Tom Burgess

NFC Notes: Saunders, Donnell, Ingram, Packers

Wide receiver and return man Jalen Saunders, who is on the Bears‘ practice squad IR list, just finished serving a four-game suspension, but before he could even become eligible to return to Chicago’s active practice squad, he was hit with another penalty. According to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter), Saunders has now been suspended 10 games by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

The 10-game ban will mean that Saunders will miss the final four games of the 2015 season, as well as the first six games of next year. By that point, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll still be in the Bears’ plans at all, and it may be hard for the Oklahoma product, a Jets fourth-round pick in 2014, to find another team willing to take a shot on him.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Giants tight end Larry Donnell won’t play again this season, having been placed on injured reserve by the team. But at this point, there’s optimism that Donnell’s neck injury won’t be a long-term issue that impacts his career in future years, head coach Tom Coughlin said today (Twitter link via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post).
  • Having been placed on injured reserve on Wednesday, Saints running back Mark Ingram will undergo surgery to repair his torn left rotator cuff, writes Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Ingram is the second Saints running back to land on IR this season, joining Khiry Robinson on the list.
  • Packers offensive lineman Matt Rotheram is the latest practice squad player to get a raise, according to Field Yates of Yates tweets that Rotheram is now earning $25,588 per week, equivalent to what he’d earn as a minimum-salary player on the active roster. Green Bay likely bumped up the lineman’s salary after he received some interest from rival teams.
  • British rugby player Tom Burgess will continue his NFL tour today with a workout for the Seahawks, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link). Burgess has already auditioned for the Steelers, Giants, Jets, and Bills, and could be in line for a reserve/futures contract at season’s end.

Workout Notes: Steelers, Bucs, Colts, Browns

British rugby player Tom Burgess has continued his wave of tryouts for NFL clubs, per Adam Schefter of ESPN (Twitter link), who reports that Burgess worked out for the Steelers today. Burgess, who’s also auditioned for the Giants, Jets, and Bills, could be line for a futures contract at the end of the season, following in the footsteps of fellow international star Jarryd Hayne.

Here’s at look at the rest of today’s workouts as clubs seek to get a feel for available free agents and update their emergency lists:

  • The Buccaneers worked out several players today, including linebacker Willie Jefferson, cornerback Garry Peters, defensive end Nordly Capi, and cornerback De’Vante Bausby, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Peters, a Clemson alum, was a favorite UDFA of several draftniks this spring.
  • Running back Daniel Thomas is searching for new opportunity after being released by the Bears earlier in the year, and he earned a tryout with the Colts today, per Wilson (on Twitter). Thomas, whose most notable time came with the Dolphins, could be an option for Indianapolis, who is looking to replace the injured Ahmad Bradshaw.
  • The Browns brought in three players for an audition, says Wilson (via Twitter), who reports that receivers R.J. Harris and Marcus Lucas, plus safety Phillip Thomas, worked out for Cleveland. A fourth player involved in the tryout — defensive back Tim Scott — was signed to the club’s practice squad yesterday.
  • A large group of receivers worked out for the Seahawks, including Rashaad Carter, Desmond Lawrence, Jordan Leslie, Colin Lockett, and Larry Pinkard, in addition to quarterback Dustin Vaughan, per Wilson (Twitter link).
  • The Bears visited with receiver Kyle Prater, who was a Saints UDFA out of Northwestern earlier this year, according to Wilson (Twitter link). Prater, 23, was named the No. 1 receiver of the 2010 recruiting class.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, McDaniels, Burgess

Within his latest column, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explores several of the personnel decisions facing the Dolphins in the coming weeks and months. Jackson suggests that the team would like to add at least one defensive end, though that doesn’t rule out the possibility of Olivier Vernon and/or Derrick Shelby returning. Quinton Coples is also in the club’s plans for 2016, albeit at a reduced salary, says Jackson.

While defensive end is one key situation worth monitoring in Miami, the Dolphins will also face decisions on cornerback Brent Grimes, linebackers Koa Misi and Earl Mitchell, running back Lamar Miller, and pass-catchers Rishard Matthews and Jordan Cameron, as Jackson details.

Here’s more from out of the AFC East:

  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald also looks ahead to the Dolphins‘ offseason, writing that the team’s greatest areas of need are at defensive end, middle linebacker, and cornerback. As Salguero observes, with the club set to hire a new head coach and coaching staff, many of the decisions Miami makes in the next few weeks will determine the direction of the franchise for the next several years.
  • Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is generating “a lot of buzz” as a potential head coaching candidate, writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Having already had one head coaching job that went south, McDaniels will have to be selective this time if he has the opportunity to interview for offseason vacancies. Volin suggests that the Lions may be a fit for McDaniels, if Detroit looks to replace Jim Caldwell.
  • British rugby star Tom Burgess, who worked out for the Giants last week, also auditioned for both the Jets and Bills, per Adam Schefter of (Twitter link). If Burgess is serious about giving the NFL a shot, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land a reserve/futures contract at season’s end with one of the teams trying him out this month.

Giants Worked Out Barry Cofield

The Giants brought in defensive tackle Barry Cofield for a workout this week, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter). A nine-year veteran, Cofield has been on the free agent market since being released by Washington back in February.

Cofield, who started his career with the Giants, suffered his first major injury in 2014, as he missed about half the season after an ankle injury forced him onto the injured reserve list with the designation to return. While the defensive lineman returned to action for Washington in November, he only started three of eight games for the season, marking the first time since 2007 that he appeared in a game he didn’t start.

Based on various reports over the last several months, it’s hard to know exactly how healthy Cofield is now. In July, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he was healthy and waiting for a call, but a report a week later suggested he’d be ready to go in another four to six weeks. A September report indicated the 31-year-old would likely sign with a contending team in October, when he fully recovered from offseason hip surgery. Cofield has since worked out for the Colts, and now the Giants, so presumably he’s ready to return at this point.

In addition to trying out Cofield, the Giants also auditioned English rugby star Tom Burgess today as a tight end, tweets Adam Schefter of While we’ve seen Jarryd Hayne open the door for rugby players to earn spots on NFL rosters, Burgess will almost certainly have to wait for an offseason deal, if New York – or another team – wants to add him.