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Ravens release Tony Jefferson; James Hurst suspended for PED use

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The Baltimore Ravens cut ties with veteran safety Tony Jefferson on Friday, releasing him after his 2019 season was cut short by a torn ACL.

The Ravens saved $7 million in cap space with the move.

Jefferson, 28, received $19 million guaranteed on a four-year deal with the Ravens in 2017, but he never lived up to being a prized free-agent acquisition. He failed to consistently make impact plays, totaling 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 11 passes defensed in 35 games.

Jefferson’s departure was sealed last season. After he tore the ACL in his left knee in Week 5, the Ravens defense played better when Chuck Clark, a 2017 sixth-round pick, replaced him.

Even though he disappointed on the field, Jefferson was one of the most respected players on the team because of his work ethic and high football IQ.

After going undrafted in 2013, Jefferson spent his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. In seven seasons, Jefferson has recorded 450 tackles, 4 interceptions and 22 passes defensed.

Also Friday, the NFL suspended Ravens offensive lineman James Hurst for the first four games of the 2020 season for violating its policy on performance-enhancing drugs .

Hurst is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be allowed to return to his team’s active roster on the Monday following the team’s fourth game.

Signed as a rookie free agent in 2014, Hurst played in all 16 regular-season games for the Ravens last season, with two starts at left tackle. He was part of an offensive line that paved the way for an NFL-record 3,296 yards rushing in 2019.

The 28-year-old Hurst signed a four-year contract in March 2018. He didn’t miss a game over his first four seasons before being inactive for six games in 2018 with a back injury.

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Reports — Bears, LB Barkevious Mingo agree to 1-year deal

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The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Barkevious Mingo on a one-year deal Sunday night, according to multiple reports.

Mingo, 29, a 2013 first-round pick out of LSU by the Browns, had just six tackles last year for Houston, his only season with the Texans. The Bears will be Mingo’s sixth NFL team.

The deal, which was first reported by NFL Network, is worth $1.187 million with $887,000 fully guaranteed, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Mingo has 156 solo tackles and 10 sacks in his career. His two best seasons were his first two in the NFL, 2013 and 2014 with the Browns, when he started 14 games and had seven sacks combined.

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Source — Cowboys DE Randy Gregory files for reinstatement

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FRISCO, Texas – Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory, suspended indefinitely in February 2019, has officially filed for reinstatement to the NFL, a source told ESPN.

Under the league’s substance-abuse policy, the NFL has to make a decision on Gregory’s status in the next 60 days.

Gregory was suspended all of last season for recurring issues involving the substance-abuse policy that date back to the 2015 scouting combine, before he was picked in the second round by the Cowboys. He has been suspended four different times for failed or missed tests.

Gregory has admitted to issues with anxiety and marijuana use in the past.

Under terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, players can no longer be suspended for a positive test for marijuana but because he was penalized under the old system he would still need to be welcomed back by commissioner Roger Goodell. A player can continue to be suspended for missing tests or not taking part in a care plan.

The source said Gregory is doing well, which is why the reinstatement process was started.

Gregory, 27, last played in 2018 when he recorded 6.5 sacks in 14 games. He missed 30 of 32 regular-season games in 2016 and ’17 because of suspensions. He has played in only 28 games in his career.

Last year, the Cowboys had their bid to sign Gregory to a contract extension denied by the league after it ruled players under suspension cannot be given new deals. Gregory remains under contract with the Cowboys since his contract has tolled, however, it is expected the team would sign him to a short-term extension.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has long backed Gregory and has favored changes in the substance-abuse program that deal more with care rather than banishment. Gregory was granted conditional reinstatement in the summer of 2018 before training camp, which allowed him to practice with the team, but he was suspended indefinitely a month after the season ended.

On the field, the Cowboys are in need of a pass rusher like Gregory, after last year’s sack leader, Robert Quinn, greed to a deal with the Chicago Bears at the start of free agency. DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Dorance Armstrong, Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks are the only defensive ends under contract. Jackson and Jelks, who spent the season on injured reserve, were rookies last season.

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Bruins’ Zdeno Chara lauds Tom Brady amid New England departure

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Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara, a 22-year veteran in the NHL with 14 seasons in Boston, commended Tom Brady on Sunday via Instagram, lauding Brady’s years of success with the Patriots and how much it meant to New England fans.

“It’s with sadness and joy I find myself reflecting on the news of my friend and sports legend @TomBrady moving on from the @Patriots,” Chara wrote on Instagram.

Chara, 43, shared a photo of him with Brady, 42, who won six Super Bowls in his 20-year tenure with the Patriots before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week.

“For New England and it’s fan base, Tom’s departure is a major loss to the role he plays in leading the incredible Patriots,” Chara wrote. “His 20 years have brought us all some of the most memorable moments in sports history. His departure leaves us with mixed feelings. We feel a loss but we also hope that he continues to have an outstanding career.”

Sources told ESPN that Brady’s deal with Tampa Bay is a two-year contract worth $50 million, all guaranteed, and also includes another $9 million in incentives.

“Thank you Tom for the best 20 years of New England sports memories,” Chara wrote. “Your leadership, athletic achievements and your contributions to Boston will forever be remembered by many generations. I wish you all the best. We will be watching and cheering you on!”

Chara has played in 68 of Boston’s 70 games this season, with five goals and 14 points. When the NHL season resumes, he and the Bruins will take the ice as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference with 100 points, the highest total in the league.



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