Aug 15, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders center Richie Incognito (64) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Raiders defeated the Cardinals 33-26. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Raiders plan to cut G Richie Incognito

Seeking salary-cap space with the start of NFL free agency less than two weeks away, the Las Vegas Raiders plan to cut four-time Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito, NFL Network reported Friday.

The impending move would save the Raiders $5,475,000 in cap room in 2021. The team is currently projected to enter the offseason with just under $4 million of salary-cap space, per Over The Cap.

Incognito played only two games in 2020 before he was placed on injured reserve in September with a season-ending Achilles injury.

Per the report, the 37-year-old Incognito has completely recovered and hopes to play next season.

After sitting out the 2018 season, Incognito signed a two-year deal with the Raiders in 2019 and started 12 games that season. He missed the first two games of the campaign while serving an NFL-mandated suspension for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy.

Incognito, whose past includes a well-documented bullying incident with former Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin, has 13 seasons of NFL experience. He also did not play during the 2014 season.

A third-round draft pick in 2005 by the then-St. Louis Rams, the 6-foot-4 guard has played in 164 games (all starts) with the Rams (2006-09), Buffalo Bills (2009, 2015-17), Dolphins (2010-13) and Raiders (2019 in Oakland, 2020 in Las Vegas).

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass as Washington Football Team linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) rushes during the third quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady rookie card auctioned for record $1.32M

A Tom Brady rookie card sold for a record-setting $1.32 million in an online auction at PWCC Marketplace on Thursday, marking the most ever paid for a football card.

James Park, a longtime Brady fan who lives in Boston, bought the autographed 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket card, one of 100 in existence.

“I lived in Boston for 10 years and so am a huge fan of Brady. The last Super Bowl win was just a mind-blowing accomplishment,” Park told ESPN. “I’ve also had a love of collecting cards since I was a kid. Given Brady’s uncontested status as GOAT in football, this card is an important piece of sports history and of any collection.”

The sale of the card, which is graded an eight for quality and 10 for the autograph, smashed the previous record for the most spent on a football card by nearly $500,000.

Last month, a buyer purchased an autographed 2017 National Treasures Patrick Mahomes card, one of only five believed to be in existence of that particular card, for $861,000, according to ESPN. That card, which included a piece of Mahomes’ jersey embedded in it, was graded a nine and was sold in an online auction hosted by Goldin Auctions. That sale broke the previous record, which was held by another Brady card that sold for $555,988 in January.

To put the recent sale of Brady’s card in perspective, another Brady rookie card from the 2000 Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket collection that had a Mint 9 grade and a perfect 10 grade on the autograph, sold for $400,100 in February 2019, making it then the highest auction price ever for a football card.

However, Thursday’s sale might not hold the record for long. The same Brady card is up for auction at Lelands, but it’s graded an 8.5 with the signature graded a nine. The card had a bid at $707,565 with 29 days still remaining.

The trading card market is blistering lately. Consider that the famous 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie card sold in January for $5.2 million, and according to the Daily Mail, a Luka Doncic rookie card sold for $4.6 million at auction.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Waco, Texas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles during the game between the Bears and the Jayhawks at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Report: AD at LSU recommended firing Les Miles in 2013

The former athletic director at LSU recommended the firing of coach Les Miles in 2013 — three years before he was dismissed — because of allegations of sexual advances on female students and comments about women in the athletic department that were sexist or insulting.

That information was included in the report of an investigation conducted by the outside law firm of Husch Blackwell, which was charged with reviewing how the university handled allegations of sexual misconduct in the athletic department. The reported was released Friday, with USA Today and ESPN publishing portions of it.

Husch Blackwell wasn’t hired to determine the guilt or innocence of Miles but rather to determine if LSU responded properly to reports of incidents involving the coach and female students working in the department.

“The issue is whether the University responded to this report against [Les Miles] in a manner consistent with then-existing legal guidance, well-recognized best practices, and institutional policy. The answer is ‘no,’ ” the investigation concluded.

Miles, 67, was the coach at LSU from 2005 until he was fired four games into the 2016 season, when the Tigers got off to a 2-2 start. LSU won the national championship in 2007 and was runner-up in 2011.

Miles is now the coach at Kansas, which has not yet commented on the most recent report. A school spokesman previously said Kansas officials weren’t aware of any of the sexual misconduct allegations when he was hired prior to the 2019 season.

Miles has denied all allegations of misconduct. His attorney, Peter Ginsberg, declined to comment to ESPN on Friday.

Witnesses cited in the report said Miles took part in interviewing young women who applied for jobs with the team beginning in 2012 and wanted them to be pretty, blonde and with certain physical attributes.

A separate report released Thursday included allegations of Miles sending text messages to young women, taking them to his condominium and making them feel uncomfortable in general. In one case, he is reported to have kissed a student and offered to take her to a hotel, all while telling her that he could assist her in her career.

Sharon Lewis, who worked as the director of recruiting, is quoted in the latest report as saying she reported “significant alleged misconduct” by Miles that took place beginning in 2009 and lasted until his departure. The Husch Blackwell report said her allegations were not properly investigated by the university.

Lewis recounted how a female student worker came to her “completely traumatized” about something that happened to her when she and Miles were alone. Lewis said the student repeatedly said, “You know what you did to me.”

At least two other young women came forward with their allegations, and a previous investigation in 2013 concluded Miles should be reprimanded but that his conduct did not rise to the level of sexual misconduct. The Husch Blackwell report disagreed.

Former athletic director Joe Alleva recommended Miles’ dismissal to F. King Alexander, then the incoming president of LSU, and the school’s legal team shortly after.

“I want us to think about which scenario is worse for LSU. Explaining why we let him go or explaining why we let him stay,” Alleva wrote in an email, which was included in the report released Friday. “I believe he is guilty of insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic dept and football program at great risk. I think we have cause. I specifically told him not to text, call or be alone with any student workers and he obviously didn’t listen. I know there are many possible outcomes and much risk either way, but I believe it is in the best interest in the long run to make a break.”

Instead, Miles received a written reprimand, a requirement for counseling and a written order not to have contact with female student employees in person, on the phone or via text.

The report said LSU did not have appropriate staffing or resources in its Title IX office to investigate complaints. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in a school’s educational programs and other activities.

LSU interim president Tom Galligan Jr. vowed quick action on Friday, saying he plans to enact “every one of those 18 recommendations” that Husch Blackwell included in its report, per ESPN.

“We as an institution failed to live up to our commitments,” he said. “We let some of those who were depending on us down. It is clear our institution as a whole deserves blame. This is an example of serious institutional failure, but people also made mistakes we cannot ignore. That cannot and must not go unaddressed.”

Last week, The Advocate reported Miles had settled with at least one woman who accused him of sexual harassment. Reached then by the local newspaper, Miles said, “That’s not true.”

USA Today’s reporting on sexual misconduct within the athletic department at LSU caused the university to contract with Husch Blackwell to audit roughly 60 sexual misconduct cases from 2016 to 2018.

Miles had a 114-34 record at LSU. He is 3-18 at Kansas.

–Field Level Media

Jan 23, 2020; Kissimmee, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce (62) during NFC practice at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Eagles, C Jason Kelce agree to new deal for 2021

Oct 20, 2018; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTSA Roadrunners head coach Frank Wilson (left) talks to head linesman Maia Chaka in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles and All-Pro center Jason Kelce agreed to a restructured contract.

NFL Network reported the new deal covers the 2021 season.

Kelce, 33, will receive a guaranteed $9 million and can earn up to $12 million with incentives, per the report.

Kelce confirmed the restructuring in an Instagram post on Friday.

“Man, the first week of March 2021 is one for the record books!!!!” Kelce wrote. “Got to welcome baby #2 Elliotte Ray Kelce into the world, got my first dose of the Moderna Vaccine at the wonderful Puentes de Salud medical clinic, and restructured my contract to ensure I will continue to be the Center for the Philadelphia Eagles. 2021 already off to a better start!!”

A four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time member of the All-Pro first team, Kelce started all 16 games for the sixth consecutive season and for the eighth time in his 10-year career in 2020.

He has played in 142 regular-season games (all starts) and seven postseason games, including the Eagles’ Super Bowl LII victory, since Philadelphia drafted him in the sixth round in 2011 out of Cincinnati.

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2018; Hattiesburg, MS, USA; UTSA Roadrunners head coach Frank Wilson (left) talks to head linesman Maia Chaka in the second half against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at M. M. Roberts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Maia Chaka becomes NFL’s first Black female official

Maia Chaka is the first Black woman to be named to the NFL’s officiating staff, the league announced Friday.

The NFL made the announcement on “The Today Show” prior to a live interview with Chaka.

“It didn’t really hit me until just now when I saw the introduction,” Chaka said on the show. “I’m like, this is really real. This is something that we’re always taught to work hard for and sometimes we just don’t take time to stop and smell our own roses. And I’ve just been grinding for so long in this. It’s an honor to be able to join the National Football League.”

Chaka is a health and physical education teacher at Renaissance Academy in Virginia Beach, Va.

She has officiated at the collegiate level, including games in the Pac-12 Conference and Conference USA.

Chaka joins Sarah Thomas as the NFL’s only female officials. The pair worked together in Conference USA in 2014.

“Maia’s years of hard work, dedication and perseverance — including as part of the NFL Officiating Development Program — have earned her a position as an NFL official,” said Troy Vincent Sr., NFL executive vice president of football operations.

“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Maia is a trailblazer as the first Black female official and inspires us toward normalizing women on the football field.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) passes the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Washington officially releases QB Alex Smith

The Washington Football Team officially released Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith on Friday, making the quarterback a free agent and saving the club nearly $15 million against the salary cap.

Smith turns 37 in May and had two years left on his contract, with cap charges of $23.3 million and $25.3 million.

He returned from multiple leg surgeries and a life-threatening infection to help Washington win the NFC East title last season, which he began as the team’s third-string QB.

Washington turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective (and later released), and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Smith played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith is 99-67-1 as a starter and has passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-17) and Washington.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2013, 2016 and 2017) forced Washington’s hand when he made it clear that he hoped to continue playing in 2021.

“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” Smith said in a GQ interview last month. “They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability. Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”

Washington recently extended quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year deal. Allen is expected to re-sign as an exclusive-rights free agent. Undrafted free agent Steven Montez is also on the roster.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham (80) makes a touchdown catch as Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Jayon Brown (55) defends during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Bears TE Jimmy Graham ‘unscathed’ after car crash

Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham avoided injury after being involved in a car crash Thursday morning.

The 34-year-old Graham broke his own news while sharing details about the crash on his Twitter account.

“Just wanted to get ahead of this and tell everybody I’m fine,” Graham said. “Was in an accident this morning trying to avoid a disabled vehicle in the center lane. I walked away from it unscathed. Blessings.”

The post drew a quick response from Brandon Harris Sr., a former NFL defensive back who now serves as an assistant coach with Florida International. Harris said he drove past the crash along State Road 836 in the Miami area.

“Wow this is scary I actually saw this accident this morning on the 836 and thought that looked like you but couldn’t confirm,” Harris said. “Happy (you’re) good brother.”

Graham confirmed that it was him.

“Yea bro did all I could to avoid the people in the stopped car,” he said. “Wild.”

Graham, who starred in college with the Miami Hurricanes, has played 11 seasons in the NFL. He caught 50 passes for 456 yards and eight touchdowns last season with the Bears.

–Field Level Media

Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman (42) warms up before the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman retires from NFL

Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman announced Thursday that he is retiring from the NFL.

Sherman, 32, played eight years with the Chiefs primarily as a blocker and a member of the special teams unit.

Although he rushed for just 73 yards and one touchdown, Sherman caught 66 passes for 552 yards and four touchdowns across his 10 NFL seasons.

Sherman played his first two years with the Arizona Cardinals before spending the rest of his career with the Chiefs, whom he thanked on Thursday in a video posted to his Twitter page.

“Kansas City, thanks for all the memories,” he said. “It’s been a great run: eight years, Super Bowls. But it’s on to the next chapter.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 15, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon (10) catches a pass against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Seahawks release WR Josh Gordon

The Seattle Seahawks released troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Gordon was set to become a free agent at the start of the league year.

The 29-year-old recently joined the Fan Controlled Football league in February with the Zappers, a franchise that includes former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel. Gordon’s release from the Seahawks allows him to officially join the Zappers in the new football league.

Gordon caught seven passes for 139 yards in five games with the Seahawks in 2019 before being suspended in December 2019.

He was conditionally reinstated this past December, but the NFL quickly rescinded the reinstatement and he remained suspended as a member of the Seahawks the rest of the season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2020; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Les Miles is interviewed before a game against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Les Miles hosted female students at LSU-area condo

LSU was so concerned by the behavior of former football coach Les Miles when it came to female students that it reprimanded him, ordered him to stop being alone with them and told him to no longer hire the young women to babysit his children, USA Today reported Thursday.

The newspaper said the findings are included in a 2013 internal investigative report released by LSU on Thursday — a report it sued the university to get.

The document includes allegations of Miles sending text messages to the young women, taking them to his condominium and making them feel uncomfortable in general. In one case, he is reported to have kissed a student and offered to take her to a hotel, all while telling her that he could assist her in her career.

Miles denies the allegations, his attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said.

The investigation didn’t uncover a sexual relationship with any of the women. For his part, Miles said he was serving as a mentor to the students.

Last week, The Advocate reported Miles had settled with at least one woman who accused him of sexual harassment. Reached then by the local newspaper, Miles said, “That’s not true.”

USA Today’s reporting on sexual misconduct within the athletic department at LSU caused the university to contract with outside law firm Husch Blackwell to audit roughly 60 sexual misconduct cases from 2016 to 2018.

Findings of the investigation are expected to be released on Friday.

Miles, 67, is now the head coach at Kansas, where he has a 3-18 record in two seasons with the Jayhawks.

Kansas officials didn’t immediately comment on Thursday’s report but issued this statement on Feb. 24.

“The University of Kansas is aware of a media report today involving KU head football coach Les Miles. We have spoken with Coach Miles about the allegations in the story and will continue to gather information that is made available to us. KU was not aware of these allegations when Coach Miles was hired in 2018. Because this involves Coach Miles’ former employer and pre-dates his time at KU, and because we do not have factual knowledge about details of these allegations, it is not appropriate for us to comment further.”

He was 114-34 in 11-plus seasons at LSU. His team won the BCS national championship in 2007 and was the national runner-up in 2011. He won 10 or more games on seven occasions with the Tigers.

His last 10-win season occurred in 2013.

Miles was 19-10 over his final two-plus seasons and was fired after a 2-2 start in 2016. He coached at Oklahoma State prior to LSU.

He is one of only six active coaches to have won an NCAA championship, joining Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Mack Brown and Ed Orgeron.

–Field Level Media