Donnie Henderson

Latest On 2018 Spring League

The 2018 Spring League is scheduled to get underway next week, with practices starting next Wednesday and games beginning on April 7. Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the most high-profile former NFL player involved in the endeavor, but other NFL notables are also participating, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Running backs Ben Tate and Lorenzo Taliaferro, receiver Stephen Hill, defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu, and defensive back Al Louis-Jean are among the ex-NFLers who will take part in the Spring League, per Florio. Meanwhile, former NFL defensive backs coach/Rex Ryan disciple Donnie Henderson will lead the league’s East team.

The Spring League is a developmental effort comprised of four teams which involves four games in April. The league began in 2017, and notable ex-NFLers such as Greg HardyKellen Winslow, and Ahmad Bradshaw were among the participants.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fred Jackson To Participate In July Showcase

Fred Jackson is still looking for an NFL job and he’s hoping that a mass audition next month will help make that happen. Today, the Spring League announced that it will host a special showcase game in California on July 15 featuring the former Bills running back (via PFT). Fred Jackson

In addition to Jackson’s debut, controversial defensive end Greg Hardy will also be making his return to the upstart league. Anthony “Boobie” Dixon, who was in Buffalo with Jackson in 2014 and 2015, will also be on hand at Napa Memorial Stadium in Napa, California. The game will be contested between the “Spring League California” and “Spring League East” teams. Terry Shea will coach the California team while Donnie Henderson will coach the East squad.

The Spring League Showcase will provide the NFL with additional opportunities to evaluate players just before the start of training camps,” Spring League CEO Brian Woods said in the press release.

Jackson spent the 2015 season with the Seahawks and had just 26 carries for 100 yards and 32 receptions for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, he was out of football. Still, at the age of 36, Jackson is out to prove that he can perform at a high level. Jackson’s last quality season as a runner was arguably back in 2013 when he ran for 890 yards off of 206 carries (4.3 yards per carry average) with nine scores. In 2014, he had a career-high 66 catches for 501 yards but didn’t fare as well carrying the ball.

Between 2011 and 2013, Hardy averaged 56 tackles and 10 sacks per season season. Even in a down year with Dallas in 2015, he ranked as the league’s 28th-best edge defender out of 110 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. However, NFL teams have stayed away from Hardy due to all of his baggage.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Hardy, Giants, Kizer

An Indoor Football League team held a fan vote to determine whether it would sign Greg Hardy and the results are in. Fans of Salt Lake Screaming Eagles have voted against signing the controversial defensive end, as ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell writes. The vote barely went against Hardy with 50.1% of fans voting against him, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer tweets.

If the vote went through, the 28-year-old would have been in uniform for Friday night’s game against the Colorado Crush. As far as we know, the upcoming Spring League will be Hardy’s next stop in football. If that doesn’t work out, he can always shift his attention back towards MMA.

Here’s more from the NFL, as well as news on the Spring League:

  • Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan attended Notre Dame’s pro day to get a look at quarterback DeShone Kizer, James Kratch of NJ.com writes. Drafting Kizer would be an opportunity for the Giants to reprise Green Bay’s Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers scenario, meaning that they would forge ahead with Eli Manning as the starter while taking their time to groom his successor. The Giants are slated to pick at No. 23 and again at No. 55 in the second round. Kizer could be available at No. 23 but odds are he won’t be there near the backend of the second round.
  • The coaching staffs for the upcoming Spring League will include Donnie Henderson, Terry Shea, Steve Fairchild, and Denny Creehan, as Mike Florio of PFT writes. Henderson previously served as the defensive coordinator of the Jets and Lions and most recently was with the Bills’ coaching staff. Shea, a former offensive coordinator for the Bears and quarterbacks coach for the Chiefs, Dolphins, and Rams, has not coached high-level football in nearly a decade.
  • If you’re not doing so already, click here to follow Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Coach Rumors: Hue, Giants, Saban, Campbell

Hue Jackson, who has received legit interest from the 49ers and Browns, will fly to New York this week and will meet with the Giants no later than Thursday morning, reports Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Giants, who will talk to Jackson once the owners meetings in Houston conclude, are “serious” about the Bengals offensive coordinator, tweets Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Here are a few more Tuesday morning coaching updates:

  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders if Nick Saban will be any more open to an NFL return after adding another NCAA championship win to his résumé on Monday night. For what it’s worth, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that the Buccaneers are considering almost every head coaching possibility, including Saban.
  • Former Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell is free to seek other job opportunities, and has received inquiries from the Vikings, Cowboys, and Chargers, league sources tell Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A Monday report indicated that Campbell is likely to move on from the Dolphins.
  • For now, the Eagles aren’t planning any more head coaching interviews, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who tweets that the club will regroup and assess its options after this week’s owners meetings. La Canfora and ESPN’s Bill Williamson (Twitter link) both identify Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson as a strong candidate for the job.
  • The Colts are interviewing former Bears defensive backs coach Jon Hoke today, after having spoken to Bills DBs coach Donnie Henderson on Monday, per Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While Henderson may not end up in Indianapolis, he won’t return to the Bills, a source tells Marvez.