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If you’re interested, email pfrumorsapplications@gmail.com by July 16 with your resume and take a couple of paragraphs to explain why you qualify and stand out.

Deven Thompkins Secures Meeting With NFL

Former Buccaneers wide receiver/return specialist Deven Thompkins met with two NFL Personal Conduct Policy investigators and an NFLPA attorney in New York last week, as ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported. Thompkins actively sought the meeting, which took place sooner than it otherwise would have, as part of his effort to clear his name and land another NFL opportunity this season.

Thompkins, 24, was waived from injured reserve with an injury settlement last month, which made him a free agent. Given his production as a return man in 2023, he ordinarily would have stood a good chance at hooking on with a new club. After all, the injury that ostensibly precipitated his release was a Grade 1 hamstring strain that should be fully healed by now.

The problem for Thompkins is that his estranged wife, Maria Castilhos, has accused him of physical abuse dating back to February 14, 2023. Thompkins filed for divorce on February 27, and in the wake of Castilhos’ accusations, he recently filed a lawsuit against her for defamation and tortious interference with his NFL contract. As part of that claim, Thompkins alleges that Castilhos threatened him “with fabricated allegations of domestic violence unless he met her financial demands for additional alimony” in the divorce proceeding.

As of the time of this writing, Thompkins has not been suspended, and given that his steadfast denials have now evolved into a separate suit, the league may wait until more information comes to light before taking any action. In the meantime, he is free to sign with any club, though the nature of Castilhos’ allegations will doubtlessly make teams reluctant to acquire him.

A former undrafted free agent, Thompkins spent the past two seasons operating as Tampa Bay’s kick and punt returner. He totaled 1,082 return yards during that span, adding 115 yards and one touchdown on offense. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles previously left the door open to a new contract for Thompkins, but it is unclear if the club would truly consider that.

Follow NBA Free Agency At Hoops Rumors

NBA teams can begin negotiating with outside free agents on Sunday evening at 5:00 p.m. CT, and our sister site Hoops Rumors (@HoopsRumors on Twitter) has all the latest news, rumors and transactions for each of the league’s 30 teams.

For the first time in 2024, NBA teams were permitted to negotiate with their own free agents one day after the NBA Finals ended (the Celtics won their 18th championship on June 17). That’s why several of 2024’s top free agents — including Pascal Siakam (Pacers), OG Anunoby (Knicks) and Immanuel Quickley (Raptors) — have already agreed to new contracts.

However, there are some huge names heading for unrestricted free agency, including LeBron James, James Harden, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, and Klay Thompson. James is widely expected to return to the Lakers; there hasn’t been much news about Harden, but the Clippers hope to re-sign him; George’s future is unclear after spending the past five years with the Clippers; there has been “growing buzz” that DeRozan won’t be back with the Bulls; and the Warriors are reportedly preparing for Thompson’s departure after he spent his first 13 years with Golden State, winning four championships.

We’ve already seen a flurry of trade activity this offseason, both leading up to, during, and after the NBA draft, which took place over two days (on Wednesday and Thursday) for the first time this week. Former Defensive Player of the Year runner-up Mikal Bridges (Knicks), former All-Star Dejounte Murray (Pelicans), rising forward Deni Avdija (Trail Blazers), and defensive ace Alex Caruso (Thunder) are among the players on the move.

For the latest updates on NBA free agency, check out Hoops Rumors today! There will be a whirlwind of activity over the next couple of weeks as teams reshape their rosters for next season, and we’ll be covering it all. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter – @HoopsRumors.

LB Shaquille Leonard Hoping To Continue Playing Career

Things change quickly in the NFL. At the end of the 2021 season, linebacker Shaquille Leonard was at the peak of his game, having earned Pro Bowl and/or First-Team All-Pro acclaim in each of his first four seasons in the league. Several years later, it sounds like a real possibility that the decorated defender will not play another snap.

Last night, Leonard attended a fundraiser in Carmel, Indiana for his Maniac Foundation. The event was sponsored by the Colts, for whom Leonard starred for four years before back issues upended his career. Indianapolis, which had signed Leonard to a five-year, $99.25MM extension in August 2021, waived him in November 2023, and he finished out last season with the Eagles after he cleared waivers.

Speaking at his foundation’s event, Leonard said he wants to continue his playing career and is working to make that a reality, but he is also content if that does not happen.

“I’m moreso just sitting back, getting the body healthy, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we’ll give it a try,” he said (via Kyle Smedley of the Indianapolis Star). “I just continue to be me by working hard. If it happens, it happens. If it don’t, it don’t. I think throughout my career I’ve had a great career, even if I do step away from it. … I’m enjoying life and just waiting on that opportunity.”

Although he ultimately played in 14 games (12 starts) in 2023 after seeing action in just three contests the year before, he was clearly not the same player that landed the record-setting extension. Before the Colts cut him, he had logged a 70% snap share, which was by far his lowest mark for a full campaign. He then appeared in just 47% of Philadelphia’s defensive snaps over the club’s final five games of the season, which led to questions about his ability to regain his prior form.

In addition, Pro Football Focus assigned him a middling overall grade of 62.8 for his 2023 performance, which positioned him as the 53rd-best ‘backer out of 82 qualifiers. That was a far cry from his halcyon days of 2018-21, when he consistently graded out as a top-10 LB in the eyes of PFF’s metrics. He recorded 88 total tackles without a forced fumble or pass defensed, and he yielded a career-worst 123.8 quarterback rating in coverage.

Given his pedigree and age — he will turn 29 in July — it would not be surprising to see a team take a flier on him as the summer progresses (though there has been no reported interest in his services this offseason). A longtime friend said Leonard told him that he currently feels as healthy as he did in his rookie season, and according to the same friend, the father of one-month-old Darius Shaquille Leonard, Jr. would like to see the word “Senior” on the back of his NFL jersey. It remains to be seen if he will get that chance.

NFL Issues New Rules For IR Activations

Here at Pro Football Rumors, our main focus is on transactions. We are sure to note any time a player is placed on injured reserve, and not only do we make sure to cover any activations from IR, but we also track the number activations each team uses in accordance with the IR activation rules. In 2024, those rules will be slightly different, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

The main spirit of the rules will remain the same. Throughout the regular season and postseason, each NFL squad will have the ability to designate a player on its IR for return. Over the course of the regular season, each team will be able to make such a designation eight times.

Once placed on IR, a player will be forced to miss four games before they are eligible to return to the active roster. Once designated to return from IR, that player will have a 21-day window during which they can practice with their team before ultimately being activated from IR. If, by the end of the 21-day practice window, that team makes the decision not to return the player to the active roster, that player will be forced to remain on IR for the remainder of the season. If a player returns from IR in the season and gets hurt again, they are able to be designated for return once more but only twice in a single season. Both designations count against the team’s restricted count for the season.

There are two main changes with the rule: one pertaining to the start of the season and one pertaining to the postseason. Before the new rule, any player placed on IR before the start of the regular season would not be eligible to return later in the season. In order to be eligible for return, a player injured before the season began would need to spend one day after final roster cuts on the 53-man roster before then being placed on IR. The new rule stipulates that, on the final day of roster cuts, teams can now designate two players on its preseason IR list for return. Those two players will count against the team’s allotted eight for the regular season, but teams will now have two extra spots on the 53-man roster to hold on to fringe players who otherwise would become free agents before potentially signing to the practice squad.

The postseason rule change sees each team granted two additional designations in the postseason. If a team has utilized all eight of their designations from the regular season, they will be granted two more in the postseason; if a team has utilized zero designations throughout the regular season, they will now have 10 usable designations in the postseason. This allows teams to be a bit more judicious in how they will utilize their remaining designations late in the season if they are on track to make the playoffs.

While the postseason rule change is grabbing more headlines, the preseason designation allowance is, perhaps, far more impactful. In the end, only 14 playoff teams will be able to utilize the postseason rule, allowing for 28 additional players to return in the final month of the season, assuming every team utilizes all of its remaining designations and the recovery of key athletes just happens to align with that timeline.

With the new preseason rule, teams will no longer have to reserve space on their initial 53-man rosters for players who cannot play but could return later in the season. Or, at least, they won’t have to reserve two spots on the initial 53-man roster for those players. If every team decides to utilize this new rule, that would mean 64 players would get roster spots who otherwise would not have made the final roster with the rules from 2023. And teams will now have two players apiece whom they will not have to give up to the waiver wire and free agency at the end of August.

Commanders, Lions, Packers, Ravens Interested In K Jake Bates

As expected, Jake Bates‘ UFL season has generated NFL interest. A number of teams are in on the recent spring/summer league specialist, whose previous NFL path did not include any game action.

The Michigan Panthers kicker has received interest from the Commanders, Lions, Packers and Ravens, according to KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson. All four teams have requested meetings with Bates, per Wilson, and ESPN.com’s John Keim notes the Commanders will be the first team to host the young specialist. That meeting is set for today.

Washington’s kicker need formed recently, after the team released offseason pickup Brandon McManus after a lawsuit alleging sexual assault emerged. The Commanders have already signed kicker Ramiz Ahmed, but the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala notes the team is looking to hold a competition between the recent signee and another option. The team also auditioned Andre Szmyt on Tuesday, per Jhabvala. Szmyt kicked for the UFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks this season.

With the UFL’s regular season ending, NFL teams are free to hold workouts. UFLers can be added next week, after the league’s weekend championship game. Considering the success the Cowboys have enjoyed with USFL players in recent years — including All-Pro kicker Brandon Aubrey, a summer 2023 addition — several of the new UFL’s top players will land opportunities to attend NFL training camps. Bates will almost definitely be one.

Bates, whom the Texans cut after barely a week during training camp last year, caught attention for making multiple 60-plus-yard field goals early this season. This included a 64-yarder. The long-range makes placed the Michigan kicker back on the NFL radar, and his second chance figures to feature a more thorough look. That said, Bates proved shakier down the stretch of the UFL season. He missed field goals five field goals over the Panthers’ final four games; that followed a two-miss performance in an April Michigan-Memphis matchup. Overall, Bates went 21-for-28 on field goals this season.

The Lions were connected to the in-state UFL team’s kicker early during the season, and the team used multiple kickers (Riley Patterson, Michael Badgley) in 2023. Detroit re-signed Badgley this offseason and added UDFA James Turner. But the team has been looking into adding another piece here, and Bates’ leg strength certainly caught attention.

Anders Carlson remains the frontrunner to kick for the Packers, but special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia mentioned a potential spring league addition (via The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman) before training camp. Green Bay’s roster already houses two other kickers — Greg Joseph, Jack Podlesny — so a Bates addition would certainly be interesting from a roster-allocation standpoint ahead of training camp. Carlson went 27-for-33 last year but missed four extra points and then missed a kick in the Packers’ narrow divisional-round loss to the 49ers.

It would obviously surprise if Bates ended up in Baltimore, given that the Ravens employ arguably the best to ever do it. Justin Tucker is going into his 13th NFL season. Bates, 24, stands to land somewhere soon. His Houston work last summer does not make it a lock he will be one of the 32 kickers in Week 1, but the UFL work will give him a shot.

Former Giants, Raiders G Kevin Boothe Interviewing For Front Office Jobs

Former NFL guard Kevin Boothe had an impressive career in the NFL. Coming out of the Ivy League to the NFL as a sixth-round pick in 2006, Boothe spent nine years in the NFL as an interior lineman for the Raiders and Giants. Following his final year as a player, Boothe went to work in the NFL league office in New York. Now, after establishing himself as one of the league’s hot, young executives, Boothe is starting to get some interest for front office jobs around the league.

In Boothe’s nine-year playing career, he started 62 of his 114 game appearances. A Cornell graduate already, Boothe decided to keep pushing forward in his education while still playing in the NFL. When presented with the opportunity to earn an MBA over the course of two seasons at George Washington University, Boothe took it, keeping his post-playing career in mind. Shortly after ending his playing career following the 2014 season, Boothe began a business development internship at the NFL league office.

It didn’t take long for Boothe to move up the ladder. By 2017, he was named manager, football operations strategy and business development. Two years later, he became director, football development. Currently, he serves the league as director, management council. He also participated in the league’s front office accelerator program in 2022.

Now that he’s displayed his ability to succeed in an executive setting, it appears that Boothe is setting his sights on working with a team again. According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, Boothe was interviewed by three different teams this offseason for high-ranking front office jobs. At 40 years old, he still has plenty of time to find a path towards a role as a top front office executive with an NFL team.

Boothe earned an Ivy League degree while playing football at Cornell then continued his education by earning an MBA during his NFL career. He has nine years of NFL playing experience and almost eight more working as an executive for the league. He even has firsthand knowledge of what a Super Bowl-winning team looks like after earning two rings with the Giants. While Boothe may not have gotten hired in a new job this offseason, don’t be surprised if his name appears in the running for a high-ranking front office gig next year.

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Corley, Commanders, Bears, Alt, Giants, Eagles, Seahawks, Steelers, Vikings, Lions

No Brandon Aiyuk trade request has emerged yet, separating this situation from the Deebo Samuel saga from 2022. Samuel receiving an extension later that year complicates matters for Aiyuk, who has needed to wait longer to enter extension territory due to being a former first-round pick. As this remains a storyline to monitor ahead of the draft, the 49ers scheduled a notable visit. Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley stopped through team headquarters, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, just before the deadline for “30” visits this week.

Playing a role in the Hilltoppers’ Bailey Zappe-led aerial fireworks in 2021, Corley enjoyed a more prominent position in the mid-major team’s passing attack over the past two years — each 11-touchdown campaigns. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein threw out Samuel as a comp for Corley, who is projected to be a second-round pick. Though, he will be unlikely to be available by the time San Francisco’s No. 63 slot arrives. With big-ticket expenses at three other skill-position spots (and Brock Purdy eligible for a re-up in 2025), the 49ers have a major decision to make with Aiyuk soon.

Here is the latest from the draft ranks:

  • The Giantsquarterback-or-wide receiver decision at No. 6 figures to be one of this draft’s most important, but the team did bring in some first-round prospects who do not play those positions. Tackle Joe Alt and edge rusher Dallas Turner visited the team recently, per the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz. Highly unlikely to draft Turner due to the Brian Burns trade and Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s status, the Giants could conceivably consider Alt. The All-American Notre Dame left tackle would need to be moved to the right side, however, and Schwartz reaffirms a recent report that indicates the team has not given up on keeping 2022 No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal at tackle.
  • Now that Cooper DeJean went through a workout following a broken fibula suffered in November, a few teams brought him in for visits. The Iowa cornerback met with the Bills previously, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes the Seahawks, Steelers and Eagles hosted the talented cover man on “30” visits before Wednesday’s deadline. Our Ely Allen recently examined the first-round-caliber CB’s prospect stock.
  • Staying at corner, both the Vikings and Lions brought in the well-traveled Terrion Arnold for pre-draft visits, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The Alabama corner, who slots as the top player at the position (No. 9 overall) on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, also met with the Cardinals, Titans, Falcons and Jaguars during the draft run-up. The Lions, whose CB situation changed after the Cameron Sutton arrest/release, also brought in Arnold teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry recently.
  • Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson, he of a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, made two more visits before visit season ended. The Bears and Commanders brought in the intriguing DE prospect, Rapoport adds. In need of D-end help after trading Montez Sweat to the Bears, the Commanders hold the No. 40 pick as a result of that trade. Washington carries Nos. 36 and 40, while Chicago does not have a second-round pick this year. Linked to a potential WR-or-Brock Bowers call at No. 9, the Bears may not be in the value range for Robinson, whom Jeremiah slots as this draft’s No. 21 overall talent.
  • The Seahawks met with Bo Nix and have a clear connection to Michael Penix Jr., with new OC Ryan Grubb having coached the latter at Washington. With Geno Smith on a flexible contract that runs through 2025, Seattle brought in South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler for a pre-deadline visit, per Schultz. Slotted as the No. 7 QB on Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board, Rattler met with the Giants this week as well. The former Oklahoma recruit earned Senior Bowl MVP honors in January.

Draft Notes: Newton, Lions, Latu, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Eagles, Broncos, Cardinals, Commanders, Giants, Panthers

Wednesday marks the final day for “30” visits during this year’s cycle. Illinois defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton is on the way back from a January surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his foot. Newton went through a belated pro day in Champaign on Tuesday, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, who noted more than eight teams were in attendance. The Lions are not one of the teams Schultz named, but the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett notes Newton did go through a visit with the defending NFC North champs. A first-team All-American and reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Newton played through his foot injury last season — a 7.5-sack slate. The acclaimed DT, who ranks as the No. 32 overall prospect on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, also recorded 14.5 tackles for loss in 2022.

Here is the latest from the draft scene:

  • Speaking of the Lions, they are also believed to be high on NC State linebacker Payton Wilson, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman notes (subscription required). Last season’s Bednarik award winner (given to Division I-FBS’ top defender), Wilson ranks 41st on Jeremiah’s big board. In need at linebacker, the Cowboys are also believed to be intrigued by Wilson, though Feldman adds some teams are too concerned about his medical history to consider drafting him. Season-ending knee and shoulder injuries halted Wilson in 2018 and 2021, respectively, but the six-year Wolfpack cog has been healthy over the past two years.
  • The Bills have brought in two likely first-round defenders, hosting edge rusher Laiatu Latu and cornerback Cooper DeJean (via Schultz and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Holding the No. 28 overall pick, Buffalo saw a concerning season from Von Miller (zero sacks after a second ACL rehab journey) and did not re-sign Leonard Floyd. The Bills also released Tre’Davious White and have not replaced him. While wide receiver is the buzz position in Buffalo given the exits of longtime performers, the Bills also have some needs to address on defense.
  • A fourth team booked a visit with Alabama tackle JC Latham. The first-round-level tackle will meet with the Jets tonight and Wednesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. One of seven tackles Jeremiah places among his top 25 overall prospects, Latham has already met with the Cardinals, Titans and Bears. The Jets have been linked to an O-line investment, and the prospect of moving down from No. 10 has also come up for Gang Green.
  • Both the Alabama cornerbacks expected to go off the board early in this draft booked more visits before the Wednesday deadline. Terrion Arnold met with the Titans on Monday, Rapoport adds, while Kool-Aid McKinstry visited the Eagles (via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane). With Darius Slay and James Bradberry set to begin the season north of 31st birthdays, the Eagles have been tied to corners. The Titans acquired L’Jarius Sneed via trade and signed Chidobe Awuzie; this would seemingly take Tennessee out of the early-round CB mix. Though, the team did lose Sean Murphy-Bunting and has seen ex-first-rounder Caleb Farley prove undependable.
  • Although the Texans have taken multiple fliers on former top-10 corners (Jeff Okudah, C.J. Henderson), they may be interested in bolstering their cornerback corps with a higher-upside player. Houston hosted Missouri’s Ennis Rakestraw on Monday, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. A Texas native, Rakestraw (Jeremiah’s No. 28 overall prospect) allowed just one touchdown on 28 targets last season, per Wilson. The 5-foot-11 defender broke up 11 passes with the Tigers in 2023.
  • This draft features a number of tackles set to go off the board in Round 1, but the second round could produce some investments at the position. The Giants, Jets and Commanders scheduled late visits with Arizona’s Jordan Morgan, ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan tweets. Jeremiah’s No. 49 overall player, Morgan also visited the Bills, Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers, Wilson adds, noting also the three-year Wildcats starter worked out for the Texans during the pre-draft process. Morgan earned first-team All-Pac-12 recognition last season.

Andrew Luck Did Not Consider Resuming Playing Career

Andrew Luck returned to Indianapolis on Friday, nearly five years after he shocked the football world by announcing his retirement at the age of 29. As Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star writes, Luck was in town for the 12th annual Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala, a fundraising event for cancer research held by former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano (Luck’s first HC as a pro).

Since Luck left the league, his name has naturally popped up now and again on PFR pages. Even after the first two seasons of the post-Luck era were in the books, Colts owner Jim Irsay was still holding out hope that the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft would return, and the Commanders briefly discussed a Luck pursuit in the 2022 offseason (a discussion which led to a brief tampering controversy, as Indianapolis still controls Luck’s rights).

All of those reports have suggested that Luck did not waver in his retirement decision. Then-HC Frank Reich said in 2020 that he did not expect Luck to return to the field, and longtime Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton said in 2021 that his former teammate was having “the time of his life” in retirement.

And, during this past Friday’s fundraiser, we heard straight from the (former) horse’s mouth that Luck never felt the urge to unretire and resume his playing career.

“When I retired, that part of it was put to bed in my mind in a very simple, sort of direct way,” Luck said. “There were a lot of complications around it, you know, certainly tormented inside, as you guys saw that night, but I think that part of it has stayed.”

The “torment” he references — which was evident in his press conference announcing his retirement — stemmed from the fact that he still loved the sport, the competition, and his teammates. However, as Erickson succinctly puts it, Luck’s career had become “a cycle of pain, injury and rehab that he did not want to pursue anymore.”

That said, Luck does feel that he owes a debt to football. “I have certainly realized I still love this game, and I want to have it integrated in my life,” Luck said. “It’s just, it’s got to be different. Football gave me a lot. A lot. Most importantly, again, the relationships and the experiences with people that I loved. … I think part of me feels, and I don’t mean this in a cheesy way, but part of me feels like, you know, it’s my turn to give back to this game.”

The Stanford product returned to school to obtain a master’s degree in education, which he hopes to use in youth sports in some fashion. To that end, he serves as a part-time coach for Palo Alto High, though it is unclear if he ultimately wants to pursue coaching on a full-time basis.

At a time when 46-year-old Tom Brady is contemplating the possibility of a second “un-retirement,” and when other players like Kirk Cousins, Russell Wilson, and Matthew Stafford — who are all older than the 34-year-old Luck — are still starting-caliber options, a four-time Pro Bowler who walked away in the prime of a potential Hall of Fame career explains that he never considered coming back. If nothing else, that underscores the magnitude of the emotional and physical beating that Luck endured during his final several years as an active player.

Although his retirement decision was clearly a difficult one, the peace that Luck was quickly able to make with it suggests that it was also the right one.