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Wednesday
Apr152015

Mariota Scores 33 on Wonderlic; Jameis Winston Had 27

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Wonderlic scores for Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston won't be among the knocks against them when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers choose what to do with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Mariota scored a 33 out of 50 on the test and Winston a 27, Yahoo! Sports has reported, citing multiple league sources, later posting Mariota's score via Twitter.

That puts both in good company among NFL quarterbacks: Andrew Luck scored a 37 while Aaron Rodgers had a 35, Tom Brady a 33 and Philip Rivers a 30. Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson each scored a 28, while Joe Flacco had a 27 and Ben Roethlisberger recorded a 25.

The Wonderlic is a 50-question test administered to all combine participants that measures cognitive ability. The time limit is 12 minutes.

A score of 20 is indicative of "average" intelligence and roughly equivalent to an IQ of 100. Former Bengals punter Pat McInally, who attended Harvard, is the only prospect known to have scored a perfect 50 on the test.


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Tuesday
Apr142015

Steelers Cornerback Ike Taylor Announces Retirement

Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- After 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, veteran cornerback Ike Taylor has announced his retirement from the NFL.

"Other than having my son, playing for the Steelers has been the best experience in my entire lifetime," Taylor told the team's website. "It is rare, in this day of free agency that is super rare to play for one team. For me to have this opportunity says a lot about how they felt about me, what I gave back to the organization.

"I wasn't cut, I wasn't released. It was just my contract was up and it was time to retire. If you want to have pride, well that is the kind of pride I have, being able to play my contract out," he added.

Selected in the fourth round back in 2003, Taylor became a staple of the Steelers defense. He started 135 games for the team during his career, and won two Super Bowls as well.

The Steelers also lost longtime safety Troy Polamalu to retirement last week.


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Tuesday
Apr142015

Former NFL RB Lawrence Phillips Suspected of Killing Prison Cellmate

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(FRESNO, Calif.) -- Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central California prison, officials said Monday.

Phillips' cellmate at Kern Valley State Prison was found lifeless early Saturday and later pronounced dead, prison spokesman Lt. Marshall Denning said in a statement.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He played for the St. Louis Rams until being released in 1997 for insubordination. He also played for the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

Phillips is serving a sentence of more than 31 years. He was convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and later that year of driving his car into three teens after a pickup football game in Los Angeles. It wasn't clear whether Phillips has an attorney.

He is suspected of killing Damion Soward, a 37-year-old inmate from San Bernardino County serving 82 years to life for a first-degree murder conviction.


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Tuesday
Apr142015

Emmanuel Sanders: Super Bowl or 'Bust' for Broncos in 2015

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- The Denver Broncos have a new coaching staff and plenty of new faces on their roster.

However, when coach Gary Kubiak addressed the team Monday, it was clear the championship expectations the team has carried over much of the last three seasons are still around.

"The message was definitely world championship from the start," Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said Monday. "That's what [executive vice president of football operations/general manager John] Elway wants. The focus is bringing a world championship to this city."

Sanders says this is a "Super Bowl or bust" year for Denver.

"We want to get back there and we want to win it," Sanders said. "The main focus of this group is to win a Super Bowl. That's the expectation. If we don't bring a Super Bowl to this city this year, then it's a bust season."

The Broncos have won four consecutive AFC West titles and spent much of Peyton Manning's tenure at quarterback as one of the AFC's front-runners for the Super Bowl. The team finished 12-4 as well as two 13-3 seasons; however, none of the results ended in a title.  The Broncos' appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII to close out the 2013 season ended in a 35-point loss to the Seattle Seahawks.


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Tuesday
Apr142015

WR Michael Crabtree Leaves 49ers for Raiders

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(OAKLAND) -- Wide receiver Michael Crabtree reportedly has signed an agreement to join the Oakland Raiders. The deal is for one year and $3 million, with another $2 million in incentives, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Crabtree's production decreased last season, and he appeared to lose explosion from a 2013 Achilles injury. Crabtree has had just two 100-yard receiving games in 24 games since he returned from his injury. His highest yardage total in 2014 was 85 yards, and he averaged 10.3 yards per reception on 68 catches.

Crabtree has a chance to be a starter for Oakland, which badly needs receiving weapons for second-year quarterback Derek Carr.


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Monday
Apr132015

Russell Wilson Not Giving Up on Two-Sport Dream

Kevin Casey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Could Russell Wilson be joining the likes of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, who've played two sports professionally?

 

In a recent interview with HBO's Real Sports, the Seattle Seahawks quarterback did not rule out pursuing a full-time career in baseball along with football.
"I never want to kill the dream of playing two sports," Wilson said. "I would honestly play two sports."

 

Wilson played both baseball and football while at NC State. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school and was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. He spent 2010 and 2011 in the Rockies farm system and was drafted by the Texas Rangers during the Rule 5 draft in December 2013.

He was able to be selected because MLB allows teams to draft players who have never been called up to the big leagues after spending at least four years in another franchise's farm system.

"I don't know," Wilson said when asked if he'd consider playing both sports full time. "I may push the envelope a little bit one of these days."

According to MLB.com, Wilson hit .229 in 315 at-bats during his minor league career with the Rockies.

He has participated in Rangers spring training practices the past two seasons as well.


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Saturday
Apr112015

Source: Jets will exercise 5th-year option on Quinton Coples' contract

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New York Jets will exercise their fifth-year option on outside linebacker Quinton Coples' contract, a league source confirmed to ESPN.com's Rich Cimini.

Coples' option for 2015 will be worth $7.8 million. The Jets' decision to pick up the option was reported earlier Saturday by the New York Daily News.

Coples recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks and started 15 games last season while making the transition from defensive end to linebacker.

A first-round draft selection in 2012, Coples has 16.5 career sacks with the Jets.


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Wednesday
Apr082015

LeGarrette Blount Suspended One Game for Substance Abuse

Jim Rogash/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has been suspended without pay for the 2015 regular-season opener, an NFL spokesman said Tuesday. Blount's suspension is for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.

Blount will lose $48,685 in base salary as part of the suspension, in addition to a $6,250 per-game roster bonus.

The 28-year-old was playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers when he and Le'Veon Bell were arrested Aug. 20; police said they found about three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana in Bell's car during a traffic stop in a Pittsburgh suburb.

Blount can participate in all offseason practices and preseason games before the suspension.

In his final five games of the regular season after joining the Patriots, Blount rushed for 281 yards on 60 carries, with three touchdowns.


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Tuesday
Apr072015

Bills' Guard Richie Incognito Discusses "Humbling" Time Away from Football

NFL via Getty Images(ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.) -- Now back in the NFL after more than a year away from football, Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito is grateful for the chance to be back in the league.

Incognito spent a season and a half away from the NFL after he was the central figure in a bullying scandal with offensive lineman Jonathan Martin when they were both members of the Miami Dolphins.

He wound up being released from the Dolphins as a result of the incident, and spent last year unsigned by any team.

"It was definitely difficult sitting out, knowing I could still play, knowing I had talent to contribute," Incognito said Monday. "It was a learning process. At first there was a lot of frustration: 'Why am I not signed? Why am I not on a team?' It was a time for inner reflection. Kind of a time for growth.

"There were some dark days where I didn't think I was ever going to play again," he said. "It really just kind of fueled me to work harder. ... [It] kind of forced me to go back and really look at things and say, 'Is this still important to you? Is this still what you want?' And the answer was always a resounding yes."

Incognito was a Pro Bowler back in 2012.


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Tuesday
Apr072015

Bills' LeSean McCoy Takes Another Shot at Chip Kelly

Rob Carr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy just can't seem to put his previous team behind him. The former rushing champion believes he was traded by the Philadelphia Eagles because Eagles head coach Chip Kelly doesn't like stars.

McCoy is time leading rusher in Eagles franchise history, and his trade to Buffalo sent shockwaves through the league and the fanbase.

"I don't think he likes or respects the stars. I'm being honest," McCoy told the Philadelphia Inquirer of his former coach. "I think he likes the fact that it's 'Chip Kelly and the Eagles.'"

Despite two prolific seasons playing for Kelly, the team shipped McCoy to Buffalo and signed former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to replace him for similar money. One reason suggested for the move was the Kelly may have felt that Murray was a better fit for his offense.

"There's nothing wrong with that," McCoy told the Inquirer. "Chip felt like I wasn't a fit for his offense. But why not say that?"

McCoy said in a previous interview that the Murray signing was a "panic move."

Since his rookie year in 2009, McCoy has the third-most rushing yards and fourth-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL.


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