Sep 24, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals QB Kyler Murray to return ‘when he can practice’

When a shopper discovered the Arizona Cardinals’ team store jersey inventory wasn’t offering the No. 9 of their current starting quarterback, the team moved to correct the issue on Wednesday.

That shopper was, in fact, fill-in starter Josh Dobbs. Dobbs shared a video of the experience, which prompted the team to make the uniform option available to fans this week.

“Does he have his jersey in his locker on game day? That’s all I’m concerned about,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said Wednesday.

Dobbs guided the Cardinals to their first win of the 2023 season, 28-16 over the Dallas Cowboys, last week. Arizona is expected to begin eyeing the return of franchise quarterback Kyler Murray in October.

Gannon said there is no set timeline for that move.

“We will activate him when he’s ready to go practice,” Gannon said.

Murray continues to rehab and hasn’t been active this season. He had surgery in December 2022 following a season-ending torn ACL in a loss to the New England Patriots.

The Cardinals acquired Dobbs on Aug. 25 and then released Murray’s former backup, Colt McCoy.

Dobbs has started the first three games of the season for the Cardinals (1-2), who are playing the San Francisco 49ers (3-0) on Sunday. Dobbs has completed 59 of 82 passes (72 percent) for 549 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions in 2023.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon (1), Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George (27) and NFL Hall of Famer Robert Brazile watch warmups before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Titans to wear Oilers throwbacks for two games

The Tennessee Titans will pay homage to their roots and wear Houston Oilers throwback uniforms for two home games in 2023.

The franchise was known as the Houston Oilers from 1960-1996 before moving to Tennessee. They kept the Oilers uniforms for 1997-98 while playing home games in Memphis and Nashville before fully rebranding to the Tennessee Titans in 1999.

The uniforms were revealed Sunday night.

“It allows us to honor as many players as we can, because it covers so much time,” Titans vice president and executive creative director Surf Melendez told the team website. “It also represented our transition to Tennessee, because we wore these uniforms in Tennessee as well.”

The two home games to feature the throwbacks have yet to be finalized.

The Titans were interested in wearing the throwbacks for a “Monday Night Football” road game at the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 11 but have not received approval from the league, ESPN reported.

Tennessee is following a league-wide trend of introducing throwbacks into the uniform rotation in the wake of the NFL rolling back its “one-shell rule” last year. The Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks are among the team who have unveiled throwback uniform plans in recent weeks.

“Can’t wait to see our old uniforms on the field again!” Oilers legend and Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon wrote on social media. “Best looking outfit in football. Go Titans.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and quarterback Jordan Love (10) during warmups before a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Packers to retire No. 12, honor Aaron Rodgers ‘at appropriate time’

Only a few months removed from trading Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets, team president Mark Murphy isn’t ready to start making plans for a ceremony to honor the all-time great at Lambeau Field.

Murphy said at the team’s annual shareholders meeting at the iconic stadium any such acknowledgment of Rodgers’ greatness in Green Bay can wait.

“I want to thank Aaron Rodgers for all he did in his remarkable 18-year career,” Murphy said to a few tempered boos. “No, Aaron was a great player for us for 18 years. He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We will bring him back and retire his number at the appropriate time.”

Retirement talk and Rodgers are not new to the Packers’ shareholders, who discussed the reality of life without No. 12 each of the previous three annual reporting meetings. But Rodgers didn’t retire, or keep the team decision-makers in the loop on his plans after last season ended with a loss to the Detroit Lions.

At odds with general manager Brian Gutekunst since Jordan Love was drafted in the first round in 2020, Rodgers signed a new contract with the Packers before last season. But even with added input on front office and personnel matters, Rodgers and Gutekunst never fully patched up their relationship.

“The best time to draft a quarterback is when you don’t need one,” Murphy said of trusting Gutekunst because he put the franchise in position to compete for the long term.

Rodgers, 39, started the 2023 season in a new uniform and admitted “everything is different” not reporting to training camp at Lombardi Drive. The four-time NFL MVP is in line to start for the Jets after spending his entire career to date with the Packers.

Love steps into the No. 1 role with the Packers in his fourth season. Murphy said the expectation is to continue winning and applauded Love for his patience.

“He patiently waited his turn to make his mark,” Murphy said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NFL votes to allow players to wear jersey No. 0

It’s zero hour in the NFL.

The league’s owners voted Tuesday to allow players to wear jersey No. 0 for the first time.

“I don’t think there was any discussion, and we voted. As someone who works for a team, we have real challenges in the number world right now,” Atlanta Falcons CEO and NFL competition committee chairman Rich McKay said, per ESPN.

“This is one thing that could help us in that challenge, because we do have some players that tend to like the single digit. Numbers are more problematic than they’ve ever been, so this one had very little pushback.”

The Philadelphia Eagles were the team to make the official proposal. Offensive linemen are still only allowed to wear Nos. 50-79 and defensive linemen can wear 50-79 or 90-99, but all other positions now have No. 0 as an option.

It didn’t take long for Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley to announce he was changing to No. 0.

“Excited to be the first @Jaguars player to wear zero — shout out to @JagsEquip!” tweeted Ridley, who will make his team debut in 2023 after being traded last fall amid a season-long suspension for gambling on football.

Several NFL teams also proposed that the league switch to one single preseason roster reduction date, as opposed to two, and that rule change also passed Tuesday.

The use of Guardian Caps on top of players’ helmets was also expanded to include running backs and fullbacks on top of linebackers, tight ends and linemen on both sides of the ball — and to include in-season contact practices instead of just the preseason.

The league also voted to expand instant replay for greater review on failed fourth-down attempts, proposed by the Houston Texans.

–Field Level Media

090907 sptdolphins Staff photo by Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post--0042446A--Landover, MD...FedExField...Miami Dolphins at Washington Football Team. Dolphins WR #84 Chris Chambers makes a leaping catch for a first down as Redskins #21 Sean Taylor defends in the second quarter.

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WFT retiring Sean Taylor’s No. 21, faces backlash for short notice

The Washington Football Team will retire Sean Taylor’s No. 21 jersey prior to Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Taylor will become the third player in franchise history to receive the honor, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49).

Washington also announced Thursday a road that leads to FedExField will be renamed “Sean Taylor Road.”

No member of the team has worn No. 21 since Taylor was shot during a burglary attempt at his home in Miami on Nov. 26, 2007. He died the following day at the age of 24.

“I came into the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic ability, resilience, grit, and relentless work ethic set him apart. I and many others looked to him as a role model,” Washington president Jason Wright said in a statement. “The fact that he was tragically taken so early hurt our player community, but also our fans, coaches, and staff. We will continue to remember him and hold him up as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all strive to mirror his excellence in our own ways.”

Backlash on social media hit quickly, with questions and skepticism around the timing of the Taylor recognition. The team had not previously disclosed the plans to honor Taylor.

Thursday’s news came in the midst of another wave of negative publicity regarding the team’s past workplace environment.

The workplace-related investigation is back in the spotlight as media discovery of disgraced former Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who resigned earlier this week, dominates the news cycle. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported Gruden sent several offensive email messages, which included photos of topless women, and multiple examples of extreme racist and bigoted language, to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.
Washington addressed the relatively short notice of the announcement with a statement on Thursday.

“We have been planning this weekend’s tribute to Sean Taylor since before the start of the season in partnership with Sean Taylor’s family and as part of our Alumni weekend activities,” the team said. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to rededicate Sean Taylor Road with Sean Taylor’s friends, family and team alumni and are excited to officially retire his jersey during the game with our fans and alumni present as part of our Alumni Homecoming Weekend activities.

“We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans ways we will be celebrating Sean Taylor’s legacy over the next month.”

Taylor wore No. 36 during his rookie season with Washington after the club selected him with the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft. He switched to No. 21 the following year.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Taylor recorded 305 tackles, 12 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 55 career games (53 starts) with Washington.

–Field Level Media

Tim Tebow of Her Song makes remarks about a new series of partnerships to fight human trafficking announced by Gov. Bill Lee during a press conference at the State Capitol Thursday, May 13, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

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No. 85 is No. 1: Tim Tebow jerseys top sales chart

Consumers apparently are happy Tim Tebow is back in the NFL.

About 24 hours after his signing was announced by the Jacksonville Jaguars, apparel bearing Tebow’s name and number 85 was the top seller at NFL

In fact, the top five items belonged to Tebow: black alternate jerseys for men, women and children, as well as T-shirts for men and women.

A red Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey with the name and number of perpetual best seller Tom Brady fell to ninth on the list of top sellers.

And in between Tebow and Brady? Rookie quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears, whose jersey was a top seller in all three of the team’s colors: alternate orange, navy and white.

Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy winner, spent three seasons in the NFL (2010-12) at quarterback with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets. After failing to sign an NFL contract, he turned to baseball, where he spent four seasons in the New York Mets system before retiring in February.

Now, at 33, he’ll be trying to land a spot on the Jaguars roster at a new position: tight end. Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer coached Tebow in college at Florida.

NFL Network reported Friday that Tebow signed a one-year, $920,000 contract, with no guaranteed money and an injury split.

–Field Level Media

Jan 24, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA;  New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning poses for photos with his wife Abby and their children at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss postpones Manning jersey retirement

Ole Miss postponed the jersey retirement of Eli Manning until next season.

The school was scheduled to retire their former quarterback’s No. 10 in ceremonies on Saturday. The postponement was announced on Monday, with Ole Miss citing “the circumstances surrounding this football season.”

Manning, now 39, played for the Rebels from 2000-03 and won the Maxwell Award in his final season, given annually to the best all-around player in college football. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl championships before retiring at the end of the 2019 season.

At Ole Miss, he set or tied 47 single-game, season and career school records. He still holds school career records of 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdowns.

Manning finished third in the 2003 Heisman Trophy voting, passing for 3,600 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions that season for the 10-3 Rebels.

He will join his father, Archie Manning (No. 18), and defensive back Chucky Mullins (38) as the only Rebels players to have their numbers retired.

Mullins was left paralyzed by an injury suffered in a game against Vanderbilt on Oct. 28, 1989. He died less than two years later.

–Field Level Media