Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA;  General view of the NFL Shield logo on the field before Super Bowl LV between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL considering Germany as next international destination

The NFL appears to be looking at expanding international locations to host regular-season games, and Germany has emerged as the top destination to join England and Mexico as host countries as early as 2022.

According to a league memo regarding a proposed international scheduling model, the NFL currently is considering putting a game in either Munich or Berlin starting with the 2022 season.

The memo outlines the league’s tentative plan for 2022, putting two games in London, one in Mexico and one in Germany. For the upcoming 2021 season, the NFL will stage just two international games, both at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Atlanta Falcons will host the New York Jets on Oct. 10, and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be the home team against the Miami Dolphins the following week.

According to the memo and detailed in multiple reports, when NFL owners voted to expand the regular-season schedule to 17 games, they also agreed to a rule that would require every team to “host” at least one international game every eight years.

The New England Patriots could among the first teams to play in Germany, as owner Robert Kraft reportedly noted in 2018 that his team would “be willing to play if they’d kindly arrange that.”

A report by NBC Sports suggested the first game in Germany likely would be held at Allianz Arena, a 70,000-seat stadium that’s home to soccer team Bayern Munich, and according to the memo, it would be played on a Sunday afternoon in Germany with a 9:30 a.m. ET kickoff for American viewers.

–Field Level Media

Giants' Brandon Jacobs pretends to crash while flying into the locker room after their win over the Jets at MetLife Stadium.0000jacobs24164e56 00006

Ex-Giants RB Brandon Jacobs eyes comeback as DE

Former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs says he’s ready to return to the NFL … as a defensive end.

Jacobs, who will turn 39 in July, tagged the Giants while announcing his intentions during his Twitter post on Thursday.

“@Giants I am ready. I am ready to hit sack any QB out there,” Jacobs wrote.

Jacobs doubled down on his intentions by referencing the comeback attempt of Tim Tebow, who is returning to the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars after spending four seasons in the New York Mets system. The 33-year-old Tebow is a former quarterback, but is trying to land a spot on the Jaguars roster at tight end.

“Well, since Tebow came back after being off a good bit, I am announcing today that I, too, will come back. I will play defensive end for whatever team gives me a chance,” Jacobs tweeted. “I am really serious about coming back as a defensive end. I can still run, I am strong and there’s no way Tim Tebow is a better athlete than I am. I just need a shot, that’s it! If I can’t cut it I’ll take it like a man. Just give me one chance that’s all!”

Jacobs rushed for 5,094 yards and 60 touchdowns in 109 career games with the New York Giants (2005-11, 2013) and San Francisco 49ers (2012). He also had 82 receptions for 743 yards and four scores.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (26) walks off the field following the game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Free agent RB Le’Veon Bell insists he’ll play in 2021

Free agent running back Le’Veon Bell says he is waiting to sign with the right team that will utilize his talents.

“i’ll sign somewhere when IM ready…ain’t no more finessing me with lies and (expletive) just to get me to sign with they team…no more rushed decisions on my end, period…” Bell posted in a series of tweets on Thursday.

Bell, 29, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers before sitting out the entire 2018 season on the franchise tag in a contract dispute.

After signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the New York Jets in March 2019, Bell gained 1,250 yards from scrimmage and scored four touchdowns in 15 starts with the team that season.

Bell played in three games with the Jets last season before being released on Oct. 14. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs three days later and played in nine regular season contests and one playoff game for the AFC champs.

On Thursday, Bell vowed to return to his All-Pro form from 2017, when he led the NFL with 406 touches with the Steelers and gained nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage.

“2021 will be the year y’all reminded,” Bell wrote on Twitter.

Bell said the Jets didn’t give him the opportunity to shine.

“… I probably need to play for a defensive minded head coach instead of these offensive minded guru’s … I had more touches in 2017 for the steelers than I had my entire time with the jets,” he wrote.

When a fan responded that Bell had plenty of chances in New York, the running back questioned the play-calling he experienced there.

“I don’t consider a ‘HB dive’ on 3rd & short of 4th & short EVERY TIME is an opportunity,” Bell wrote. “we line up & they callin out the play, that’s not opportunity, on top of the play being a dive … I can’t make (expletive) shake with that.”

Bell has rushed for 6,453 yards and 40 touchdowns and caught 394 passes for 3,259 yards and eight scores in 88 games (81 starts) with the Steelers (2013-17), Jets (2019-20) and Chiefs (2020).

–Field Level Media

May 27, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) participates in OTA practice at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in East Rutherford. Mandatory credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA Today Sports.

Giants coach: ‘Daniel Jones is our quarterback’

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge gave Daniel Jones a vote of confidence on the quarterback’s 24th birthday Thursday.

“Daniel Jones is our quarterback,” Judge replied when asked whether the team had any interest in bringing in any veterans to create competition.

The only other quarterbacks on the current New York roster are journeyman Mike Glennon and Clayton Thorson, a fifth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019.

Jones is heading into his third season with the Giants, who selected him with the No. 6 overall pick in 2019. He was 5-9 as a starter in 2020, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,943 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and rushing for 423 yards and one score.

“I’m proud of the way he works every day,” Judge said. “This guy comes to work every day and whatever phase he’s in, if he’s in the weight room, getting treatment on field, throwing with his teammates, organizing things outside this building, the guy always has a plan of how he’s going to attack things. And I’m proud to watch how he’s worked.”

Jones, who threw 24 touchdown passes in 13 games (12 starts) as a 2019 rookie, said he wants to improve as a leader this season.

“As a quarterback, my role is a lot of times to be that communicator, to bring guys together, to get guys moving toward where we need to go, thinking about our goals and what we want to accomplish come this fall,” Jones said Thursday.

The Giants haven’t had a winning record or gone to the playoffs since the 2016 season.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; General view of the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl logo prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Wisconsin Badgers at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Pinstripe Bowl returns to Yankee Stadium in December

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl returns to Yankee Stadium this December after being canceled last season due to COVID-19 considerations.

The Dec. 29 contest at the Bronx ballpark will be the 11th edition of the bowl and the seventh straight time it will feature teams from the Big Ten and ACC conferences.

“We are excited to welcome back college football and the pageantry of Bowl Season to Yankee Stadium in 2021,” said Pinstripe Bowl executive director Mark Holtzman in a news release on Thursday. “In a little more than a decade, the New Era Pinstripe Bowl has become a fixture on the New York sports landscape and a premier destination bowl for Big Ten and ACC Conference schools.

“We are proud to have had a special atmosphere every year, which is a direct result of the participating schools and their alumni, the competitiveness of the matchups, and the one-of-a-kind backdrop provided by New York City during the holiday season. For both fans in attendance at Yankee Stadium and the national audience tuning in, we look forward to continuing this rousing tradition on December 29.”

The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

“We are excited to welcome college football back to Yankee Stadium this December,” said New Era vice president Josh Feine. “The New Era Pinstripe Bowl is a New York City holiday tradition, and we are thrilled to once again to partner with the New York Yankees on the 11th annual edition of the game.”

Michigan State defeated Wake Forest, 27-21, in the most recent Pinstripe Bowl in 2019.

–Field Level Media

January 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (68) before the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: NFL suspends OT Jared Veldheer six games

Free agent offensive tackle Jared Veldheer reacted to reports he was suspended for the first six games of the 2021 season.

The reports did not indicate a reason for the suspension, but Veldheer released a statement on Twitter indicating it was for a prescription steroid he is taking due to a low testosterone level.

“I was prescribed low dose clomid due to abnormally low T (Likely caused from pituitary damage suffered from repeated blows to the head). I recommend this to any veteran who is struggling with post football issues,” Veldheer wrote. “… Would love to talk more about it.”

Another statement attributed to Veldheer and posted by NFL Network indicated that the veteran, who turns 34 next month, plans to retire.

Veldheer started 114 of his 121 games with the Oakland Raiders (2010-13), Arizona Cardinals (2014-17), Denver Broncos (2018), Green Bay Packers (2019) and Indianapolis Colts (2020).

Veldheer nearly made history last season as the first player to compete for two different teams in the playoffs.

After he saw action for Indianapolis in a wild-card loss at Buffalo, the Packers signed him off the Colts’ practice squad. He went on the COVID-19 reserve list prior to Green Bay’s divisional game against the Los Angeles Rams.

–Field Level Media

Fans try to stay dry as they check out the oversized team helmets at the NFL Draft Experience on Thursday April 29, 2021.

Draft 7

Former linebacker Eugene Marve dies at 60

Former NFL linebacker Eugene Marve has died. He was 60.

Marve died Monday after a short hospital stay in Michigan, according to Saginaw Valley State, where he played collegiately and is a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame.

Marve was the first Saginaw Valley State player to be drafted when he was a third-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 1982.

He played 11 NFL seasons with the Bills (1982-87), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1988-91) and San Diego Chargers (1992).

Marve started 126 of 154 games played and had eight sacks, eight fumble recoveries and three interceptions.

At Saginaw Valley State, Marve racked up 299 tackles — 124 coming in 1981 — and nine sacks from 1978-81. His Hall of Fame induction came in 2011.

“The SVSU Football family is deeply saddened by the passing of Eugene Marve,” said football coach Ryan Brady, who took the gig prior to the 2019 season. “Eugene is and always will be a dear friend and an all-time great of SVSU Football.

“I feel blessed, fortunate and grateful to have developed such a strong bond and relationship with Eugene in my short time as head football coach at SVSU.”

Marve’s son, Robert, was a college quarterback at Miami (2008) and Purdue (2009-12).

–Field Level Media

Dec 13, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Todd Gurley (21) during pregame warmups before playing the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Report: FA Todd Gurley visiting Lions

Free agent and former All-Pro running back Todd Gurley is in Detroit on Thursday visiting the Lions, ESPN reported.

Gurley played last season in Atlanta after a five-year stint with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. Signing with Detroit would reunite Gurley with former Rams quarterback Jared Goff and general manager Brad Holmes, who was the Rams’ director of college scouting when the team took Gurley No. 10 overall in the 2015 draft.

The Lions signed RB Jamaal Williams in the offseason and also feature second-year player D’Andre Swift, who, like Gurley, played at Georgia. The Lions also drafted Jermar Jefferson in the seventh round of last month’s draft.

Gurley, 26, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time All-Pro who has rushed for 6,082 yards (4.2 yards per carry) and 67 touchdowns. He also has 243 career receptions for 2,254 yards and 12 TDs.

He started 15 games for the Falcons in 2020, rushing for 678 yards and nine TDs.

–Field Level Media

Oct 6, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars helmet in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jaguars SVP of operations out after 3 months

Jacksonville Jaguars senior vice president of operations and strategy Karim Kassam is out after only three months on the job, ESPN reported Thursday.

Kassam was hired Feb. 19 and reported into Chief Football Strategy Officer Tony Khan, son of Jaguars owner Shad Khan. Kassam’s role was to oversee the team’s football technology and analytics departments in addition to salary cap administration.

No reason was given for the sudden departure, per the report.

Kassam is the second February hire to have left the team.

Chris Doyle resigned as the team’s director of sports performance a day after the team announced his hire in mid-February.

Doyle came under fire for his tenure at Iowa, where he served as the Hawkeyes’ director of strength and conditioning from 1999 until last summer. Doyle and the school parted ways after several former Hawkeyes went public with the way they were mistreated during their time in Iowa City.

Several Black players alleged that Doyle and other coaches used racist language toward them, while a former offensive lineman, who is white, said Doyle and other coaches made fun of his learning disability.

–Field Level Media

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) talks with teammates during drills at rookie minicamp.

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Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence praises new teammate Tim Tebow

Trevor Lawrence has something in common with the newest tight end on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Both players were first-round draft quarterbacks.

Lawrence praised Tim Tebow on Wednesday during an interview with NFL Network. The No. 1 overall pick out of Clemson believes that he can work well with the 33-year-old Tebow, who is back in the league with Jaguars first-year coach Urban Meyer.

“I’ve had a few good conversations with him. I’m really excited to play with him,” Lawrence said about Tebow. “I don’t know if you’re going to find a better guy to have in your locker room, and he’s in great shape. He looks great, he’s been out there practicing with us.”

Tebow has not played in the NFL since 2012, when he appeared in 12 games and started two for the New York Jets. He is not promised a spot on the Jaguars’ 53-man roster, but Lawrence likes what he has seen from the veteran.

“He’s running around well, picking it up quick,” Lawrence said. “I think mentally, he’s in a great spot. Being a quarterback and playing in the NFL for a number of years, he kind of gets the NFL offense — personnel, offense, systems — he picks them up easily.

“He’s coming along great and I think just everyone’s excited to have him in the locker room, seeing what he’s been able to do, the ultimate competitor he is and just his character. That’s just a guy you want on your team, for one, and a guy you want to be around.”

As for Lawrence, the adjustment to the NFL has been smooth so far.

“There’s a lot of differences, (but) it’s still football,” Lawrence said. “It’s been a lot of fun to get out there with all the new guys, new teammates, and kind of get used to everyone. That’s been fun, but it’s just different.

“I’m a pro now, and just the way people handle their business, the expectations, all those things, in a good way. You’re just expected to be prepared and play at a high level because this is our job now. It’s been a cool adjustment for me, and being able to treat this as, this is my job. This is all I have to do. It’s not like I’m in school anymore.”

–Field Level Media