The Buccaneers defense stifled Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' second-half comeback attempt.Nfl Nfc Championship Game Tampa Bay Buccaneers At Green Bay Packers

Report: Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay

Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers has told members of the Green Bay Packers organization that he does not want to return to the team, ESPN reported Thursday.

Rodgers, 37, has played for the Packers for his entire NFL career, leading Green Bay to victory in Super Bowl XLV and winning three MVP awards.

But reports and rumors have indicated that Rodgers has felt disgruntled in Green Bay dating back to last year. The Packers traded up to select a quarterback, Jordan Love, in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft rather than add an offensive player who could help Rodgers and the unit right away.

And ears perked up in January when Rodgers told reporters “my future is a beautiful mystery” following the Packers’ exit from the playoffs.

Packers president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur each have taken trips to meet one on one with Rodgers over the offseason, ESPN reported.

The Los Angeles Rams reportedly inquired about Rodgers’ availability in a trade earlier this offseason, and the San Francisco 49ers checked in with Green Bay about Rodgers this week, ESPN reported.

Rodgers is under contract through 2023, with a potential out in his deal before the 2022 season. NFL Network reported that Rodgers and the Packers have been negotiating a long-term contract this offseason, during which time Rodgers has been unhappy with how talks were going.

One of the best quarterbacks of his generation, Rodgers is on pace to move into 10th place all-time in career passing yards and fifth all-time in career passing touchdowns in 2021. Whether that happens with Green Bay or another franchise is now the question.

–Field Level Media

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Tim Tebow before the College Football Playoff national championship game between the Clemson Tigers and the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Tim Tebow works out for Jaguars at tight end

Tim Tebow wants to get back into professional football.

The former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, NFL Network and ESPN reported Thursday.

Tebow, 33, starred at the University of Florida under coach Urban Meyer, who’s entering his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach. Tebow grew up in Jacksonville before enrolling at Florida.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that “there has been at least some discussion” of Jacksonville signing him.

Denver selected Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After only lasting three seasons in the NFL with the Broncos and Jets, Tebow changed focus to professional baseball. He played in the New York Mets’ organization from 2016 to 2019, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2019, but announced his retirement from baseball in February.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 57 touchdowns over four seasons at Florida, while also passing for 88 TDs.

At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Tebow has a frame that could translate to the tight-end position despite not playing there at any point since high school. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is 6-5, 260, while San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is 6-4, 250.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2017; Lawrence, KS, USA; General view of the Central Michigan Chippewas helmet before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Arrest made in shooting of Central Michigan QB

An arrest was made in the weekend shooting of Central Michigan quarterback John Keller, who remains in critical but stable condition at a Michigan hospital.

Kenneth Thomas, 21, of Detroit, was arrested Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday in Isabella County on 10 felony counts, including two counts of assault with intent to murder, according to mlive.com.

The charges stem from an incident early Saturday at an apartment complex in Union Township, Mich., where CMU football players were having a party.

A fight apparently broke out after a group that included Thomas was kicked out of the party. Witnesses told police that Thomas returned to a vehicle and retrieved a gun and fired multiple times into the apartment, according to the criminal complaint.

Keller, 20, was shot in the chest. He was airlifted to a hospital in Flint and his condition is said to be improving, per an update to a GoFundMe page set up to help with medical costs.

“John continues to fight for his life at Hurley Medical Center and prayers are needed now more than ever,” said Lauren Rhodes, who organized the GoFundMe account. “John took heroic actions to prevent (the assailant) from entering into the building to shoot other individuals. John is a hero and he deserves our support and prayers during this time.”

Keller, of North Canton, Ohio, began his college career at Cincinnati before transferring to Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. He announced his commitment to Central Michigan in January 2020 and sat out last season due to NCAA requirements. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Fellow student Tyler Bunting, 23, was shot in his side and is expected to be released from the hospital soon, Sheriff Mike Main told reporters.

–Field Level Media

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton takes off his mask to yell to his players in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Saints trying to trade into top 10 of draft

The New Orleans Saints, owners of the No. 28 overall pick in Thursday’s first round of the NFL draft, are seeking a trade partner to move into the top 10, Fox Sports and ESPN reported.

“The primary reason isn’t for a QB, it’s actually for another position,” ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweeted. “Although, there is 1 QB (not named Trevor) who would change their minds if he was still available.”

Longtime Saints quarterback Drew Brees retired this offseason, so New Orleans re-signed 2020 backup Jameis Winston heading into next year. The Saints also still have Taysom Hill on their roster, but they have used him more as a utility knife than as a quarterback.

As many as five quarterbacks could be taken in the top 10 of the draft Thursday. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson are expected to go No. 1 and 2, with Ohio State’s Justin Fields, Alabama’s Mac Jones and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance all in the mix atop the board.

Non-quarterbacks widely projected for the top 10 include Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Oregon tackle Penei Sewell and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

Moving from No. 28 to No. 10 or better is not unheard of, but a leap that big would require New Orleans to fork over a haul of assets in return.

–Field Level Media

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (90) is introduced before playing against the Chicago Bears at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. September 23, 2018.

Bears Vs Cardinals

Seahawks sign DT Robert Nkemdiche

The Seattle Seahawks added depth to their defensive line by signing former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche on Thursday.

Terms were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-4, 296-pound defensive tackle was drafted 29th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in 2016.

A knee injury ended his 2018 season after 10 games and Arizona waived him with a failed physical designation before the start of the 2019 season. He signed with the Miami Dolphins, but was waived after two games in 2019 and did not play in the NFL in 2020.

Nkemdiche, 26, has recorded 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 29 games (six starts).

–Field Level Media

Oct 4, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) throws the ball back during pre-game warm ups before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Agent: Panthers picking up WR DJ Moore’s option

The Carolina Panthers are picking up the fifth-year option on wideout DJ Moore’s contract, agent Drew Rosenhaus told reporters Thursday.

The 2018 first-round pick will earn $11.1 million in 2022.

Moore, 24, registered his second straight 1,000-yard season in 2020 and has only missed two games in three years.

He enters 2021 with 208 receptions for 3,156 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus 234 rushing yards on 21 attempts, in 46 games (39 starts).

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes upfield ahead of Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Blake Gallagher (51) during the first quarter of the Big Ten Championship football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.

Big Ten Championship Ohio State Northwestern

Report: Patriots talking to Falcons about the No. 4 overall pick

The New England Patriots may be strongly considering paying up for trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Athletic reported the Patriots are interested in the Atlanta Falcons’ fourth overall selection in Thursday’s first round, likely targeting a quarterback.

With Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Zach Wilson (Jets) and either Mac Jones or Trey Lance (49ers) likely gone by that point, the Patriots could be targeting Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

The cost would figure to be prohibitive, given the 49ers gave up plenty to move from No. 12 into their current No. 3 position. San Francisco traded the No. 12 overall pick this year, its third-round pick next year and first-rounders in 2022 and 2023.

The Patriots hold the No. 15 overall pick.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2021; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) slides after a run while being pursued by Los Angeles Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd (54) during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seahawks insist there is no conflict with star QB Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sure sounded unhappy earlier this offseason, and his agent even released a list of four potential trade partners.

But in the eyes of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, there never was an issue and there certainly wasn’t a point in which the club entertained trading the seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

“I think that we’re very clear about it now,” Carroll said during the team’s pre-draft press conference on Wednesday. “He wasn’t being traded.”

Of course, an agent doesn’t release a list of trade destinations if there isn’t a high amount of tension between his client and the organization. Agent Mark Rodgers mentioned these four teams: The Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears.

General manager John Schneider declined to reveal details about any trade discussions. Wilson has three seasons remaining on a four-year, $140 million deal.

“I was in contact with Russell’s agent,” Schneider said. “Those are conversations that stay in house.”

The end result is that the Seahawks are dashing full speed toward the 2021 season with Wilson as their quarterback.

And doing so while speculation persists that there is still mending to do between Wilson and the organization.

Carroll said that appearances can be deceiving, as in there wasn’t a problem even if it looked like there may be one.

“Russ has been our quarterback for a good while,” Carroll said. “We’ve got a long contract with him. And when all of the conversation went about trades and all that — I knew what the truth was: We weren’t trading Russell. So we plan on him being here for a good while. I don’t know how many years it is now, but we’re in great shape and a long future ahead of us is shared. Russ knows that. I know that. We’re very clear about it.

“That’s why it was really obvious that we just had to sit back and kind of let the media take its course with the topic. So we did. So we’re in good shape and both very clear about that.”

Wilson and Carroll were both highly disappointed following a season that ended with Seattle’s 30-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Wild Card game.

A few weeks later, Wilson expressed his frustration over the amount of sacks he takes and said he wanted a voice in personnel decisions.

Carroll said there have been no changes in terms of the latter. Schneider, meanwhile, wasn’t surprised that there were some bumping of heads going on.

“Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson are two of the most passionate people I know,” Schneider said. “Passionate people say passionate things, and I think it just kind of came out.”

Carroll said his relationship with Wilson is fine.

“We’ve talked extensively throughout the offseason,” Carroll said. “There wasn’t a time that went by that we weren’t in communication.”

Wilson has passed for 33,946 yards, 267 touchdowns and 81 interceptions in nine seasons with the Seahawks. He passed for a career-high 40 touchdowns last season while accumulating 4,212 yards and being intercepted a career-worst 13 times. Wilson was sacked 47 times.

He has guided the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, a 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in the 2013 season and a 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots the next season. Wilson threw a late interception at the goal line in the loss to New England.

The Seahawks have just three picks in the 2021 draft — a second-rounder (No. 56 overall), a fourth (No. 129) and a seventh (No. 250).

Seattle traded its first-round pick prior to last season when it acquired safety Jamal Adams from the New York Jets.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2018; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons helmets on the bench during their game against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons GM adds to No. 4 pick mystery

If the Atlanta Falcons know what direction they are headed with the No. 4 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday, they are not about to show their hand.

Offense? Defense? Trade?

All options are being considered, Falcons first-year general manager Terry Fontenot said.

Without a draft-day track record, trying to predict the route Fontenot will go has been a difficult task. He came to the Falcons in January after 17 years with the New Orleans Saints where he went from scout to director of pro scouting into his 2020 role of assistant general manager.

“We’ve gone through the different things that can happen,” Fontenot said Wednesday. “But you never know what is going to happen at that exact moment, but we know the players that we’re talking about.”

Fontenot said he is fairly confident how the first three picks in the draft will go. But he isn’t making it easy to predict pick No. 4.

” … Do we trade back compared to the player we could get at 4, or if we trade back, what would be the value?” he said. “So we have to weigh all those different variables and all those scenarios so we know the players that we’re talking about.”

With longtime quarterback Matt Ryan turning 36 next month and heading into his 14th season, the Falcons are interested in selecting a new face of the franchise soon. Quarterback options like Ohio State’s Justin Fields and North Dakota State’s Trey Lance have been speculated as options Thursday.

But a 4-12 record last season and a last-place finish in the NFC South shows that multiple areas of the roster are in need of improvement.

“When you’re picking at 4, we’re trying to take an impact player,” Fontenot said. “Whether it’s a player that’s going to sit or a player that’s going to play right away, we want to bring in an impact player that fits the culture, that has the right makeup and that we have clear vision for that player.”

A quality quarterback is as impactful as it gets, but the Falcons might decide they aren’t in position to wait for a new signal caller to take over.

“We understand we have to add quarterbacks to the roster,” Fontenot said. “And there’s a lot of good ones and a lot of good options.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons confounding oddsmakers at No. 4

Pundits and sportsbooks alike are being confounded by one team near the top of the draft: the Atlanta Falcons at No. 4.

As mock drafts and even general managers drafting in the near vicinity of the Falcons and their new brain trust flail for answers surrounding which player Atlanta wants with the fourth overall pick, oddsmakers are walking a similar line.

That is to say — they aren’t sure whether Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields or a trade might be coming. First-time general manager Terry Fontenot cut his teeth with the New Orleans Saints, and no trade or decision was ever too aggressive for his boss, Mickey Loomis.

Fontenot said Wednesday all options are open for Atlanta, and there was no reason to make a decision until Thursday night to allow for teams to make their best possible bids for the pick.

Pitts, the beast mode tight end who moves like a wide receiver, is the heavy favorite at FanDuel. At -210, he’s well ahead of Lance (+380), Fields (+430) and LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (+1900).

PointsBet took one $500 bet on Pitts to be the No. 3 pick, which offers a potential return of $25,000.

DraftKings offers a chance to predict the exact order of picks 3-4-5. At +200 is the sequence of Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (3), Pitts (4) and Chase (5). Jones (3), Fields (4), Chase (5) is +550.

DraftKings went away from the pick market after the top three picks. The book does rate Chase (-200) well ahead of Pitts (-400) to be a top-five pick, with Jones at -305. Jones is the favorite at DraftKings to go third overall to the 49ers.

However, DraftKings has a market on the position played by the team’s top pick in the 2021 draft, and tight end is the runaway favorite at -305

Looking to bet on the @Falcons? Here’s a look at their available markets and futures:

2021 NFL MVP
Matt Ryan is +10000 to win the award via BetMGM. That’s even with Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold.

Super Bowl LVI odds
After going 4-12 last season, the Falcons opened with +5000 odds to win Super Bowl LVI.

Falcons win total (via William Hill)
over-under 7 wins
(-143 over)
(+118 under)

–Field Level Media