August 2020 - Football Wiretap

Russell Okung Considering Retirement Over COVID-19 Concerns

Aug 7, 2020 3:29 PM

Russell Okung is considering retiring from the NFL over COVID-19 concerns.

Okung missed 10 games last year with a pulmonary embolism due to blood clots

In March, the Carolina Panthers traded guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for Okung, who has one year left on a four-year, $53 million contract.

Okung has made two Pro Bowls and has earned nearly $100 million for his career.

Jeremy Fowler/ESPNIn March, the Panthers traded guard Trai Turner to t

Tags: Carolina Panthers, Misc Rumor

Cam Newton Says It Still Feels 'Surreal' To Be With Patriots

Aug 7, 2020 2:44 PM

Cam Newton still can't believe he signed with the New England Patriots this offseason.

"I'm still ... I don't want to say in disbelief at this particular point in time, but it's a surreal moment," Newton said Friday in his first official media availability with the Patriots.

"Nobody really knows how excited I am, just to be a part of this organization, in many ways [more] than one. Following up such a powerful dynasty, that is enriched in so much prestige, a lineage of success. A lot of people would hide from the notion to do certain things. But for me, I think this opportunity is something that I wake up pinching myself each and every day. It's so surreal."

Newton will wear No. 1 with the Patriots as he did with the Carolina Panthers.

"It's crazy, I just found myself putting on shirts and said, 'Oh my God!' I don't know when that moment [will come], but some day it will click that this is the norm," Newton said.

Mike Reiss/ESPN

Tags: Carolina Panthers

Vic Beasley Reports To Titans After Missing 10 Days

Aug 7, 2020 1:05 PM

Vic Beasley has reported to the Tennessee Titans after being absent from training camp since it began on July 28th.

The Titans hadn't heard from Beasley since camp started.

Beasley was fined a mandatory $50,000 per day, resulting in a $500,000 fine after missing 10 days.

Beasley signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal in March.

Turron Davenport/ESPN

Tags: Tennessee Titans, Misc Rumor

NFL Has 66 Opt-Outs As Deadline Passes

Aug 7, 2020 7:43 AM

The NFL had 66 players opt-out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The NFL set a deadline of August 6th by 4 PM ET to opt out and be eligible for a stipend of $150,000 to be treated as a salary advance against his tolled contract.

A player can still opt out later if one of the following applies: if that player gets a new diagnosis that he has a high-risk condition; or if a player's family member dies, is hospitalized or otherwise moves to a medical facility because of COVID-19 or related condition.

Voluntary Opt-Outs

Baltimore Ravens: KR De'Anthony Thomas, OL Andre Smith

Buffalo Bills: DT Star Lotulelei, CB E.J. Gaines

Dallas Cowboys: CB Maurice Canady, WR Stephen Guidry

Green Bay Packers: WR Devin Funchess

Houston Texans: DT Eddie Vanderdoes

Jacksonville Jaguars: EDGE Lerentee McCray, CB Rashaan Melvin

Kansas City Chiefs: OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

New England Patriots: LB Dont'a Hightower, FB Dan Vitale, RB Brandon Bolden, OL Najee Toran, WR Marqise Lee

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Marquise Goodwin

San Francisco 49ers: WR Travis Benjamin

Seattle Seahawks: OL Chance Warmack

Tennessee Titans: OL Anthony McKinney

Higher Risk Opt-Outs

Arizona Cardinals: OL Marcus Gilbert

Carolina Panthers: LB Christian Miller

Cleveland Browns: OL Colby Gossett

Los Angeles Rams: OT Chandler Brewer

Minnesota Vikings: DT Michael Pierce

New England Patriots: OL Marcus Cannon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: OT Brad Seaton

Washington Football Team: DE Caleb Brantley

Unspecified Opt-Outs

Carolina Panthers: LB Jordan Mack

Chicago Bears: DT Eddie Goldman, S Jordan Lucas

Cincinnati Bengals: DT Josh Tupou, OT Isaiah Prince

Cleveland Browns: G Drew Forbes, T Drake Dorbeck, DT Andrew Billings, G Malcolm Pridgeon

Dallas Cowboys: FB Jamize Olawale

Denver Broncos: DT Kyle Peko, RT Ja'Wuan James

Detroit Lions: DT John Atkins, WR Geronimo Allison, C Russell Bodine

Indianapolis Colts: LB Skai Moore, DB Rolan Milligan, DB Marvell Tell

Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Al Woods

Kansas City Chiefs: RB Damien Williams, OT Lucas Niang

Las Vegas Raiders: DB D.J. Killings, DE Jeremiah Valoaga, LB Ukeme Eligwe

New England Patriots: S Patrick Chung, TE Matt LaCosse

New Orleans Saints: TE Jason Vander Laan, TE Cole Wick

New York Giants: OL Nate Solder, WR Da'Mari Scott, CB Sam Beal

New York Jets: OL Leo Koloamatangi, LB C.J. Mosley, WR Josh Doctson

San Francisco 49ers: OL Shon Coleman

Washington Football Team: LB Josh Harvey-Clemons

Tags: Legal

Packers Announce No Fans At Lambeau For First Two Games Of Season

Aug 7, 2020 7:28 AM

The Green Bay Packers won't have fans at Lambeau Field for at least the first two games of the season.

Previously, Packers president Mark Murphy had said he was hopeful the team could host between 10,000 and 12,000 fans.

"Lambeau Field will not be the same without our fans' energetic support in the stands," Murphy said in a statement. "Given the extraordinary circumstances this year and the additional protocols in place, though, we determined it was best to take incremental steps to start the regular season. These two games will allow us to focus our attention on safely conducting games inside the stadium with all necessary participants.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to host fans for games later in the season, should conditions allow. We will continue to consult with community healthcare and public health officials on the pandemic conditions in our area. We ask our fans to continue to help by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing guidelines."

The earliest possible game Green Bay may have fans in the stadium is on November 1st against the Vikings.

Rob Demovsky/ESPN

Tags: Green Bay Packers

Tom Brady Surprised By Difficulty In Learning New Playbook

Aug 6, 2020 9:39 PM

Tom Brady is surprised by the mental energy he needs to put in to learn a new playbook with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It's been different having the opportunity over this time to move and to, for example, study my playbook -- I mean I really haven't had to do that in 19 years, so you forget, 'Man, that's really tough,' like all of the different terminologies," Brady said Thursday. "You're going back a very long time in my career to really have to put the mental energy in like I did. I have to work at it pretty hard physically, still. I put a lot of time and energy into making sure I'm feeling good in order to perform at my best, but mentally I think that's been the thing that's obviously had its challenges."

Brady will spend time collaborating with Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

"I think conversations we probably would've had in April, we're having now," Brady said. "I think that part has been challenging too, but the only thing you can do is adjust to the situation, adapt the best way you can [and] put as much time and energy now as we can into it. I think the reality is, the clock is ticking on everybody. We're going to have to work as hard as we can and not waste any minutes of any day trying to get used to one another. [We need to] embrace the challenge and see it as an opportunity to see what we can become."

Jenna Laine/ESPN

Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Considering Use Of Virtual Fans In Stadiums

Aug 6, 2020 9:19 PM

The NFL is considering the use of virtual fans in stadiums for the 2020 season. 

The NFL used the practice during the virtual draft, while the NBA has found success with a similar model in its restart.

Some teams still are hoping for 33% to 40% capacity in their stadiums to start the season, but that's still widely considered unlikely.

Enhanced virtual advertising also is an option to fill vacant seats.

Jeremy Fowler/ESPN

Greg Rousseau Opts Out Of NCAA Season

Aug 6, 2020 3:18 PM

Greg Rousseau won't play for the University of Miami during the 2020 season.

Rousseau is a redshirt sophomore and has been projected as one of the top picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Rousseau won the 2019 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year with 15.5 sacks, tying the second-best mark in school history for a single season.

Charean Williams/ProFootballTalk

Tags: Draft, Draft Misc, NCAA

Raiders Told Players Jon Gruden Had COVID-19 To Test Reaction

Aug 6, 2020 1:33 PM

Jon Gruden had assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia tell the Las Vegas Raiders that Gruden was hospitalized with COVID-19 to test how the players would react.

Gruden was not actually hospitalized and has not contracted COVID-19. 

The Raiders are beginning their first season in Las Vegas.

Mike Garafolo/NFL Media

Tags: Oakland Raiders

NFL To Have Most Employees Return To Working In League Office

Aug 6, 2020 8:23 AM

The NFL is planning to have most of their employees return to the league office in Midtown Manhattan.

No more than half of the 780-member staff will be allowed to work on any given day at 345 Park Avenue.

Approximately 150 staff members returned to work for at least one day a week when the NFL reopened its headquarters on June 22 following a three-month lock-down.

The NFL’s satellite offices in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and Culver City, California, were reopened earlier this summer for production staffers who were subject to the same protocols put in place in Manhattan such as temperature checks, social distancing and mask requirements in common areas.

Arnie Stapleton/Associated Press

Stefon Diggs Denies Forcing Trade From Vikings

Marcel Louis-Jacques/ESPN

49ers To Sign Dion Jordan

Chris Biderman/Sacramento Bee

Philip Rivers Viewed Opting Out As Akin To Retirement Given Age

Darin Gantt/ProFootballTalk

NFLPA Pushing For Daily COVID-19 Testing

Tom Withers/Associated Press

UConn Becomes First FBS To Cancel Football Season Due To COVID-19

Mark Schlabach/ESPN

Saints' More Restrictive 'Voluntary' Bubble Could Be Adopted Widely

Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk

Allen Hurns Opts Out Of 2020 Season

Josh Alper/ProFootballTalk

Von Miller Considered Opting Out Of 2020 Season

Jeff Legwold/ESPN

Ron Rivera 'Pleasantly Surprised' By Alex Smith, Could Compete For Job

John Keim/ESPN

Ben Roethlisberger Had Three Torn Tendons Repaired In Elbow

Brooke Pryor/ESPN

Jaguars Activate Gardner Minshew From COVID-19 List

Michael DiRocco/ESPN

Seahawks Acknowledge Interest In Antonio Brown

Brady Henderson/ESPN

NFL Likely To Maintain Status Quo With New Media Rights Deals

John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

Jordan Reed, 49ers Agree To One-Year Deal

Adam Schefter/ESPN

Raiders Announce They'll Play First Season In Vegas In Empty Stadium

Michael David Smith/ProFootballTalk

Odell Beckham Jr. Won't Opt Out Despite Criticism Of NFL

Mike Florio/ProFootballTalk

Falcons Sign Darqueze Dannard After Deal With Jaguars Falls Through

Vaughn McClure/ESPN

Dwayne Johnson Buys XFL For $15M

Kevin Seifert/ESPN

Jeremy Hill Signs With Raiders

Paul Gutierrez/ESPN

Doug Pederson Tests Positive For COVID-19

Tim McManus/ESPN