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  • NFL notebook: Carr agrees to five-year, $125 million deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Quarterback Derek Carr took to social media on Thursday to announce that he has finalized a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders.

    • While Carr did not divulge the terms of the deal, multiple outlets reported that it was a five-year, $125 million contract. It makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      According to published reports, Carr received $40 million guaranteed and he also has a $30.2 million injury guarantee. He will make $25 million this season and the payments are broken down this way -- $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due June 30 and a $5 million base salary.

      --Andy Reid signed a contract extension to remain coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after four seasons and is also taking over player personnel duties after the team parted ways with general manager John Dorsey.

      Kansas City announced the moves 32 minutes apart, first announcing Reid's extension. Terms were not disclosed.

      Reid has a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances in four years in Kansas City.

      Dorsey spent the past four seasons as Chiefs' general manager, and CEO Clark Hunt informed him he would not be offered a contract extension. Dorsey has 27 years of personnel experience.

      --The New Orleans Saints signed first-round draft pick tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a four-year contract, the team announced.

      The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class.

      Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, was the second of the Saints' two first-round picks.

  • Saints ink first-round pick Ramczyk
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    The New Orleans Saints signed first-round draft pick tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a four-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

    • The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class.

      Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, was the second of the Saints' two first-round picks.

      The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Ramczyk started all 14 games at left tackle for Wisconsin last season and was a consensus first-team All-American.

  • Chiefs extend Reid, part ways with GM Dorsey
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Andy Reid signed a contract extension to remain coach of the Kansas City Chiefs after four seasons and is also taking over player personnel duties after the team parted ways with general manager John Dorsey.

    • Kansas City announced the moves 32 minutes apart, first announcing Reid's extension. Terms were not disclosed.

      Reid has a 43-21 record and three playoff appearances in four years in Kansas City.

      Dorsey spent the past four seasons as Chiefs' general manager and CEO Clark Hunt informed him he would not be offered a contract extension.

      "I notified John that we would not be extending his contract beyond the 2017 season, and after consideration, we felt it was in his best interests and the best interests of the team to part ways now," Hunt said in a statement. "This decision, while a difficult one, allows John to pursue other opportunities as we continue our preparations for the upcoming season and the seasons to come. My family and I sincerely appreciate John's work over the last 4 1/2 years, and we wish him nothing but the best in the future."

      Dorsey has 27 years of personnel experience.

      "I want to thank Clark, the Hunt family and the Chiefs fans for the opportunity to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom over the last four seasons," Dorsey said in a statement. "I believe this team is well positioned for the future and I wish Coach Reid, the players and the entire organization all the best."

      Meanwhile, Reid has a career regular season record of 173-114 (.602) and a total of 184 wins, the second-most victories among active NFL head coaches -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick has 260 -- and is 10th all-time in wins among head coaches in NFL history.

      "I'd like to thank Clark and the entire Hunt family for the opportunity to continue my coaching career here in Kansas City," Reid said in a statement. "We've made quite a bit of progress over the last four seasons, but we are not done yet. We are going to continue to work towards our ultimate goal of winning championships. I've been blessed by the support of the community, our fans, the Hunt family and the entire Chiefs staff. I'm looking forward to the years ahead as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs."

      The Chiefs swept the AFC West while compiling a 12-4 record in 2016. The Chiefs are 22-4 in their last 26 games entering the 2017 season.

      "My family and I have been very pleased by the success the franchise has sustained over the last four seasons under Coach Reid," Hunt said via statement. "He has already established himself as one of the best coaches in the league, and he is well on his way to solidifying a place among the all-time greats. We are proud to have him leading our football team, and I look forward to working with him to bring a championship to Chiefs Kingdom."

      In 2015, Reid led the Chiefs to their first playoff win since 1993. Overall, he is 11-12 in the postseason, including from 1999-2012 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

  • Raiders QB Carr signs five-year deal reportedly worth $125M
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Quarterback Derek Carr took to social media on Thursday to announce that he has finalized a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders.

    • While Carr did not divulge the terms of the deal, multiple outlets reported that it was a five-year, $125 million contract. It makes the two-time Pro Bowl selection the highest-paid player in the league in terms of new money average.

      Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      "Now it's done," Carr wrote on Twitter. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract.

      According to published reports, Carr received $40 million guaranteed and he also has a $30.2 million injury guarantee.

      He will make $25 million this season and the payments are broken down this way -- $12.5 million signing bonus, a $7.5 million roster bonus due June 30 and a $5 million base salary.

      Carr enjoyed a stellar season in 2016 before sustaining broken fibula in Week 16, which kept him sidelined for Oakland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

      The 26-year-old passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions last season.

      Carr has been a full participant in the team's offseason activities this spring.

  • Jets LB Mauldin arrested for assault
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    New York Jets linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was arrested after allegedly attacking a man at a New York City nightclub, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

    • Mauldin, 24, turned himself in to police Wednesday morning and was charged with misdemeanor assault.

      A man named Jean Lopez alleged that Mauldin punched him in the face after he allegedly spilled champagne on Mauldin on April 2.

      The accuser is suing Mauldin in civil court, claiming Mauldin's punch broke bones in his face.

      If convicted of the assault charges, Mauldin could spend up to a year in jail.

      TMZ Sports reported that a court appearance has been set for August.

      The 6-4, 250-pound Mauldin, 24, is entering his third season with the Jets.

      He played in 11 games, including two starts, for the Jets in 2016. He had seven tackles, nine assists and 2.5 sacks.

  • Packers' Guion charged with DUI
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was charged with driving under the influence after an arrest early Wednesday in Hawaii.

    • Guion, who turned 30 on Wednesday, had a blood alcohol level of .086 when tested for a routine traffic stop, according to Honolulu police. He was released on $500 bail.

      "The Packers are aware of the matter involving Letroy Guion," a team spokesman said, per the Green Bay Press Gazette. "We will refrain from making any further comment as it is an ongoing legal matter."

      Guion has been suspended twice by the NFL over the last few years.

      He will serve a four-game suspension in the upcoming 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Guion also missed the first three games of the 2015 campaign because he violated the league's substance abuse policy, in which he was arrested on marijuana and handgun charges.

      Guion, who recorded 30 tackles in 15 games last season, has 173 tackles with 8.5 sacks in 110 career contests with the Minnesota Vikings and Packers.

  • NFL notebook: Raiders, Carr reportedly close to deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal expected to pay the quarterback approximately $25 million per season, ESPN reported Wednesday, citing league sources.

    • The contract is expected to be completed soon, perhaps as early as the end of the week, according to ESPN.

      Carr, however, took to social media to slow the story.

      "Nothing done yet ... trust me you will hear it here first," the two-time Pro Bowl selection wrote.

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract signed as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State.

      The deal may make Carr one of the highest-paid players in the league. Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives an NFL-best $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees ($24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      --Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.

      Harris, who played 10 seasons with the Jets, was released on June 6 after talks broke down regarding a renegotiated contract. He was due to make $6.5 million in 2017 in the final season of a three-year, $21.5 million contract.

      The 33-year-old Harris started 15 games for the Jets in 2016, recording 95 tackles and a half-sack in 15 games. He missed his first game in eight years last season.

      In 154 career games, Harris owns 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, 31 passes defensed and six interceptions.

      --Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

      Jones, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, was in Italy with Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman, Franco Harris, Jim Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame board chairman Randy Hunt.

      The Pope blessed all members of the group and urged them to translate values of teamwork and fair play from the football field to the broader community.

      "I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican," Pope Francis said Wednesday during a special audience, according to a release sent out by the Hall of Fame. "Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values -- in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field. These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family."

      --Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he was informed of his release by the Kansas City Chiefs via voicemail earlier this month.

      Maclin also told Schefter on his "Know Them From Adam" Podcast that he played much of last season with a torn groin.

      "I was on a flight, so clearly (Chiefs general manager John Dorsey) couldn't get to me. So he left me a voicemail, but the issue is they released me so late on Friday I wouldn't become a free agent 'til Monday anyways. So I would at least think that, you know, have the respect for me enough to at least have a conversation with me. You know what I mean, not really find out through a voicemail," he said.

      Maclin missed four games due to injury last season and finished with career worsts in receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (two). The 29-year-old twice has compiled 80 or more catches and 1,000 or more receiving yards in the same season.

  • Maclin says Chiefs released him via voicemail
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he was informed of his release by the Kansas City Chiefs via voicemail earlier this month.

    • Maclin also told Schefter on his "Know Them From Adam" Podcast that he played much of last season with a torn groin.

      "I was on a flight, so clearly (Chiefs general manager John Dorsey) couldn't get to me. So he left me a voicemail, but the issue is they released me so late on Friday I wouldn't become a free agent 'til Monday anyways. So I would at least think that, you know, have the respect for me enough to at least have a conversation with me. You know what I mean, not really find out through a voicemail," he said.

      "So I think that's where, in my opinion, the problem or it really is just the business. I mean because I feel like if it was anything else, you know, especially being able to become a free agent Monday, at least have a conversation with somebody, you know?"

      Maclin missed four games due to injury last season and finished with career worsts in receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (two). The 29-year-old twice has compiled 80 or more catches and 1,000 or more receiving yards in the same season.

      Maclin quickly moved on and signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens last week.

  • Cowboys' Jones, Hall of Fame group meet Pope Francis
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and a Pro Football Hall of Fame delegation met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Wednesday.

    • Jones, who is being inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, was in Italy with Hall of Famers Curtis Martin, Chris Doleman, Franco Harris, Jim Taylor, Ronnie Lott and Floyd Little, along with Pro Football Hall of Fame board chairman Randy Hunt.

      The Pope blessed all members of the group and urged them to translate values of teamwork and fair play from the football field to the broader community.

      "I am pleased to greet you, the members and directors of the American Pro Football Hall of Fame and welcome you to the Vatican," Pope Francis said Wednesday during a special audience, according to a release sent out by the Hall of Fame.

      "Teamwork, fair play and the pursuit of personal excellence are the values -- in the religious sense, we can say virtues that have guided your commitment, on and off the field. These values meet the needs of our brothers and sisters and combat the exaggerated individualism, indifference and injustice that hold us back from living as one human family."

      Jones attended with his wife, Gene Jones.

      "What a magnificent thing for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and to have him recognize pro football," the Cowboys owner said in the release. "When I think of the millions who know our Spiritual leader, it is very special to think that we had his audience on behalf of the game."

  • Raiders, QB Carr reportedly close to massive deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    The Oakland Raiders and Derek Carr are close to finalizing a deal expected to pay the quarterback approximately $25 million per season, ESPN reported Wednesday, citing league sources.

    • The contract is expected to be completed soon, perhaps as early as the end of the week, according to ESPN.

      Carr, however, took to social media to slow the story.

      "Nothing done yet ... trust me you will hear it here first," the two-time Pro Bowl selection wrote.

      Carr had given the Raiders a training camp deadline for the deal or planned to shut down negotiations and play the final season of his existing four-year contract signed as a second-round draft pick out of Fresno State.

      The deal may make Carr one of the highest-paid players in the league. Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts receives an NFL-best $24.6 million per year, just ahead of fellow quarterbacks Carson Palmer ($24.35 million) of the Arizona Cardinals, Drew Brees (24.25 million) of the New Orleans Saints and Kirk Cousins ($23.9 million) of the Washington Redskins.

      Carr enjoyed a stellar season in 2016 before sustaining broken fibula in Week 16, which kept him sidelined for Oakland's playoff loss to the Houston Texans.

      The 26-year-old passed for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns against just six interceptions last season.

      Carr has been a full participant in the team's offseason activities this spring.

  • Ex-Jets LB Harris reaches two-year deal with Patriots
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris agreed to a two-year deal with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

    • Harris, who played 10 seasons with the Jets, was released on June 6 after talks broke down regarding a renegotiated contract. He was due to make $6.5 million in 2017 in the final season of a three-year, $21.5 million contract.

      The 33-year-old Harris started 15 games for the Jets in 2016, recording 95 tackles and a half-sack in 15 games. He missed his first game in eight years last season.

      In 154 career games, Harris owns 1,087 tackles, 35 sacks, 31 passes defensed and six interceptions.

  • CB Gilbert suspended for year
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Free-agent cornerback Justin Gilbert, who was the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft, was suspended for a year by the NFL on Tuesday after violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time in less than two months, NFL Network reported.

    • Gilbert was suspended for four games after a violation of the drug policy in May. But that suspension was increased after a second violation. Gilbert would have to apply for reinstatement before he could return in 2018.

      Gilbert has done little during his time in the NFL to suggest he will make an impact if he returns.

      Gilbert was originally selected out of Oklahoma State in the first round by the Cleveland Browns three years ago.

      He played in 14 games, including two starts, in 2014 for the Browns, recording one interception while collecting 25 tackles and four assists. He played in nine games with one start in 2015.

      After he spent two seasons in Cleveland, the Browns traded Gilbert to Pittsburgh, but he played sparingly for the Steelers, mostly on special teams, in 2016. He appeared in 12 games, and also returned three kicks.

      The Steelers released Gilbert on Feb. 6.

  • NFL notebook: Gronkowski denies $100K bar tab
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Rob Gronkowski is refuting reports that he racked up a hefty bill while partying at a casino nightclub in Connecticut last weekend.

    • TMZ reported Monday that the star New England Patriots tight end and a group of 20 associates ran up a tab in excess of $100,000 while at Shrine Nightclub at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

      "Don't always believe what you read. This is where 100k + would go to before that," Gronkowski wrote on his Twitter account late Monday night, attaching a picture of him holding a giant charity check for $110,000 made out to Boston Children's Hospital.

      The check in the picture was dated February 17, 2017.

      According to TMZ, which claims to have obtained an itemized receipt from Gronkowski's night out confirmed by a public relations representative at Shrine, Gronkowski's group purchased 160 bottles of champagne.

      The website posted pictures of Gronkowski partying shirtless with rapper Flo Rida, who posted a video to his Instagram account of him performing alongside Gronkowski at the establishment.

      TMZ also posted a pictured of Gronkowski's alleged receipt, totaling $102,407. The website noted that it is "most likely the casino" that footed the bill, but added "it's not like Gronk can afford it anyway."

      --Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp says he is experiencing memory loss and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death.

      The 44-year-old Sapp revealed his intentions on The Players' Tribune. He said he wants football to "be better when I left than when I got into it." The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star defensive tackle is well aware of the history of concussions and developing symptoms of his own shook him.

      "I've also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career," Sapp wrote. "My memory ain't what it used to be. And yeah, it's scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend's house I've been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg."

      Sapp played 13 NFL seasons -- nine with the Bucs and four with the Oakland Raiders -- and endured thousands of hits to the head during a career in which he appeared in seven Pro Bowls. He retired following the 2007 season.

      --Detroit Lions defensive tackle Khyri Thornton has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

      The 27-year-old Thornton will be able to rejoin the Lions following Detroit's game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 15. The Lions have a bye the following week, meaning his first possible game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 29.

      Thornton had 18 tackles and one sack in 13 games for the Lions last season. He signed a two-year, $3.3 million deal with Detroit in the offseason.

      Thornton is eligible to participate in training camp practices and preseason games.

      --Former football star O.J. Simpson has a scheduled parole hearing for July 20 and the possibility looms he could be freed from a Nevada prison on Oct. 1.

      Simpson, who turns 70 on July 9, has been jailed at the Lovelock Correctional Center about 90 miles northeast of Reno for more than eight years after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008.

      The conviction stemmed from an incident at a Las Vegas hotel in September 2007. Simpson said at the time he was attempting to retrieve his own personal sports memorabilia that was stolen from him sometime in the mid-1990s.

      Simpson was acquitted in the killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.

  • Simpson has parole hearing on July 20
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Former football star O.J. Simpson has a scheduled parole hearing for July 20 and the possibility looms he could be freed from a Nevada prison on Oct. 1.

    • Simpson, who turns 70 on July 9, has been jailed at the Lovelock Correctional Center about 90 miles northeast of Reno for more than eight years after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in 2008.

      The conviction stemmed from an incident at a Las Vegas hotel in September 2007.

      Simpson said at the time he was attempting to retrieve his own personal sports memorabilia that was stolen from him sometime in the mid-1990s.

      Simpson was acquitted in the killings of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1995.

      He was a highly popular figure prior to the brutal knife-slashing killings in 1994 but the Pro Football Hall of Famer was infamous after the verdicts despite being found not guilty.

      Simpson was a college football star at USC and was perhaps the top running back in the NFL in the 1970s while starring for the Buffalo Bills.

  • Lions DT Thornton suspended 6 games
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Detroit Lions defensive tackle Khyri Thornton has been suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

    • The 27-year-old Thornton will be able to rejoin the Lions following Detroit's game against the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 15. The Lions have a bye the following week, meaning his first possible game action will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 29.

      Thornton had 18 tackles and one sack in 13 games for the Lions last season. He signed a two-year, $3.3 million deal with Detroit in the offseason.

      Thornton is eligible to participate in training camp practices and preseason games.

  • Sapp to donate brain for concussion research after death
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp says he is experiencing memory loss and will donate his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation after his death.

    • The 44-year-old Sapp revealed his intentions on The Players' Tribune on Tuesday. He said he wants football to "be better when I left than when I got into it."

      The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' star defensive tackle is well aware of the history of concussions and developing symptoms of his own shook him.

      "I've also started to feel the effects of the hits that I took in my career," Sapp wrote. "My memory ain't what it used to be. And yeah, it's scary to think that my brain could be deteriorating, and that maybe things like forgetting a grocery list, or how to get to a friend's house I've been to a thousand times are just the tip of the iceberg.

      "So when it comes to concussions, CTE and how we can make our game safer for future generations, I wanted to put my two cents in -- to help leave the game better off than it was when I started playing."

      Sapp played 13 NFL seasons -- nine with the Bucs and four with the Oakland Raiders -- and endured thousands of hits to the head during a career in which he appeared in seven Pro Bowls. He retired following the 2007 season.

      Sapp said his memory issues have led him to use phone alerts to remind him of simple tasks.

      "We're playing in a macho league and we're talking about Hall of Famers now who are immortalized forever, made busts and everything. Legends of the game," Sapp said. "There's no way any of us wanna really admit that we can't remember how to get home, or a grocery list that the wife has given us or how to go pick up our kids to the school, or whatever it may be.

      "You try to (say) 'all right, I'm gonna get a little more sleep, maybe it's something I did last night, maybe something I drank,' or whatever it is. You try to find a reason that it's not that it's my brain. That I'm not deteriorating right before my own eyes.

      "It's the most frightening feeling, but it's also a very weakening feeling because you feel like a child. I need help. I need somebody to help me find something that I could've found with my eyes closed, in the dead of night, half asleep."

      Sapp accumulated 96 1/2 career sacks in 198 regular-season games. He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1999.

  • Patriots' Gronkowski refutes reports of hefty nightclub bill
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Rob Gronkowski is refuting reports that he racked up a hefty bill while partying at a casino nightclub in Connecticut last weekend.

    • TMZ reported Monday that the star New England Patriots tight end and a group of 20 associates ran up a tab in excess of $100,000 while at Shrine Nightclub at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

      "Don't always believe what you read. This is where 100k + would go to before that," Gronkowski wrote on his Twitter account late Monday night, attaching a picture of him holding a giant charity check for $110,000 made out to Boston Children's Hospital.

      The check in the picture was dated February 17, 2017.

      According to TMZ, which claims to have obtained an itemized receipt from Gronkowski's night out confirmed by a public relations representative at Shrine, Gronkowski's group purchased 160 bottles of champagne.

      The website posted pictures of Gronkowski partying shirtless with rapper Flo Rida, who posted a video to his Instagram account of him performing alongside Gronkowski at the establishment.

      TMZ also posted a pictured of Gronkowski's alleged receipt, totaling $102,407. The website noted that it is "most likely the casino" that footed the bill, but added "it's not like Gronk can afford it anyway."

      Gronkowski, 28, caught 25 passes for 540 yards and three touchdowns in an injury-shortened year in 2016.

      The four-time Pro Bowler missed the final five games of last season after sustaining a back injury in Week 12 against the New York Jets. He underwent surgery and participated in the Patriots' mandatory minicamp in early June, saying he is "100 percent" healthy.

  • NFL notebook: Redskins' trademark boosted by Supreme Court ruling
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law that bans offensive trademark protection in a ruling that could benefit the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team's controversial nickname.

    • The justices ruled the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.

      The law used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent the NFL team from registering trademarks in and relating to the word "Redskins" and the logos used by the team was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

      "Holding that the registration of a trademark converts the mark into government speech would constitute a huge and dangerous extension of the government-speech doctrine, for other systems of government registration (such as copyright) could easily be characterized in the same way," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court.

      "The commercial market is well stocked with merchandise that disparages prominent figures and groups, and the line between commercial and non-commercial speech is not always clear, as this case illustrates. If affixing the commercial label permits the suppression of any speech that may lead to political or social 'volatility,' free speech would be endangered."

      --New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making a promotional tour in China, hopes to play an NFL game in the country before his career comes to an end.

      Brady almost had a chance to play a preseason game in China in 2007, but the matchup against the Seattle Seahawks was ultimately canceled as the NFL chose to focus on the debut of regular-season games in London, which began later that season.

      "My dream is to play a game here in China someday," Brady said over the weekend, via ESPN. "We had an opportunity, I think, 10 years ago, and my team was going to play here, and unfortunately it didn't work out. But one day I hope that there are many games here, and over the course of a year, because it's such a great sport and because I love it so much, to bring that here and to bring the discipline and incredible strategy involved."

      Brady's trip was part of a promotional tour for Under Armour. He posted a photo on Instagram of him throwing a football on the Great Wall, and also held up the Lombardi Trophy in another photo.

      --Wide receiver Eric Decker officially signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, calling the union with the team a "perfect storm."

      Decker, 30, has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012 with his wife, country music star Jesse James Decker.

      The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos receiver agreed to terms with the Titans on Sunday night.

      "It was kind of a perfect storm," Decker told the team's website. "You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home. There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity."

      --Larry Grantham, a defensive standout on the New York Jets' Super Bowl III championship team, died, the team announced Sunday night. He was 78.

      Grantham played outside linebacker and was an original member of the New York Titans, who became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. His 43 career takeaways remain a franchise record.

      Grantham called the defensive signals in the Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl in January 1969.

      A funeral service for Grantham will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss.

  • WR Decker inks one-year deal with Titans
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    Wide receiver Eric Decker officially signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans on Monday, calling the union with the team a "perfect storm."

    • Decker, 30, has owned a home in the Nashville area since 2012 with his wife, country music star Jesse James Decker.

      The former New York Jets and Denver Broncos receiver agreed to terms with the Titans on Sunday night.

      "It was kind of a perfect storm," Decker told the team's website on Monday. "You only get so many years to play this game, and I wanted to find the right fit. I wanted to come to a place where I can help out, and this is home.

      "There were a lot of factors. This is a team on the rise, and I like the coaching staff, the GM, and the philosophy upstairs. I like the quarterback, the locker room and the mentality. When I talked to the GM and the coaches, finding out what they wanted out of me, what my role would be, Tennessee was the best opportunity."

      Decker was released by the Jets last Monday, and two days later he visited with Tennessee officials, including general manager with Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Mularkey.

      Decker played only three games last season for the Jets before being placed on injured reserve in October. He suffered a partially torn rotator cuff early in the season, limiting him to nine receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns. In 2015, he had 80 catches for 1,027 yards and 12 TDs for the Jets.

      Decker has undergone surgery on both his hip and his shoulder in the past nine months.

      The Titans needed an established wide receiver to pair with quarterback Marcus Mariota.

      The 6-foot-3, 214-pound Decker, a third-round pick of the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, owns 385 career receptions for 5,253 yards and 52 touchdowns in seven seasons. He has three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career, including a 1,288-yard season in 2013. He also has turned in a dozen 100-yard performances.

      Decker said he talked with a number of other teams and scheduled other visits this week before opting to sign with the Titans.

      "Mulling over some of my options, I just felt like this was the right fit," Decker said. "Just looking at the roster, and the progress they've made over the last few years, and meeting with Jon (Robinson) and Mike (Mularkey), I have a lot of respect for where they came from, their philosophy, how they do things, and that's something I want to be a part of.

      "And I am excited about Marcus Mariota and the young talent he is."

  • Redskins' trademark usage boosted by Supreme Court ruling
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    The U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal law that bans offensive trademark protection in a ruling that could benefit the Washington Redskins in their legal fight over the team's controversial nickname.

    • The justices ruled the 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.

      The law used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent the NFL team from registering trademarks in and relating to the word "Redskins" and the logos used by the team was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

      "Holding that the registration of a trademark converts the mark into government speech would constitute a huge and dangerous extension of the government-speech doctrine, for other systems of government registration (such as copyright) could easily be characterized in the same way," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion for the court.

      "The commercial market is well stocked with merchandise that disparages prominent figures and groups, and the line between commercial and non-commercial speech is not always clear, as this case illustrates. If affixing the commercial label permits the suppression of any speech that may lead to political or social 'volatility,' free speech would be endangered."

      The ruling is a victory for Simon Tam, an Asian-American musician and political activist who named his rock band "The Slants" in an attempt to take back a term that once directed as an insult. He sought to register the name with the trademark office.

      The case was closely watched for the impact it would have on a separate dispute involving the Redskins, who are owned by Dan Snyder.

      In 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board revoked six federal trademark registrations belonging to the Redskins, a ruling which was affirmed by a federal judge in 2015.

      In September 2016, the Supreme Court announced it would hear the similar case concerning The Slants, which indirectly was a win for the Redskins franchise on its own pending trademark battle.

      Snyder has repeatedly insisted he will not change the team's name despite continuing objections by Native Americans. He has called the Redskins' name a "badge of honor."

      Redskins attorney Lisa Blatt said the team was "thrilled" with the court's decision.

      "The Team is thrilled with today's unanimous decision as it resolves the Redskins' long-standing dispute with the government," Blatt told CNN in a statement. "The Supreme Court vindicated the Team's position that the First Amendment blocks the government from denying or canceling a trademark registration based on the government's opinion."

  • Brady: 'My dream is to play game in China someday'
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, making a promotional tour in China, hopes to play an NFL game in the country before his career comes to an end.

    • Brady almost had a chance to play a preseason game in China in 2007, but the contest against the Seattle Seahawks was ultimately canceled as the NFL chose to focus on the debut of regular-season games in London, which began later that season.

      "My dream is to play a game here in China someday," Brady said over the weekend, via ESPN. "We had an opportunity, I think, 10 years ago, and my team was going to play here, and unfortunately it didn't work out. But one day I hope that there are many games here, and over the course of a year, because it's such a great sport and because I love it so much, to bring that here and to bring the discipline and incredible strategy involved."

      Brady's trip was part of a promotional tour for Under Armour. He posted a photo on Instagram of him throwing a football on the Great Wall, and also held up the Lombardi Trophy in another photo.

      Brady is headed to Shanghai on Tuesday and will visit Tokyo on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

      "I am excited about the opportunity to be able to connect with the people in China and Japan, experience the incredible culture and share my love for the game with my fans," Brady said. "The tour will be rewarding for me as I experience Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo. I hope to learn more about the next generation of athletes in Asia and to inspire them to always push boundaries through hard work, dedication, humility and perseverance both on and off the field."

      Brady, who turns 40 in August ahead of his 18th NFL season, is a five-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time league MVP. He collected his fifth ring in February when the Patriots overcome a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime of Super Bowl LI.

  • Jets' Super Bowl winner Grantham dies at 78
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, June 19, 2017

    Larry Grantham, a defensive standout on the New York Jets' Super Bowl III championship team, has died, the team announced Sunday night. He was 78.

    • Grantham played outside linebacker and was an original member of the New York Titans, who became the Jets in 1963 after three seasons. His 43 career takeaways remain a franchise record.

      Grantham called the defensive signals in the Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl in January 1969.

      A funeral service for Grantham will be held Wednesday in his hometown of Crystal Springs, Miss.

      Grantham, who was an undersized 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker, was a five-time AFL All-Star during his 13 years with the team and was inducted into the Jets' Ring of Honor in 2011.

      "I had 13 wonderful years in New York, even with the Titans," Grantham said in 2011 before he entered the Ring of Honor. "Sometimes we didn't get paid, but we had great times, and Sammy Baugh was one of the greatest coaches I ever played for. They're all outstanding memories for me. I still get excited when I get fan mail. People have been awful good to me in New York."

      Grantham, who also was a member of the University of Mississippi's "All-Century Team" in 1959, was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 15th round of the 1960 NFL Draft. But he spurned the NFL to play for New York, which made him one of their 32 "first selections" in the fledgling American Football League's first draft.

  • Ex-NFL QB Young released by CFL's Roughriders
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 17, 2017

    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young's tenure in the Canadian Football League has been derailed by a torn hamstring.

    • Young was released by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, his agent, Leigh Steinberg, announced Saturday via Twitter.

      The injury was sustained by Young during a practice session and the team said earlier this week that he was expected to miss four to six weeks.

      However, Steinberg tweeted Saturday that the hamstring was torn and his client was waived because of the time it will take to heal.

      The 34-year-old Young signed a two-year, non-guaranteed contact with the Roughriders three months ago. He was expected to compete for a backup job behind starting quarterback Kevin Glenn.

      The last time Young played in a game was during the 2013 NFL preseason with the Green Bay Packers, who released him before the regular season started. Young's last regular-season game was in 2011 for the Philadelphia Eagles. He retired from the NFL after the Cleveland Browns released him in 2014.

      Young was the No. 3 overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL Draft. He played in the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2009.

      At Texas, Young led the Longhorns to the national championship, scoring the winning touchdown in the final seconds of a 41-38 win over USC on Jan. 4, 2006.

  • Browns' Garrett (foot) expected to be ready for training camp
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 17, 2017

    Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, was diagnosed with a sprained left foot but is expected to be ready for training camp, the team announced Saturday.

    • Garrett was injured during drills at Wednesday's minicamp and was diagnosed with a lateral foot sprain following an evaluation by Cleveland team physician Dr. James Voos and Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist.

      The Browns signed Garrett to a four-year deal worth $30.4 million.

      The 6-foot-4 1/2, 272-pound Garrett registered 8.5 sacks last season at Texas A&M despite playing with a high-ankle sprain. He collected 141 tackles (47 for loss) and 31 sacks and forced seven fumbles during his three-year career with the Aggies.

      During a two-minute drill at Wednesday's practice, Garrett landed awkwardly on his left foot as he was rushing quarterback Brock Osweiler.

  • Goodell reiterates Kaepernick not being blackballed
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, June 17, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reiterated his belief that unsigned free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not being blackballed around the league for his national anthem protest last season.

    • Kaepernick, 29, made headlines in 2016 when he kneeled during the national anthem to protest injustices against African Americans and minorities around the United States. It has now been over three months since the former starter became a free agent.

      Goodell again disputed claims teams are ostracizing Kaepernick as the commissioner spoke at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Thursday during the "Rams All-Access" event.

      "All (teams) want to get better," Goodell told NFL Network's Andrea Kremer while onstage at the event, via Aiden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. "And if they see an opportunity to get better as a football team, they're going to do it. They're going to do whatever it takes to make their football team better. So those are football decisions. They're made all the time. I believe that if a football team feels that Colin Kaepernick, or any other player, is going to improve that team, they're going to do it."

      Kaepernick, who opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March, visited with the Seattle Seahawks last month. The Seahawks ended up signing backup quarterback Austin Davis on June 5, closing out any possibility of Kaepernick joining the team.

      The Seahawks' decision to sign Davis continued the discussion of why Kaepernick hasn't received much attention on the free agent market. His visit to Seattle was his only one with an NFL team this offseason.

      New York Giants owner John Mara told TheMMQB.com last month that his team heard from many fans against adding Kaepernick to its roster.

      "All my years in the league, I never received more emotional mail from people than I did about that issue," Mara said. "'If any of your players ever do that, we are never coming to another Giants game.' It wasn't one or two letters. It was a lot. It's an emotional, emotional issue for a lot of people, more so than any other issue I've run into."

      Goodell responded at the L.A. event when asked about Mara's comments.

      "It did spark conversation, which I think is a part of what Colin Kaepernick intended to do," Goodell said. "I don't think that's going to affect people from saying, 'I'm going to do what's in the best interest of my football team and give my team the best chance to win,' because that's what every team wants to do."

      Kaepernick passed for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while fumbling a career-worst seven times with the 49ers last season. He also ran for 468 yards and two touchdowns.

      In six NFL seasons, Kaepernick has passed for 12,271 yards with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, adding another 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

      Kaepernick started the 2016 campaign as the 49ers' backup behind Blaine Gabbert before taking over as the starter on Oct. 16.

      With Kaepernick under center, the 49ers lost nine straight and 10 of 11 overall to finish the season with the second-worst record in the NFL at 2-14.