead of Friday's 9 p.m. ET deadline to reduce rosters to the 53-man regular-season limit.
Westerman joined the Dolphins in March when he wasn't tendered a contract by the New York Jets. The Rutgers product had 19 special-teams tackles for the Jets and 3.5 sacks as a backup outside linebacker.
Teams can also begin forming their practice squad Saturday.

---A 25-year-old fan died after falling off an escalator and crashing from the fifth floor to the ground floor, local police said Friday.
The fan was attending Thursday's preseason Houston Texans' game at Reliant Stadium.
Houston Police Department spokesman John Cannon said he couldn't identify the man until his family had been notified. He added that the reasons for the fall were still being investigated. The death is considered accidental.