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Vikings players attend Floyd's memorial in Minneapolis

Vikings players attend Floyd's memorial in Minneapolis

Twelve Minnesota Vikings players attended a memorial service for George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday after the team canceled virtual meetings and ended the work day early.

According to Vikings reporter Eric Smith, those in attendance were Alexander Mattison, Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Mike Hughes, Garrett Bradbury, Aviante Collins, Dakota Dozier, Tajae' Sharpe, Tyler Conklin, Chad Beebe, Cam Smith and Jake Browning.

The players met at U.S. Bank Stadium and walked together to North Central University's campus, where the service was held. Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy in front of Floyd's family, friends, celebrities and other supporters, including hundreds listening to the broadcast outside on loudspeakers.

Floyd, a black man, died in police custody May 25, prompting protests across the nation. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, has been charged with second-degree murder after video showed he pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Three other former Minneapolis police officers were charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting a murder. All four officers were fired after Floyd's death.

Floyd's service, which was also attended by Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie and University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck, included a moment of silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Two more memorial services are planned for Floyd: Saturday in his birthplace of Raeford, N.C., and Tuesday in Houston, where Floyd grew up and lived most of his life.

NFL teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers took part in Thursday's moment of silence from afar, with the Panthers doing so during a conference call with media.

The Arizona Cardinals didn't hold voluntary meetings or workouts on Thursday so their players could honor Floyd's memorial, according to running back Kenyan Drake.

"We are but a small cog in a big machine but gestures like these create dialogue and expands the vision to help take the next steps for a better tomorrow," Drake wrote on Twitter. "Peace and love."

Elsewhere, the Green Bay Packers put out a two-minute video with head coach Matt LaFleur and around a dozen players -- including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, wide receiver Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones -- contributing to a collaborative message.

Collectively, the group said they "stand united" against racism, police brutality, "a broken system," oppression and injustice, adding that "enough is enough" and "it's time for change."

Many coaches and general managers across the league spoke about Floyd and the protests that have followed. That group included San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who reflected on former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's protests of police brutality in 2016, before Shanahan joined the team.

"What's different now, it's embarrassing to say, probably, but I think white people are more passionate about it now than then," Shanahan told reporters in a video conference call. "And that's our ignorance. And that's what upsets black people, and they have every right to be upset because they haven't just been telling us this the last few weeks. They've been telling us this since our grandparents. And I've been hearing it from every one of my friends since I was 14."

Shanahan also addressed the lack of diversity among NFL head coaches and general managers, an issue that has prompted rule changes this offseason to change hiring practices.

"It's tough because white people don't feel it," Shanahan said. "You're not going to think someone's racist but, you know what? How the heck are there only four black head coaches out of 32? How are there only two GMs? ...

"The number is not debatable, and that is an issue. I think we talk about it a lot and it is something that has to get better."

Bills QB Fromm sorry for 'elite white people' text

Bills QB Fromm sorry for 'elite white people' text

Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Jake Fromm apologized on Thursday for using the words "elite white people" in a text message sent last year.

Screengrabs of the text message conversation, which appears to have happened in March of 2019, surfaced on social media Thursday, and Fromm acknowledged that the texts were his.

"I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words 'elite white people' in a text message conversation," Fromm said in a statement on Twitter. "Although I never meant to imply that I am an 'elite white person,' as later stated in the conversation, there's no excuse for that word choice and sentiment.

"I stand against racism 100%. I promise to commit myself to being part of the solution in this country. ... Again, I'm truly sorry for my words and actions and humbly ask for forgiveness."

In the text thread, Fromm and the unknown recipient of the messages were discussing guns. Fromm wrote, "But no guns are good. They need to let me get suppressors. Just make them very expensive so only elite white people can get them haha."

Later in the conversation, Fromm wrote, "I'm not I'm just sayin."

Fromm, who turns 22 next month, was selected in the fifth round (167th overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Bills in April. He played three seasons at Georgia.

In 2018, current Bills starting quarterback Josh Allen apologized after derogatory and racist comments from 2013 surfaced from his Twitter account on the day of the first round of the draft. Buffalo traded up to select Allen seventh overall that evening.

Brees apologizes for comments, 'pain I have caused'

Brees apologizes for comments, 'pain I have caused'

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday for his comments about "disrespecting the flag," saying they "were insensitive and completely missed the mark."

"I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday," Brees wrote in an Instagram post. "In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."

In an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Brees said he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." He later told ESPN that he stands with his teammates in "fighting for racial equality and justice" but also with the military, in which his two grandfathers served.

Brees had been asked about his stance on players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, and his expectations after the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody on May 25. Brees' comments brought widespread rebukes from teammates including Malcolm Jenkins, Michael Thomas and Cameron Jordan, as well as others around the NFL and even other sports, such as the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James.

Jenkins, a member of the NFL Players Coalition for racial equality and social justice, said of Brees in a later-deleted Instagram video, "It is unfortunate because I considered you a friend, I looked up to you, you're someone I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the (bleep) up."

Brees, 41, was teammates with Jenkins from 2009-13 until the defensive back signed with Philadelphia. Jenkins returned to the Saints this offseason.

"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country," Brees said Thursday in his apology. "They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.

"Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character."

He added that he stands with the black community opposing racial injustice and police brutality and working toward policy changes. He concluded, "I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."

Linebacker Demario Davis said in an interview on CNN that he appreciated Brees' apology, calling it "a form of true leadership."

"What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community," Davis said on CNN. "And he admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, 'I missed the mark, I've been insensitive, but what I'm gonna start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them,' I think that's a model for all of America. ...

"For him to admit that he was wrong and say, 'You know what, I can do better, and I will do better,' I think that is leadership at its finest."

Saints head coach Sean Payton praised Davis' comments in a Twitter post, writing, "@demario__davis you're a special man. This is another example of why I love OUR Team.#ChangeIsComing."

Left tackle Terron Armstead said Thursday that he and teammates addressed Brees' comments with the quarterback internally.

"I could've easily got on social media and attacked @drewbrees yesterday," Armstead wrote on Twitter. "His comments were extremely insensitive, dismissive, and flat out disappointing. Knowing him personally and his character I decided not to do so, and addressed things internally... Speaking with him and a few of my teammates we know that accountability and responsibility is the only way to move forward from this."

In the week and a half since Floyd's death, people by the thousands have protested in cities throughout the country.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested last week and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The murder charge was upgraded to second-degree murder on Wednesday. Video showed he pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd, a black man, for more than eight minutes, leading to Floyd's death.

Three other former Minneapolis police officers were charged Wednesday with aiding and abetting a murder. All four officers were fired after Floyd's death.

NFL coaches allowed to return to facilities on Friday

NFL coaches allowed to return to facilities on Friday

NFL coaches can return to work at team facilities beginning Friday, more than two months after their offices were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to teams, the NFL said members of the coaching staff will count toward the number of employees who can be in the building, which is capped at 100.

The coaches' return is conditional on state and local guidelines. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said the league anticipates only the San Francisco 49ers will not have local clearance to return on Friday. Rapoport added, "The team is aware and supportive of the plan and has been in communication with its local authorities to obtain all necessary permissions when available.

Additionally, personnel will be tested for the coronavirus.

"We will work with club medical staffs to implement a program of COVID-19 testing for the coaching staff and other football personnel prior to players returning to club facilities," the memo read, according to Pro Football Talk.

Coaches, and any staff, who fall into a high-risk category for COVID-19 because of age or underlying conditions were encouraged in the league memo to seek guidance from the team or personal physicians should they have any concerns.

For now, facilities remain off limits for players who aren't undergoing treatment for injuries.

Lawyer for Giants' Baker: Charges likely to be dropped soon

Lawyer for Giants' Baker: Charges likely to be dropped soon

New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker likely will be cleared of robbery charges soon, according to his attorney.

Patrick G. Patel told SNY on Wednesday that the charges related to a May 13 incident in Miramar, Fla., will be dropped in the coming days.

"I think we've got the case won, to be honest with you. I think it's only a matter of time," Patel said.

Baker was charged with four counts of armed robbery and four counts of aggravated assault, and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar was charged with four counts of armed robbery on connection with the same incident. Both pleaded not guilty to all charges in mid-May and were released from jail on bond.

Patel told SNY, "As soon this dismissal goes (through), he's going to head back to Jersey and start practicing. If it becomes a charge, then the NFL will suspend him. So the Giants are really just playing it cool right now, which is the right thing to do. Just do nothing until the state makes a decision on what they're going to do."

The witnesses who informed police that Baker, 22, participated in the alleged robbery subsequently changed their stories to exonerate him, according to Patel.

The lawyer also said that Baker has an alibi from being logged in on the Madden video game at the time of the alleged crime.

The judge in Baker's case granted the player permission to travel for work purposes as of last week. However, the Giants had previously told Baker not to participate in virtual team meetings to focus instead on the legal matters.

Patel also addressed the fact that the NFL still could issue a punishment for Baker regardless of the case's outcome in court.

"It's the kid's life," Patel told SNY. "This kid (could) get suspended and lose his job, and then the case gets dismissed and what have we done? So everybody's taking a wait-and-see approach."

Regarding the entire situation, Patel told SNY of Baker, "Hopefully it's a wake-up call for the young kid. That's what he needed."

Baker appeared in 16 games last season, making 15 starts. He recorded 61 tackles and eight passes defensed.

Broncos' Fangio apologizes after saying NFL free of racism

Broncos' Fangio apologizes after saying NFL free of racism

Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio apologized on Wednesday for his comments to reporters that he doesn't "see racism at all in the NFL."

"After reflecting on my comments (Tuesday) and listening to the players this morning, I realize what I said regarding racism and discrimination in the NFL was wrong," Fangio, 61, said in a statement Wednesday. "While I have never personally experienced those terrible things first-hand during my 33 years in the NFL, I understand that many players, coaches and staff have different perspectives. I should have been more clear and I am sorry.

"I wanted to make the point yesterday that here is no color within the locker room I have been in or on the playing fields I have coached on. Unfortunately, we don't live or work only within those confines. Outside of those lines -- both in the NFL and society -- there is a lot of work to be done in the areas of diversity and providing opportunities across the board for minorities.

"As the head coach, I look forward to listening to the players - both individually and collectively - to support them and work hand-in-hand to create meaningful change."

Fangio opened a video conference call Tuesday by saying he was outraged with what happened to George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, who is black, for more than eight minutes. On Wednesday, the murder charge against Chauvin was elevated to second-degree.

"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal," Fangio said Tuesday. "We're a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn.

"I don't see racism at all in the NFL. I don't see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we're lucky. We all live together joined as one for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."

According to multiple media reports, nearly 70 percent of NFL players last season were black. The league currently has three black head coaches -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- plus one Latino head coach, the Washington Redskins' Ron Rivera.

Last month, the NFL announced changes to the "Rooney Rule" that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and top front-office positions, adding to the number of applicants who must be considered. The league tabled a proposal to offer draft-pick incentives for teams that hire minority head coaches or general managers.

LeBron, NFL players rip Brees after comments about kneeling

LeBron, NFL players rip Brees after comments about kneeling

NBA superstar LeBron James and even New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas took aim at Drew Brees on Wednesday after the quarterback reiterated his objection to those who kneel during the national anthem.

And they weren't alone, as new Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, defensive end Cameron Jordan, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and many more bashed the quarterback over social media.

In an interview posted to Twitter, Brees told Yahoo Finance that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." Brees had been asked about his responsibility moving forward as somebody who is viewed around the league as a leader.

Brees' public comments were his first following the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and had his charge upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday. He had pressed his knee on the neck of Floyd, a black man, for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter.

James lowered the boom on Brees for taking the stance of disrespecting the flag when speaking of Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel during in 2016. Brees said that he disagreed with Kapernick's decision as a way to speak out against racial injustice.

"Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn't!" James wrote. "You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those."

Thomas took to Twitter after Brees' comments to voice his displeasure.

"He don't know no better," Thomas wrote on Wednesday afternoon.

Thomas followed 15 minutes later with "We don't care if you don't agree and whoever else how about that."

Brees followed Thomas' tweets with a statement to ESPN.com.

"I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said. "I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."

Sanders, who previously compared joining Brees to playing with Peyton Manning in Denver, wrote "Smh.. Ignorant" upon hearing his new quarterback's comments.

Jordan offered on Twitter, "I've been told countless times, believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear. Idk bout it. I do know Actions speak louder than words. I've been told that a plenty... show me"

Sherman didn't mince words with his assessment of Brees' comments.

"He's beyond lost," Sherman wrote. "Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn't seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem."

Former NFL wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr. tweeted, "@drewbrees the reason my children have to live in a world that won't empathize with their pain is because people like you are raising your children to perpetuate the cycle. Drew, you are the problem."

Brees and Thomas have been on the same page on the field, with the latter being named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2019.

Thomas, 27, caught 149 passes for 1,725 yards last season, both league highs, and he scored nine touchdowns. He has 470 receptions for 5,512 yards and 32 touchdowns in 63 career games with the Saints.

Chargers re-sign DL Square

Chargers re-sign DL Square

The Los Angeles Chargers made a move toward continuity Wednesday as defensive lineman Damion Square was re-signed.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed for Square, who has appeared in every game for the Chargers in the past three seasons. He has played as both a defensive end and nose tackle for the team.

Square, 31, recorded 25 tackles in 2019 for the Chargers, who also signed defensive end and two-time Pro Bowl selection Linval Joseph to a contract earlier this year.

Square has collected 94 career tackles -- including 5.5 sacks -- to go along with nine passes defended and two fumble recoveries in 75 career games with the Philadelphia Eagles and Chargers.

Texans free up players on day of Floyd's funeral

Texans free up players on day of Floyd's funeral

The Texans will not hold virtual meetings on June 9 in an effort to allow players to attend George Floyd's funeral in Houston, coach Bill O'Brien announced Wednesday.

Floyd, who was from Houston, died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, an African American, for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter.

O'Brien, who plans to attend the funeral, was emotional on Wednesday when speaking about Floyd's death and the state of race relations in the United States.

"We stand by you, and we are ready to do our part in this community," O'Brien said.

O'Brien also admitted his opinion on recent public issues has been shaped by conversations with quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Kenny Stills.

"I think everyone has to admit their mistakes along the way," O'Brien said. "We all have to stand up and understand that what is going on in this country right now is wrong. It's wrong. Relative to many, many things.

"It's not just police brutality, although that's what we're talking about right now. It's corporate America. It's professional sports. It's the medical area. It's the legal area. We all have to do our part. We all have to do it now.

Watson attended a protest in Houston on Tuesday that was led by the Floyd family.

Prescott pledges $1M to improve police training, address racism

Prescott pledges $1M to improve police training, address racism

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott pledged $1 million over social media in a bid to improve police training and address systemic racism.

Prescott's lengthy Instagram post on Wednesday comes on the heels of the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died in police custody on May 25.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, an African American, for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter.

"As a black multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled!" Prescott wrote. "... As our communities take action, protesting and fighting for the justice of George Floyd and every black life, I am with you!"

Prescott, 26, addressed the members of law enforcement.

"To the men and women that police our streets, I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving our communities," Prescott wrote. "When you chose to wear a badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations. How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your ranks don't abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable! Each of your are as guilty as the men who stood beside Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systemic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide."

Prescott set career highs in 2019 with 4,902 passing yards and 30 touchdown passes.

Carroll: We owe 'tremendous amount' to Kaepernick

Carroll: We owe 'tremendous amount' to Kaepernick

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said it took too long for the NFL to recognize Colin Kaepernick taking a stand when he took a knee during the national anthem.

"I think that there was a moment in time that a young man captured. He took a stand on something, figuratively took a knee, but he stood up for something he believed in -- and what an extraordinary moment it was that he was willing to take," Carroll said as a guest on the podcast of Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Kerr, who has been an outspoken activist on issues of national interest, agreed wholeheartedly.

"To me, it's really hard to look at what's going on right now with all the violence and the protests and not look back to four years ago and say, 'Look, this guy [Kaepernick] was trying to peacefully protest and nothing came of it," Kerr said. "The killings went on and nothing changed and he was actually ridiculed so it's a real tough one to think about."

Kaepernick remains unsigned and reached a settlement with the NFL to set aside his lawsuit for collusion to keep him out of the league. The Seahawks were one of the few teams who talked contract with Kaepernick during his time as a free agent. But Kaepernick said Seattle's interest was overblown, and he refused to meet the team's request to promise not to kneel during the national anthem.

"And the whole mission of what the statement was, such a beautiful," Carroll said. "It's still the statement that we're making right today. We're not protecting our people. We're not looking after one another. We're not making the right choices. We're not following the right process to bring people to justice when actions are taken. So I think it was a big sacrifice in the sense that a young man makes, but those are the courageous moments that some guys take.

"And we owe a tremendous amount to him for sure."

"We have to go beyond and act and take the action and it's going to be a challenge for people. I feel frustrated I'm not doing enough," Carroll said. "I'm not on it enough. I can't get active enough to create the change. I think we need to make progress, not just change."

Panthers offer Kuechly scouting role

Panthers offer Kuechly scouting role

If Luke Kuechly identifies talent as well as he does ballcarriers, the Carolina Panthers could be adding a game-changing scout.

Kuechly, the five-time All-Pro linebacker who announced his retirement in January, is weighing a role in personnel with the Panthers.

"I've had a great relationship with Luke. He's my neighbor. It's great if it works out, if it's what he wants to do," first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule told reporters Wednesday, per ESPN.com. "I certainly hope it works out. He's a great, great person. Forget who he was as a player. He's got to figure out what's right for him. Since the first day, my advice has always been do what's right for you.'"

Kuechly retired at age 29 and has been with the team since he was a first-round pick in 2012 out of Boston College. He said in January he was no longer certain he could play the game at the warp speed needed to be successful.

Identified as former head coach Ron Rivera as a prime candidate to enter coaching after his career, Kuechly was known for his preparedness as a pro.

Jernigan's deal with Texans falls apart

Jernigan's deal with Texans falls apart

Tim Jernigan is back on the free agent market.

The 27-year-old defensive tackle agreed to a deal with the Houston Texans on April 1 but never signed a contract.

Jernigan posted Tuesday night on his Instagram account, "Guess I'm not goin to Houston..but the show not ova"

His deal with the Texans reportedly was for one year and up to $3.75 million, including a guaranteed $1.25 million.

The Houston Chronicle cited an anonymous source saying that Jernigan is healthy and was cleared by noted back surgeon Robert Watkins, but the newspaper reported that the player never took a physical with the Texans.

Houston could turn to its 2020 second-round draft pick, TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, to fill the spot that would have gone to Jernigan.

Selected by the Ravens in the second round of the 2014 draft, Jernigan started 26 of his 43 games with Baltimore before he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in April 2017.

The Eagles gave him a four-year, $48 million deal in November 2017. However, Jernigan underwent surgery in 2018 to fix a herniated back disk, and he was slowed by a foot ailment in 2019. He has appeared in only 13 games over the past two seasons combined.

Jernigan has recorded 132 tackles, 17.5 sacks and one interception in 71 career games (53 starts) with the Ravens and the Eagles.

Philadelphia replaced him in March by giving free agent Javon Hargrave a three-year, $39 million contract.

Broncos' Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL'

Broncos' Fangio: 'I don't see racism at all in the NFL'

Vic Fangio sees racism as a problem in society as a whole, but not so much in the NFL.

The Denver Broncos head coach, talking Tuesday on a video conference call, spoke out in favor of societal changes in the wake of George Floyd's death. He then went on to defend the NFL's record on race.

Asked about the evolution of player activism during his NFL career, Fangio said, "I don't know that it's changed a whole lot, to be honest with you. I haven't seen a great, great change other than -- I just don't think there's been a tremendous change, and I don't say that to be negative.

"I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal. We're a league of meritocracy. You earn what you get, you get what you earn.

"I don't see racism at all in the NFL. I don't see discrimination in the NFL. We live in a great atmosphere. Like I alluded to earlier, we're lucky. We all live together joined as one for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we'd all be great."

Fangio had said earlier on the call that he "was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman (did) to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death. He should be punished to the full extent of the law of the crimes he was charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge and uniform he was entrusted with ... It's a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct."

He added, "The Minnesota cop failed the 99 percent of the police that do a great job, and we are all paying a price for that. I've listened to many people talk the past few days.

"The one that resonated with me the most was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also recognized that 98-99 percent of the police do a tremendous job in tough situations and we must do all we can to correct the small percentage that don't do a great job on a daily basis. Kareem was one person talking sensibly and with solutions. This is not a political issue."

Fangio also offered his support for Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who spoke at a peaceful protest on Sunday in Stuart, Fla., close to his hometown of Port Salerno, Fla.

"I thought it was great," Fangio said. "Justin is a great person, a great leader and has his head screwed on correctly. He sees the problems and how they need to be solved. He's doing it peacefully and he's searching for solutions.

"It's easy for everybody to identify the problems -- we all know the problems -- but we need to search for solutions. I think that Justin is one of those guys that will help us find solutions and lead us out of this mess that we're in."

According to multiple media reports, nearly 70 percent of NFL players last season were African American. The league currently has three African American head coaches -- the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores -- plus one Latino head coach, the Washington Redskins' Ron Rivera.

Last month, the NFL announced changes to the "Rooney Rule" that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head-coaching and top front-office positions, adding to the number of applicants who must be considered. The league tabled a proposal to offer draft-pick incentives for teams that hire minority head coaches or general managers.

Panthers place Kuechly on retired list, spread cap hit to '21

Panthers place Kuechly on retired list, spread cap hit to '21

Luke Kuechly was placed on the reserve-retired list Tuesday, allowing the Carolina Panthers to spread the dead cap hit for the remainder of the linebacker's contract over the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Kuechly announced his retirement in January, but by delaying the official transaction with the NFL until after June 1, the Panthers spread $11.84 million in dead money over two charges: $4.71 million in 2020 and $7.13 million in 2021.

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time All-Pro drafted by the Panthers in 2012, Kuechly retired at age 28 after a series of head injuries. He turned 29 in April.

Kuechly was a tackling savant upon his arrival into the league, leading the NFL with 164 tackles in his rookie season as he was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He also topped all players in tackles two seasons later in 2014 with 153, and ends his career with more tackles than anyone since his 2012 season debut (1,092).

Report: NFL, union talking cap, possible pay cuts

Report: NFL, union talking cap, possible pay cuts

The NFL and the players union are discussing various alternative plans regarding the salary cap to limit the impact of expected revenue losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

With the expectation of limited numbers or no fans in attendance at games this season -- along with the specter of potential canceled games -- the league's revenue is expected to decline, perhaps significantly. The 2021 salary cap is based off of revenue this season, making for a potentially large decline in cap space.

Per NFL Network, the league and NFLPA know they must negotiate an alternative to avoid a sharp drop in cap space. Negotiations have not yet begun, and no deadline is being set before the start of the regular season. There is a hope of reaching an agreement before training camps open in late July, per the report.

The focus is currently on calculating potential losses to help guide priorities.

Among the possibilities being considered are borrowing from expected future television deals, which many have forecasted will cause a cap spike in 2022. Per the report, neither players nor teams want a drop in the cap and then a sharp spike a year or two later, as it would make long-term finances and extensions for players difficult to plan.

Another option would be for the union to agree to giving back some money this year, which would likely come via trimming base salaries. The report added it's unclear how much of a cut the league would seek, or what structure players would accept.

Both the league and NFLPA declined comment on NFL Network's report. However, NFL Network reported sources informed of the union's thinking said the organization "would be amenable to negotiating with the league to smooth out the salary cap as much as possible."

Base salaries are paid weekly during the season. Most other forms of payment to players -- signing, roster and workout bonuses -- have already been paid.

The league has continued to plan for the season to start as scheduled on Sept. 10, though it is planning for alternatives. Some states have said they will permit fans at sporting events with significantly reduced capacity limits.

The cap is set at $198.2 million for 2020.

Report: NFL facilities expected to open this week

Report: NFL facilities expected to open this week

NFL teams are set to return to their facilities this week for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic forced all 32 clubs into a work-from-home environment.

ESPN reported Tuesday that almost all teams would be allowed to open facilities this week with a few exceptions. Some states seen as COVID-19 hot spots -- including Illinois and Washington -- could remain closed for a short period of time.

The NFL ordered teams to work from home in on March 24, closing all team facilities and conducting the first of its kind draft in April.

Offseason workouts, including voluntary and minicamp sessions, have taken place virtually.

All facilities are expected to be open well before training camp is scheduled to begin in late July. ESPN reported the NFL plan for preseason is flexible, and shortening the four-week preseason to reduce the number of games and limit travel is viewed as likely.

Teams will be confined to their team facilities and unable to travel to another location to hold training camp. The Dallas Cowboys, who travel to Oxnard, Calif., every July for camp, will be prohibited from returning there this summer. The Buffalo Bills (St. John Fisher College) and Pittsburgh Steelers (St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.) are among the other teams who use off-site destinations for training camp.

Based on the same report, popular joint practices between teams in the preseason are not expected to be approved.

Multiple teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Bills and Miami Dolphins, publicly shared they had made efforts to arrange joint workouts during the preseason.

Bears cancel meetings, observe Blackout Tuesday

Bears cancel meetings, observe Blackout Tuesday

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace canceled planned team meetings and individual sessions to recognize Blackout Tuesday.

Nagy gave the floor to players, including the social justice reform committee, in an effort to pause and allow for productive conversations around the topics of racism and police brutality.

Chicago has been witness to several nights of protests since a white police officer was filmed kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Team chairman George McCaskey said his team is committed to being "an active participant in change."

"A week ago another unarmed African-American man died at the hands of a white police officer. We are witnessing the anger and frustration play out in protests across the nation, including Chicago," McCaskey said.

"We must do more than wring our hands and hope it doesn't happen again. As an organization, we have addressed it internally by offering unconditional support to our family of staff, coaches and players, and today Ryan Pace and Coach Nagy spent the allotted two hours of team meeting time listening to and healing together with our players and the coaching staff.

"Through our voice, our actions and our resources, it is our obligation to lead. We will continue to work with our player-led social justice committee to provide funding and exposure to local organizations dedicated to empowering communities that have been oppressed for far too long."

Vikings' Kendricks, Barr to NFL: 'Your statement said nothing'

Vikings' Kendricks, Barr to NFL: 'Your statement said nothing'

Minnesota Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr criticized the NFL's statement after the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed throughout the country.

Commissioner Roger Goodell's statement addressed Floyd -- an African American whose death in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25 led to officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, being arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. It also addressed two other African Americans who were victims of gun violence earlier this year, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

In the statement, the NFL addressed its commitment to using its platform "in communities and as part of the fabric of American society" and that "we embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the important work to address these systemic issues together with our players, clubs and partners."

Kendricks and Barr, who are on the team's social justice committee, denounced the league's stance while issuing identical tweets on Twitter.

"Your statement said nothing," both tweets read. "Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing. Let the players know what you're ACTUALLY doing. And we know what silence means."

The tweet included an illustration with an NFL shield logo accompanied by the words "We Want Answers."

Kendricks and Barr issued a series of tweets saying that the Vikings are asking for input from fans and others on social media on how the organization can best support the area after last week's tragic events.

"If anyone has suggestions for how to support the city, we'd love to hear them," the tweets read. "Our team doesn't just want to donate -- we want to work with local organizations and get out there to help facilitate change. ... But we want answers at the league level. That's where change can happen, and we've seen none. Because right now, it seems like nothing. And nothing is unacceptable.

"You can't bring in people to teach us how we should interact with police but not work towards changing the behavior of the police themselves. Silence will not make this go away."

The Vikings linebackers weren't the only ones to take issue with the NFL statement.

Houston Texans wideout Kenny Stills, who has been a vocal protestor of racial injustice during his NFL career, gave a pointed response Saturday on Twitter, writing only, "Save the bull----"

Chargers coach Lynn 'pissed off,' wants change

Chargers coach Lynn 'pissed off,' wants change

As protests continue across the country more than a week after the death of George Floyd, Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn opened up about his mounting frustration in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"I'm angry, I'm pissed off and I don't want to just put out a pretty statement," Lynn told the Times in a story published Tuesday morning.

Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, an African American, for more than eight minutes on May 25. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter. Since Floyd's death, protests have emerged in dozens of cities across the nation.

Lynn, 51, is one of three African American head coaches in the NFL. He said he has seen other African American coaches, both in the NFL and other sports, putting out statements in recent days, but added he wants to do more.

"I've read some good statements," Lynn said. "I read Brian Flores from the Dolphins, and I agree 100 percent with him. I read (Los Angeles Clippers coach) Doc Rivers' statement, and those guys spoke from the heart. I think statements are needed to bring awareness to the situation.

"But I want to do something, too. I don't want to just put (a statement) out there because it's the right thing to do. I want change."

Saying he was tired of simply watching news coverage, Lynn said he joined a protest himself.

"I felt like a spectator. So I went out and joined the protesters in Huntington Beach," he said. "I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to see what it was like to experience it and it was pretty intense. I saw a lot of passionate people and it felt as if I was marching for the right reasons.

"After an hour or so I sought out the leader and we had a conversation and we talked about what was the endgame. After the protests, what is this going to lead to? That's when I got a little disappointed because there was no plan. ... I don't want to be doing this again 20 years from now, and so I'm looking for ways to sit at the table and have a conversation about this broken system."

Lynn touched on Colin Kaepernick, saying it's "tough" to see the quarterback out of the NFL after he protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Lynn said he will never kneel during the national anthem because of his family's military history, but he said he "understood and applauded (Kaepernick) for it."

The coach also described his own experience being racially profiled, recalling a time he was pulled over in his car.

"I was pulled over not too long ago," Lynn said. "The lights come on, I pull over and the first thing the police officer asked [was] if I was on parole or if I had ever been to jail.

"... Before he told me why he was pulling me over he asked if I was on parole or had I been to jail. It was a Friday, and the reason why I know this is because we had to play Baltimore that weekend, and I was worried if I went to jail, I wouldn't get out in time. If I didn't have the game, I would have gone off."

Lynn is entering his fourth year coaching the Chargers and his 21st coaching in the NFL.

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