Fri Jul 12 5:53pm ET
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer
PLANO, Texas (AP) Veteran NFL referee Tony Corrente was quick to make the distinction about what changes now that pass interference can be challenged by coaches and reviewed by officials.
''First of all, the rule has not changed whatsoever. Pass interference is still the same rule that we have had in the past,'' Corrente said Friday. ''We haven't changed our perspective toward it, we haven't changed our interpretations of it whatsoever. It's just the addition of replay.''
The significant difference, however, is the subjective nature of plays that are typically judgment calls that can now be reviewed, beyond objective standards such as whether a player stepped out of bounds or where the ball should be marked.
''That's the new box we've opened,'' said Corrente, going into his 25th season as an NFL official and 22nd as a referee.
All 122 NFL officials are taking part this weekend in their annual clinic. The gathering comes about four months after NFL owners approved by a 31-1 margin to allow pass interference or non-calls to be challenged by coaches until the final two minutes, when officials in the booth can then stop the game for such reviews.
It is an one-season experiment that could very well stick after an egregious missed call in the NFC championship game in January that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.
The NFL competition committee in May decided against making any changes to the new rule approved by owners.
''We understand the play that elevated and got us to where we are today,'' said Alberto Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating.
But Riveron stressed that league officials have been discussing the possibility of such reviews for several years, long before the non-call in the closing minutes of regulation after Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis was hit by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in a game the Los Angeles Rams went on to win in overtime.
''The competition committee and ownership is constantly looking at ways to get better. We have discussed replay before as it pertains to other situations. Pass interference, holding, personal fouls,'' Riveron said. ''But we do understand a play of this magnitude elevated us to the point where we are today. But again, it's not new.''
Referee Ron Torbert said officials won't change their approach or what they do on the field. He said the change is just an addition to the list of situations that are subject to review by instant replay.
''We'll still do what we've always done, which is try to get every play right,'' Torbert said.
During the rule's one-year trial this season, coaches still can challenge until the two-minute warning of each half or overtime. A replay official would be responsible for any reviews after that, but would need ''clear and obvious visual evidence'' to review and overturn potential pass interference in an attempt to avoid too many stoppages.
The replay official will have only the angles on the television broadcast available to overturn an on-field decision. Pass interference still is defined as an act significantly hindering the opportunity to make a play on a ball, and all pass plays will be subject to review.
When there are such reviews, Torbert and Corrente said referees will be part of a collaborative effort with Riveron and replay officials in New York looking at the plays. The referees can relay why an official called pass interference - or why they didn't throw a flag.
''That collaboration occurs with any reviewable play,'' Torbert said. ''Not just pass interference.''
The New York Jets have waived running back De'Angelo Henderson. After adding Le'Veon Bell and Ty Montgomery in the offseason, Henderson was always a long shot to make the team's final roster, so cutting him now allows him time to latch on somewhere else. The problem is that while Henderson was a popular dynasty sleeper pick two years ago, he's now had just 11 total touches through two seasons with two different teams. Henderson doesn't look like a guy who'll be able to earn significant snaps on a team in 2019.
The Dallas Cowboys have released wide receiver Allen Hurns, who broke his fibula in a playoff game last season. It's unclear if Hurns was going to be ready to go for the Cowboys when training camp began, but he was expected to play this season. He'll have a chance to latch on somewhere else, but it would be a stretch to expect Hurns to be a fantasy relevant player in 2019. His departure from Dallas might help Tavon Austin see the field more, but Hurns wasn't a threat to compete for snaps with Dallas' top three wideouts.
Despite starting a game for the Washington Redskins in 2018, quarterback Mark Sanchez has retired from the NFL and will move into a broadcasting role with ESPN. While Sanchez was never an elite quarterback, he did lead the Jets on some long playoff runs early in his career. He's likely still rostered in some dynasty leagues, but it's now safe to drop Sanchez in all formats.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper is reportedly in no rush to sign a contract extension. All signs point to the receiver reporting to camp on time, but he will presumably wait until bigger name wide receivers like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Tyreek Hill sign their contracts. Those three are widely expected to not just set the market but to raise it significantly, which is of course not great news for the Cowboys. Still, it does not seem like Cooper plans to hold out in any form this season, which is a bit of good news in a confusing Cowboys offseason.
Free-agent DT Allen Bailey (Chiefs) agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons Monday, July 22, worth $10.5 million, according to a source. The deal includes $3.5 million in guaranteed money, and he is scheduled to make $6 million in 2019.
Free-agent FS Matt Elam (Ravens) recently worked out for the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.
Buffalo Bills RB Frank Gore (undisclosed) should be fine despite being placed on the Active/Non-Football Injury list, according to sources. The team is looking to limit the wear on his body.
Fantasy Spin: Gore is part of a crowded running back group for the Bills but has posted solid numbers over the last few seasons. He may be the No. 2 running back for the Bills this season and could have some value in deeper standard leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy (knee) is making solid progress in his recovery, and the team hopes he will be able to practice in about three weeks and possibly play in the third preseason game.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons FS J.J. Wilcox (knee) plans to receive a second opinion on the anterior cruciate ligament injury he suffered Monday, July 22, according to a source.
Free-agent TE Austin Traylor (AAF) signed with the Detroit Lions Monday, July 22. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Chicago Bears FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (knee) was officially placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Monday, July 22.
Atlanta Falcons LB Deion Jones (foot) did not participate in practice Monday, July 22.
Atlanta Falcons SS J.J. Wilcox (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Monday, July 22, and will miss the 2019 season, according to sources.
Denver Broncos TE Jake Butt (knee) did not participate in practice Monday, July 22. The team hopes he will be able to practice Wednesday, July 24, after three days of rest.
Free-agent WR Justin Hunter (Steelers) is not expected to sign with the New England Patriots at this point even though he worked out for the team Monday, July 22.
While Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) and defensive end J.J. Watt (knee) are starting training camp on the PUP list and will be unable to practice, their stays on those lists are expected to only last a few days. Both players are expected to return to practice soon, and while it would be a surprise if either player takes the field during the preseason, both will be fine for Week 1. Hopkins has a chance to finish as the overall WR1, while Watt is one of the most valuable IDP defensive ends in the NFL.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon recently suggested he wants to be traded if the Chargers don't offer him a contract extension, and on Monday word came that the Chargers do not currently have interest in discussing Gordon's contract situation. Yahoo's Charles Robinson reports that the Chargers are "dug in" on their current stance, which means Gordon will now have to decide if he follows through on threats to hold out. Gordon's a RB1 who should be picked in the second half of the first round if he's on the field, but this situation creates a ton of uncertainty. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are worth picking slightly sooner than their ADPs at this point because of the Gordon situation.
Free-agent LBs Josh Bynes (Cardinals) and Stephone Anthony (Dolphins) met with the Buffalo Bills Monday, July 22, according to a source.
The Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with running back Roc Thomas, who was set to miss the first three games of the season after being suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. The move isn't a huge surprise, though Minnesota is now fairly shallow at running back beyond Dalvin Cook and rookie Alexander Mattison. Thomas had just 10 touches as a rookie, so it wouldn't be a shock to see him not make it onto a roster this season, especially with that looming suspension.
The New York Jets have signed tight end Ryan Griffin, who spent the past six seasons with the Houston Texans. Griffin had 24 catches for 305 yards last season. While he'll ultimately be a backup to Chris Herndon IV, Griffin could be in line for an increase in usage over the first four games while Herndon serves a suspension. Griffin could have some DFS value over that span, but he'll still be fighting for snaps during those games as well, making him a risky fantasy play with upside that likely isn't high enough to make that a risk worth taking.