NEWS AND NEAR NEWS

Media outlets wishing to interview Colin Lindsay or Pigskin Paul Guillemette about the draft or other football topics should email the editor or call 613-692-1088

Gators SS Harris out for year with torn Achilles …Florida SS Marcell Harris, a solid second-tier prospect for the 2018 draft, will miss the upcoming season with a torn Achilles tendon he suffered Wednesday participating in team conditioning activities. The 6-0, 210-pound Harris had 73 tackles, two interceptions, and s forced fumble last fall when he was named to the SEC’s 3rd unit all-conference team. Harris has already used up his redshirt year so is technically out of eligibility but is expected to apply for a hardship 6th season.

Fears that Chargers top pick could miss season … There is growing concern in Los Angeles that Chargers’ WR Mike Williams, the 7th player selected at the 2017 draft, could be forced to undergo what would be season-ending surgery on a back injury. According to an ESPN report, Williams recently underwent a second epidural to treat a herniated disk, but if that does not work surgery would be the next logical option.

Panthers recycle Marty Hurney as interim G.M. … Carolina announced earlier this morning that former G.M. Marty Hurney has been rehired in the same capacity on an interim basis through the 2017 season. Hurney replaces Dave Gettleman, who was abruptly fired by the team earlier this week. Hurney had been the Panthers’ G.M. from 2002 through 2012.

Today is the day … sort of …  Hard to believe, but several teams open their training camps, at least for rookies, later today. Indeed, Baltimore, Dallas, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans all open their camps to rookies today. The first full camps, including veterans, open in a couple of days when Arizona and Dallas open their full camps on July 21st and 22nd respectively. And every team will be in camp by the end of the month. Here is the full list of NFL training camp opening dates.

IU WR Cobbs booked twice by local police on weekend … It appears that star Indiana WR Simmie Cobbs got a little carried away over the weekend. Cobbs, a leading prospect at the position for the 2018 draft, was arrested Saturday at a music concert and charged with misdemeanor counts of refusal to identify and resisting law enforcement.  Cobbs reportedly was arrested “not complying with security personnel attempting to clear aisles during the concert.” Police also reported he was confrontational, and refused to take a breathalyzer test for alcohol or provide identification. After being released, Cobbs was later arrested again for resisting police officers the next day. Cobbs is a 6-3, 220-pound junior who had a breakout year in 2015 when he caught 60 passes for over 1,000 yards, but he broke his ankle on his first play last season and ended up taking a medical redshirt.

Redskins’ QB Cousins to play tag again … Washington QB Kirk Cousins will play under the franchise tag for the second straight year after the deadline for teams to come to terms with designated players passed earlier today with Cousins still unsigned. And while it is still possible that Washington and Cousins could agree on a long-term deal later this year; it is also possible that the Redskins could franchise Cousins for a 3rd straight year next spring, although it will take a huge chunk out of their cap to do it. In fact, the betting around the league is that Cousins will finally hit free agency next spring which could have an impact on the 2018 draft. That’s because one of QB-needy teams like San Francisco, Cleveland and the Jets, which are expected to have high picks at next April’s draft, could solve their immediate issues at the position by signing Cousins before the draft. Stay tuned!

Gator WR Callaway settles drug case … Florida junior WR Antonio Callaway has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of marijuana possession. Callaway was fined $300. Callaway is considered to be one of the better prospects at the position for the 2018 draft, although he will have some questions to answer related to off-field issues. In addition to the latest drug charge, Callaway was suspended last spring amid sexual battery allegations, although he was eventually cleared of the battery allegation by a Title IX investigation. Meanwhile, the school has yet to say whether Callaway will be suspended for any playing time this fall. The Gators open the season against Michigan in a game with early-season national implications.

Panthers fire G.M. Gettleman … Just one year removed from a 15-1 season and a spot in the Super Bowl – and not to mention literally just days before the start of training camp –  Carolina announced this morning that G.M. Dave Gettleman has been relieved of his duties. Gettleman, one of the most respected personnel guys in the business, has been with the Panthers since 2013 and doesn’t figure to be unemployed long.

Huskers’ top pro prospect out for extended time … Nebraska will be without senior CB Chris Jones for much of the upcoming season after he underwent surgery to repair a torn MCL earlier this week. The 6-0, 185-pound Jones, who seriously considered entering the 2017 draft and is considered to be the Huskers’ best prospect for 2018, was just named to the pre-season watch list for the Thorpe Award which is given annually to the top DB in college football. Jones had 37 tackles last fall when he also picked off 3 passes and knocked down 7 others. The projected recovery time for this time of surgery is 4-6 months meaning the earliest Jones is likely to be available this fall is mid-November. However, Jones has yet to redshirt so he would be eligible to return to Nebraska next fall.

Duck receiver gets the boot … Oregon has announced that enigmatic WR Darren Carrington has been kicked off the team. Carrington has been suspended since earlier this month when he was arrested and charged with a DUI. The 6-2, 200-pound Carrington, who has averaged over 17 yards per catch in his Oregon career, has NFL ability, but he has a long history of off-field issues; he was suspended for the 2014 national championship game and the first six games of the 2015 season for failing an NCAA drug test; he was also accused of pushing an Oregon grad student to the ground and breaking his arm.

Annual supp draft comes and goes quietly … For those that missed all the excitement yesterday, the NFL held its annual summer supplemental drfat on Wednesday, but no one was selected. In fact, only two players, DT Tavares Bingham of Georgia Military College and Western New Mexico RB Marques Rodgers were eligible in this year’s supplemental draft and neither was selected. As a result, bth are now free agents eligible to sign with any team. This was the second consecutive year, and fourth in the last five years, that no players were selected in the supplemental draft.

LSU DE Key to miss start of camp … LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told reporters prior the SEC media days earlier this week that star DE Arden Key will not be ready for the start of fall camp as he continues to rehab from off-season shoulder surgery. Key, one of the top prospects for the 2018 draft, underwent surgery on June 4th. In fact, Orgeron indicated that there is no timetable for Key’s recovery and there are no guarantees that he’ll even be ready for the start of the season. The 6-6 Key, who reportedly bulked up to 255 pounds this off-season, set a team record with 12 sacks as a sophomore last fall, but he raised some eyebrows earlier this winter when he abruptly left the program for undisclosed personal reasons. LSU opens the season on September 2nd when the Tigers play BYU in Houston.

Chiefs find new G.M. in KC … Kansas City announced earlier today that the Chiefs have promoted Brett Veach to their vacant G.M. position. The 39-year-old Veach spent the past four seasons as co-director of player personnel with the Chiefs. Veach replaces John Dorsey who was fired last month.

Hawkeyes, Orange add grad transfers … Amid all the hoopla of the national celebrations earlier this week a couple of graduate transfers kind of slipped under the radar. Former Nevada RB James Butler transferred to Iowa as a graduate student and will be eligible for the 2017 season. The 5-9, 210-pound Butler has rushed for over 1,300 yards and 12 TDs last fall when he also had close to 400 receiving yards. Butler is expected to split time with returning starter Akrum Wadley, another senior who ran for almost 1,100 yards last year when ne averaged 6.4 yards per carry. Both are considered to be late round or free agent prospects for the upcoming draft. Meanwhile, veteran ILB Austin Valdez has transferred to Syracuse after three years at Bowling Green; he’s also a grad transfer who will be eligible this fall. The 6-0, 240-pound Valdez played under current Orange head coach Dino Babers with BGSU earlier in his career. Valdez was a first-team All-MAC linebacker in 2015 when he racked up 144 tackles, including 11 for loss, along with two interceptions, but saw his productivity dip significantly last year when he was slowed by a series of injuries. Like the two Iowa RBs, he’s a second-tier prospect for the upcoming draft.

Looking for some NFL football talk then head on over to 950thefan.com and listen to Pigskin Paul & Huffy talk football for an hour between 5-6PM Eastern this afternoon. They’ll talk DORSEY/REID, DORSEY/PACKERS and even some early discussion of glamour positions for 2018 NFL Draft, especially QB.

Power play in KC … To the surprise of many associated with the NFL, a power play took place in Kansas City this past week when head coach Andy Reid apparently won the battle by convincing owner Clark Hunt that either he or G.M. John Dorsey had to go, and that he – Reid – was clearly the more important man to keep. Read more

Chiefs fire G.M. Dorsey … In a surprise announcement, Kansas City has abruptly fired General Manager John Dorsey. The announcement of Dorsey’s firing came barely an hour after the Chiefs had announced that head coach Andy Reid had been signed to a contract extension leading to some speculation that Dorsey and Reid weren’t on the same page and that Reid won a power struggle within the organization especially after the Chiefs made the surprising decision to cut WR Jeremy Maclin, a Reid favorite.

Are you ready for some football!! … There are still almost 6 week to go until NFL training camps get underway, but there is some football in the air as the Canadian league kicks off its 2017 regular schedule this weekend with four games on the slate. Saskatchewan and Montreal kick off the schedule when they play at 7:30 PM ET later this evening in Montreal. Then on Friday, last year’s Grey Cup finalists Calgary and Ottawa hook up again in the nation’s capitol, while Edmonton plays at B.C. on Saturday. The first week of the CFL sched wraps on Sunday with Hamilton travelling down the road to play their long-time hated rivals in Toronto. The CFL campaign culminates with the 105th renewal of the Grey Cup game which will be played in Ottawa on November 26th. Here is the full 2017 CFL schedule. Despite losing last year’s Grey Cup game to Ottawa, Calgary is the prohibitive favorite to win it all this year after posting a 15-2-1 record in 2016. Meanwhile, Hamilton appears to be a slight favorite in East, although the Eastern Conference could be a tight year-long three team struggle with Ottawa and Toronto also expected to factor in the race. CFL games are broadcast by TSN and RDS in Canada and ESPN in the U.S.

Draft dates confirmed … The NFL has confirmed that the 2018 draft will be held April 26-28 next spring. Still to be determined, though, is where the draft will be held. Dallas is reportedly very interested in hosting the upcoming draft, but other teams are also interested. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, here is the full NFL football calendar through next April’s draft.

Sooners lower boomlet on QB Mayfield … Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate for the 2017 season, won’t miss any game time as a result of a DUI offense back in February. Mayfield still has a court date to decide any legal ramifications, but the school mandated that he will have to participate in university alcohol education as well as perform 35 hours of community service, some of which will include working with law enforcement. The Sooners open the season with a home game against UTEP on September 2nd before travelling to Columbus for an early season showdown with Ohio State the following week.

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