Jun 15, 2022; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver John Metchie III (88) runs with the ball during minicamp at Houston Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

WR John Metchie back with Texans amid recovery from leukemia

John Metchie is back on the field with the Houston Texans as he continues to recover from leukemia.

A second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the former Alabama wide receiver hasn’t had a chance since his selection to spend much time in organized football activities. When he reported to the team after the draft, he still was recovering from a torn left ACL sustained in the 2021 Southeastern Conference championship game.

“He’s making progress,” general manager Nick Caserio told reporters Saturday after the final rounds of the draft. “So he was a full participant last week when we got on the field for sort of phase 2, which is what we did.”

The next phase is organized team activities, which will give Metchie a chance to work on his “football movements” in non-contact drills, Caserio said.

“His will to work, his effort, his mental and physical toughness, and the work with the sports performance staff has been incredible,” Caserio said. “There’s a lot of people that deserve a lot of credit that have helped him get to this point. Start with John. I would say it’s kind of inspiring to see somebody do that.”

Understandably, Metchie still has work to do before he is game-ready.

“Still a long road ahead of us, and he hasn’t played a lot of football,” Caserio said. “We’re all certainly cautiously optimistic about where he’s headed.”

Metchie, 22, announced last July that he had been diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia.

He recorded 96 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021 before tearing his ACL in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC title game. He had 155 catches for 2,081 yards and 14 TDs in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

–Field Level Media

Apr 15, 2023; East Lansing, MI, USA;  Michigan State Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne (10) throws downfield at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State QB Payton Thorne enters transfer portal

Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne entered the transfer portal as a graduate transfer on Sunday.

Thorne, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, spent two seasons as the Spartans’ starting quarterback.

He has thrown for 6,494 yards with 49 touchdowns and 24 interceptions in his career with Michigan State.

Thorne threw for 3,233 yards with a school-record 27 touchdowns during the 2021 season, his first as the team’s starter. His 2022 campaign wasn’t as successful, as he threw for just 2,679 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 picks with the Spartans (5-7).

Redshirt junior Noah Kim and redshirt freshman Katin Houser are the lone remaining quarterbacks on the Michigan State roster.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Munich, Germany; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reacts during the NFL Live Fan Forum at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NFL targets May 11 for ’23 schedule release

The NFL is targeting May 11 to release the 2023 regular season schedule, ESPN reported Sunday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and scheduling czar Howard Katz will meet Monday to continue to finalize details, per the report.

Their job, particularly scheduling prime-time games, gained more clarity with the recent trade of quarterback Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets as well as the re-signing of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Last year, the 17-game schedules for the 2022 regular season were released on May 12.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Toledo linebacker Jackson Barrow (42) (left) and Desjuan Johnson (right) celebrate with the MAC Championship trophy after beating Ohio University at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Rams make Toledo DL Desjuan Johnson 2023 ‘Mr. Irrelevant’

The Los Angeles Rams made Toledo defensive lineman Desjuan Johnson the 2023 “Mr. Irrelevant,” selecting Johnson with the 259th and final pick of the NFL Draft.

Johnson, who appeared in 54 games (30 starts) over five seasons in Toledo, totaled 14.5 sacks over his college career to go along with 211 tackles (89 solo). He racked up a total of 135 tackles over his final two seasons, including 65 (with 5.5 sacks) in 2022 when the Rockets won the Mid-American Conference.

A 2022 first-team All-MAC selection, Johnson is tied for third in school history with 47 career tackles for loss.

“I feel very blessed to be taken in the draft by the Rams,” Johnson said. “It didn’t matter to me where I was drafted. I just left it in God’s hands. I plan on putting my best foot forward and prove to everybody that I belong. I also feel very fortunate to be playing with one of favorite players, Aaron Donald. I plan on soaking up as much knowledge from him as I can. I’m lucky to be learning from him this early in my career.”

The Rams were able to draft Johnson after executing a trade with the Houston Texans for the No. 167 pick, which Houston used to select Alabama linebacker Henry To’oTo’o. The Rams also received the No. 174 pick in the deal, used on Georgia offensive tackle Warren McClendon Jr.

Johnson overcame adversity as his father, Dion Johnson, a former Kansas defensive tackle, was shot and paralyzed in 2002 at age 23 in Detroit and died from associated injuries two years later.

Dion Johnson was hoping to catch on with an NFL team and had a tryout with the Chicago Bears on May 11, 2002. The shooting happened that night as Dion Johnson was hit by a stray bullet while driving to a local Blockbuster.

“My dad was on my mind today,” said Johnson, who was four years old when his father died. “I feel like my dad is watching over me. He knows what’s best for me. I’m just going to work hard and let the rest be in God’s hands.”

In 2022, Mr. Irrelevant was Brock Purdy, a quarterback out of Iowa State who went on to eventually win the San Francisco 49ers’ starting role, leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.

–Field Level Media

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers pick up TCU QB Max Duggan in seventh round of draft

The Los Angeles Chargers selected TCU quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Max Duggan with the No. 239 overall pick in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft on Saturday.

In Los Angeles, Duggan could compete for the back-up job behind starter Justin Herbert. Easton Stick was the only other quarterback on the Chargers’ roster entering the draft.

Duggan threw for 3,698 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions and added 423 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs in 2022 while guiding the Horned Frogs to their first College Football Playoff appearance. TCU beat Michigan to reach the national title game before losing 65-7 to Georgia.

In 47 games over four seasons at TCU, Duggan racked up 9,618 passing yards, 73 touchdowns and 28 picks and added 28 rushing touchdowns.

He was the 14th quarterback selected in the draft. Twelve quarterbacks went in the first five rounds, a record for the common draft era.

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New Orleans Saints tight end Adam Trautman (82) carries the ball in the second half against the Minnesota Vikings during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saints trade TE Adam Trautman to Broncos in draft-day deal

The New Orleans Saints dealt tight end Adam Trautman and the No. 257 overall pick in the NFL draft to the Denver Broncos for the No. 195 overall pick on Saturday.

The Saints used that sixth-round selection from Denver on Wake Forest wide receiver A.T. Perry.

The deal reunites Trautman, 26, with former Saints and current Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

New Orleans drafted Trautman in the third round of the 2020 draft. In three seasons, he tallied 60 catches for 641 yards and four touchdowns over 43 games (28 starts).

Perry caught 28 touchdown passes for Wake Forest in four seasons, including 15 in 2021 and 11 last season. He was a 1,000-yard receiver in back-to-back campaigns and was an All-ACC first-team selection both seasons.

–Field Level Media

Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee (QB09)  participates in drills at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles draft QB Tanner McKee to back up Jalen Hurts

Not long after signing Jalen Hurts to a $255 million extension, the Philadelphia Eagles added some insurance to their quarterback room in the sixth round of the NFL draft by taking Stanford QB Tanner McKee on Saturday.

The Eagles used the No. 188 overall pick on McKee, a 6-foot-6 pocket passer who joins a team that also signed quarterback Marcus Mariota in free agency.

McKee threw for 5,336 yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 23 games at Stanford from 2020-22.

He was the 13th quarterback taken in the 2023 draft after a record-setting 12 signal-callers were chosen through the first five rounds.

The NFC champions locked up Hurts with a five-year extension earlier this month. Former backup quarterback Gardner Minshew left in free agency to sign with the Indianapolis Colts.

–Field Level Media