Jun 11, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; An NCAA logo flag at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA Council approves NIL profits for athletes, with final vote Wednesday

In a move that comes close to paving the way for college athletes to be paid from their name, image and likeness (NIL), the NCAA voted Monday to approve an interim policy allowing such profits as soon as July 1 without affecting eligibility.

The NCAA has been under pressure to reform after the Supreme Court’s groundbreaking ruling last week that universities had unfairly hurt college athletes by prohibiting schools from competing for recruits via stringent limits on compensation.

Monday’s vote, held by the Division I Council (largely consisting of athletics administrators), does not implement such change just yet. Instead the Division I Board of Directors, comprised of higher-level figures such as school presidents, will vote Wednesday on the recommendation that athletes could begin to earn NIL profits as early as Thursday.

If the interim policy receives final approval, athletes could begin earning money based on NIL later this week in all states that have not yet passed related laws. In states with laws already on the books, athletes could still make money so long as they follow those laws.

According to USA Today, 10 states will have laws allowing athletes to profit from NIL as of Thursday, and with legislation pending elsewhere, the count could be up to 15 by Sept. 1.

Ten days ago, NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a memo to over 1,100 institutions in an effort to convince them to pass legislation that will make it legal for players to earn money from their likenesses. In addition to aiming to avoid federal regulation, the NCAA is trying to maintain level playing fields until any future compensation guidelines are consistent through schools in every state.

–Field Level Media

Catholic's TJ Dudley poses for a portrait at Montgomery Catholic High School in Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, June 8, 2020.

Oregon lands 4-star LB TJ Dudley over Alabama, UCF, Texas

The Oregon Ducks landed a verbal commit from coveted four-star linebacker TJ Dudley on Monday as the school continues to pick up recruiting momentum on Pac-12 rival USC.

The Montgomery, Ala., native picked the Ducks ahead of reported candidates such as Alabama, Central Florida and Texas, making the announcement live on CBS Sports’ website.

Dudley, listed as 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, is considered a top-10 prospect out of the state and reportedly marks the second high school prospect to leave his home in Alabama for Eugene. He joins four-star quarterback Tanner Bailey.

Just two days earlier, Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal saw two-year starting linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia enter the NCAA’s transfer portal. Oregon is still considered by most recruiting services to have the second-ranked incoming class in the conference behind USC.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Four-time Pro Bowl WR Demaryius Thomas retires

Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Demaryius Thomas announced his retirement on Monday.

Thomas, 33, did not play in the NFL last season. He caught 665 passes for 9,055 yards and 60 touchdowns in nine seasons with the Denver Broncos (2010-18) before finishing his career with the Houston Texans (2018) and New York Jets (2019).

“I’m Demaryius Thomas, and I’ve finally come to a decision to hang it up,” Thomas said in a video posted by the Broncos on social media. “I’m going to retire, and I’m going to retire a Denver Bronco.”

Denver drafted Thomas in the first round (22nd overall) in 2010 and traded him to the Texans on Oct. 30, 2018.

“(Thomas) belongs among the greatest players in Broncos history for what he’s meant to this organization on the field and out in the community,” said Broncos president John Elway in a statement. “We appreciate everything Demaryius did for us and congratulate him on his retirement from the NFL.”

He posted five straight 1,000-yard seasons with the Broncos from 2012-16 and helped them win a championship in Super Bowl 50. Thomas made the Pro Bowl in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.

He ranks No. 2 in Denver history in receiving yards and touchdowns and is No. 3 in receptions.

Including his 23 catches for 275 yards and two touchdowns with Houston and his 36 grabs for 433 yards and one score with New York, Thomas retires with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 scores.

–Field Level Media

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) rushes back to the locker room after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Browns Extras 10

Report: No ‘substantive’ contract talks between Baker Mayfield, Browns

The Cleveland Browns and quarterback Baker Mayfield have yet to engage in any “substantive talks” about a contract extension, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Sunday.

Per the report, neither side feels a sense of urgency to complete a deal before the season.

The Browns picked up the fifth-year option for their former No. 1 overall draft selection, which covers the 2022 season. But NFL teams like the Browns can work on extensions for their 2018 first-round picks starting this offseason.

That also includes quarterbacks like 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson with the Baltimore Ravens and Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills. The new crop of young quarterbacks receiving mega-deals will reset the market for a player like Mayfield, who now has a playoff win under his belt but has yet to earn a Pro Bowl appearance.

Mayfield has started every game for Cleveland since Week 4 of his rookie year, bringing stability to a position the franchise had only dreamed of for years. In 46 career games (45 starts), Mayfield has thrown for 11,115 yards, 75 touchdowns and 43 interceptions with a career passer rating of 89.1.

The Browns are 23-22 in his 45 starts. Mayfield led them to an 11-5 record in 2020 as well as their first playoff win since 1995 with a wild-card round victory over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

Earlier this month, Mayfield told reporters he was in no rush to get an extension done.

“It will handle itself,” Mayfield said. “I’m sure (agents) Tom and Jack Mills are handling that. I don’t try and feed too much into that because it’s wasting my time and energy and thought process on stuff that I am not in control of right now, so I’m gonna handle what I can control.”

Mayfield would earn $18.858 million in 2022 if he played on his fifth-year option.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oregon Ducks linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia (41) looks down Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon LB Isaac Slade-Matautia enters transfer portal

Oregon linebacker Isaac Slade-Matautia entered the NCAA transfer portal, seeking to play his senior season elsewhere.

“It’s time for a New Journey,” he posted to Instagram.

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Slade-Matautia started for the Ducks the past two seasons. In 28 games from 2018-20, he had 27 tackles (12 for loss), 16 passes defensed and 2 1/2 sacks. From Honolulu, he was a four-star prospect and the No. 16 overall outside linebacker in the Class of 2017, per the 247Sports composite.

Before committing to Oregon, he had offers from six Pac-12 programs, as well as Hawaii, Nebraska and others.

He thanked the Oregon fans and program for his time in Eugene in the lengthy Instagram post.

“To the UO football program, thank you for the life lessons and the opportunity to play and train everyday at a high level,” he wrote. “There are no words to express my feelings of gratitude for the people that have helped me become not only a better athlete, but a better person.”

He continued:

“Being a 2x PAC-12 and a Rose Bowl Champion, these are all milestones and memories I will cherish forever. Nothing will ever replace those experiences, relationships, and memories I’ve had here. Thank you.

“With that being said and after deep prayer and consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the transfer portal and will finish my final college football season elsewhere. I will forever be grateful to the wonderful people at the University of Oregon.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 4, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team offensive tackle Morgan Moses (76) prepares to block Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon (99) during the second half at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jets reach one-year deal with RT Morgan Moses

The New York Jets reached agreement on a one-year deal with right tackle Morgan Moses on Friday, according to multiple reports.

Moses reportedly will receive a $3.6 million base salary and could increase his pay up to $5.3 million based on playing time incentives.

The 30-year-old Moses was released by Washington Football Team last month. He started every game at right tackle over the past six seasons for Washington.

Washington reportedly saved $7.75 million by releasing Moses, who signed a five-year, $38.5 million deal prior in April 2017.

Overall, Moses has started 97 of 104 games played since entering the NFL with Washington in 2014. He played college football at Virginia and was a third-round draft selection.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; A Nebraska Cornhuskers helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bill Moos out as Nebraska AD

Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos is leaving his post effective immediately, the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star reported Friday.

The reason for his departure, which could be officially announced later Friday, was unclear.

Nebraska hired Moos in October 2017. He brought with him nearly 25 years of experience as an athletic director at Montana (1990-95), Oregon (1995-2007) and his alma mater, Washington State (2010-17). He played football for the Cougars.

At Nebraska, Moos hired football coach Scott Frost and men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg. The Cornhuskers have underperformed under Frost (12-20) and Hoiberg (14-45).

Moos, 70, also has been involved with Nebraska’s $155 million football facility, which is under construction.

His contract was due to expire at the end of 2022. As recently as December, he said he intended to stay through at least the end of his contract.

“We’re going to move the dial here, and I don’t want to be looking at that success from afar,” he said then, per the Journal Star. “I have every intention of fulfilling the contract.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Detailed view of a throwback Denver Broncos helmet in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

NFL to allow alternate helmets again in 2022

The NFL will allow teams to wear alternate helmets with their uniform combinations again, starting in the 2022 season.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted Thursday that “clubs must inform (the league) of their intent to use an alternate color helmet for the 2022 season by no later than July 31. This is not for ’21 season.”

The league previously had a rule in place since 2013 that teams could only use one helmet shell throughout the season, citing player safety regarding head injuries.

Several NFL franchises could take advantage of this rule in order to reassemble complete throwback uniforms, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and others.

Pro Football Talk reported that teams can use a second helmet design not only for a throwback uniform, but also for an alternate or Color Rush uniform combo.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard David DeCastro (66) looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the second quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 19-14. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers release six-time Pro Bowl OT David DeCastro

The Pittsburgh Steelers released six-time Pro Bowl offensive guard David DeCastro on Thursday.

DeCastro was in the final season of a six-year, $58.07 million contract. The decision to part ways with him saves Pittsburgh $8.75 million in cap space.

DeCastro, 31, was a two-time First Team All-Pro during his tenure with the Steelers, which dates back to 2012 when the team selected him in the first round of the draft (24th overall) out of Stanford.

“David was without a doubt one of the premier offensive linemen during his time with us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “He helped us win a lot of football games, but it was David’s consistency, reliability and professionalism that stood out more than anything else. We wish him the best moving forward in his career.”

DeCastro has started 124 of 125 games in which he has played during his NFL career. He was a First Team All-Pro in 2015 and 2017 and voted to six straight Pro Bowls from 2015-20.

–Field Level Media