Bennett, Sproles not at Eagles’ voluntary OTAs

Defensive end Michael Bennett and running back Darren Sproles were not in attendance as the Eagles opened OTAs on Tuesday.

Kendricks’ departure does not come as a great surprise despite his quality of play for the Super Bowl champions in 2017. He was scheduled to make $7.6 million this year, another likely factor in the team deciding to move on from him.

Biggest breaks: There’s not much far interdivison travel, save for the trip to Seattle. The Cowboys also will be in familiar domed conditions in Atlanta, Houston and Indy. Dallas probably won’t go 6-2 on the road again, but there’s nothing close to brutal on the road.

“Here’s what pissed me off,” Johnson said. “The Patriots, obviously, I respect their coach, I respect Bill [Belichick], I respect Tom Brady, but just because the way that they won the Super Bowls, the Patriot Way, is that how everybody else is supposed to do the same thing? No, it’s not. And that’s what I got mad at, the arrogance by them.

“There was obviously some stuff behind closed doors. Their owner talking s— to our owner. Bill talking s— to our head coach [Doug Pederson] before the game. I’m not going to say it, but a lot of s— kind (of) built up to that, and I just got tired of hearing about it, man, to be honest.”

Johnson has always been candid about his feelings towards the Patriots, saying he would “much rather have fun and win a Super Bowl than be miserable and win five Super Bowls” during his career.

“I just think that the Patriot Way is a fear-based organization,” Johnson said in February. “Obviously, do they win? Hell yes, they win. They’ve won for a long time. Do I think people enjoy and can say, ‘I had a lot of fun playing there?’ No, I don’t. That’s just the God’s honest truth.”ravens_081

Ranking QB Kirk Cousins’ best options in NFL free agency

Kirk Cousins, going on three offseasons, is a highly coveted commodity in NFL free agency. Although the top free-agent quarterback is willing to sign his tender should he be franchise-tagged by the Redskins for a third consecutive time, that’s unlikely to happen at a $34.47 million price tag for 2018.

It makes no sense for Washington to use two-thirds of its $52 million-plus in cap space to keep Cousins just for ’18. His age should make the Redskins hesitate to pay him long-term now, too, and Gruden, firmly on the hot seat, is unlikely to keep attaching his tenure to a QB who frustrated him often in ’17. Picking No. 13 overall in April, the Redskins will be in the wheelhouse for a preferred prospect at the position. It’s smarter for their focus to be there, anyway.

According to a person familiar with the NFL’s deliberations, the league believes that Burfict’s suspension is warranted under the new directive. It also believes that Burfict’s suspension would have been warranted even without the new measure given it was an illegal hit, in the NFL’s view, delivered by a player with a long history of on-field infractions. Discipline also might have been warranted based merely on the unnecessary roughness of the hit, in the league’s view. So, to the NFL, it was a straightforward decision and a relatively easy call.

Burfict is appealing the penalty, and the Bengals are offering public support.

“The Bengals are aware of the NFL’s letter to Vontaze regarding a play in last weekend’s game,” a written statement issued by the team said. “The film shows that the hit was legal, that Vontaze engaged his opponent from the front, and that contact was shoulder-to-chest. The Club will support Vontaze in the appeal process.”

Burfict also says the hit is legal.

Among owners, there appears to be no unanimity of opinion. Jerry Jones has said that any member of his Dallas Cowboys who does not stand for the anthem will be benched and Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins feels the same way. (The Cowboys do not play this weekend.) However, Ross’s coach, Adam Gase, gave his players permission to remain in the tunnel during the anthem and Michael Thomas, Julian Thomas and Kenny Stils, who have long protested, remained there Sunday.cowboys_002

Crawford leads Blackhawks to 3-1 win over Coyotes

Blackhawks forward Ryan Hartman was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Hartman was whistled for three penalties in a 6-2 loss at Washington last Wednesday, including a double minor for high-sticking in the second period. … Arizona scratched C Nick Cousins, D Kyle Capobianco and G Michael Leighton.

Hornets: Walker and Howard were both assessed technical fouls. … Howard has 14 double-doubles this season. … Johnny O’Bryant had 11 points and seven rebounds.

The Hornets played without three key reserves out due to injuries — Cody Zeller (meniscus tear in knee), Frank Kaminsky (sprained ankle) and Jeremy Lamb (bruised shin) — one night after four of their five starters played more than 40 minutes in an overtime loss to Chicago.

NFL Chief Operating Officer Tod Leiweke disputes that account of how the program will be funded. In a memo sent Friday to club ownership, community relations directors and player engagement directors, Leiweke wrote, “This new program will supplement, and not replace, our other key social responsibility efforts, including Salute to Service, cancer awareness, domestic violence/sexual assault and youth programs.”

Early in the third quarter, fans were even treated to a rare metrological event of “thunder snow,” as lightning flashed over the stadium. The game was not stopped.

So much snow accumulated on the roof of the first-level suites that fans began building snowmen.

Colts receiver Chester Rogers disappeared into a snowbank in the end zone after being unable to stop on a deep pass from Jacoby Brissett. Rogers made the catch, but couldn’t keep both feet inbounds.royals_013

Jerry Jones’ power doesn’t equal success

Jerry Jones has proved you can be one of the most powerful men in American sports and a bad franchise owner at the same time. Someone should actually award him a trophy for pulling that off.

Touchdown, Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger uses a hard count and draws a Titans defender offside. On the free play, he follows with a 41-yard pass to Antonio Brown down the left sideline to put Pittsburgh ahead 7-0. Roethlisberger threw for 71 yards during the drive.

Outside of Wilson, no Seahawk is more indispensable than Sherman. It’s not just how he covers and tackles. It’s also how he leads his team and intimidates opponents. His presence alone draws fear and demands respect.

Carolina had a 10-point lead at halftime and then scored touchdowns on all three of its drives in the third quarter to pull away. The Panthers moved to 7-3 on the year with the victory and have now won three straight, while Miami dropped to 4-5.

Newton compiled 254 passing yards and another 95 on the ground to go along with his four scores. Jonathan Stewart tallied 110 rushing yards on 17 carries for the Panthers, while Christian McCaffrey registered two total touchdowns.

Turnover, Miami. Cutler underthrows a pass on the first play of the drive and Luke Kuechly picks it off. Carolina has the ball on the Dolphins’ 20 with 41 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Backup Reto Berra stopped 40 shots and six of nine shootout tries to get a 3-2 win versus the Sharks. Anaheim netminders have faced forty or more shots in five of the team’s last seven games.nike_steelers_716