Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titan safety, fined $10K for celebrating on AT&T Stadium star

Kevin Byard‘s star role is going to cost him.

The Tennessee Titans safety has been fined $10,026, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, for stomping on the midfield star in the team’s Monday Night Football win over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium

Byard’s first-quarter interception of Dak Prescott in the end zone came after the Cowboys recovered Marcus Mariota‘s second fumble of the game. He then sprinted to the star at midfield and began dancing on it when he was joined by some of his teammates.

Byard said he came up with the idea to run to the star at the team hotel when he was thinking of ways to celebrate a big play.

“… It was really just to show the team that we are not scared,” he told reporters. “We are here to play ball. We are here to win the game. I made the play, and I ran straight to the 50-yard line. It was kind of off the wall a little bit.”

The Cowboys’ Byron Jones eventually disrupted the celebration by pushing Byard and his Titans teammates off the star.

“There’s no reason for them to disrespect the star like that,” Jones said after the Titans defeated the Cowboys 28-14. “You can have fun out there. I understand celebrate, but you overstep the boundaries when you go on the star.”

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said on Tuesday that he wasn’t happy with Byard’s celebration.

“That’s not what we want as an organization,” he said. “That’s not what I want as a head coach.”

Byard said on Wednesday that he understood his coach’s sentiments.

“Some people loved it, some didn’t, but the main thing is the head coach didn’t like it, and that’s the most important thing,” Byard told reporters, according to the team’s website. “I am more concerned with the trust and the way my head coach and my teammates view me. Those guys know that I am not a selfish person, and I understand that act looked selfish and that’s why we had a talk about that.

“I don’t want to be in the doghouse, or end up in the doghouse over a celebration. But we’re good. We’re good.”

Byard’s celebration was reminiscent of a similar display by former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens, who celebrated on the star twice in a game against the Cowboys during the 2000 season.

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Packers’ Geronimo Allison has ‘pretty big injury’; Kevin King likely to miss game

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Wide receiver Geronimo Allison likely will need surgery, and cornerback Kevin King isn’t likely to play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

That’s the outlook a day after the Green Bay Packers lost their second straight road game and fell to 3-4-1 at the halfway point of their season.

Allison did not play in Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the New England Patriots after he suffered a groin injury in practice Thursday. The third-year receiver was in Philadelphia on Monday to visit Dr. William Meyers, a core-muscle specialist who has operated on Packers players with groin and sports hernia injuries in the past.

“We’ll work through the final prognosis, but it’s a pretty big injury,” coach Mike McCarthy said.

Allison could miss more than a month. Rookie Marquez Valdes-Scantling took Allison’s spot as the No. 3 receiver on Sunday and caught three passes for 101 yards — his second 100-yard game in his past three outings.

King’s hamstring injury, which forced him out in the middle of Sunday’s game, isn’t as big, but McCarthy said King would be “challenged to play this week.”

The Packers made several adjustments in the secondary against the Patriots. They started the game with cornerback Tramon Williams at safety in place of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was traded to the Washington Redskins last week. Bashaud Breeland started at cornerback in his first game action since the Packers signed him in December. King started at the other corner spot, and rookie Jaire Alexander played in the slot. Fellow rookie Josh Jackson played 41 of the 71 defensive snaps, most of them after King dropped out 24 snaps into the game. The Packers also finished the game without safety Kentrell Brice, who left with a knee injury.

The Packers on Monday added a safety, former fourth-round pick Ibraheim Campbell, off waivers from the Jets. Campbell played for Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during the 2015 season with the Cleveland Browns.

He took punter Drew Kaser‘s roster spot. Kaser was signed on Saturday as an emergency in case JK Scott‘s wife went into labor and he had to leave New England. He would have done so with the blessings of McCarthy and general manager Brian Gutekunst, who had a plane waiting to take Scott back to Green Bay if needed. Kaser instead was inactive.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) and linebacker Blake Martinez (ankle) both have a chance to play against the Dolphins after getting injured against the Patriots. Bulaga didn’t finish the game but avoided a serious injury, while Martinez returned but had significant swelling on Monday. Martinez said tests showed no significant structural damage.

“Once I taped it up and did a bunch of stuff and tried to run around, it started to kind of loosen up and I was getting ready to go,” he said.

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Kevin McDermott, of Minnesota Vikings, loses tip of pinkie, returns to game

Vikings long snapper Kevin McDermott lost the tip of the pinkie on his left hand during Minnesota’s game Thursday against the Rams, but returned to the game after receiving stitches, a source told ESPN.

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Kevin Durant jokes about joining Los Angeles Rams; Sean McVay — ‘Anytime’

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Kevin Durant, your spot on the next championship-caliber team is waiting.

Welcome to Los Angeles.

No, not the Lakers.

We’re talking about the Rams.

On Monday, a day after Durant expressed admiration in an Instagram Stories video for defensive tackle Aaron Donald and a desire to join the Los Angeles Rams, coach Sean McVay said he certainly had a role in mind for the 6-foot-9, 240-pound two-time NBA champion.

“I bet he’d be pretty dangerous in the red zone on some of those jump balls,” McVay said, smiling.

The Rams are coming off a 34-0 shutout of the Arizona Cardinals and are 2-0, as talk of a Super Bowl continues to grow louder.

The Rams feature one of the most dominant defenses in the NFL, with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Donald and All-Pro’s Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh. The unit has already posted six consecutive shutout quarters this season.

As for the offense, reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley is tied for first in the league with four touchdowns, and the offense is averaging 33.5 points per game behind third-year quarterback Jared Goff (a lifelong Warriors fan).

But still, McVay said there’s room for one more superstar: Durant.

“If he thinks about wanting to do that, we’ll welcome him,” McVay said, chuckling. “He can come kick it with us anytime he wants.”

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Denver Broncos waive former first-round pick Paxton Lynch after claiming QB Kevin Hogan

The Denver Broncos waived former first-round pick Paxton Lynch after claiming quarterback Kevin Hogan off waivers Sunday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NFL Network first reported the news.

Lynch had made the initial 53-man roster on Saturday, but president of football operations/general manager John Elway stressed that it was as the third quarterback, behind starter Case Keenum and backup Chad Kelly.

Elway said Saturday evening that part of the thinking was Kelly’s inexperience. He was a seventh-round pick in 2017 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, and that played a part in the decision to retain Lynch.

“Every decision we make, we try to make the best decision for the Broncos, and sitting right now, where we are at quarterback and who knows our system … I thought at this point in time that’s the best decision for us,” Elway said. “Paxton continued to improve, but he is the third-string quarterback. Looking at it, looking at the situation, with Chad not having a lot of experience and not having played a regular-season game before, we felt like we had to go with three quarterbacks, and Paxton was our third one.”

Lynch, whom the Broncos traded up to select in the first round of the 2016 draft (26th overall), lost back-to-back training camp battles with Trevor Siemian the previous two summers. This summer, Lynch slid to No. 3 on the depth chart after the Broncos’ preseason opener against the Chicago Bears and wasn’t able to regain the backup spot.

Lynch did have his strongest outing of the preseason Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals, completing 14 of 15 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns just two days before the Broncos made the bulk of their cuts.

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CB Kevin Johnson of Houston Texans exits preseason game with concussion

HOUSTON — Houston Texans starting cornerback Kevin Johnson left Saturday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers with a concussion and will not return.

Johnson sustained the concussion when he landed hard on the turf while defending a pass from Jimmy Garoppolo to Marquise Goodwin on the first series of the game. The cornerback was down on the ground while he was checked out by the training staff after he landed on the sideline. Johnson was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power and was taken to the locker room.

Texans receiver Sammie Coates also suffered a concussion and was ruled out for the game.

Johnson, a 2015 first-round pick, is expected to start alongside cornerback Johnathan Joseph this season. Johnson has dealt with injuries the past two seasons and has played in just 18 of 32 regular-season games in that span.

In 12 games in 2017-18, Johnson had 45 combined tackles and two passes defended. According to Pro Football Focus, he was ranked 121st out of 121 eligible cornerbacks last season.

Johnson was replaced by cornerback Johnson Bademosi on Saturday.

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Kevin Pierre-Louis, New York Jets linebacker, suspended 1 game for violating NFL policy

New York Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis has been suspended one game for a violation of the league’s policy on substances of abuse.

Pierre-Louis was arrested in January as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and charged with several misdemeanors, including marijuana possession.

In March, shortly after signing with the Jets, Pierre-Louis reached a plea deal in Johnson County, Kansas. The marijuana charge will be dropped if he successfully completes a one-year probationary period.

Pierre-Louis signed a two-year, $5.25 million contact with the Jets, including a $2.5 million guarantee. The Jets envision him as a backup and special-teams contributor. He didn’t play in Friday night’s preseason opener because of an undisclosed injury.

He joins cornerback Rashard Robinson and wide receiver ArDarius Stewart as players who will begin the season on the suspended list. Wide receiver Robby Anderson and linebacker Dylan Donahue also face potential suspensions for the upcoming season.

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Kevin Dodd released by Tennessee Titans after failing to report to training camp

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans 2016 second-round pick Kevin Dodd was released Tuesday, two days after he failed to report to training camp.

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Chicago Bears WR Kevin White spends offseason training with quarterback Mitch Trubisky

Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White‘s career has not gone exactly as planned. Entering his fourth season — a crucial contract year for the 2015 first-round pick — the 26-year-old switched up his offseason training regimen. That included spending time training with Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky at a facility in Anaheim.

“I’m sure people will make a big deal of it, us working together,” White told ESPN. “We were trying to get the timing down, trying to see what each other likes or don’t like, just trying to communicate, that’s the biggest thing. It was just two guys working, wanting to be great.”

White spent the last three offseasons training in Arizona. But after missing 43 of 48 games due to various injuries, White said he wanted to “change things up.” The Bears declined to pick up White’s fifth-year option (worth $13.9 million) in May, meaning he will become a free agent after the 2018 season. This offseason, White reconnected with Chris Flores, a trainer and the owner of Sports Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) in Anaheim, California. White had worked with Flores during his time at West Virginia.

“After his first few years, he didn’t get the results he was expecting, so he decided to come back home,” Flores said. “He’s obviously had a lot of leg injuries, a lot of issues. So we tried to strengthen his legs individually, then translated that directly what we wanted to do with routes. We did a lot of single leg isolation stuff, getting his legs as strong as possible to prevent injuries and be more proactive. He improved his core strength and got a lot stronger, but the biggest part was the small muscles in the feet — a lot of focus on the ankles, a lot on the feet.”

Flores said “almost the entire summer, every time [White] had a break, he flew to L.A. and went to work.” White trained alongside his brothers; Kyzir, a linebacker, was drafted in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Chargers while Ka’Raun, a wide receiver, was an undrafted free agent who will be at the Cincinnati Bengals‘ training camp.

Trubisky trained at STARS previously, and “it just worked out for everyone” that White was there too, according to Flores. Last offseason, STARS had to bring in other wide receivers to work with the Bears’ quarterback.

Flores said Trubisky and White didn’t get to throw too much to begin the summer, but by the last three to four weeks of training they did two throwing sessions a week — and sometimes even three times a week. Some of the throwing sessions lasted 45 minutes to an hour.

“They really wanted to get their timing down,” Flores said. “And it felt like they were peaking at the right time.”

White, the No. 7 pick in 2015, was GM Ryan Pace’s first draft pick with the Bears. White has 21 career receptions for 193 yards; 19 of those receptions and 187 of the yards came in the first four games of the 2016 season.

The West Virginia product was shut down for his entire rookie season after an offseason stress fracture in his left tibia required surgery. White’s 2016 season ended in Week 4 when he was tackled in a game against the Lions and suffered a spiral fracture of his left fibula, along with ankle ligament damage. White returned for the 2017 season, but was injured in the first game – breaking his left shoulder blade.

Entering training camp, Pace praised White. “I just feel like there is a lot of momentum with his play, Pace said. “He’s had a good offseason. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”

White’s base salary ($2,693,597) for the 2018 season is fully guaranteed, which increases his chances for making the roster next season — despite the Bears committing big money (a three-year contract with $25.2 million guaranteed) to Allen Robinson in free agency.

Through the first four days of training camp, the coaches have given White a ton of targets. When asked about what would make a successful season, White said: “One is just being available, and playing every day. Two is playing the way I can. That’s all it is.”

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Kevin Dodd of Tennessee Titans placed on reserve did not report list after not reporting for training camp

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kevin Dodd‘s puzzling offseason continued Sunday when he did not report for Titans training camp. He was placed on the reserve/did not report list.

Right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Phillip Supernaw were placed on the physically unable to perform list. Linebacker Rashaan Evans and receiver Michael Campanaro were placed on the non-football illness list. Defensive tackle Mike Ramsay was placed on the non-football injury list.

Dodd, a 2016 second-round pick, missed all of voluntary offseason workouts before being a limited participant during mandatory minicamp. He never gave a reason for his absence and declined to answer questions.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel wanted to give Dodd a clean slate after two disappointing seasons to start his NFL career. Injuries derailed his rookie season, but he hasn’t shown much when he has played. A 6-foot-5, 280-pound outside linebacker, he has one sack and 12 tackles in 18 games.

The Titans drafted Harold Landry in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft to give them much-needed depth in their pass rush, but as of earlier this offseason there was still hope within the organization that Dodd could be a contributor. Dodd hasn’t helped his cause.

Conklin is still recovering from a torn ACL suffered during the Titans’ Jan. 13 divisional playoff loss to the Patriots. He won’t be on the field to start training camp, and the optimistic goal is to try to get him back by Week 1. Conklin said he lost weight and attacked his rehab without any setbacks, but the Titans may need to prepare as if they will be without him to start the season.

Veteran reserve Dennis Kelly is expected to slide in at right tackle while Conklin recovers from his injury.

Evans’ designation isn’t expected to keep him off the field much during training camp.

Quarterbacks, rookies and players injured at the end of the June offseason program were due to report Sunday. Dodd and Conklin were included in that group. The rest of the Titans are set to report Wednesday.

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