NFL news: Tom Brady slams penalties, Jalen Ramsey set for pay day, Ezekiel Elliot fitness, plus more

20 Sep

New England Patriots star Tom Brady slammed the performance of officials while watching Thursday night’s clash between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans.

The Jags claimed a 20-7 victory with many proclaiming the return of Sacksonville, while quarterback Gardner Minshew thrilled with his showing too.

But Brady wasn’t so happy about the performance of the men in the middle as he raged on Twitter about penalty calls during the game.

There were 15 in the first-half with another five after the break, frustrating those on and off the pitch.

It comes following huge increases in holding offensive holding penalties, while roughing the passer calls have also been criticised by some.

Brady may be hoping his outbursts don’t land him in trouble.

Jalen Ramsey trade latest

The victory over the Titans came at a great time for the Jaguars given Ramey’s trade request.

Several clubs are reportedly interested in the cornerback but his current side are still hopeful they might be able to hang onto the player.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Good Morning Football owner Shahid Khan would be comfortable making Ramsey the highest-paid CB in the league.

He said: “Also worth noting that owner Shad Khan loves Ramsey, would be willing, from what I understand, to pay him and make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL as soon as he possibly can.

“There is a lot of love here. So, for the Jacksonville Jaguars to part with Ramsey they’re going to have to be convinced, overwhelmed that it’s the right move.”

Ramsey refused to talk about the trade request after the 20-7 win over the Titans.

Ramsey in action against Tennessee
Getty Images - Getty

Ezekiel Elliott to have full workload for the Dallas Cowboys?

Zeke looks set to be the workhorse running back in week three.

Having played just 66.1 per cent of his team’s snaps in the first two following his training camp holdout.

Now, though, the Dallas superstar is set to be on the field for the majority of the game.

“This is our third game,” offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Elliott is raring to go
Getty Images - Getty

“I think he’s at that point where we’re pretty much playing this thing out at this point. It was good those first two weeks just to be aware of it and then also trust Zeke’s response and how he feels and all those things and just balancing that stuff out.”

The Cowboys are facing a poor Miami Dolphins side, though, so he may find himself off the turf early on if the game is done and dusted with time to spare.

Philadelphia Eagles without DeSean Jackson

Injuries have blighted the big names this week and now Philly will be without their star wide-receiver.

Jackson snagged two touchdowns in week one but barely featured last week. Now he is definitely out of a clash with the Detroit Lions.

The Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz will be hoping Alshon Jeffrey and can take some part in the game on Sunday or his pass-catching team will be severely limited.

Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers: NFL mic picks up someone saying ‘I’ve never had my butt fingered’ during match

6 Sep

The Green Bay Packers kicked off the 100th NFL season in style with a 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears on Thursday.

But there was a rather unusual talking point which came out of the opening-day match.

Adrian Amos celebrates a touchdown for the Green Bay Packers
Getty Images - Getty

During US broadcaster’s NBC coverage of the game, an NFL mic picked up a person saying “I’ve never had my butt fingered”.

The odd declaration was clearly heard by NFL commentator Al Michaels, who is attempting not to laugh in the video, which has been shared on social media.

Various US outlets have claimed the words were said by a Packers or Bears player from the bench.

The victory was Matt LaFleur’s first competitive win as Packers head coach.

Bears coach Matt Nagy slammed his team’s performance, exclaiming “three is ridiculous, any Chicago Bears fan should be upset”.

Christian Wade scores 65-yard touchdown for Buffalo Bills in NFL pre-season game

9 Aug

With his first touch of the ball in his first ever American football game, Christian Wade scored a 65-yard touchdown.

The former Wasps and England rugby union man’s score helped the Buffalo Bills record a 24-16 pre-season win over the Indianapolis Colts.

After the game, he said: “I don’t even know the score! First win, at home, I’m so happy right now and appreciate all the support so far. Let’s get this season started!”

Reflecting on his touchdown, the running back said: “I knew where I was going even before the ball came because they overloaded one side then as soon as I got the ball I was off to the races.

“I was looking up at the screen to see if any of the linebackers or anyone was coming up behind me.”

Wade, who switched sports last year, to pursue a career in the NFL, was later presented with the match ball by Bills head coach Sean McDermott and the social media team joked their Twitter handle would be a ‘Christian Wade fan account’.

“I have greater appreciation for what he’s trying to accomplish here, and the attitude hasn’t change,” McDermott said. “I mentioned this earlier in the process with his attitude, his energy, his smile. He has great joy and I think that’s infectious. I think it affects our team, and I think it’s for the better.”

Bills quarterback Josh Allen said: “Huge congratulations to Christian Wade.

“Watching him score that touchdown was one of the coolest experiences of my football career and I wasn’t even on the field.”

The Bills’ regular season begins on 8 September against the New York Jets.

Wade scored 82 tries during his rugby union career, but was released by Wasps to chase his NFL dream in 2018
Getty Images - Getty

Tottenham striker Harry Kane becomes ambassador for NFL Academy

4 Jul

Harry Kane has signed for the National Football League as an ambassador for the NFL Academy.

The Tottenham and England striker is a huge NFL fan – and attended the 2019 Super Bowl while nursing an ankle injury in February.

Harry Kane is a big fan of the NFL
Getty

The NFL Academy is a new sports and education initiative based in north London and will begin in September.

Student athletes between the age of 16 and 18 will be trained by full-time professional coaches.

Kane said: “I’m so proud to be an Ambassador for the NFL Academy. I’m a huge fan of the NFL and have been following it for a while.

“I’m so excited about the club bringing the NFL to Tottenham and the benefits the partnership has for our local community.

“I can’t wait to see the NFL Academy in action.”

NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood added: “We are thrilled to have Harry on board as an ambassador.

“The involvement of high-profile UK figures alongside our NFL stars is an important element of the Academy.

“Harry’s achievements can serve as an inspiration to our students and his strong connection to the local area, along with his well-known love of the NFL, makes him a meaningful and credible participant in the Academy.”

American football stars JuJu Smith-Schuster, Patrick Mahomes and Odell Beckham Jr have pledged their support to the NFL Academy in the past.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium looks incredible in NFL mode with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr hailing the facilities as ‘better than back home’

2 Jul

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is the first purpose built NFL stadium outside of America and we have been given our first glimpses of what it will look like for the London Games in October.

It has a retractable pitch that will be used specially for gridiron matches and tickets for the two encounters were snapped up quickly by eager fans.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ready for the NFL
NFL UK

NFL UK has posted a video on its social media pages showing how amazing the £1billion arena looks.

There are shots of how the synthetic turf will look on match day along with the stunning locker rooms that the teams will use.

The NFL Academy trial is being held at the stadium for a special showcase with plenty of NFL royalty in attendance.

NFL superstar Odell Beckham Jr has been at the stadium and speaking to the hopefuls as he gears up for the new season with the Cleveland Browns following his blockbuster trade from the New York Giants.

Beckham was impressed with the facilities on offer as he gave a guided tour of the enormous locker rooms.

He said: “OBJ here at the new Tottenham Spurs Stadium and I’m the first NFL player to check it out.

“There’s way more space. It is a big locker room. I won’t lie to you. It’s very nice though. It’s better than the facilities we have back home to be honest with you or at least the ones I’ve been in.

“Hopefully in the next year or so we get to play here. I was actually upset I was hurt for the game in London.

“I would love to come out here and put on a show.”

The first match NFL match to be played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will be between the Chicago Bears vs Oakland Raiders on October 6 followed by Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 13.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is also in London to help promote the academy.

NFL Academy is set to open in September 2019.

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host two NFL games in October
NFL UK

It will offer student athletes between the ages of 16 and 18 the opportunity to combine education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.

It will be based at Barnet and Southgate College in North London.

A number of present and former NFL stars have pledged to support the academy in an ambassadorial role.

These include Jay Ajayi, London-born two-time Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora and London raised Efe Obade, who is currently with the Carolina Panthers.

Current NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham Jr and JuJu Smith-Schuster have also pledged their support along with NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and Jason Bell.

Lifelong Arsenal fan and NFL star Jay Ajayi eyes ‘sweet revenge’ with touchdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

7 May

Jay Ajayi would love to score a touchdown in the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium so he could flash the colours of his boyhood club Arsenal.

The running back, who is currently a free agent, wants to get one up on the north London rivals in their own stadium if he gets the chance to play there later this year.

Two out of the four NFL London Games will be held at the £1billion arena, which has a purpose built American Football pitch.

Jay Ajayi was born in London
Getty

The Super Bowl winner would have to sign for either the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers or Tampa Bay Buccaneers by then for it to happen.

“I’m definitely scoring. I might have to have some Arsenal red on me or my jersey I can flash,” he told talkSPORT.

“I might have to do one of my boys’ celebrations on that pitch if I score a touchdown. Just a little bit of sweet revenge.”

Ajayi was born in London before moving to Texas at age seven where he went on to play college football for Boise State.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium

He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2015 where he spent three years before signing for the Philidelphia Eagles in 2017 and won the Super Bowl in his first season.

He tore his ACL at the start of the 2018 season and now finds himself without a team ahead of the 2019 season.

Ajayi was speaking at the launch of the NFL Academy in the UK, which is set to open in September 2019.

It will offer student athletes between the ages of 16 and 18 the opportunity to combine education with life skills and intensive training in the sport under full-time professional coaches.

It will be based at Barnet and Southgate College in North London.

A number of present and former NFL stars have pledged to support the academy in an ambassadorial role.

These include Ajayi, London-born two-time Super Bowl winner Osi Umenyiora and London raised Efe Obade, who is currently with the Carolina Panthers.

Current NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, Odell Beckham Jr and JuJu Smith-Schuster have also pledged their support along with NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and Jason Bell.

Ajayi added: “This is insane to think about. The NFL Academy out here in London, a place where kids can go to chase their dreams and get an education.

“It’s very similar to the high school and college programme over there. It’s really exciting because what does the future hold for London and American Football.

“A big thing that we’ve been tagging along with is ‘who says we can’t do it?’ All types of shapes of sizes and stories have made it in the NFL and it’s London, there are so many different type of people out here. So many kids from different walks of life, who knows what is out there so let’s try and tap into that.”

NFL player Corey Ballentine shot in Kansas just hours after being drafted by New York Giants

29 Apr

An American football player has been shot just hours after being drafted by NFL‘s New York Giants.

Corey Ballentine was chosen by the Giants as the 180th pick on Saturday, and the club confirmed they have been in contact with Ballentine since the shooting.

“The Giants are aware of the situation and have spoken to sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine after he was shot,” a Giants spokesperson said.

“We have spoken to Corey, and he is recovering in the hospital.”

The shooting took place in Topeka, Kansas, with one fatality reported. Dwane Simmons, a 22-year-old former college team-mate of Ballentine’s and current Washburn University defensive back, is understood to have died on the street in the early hours of Sunday morning.

A Washburn University statement read: “We come to you this morning with sad and difficult news. Early this morning two of our students were the victims of an off-campus shooting.

“Dwane Simmons, a junior and a member of the football team, was killed in the incident. In addition, Corey Ballentine, a senior, was injured.

“Any time we lose a student it is a sad occasion, but it is particularly poignant to lose a student through such a senseless act.

“Both Dwane and Corey have been great examples and representatives of the football team and of Washburn University in general.

“This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration and a day to look forward to Dwane’s upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey’s professional career.”

Craig Schurig, the Washburn coach, said: “Heartbreaking news about Dwayne Simmons.

“Dwane is one of the most energetic and well-liked players I have ever coached at Washburn. Dwane’s infectious smile and love for football and his teammates was truly inspirational.

“Our prayers of healing go out to his family, his parents Navarro and Yasmine Simmons and Chaquilla Williams.”

Kyler Murray: Oklahoma quarterback taken first overall by Arizona Cardinals in 2019 NFL draft

26 Apr

Kyler Murray became the first man to be picked in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts.

The quarterback out of Oklahoma was taken first overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the early hours of Friday morning.

Kyler Murray was the number one overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft
Getty

Speculation had been growing for weeks that the Cards would select the Heisman Trophy winner as their number one pick despite trading up last year’s draft to get Josh Rosen in the number 10 spot.

Murray was selected ninth overall in the 2018 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics but continued with football at Oklahoma where he became a star quarterback.

Murray won the Heisman Trophy as Oklahoma’s quarterback
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He passed for more than 4,000 yards with 42 touchdowns and rushed for 1,000 yards with another 12 scores.

Questions had been raised about his height and that his 5ft 10 statue would hold him back from being an NFL quarterback.

His multi-sport talent is undeniable and could be a star of the future for the Cardinals who are looking to turn their fortunes around under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury.

If he ever wants to return to baseball in the future, the A’s will retain his rights.

It is the second year in a row that the Oklahoma Sooners have had their quarterback taken as the first overall selection in the NFL draft.

Baker Mayfield, who also won the Heisman Trophy that year, was picked by the Cleveland Browns.

Baker Mayfield was the number one selection in last year’s draft
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Three quarterbacks were taken in round one of the 2019 NFL draft with the New York Giants surprising a lot of people by taking Duke’s Daniel Jones with the sixth overall selection.

Many analysts and experts did not see Jones going in the first round let alone in the top 10.

The Washington Redskins hope they have found their franchise quarterback after picking up Dwayne Haskins at 15th spot.

Dwayne Haskins was drafted by the Washington Redskins
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The Ohio State Buckeyes man was seen by some as the top passer in this class but slipped down the board.

The Redskins are in desperate need of their signal caller of the future with Alex Smith still recovering from a serious leg injury and journeyman Case Keenum being signed as a temporary fix.

Edge rusher Nick Bosa, also from Ohio State, was the second overall pick as he was selected by the San Francisco 49ers while the New York Jets picked up Quinnen Williams, from Alabama, at three.

The New York Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr to the Cleveland Browns in the off-season
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As part of the Giants trading Odell Beckham Jr to the Cleveland Browns they got their first round pick and decided to take Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, despite passing on top prospects higher up.

The Giants then traded back up the board to take cornerback Deandre Baker, from Georgia, at number 30.

Reigning Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, picked up wide receiver N’Keal Harry with the final selection of the first round.

The second and third rounds of this year’s draft take place on Friday.

NFL London Games 2019: New Tottenham stadium and Wembley dates revealed to host four regular season games

17 Apr

The NFL has announced the dates for the 2019 London Games with two at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and two at Wembley.

Three 2018 regular season matches were held in England with all being held at Wembley.

Efe Obada sacks Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston

One was scheduled to be at the new Tottenham arena but delays to its construction meant it was moved.

The £1billion stadium is the first purpose built NFL stadium outside of the United States.

Tottenham’s new stadium has a capacity of 62,062

It is equipped with two playing surfaces, one for NFL games and one for Spurs to use.

The inaugural NFL game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will see the Oakland Raiders host the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 6.

The Raiders have been a fan favourite in the UK and made the journey to London last year. This is ahead of their move to Las Vegas in 2020.

NFL London Games

Chicago Bears @ Oakland Raiders – Sunday, October 6 (Tottenham)

Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Sunday, October 13 (Tottenham)

Cincinnati Bengels @ LA Rams – Sunday, October 27 (Wembley)

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Sunday, November 3 (Wembley)

The second at the new stadium will be on Sunday, October 13 between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will be the home team.

English defensive end Efe Obada exploded onto the NFL scene during the 2018 season with the Panthers with a sack and interception in his first game and was named as the NFC player of the week.

Jared Goff’s LA Rams lost in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots

After a week’s break, the next match will see the LA Rams host the Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley on Sunday, October 27.

Last year’s Super Bowl runner’s up, the Rams, will be hoping their star players like Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and Jared Goff can inspire them to another run in the post-season.

The final match of the London Games will be on Sunday, November 3, when the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Houston Texans.

The Jags, who share an owner with Fulham, will be playing in their seventh consecutive season in London.

New quarterback Nick Foles, who won the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles two seasons ago, will have to content with the defensive might of the the Texans who boast three-time defensive player of the year J.J. Watt in their ranks.

Nick Foles joined the Jaguars in the off-season

Following this season’s matchups, a total of 31 of the 32 NFL teams will have played games in London.

Ticketing details for all games will be announced in the near future. Fans can register their interest in purchasing tickets by visiting www.nfl.com/uk.

The full NFL schedule for the 2019 season will be announced at 1am on Thursday morning.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane expresses ‘real desire’ to play in the NFL one day, citing Tom Brady as inspiration to reach the top

28 Mar

Harry Kane has revealed serious plans to become an NFL star in the future.

The Tottenham striker wants to end his career by switching sports and trying his hand as a kicker.

Harry Kane met Tom Brady in February at the Super Bowl
Instagram @harrykane

He told ESPN: “The desire to play in the NFL is real. It’s something that in 10 or 12 years I definitely want to try.

“If you play in the Premier League and the World Cup and you then play in the NFL, would you then be considered one of the greatest sportsmen ever?

“It goes back to that drive to be the best. Even if I download a game on my phone, can I be the best in the world?”

He would be following in the footsteps of former Spurs forward Clive Allen, who played in the NFL Europe back in the 1990s.

Kane, 25, is a die-hard New England Patriots fan and idolises their world-famous quarterback, Tom Brady.

He travelled to Atlanta to watch Brady win a record sixth Super Bowl in February and got the chance to meet him afterwards.

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“We’ve had a similar path being doubted when we were younger – maybe not being the best athletes as kids,” Kane said.

“Not many people thought he’d become that good or even play in the NFL and he went on to become the best ever.

“At the time, it gave me a real boost to say, look, anything is possible. If you have that self-belief and that drive and that hunger, you can do it.”