Prince Shembo

NFL Suspends Sammie Lee Hill And Prince Shembo

The NFL has suspended two players that are currently unemployed, as defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill and linebacker Prince Shembo have both been handed bans. Hill will be suspended four games, according to Field Yates of (Twitter link), while Shembo is banned for two games, tweets Doug Kyed of Sammie Lee Hill (Vertical)

Hill, 29, was accused of sexual assault back in 2014, but it’s more likely (given the length) that this suspension is for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In his seventh NFL season, Hill played in 10 games for the Titans, starting five, and picked up six tackles. He missed a portion of the season thanks to an MCL injury, and he’s continued to sit on the open market since March, though he did take a meeting with the Seahawks earlier this year.

Shembo, meanwhile, was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog. According to Denica Williams, Shembo’s former girlfriend, she left Shembo and her Yorkie unattended at the linebacker’s home, and the dog was unresponsive when she returned. Per a necropsy, the cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the animal also had a fractured rib, a fractured liver, and several other injuries. However, the charges against Shembo were later dismissed.

It’s not the first time that Shembo has run into off-field trouble. The former Falcons linebacker was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a Saint Mary’s College freshman in 2010, though he was never charged in that case. Lizzy Seeberg, Shembo’s accuser, killed herself 10 days after the alleged incident.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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 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 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.

NFC Notes: Shembo, Washington, Packers

The Falcons cut linebacker Prince Shembo earlier in the offseason when he was facing felony charges in an animal cruelty case. Now that he has pleaded those charges down to a misdemeanor and resolved the case, Shembo may land on Atlanta’s radar again, says D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I’m sure that we will [discuss Shembo], but general manager Thomas [Dimitroff] and I have not gotten together on that, at this point,” Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said.

As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk observes, you can make an on-field case for the Falcons re-signing Shembo, a former fourth-round pick. However, considering the linebacker admitted to killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog and was also investigated but not charged at Notre Dame with sexual assault of a woman who later committed suicide, Shembo may not be worth the trouble. He’ll also likely be facing NFL discipline for running afoul of the league’s personal conduct policy.

Here are several more Friday notes from across the NFC:

  • Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen may both be out for the year for Washington, but the team isn’t eyeing free agent tight end Zach Miller, according to John Keim of (via Twitter).
  • While many of their rivals around the league get impatient and pursue high-priced free agents to fill holes, the Packers have continued to “draft, develop, and reinvest,” writes Field Yates of in his Insider-only look at how Green Bay built its current roster.
  • Several days after the Lions made DeAndre Levy the highest-paid 4-3 outside linebacker in the league, Lavonte David signed an even bigger deal with the Buccaneers to set the new standard at the position. Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap takes a closer look at how the two contracts stack up against to one another, throwing in Bobby Wagner‘s new extension with the Seahawks as a point of comparison.
  • With Jimmy Graham no longer in the mix in New Orleans, the Saints will need a player – or a combination of players – to step up and provide help for quarterback Drew Brees this year, writes Zolan V Kanno-Youngs of USA Today.

FA Notes: Jets, Cooley, Patterson, Shembo

The Jets did their due diligence in reaching out to a number of representatives for available quarterbacks on Tuesday, Josina Anderson of tweets. Still, as we learned late Tuesday night, the Jets don’t have workouts scheduled with Rex Grossman, Tyler Thigpen, or any other quarterback.

According to Adam Schefter of (via Twitter), the Jets are poised to stick with the three quarterbacks they currently have on their roster for now. The team may decide to add a veteran later in the preseason — I expect that decision will rely in part on how the current QBs look in the preseason, and how Smith’s recovery from his jaw injury progresses.

Let’s check in on several more notes related to free agents and the open market…

  • Last we heard, tight end Chris Cooley had generated some interest from the Cardinals, but his old team in Washington hadn’t discussed signing him. While Cooley may still sign with Arizona or another team, it sounds like he really wants to return to D.C. On ESPN 980 today, Cooley said it would “literally be the greatest thing in the world” to play for Washington again, writes Peter Hailey of
  • Former Dolphins and Jets cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who is currently without an NFL home, is facing a felony child abuse charge stemming from an August 1 incident at a South Florida shopping mall, says Rich Cimini of We haven’t heard many rumblings this offseason about Patterson landing with a new team, and his legal trouble will likely further decrease the likelihood of him signing a new NFL contract.
  • Another free agent who was facing felony charges – former Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo – has had those charges dismissed, his agent tells D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Shembo, who was accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog, pleaded to a misdemeanor and a $1,000 fine, per agent Adisa Bakari. “Now that this matter is settled, we are excited to see if he can resume his career in the NFL,” Bakari said of his client.
  • Despite head coach Mike Pettine‘s confirmation that the Browns have discussed Ray Rice, that doesn’t mean the team has interest in signing him, according to Mary Kay Cabot of, who outlines why the Browns aren’t seriously considering Rice, and shouldn’t.
  • After Arian Foster underwent groin surgery, the Texans auditioned several running backs and attempted to sign Pierre Thomas. However, since failing to lock Thomas, the team doesn’t appear to be in the market for a free agent back, writes Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.
  • Free agent wideout Gerrard Sheppard, who played his college ball at Towson, worked out for the Patriots today, per Wilson (via Twitter).

NFC Notes: Newton, Jordan, Cards, Bears

Following up on the details we passed along earlier today on Cam Newton‘s and Cameron Jordan‘s new extensions, we have another pair of notes. Joel Corry of clarifies (via Twitter) that while Newton’s $10MM option bonus isn’t technically guaranteed at the time of the signing, it’s practically guaranteed, since there’s essentially no chance the Panthers will cut the quarterback before picking it up. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of tweets that Jordan received a significant signing bonus, worth $16MM, from the Saints.

Here are a few more items from across the NFC:

  • The Cardinals signed defensive lineman Frostee Rucker to a one-year extension earlier this week, and Josh Weinfuss of identifies three more defensive players who could be next in line for new deals. Weinfuss’ list includes safety Rashad Johnson, defensive back Justin Bethel, and cornerback Jerraud Powers.
  • Asked about whether he expects Martellus Bennett to attend the Bears‘ June minicamp, head coach John Fox said he “can’t predict” the tight end’s intentions, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Bennett, who wants a new contract, has been absent from the team’s OTAs.
  • Having signed a $40MM deal to remain with the Packers this offseason, wideout Randall Cobb vows the new contract won’t change his approach or create added pressure, per Jason Wilde of
  • According to an incident report obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, former Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo admitted to kicking his girlfriend’s dog and considered fleeing the country after the animal’s death. The AJC’s Tyler Estep has the details.

Extra Points: Winston, Liuget, Harris

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is high on rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, as Jenna Laine of Sports Talk Florida writes. However, he says the real test of his abilities is yet to come. “He’s a first-overall pick. Of course you see the talent,” McCoy said of Winston. “You’ve got to give it some time, guys. Everything is real basic right now. Until we put on pads and I can actually chase him, then I’ll tell you how good he is.

  • There has been a lot of positive momentum in the Chargers‘ efforts to sign defensive end Corey Liuget to a contract extension, Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego tweets. The two sides are getting closer, according to a source that spoke with Gehlken.
  • Titans cornerback Brandon Harris suffered a torn ACL during today’s practice, according to a source that spoke with Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean (on Twitter). Harris, who signed a one-year deal with the Titans during the offseason, now faces a lengthy rehab process. The 25-year-old earned 112 defensive snaps for the Titans in 2014, recording 11 tackles and three passes defended. He was selected by the Texans in the second round of the 2011 draft and although he wasn’t expected to play a starring role this year, he was being counted upon for depth at the cornerback position.
  • Falcons coach Dan Quinn supported the team’s quick decision to release linebacker Prince Shembo, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes. Naturally, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who went through the Michael Vick federal dog fighting investigation of 2007, was involved in the decision to release Shembo.
  • The Ravens were glad to snag cornerback Tray Walker in the fourth round of this year’s draft, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun writes. The Ravens knew that the Texas Southern product was drawing widespread interest, so they were over the moon to get him at No. 136. “He’s a guy that we had targeted,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “We really hoped to get him in the draft. He’s a guy that we wanted to get in the mid-rounds. We were looking to try to draft him, and we were able to do it.
  • The Dolphins should be happy that they got Ryan Tannehill‘s deal done before Cam Newton‘s new pact with the Panthers, Joel Corry of tweets. The total money given to Tannehill may not have changed, but the contract security likely would have been different.
  • The Chargers and mayor Kevin Faulconer met to discuss the possibility of a new stadium on Tuesday, as Eric D. Williams of writes. “Today we and our negotiating team met with Chargers chairman Dean Spanos and his adviser Mark Fabiani for more than an hour,” Faulconer’s spokesperson Craig Gustafson said in a prepared statement. “It was a productive discussion on a variety of issues, and both parties agreed to meet again within the next several days.”

Minor Moves: Tuesday Night

This afternoon, Luke Adams rounded up the minor transactions of the day. Here’s a look at the latest moves to come to light this evening..

  • Nose tackle Brandon Deaderick, a former member of the Saints, was signed by the Texans, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (via Twitter). The Texans also signed defensive end Jasper Coleman and waived running back Mack Brown, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter).
  • The Browns were awarded defensive lineman Tory Slater off waivers from the Seahawks, according to a source that spoke with Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post (on Twitter). To make room, linebacker Rodman Noel has been waived, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer (on Twitter).
  • The Lions will re-sign UDFA running back Rasheed Williams, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Williams, who was released not long ago, will be back at OTAs on Wednesday with Detroit.
  • Washington announced that it has re-signed tackle Willie Smith. Smith, 28, originally entered the NFL as a college free agent July 28, 2011, and has since appeared in 29 career games with 11 starts with the Raiders, Chargers, and Washington. To make room, fellow tackle Tovar Allen was let go.
  • The Rams signed sixth-round wide receiver Bud Sasser, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • No surprise here, but Prince Shembo went unclaimed off waivers from the Falcons, as Wilson tweets. Wilson is facing animal cruelty chargers for allegedly killing a dog.
  • The Cowboys cut safety Keelan Johnson, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • Former Chiefs tight end Sean McGrath, who recently un-retired, has signed with the Colts, according to Adam Caplan of (on Twitter). To make room on the roster, former tight end Jean Sifrin was waived, according to Wilson (link).
  • Former Missouri defensive tackle Lucas Vincent was waived by the Titans today, according to Howard Balzer of USA Today Sports (on Twitter).

Falcons Waive Prince Shembo

The Falcons have parted ways with linebacker Prince Shembo, just hours after he was charged with a felony

“We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo. We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo.”

As Tony Thomas of WSB-TV reported earlier today (via Instagram), Shembo is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend’s dog. According to Denica Williams, Shembo’s former girlfriend, she left Shembo and her Yorkie unattended at the linebacker’s home, and the dog was unresponsive when she returned (link via Alexis Stevens of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Per a necropsy, the cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the animal also had a fractured rib, a fractured liver, and several other injuries.

It’s not the first time that Shembo has run into off-field trouble. The former Notre Dame linebacker was investigated for allegedly sexually assaulting a Saint Mary’s College freshman in 2010, though he was never charged in that case. Lizzy Seeberg, Shembo’s accuser, killed herself 10 days after the alleged incident.

On the field, Shembo had a solid rookie season for the Falcons, recording 50 tackles in 347 defensive snaps. However, it would be a surprise if another team took a flier on the 23-year-old anytime soon, as least until his legal case plays out.

Extra Points: Clowney, Glenn, Shembo

  • Texans No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney’s status for the beginning of training camp is still up the air, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, who is recovering from June sports hernia surgery, remains day-to-day with no timetable established for his return.
  • The Ravens placed backup nose tackle Terrence Cody on the physically unable to perform list for the beginning of training camp, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Cody, who is recovering from hip surgery, can be be activated whenever he’s healthy enough to resume practicing.
  • In minor transaction news, the Bills signed receiver Tori Gurley and cornerback Kamaal McIlwain to fill empty roster spots, according to insider Chris Brown.
  • Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn is on the Active/Non-Football Illness list, but GM Doug Whaley doesn’t think Glenn will be lost long-term, according to WGR 550’s Joe Buscaglia. Said Whaley: “We don’t think so at this time. It’s just gonna have to see on how he progresses. We hope not. We’re still waiting on some reports on him, but it looks like it’s gonna be one of those day-to-day things and we’ll see how it progresses.”
  • In the meantime, highly publicized rookie Seantrel Henderson will man left tackle in Glenn’s stead.
  • Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union takes an in-depth look at the Jaguars’ new-look offensive line, including quotes from offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch praising the athleticism of Luke Joeckel and the leadership of Zane Beadles. “He’s certainly as advertised and then some,” Fisch says of Beadles.
  • Falcons fourth-round outside linebacker Prince Shembo has a realistic chance of earning starts, writes Orlando Ledbetter in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ledbetter says the team will “force-feed” information to Shembo, whom head coach Mike Smith is “very excited” about. “He’s picked up the system very well,” said Smith. “He doesn’t have any experience, but we will get him a lot, I can assure you that in the preseason.”
  • James Harrison, Jermichael Finley and Santonio Holmes headline AP writer Dennis Waszak Jr.’s list of 13 notable, veteran free agents still looking for work with training camps getting underway.
  • The Patriots issued a press release saying Bill Belichick and Aaron Hernandez exchanged 34 total text messages, not 33 pages worth. According to Boston Globe correspondent Dan Adams, filings released Monday did not reveal the contents of the text messages or what Patriots employees shared with authorities, but did reveal that Belichick, Robert Kraft were interviewed by investigators, who also searched the locker of a player.
  • The NFL is moving swiftly to address the issue of underqualified underclassmen flooding the draft, reports’s Albert Breer. In an effort to deter potentially undraftable players from declaring, the league’s advisory committee will streamline (simplify) its evaluation grades to include first round, second round or neither. Additionally, colleges will be restricted to five evaluation requests unless an abundance of talent dictates the need for more (e.g. Alabama, LSU, Florida State, etc.). Writes Beer: “At the heart of the changes are staggering statistics stemming from the 2014 draft class — of the record 107 who declared, 45 went undrafted. A majority of those 45 remain unsigned by NFL teams as undrafted free agents.”

NFC North Notes: Packers, Bears, Vikings

The injury-related retirement of Packers running back Jonathan Franklin means there are third-down snaps to be had, writes ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde in a position preview. If/when Eddie Lacy is off the field, the leading candidates are DuJuan Harris — if he can show improvement in blitz pickup — and “old reliable” fullback John Kuhn.

Here’s a few more NFC North links:

  • The Packers’ run defense fell off significantly last season, and the team made a concerted effort to get younger and more athletic along the defensive line. In fact, 28-year-old B.J. Raji is now the “old man of the line.” In the spotlight, however, is 2013 first-rounder Datone Jones, whom Press-Gazette’s Pete Dougherty calls a “critical player for meaningful improvement.” Jones sustained a sprained ankle in the preseason opener and didn’t get healthy until the end of the season. The team expects Jones to step up his game this season, as he will have significantly more responsibility than his niche role as an inside, sub-package rusher last year.
  • The Bears, who were even worse than the Packers against the run last season, also expect to have a better defensive front in 2014. A healthy Jay Ratliff is one of the reasons why. The veteran defensive tackle is 33, but is 100 percent healthy now, according to ESPN’s Michael C. Wright, who shared a text message he received from a Bears employee: “It helps that we signed Rat. He’s a soldier if healthy!” If that’s the case, it will be a coup for the Bears, who scooped up Ratliff in November for a late-season look-see after he was released by the Cowboys. Encouraged by Ratliff’s health, the Bears retained him on a team-friendly, two-year deal, expecting him to provide disruption from the three-technique.
  • Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times identified the Bears’ 10 most important players, including defensive lineman Lamarr Houston, whom the Bears see as a “star in the making.”
  • Bears head coach Marc Trestman sat down with the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer for an extensive one-on-one interview in which Trestman touched on a variety of topics, including Jay Cutler, Jared Allen, locker-room culture and leadership, among other things.
  • Vikings fourth-year tight end Kyle Rudolph, who shed 15 pounds this offseason, believes he’s an improved route runner thanks to new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, writes ESPN’s Ben Goessling.