Montee Ball

Extra Points: NFLPA, Ball, Mason, Spence

Earlier this week, an arbitrator ruled that the NFL’s policy of placing players who are under investigation on paid leave using the commissioner’s exempt list is valid, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. The NFL Players Association had filed a grievance against the policy, which has affected players such as Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, but the league scored a win over the union after having seen a handful of Roger Goodell‘s decisions overturned in court within the last couple years.

In the wake of the arbitrator’s ruling, optimism has “dimmed considerably” about the prospects of the NFL and NFLPA reaching a compromise on Goodell’s role in player discipline, writes Maske. Multiple sources tell Maske that there are no negotiations happening between the two sides regarding that issue at this point, with one source suggesting it may not be addressed until the next CBA: “We are where we are…. [It] seems like [there’s] nothing to talk about until 2020.”

As we wait to see what battle is next on the docket for the NFL and NFLPA, let’s check in on a few more odds and ends from around the NFL…

  • A pair of running backs have been dealing with legal trouble this week, with free agent Montee Ball arrested for felony bail jumping and Rams back Tre Mason missing an arraignment related to his March arrest. WKOW’s Robyn Turner has the story on Ball, while Nick Wagoner of has the details on Mason.
  • Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence is visiting the Texans today and will visit the Saints tomorrow, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Meanwhile, another potential first-round defender with some off-field question marks, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, has visits on tap with the Saints and Bengals, says Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).
  • Joel Corry of and Mike Sando of (Insider link) had similar ideas, with each scribe writing articles proposing trades that could take place before or during this year’s draft. Both Corry and Sando suggested hypothetical deals involving Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
  • The NFL’s VP of football operations Merton Hanks has left the league office, multiple sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It’s not known if the NFL or Hanks made the final call on his departure, but one source tells PFT that the move was part of an effort by the league to upgrade in that area. Two other NFL employees, Joe Hurta and Russ Giglio, are out as well, says Florio.

Montee Ball Arrested; Cut By Patriots

TUESDAY, 4:21pm: The Patriots have formally released Ball, following his arrest, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Ball had been re-signed by New England on February 1, according to Mike Reiss of (Twitter link), so he didn’t last long on his new reserve/futures contract.

MONDAY, 5:56pm: Prosecutors charged Ball with misdemeanor disorderly conduct, according to Ed Treleven of, 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 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 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.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Taylor, Dolphins, Ball

The 2015 Jets are showing a lot of similarities to the 2011 Jets, and they’d better hope those similarities end soon, Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. Four years ago, the Jets crushed the a pitiful Chiefs team to go 8-5. On Sunday, this year’s Jets team crushed the hapless Titans to improve to 8-5. In 2011, the Jets imploded in their last three games to finish 8-8, and that’s a fate that Gang Green must try and avoid.

“8-5… That’s all it is: 8-5,” linebacker David Harris said over the weekend. “We still have three games to go. So come see me January 4th.”

Here’s more from around the AFC East, including one more Jets note:

  • In addition to helping make the Jets competitive this season, Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s solid year has had the added benefit of allowing the team to be patient with rookie Bryce Petty, says Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Within the piece, Mehta also makes the case for why Fitzpatrick should get a multiyear extension offer from the Jets.
  • While New York beat writers are calling for Fitzpatrick to be extended, Mike Rodak of says the Bills don’t need to rush a new deal for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. In Rodak’s view, Taylor is well on his way to proving he can be a long-term solution at QB in Buffalo, but the Bills should be 100% sure before they invest big money in him.
  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes it’s time for Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to either move to Miami or sell the franchise.
  • Although running back Montee Ball earned a spot on the Patriots‘ practice squad, he isn’t in top shape, tweets Ed Werder of According to Werder, Ball – who weighed about 205 pounds when he was drafted by the Broncos – was up to 240 when he worked out for the Packers earlier this season, and is now in the 230s.
  • Earlier today, we heard that the Patriots are bringing in free agent running back Steven Jackson for a look.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Practice Squad Updates: 12/15/15

Here are today’s practice squad signings and cuts from across the league:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: S Craig Bills (Twitter link via team)
  • Cut: CB Mike Lee

St. Louis Rams

  • Signed: LB Matthew Wells


Patriots Sign Montee Ball To Practice Squad

With LeGarrette Blount banged up, the Patriots have added some insurance at running back by signing former Bronco Montee Ball to their practice squad, tweets Adam Schefter of Depending on Blount’s status, Ball could be a candidate for promotion this week or later in the season.

A Heisman finalist while at Wisconsin in 2011, Ball was selected by Denver in the 2013 draft, and was expected to be inserted as the starting running back in the Broncos’ high-powered offense. Over the course of two seasons though, Ball was never able to secure the No. 1 role in Denver’s backfield, losing the job to Knowshon Moreno in ’13 and C.J. Anderson in ’14. All told, Ball saw less than 200 carries during his time with the Broncos, and totaled less than 800 yards on the ground.

Since being cut by the Broncos in September, Ball has been out of work, though he had multiple tryouts, including one for the Pats. Most recently, the 25-year-old auditioned for the Packers earlier this month, and according to Ed Werder of (Twitter link), Green Bay was unimpressed with his physical conditioning.

NFC Notes: Lacy, Forte, 49ers, Kilgore

After back-to-back 100-yard games, Eddie Lacy didn’t see much action on Thursday night against the Lions, which seemed like an unusual call on the Packers‘ part, even though Lacy didn’t do much with his handful of carries. However, it seems Green Bay’s decision wasn’t solely based on Lacy’s on-field performance.

According to Rob Demovksy of, Lacy and fellow running back Alonzo Harris missed curfew on Wednesday night in Detroit. The violation of team rules resulted in a demotion for Lacy and a lost roster spot for Harris, who was cut just hours before the game in favor of practice squad back John Crockett.

When I passed along word earlier this afternoon that the Packers brought in former Broncos running back Montee Ball for a workout today, I noted that the Green Bay backfield situation was worth monitoring. That’s even more true in the wake of Demovsky’s report.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds a few more names to the group of players who worked out for the Packers today, tweeting that wide receivers Jamel Johnson, Deon Long, and Kevin Vereen also got auditions.
  • Matt Forte has been with the Bears his whole career, but is prepared to move on this offseason if they don’t offer him a contract, writes Chris Wesseling of “There’s nothing I can do, really, except play football,” Forte said. “The decision on whether I stay or whether I go is not really up to me. It’s whether I get offered a contract extension, which I haven’t been offered one and doesn’t really look like it. If not, I go into free agency. So I’m pretty much satisfied with either way it goes.”
  • Addressing the reassignment of team president Paraag Marathe, which was reported earlier today, 49ers CEO Jed York has issued a statement via the club’s website. As expected, York presents the decision as one that Marathe was involved in making. “Despite how some have chosen to portray this transition in the media, I want you to know that Paraag has been and will continue to be an instrumental member of this organization,” York said in the statement.
  • 49ers center Daniel Kilgore is expected to make the trip to Chicago this weekend as a part of the active roster, but the 49ers still need to move him from the physically-unable-to-perform list. Head coach Jim Tomsula hinted that the move would occur on Saturday morning, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

North Notes: Packers, Ball, Bears, Lions

After having rounded up some Friday items out of the NFL’s West divisions earlier today, let’s turn our attention to the North divisions….

  • After not getting much production from their three running backs last night, the Packers had former Bronco Montee Ball in for a workout today, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link). Eddie Lacy has been disappointing this year, and James Starks only had 15 yards on nine carries on Thursday night, with the team giving rookie John Crockett – promoted earlier in the day from the practice squad – five carries as well. While there’s no deal at this time with Ball, Green Bay’s backfield situation could be worth keeping an eye on.
  • The Packers also tried out a wide receiver today, bringing in J.J. Worton for an audition, tweets Wilson. The former UCF wideout is about a year removed from a torn ACL. Quarterback Zac Dysert auditioned for Green Bay as well, per Adam Schefter of (Twitter link).
  • After publishing the first part of his conversation with George McCaskey earlier this week, Dan Pompei has part two available today, in which he talks to the Bears chairman about increasing the regular season to 18 games (McCaskey’s not in favor) and asks whether the team would be willing to give up a home game to play an international contest (McCaskey’s really not in favor).
  • In addition to working out a handful of kickers this week, in case Matt Prater was unable to play on Thursday night, the Lions also took a look at wide receiver Greg Salas, tweets Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. A fourth-round pick in 2011, Salas has spent time with several teams, recording a total of 43 regular-season receptions for the Rams and Jets.
  • The Browns worked out former Southern Utah punter Brock Miller, according to Wilson (Twitter link).

Bears Eyeing Montee Ball

The Bears got some good news on Monday when they learned that offensive stars Matt Forte and Eddie Royal do not have season-ending injuries, as Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune writes. However, Forte’s MCL will rule him out for at least two weeks, according to’s Chris Mortensen (Twitter link). So, with that in mind, the Bears are considering free agent Montee Ball, Mort says (via Twitter).

Ball, 24, has history with Bears coach John Fox from their time together in Denver. The tailback was cut loose by the Broncos in early September and has yet to find his next NFL job.

A Heisman finalist while at Wisconsin in 2011, Ball was selected by Denver in the 2013 draft, and was expected to be inserted as the starting running back in the Broncos’ high-powered offense. But, over the course of two seasons, Ball was never able to secure a role as the No. 1 back, losing the job to Knowshon Moreno in ’13 and C.J. Anderson in ’14. All told, Ball saw less than 200 carries during his time with the Broncos, and totaled less than 800 yards on the ground.

Earlier this year we learned that the Falcons and Patriots are among the clubs with interest in Ball. The Colts were also thought to be a possible fit for Ball, but they have since reunited with Ahmad Bradshaw.

Patriots Worked Out Montee Ball

The Patriots worked out former Broncos running back Montee Ball today, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). Ball was cut loose by the Broncos in early September and has yet to find his next NFL job.

A Heisman finalist while at Wisconsin in 2011, Ball was selected by Denver in the 2013 draft, and was expected to be inserted as the starting running back in the Broncos’ high-powered offense. But, over the course of two seasons, Ball was never able to secure a role as the No. 1 back, losing the job to Knowshon Moreno in ’13 and C.J. Anderson in ’14. All told, Ball saw less than 200 carries during his time with the Broncos, and totaled less than 800 yards on the ground.

Earlier this month we learned that the Falcons are among the clubs with interest in Ball. The 24-year-old could also be a fit for a team like the Colts, but there has been no reported interest on that front.


Holder On Colts’ Running Back Situation

The Colts have a potential need at running back after just one week. Their big free agent acquisition, Frank Gore, carried the ball only eight times for 31 yards in that game against the Bills. As a team, they only had 44 yards on 13 carries from their backs–Andrew Luck had 20 yards on four attempts.

Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star believes that despite chatter, the Colts have not made a decision about whether they will bring in a veteran back to pair with Gore and rookie Josh Robinson. He writes they will likely wait a week or two before strengthening the position group, in order to see what they currently have on the depth chart (via Twitter).

However, he also mentions that while he isn’t sure they will definitely sign a veteran back, the team is doing their due diligence in examining the free agent market for possible options (via Twitter).

While there are rumors that the team will bring in another player, Holder writes that the team wouldn’t have waited to make that move (via Twitter). If general manager Ryan Grigson was positive the team needed new blood in the backfield, the team would have signed a running back already.

One name that has been rumored to be considering joining the Colts is former Bronco Montee Ball. There have been reports Ball told people he would be signing with the Colts imminently. However, Holder says that is all third-hand information, and that he has not been able to confirm those reports (via Twitter).