Sep 8, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fans fly banners before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs raise Super Bowl LIV banner at Arrowhead Stadium

The Kansas City Chiefs raised their Super Bowl LIV championship banner in front of approximately 5,000 fans following Saturday’s practice at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs will repeat the ceremony on Sept. 10 when they open the NFL season against the Houston Texans.

“The championship banner is going to be special,” star quarterback Patrick Mahomes said, per ESPN. “It’s going to be something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I’m glad we have a lot of the same guys on the team that were with me for that journey.

“We’re going to enjoy that together and then we’re going to get back to playing and trying to find a way to go get another one.”

The banner, which came as a result of Kansas City’s 31-20 victory over San Francisco on Feb. 2, joined the one that represented the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV victory.

–Field Level Media

Aug 22, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters (71) walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Eagles’ Peters wants more money to play LT

If the Philadelphia Eagles want Jason Peters to move back to left tackle, it reportedly comes with a price.

The 38-year-old Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, signed a one-year $3 million contract last month to play right guard after starter Brandon Brooks suffered an Achilles tendon injury.

The Eagles lost starting left tackle Andre Dillard to a torn biceps muscle on Thursday. The 2019 first-round pick is expected to miss the entire season, leaving Philadelphia looking for a replacement to protect quarterback Carson Wentz’s blind side.

Citing sources, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Saturday that Peters “wants to be paid like a starting left tackle if he’s to assume the role for the 2020 season.” Tackles, on average, earn significantly more than guards in the NFL.

Peters’ agent, Vincent Taylor, did not respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said during Saturday’s video conference call with reporters that Peters is “obviously in the conversation” to replace Dillard.

“We do have some young players, Jordan Mailata, Matt Pryor. Jack Driscoll, who’s a rookie, obviously, but has been playing some tackle for us,” Pederson said.

Of those three, only Pryor has played in an NFL game. He played 79 offensive snaps in 12 games for the Eagles last season.

–Field Level Media

Aug 26, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) stretches during training camp at Baptist Health Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ Fitzpatrick misses scrimmage after mother’s death

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick exited before the start of Saturday’s scrimmage after learning of the death of his mother.

Fitzpatrick joined his teammates for pre-scrimmage stretching, but left with coach Brian Flores after what appeared to be an intimate discussion. Flores walked Fitzpatrick to the tunnel with his arm around the QB, then returned without him.

Flores explained the situation afterward.

“Fitz has tried to work through. He’s always tried to practice. It’s a tough situation. Our hearts go out to him as a team and an organization. … There’s things bigger than football,” Flores said.

Rookie Tua Tagovailoa and Josh Rosen led the teams in the scrimmage in his absence, but Fitzpatrick remains the likely starter for Week 1.

“There’s no QB controversy. He’s not retiring. He’s not opting out,” said Flores, per ESPN. “He’s going to take as much time as he needs. We’re going to give him time to grieve. … My thought on this is he’s going to try to get back as quick, as soon as he can. But we’re going to give him as much time as he needs.”

Fitzpatrick, 37, is entering the second season of a two-year, $11 million contract — $7 million of it guaranteed — with the Dolphins.

The Dolphins are Fitzpatrick’s eighth team and he has a 55-83-1 career record. Last season in 15 games (13 starts), he completed 62.0 percent of his passes for 3,529 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Jul 27, 2019; Latrobe, PA, USA;   Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Donte Moncrief (11) participates in drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jets planning to sign WR Moncrief

The New York Jets plan to sign veteran wideout Donte Moncrief after he clears COVID-19 protocols, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Saturday.

The 27-year-old receiver spent time last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers. He caught four passes for 18 yards in five games with Pittsburgh, but also dropped four passes in the season opener.

A third-round pick by Indianapolis in 2014, Moncrief has 204 receptions for 2,561 yards and 21 touchdowns in 77 career games (43 starts) with the Colts (2014-17), Jacksonville Jaguars (2018), Steelers and Panthers.

He worked out for the Jets earlier this month and would provide depth behind projected starters Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman.

–Field Level Media

Dec 1, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan (52) reacts after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Dolphins trade LB McMillan to Raiders

The Miami Dolphins are sending linebacker Raekwon McMillan and a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Las Vegas Raiders, according to reports Saturday morning.

The Dolphins will reportedly receive the Raiders’ fourth-round pick in 2021 in return.

McMillan, 24, was a second-round pick out of Ohio State in 2017. He is due to make $1.1 million this season and then will become a free agent.

After a preseason ACL tear wiped out his 2017 rookie campaign, McMillan debuted with 105 tackles and two forced fumbles in 16 starts in 2018. His numbers slipped to 72 tackles in 13 games last season.

The Dolphins added linebackers Elandon Roberts and Kamu Grugier-Hill in the offseason.

–Field Level Media

Aug 4, 2018; Canton, OH, USA; Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 enshrinee Brian Urlacher during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Bensen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bears, New Mexico, Forte condemn Urlacher comment

The Chicago Bears and the University of New Mexico issued statements on Friday distancing themselves from Brian Urlacher after the Hall of Fame linebacker wrote a controversial comment following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis.

Urlacher posted the following to his Instagram story on Thursday after NBA players elected to sit out playoff games as a means to protest.

“Brett Favre played the (Monday Night Football) game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity,” Urlacher wrote.

“NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”

Urlacher also allegedly liked an Instagram post calling for the release of Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white teenager who has been charged with first-degree homicide in the killing of two protesters this week in Kenosha.

The Bears were quick to make it clear that they don’t share Urlacher’s views.

“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the team said in a statement.

Urlacher’s alma mater, New Mexico, issued a lengthy statement on Friday.

“We, the players, of The University of New Mexico football team vehemently condemn the words of one of our most renowned and respected alumni, Brian Urlacher,” the school said in a statement. “… When you have a platform, you also have the responsibility and an obligation to use it wisely and respectfully; especially when you are the face of multiple sports organizations. As one of our own we look forward to the opportunity to sit down and discuss the comment Brian posted and why it was hurtful to us.

“… Regardless of who you are or your relation to this football team, we will no longer tolerate hatred and blatant ignorance directed towards the very existence of so many on this team. We will always stand unified and we will march far across the river towards justice together. We are The University of New Mexico football team and we will always fight ignorance and hatred with empowerment and unity.”

Running back Matt Forte, who played with Urlacher in Chicago for five seasons from 2008-12, took to social media to share his frustration with his former teammate’s comment.

“The comment (Urlacher) posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance!” Forte wrote on Twitter. “I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all.”

Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and was the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year in a 13-year career spent entirely with the Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Dec 8, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; A fan holds a Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) sign prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals rule out fans in first two games; Cowboys undecided

The Arizona Cardinals announced Friday they will play their first two home games without fans in the stands at State Farm Stadium, while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said no decision has been made yet for his venue.

The Cardinals said they are complying with current state guidelines that restrict gatherings of more than 50 people. If Arizona’s number of COVID-19 cases drops sufficiently, the possibility exists that some fans could attend games at some point, the team said.

“While we would obviously love to start the season in front of the Red Sea, we know this decision is the most responsible one and hopefully contributes to the continued decline of COVID-19 figures in our community,” the Cardinals told season ticket members in an email.

“We will continue to work with state and local officials in the weeks ahead to determine whether we may be in position to host a limited number of fans later in the season.”

In Dallas, Jones is thinking more optimistically.

Speaking Friday on 103.5 The Fan, Jones said AT&T Stadium likely will sell fewer than the 50 percent of tickets allowed in a ruling made by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

“We know we are limited where our boundaries are,” Jones said. “More than likely there won’t be 50 percent capacity. But things are evolving. I would imagine we can have as many people out there as far as the demand to be out there as we want it. We’ll see how the lay of the land is as we get closer, and sell those numbers of tickets accordingly.”

The Cardinals are scheduled to host the Washington Football Team (Sept. 20) and Detroit Lions (Sept. 27) in their first two home games. The Cowboys’ home opener is set for Sept. 20 against the Atlanta Falcons.

–Field Level Media

Aug 15, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver J.J. Nelson (15) greets Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk prior to the preseason game at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Nelson (knee) latest injury to WR corps

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver J.J. Nelson will be sidelined as long as one month with a knee injury, coach Kyle Shanahan announced Friday.

Nelson, who was signed by the 49ers two weeks ago, joins fellow wideouts Deebo Samuel (foot), Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring), Jalen Hurd (torn ACL) and Richie James (wrist) on the sideline due to injuries.

“J.J. Nelson has come in and done a really good job,” Shanahan said on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac show” on Friday morning. “He’s been banged up the last two days. We just got some injury stuff on him yesterday, so he’s going to probably be out here for the next month, so you lose another (receiver).”

The 49ers attempted to address the situation by signing former first-round pick Kevin White and fellow wide receiver River Cracraft on Thursday.

Nelson, 28, appeared in two games with the then-Oakland Raiders last season and caught four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown.

The 2015 fifth-round draft pick has 85 career receptions for 1,475 yards and 11 TDs in 58 games with the Arizona Cardinals (2015-18) and Raiders. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $910,000 contract earlier this month.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints owner Gayle Benson waves to fans before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Saints, Pelicans owner Benson tests positive for COVID-19

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson tested positive for the coronavirus and is “progressing well and improving daily” in her recovery, the NFL team announced Friday in a statement.

Benson, 73, was diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last few weeks, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo confirmed Friday. It was not immediately known what symptoms Benson experienced.

“Mrs. Benson did test positive for COVID-19,” the Saints announced in a statement. “She is progressing well and improving daily. She has not missed a daily work call with the Saints and Pelicans staff nor has she missed an NBA or NFL owner call in recent days — she was not hospitalized and is recovering at home in New Orleans. She thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers.”

Saints coach Sean Payton was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, the first NFL coach known to have contracted the virus.

Three Saints players had tested positive for COVID-19, however all three were believed to have been “false positives.” The players quickly were removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Saints kick off their season at home against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 13.

–Field Level Media

Nov 9, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Dee Wiggins (center) celebrates with offensive lineman John Campbell Jr. (left) and running back Robert Burns (right) after scoring a touchdown against the Louisville Cardinals during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Hurricanes to play at least two games with students in stands

Miami (Fla.) will play its first two home games without any students on hand at Hard Rock Stadium.

In addition, university president Julio Frenk said in a letter to the campus community on Friday that no alcohol will be sold this season at the stadium.

The prohibition on students at the stadium was spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, Frenk said. Students will miss games against UAB (Sept. 10) and in-state rival Florida State (Sept. 26).

“Given that we are barely two weeks into the semester and the number of COVID-19 cases among students has registered recent increases, students will not be permitted to attend the first two home games at Hard Rock Stadium,” he wrote. “As disappointing as this is to all of us, especially the students, this is the prudent course of action at this time, as we continue to prioritize health and safety on campus above all else.”

As of Friday morning, Florida trailed only California for the most cases of COVID-19 in the United States with 615,806. That included 3,815 new cases confirmed by the Florida Department of Health.

Frenk said the university would continue to evaluate the no-student decision as the season progresses.

As for the ban on alcohol sales, Frenk said that also is being enacted to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“As organizations across South Florida and around the world fight COVID-19, the importance of relying on the experts has become clear,” he wrote. “Our community has come too far to ignore the evidence. Alcohol impairs the ability to make rational decisions and has been shown to dampen immunity. We all look forward to the day when we can engage socially at games as we always have, but that day has not yet arrived.”

–Field Level Media