Jul 28, 2023; Flowery Branch, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge (12) catches a pass during training camp at IBM Performance Field. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Falcons trade QB Desmond Ridder to Cardinals

With their new starter in place in Kirk Cousins, the Atlanta Falcons are trading quarterback Desmond Ridder to the Arizona Cardinals, per multiple reports Thursday.

The Falcons reportedly will receive receiver Rondale Moore in return.

Also Thursday, the team announced the re-signing of offensive lineman Storm Norton and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge to one-year deals.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the Falcons.

Atlanta selected Ridder in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft with the hopes he could replace Matt Ryan as its starting quarterback. But in two seasons, he had an 8-9 record in 17 starts (19 games) and completed 64.0 percent of his passes for 3,544 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Ridder, 24, had an up-and-down season in 2023, being replaced as the starter twice by Taylor Heinicke, only to return when Heinicke suffered injuries to a hamstring and ankle.

Kyler Murray returns as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals, who traded primary backup Joshua Dobbs to the Minnesota Vikings last Oct. 31.

Moore, 23, was the Cardinals’ second-round pick and No. 49 overall in 2021. He made a modest impact in his first three seasons, appearing in 39 games (23 starts) with 135 catches for 1,201 yards and three touchdowns. He gained a career-high 435 yards as a rookie.

Norton, 29, made three starts at right tackle and appeared in 14 games in his first season with Atlanta in 2023.

He has appeared in 50 games (21 starts) with the Minnesota Vikings (2018), Los Angeles Chargers (2020-22) and Falcons.

Hodge, 29, played in all 17 games (four starts) for the Falcons in 2023 and contributed 14 catches for 232 yards.

He has 57 receptions for 864 yards and one touchdown in 89 games (seven starts) with the Los Angeles Rams (2018), Cleveland Browns (2019-20), Detroit Lions (2021) and Falcons.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Kansas City Chiefs guard Joe Thuney (62)  stands in the bench area during the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Chiefs rule out G Joe Thuney (pec), WR Skyy Moore (knee)

The Kansas City Chiefs ruled out All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney and wide receiver Skyy Moore for Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Andy Reid confirmed Friday that Thuney (pectoral), Moore (knee), nose tackle Derrick Nnadi (triceps) and reserve offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho (quad) will not play.

Running back Isiah Pacheco (toe, ankle), safety Mike Edwards (concussion), linebacker Willie Gay (neck) and wide receiver Kadarius Toney (hip) are questionable for the game in Baltimore.

Pacheco practiced Friday for the first time this week. Gay missed Friday’s practice due to a neck spasm.

Thuney, 31, was injured during last Sunday’s 27-24 divisional playoff win at Buffalo.

Moore, 23, has not played since Dec. 17. He was designated to return from injured reserve earlier this month but still isn’t ready to go. He caught 21 passes for 244 yards and one TD in 14 games (eight starts) this season.

–Field Level Media

Outgoing head coach Jim Harbaugh endorsed offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, right, as the next coach of the Wolverines.

Michigan focused on Sherrone Moore as next coach

Even before he left to take over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday, Jim Harbaugh had been touting his prospective replacement at Michigan.

Harbaugh said in the lead-up to the national championship game this month that offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore was ready to be a head coach, considering him “proven” based on a 4-0 record as interim coach that included wins at Penn State and over Ohio State during Harbaugh’s multiple 2023 suspensions.

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel vowed to do everything in his power to keep Harbaugh in Ann Arbor. Per reports, Manuel and Michigan offered a $125 million contract that would have made Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in college football. But it wasn’t enough to prevent him from returning to the NFL.

Now that Harbaugh’s exit is official, Manuel said Michigan is moving quickly to replace him with a goal of keeping the coaching staff and defending national championship roster together, and Moore is Harbaugh’s likely successor. NCAA rules permit a 30-day window for players to enter the transfer portal even though the new semester has started.

According to reports, that includes a waiver application to bypass a state law mandating university positions be posted for all applicants to review for seven business days. Manuel likely can make the case for waiver approval under the requirement Michigan has a legitimate position that “business needs of the unit outweigh the University’s intent to provide notice of employment opportunities to the University community and others through the posting process.”

As of Thursday morning, the job had not been publicly posted.

Harbaugh reportedly is planning to hire Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter to run the Chargers’ defense.

“We have been in talks with Jim Harbaugh for the last several weeks and have tried our best to retain him as our football coach,” Michigan president Santa Ono said in a statement. “Jim called me today and let me know that he has made the difficult decision to leave Michigan and join the Los Angeles Chargers in pursuit of his NFL dreams.

“For the fans, the players, and for me personally, we are sad to hear of Jim’s departure. His drive and ambition turned our program around, delivered our first national championship in a quarter century and maintained Michigan as the all-time winningest team in the history of college football.

“I thank Jim for all he has done for the University of Michigan and respect his decision. He has been an extraordinary leader and a friend. I will be cheering for Jim as he embarks on this next adventure.”

Michigan went 15-0, beating Washington in the College Football Playoff national championship two weeks ago to cap a bizarre and scandalous season during which Harbaugh served two suspensions for separate rules violations. He went 86-25 as Michigan’s head coach.

Moore, who turns 38 next week, has never been a head coach at any level. He played guard at Oklahoma during Bob Stoops’ heyday, and said prior to the Rose Bowl he appreciated the opportunity to get a feel for calling the shots on the Michigan sideline.

“The biggest difference is that when you’re the head coach you got to talk with the reps a lot, and that communication can be positive, can be a little negative,” Moore said in Pasadena, Calif. “But I try to manage that as best as possible — making the decisions on the fly in those situations, as a coordinator, especially going for it on fourth down, when you have a head coach there you’re counting on him.

“When you’re the head coach you kind of make that call yourself. But me and (Harbaugh), we have the same mindset of how we would call it, how we would do it in those situations. Those are the biggest differences going from just a coordinator to the head coach.”

Moore arrived at Michigan in 2018 and became co-offensive coordinator in 2020. While not what many in the fanbase would call a “Michigan Man,” Moore said before the national title game that he was more than content in Ann Arbor and not chasing a head-coaching position, citing loyalty to the Wolverines.

“Most coaches at some point in their life want to do that,” Moore said. “When the time comes, the time comes, but I’m in no rush to leave this place, this great university, these students and Coach Harbaugh.”

–Field Level Media

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is lifted off the ground by offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore after Michigan won the College Football Playoff national championship game against Washington at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.

If Jim Harbaugh leaves, is Sherrone Moore Michigan’s man?

Jim Harbaugh flirts hard, and he flirts consistently enough that Michigan had time to plan for his exit.

If Harbaugh seals the deal with the Los Angeles Chargers to return to the NFL, it would come as no surprise to athletic director Warde Manuel. Manuel offered Harbaugh a contract worth $125 million for 10 seasons even before the Wolverines won the national title earlier this month, NFL Network reported.

The writing might have been on the wall when Harbaugh opted not to sign the contract and interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons and Chargers.

He would add to the list of seismic shifts on the coaching ranks this month. Nick Saban retired at Alabama, and national championship runner-up Washington lost Kalen DeBoer to Tuscaloosa as his replacement. That opened the door for Arizona coach Jedd Fisch to flee for Seattle, and the dominoes are still dropping in his wake.

In the NFL, Bill Belichick and the Patriots divorced after 24 years. And now Harbaugh appears determined to join the high-profile relocation plan.

Where does that leave Michigan?

The Wolverines appear to be interested in promoting from within, but defensive coordinator Jesse Minter reportedly is part of Harbaugh’s planned staff in Los Angeles.

Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore had a four-game cameo as head coach when Harbaugh served multiple suspensions last season.

Moore, an offensive guard at Oklahoma during Bob Stoops’ heyday, said prior to the Rose Bowl he appreciated the opportunity.

“The biggest difference is that when you’re the head coach you got to talk with the reps a lot, and that communication can be positive, can be a little negative,” Moore said in Pasadena. “But I try to manage that as best as possible — making the decisions on the fly in those situations, as a coordinator, especially going for it on 4th down, when you have a head coach there you’re counting on him. When you’re the head coach you kind of make that call yourself. But me and (Harbaugh), we have the same mindset of how we would call it, how we would do it in those situations. Those are the biggest differences going from just a coordinator to the head coach.”

Moore came to Michigan in 2018 and became co-offensive coordinator in 2020. While not what many in the fanbase would call a “Michigan Man,” Moore said before the national title game that he’s more than content in Ann Arbor and not chasing a head-coaching position, citing loyalty to the Wolverines.

“Most coaches at some point in their life want to do that,” Moore said. “When the time comes, the time comes, but I’m in no rush to leave this place, this great university, these students and coach Harbaugh.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils running back Jordan Waters (7) runs during the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.  Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Duke RBs Jaquez Moore, Jordan Waters to transfer

Duke running backs Jaquez Moore and Jordan Waters are the latest players entering the transfer portal after head coach Mike Elko’s departure to Texas A&M.

Moore announced his intentions on social media on Wednesday. Waters’ departure was reported by 247 Sports.

Waters led the Blue Devils with 753 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and Moore ranked second with 601 yards and six scores.

Starting quarterback Riley Leonard announced he was leaving Duke (7-5, 4-4 ACC) and entering the transfer portal on Nov. 29.

“After much prayer and consideration, I have decided to enter my name into the transfer portal with 1 year of eligibility left,” Moore posted on X. “… I am ecstatic to embark on this journey as I step in to new beginnings.”

Waters accumulated 1,929 yards from scrimmage with 24 touchdowns at Duke from 2019-23. Moore gained 1,266 yards from scrimmage with 11 scores from 2021-23.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Ethan Garbers (4) drops back to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA names Ethan Garbers starting QB

UCLA coach Chip Kelly named redshirt junior Ethan Garbers as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener against Coastal Carolina.

Garbers got the nod over 5-star freshman Dante Moore and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee. However, Kelly said both Moore and Schlee will see action.

“All three of them deserve to play,” Kelly said Monday. “They’ve all played outstanding. It’s been a really good battle with those guys. Healthy competition and they all have earned the playing time.”

The Bruins are looking to replace longtime starter Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Garbers transferred to UCLA from Washington in January 2021. He saw action in six games last season, including the Sun Bowl loss to Pitt after Thompson-Robinson was injured.

Garbers has 599 yards passing with four TDs and four INTs in 12 games (one start) at QB for UCLA.

Moore flipped his commitment from Oregon to UCLA in December. Moore was ranked No. 3 overall in the Class of 2023 by ESPN.

UCLA’s Pac-12 slate begins Sept. 23 at No. 14 Utah.

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams (9) warms up prior to his first game for the Lions coming off injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Lions WR Jameson Williams, four others suspended for betting

Detroit Lions first-round pick Jameson Williams was one of five NFL players suspended for violations of the league’s betting policy.

Four Lions’ players and “multiple business and football” employees were identified by the NFL in the league’s most significant crackdown in the online betting era. The Lions said they fully cooperated with the NFL investigation that began at least a month ago.

Washington Commanders defensive end Shaka Toney also was suspended indefinitely.

NFL partnerships and branded team agreements with betting organizations such as BetMGM and PointsBet, whose logos appear at FordField and throughout the city, haven’t changed league rules that prohibit players from betting on NFL games or placing any type of wager — including poker, blackjack or sports bets — while at a team or league facility.

“A league review uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way,” the NFL said Friday.

Two Lions players that were released Friday after the ruling — wide receiver Quintez Cephus and special teamer C.J. Moore — are suspended indefinitely and “ineligible to apply for reinstatement in 2023.”

Williams, drafted 12th in the first round in 2022, and a third Lions’ receiver, Stanley Berryhill, are suspended for the first six games of the 2023 regular season for betting on non-NFL games with their cellphones while at the team facility.

Williams’ agent, Rocky Arceneaux, offered the following statement:

“Alliance Sports confirms that its client, Jameson Williams, has been suspended by the NFL for six games for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. Jameson takes full responsibility for his actions and is very apologetic to the NFL, his teammates and the fans and city of Detroit.

“However, it is important to note that Jameson’s violation was not for betting on football but rather due to a technical rule regarding the actual location in which the online bet was placed — and which would otherwise be allowed by the NFL outside of the club’s facility. Jameson would never intentionally jeopardize the integrity of the game he loves so much and looks forward to getting back to his team as soon as possible.”

Lions general manager Brad Holmes also released a statement.

“These players exhibited decision-making that is not consistent with our organizational values and violates league rules.” Holmes said. “We have made the decision to part ways with Quintez and C.J. immediately. We are disappointed by the decision-making demonstrated by Stanley and Jameson and will work with both players to ensure they understand the severity of these violations and have clarity on the league rules moving forward.”

The Commanders also issued a statement.

“We have cooperated fully with the NFL’s investigation since receiving notice and support the league’s findings and actions,” the team said. “All further questions on the topic should be directed to the NFL League Office.”

NFL Network reported Williams and Berryhill placed bets on college football games.

The Lions signed free agent Marvin Jones Jr. around the time the investigation was thought to have begun.

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley was suspended for a year for gambling infractions as a member of the Atlanta Falcons and was reinstated to begin team activities. The league said Ridley made wagers on NFL games of at least $1,500 while away from Atlanta for personal reasons.

–Field Level Media

Aug 18, 2022; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore during joint practice against the Los Angeles Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Chargers OC Kellen Moore sees starring role for Justin Herbert

New Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore doesn’t need an introduction to quarterback Justin Herbert.

Moore has been a spokesperson for a car dealership in Meridian, Idaho, since 2012. Herbert began a small role with the same dealership in 2020 and filmed some commercials last offseason with Moore serving as coach, and Herbert and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch cast as trainees or “rookies.”

The association packs extra meaning now with Moore taking over the reins of the Chargers’ offense and Herbert on the doorstep of stardom after passing for 14,089 yards and 94 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons.

“It’s amazing how life can come full circle,” Moore said, referencing the commercial shoot. “I hadn’t spent a ton of time with him outside of those couple days, but I’ve always watched him from afar, loved watching him play at Oregon and certainly what he has done in the NFL …

“We know his ability to throw it down the field. I’m just really, really excited to be able to work with him and, hopefully, help him in some way as he continues to build the career that he is going to have. I’m just really, really excited.”

Moore, 34, is now with the Chargers after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys — three as a backup quarterback and five as an assistant coach. Moore served as offensive coordinator for the past four seasons.

The Cowboys and Moore mutually parted ways on Sunday, seven days after the season ended with a 19-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC divisional playoffs.

And Moore wasn’t the least bit sad. He said knew it was time to leave though he appreciated his long stay in Dallas.

“I’ve been fortunate to have been at one spot for eight years.” Moore said. “… I love everything about that place. It’s certainly a very special place to me. As we went through the process, sometimes change can be really good for all of us, and I felt like I was in that space. It works for both sides.

“I think that it’s an awesome opportunity for Dallas, and an awesome opportunity for me. I’m certainly really, really excited about how this thing all played out.”

Moore also recently interviewed for the Carolina Panthers’ head-coaching position that was filled by the hiring of Frank Reich.

A record-setting quarterback at Boise State when the team went 50-3 from 2008-11, Moore has been a fast riser on the coaching front.

His success led Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley to move quickly in pursuit of Moore, and the sides had a deal less than 24 hours after Moore’s departure from the Cowboys.

Moore and Staley previously established a relationship when the Cowboys and Chargers held joint practice sessions during training camp.

“It was a very fast process in very unique circumstances,” Moore said. “Enjoyed my time with Brandon during those couple days, and so naturally we kind of had a relationship that extended through the season, mostly through text messages. … We kind of stayed in contact, and then, over the weekend, this thing obviously happened pretty fast.”

Moore said his initial tasks with the Chargers include studying the personnel. He is well aware there is a lot of talent with Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler and receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams all in the fold.

“I’m just really excited to get to work with them,” Moore said. “The beauty of football and the beauty of systems — you want to build it around the players. I’m excited to figure out what they do best, how they’ve worked and work, and put them in the best situations to be successful.”

Moore said the offensive attack will be a mixture of systems, even paying a nod to the historic offenses of the franchise’s San Diego days with legend Don Coryell — a current finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“We’re going to build a 2023 L.A. Chargers offense,” Moore said. “Will you be able to see the Air Coryell, Jason Garrett side? Absolutely. Will you see the West Coast and Mike McCarthy? Absolutely.

“We’ll keep things that are in place here that Justin feels really, really good about, and then we’re willing to explore.”

The Chargers went 10-7 this season before their campaign crumbled in the AFC wild-card round. The club blew a 27-point lead — the third biggest collapse in postseason history — while falling 31-30 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Chargers fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Shane Day after the epic loss.

Herbert recently underwent shoulder surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder and is expected to be ready for offseason workouts.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich talks on the field Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, before a game against the Washington Commanders at Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Panthers interview Frank Reich, add Cowboys OC Kellen Moore to list

Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich interviewed with the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday.

The Panthers plan an exhaustive search and interview process that also includes interim head coach Steve Wilks, former Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Moore, who interviewed with the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars last year, is not permitted to interview during the first round of the playoffs.

Three other offensive coordinators — Ben Johnson (Lions), Shane Steichen (Eagles) and Mike Kafka (Giants) — are considered candidates in Carolina.

Wilks was interim coach of the team after replacing Matt Rhule, who was fired on Oct. 10 after a 1-4 start. Panthers owner David Tepper said Wilks could be retained as head coach if he did “an incredible job.”

The Panthers finished the 2022 season with a 7-10 record.

Reich has significant ties to the Charlotte area, where he was a pastor after his playing career ended. He also is no stranger to the Panthers. Reich was Carolina’s starting quarterback for the first game in franchise history in 1995, and he tossed the first TD pass in team history.

He was fired by the Colts nine games into the 2022 season. Reich, 61, was 40-33-1 record in four-plus seasons in Indianapolis.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore on the sidelines in the second half against the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jaguars to interview Kellen Moore, Todd Bowles

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to conduct a virtual interview with Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore late next week, NFL Network reported Sunday.

Also expected to take part in a virtual interview is Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, per the report.

Former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson interviewed for the job on Thursday.

Also Sunday, CBS Sports reported that Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is urging owner Shad Khan to bring in Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien for an interview.

The Jaguars are seeking a replacement for Urban Meyer, who was fired on Dec. 16 due to a disappointing season on the field and a series of embarrassing incidents off of it.

Bowles and O’Brien have NFL head-coaching experience.

Bowles, 58, led the New York Jets from 2015-18, ending his tenure with a 24-40 record and no playoff appearances.

O’Brien, 52, was 52-48 in six-plus seasons (2014-20) with the Houston Texans, fired in 2020 after an 0-4 start. The Texans made the playoffs four times under O’Brien, posting a 2-4 record.

Pederson, 53, reached the playoffs three times in five seasons with the Eagles and posted a 42-37-1 overall record before being fired on Jan. 11, 2021. He led the Eagles to the Super Bowl LII championship.

Moore, 33, became the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach in 2018 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2019. This season, the Cowboys have the NFL’s top offense, averaging 409.5 yards and 30.5 points per game entering Week 17.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Jaguars interim coach Darrell Bevell reportedly also are under consideration.

Jacksonville (2-13) brings a seven-game losing streak into Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots (9-6).

–Field Level Media