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Michael Brockers rejoins Rams after deal with Ravens falls through



OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Michael Brockers‘ deal with the Baltimore Ravens fell through over an issue with his ankle, and the free-agent defensive lineman will be rejoining the Los Angeles Rams with a similar deal on Friday.

Brockers, 29, reached agreement on a three-year, $30 million deal with Baltimore on March 16, the first day of the NFL’s negotiating period. But an independent doctor expressed concern over his left ankle, which he injured in the 2019 season finale.

A new agreement couldn’t be reached with the Ravens. Brockers now has agreed to a three-year deal worth up to a maximum $31.5 million with the Rams, the NFL Network reported.

Without Brockers, the Ravens are thin on the defensive line. Brockers was added to replace free-agent defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who has since signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Baltimore also traded defensive end Chris Wormley to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.

This isn’t the first time that the Ravens have had a medical problem with a free agent. In March 2018, Baltimore voided a four-year, $29 million agreement with wide receiver Ryan Grant after he failed a physical due to an ankle injury. Grant later signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore brought in Michael Crabtree.

Brockers has spent all of his eight NFL seasons with the Rams franchise, which drafted him 14th overall in 2012. He has 229 tackles (344 overall) and 23 sacks in 123 games.

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RB Aaron Jones – ‘I would love to be a lifelong Packer’



GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Jones is like Aaron Rodgers in at least one way: He wants to finish his career with the Green Bay Packers but doesn’t know whether that can happen.

The fourth-year running back who tied for the NFL lead with 19 touchdowns last season is entering the final year of his rookie deal. The Packers drafted a running back, AJ Dillon of Boston College, in the second round after they took Rodgers’ possible eventual replacement, Jordan Love, in the first round.

“Whether it’s my first year or my last year on a deal, I’m going to be just as motivated,” Jones said Wednesday on a Zoom call with the Packers media contingent. “It doesn’t change just because a contract is on the line for me. I mean, I’m going to continue to work and do everything in my power. I trust my agency and the Packers. With that, I would love to be a lifelong Packer. That’s my take on that.”

A source told ESPN at the NFL combine in February that both sides were open to discussing a contract extension. On Wednesday, one of Jones’ agents, Chris Cabott, told ESPN that talks have indeed taken place.

“There have been conversations and there will continue to be,” Cabott said.

Jones, a fifth-round pick in 2015, had a breakout season in 2019, when he totaled 1,558 yards from scrimmage and tied with Christian McCaffrey for the NFL’s touchdown lead. Jones registered his first 1,000-yard rushing season and needed the fewest carries (236) by a Packers running back to hit that mark since John Brockington in 1971 (1,105 yards on 216 carries).

McCaffrey reset the running back market with a four-year, $64 million extension earlier this offseason. At $16 million a year, it made him the NFL’s new highest-paid running back. The Packers haven’t given a second contract to a running back they drafted since James Starks, a sixth-round pick in 2010.

Most recently, they let former 1,000-yard rusher Eddie Lacy leave in free agency after the 2016 season.

“I’m really not looking at the market, I’m just focused on myself,” Jones said. “I feel like I can play at a really high level and elite level for a very long time, so I’m just going to do what I can, and hopefully that leads to me being a Packer for life. That’s my goal.”

Jones is set to make $2.13 million this season. Complicating matters for Jones and the Packers is the fact that he’s one of five starters scheduled to be free agents next spring. The others are left tackle David Bakhtiari, defensive tackle Kenny Clark, center Corey Linsley and cornerback Kevin King. Jones’ primary backup, Jamaal Williams, also is entering the final year of his deal.

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Jets WR Quincy Enunwa not giving up on playing again despite career-threatening neck injury



New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, battling a career-threatening neck injury that will keep him off the field in 2020, still hopes to play again one day. But that decision, he said, no longer is in his control.

In an interview with ESPN, Enunwa said Wednesday it was “devastating” to learn recently he had been ruled out for the season. Now, he said, the only thing he can do is play the waiting game.

“If I’m capable of playing, then that’s what I’ll do,” he said, making his first public comments since the end of the season. “If it comes down to the fact that the doctors say I can’t, there’s not much I can do. There’s really nothing I can do there, but if I have the ability to (play), the passion will always be there, the want-to will always be there.

“I think, aside from obviously my neck, the physical ability will always be there. It’s really just about me going for the ride, I guess, because I’m not in control of that part anymore.”

On May 5, Enunwa was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, making him ineligible for 2020. The move came as no surprise; the team had expressed no optimism about his chances for a return.

Enunwa, who missed the 2017 season due to a neck injury that required surgery, re-injured it in the 2019 opener and missed the final 15 games. He didn’t have another surgery. By the end of 2020, he will have missed almost three full seasons out of the last four.

Enunwa said he has no regrets.

“There’s really no one to blame,” he said. “It’s one of those things. If I could’ve had a crystal ball and told myself … this was going to happen, I probably would’ve done it the same way. There’s nothing really I regret or I’m upset with anybody about.

“I think everybody tried to handle it the best way that we could. There’s no way to have prevented this other than not play football, and I don’t know if I would’ve been as happy if I made that choice.”

Enunwa remains on the Jets’ payroll, earning a fully guaranteed $6 million for 2020. He has a $4.1 million injury guarantee in 2021 as part of the four-year, $33.4 million extension he signed in December, 2018. If he opts for voluntary retirement, he’d jeopardize his salary.

Asked about his future with the Jets, Enunwa said, “I’m under contract. I want to be a Jet for life. I saw Eli Manning say something. On his Twitter page he wrote, ‘Once a Giant, always a Giant, only a Giant.’ It would be cool to say that as a Jet.”

Enunwa, who turns 28 on Sunday, admitted the time away from football has taken an emotional toll.

“The simple word is just depressed, I guess,” he said. “If I’m being completely candid, there were times where it was tough to navigate what I was going through and then trying to figure out how to be comfortable coming into the facility, knowing there’s a possibility this whole game could be taken away from me. It’s been tough and it was tough, but I’m definitely handling it much better now than I was before.”

Enunwa said the low point came last November, when he was fined $27,900 by the team for missing two mandatory rehab sessions. He ripped the organization in a series of tweets, saying the fines were “excessive.” He blamed it on a lack of communication, adding the communication in recent months with general manager Joe Douglas and coach Adam Gase has improved.

He hasn’t been able to work out at the Jets’ facility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Enunwa, who lives in New Jersey, said it hasn’t affected his rehab because he can do it at home. He hopes to be around the team when it returns.

Before the second injury, Enunwa was considered one of the Jets’ top young players. His best season was 2016, when he caught 58 passes for 857 yards.

“The passion I played with, that’s never left,” he said. “I think if everything goes the way I hope it goes, it’s still going to be there for me. My physical ability has not left. I’ve just been kind of like slowed down, hampered, you know? I’m doing my best to work around those limitations that I have. Again, that passion is not gone.”

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Redskins OC pleased with Dwayne Haskins in virtual meetings



The Washington Redskins will have to wait a little longer to see how quarterback Dwayne Haskins looks on the field, but they’ve been pleased with what they’ve heard from him so far in virtual team meetings.

“When we’re talking to him [on Zoom sessions], he’s speaking the language,” Redskins offensive coordinator Scott Turner said on a conference call. “It’s pretty easy to tell if they get it or not. Dwayne’s doing a great job.”

Haskins, who is learning his second offense in as many NFL seasons, is expected to be the Redskins’ starting quarterback this season after starting seven games as a rookie. However, coach Ron Rivera has said that if there’s a truncated training camp, then Kyle Allen would have an advantage.

Washington traded for Allen to serve as a backup, and he spent the past two seasons playing for Rivera in Carolina and knows Turner’s offense.

Alex Smith also is on the roster, but he still faces obstacles in his quest to return from his 2018 leg injury.

The goal, however, remains to develop Haskins, the team’s first-round pick in 2019. For Turner, that means doing it via phone calls or virtual learning. He quizzes his quarterbacks daily just to see what they’ve retained from the prior session.

During film study, Tuner will just ask what coverage the defense is playing. If given the correct answer, Turner will then ask Haskins why he said that particular coverage to gauge the depth of his knowledge.

One time, Haskins told him the coverage as the safeties were aligned in a two-deep look. But Haskins noticed the weakside linebacker was moved over, tipping him off that one safety would rotate down to fill that void.

“That is something that we talked about a few days earlier and we picked up on it because he saw it,” Turner said. “That is just a very simple example. Things like that. ‘Hey, what is this motion called?’ And he will answer correctly.

“It isn’t always like that. Sometimes you have to go back over things, but that happens with everyone. When you can have that dialogue and they can give you the correct answer and are repeating the things that you talked about in earlier sessions, that is when you know it is really starting to click.”

Haskins’ rookie season was rocky. The coaches didn’t want to draft him at 15, feeling he wouldn’t provide immediate help for a staff in a must-win year. In Haskins’ first four games, including two starts, he posted a 13.9 total quarterback rating with two touchdowns and five interceptions.

In his last four games, however, he reversed the touchdown to interception numbers and his total QBR rose to 34.6. And in his last two starts, his total QBR was 73.0 — thanks to four touchdowns and no interceptions.

“It takes a while for guys to truly believe that they can do this and that they can play in this league,” Turner said. “It is highly competitive, and it humbles everyone. What he did the last month of the season, he truly believed that he could go out and do that. You want to build on those things.”

Turner liked how Haskins handled the pressure in the pocket. In college, Turner said, pocket passers too often are throwing from wide-open pockets — something that rarely happens in the NFL. Turner said one of the first things he did after taking this job was to study how Haskins handled tight pockets.

“His eyes stayed down field. He was able to push the ball down the field in those 20-, 30-, 40-yard throws with velocity,” Turner said. “Not needing a lot of space to generate with his body. He is a big guy and he is hard to bring down.

“You are going to make money in this league by standing in there and making throws down the field when it is tough. He has shown enough of that.”

Haskins has posted multiple videos of him working out, showing a body more sculpted than at this time a year ago. He posted a video on Instagram of him throwing to receivers such as Stefon Diggs, whom he used to throw to while still in high school, and Antonio Brown. Turner said Haskins also has been throwing to Redskins receivers Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon.

“You can tell he’s putting the work in away from the meeting time,” Turner said. “Obviously as a coach and and putting in this new offense, I’d love to have more time with him. I think that we’re doing a great job with making the most of the situation.”

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