Montee Ball Arrested

MONDAY, 5:56pm: Prosecutors charged Ball with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to Ed Treleven of Madison.com, and the former second-round pick will not face a felony charge.

But Ball, who was released from jail earlier today, also faces a misdemeanor battery charge, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dane County (Wis.) Circuit Court, for striking the woman on the face five days before this incident occurred.

The battery charge carries a nine-month maximum jail term, per Treleven, with the disorderly conduct charge carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail.

FRIDAY, 2:07pm: Former Broncos running back Montee Ball was arrested by police in Madison, Wisconsin early Friday morning after he allegedly pushed his girlfriend into a table at a hotel, according to Bill Novak of Madison.com. Novak writes that Ball was taken to the Dane County jail on a “tentative charge” of substantial battery.Montee Ball

“The woman told police she had a dispute with her boyfriend,” a police source told Novak. “She said he put his hands on her, picked her up and threw her.” The source added that Ball was “very cooperative” with police.

Ball, 25, had a solid rookie season for the Broncos in 2013 after being selected in the second round of the draft, running for 559 yards and four touchdowns. However, he took a step backward in 2014, and was waived by Denver prior to the 2015 regular season.

After working out for a handful of teams, Ball eventually signed in December with the Patriots’ practice squad to help provide depth for a New England team dealing with multiple backfield injuries. Even then though, Ball wasn’t promoted to the Pats’ active roster and wasn’t believed to be in great shape — Ed Werder of ESPN.com noted that the running back weighed about 205 pounds when he was drafted by the Broncos, and was in the 230s as a Patriot.

With Ball’s on-field potential seemingly on the decline, his off-field legal run-in figures to further decrease his odds of finding a spot on an active roster for 2016. Whether or not Ball is ultimately prosecuted for this incident, the NFL will conduct its own investigation, and could decide to suspend the running back for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/8/16

Here are today’s minor moves as the offseason officially begins.

  • New Orleans signed cornerback Tony Carter, per Woodberry. The Saints initially signed the journeyman corner in December before waiving him later that month. A seven-year veteran, Carter also played in three games with the Colts in 2015 after the Broncos cut him before the season started. Set to enter his age-30 season, Carter’s played in 45 games and started two for the 2013 AFC champion Broncos.
  • The Saints waived wide receiver Seantavius Jones, according to Evan Woodberry of NOLA.com. Jones, 23, played in three games this season after arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2014. The Saints, who played UDFAs Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman consistently in 2015, have eight wideouts under contract.
  • The Bengals signed cornerback Chykie Brown and tackle Darryl Baldwin, the team announced on its Twitter account. Neither played in the league last season. A five-year veteran, Brown’s started six games since coming into the league as a fifth-round draft choice of the Ravens’ in 2011. Four of those starts came for the Giants in 2014. The Ravens cut Baldwin after one preseason game last year.

Browns Add Eight To Coaching Staff

The Browns continued to fill out their coaching staff Monday, with Hue Jackson announcing the hiring of eight coaches to work for him during his first season in Cleveland, according to a report on the team’s website.

All of which are position coaches or other assistants after the Browns announced more than two weeks ago the additions of Ray Horton, Pep Hamilton and several others.

Here’s the full list of coaches and their respective titles.

  • Rock Cartwright, offensive quality control
  • Louie Cioffi, defensive backs
  • Ken Delgado, assistant defensive line
  • Johnny Holland, inside linebackers
  • Cannon Matthews, assistant defensive backs
  • Robert Nunn, defensive line
  • Eric Sanders, defensive quality control
  • Ryan Slowik, outside linebackers

Cioffi served in the same position under Horton during his previous one-year stint as the Browns’ defensive coordinator in 2013. Cioffi’s worked with Horton in 10 of his 21 seasons.

Nunn was the Giants’ defensive line coach from 2010-15, collecting a Super Bowl ring in guiding the NASCAR package-powered team to the 2011 championship.

Slowik served as the Jets’ defensive line coach last season.

Dolphins Waive OT Jason Fox

The Dolphins have waived tackle Jason Fox, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Fox was previously under contract for the 2016 season. Fox was due to earn $1.28MM in base salary in 2016, so Miami has now freed up significant funds that can be used elsewhere. Jason Fox (vertical)

The release will leave $138K in dead money on Miami’s 2016 cap and, in total, they will save $1.38MM in cap space with this move. Salguero notes that this is the first of many expected moves to free up cap space for the Dolphins this offseason.

The Dolphins are expected to make even more changes to their second unit on the offensive line. Salguero writes that the Dolphins will be on the hunt for a backup tackle this offseason and that search may include asking either Billy Turner or Dallas Thomas to work at right tackle. The Dolphins are dissatisfied with the play of their interior lineman as well, so they could make some moves at guard as well.

Fox, a University of Miami product, entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2010. Over the course of his six-year career, Fox has played 37 career games with 16 starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Cut Jahri Evans, David Hawthorne

The Saints cut three players Monday, including All-Pro guard Jahri Evans and longtime linebacker David Hawthorne, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

New Orleans also waived veteran linebacker Ramon Humber.

Evans started 153 games for the Saints since 2006 and was a four-time first-team All-Pro. Hawthorne started the majority of the past four seasons after signing with New Orleans in 2012. Humber, a linebacker, had been with the team for six seasons and started 18 games with
the Saints since 2011.

The Saints entered the day with the worst salary cap situation in the NFL, being more than $9MM over the cap.

The 32-year-old guard will still carry $5.1MM in dead money, according to OverTheCap and saves the Saints $3.1MM on their 2016 cap sheet. Evans previously took a pay cut to remain with the team last year and made six straight Pro Bowls from 2009-14.

Reports from last April indicated part of Evans’ 2016 salary was guaranteed, but Nick Underhill of The Advocate said (on Twitter) that guarantee wasn’t set to kick in until the third day of the new league year, which begins March 9.

Evans was set to carry an $8.2MM cap figure this season, the fourth-highest on the team, and was signed through the
2017 campaign. Per NOLA.com’s Katherine Terrell (on Twitter), Evans spoke with Sean Payton in December and was not expecting a release then.

Evans underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last season, limiting him to a career-low 16 games. Evans has started 16 games in eight of his 10 seasons and never operated in a reserve capacity since the Saints drafted him in the fourth round in 2006.

Signed through the 2016 season, Hawthorne will carry $2.26MM in dead money and bring $2.25MM in cap savings, according to OverTheCap. Hawthorne, 30, was set to occupy a $4.5MM cap number for the Saints this coming season.

The Saints’ longest-tenured defensive player, Humber served as a key special teams cog for the Saints after the team signed him during the 2010 season.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

Police Investigating Johnny Manziel

MONDAY, 4:02pm: A sworn statement from Crowley indicates Manziel struck her on the left ear during their altercation Jan. 30, and the blow left her unable to hear out of that ear when she provided the statement two days later, via Scott Gordon of NBCDFW.com.

Prior to this, the couple argued about another woman Manziel was reportedly seeing, according to Crowley’s affidavit, and the argument escalated to the point he led Crowley to her car forcibly from a hotel room at Hotel ZaZa in Dallas.

Manziel, the statement indicates, then “threw” Crowley into the passenger seat of her car as he planned to drive her home. Once in the car, Crowley then left the vehicle and hid behind bushes. But Manziel, the affidavit states, performed a U-turn and dragged Crowley by the hair back into the passenger seat. After Manziel hit Crowley on the ear, she struck Manziel several times in an attempt to leave the vehicle again only to see him “throw [her] off of him” and onto the floor of the passenger side.

The statement then indicates Manziel said, “Shut up or I’ll kill us both” as Crowley cried. Once back at Crowley’s Fort Worth apartment, Manziel smashed Crowley’s phone before she grabbed a knife. According to her statement, Manziel then fled Crowley’s apartment.

Crowley’s request for a two-year restraining order was granted.

Earlier updates:

SATURDAY, 8:19pm: The off-field struggles of Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel dominated the early-morning headlines — not only did Manziel’s agent part ways with him, but the Cleveland signal-caller reportedly refused to enter a rehabilitation clinic. There’s now a bit more news on the embattled Browns QB, so let’s take a look at the latest:

  • The Dallas Police Department has in fact opened a criminal investigation regarding the domestic violence clams against Manziel, the DPD announced.
  • While reports yesterday indicated that no charges would be filed against Manziel, Crowley has given a statement to the Dallas Police Department and has indeed requested that charges are filed, according to Lopez (Twitter link).
  • A judge has issued a protective order that requires Manziel to stay away from his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, for two years, and also mandates that him to pay $12K in legal fees, reports Rebecca Lopez of WFAA (Twitter link). Manziel was involved in an incident with Crowley last month — the disturbing details of which have recently come to light — and the judge found that there “was reason to believe that family violence occurred,” tweets Lopez.
  • Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has tried to reach Manziel on several occasions, and received no response, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds that Haslam seemed “frustrated [and] emotional.” Rapoport also passes along the full text of Haslam’s comments to the media via Twitter.
  • The Cowboys had no interest in acquiring Manziel even before his latest off-field troubles, as team sources tell Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Manziel “was never on [the Cowboys’] radar.” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has long been rumored to be intrigued by Manziel, but Hill reports that Dallas’ front office remains steadfast in its opposition to bringing in Manziel, who is expected to be cut by the Browns. For his part, Manziel reportedly has expressed a desire to play for the Cowboys.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report

Peyton Manning Notes: Monday

Peyton Manning has an understandable exit path he could well take soon after claiming a second Super Bowl championship. But he did not want to rush to a decision Sunday night in order to not deflect any attention from his teammates and the Broncos’ third title, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes.

The 39-year-old quarterback told media he’s following the advice of former coach Tony Dungy in not making an emotional decision, which, as Florio writes, would be to retire. The PFT writer notes Manning became emotional in an interview with CBS Sports’ Bill Cowher taped earlier in the week when the former Steelers coach broached the subject of being a good teammate.

Manning has one more season on his five-year, $96MM Broncos contract and would, as of now, occupy $21.5MM of Denver’s 2016 salary cap.

Here is more on Manning’s potential decision after he became the first signal-caller to start and win Super Bowls with two different franchises.

  • Manning’s mother, Olivia, concurs with the popular notion he should walk away after 18 seasons, via Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times. “I would like for him to retire,” Olivia Manning told Farmer. “I would. Physically, I just don’t think it’s worth going on. He won a Super Bowl — it’s the best way to go out.” This season marked the first time Manning missed games due to a non-season-ending ailment, with his partially torn plantar fascia costing him six games.
  • The Broncos’ needing to re-sign Brock Osweiler will represent a component of Manning’s decision to retire, Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com writes. Osweiler, who went 4-2 for the Broncos in games he played throughout, is an unrestricted free agent, and Tandler doesn’t see the 25-year-old signing for anything less than $12MM per season. That figure would put him on par with the contract Nick Foles signed with the Rams last year and would be the lowest salary for a Broncos starter since 2011. Von Miller, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan are also free agents who will see significant pay increases, either from the Broncos or other teams, so Denver will have to make tough choices. Tandler expects Manning to announce his retirement in “one or two” weeks.
  • Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune wonders what’s next for Manning after getting ring No. 2. Souhan writes that watching Manning win the Super Bowl while completing 13 passes was like “watching Jimi Hendrix play the tambourine.” After the game, Manning made sure mention Budweiser-brand beer twice, which Souhan takes to be a hint of his future plans. NFL players are not allowed to endorse alcoholic products so one can infer that Manning no longer considers himself to be an NFL player.
  • After winning the Super Bowl, Manning has no choice but to retire, Christine Brennan of USA Today opines. Manning didn’t play particularly well on Sunday night and he even acknowledged that it was his defense that willed the team to victory. “I was just glad I was on the same team as our defense and didn’t have to play against them,” he said. Manning, soon to be 40, went 13-for-23 for just 141 passing yards with an interception and no touchdown passes. Of course, there are also lurking HGH accusations stemming from a late December documentary, though Manning vehemently denies any involvement in using PEDs.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Marshawn Lynch Intends To Retire

MONDAY, 2:43pm: Lynch’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, confirmed the running back’s plans to retire to Tim Booth of the Associated Press.

SUNDAY, 8:52pm: You had to know that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch wouldn’t retire in a typical way. On Sunday night, the unique athlete posted an image of green cleats hung up over a wire, likely signifying that he is retiring this offseason. Lynch has also told people close to him that he intends to retire, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. NFL: Super Bowl XLVIII-Seattle Seahawks Parade

Lynch, of course, has contemplated retirement the past several seasons, but this year appears to be the year he finally hangs up the cleats. Seattle GM John Schneider indicated several weeks ago that Lynch was “leaning towards retirement,” and Lynch’s injury-plagued 2015 may have been enough for the enigmatic back to call it quits.

Due to a hamstring injury early in the season and abdominal surgery in late November, Lynch was limited to just seven games in 2015. So while the bevy of reports from recent years indicating that Lynch was mulling retirement will make fans skeptical that he really means it this time, there are some key differences between Lynch’s situation now and then. During his first four years in Seattle, all Pro Bowl seasons, Lynch never ran for less than 1,200 yards or 11 touchdowns. In 2015, he was limited to 417 yards and three TDs in his seven games, and was barely used in Seattle’s playoff loss to the eventual NFC champion Panthers, as the Seahawks quickly fell behind 31-0 and needed to revert to a primarily aerial attack.

Lynch may stand to lose a great deal of money if he retires. As Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com observes (Twitter links), if Lynch does not have a retirement forfeiture clause in his contract, the Seahawks could recover $5MM of the $7.5MM bonus they paid to Lynch last year as part of his new contract (of course, Seattle may not pursue that money, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported when that contract was signed that he did not believe the Seahawks would do so).

Financial considerations aside, Lynch has nothing left to prove on the field. The former California Golden Bear is a five-time Pro Bowler, he was named a First-Team All-Pro in 2012, and he has a Super Bowl ring (had he received one more carry in last year’s Super Bowl, he may well have two rings). If this is it for Lynch, he will end his career averaging 4.3 yards per carry with 83 total touchdowns. Seattle, meanwhile, has 2015 revelation Thomas Rawls ready to step into the starting role if Lynch retires, and the team would suddenly have considerably more cap flexibility, as Lynch is scheduled to count $11.5MM against the cap in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Release Justin Durant, William Moore

The Falcons announced that they have cut linebacker Justin Durant and William Moore. Today is the first day that teams are allowed to release players and the Falcons wasted little time in dropping two of their veterans.

We want to thank both of these guys for their commitment and work ethic,” head coach Dan Quinn said. “They battled through injuries to give everything they had for their teammates this season and I will always be appreciative of that.”

Durant, 31 in September, inked a three-year deal with a base value of $10.8MM less than one year ago. Durant got big bucks from Atlanta but he did not deliver the kind of production they were hoping for. In 13 games (12 starts), Durant tallied 81 tackles and three pass deflections. Durant has not played a 16 game season since 2013 and he was not able to snap that streak in 2015. Now, he’ll be spending 2016 elsewhere.

Moore, a former Pro Bowler, was a starting safety for Atlanta, racking up 51 tackles and two interceptions in 11 games last season. Unfortunately, injuries held him back and his season formally ended on December 15th when he was placed on IR. In total, Moore spent seven seasons in Atlanta, playing in 76 games with 72 starts and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2012. Moore amassed 481 tackles (319 solo) with 16 interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and 38 passes defensed during his time with the Falcons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Hire Joel Collier

The Falcons announced that they have hired Joel Collier as their new Director of Pro Personnel. Collier previously served as the assistant general manager for the Chiefs from 2009-13.

[RELATED: Falcons to retain general manager Thomas Dimitroff]

Collier brings more than 20 years of NFL experience to Atlanta and will rejoin a revamped front office. While GM Thomas Dimitroff remains in charge, the team has also hired a pair of ex-GMs in former Bears general manager Phil Emery and ex-Titans GM Ruston Webster as national scouts.

As detailed in the club’s press release, Collier helped the Chiefs complete one of the best turnarounds in NFL history as the club won the AFC West with a 10-6 record in 2010 after going 4-12 in 2009. One has to imagine that Collier’s history with Falcons Assistant General Manager Scott Pioli, formerly the top decision maker in KC, helped bring him to the Falcons. Collier and Pioli were largely responsible for drafting Pro Bowlers such as Eric Berry (3), Justin Houston (2), Dontari Poe, and Dexter McCluster for the Chiefs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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