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Broncos stop football to talk about race relations, Floyd

Tue Jun 2 9:37pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Instead of X's and O's, the Denver Broncos spent Tuesday talking about racial injustice, police brutality and healing a nation rocked by demonstrations over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis on top of the coronavirus outbreak and its economic devastation.

Team president Joe Ellis addressed the offense and defense in separate Zoom calls that replaced the team's regular video conference sessions, which are a substitute for in-person training during the pandemic.

Coach Vic Fangio and general manager John Elway also participated in the calls in which Ellis emphasized society's need to eradicate racism and told the players that the organization shares in the outrage over Floyd's death at the hands of police.

Ellis, who told players he wanted to hear from them before issuing a statement, also listened as more than a dozen players spoke up on the calls.

''My takeaway from it was that we have to figure out what we can do, not only as a team, but as an organization,'' safety Kareem Jackson said. ''How can we get out and how can we impact the Denver community? Maybe we can get out and put together a march as a team or something like that.''

After the Zoom calls, the Broncos tweeted, ''We will stand by our players. We will lift up their voices. We can do more. We will do more.''

The team also retweeted several players' personal posts, including Malik Reed's: ''I have been one of the ones to not be outspoken about the things we go through, but that doesn't help create change. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone due to the wickedness of this world.''

Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee on the handcuffed black man's neck for several minutes. He was fired along with three other officers and faces homicide charges.

Fangio started off a media call a few hours later by saying, ''I was shocked, sad and angry at what I saw a policeman do to a handcuffed George Floyd ... He should be punished to fullest extent of the law for the crimes he has been charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge.''

Fangio said he has the utmost respect for police but added that Chauvin ''failed the 99 percent of police that do a great job and we are all paying the price for that.''

Denver is among the dozens of cities where peaceful protests during daylight hours have been followed by looting and clashes with police come nightfall.

Fangio said society could learn a lot from an NFL locker room, where skin color is no barrier.

Fangio said the words of Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Broncos safety Justin Simmons especially resonated with him over a weekend of increasing unrest and said that sports brings people together ''and I look forward to the Broncos and the NFL leading that charge.''

Simmons, the team's 2019 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee, helped lead a peaceful protest in Florida on Sunday. He called for unity and non-violence.

Simmons implored a crowd to ''understand that we are fighting for equality, not superiority. All lives matter when black lives matter. We pledge our allegiance to the flag for freedom and justice for all and we do not have our justice. So let's understand that. We will get it, (but) not by force.''

Fangio also praised Simmons, saying, ''I think Justin is one of those guys that will help us find solutions and lead us out of this mess that we're in.''

Player Notes
Saquon Barkley Jul 14 8:10am ET

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could be the league's leading rusher this season, according to Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton. Barkley is predicted to run for nearly 1,500 yards and could benefit immensely from the arrival of former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. The 23-year-old struggled in 2019 after dealing with a high-ankle sprain that cost him three games. He still managed to exceed 1,000 yards on the ground but took a step back in scoring production. If Barkley can remain healthy in 2020 and the offensive line holds up, the former Nittany Lion could be in store for his best campaign to date. Though Christian McCaffrey is the consensus No. 1 overall back in fantasy rankings, the case could be made for Barkley to be selected ahead of him.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jul 13 10:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and the team have no scheduled talks ahead of Wednesday's deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign contract extensions. Things can change with a quick phone call, but there has not been urgency to get a deal done. It has been reported the Cowboys offered Prescott a five-year deal, but Prescott's side would prefer a four-year deal with options. Prescott is scheduled to make $31.4 million under the tag this season, but may look elsewhere if he is allowed to test the market next winter. Prescott would be just the third quarterback to play a season under the franchise tag and the previous two- Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins- signed with different teams after their seasons. Prescott's dynasty value would be less certain without a guarantee of playing in Dallas's high-octane offense.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Williams Jul 13 9:50pm ET

New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams is expected to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag. According to Ian Rapoport, the two sides are on the same page that Williams will play under the tag ahead of Wednesday's deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions. The hope is he excels in a new system and becomes a big part of New York's future after they traded for the former first-rounder in the middle of last season. Williams is an excellent run defender, but doesn't provide much IDP value as he has just 17.5 career sacks since entering the league in 2015.

From RotoBaller

Devonta Freeman Jul 13 9:23am ET

Free-agent RB Devonta Freeman (Falcons) was informed that his agent, Kristin Campbell, has terminated their relationship Sunday, July 12.

Fantasy Spin: Freeman still looks to be holding out for more money than his market value is dictating at the moment. He might have to wait for an injury to sign, but he'll be a potential RB3 in fantasy when he does.

From TheHuddle

Dak Prescott Jul 12 10:23pm ET

Updating previous reports, Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and the team are reportedly 'not close' to agreeing to a contract extension as of Sunday, July 12, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News via a source. The two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement or Prescott will be forced to play the 2020 season under the $31.4 million franchise tag he signed recently.

From TheHuddle

Richard Sherman Jul 12 10:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Richard Sherman has allowed a completion rate of 47 percent to receivers in his coverage since 2010 - the best mark in the NFL over that span per Pro Football Focus.

From TheHuddle

Ezekiel Elliott Jul 12 7:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was recently ranked as the 11th best at his position by an anonymous NFL offensive coach. The coach would go on to state that the 24-year-old "doesn't look as strong anymore. Feels like he's about 60 to 70 percent of what he was." Elliott was quick to dismiss these comments, but some fantasy managers may pay attention to these remarks, especially if they are drafting after the selections of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley. The fifth-year back did have one of the most productive years as a professional in 2019, finishing with 1,357 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns off of 301 attempts. He also added 54 catches for 420 yards and two additional scores. While those numbers don't indicate a downward trend, the former Buckeye will be without the guidance of former head coach Jason Garrett in 2020, who is now the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants.

From RotoBaller

Jamar Taylor Jul 12 4:03pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Jamar Taylor has a chance to make the final roster because he has experience at outside cornerback as well as slot cornerback and plays on special teams, in the opinion of NinersWire's Kyle Madson.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney Jul 12 1:43pm ET

Free-agent DEs Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks), Everson Griffen (Vikings) and DE Markus Golden (Giants) likely will not receive interest from the New York Jets because the team wants to move their unspent salary cap space to next season, in the opinion of the New York Post's Brian Costello.

From TheHuddle

Christian McCaffrey Jul 12 1:40pm ET

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey has plenty of hype entering the 2020 campaign and should continue to be the No. 1 fantasy selection in the majority of fantasy drafts heading into September. However, according to a poll conducted by ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, more than 50 percent of league executives view Saquon Barkley as the top back in the league. As claimed by one anonymous AFC executive, McCaffrey is "not as sturdy as Saquon. Not the same speed-and-power combo." While this declaration may not hinder fantasy managers from taking McCaffrey first overall in drafts, it could give many something to think about.

From RotoBaller

Sony Michel Jul 12 12:33pm ET

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel (foot) is no longer wearing a walking boot on his surgically repaired foot.

Fantasy Spin: Michel will be ready for training camp and should receive most of the carries this season but will have to share snaps with several other backs. He should be considered at least a No. 3 running back in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Terrelle Pryor Jul 12 12:23pm ET

Free-agent WR Terrelle Pryor (Jaguars) said he is looking to play in 2020 and has talked with five teams this offseason. He said he would like to play for the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers.

From TheHuddle

A.J. Green Jul 12 11:33am ET

It remains unknown if Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green will sign his franchise tag or agree to a long-term deal before the NFL deadline for contract extensions Wednesday, July 15, at 4 p.m. ET, according to multiple sources.

From TheHuddle

Dak Prescott Jul 12 11:03am ET

The Dallas Cowboys remain optimistic that QB Dak Prescott will accept their best contract extension offer before the NFL deadline Wednesday, July 15, at 4 p.m. ET. However, multiple league sources believe that no long-term deal will be completed by the deadline because he has already signed his franchise tag tender.

From TheHuddle

Chris Conley Jul 12 10:23am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Laviska Shenault Jr. will compete with veteran WR Chris Conley during training camp to be the team's No. 2 receiver behind WR DJ Chark.

Fantasy Spin: Shenault is fully recovered from core muscle surgery and is expected to play an integral role in the Jacksonville offense this season. He has a great deal of upside and is worthy of consideration as a WR5 option in this year's fantasy drafts.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney Jul 11 7:23pm ET

Free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) could show interest in the Philadelphia Eagles because he wants to join a winning team, according to 710 ESPN's John Clayton.

From TheHuddle

Rodney Gunter Jul 11 6:13pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Rodney Gunter and DE Dawuane Smoot could receive some snaps at defensive tackle this upcoming season.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Brown Jul 11 3:43pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) reached a settlement with the New England Patriots regarding the compensation grievance Brown filed against the team.

From TheHuddle

Hunter Henry Jul 11 3:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry isn't expecting a long-term contract extension before the deadline of Wednesday, July 15, so he expects to play the 2020 season under the $10.6 million franchise tag. The 25-year-old doesn't seem to be too worried about it, though, and he's focused on the 2020 season. He views this year as a prove-it deal because he hasn't played a full season in his four-year career due to injuries. Henry spent May and June working out with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and recently had throwing sessions with Tyrod Taylor. Henry had career highs with 55 catches and 652 receiving yards in 2019. Among tight ends, Henry has the best passer rating when targeted at 132.3 since 2016. He's surely a top-10 fantasy tight end, but injuries and a downgrade at QB limit his overall ceiling.

From RotoBaller

DeSean Jackson Jul 11 2:30pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Friday that they fined wide receiver DeSean Jackson "for conduct detrimental to the team," which included controversial posts on Instagram and sharing an image of a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler earlier this week. Jackson has since offered multiple apologies, but he "must also commit to supporting his words with actions" in order to remain with the team. The 33-year-old missed all but three games in 2019 because of an injury and is now desperately trying to repair his image before the season. If healthy, D-Jax should be the team's primary deep threat, but as usual, he'll be a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller