Joe McKnight

Former NFLer Joe McKnight Killed In Shooting

Former NFL running back Joe McKnight was killed Thursday afternoon in Terrytown, La., in an apparent road rage incident, reports Jonathan Bullington of NOLA.com. McKnight was 28.

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

A witness indicated that she saw a man yelling at another man, who proved to be McKnight, at an intersection. McKnight tried to apologize to the man, but he fired more than one shot at the former Jet and Chief. “I told you don’t you f— with me,” said the shooter, according to the witness.

McKnight is now the second former NFLer to die in a Louisiana shooting this year. Longtime Saint Will Smith was the victim of a road rage incident in April.

McKnight, whom the Jets chose in the fourth round of the 2010 draft after a standout career at USC, had some success in New York as a return man. He ran back two kickoffs for touchdowns during his three-year stint with the Jets and averaged an NFL-best 31.6 yards per return in 2011. McKnight was out of football in 2013, but he returned in 2014 as a member of the Chiefs. Unfortunately, though, a torn Achilles ended his season – and NFL career – after only two games. McKnight spent this season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League.

The PFR staff sends our condolences to McKnight’s family and friends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Geno, C. Jones, Pats, TEs

It has been exactly one year since former Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali radically changed the franchise’s course by breaking quarterback Geno Smith‘s jaw with a punch. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the prospective backup, took the Jets’ job and ran with it during Smith’s multiple-month absence, posting career-best numbers for a 10-win team. While Smith was the Jets’ de facto starter during Fitzpatrick’s months-long contract dispute with the team, he reverted to a reserve role after Fitzpatrick re-signed in July. Enemkpali, meanwhile, has been with AFC East rival Buffalo since it claimed him off waivers the day after his altercation with Smith. In hindsight, Smith is seemingly glad the incident occurred.

“When I look back on this when I’m 40, 50 years old, I’ll ask myself, ‘What time in my life made me a man?’ I think this was that time in my life,” the fourth-year man told Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. “It was so easy to say, ‘Hey, this is not my fault. I’m the victim here, and this guy should be going to jail.’ Instead, I manned up. I owned it. I took responsibility for whatever actions I had in that altercation, and I chose to let that fuel me to become a better man and a better player.”

In the Jets’ preseason opener Thursday, Smith completed 8 of 14 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars.

Here’s more from around the sport:

  • Shortly after New England traded Chandler Jones to Arizona in March, the pass-rushing force called Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to thank him. “I didn’t get a chance to speak to him (the day of the trade) — he was on a flight or something,” Jones informed Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “But I called him the next day and said, ‘Hey, you could’ve traded me to any other team, so thank you for not trading me to a crappy team.’” Belichick laughed, according to Jones, who went on to tell Pelissero that the Pats aren’t “known for really paying guys over there.” Nevertheless, the contract-year defender found the trade “a tad shocking.”
  • There are a bunch of teams making calls looking for depth tight ends, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter) hears. He expects that market to pick up over the next few weeks.
  • The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League released former NFL running back Joe McKnight on Wednesday, according to Gerry Moddejonge of the Edmonton Journal. McKnight, whom the Jets chose in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, had some success in New York as a return man, but the former USC Trojan’s two fumbled punt returns in Edmonton helped cost him his CFL job. McKnight was in his first year playing in Canada and last saw NFL action as a member of the Chiefs in 2014, with whom he tore his Achilles.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Minor NFL Transactions: 2/19/16

Here are Friday’s minor signings, cuts, and other transactions from around the NFL, plus a pair of notable moves from the CFL wire:

  • CFL pass rusher Tristan Okpalaugo has signed with the Cardinals, according to his agent Brett Kessler (Twitter link). Okpalaugo, who recorded 23 sacks during the past two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts, also received an offer from the Jets and visited Seahawks before choosing Arizona.
  • In addition to confirming their previously-reported deal with wide receiver A.J. Cruz, the Dolphins announced today (via Twitter) that they’ve signed cornerback Chimdi Chekwa to a contract. Chekwa, who appeared in 32 games for the Raiders from 2011 to 2014, was cut from the club’s injured reserve list last September, and didn’t see any regular-season action in 2015.
  • Offensive tackle Tavon Rooks, who suffered a heart attack last September in practice, was officially waived today by the Chiefs, tweets Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle adds (via Twitter) that Rooks received the non-football illness designation.
  • The CFL’s Edminton Eskimos announced today in a press release that they’ve signed former NFL players Jacoby Ford (WR) and Joe McKnight (RB). Ford, a former fourth-round pick, caught 57 balls and had four kickoff return TDs for the Raiders between 2010 and 2013, while McKnight compiled 746 yards from scrimmage in 41 total games with the Jets and Chiefs from 2010 to 2014.

Extra Points: Osweiler, Seahawks, Bills

As Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) explains, the Broncos have a pair of questions to answer in regard to Brock Osweiler. The first is whether the quarterback is capable of replacing Peyton Manning when the future Hall-of-Famer retires, and the second is whether the club will be able to retain Osweiler beyond the 2015 season.

According to Cole, John Elway and the Broncos decide they want to keep the young signal-caller around, they may try to work out a deal that’s heavy on incentives, meaning Osweiler would earn those bonuses if he eventually lands the starting job. However, it’s not clear yet if Denver would try to get something done with Osweiler in the next few weeks, or if the club is more inclined to wait until after the season to make its decision.

Let’s check out a few more Monday odds and ends from around the NFL….

  • With Tarvaris Jackson dealing with a sprained ankle, the Seahawks may add another quarterback to their roster, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Per Condotta, the club worked out a QB today, though that player has yet to be identified.
  • Having seen multiple players in their front seven go down injuries over the last few days, the Bills are bringing in several free agent defenders for workouts, according to Mike Rodak and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com. Per the ESPN report, defensive lineman Red Bryant and edge defenders Marcus Benard and Quentin Groves are auditioning for Buffalo.
  • Free agent running back Joe McKnight, who is recovering from a torn Achilles, has been fully cleared for all activities by foot/ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, tweets Caplan. McKnight worked out for the Texans recently, but didn’t sign with the team.
  • Peter King of TheMMQB.com covers a number of topics in his latest piece, listing Ahmad Bradshaw atop his list of the best available free agent running backs, and suggesting that new Bills DE IK Enemkpali will likely face at least a two-game suspension.
  • Colts head coach Chuck Pagano refuses to let his contract status be a distraction as he enters the final year of his deal, telling ESPN’s Mike Wells that he has “the best job in the entire world right now,” and his focus is on getting the most out of his team.
  • There were rumblings that the Falcons might consider re-signing linebacker Prince Shembo after his legal case was resolved, but D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the team decided to pass on bringing back the former fourth-round pick.

No Deal For Pierre Thomas, Texans

11:38am: Thomas had a “great visit and workout” with the Texans, but the two sides were unable to agree on terms, according to agent Lamont Smith (via Twitter). Assuming Thomas and the Texans don’t revisit negotiations, the team will be on the lookout for another running back.

10:32am: The Texans intend to sign free agent running back Pierre Thomas to a contract today following a workout with the team, reports Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter). According to Wilson, Houston also tried out running backs Ben Malena and Joe McKnight., while Rand Getlin of the NFL Network tweets that the club “put out at feeler” on former Olympian Jeff Demps as well.

The Texans entered the market for free agent running back help after word broke yesterday that starter Arian Foster will require groin surgery. There’s no official timetable for Foster’s return just yet, as he and the Texans consider his options, but there’s some speculation that his recovery may require a trip to the IR-DTR list. With Foster out, and with Thomas’ signing not yet official, Houston’s running back depth chart includes Alfred Blue at the top, with Jonathan GrimesChris Polk, and rookie Kenny Hilliard all behind him.

Thomas, 30, has spent his entire eight-year NFL career with the Saints, accumulating 3,745 rushing yards and another 2,608 yards through the air during his stint in New Orleans. A part-time contributor, Thomas has always been a strong receiver, catching a career-high 77 balls in 2013 and another 45 in 2014.

I wouldn’t expect Thomas shoulder a significant load for the Texans, even if Foster misses the start of the season, but he’d give the team a veteran option to take some of the pressure off of Blue and the club’s other young backs.

Texans Interested In Pierre Thomas, BJGE

9:00pm: The Texans have also internally discussed BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets. Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link) hears that Houston will look at Thomas, Ben Malena, and Joe McKnight with Thomas as the frontrunner for the job.

6:25pm: Pierre Thomas is on his way to Houston to take a physical and meet with the Texans, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Houston hopes to sign him if all is well, Rapoport adds.

The Texans, of course, are looking a little bit thin at running back after it was learned that Arian Foster will require groin surgery. There’s no timetable for Foster’s return just yet, but there’s talk that his recovery will require a trip to the IR-DTR list. At present, Houston’s running back depth chart includes Alfred Blue towards the top with Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes, and rookie Kenny Hilliard all behind him.

Despite playing in ten games in 2014, Thomas amassed only 45 carries all year with the Saints, the lowest for his career. Thomas did remain fairly involved in the passing game, however, grabbing 45 balls out of the backfield. He was pushed onto the backburner as former first-round pick Mark Ingram saw his workload and productivity increase. Ingram, who has also struggled with injuries, was given over 200 carries during his breakout year.

 

Minor Moves: Tuesday

In addition to making changes to their practice squads, teams around the NFL are also tweaking the backs of their 53-man rosters today. We’ll round up the day’s minor transactions involving active rosters right here:

  • To make room for Winn, the Lions have placed running back Montell Owens on injured reserve, tweets Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. Owens’ contract expires after this season.
  • After he tore ruptured Achilles last week, running back Joe McKnight has been placed on the Chiefs’ injured reserve list, according to Adam Teicher of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Offensive lineman Donald Stephenson‘s four-game suspension is up, so he takes McKnight’s roster spot, per Howard Balzer (Twitter link).
  • The Bears have waived linebacker Terrell Manning, reports Brian McIntyre (Twitter link). Chicago had promoted Manning from its practice squad just over a week ago.
  • Patriots Brandon Browner and Brian Tyms four-game bans are over, and both have received a roster exemption that lasts until October 6, says Balzer (on Twitter).
  • Cornerback Deion Belue was waived from the Jaguars’ injured reserve with a failure to disclose physical condition designation, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

Earlier updates:

  • The Lions are promoting running back George Winn from their practice squad to their 53-man roster, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link). As Garafolo notes, the move could suggest that the team expects Joique Bell to miss this weekend’s game, but Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press points out that Bell isn’t Detroit’s only ailing running back, tweeting that Montell Owens is expected to miss several weeks due to his latest hamstring injury.
  • Linebacker Victor Butler has been dropped by the Cardinals, says Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com (via Twitter). Butler had been added to the roster when John Abraham was sidelined, but didn’t play a snap for the team.
  • The Bears‘ practice squad/53-man roster shuffle continues this week, with the team promoting wideout Chris Williams to take the place of fellow receiver Rashad Ross (Twitter link). Two weeks ago, it was Ross being promoted and Williams being cut.
  • The Steelers have terminated the contract of punter Adam Podlesh, who had been on the team’s reserve/did not report list, tweets Adam Caplan of ESPN.com.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, McKnight, Pats, Browns

The offensive line was the primary area of focus for the Dolphins this offseason after last year’s bullying scandal, and the team addressed the position by signing Branden Albert in free agency and drafting Ja’Wuan James in the first round, among other moves. So far, the new-look unit has showed flashes of upside, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes, pointing out that Miami is averaging 5.2 yards per carry, second-best in the NFL. Of course, the team has also allowed the third-most sacks in the league (nine). In Albert’s view, his performance has been worthy of a C grade so far.

Here’s more from around the AFC:

  • After a big game on Sunday against the Dolphins, Chiefs running back Joe McKnight got some bad news today. According to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter), McKnight suffered a ruptured Achilles in practice yesterday while running a route. With that injury certain to end the 26-year-old’s season, we can probably expect to see him placed on IR soon, with someone else taking his place on the 53-man roster.
  • The Patriots worked out a handful of players this week, including defensive backs Justin Green, Keon Lyn, Kimario McFadden, and Trevin Wade, as well as tight end Konrad Reuland, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
  • Wilson also reports (via Twitter) that long snappers Charley Hughlett and Kevin McDermott auditioned for the Browns.
  • While no Browns wideout is expected to replicate Josh Gordon‘s numbers while 2013’s leading receiver serves his 10-game suspension, free agent signee Andrew Hawkins has fit in well so far in Cleveland, as Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal details. Hawkins leads the club in both receptions and receiving yards through three weeks.