Dec 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Detroit Lions running back Theo Riddick (25) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Deluxe pass-catching RB Theo Riddick retires

Las Vegas Raiders running back Theo Riddick is retiring after seven NFL seasons.

The Raiders placed Riddick on the reserve/retired list Friday. Earlier this week, Riddick was put on the team’s COVID-19 list.

Riddick, 30, excelled as a pass catcher out of the backfield with the Detroit Lions, catching a career-high 80 passes in 2015 and 247 over a four-season span.

After being released by Detroit in July 2019, Riddick joined the Denver Broncos but he missed the season after fracturing a shoulder during the preseason.

He joined the Raiders last season and played in just four games — catching five passes for 43 yards and rushing six times for 14 yards.

Overall, Riddick rushed for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns and caught 290 passes for 2,281 yards and 14 scores since entering the league as a sixth-round pick by the Lions in 2013. He played collegiately at Notre Dame.

Also Friday, running back Kenyan Drake and defensive tackle Darius Stills were removed from the non-football injury list and returned to practice.

–Field Level Media

July 28, 2021; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), head coach Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, right, participate in training camp Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Dan Powers-USA TODAY NETWORK

Packers to limit Aaron Rodgers’ preseason throws

With no formal offseason preparation, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be limited in the preseason, coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Friday.

Locked in a stalemate with the Packers over his future this offseason, Rodgers didn’t participate in any team workouts before reporting to training camp this week.

LaFleur said he met with Rodgers and discussed the amount of throws he’ll make each day to spare “wear and tear” on his arm. He didn’t specify the number but said the Packers will be keeping count.

ESPN reported that in the past three days, he averaged 14 throws during 11-on-11 drills.

LaFleur also confirmed Friday that backup quarterback Jordan Love will take the majority of preseason reps.

Rodgers, the reigning league MVP, said he considered retirement but he and the Packers reached a contract compromise to keep him in Green Bay.

ESPN reported he signed a reworked contract in which the Packers are voiding the 2023 season from the deal.

The report said that the Packers also removed certain forfeiture provisions from the contract that would have allowed the team to try to recoup portions of Rodgers’ signing bonus should he retire.

Rodgers, 37, shared both the physical and mental preparation he did in the offseason via social media and addressed the mental aspect of sports this week.

“I think it’s important that we work on our mental state. As you’ve seen with Simone Biles, I think there needs to be more conversation around that,” Rodgers told reporters. “For me, it was just about clearing any of the clutter. That’s what I tried to do this offseason by adjusting some habits and spending some time with my loved ones, traveling as safely and as often as I possibly could and then making sure I was ready to go if I came back.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detail view of LSU Tigers helmets after the LSU Tigers defeated the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

5-star S Jacoby Mathews decommits from LSU

Safety Jacoby Mathews, a five-star 2022 recruit, decommitted from home-state LSU on Friday.

Matthews is the No. 2 safety and the No. 27 overall player in the class, according to the 247Sports composite.

“After deep consideration, my parents and I have thought a lot through and I have decided to decommit from Louisiana State University and re-open my recruitment,” he posted to social media.

He has about 30 offers, including from at least one school in each Power Five conference.

Mathews plays at Louisiana’s Ponchatoula High School.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; Orchard Park, NY, United States; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) comes off the field after practice at the Buffalo Bills Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Bills WR Cole Beasley releases anti-vaccination rap

Buffalo Bills wideout Cole Beasley released a rap song containing lyrics against receiving a COVID-19 vaccination shot.

Beasley’s song titled “Heavy 1s” is an ode to both his uniform number (No. 11) as well as … well, let him tell you.

“I got heavy nuts,” is a prominent lyric, along with anti-vaccination lines such as “ain’t no vaccination for me, only evacuation save ’em homie.”

Beasley, who claims he is pro-choice in terms of information on vaccinations, didn’t stop there.

“To shut my mouth you’re going to have to kill me. If freedom of speech and freedom of choice go out the window then there’s no freedom at all,” Beasley said in the song.

Beasley has been outspoken against vaccinations, even threatening retirement at one point after the NFL and its players association announced new rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players. He even got into it over social media with teammate Jerry Hughes on the topic, however Beasley noted that he had a calm conversation on the phone with the Bills defensive end.

As for his style of music, Beasley is not new to the rap game. He released his first album in 2018.

Beasley, 32, is coming off a season in which he recorded career highs of 82 receptions and 967 yards. He also had four touchdown catches.

Overall, Beasley has 468 catches for 5,016 yards and 33 touchdowns in 133 games (42 starts) over nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys (2012-18) and Bills.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins CB Xavien Howard sits with ankle injury

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard sat out Friday’s training camp practice with an ankle injury sustained in practice on Thursday.

Howard did not suffer a serious injury, head coach Brian Flores said.

The cornerback has requested a trade, with multiple teams reportedly showing interest. An injury could derail a deal, but Howard insisted on Tuesday that he would comport himself professionally on and off the field.

Howard earlier this week released a statement on social media, saying he signed a five-year, $75.25 million contract extension in May 2019 “that I’ll admit I didn’t completely understand.”

“I’ve played on that deal for two seasons and didn’t complain, but everyone knows I completely outperformed that deal,” Howard said in a Twitter post. “I’m one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and the tape backs up that claim. … Yet, I’m the second highest paid cornerback on my own team, and it’s not even close.”

Howard, 28, said he never asked for a new contract.

“We wanted to work things out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table — like guaranteeing more money — that we felt were win-wins for both sides. … But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed. … I don’t feel valued or respected by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I. That’s why I want to make it clear I’m not happy, and have requested a trade.”

Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick pushed for a trade out of Miami in 2019, landing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fitzpatrick was dissatisfied with his role in the secondary with the Dolphins.

Howard led the NFL with 10 interceptions and 20 passes defended last season and added 51 tackles and one forced fumble in 16 games. He has 191 tackles, 22 interceptions and two forced fumbles in 56 career games (55 starts) since being selected by Miami in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Jul 28, 2021; St. Joseph, MO, United States; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) runs the ball during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (back, hips) sits out practice

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce did not participate in practice on Friday, one day after experiencing tightness in his back and hips.

The NFL Network reported the move to keep Kelce from being active at practice is a precaution and not a sign of serious injury.

Kelce, 31, has recorded five straight seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards. He set career-high totals in catches (105) and touchdowns (11) in 2020 while his receiving yards (1,416) served as an NFL record for tight ends.

Kelce has 612 catches for 7,881 yards and 48 touchdowns in 110 career games with the Chiefs.

–Field Level Media

Texas Longhorn Cattle roam the lands of Brynmore Dairy Farm owned and run by the Hlubik family for four generations. A look at the variety of people, animals, and places that make up the town of New Egypt.                                            New Egypt, NJTuesday, July 14, 2021

NewE071521k

University of Texas approves SEC move in ’25

In a brief huddle of the Board of Regents on Friday, the University of Texas approved a move to the Southeastern Conference in 2025.

University of Oklahoma board members also met Friday with the expectation it would approve the move from the Big 12.

Board chairman Kevin Eltife released a statement following the meeting in Austin and made it clear the Longhorns’ athletic programs are not attempting to exit their current conference until the existing agreement expires.

“Our board met today to discuss the ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics and the invitation from the Southeastern Conference to The University of Texas at Austin,” Eltife said. “Recognizing the impact this would have on our athletics programs, the board unanimously voted to approve this conference realignment upon the expiration of our current agreement with the Big 12.”

Multiple reports indicate the move is likely to come sooner as other prominent programs in the conference attempt to realign with other leagues. Kansas and Iowa State have been linked to the Big Ten, for example.

In concurrent proceedings Thursday, SEC presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to invite Oklahoma and Texas to become members in 2025.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) at the start of practice at Grand Park in Westfield on Thursday, July 29, 2021, on the second full day of workouts of this summer's Colts training camp.

Colts Camp Revs Up

Colts QB Carson Wentz out with foot injury

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz is not practicing Friday due to a foot injury that ended his practice early the day before.

Wentz, acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in an offseason trade, left Thursday’s practice before it was completed, but his injury status wasn’t known until Friday.

The Colts did not offer further details on the injury.

Without Wentz on the field, Jacob Eason was running the first-team offense to end Thursday’s practice and again Friday.

Wentz has a history of injuries dating to his time at North Dakota State. With the Eagles, he suffered a rib fracture, torn ACL, back injury and concussion.

Eason was a fourth-round pick in 2020 but has no NFL game experience.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2020; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Jake Butt (80) during training camp at the UCHealth Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Bears TE Jake Butt retires at age 26

Chicago Bears tight end Jake Butt retired from the NFL, saying in a lengthy statement Thursday that he had lost passion for the game.

The 26-year-old Butt played collegiately at Michigan and rehabbed to return from six knee surgeries, which he said in a social media post sapped his desire to be on the field.

“Football gave me some of the best times of my life. Ironically, it also gave me some of my toughest times, which turned out to be the most important,” he wrote. “The adversity that I faced in my career gave me some of the biggest opportunities to grow as a man.”

Butt retires with 10 career receptions for 90 yards.

Butt was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, but spent his rookie season on injured reserve recovering from a torn ACL in his final game at Michigan.

Three games into his second NFL season, he suffered another ACL tear.

“This may come off as impulsive,” Butt wrote. “Some may wonder, ‘Why now?’ when I was so close. But over time I’ve lost the passion that I once had for this game. I’ve battled through this feeling for a while now, but I can no longer ignore it.

“I will always cherish and love this game. It has given me some of my best memories, highest highs, my strongest friendships and my best lessons. But it’s time for me to close this chapter and move on to a new one.”

–Field Level Media

SEC logo seen during SEC Media Days at the Hyatt Regency  in Hoover, Ala., Monday, July 19, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

Sec Media Days

SEC unanimously votes to invite Texas, Oklahoma

Southeastern Conference presidents and chancellors unanimously voted Thursday to extend invitations to Texas and Oklahoma to join the league, beginning with the 2025-26 academic year.

The vote was 14-0.

“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a release. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”

The SEC will become a 16-team superconference on July 1, 2025.

Oklahoma and Texas formally applied to join the conference on Tuesday.

The Texas A&M board of regents voted earlier this week to recommend president Dr. M. Katherine Banks to support the league’s expansion, not long after Texas A&M athletic director said in an interview that the Aggies “love being the only school in the state of Texas in the SEC.”

–Field Level Media