Jan 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA;  Los Angeles Rams plays their final home game of the season against the Arizona Cardinals in an empty SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Roger Goodell: Expectation is for full stadiums in fall

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he anticipates packed venues across the league this fall.

“All of us in the NFL want to see every one of our fans back,” Goodell said Tuesday. “Football is simply not the same without the fans and we expect to have full stadiums in the 2021 season.”

Games went on in 2020 in either empty stadiums or those with fans numbering well below capacity because of the threat of COVID-19. But with the U.S. poised to administer three million vaccinations every day, Goodell is optimistic.

Further, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ESPN’s “First Take” earlier this month that there is reason for a positive outlook.

“I hope that by the time we get to the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall, we’ll be very close to what we could consider ‘normal,’” Fauci said.

NFL total attendance in 2020 was 1.2 million, down from nearly 17 million in 2019. Most of the fans attended stadiums in Texas and Florida, where state regulations allowed greater capacity.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2021; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) warms up before a game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Kentucky QB Terry Wilson transfers to New Mexico

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) jogs off the field after a play against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson has transferred to New Mexico, the Lobos announced Tuesday.

Wilson, who went 17-8 as a starter for the Wildcats from 2018-20, has one season remaining and is eligible to play for the Lobos in 2021.

“Terry Wilson will bring immediate experience to our quarterback room,” New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said in a news release. “He is a three-year starter in the SEC and won 68 percent of his games there. He is a true dual-threat quarterback who should fit very well into what we are trying to do offensively. He was a two-time captain at Kentucky and he earned his degree as well, so he will bring a level of maturity and leadership to our team.”

Wilson announced he was entering the NCAA transfer portal in January.

Wilson passed for 3,436 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,015 yards and 10 scores with the Wildcats.

He appeared in 10 games in 2020, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,187 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions. He rushed 104 times for 424 yards and five scores.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) jogs off the field after a play against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans GM: Deshaun Watson accusations ‘troubling’

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34) celebrates with offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio said the civil lawsuits filed by 19 women against franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson are being taken “very seriously” by the team.

Caserio was the first team official to speak publicly about the situation when he spoke on the Texans All Access podcast.

The lawsuits make allegations against Watson ranging from inappropriate actions to sexual assault during massage treatments. The first suit was filed March 16.

“We’re certainly cognizant and aware,” Caserio said. “We made a statement at the beginning about where the organization stood. I would say it’s a legal situation, it’s a legal process, so we’re certainly respectful of that.

“We certainly take them very seriously. The allegations, what’s been discussed, are certainly troubling. And organizationally that’s not something that we can condone, that we condone, those types of actions.”

Watson, 25, posted a statement to social media following the filing of the first lawsuit, denying the allegation.

No criminal charges have been filed.

The NFL said on March 18 that cases of alleged wrongdoing by Watson are under investigation. The Texans issued a statement at the time that said team officials will stay in contact with the league.

Last September, the Texans signed Watson to a four-year, $156 million contract extension. His relationship with the team has soured since, however, and he has requested a trade.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Samaje Perine (34) celebrates with offensive guard Quinton Spain (67) after scoring a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Bengals bring back G Quinton Spain on one-year deal

Dec 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Bobby Hart (68) warms up prior to a game against the New England Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals retained guard Quinton Spain with a one-year contract on Tuesday.

Spain was an unrestricted free agent after finishing the 2020 season with the Bengals. The deal is worth $1.12 million, according to spotrac.

The 29-year-old Spain appeared in four games (two starts) for the Buffalo Bills last season before being benched and eventually released on Oct. 21. He was picked up by Cincinnati and started eight of nine games played.

Spain has started 74 of 79 games played during six NFL seasons. He signed with Tennessee as an undrafted free agent out of West Virginia prior to the 2015 season and started 48 of 50 games over four seasons with the Titans.

He started all 16 games for the Bills in 2019 and was signed to a three-year, $15 million deal after the campaign before falling out of favor last season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 15, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Bobby Hart (68) warms up prior to a game against the New England Patriots at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Bills sign OL Bobby Hart to one-year deal

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) against Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller (74) at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday announced the signing of offensive lineman Bobby Hart to a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not released.

Hart, 26, spent the past three seasons in Cincinnati.

He has played in 79 games (66 starts) for the Bengals and New York Giants, who selected Hart in the seventh round of the 2015 draft. He started all but one of the games he played at right tackle for the Bengals.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) against Las Vegas Raiders offensive tackle Kolton Miller (74) at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders sign LT Kolton Miller to 3-year, $68.7M extension

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders agreed to a three-year extension with left tackle Kolton Miller on Tuesday.

Miller’s agency, Octagon Football, tweeted the deal is worth $68.7 million and makes the 25-year-old Miller the fifth highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL.

ESPN reported the deal is worth more than $18 million per season and includes $42.6 million guaranteed at signing. The extension runs through 2025, including a fifth-year option.

Miller, 25, has started 46 of a possible 48 games since the Raiders drafted him in the first round (15th overall) out of UCLA in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

NFL owners approve 17-game season for 2021

NFL owners approved the expansion of the regular season to 17 games per team at a virtual league meeting on Tuesday.

This change, which begins with the 2021 season, marks the first expansion of the NFL’s schedule since it moved from 14 games to 16 in 1978.

Also on Tuesday, the NFL reduced the preseason slate from four games per team to three.

The changes had been expected since the NFL and the National Football League Players Association approved the latest collective bargaining agreement in March 2020.

“This is a monumental moment in NFL history,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “The CBA with the players and the recently completed media agreements provide the foundation for us to enhance the quality of the NFL experience for our fans. And one of the benefits of each team playing 17 regular-season games is the ability for us to continue to grow our game around the world.”

The additional regular-season game will feature an intra-conference matchup between teams that finished in the same position in their division. The AFC teams will host this year’s games before the conferences trade off annually.

This season, the matchups will be NFC East vs. AFC East, NFC West vs. AFC North, NFC South vs. AFC South, and NFC West vs. AFC North

Below is the breakdown of each team’s 17th matchup this season:

NFC East vs. AFC East
–Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills
–New York Giants at Miami Dolphins
–Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots
–Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets

NFC West vs. AFC North
–Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
–Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
–Arizona Cardinals at Cleveland Browns
–San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals

NFC South vs. AFC South
–New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans
–Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
–Carolina Panthers at Houston Texans
–Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

NFC West vs. AFC North
–Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
–Chicago Bears at Las Vegas Raiders
–Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers
–Detroit Lions at Denver Broncos

The official 2021 schedule, with playing dates and times, will be announced later this spring.

The 2021 NFL season is scheduled to begin on Thursday, Sept. 9, and end on Sunday, Jan. 9. Super Bowl LVI is set to take place Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

–Field Level Media

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs’ Bruce Arians shows off Super Bowl tattoo

Coach Bruce Arians is the latest member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl victory with a tattoo.

Arians, in fact, took to social media on Tuesday to show that he made good on his promise.

“I’m a man of my word- ‘when we win the Super Bowl, I will get a tattoo’ well I got mine and I love it!! #SBLV #superbowlLVchamps,” the 68-year-old Arians posted on Twitter.

The tattoo on Arians’ upper back features the Super Bowl LV logo with the Lombardi trophy. That rests atop the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ logo, with the numbers 31 and 9 featured. The Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs by that final score on Feb. 7.

Arians claims he told tight ends coach Rick Christophel that he would get the ink should the Buccaneers win the title.

Arians is not alone about receiving some ink following the title win.

Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and wide receiver Mike Evans reportedly also commemorated the Super Bowl win with tattoos.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford (98) in action during an NFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Cowboys and the Seahawks at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford announces retirement

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford retired Tuesday after eight seasons and 112 NFL games.

Crawford, 31, made the announcement on social media.

“My next chapter will be my best chapter!” he wrote, in part. “Thankful & with a full heart I officially announce my retirement from the @NFL.”

A third-round pick by Dallas out of Boise State in 2012, Crawford registered 25 sacks, 194 tackles, 65 quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He made 79 starts, missing the entire 2013 season with a torn Achilles and missing 12 games in 2019 with a hip injury.

The Canadian-born Crawford played in all 16 games (three starts) in 2020, posting 14 tackles and a pair of sacks.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cornerback, Ryan Smith, (29) at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Chargers sign former Bucs CB Ryan Smith

The Los Angeles Chargers are signing cornerback Ryan Smith to a one-year, $1.75 million deal, NFL Network reported Tuesday.

Smith, 27, spent the past five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, registering 117 tackles, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 73 games (16 starts).

Most of his snaps have been on special teams over the past two seasons.

A fourth-round pick in 2016, Smith played in all 20 regular season and playoff games last season for the Super Bowl LV champions.

–Field Level Media