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HBO's Hard Knocks show will have co-headliners for the first time, as the network and NFL Films announced on Thursday they will include both Los Angeles franchises for this year's training camp docuseries. 

'Hard Knocks: Los Angeles' will focus on both the Rams and Chargers as each prepare for their first seasons as co-tenants in the brand-new SoFi Stadium in nearby Inglewood. The five-episode series will debut Aug. 11.

"We are looking forward to having Hard Knocks in our camp this year," Rams coach Sean McVay said.

"Hard Knocks always offers a rare opportunity for our fans to see our players' hard work to prepare for the season, as well as gives them a peek behind the curtain to observe these guys off the field, too.

"This year will be special because the show will also get an unprecedented look at SoFi Stadium, (Rams owner) Stan Kroenke's vision for professional football in L.A."

The Rams were previously featured on the show in 2016, the first year of their return to Los Angeles after a 21-year run in St. Louis.

They will join the Dallas Cowboys (2002, 2007) and Cincinnati Bengals (2009, 2013) as the only teams to appear twice on Hard Knocks, which HBO has aired every summer since 2001 but has chronicled only one team in prior seasons.

HBO also announced it has extended its agreement with NFL Media and NFL Films to produce the series in future years.

"NFL Films cherishes the relationship we've had with HBO for over four decades, and specifically with the Hard Knocks franchise since 2001," NFL Films senior executive Ross Ketover said.

"To be able to announce this extension as we embark on an unprecedented two-team series this summer brings us incredible pride and only heightens our excitement for the return of football."

The Chargers will also be ushering a new era in multiple ways, having parted with longtime quarterback Philip Rivers during the offseason and selecting Oregon signal-caller Justin Herbert in the first round of this year's draft. The Rams, meanwhile, will be attempting to bounce back from a disappointing 9-7 campaign in 2019 after reaching the Super Bowl the previous season.

The two Los Angeles teams are based around 80 miles apart, with the Chargers located in Costa Mesa and the Rams in Thousand Oaks.

The NFL has mandated that teams hold their training camps at their own facilities this year for health and safety reasons related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kareem Jackson has become the latest NFL player and second Denver Bronco to test positive for coronavirus.

Jackson told NFL Network's James Palmer he tested positive on Wednesday after having flu-like symptoms, chills and being congested.

The 32-year-old becomes the second known NFL player this week to be diagnosed after Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott on Monday.

Broncos star pass rusher Von Miller announced in mid-April he contracted coronavirus to become the second NFL player to publicly announce a positive test following Los Angeles Rams center Brian Allen.

It is unknown when Jackson contracted the virus, but he did participate in a march in Denver earlier this month to protest racial inequality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

A first-round pick out of Alabama in 2010 by the Houston Texans, Jackson spent his first nine seasons in Houston before joining Denver in 2019.

He was fourth on the Broncos in tackles last season with 71 and had two interceptions to give him 18 in his career.

The San Francisco 49ers ensured Kyle Shanahan will be their head coach for the long term by signing him to a new contract on Monday.

Shanahan signed a fresh six-year deal with the 49ers and will remain at the helm through the 2025 season. His previous deal contracted him to the Niners through 2022.

Should he see out the entirety of his contract, Shanahan will become the second-longest tenured head coach behind the legendary Bill Walsh.

The Niners' decision to extend Shanahan's stay follows a 2019 season that saw him lead the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, in which they suffered a dramatic defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs.

As the Stats Perform data shows, Shanahan has authored one of the more impressive turnarounds in NFL history, making it no surprise that the 49ers have made sure they will not be losing his services any time soon.

SAN FRANCISCO ON CLOUD NINE

The 49ers went 13-3 in the regular season in 2019, Shanahan's third year in charge, having gone 4-12 in 2018.

San Francisco's 2018 performance was heavily impacted by the torn ACL quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered early in the season, but the upturn they enjoyed was still startling.

Indeed, their nine-win improvement was the largest in the history of the 49ers franchise. San Francisco became one of just 10 teams in NFL history to improve by nine wins from one year to the next.

Only two teams, the 2008 Miami Dolphins and the 1999 Indianapolis Colts, have bettered their win tally by 10 from the previous campaign.

AN OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION 

Shanahan is widely regarded for his acumen as an offensive play-caller and he has had a transformative impact on San Francisco's attack.

In the two seasons before he took over, 2015 and 2016, the Niners finished 32nd and 27th in points per game. They were 31st in total yards per game in each of those seasons.

The influence of Shanahan was quickly felt in a 2017 campaign that saw the Niners go 6-10.

They were 20th in points per game and 12th in yards per game, with their revival in both categories undoubtedly impacted by the October trade for Garoppolo, who led the 49ers on a five-game winning streak to end the year.

Without Garoppolo for 13 games in 2018, the 49ers were 21st in points per game and 16th in yards per game.

However, with their quarterback available for a full season in 2019, the Niners joined the league's elite in both metrics. San Francisco's tally of 29.9 points per game was good enough for second in the league, while the 49ers were fourth in yards per game (381.1) in a year that saw them make history in a variety of fashions.

HISTORY MAKERS

By progressing to the Super Bowl, San Francisco became the third team to do so after four consecutive losing seasons, following in the footsteps of the 1981 49ers and 1999 St. Louis Rams.

Additionally, the Niners were only the second team to contest the season-ending showpiece having lost 12 games in the prior campaign, again replicating the 1999 Rams.

Dominant on both sides of the ball, the 49ers finished in the top five on offense and defense for the first time since 1995.

Offensively, their success was built largely on a near unstoppable running attack. Three 49ers running backs went over 500 yards rushing for the season, marking the first time the Niners achieved that feat since 1954.

When passing the ball, the Niners did an excellent job of spreading it around and finished the season with 13 players catching a touchdown, tying an NFL record.

The 49ers kept the bulk of their Super Bowl team around this offseason and, with Shanahan contracted for at least another six seasons, there is reason to believe they will spend much of this decade threatening more NFL milestones.

Colin Kaepernick fits the Los Angeles Chargers' style at quarterback, according to the team's head coach Anthony Lynn.

The Chargers are happy with their three current options at the position in Justin Herbert, Tyrod Taylor and Easton Stick but do have Kaepernick, 32, on a workout list.

Lynn feels fellow NFL teams would be "crazy" if they did not have him listed as one of their own options as a potential signing.

Kaepernick has been out of the league since the end of the 2016 season, during which he attracted controversy by kneeling for the United States national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

He was involved a workout for teams in November last year and his cause has received renewed attention amid nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.

"It would be crazy to not have him on your workout list," Lynn told reporters.

"I haven't spoken with Colin, not sure where he is at as far as his career [goes], what he wants to do, but Colin definitely fits the style of quarterback for the system that we are going to be running. 

"I'm very confident and happy with the three quarterbacks that I have but you can never have too many people waiting on the runway." 

Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job, a case which was settled in February.

Following his apology to players for the league's previous stance on protests, commissioner Roger Goodell this week said he is encouraging teams to sign the former San Francisco 49ers QB.

Las Vegas has yet to host an NFL game, but the city has proved it is up to the task to hold a celebration. 

The NFL announced on Tuesday that Las Vegas will host the 2021 Pro Bowl at the Raiders' new Allegiant Stadium home on January 31.

"We look forward to partnering with the Raiders and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority [LVCVA] to bring the excitement of Pro Bowl week to our Las Vegas fans and community for the first time," Peter O'Reilly, NFL EVP of club business and league events, said in a statement. 

This will be the first season the Raiders play in Las Vegas, and the NFL had scheduled this year's draft to take place on the Las Vegas Strip until the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be held remotely.  

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, during the broadcast of April’s first round, Roger Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying: "We think you deserve another shot." 

Las Vegas will now become the 11th host of the Pro Bowl since 1950, after Orlando, Florida had the last four. 

"The Raiders welcome the NFL Pro Bowl to Allegiant Stadium and to Las Vegas, the Sports and Entertainment Capital of the World," Raiders president Marc Badain said.

"Pro Bowl week is a celebration of the best the NFL has to offer and there is no better place than Las Vegas to celebrate and honour the league's biggest stars.

"The NFL, the LVCVA and the Raiders look forward to a world-class event that will set the standard for future NFL events in Las Vegas." 

Lamar Jackson finds constant comparisons with Patrick Mahomes annoying but conceded he would love to have the Kansas City Chiefs star's arm strength.

In 2019, Jackson succeeded Mahomes as NFL MVP with both having won the award in their second season in the league.

Their similar trajectory as players and their presence as two of the premier quarterbacks as the league enters a new era at the position has seen 'Jackson or Mahomes' become a frequent source of debate.

Yet it is a discussion for which Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Jackson has little time.

Speaking on Bleacher Report's 'Take it There with Taylor Rooks', Jackson said of comparisons with Mahomes: "Yeah that's annoying. We play football.

"Two different teams. Ain't got nothing to do with each other. Like, we just play football. That's it."

Asked if there was any aspect of Mahomes' skill set he would like to possess, Jackson initially joked: "None. I ain't trying to be him. I'm my own player."

However, he then added: "To throw as far as him, I want that cannon. He got a cannon arm. I'd take that cannon."

Mahomes led the Chiefs to glory in Super Bowl LIV last season and was named MVP of the game after authoring a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers. The Chiefs had trailed 20-10 with seven minutes left.

Jackson and the Ravens would have met Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game had Baltimore not suffered a shock 28-12 loss to the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round.

Mahomes has won both games he and Jackson have contested in the NFL. The Chiefs beat the Ravens 33-28 in Week 3 last season, having also defeated Baltimore 27-24 in Week 14 of the 2018 campaign.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he is encouraging teams to sign former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since the end of the 2016 season, during which the quarterback attracted controversy by kneeling for the United States national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

He filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of a job. Kaepernick settled that grievance in February.

The 32-year-old, who was involved in an NFL workout in November last year, and his protests have received renewed attention amid nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.

Asked about Kaepernick and his future, Goodell told ESPN on Monday: "Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision. But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.

"If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities.

"We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody's welcome at that table and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues that have been around for a long time.

"But I hope we're at a point now where everybody's committed to making long-term, sustainable change."

On Kaepernick's protests in 2016, Goodell added: "What they were talking about and what they were protesting and what they were trying to bring attention to was playing out right in front of us -- and tragically.

"And so all of us saw that, and it was difficult for all of us. And so that was an important point for all of us."

Philadelphia Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks is expected to miss the upcoming 2020 NFL season after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

Brooks revealed the news via Twitter on Monday after reportedly hurting his Achilles while working out at Philadelphia's training complex.

A Pro Bowl selection in each of the past three seasons, Brooks has been rehabbing from a dislocated shoulder he sustained against the New York Giants in week 17 of last season, forcing him to miss the Eagles' wild-card loss to the Seattle Seahawks in January.

"So I guess now that the news is out yes I tore my other Achilles but when life makes you lemons you make lemonade," the 30-year-old wrote.

"I'll be back and better than ever. Appreciate the love." 

The seven-year veteran previously tore his right Achilles tendon during the Eagles' loss to the New Orleans Saints in the 2018 playoffs.

Brooks, though, returned in time for the 2019 campaign and started all 16 regular-season games before missing Philadelphia's opening-round playoff loss to the Seahawks due to his shoulder injury.

Including the postseason, Brooks has still started 67 of a possible 70 games since signing a five-year contract with the Eagles prior to the 2016 campaign. 

Philadelphia may now have to replace two key starters on the offensive line from last season's team, as long-time left tackle Jason Peters remains an unsigned free agent. 

The Eagles did select Andre Dillard in the first round of the 2019 draft as an intended replacement for the 38-year-old Peters and took a pair of Auburn offensive linemen – Jack Driscoll (fourth round) and Prince Tega Wanogho (sixth round) in this year's draft.  

The San Francisco 49ers rewarded head coach Kyle Shanahan with a multi-year contract extension following last season's run to the NFL Super Bowl.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the 49ers, but Shanahan reportedly signed a new six-year deal that will replace the remaining three years on his original contract – running through the 2025 season.

Shanahan helped engineer the best reversal of fortune in franchise history when he guided the 49ers to a 13-3 regular-season record and two more wins in the NFC playoffs to reach Super Bowl LIV last season.

San Francisco took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter before the Kansas City Chiefs rallied for a 31-20 victory in the showpiece fixture.

With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo limited to three games by a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the 49ers limped to a 4-12 record in 2018. 

The nine-win improvement is tied for the third largest in a regular season in NFL history, surpassed only by the 1999 Indianapolis Colts and the 2008 Miami Dolphins. Both of those teams won 10 more games than the previous year.  

Shanahan, the son of three-time Super Bowl champion coach Mike Shanahan, is 23-25 in three seasons since being hired as the 49ers' coach in February 2017.

The 40-year-old also led San Francisco to a four-win upgrade over the previous campaign during his first season in charge in 2017.  

Prior to joining the 49ers, Shanahan served as the Atlanta Falcons' offensive co-ordinator and played a key role in the team reaching Super Bowl LI during the 2016 season.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said on social media that he "absolutely" will be kneeling during the national anthem in the upcoming NFL season.

Mayfield posted a video to his Instagram account of himself working out in a one-on-one session with a trainer on Friday, and a fan commented: "Please tell Browns fans you're not going to be kneeling this season." 

Mayfield responded: "Pull your head out. I absolutely am."

The response by the Browns' third-year quarterback, who is white, sparked hundreds of comments, some supporting Mayfield but many denouncing kneeling protests as disrespectful to the United States military and the American flag.

"The ignorance in this response says it all," Mayfield said after reading many of the replies. "It's more than just the flag. It's about our country and everyone being treated as equals.  

"I have the utmost respect for our military and people that serve for our freedom."

The practice of kneeling during the national anthem was started by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt to protest police brutality and racial oppression in 2016. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since that season.

While the debate about anthem protests had nearly died out over the past few years, the issue has been reignited by the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd, who was black, was killed while in the custody of white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 when Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Mayfield's comment comes after Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week that he regrets not signing Kaepernick in the 2017 offseason.

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt was also confronted on social media about kneeling during the upcoming season. Watt supported the practice but was not clear whether or not he will take part.

A Twitter user tagged Watt in a reply on Friday, saying: "Pretty sure you won't see [Watt] taking a knee."

Watt replied on Saturday: "A) Don't speak for me. B) If you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been listening."

J.J. Watt said kneeling for the United States national anthem "isn't disrespecting the flag or our military" as he fired back at a Twitter user who suggested he would not be among the Houston Texans players protesting.

The idea of taking a knee for The Star-Spangled Banner before NFL games to protest police brutality and racial injustice has been raised again following the death of George Floyd in police custody on March 25.

When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt four years ago he was heavily criticised by United States president Donald Trump, but the NFL recently apologised for not listening to its players and encouraged them to "speak out and peacefully protest".

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was criticised for suggesting those who took a knee were "disrespecting the flag", though he later apologised for those comments, a U-turn that Trump insisted he was wrong to make.

The 2020 NFL regular season is not due to begin until September, but Texans head coach Bill O'Brien has said he would join his players in kneeling.

"Yeah, I'll take a knee," he told the Houston Chronicle.

"I'm all for it. The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are.

"They're not taking a knee because they're against the flag. They're taking a knee because they haven't been treated equally in this country for over 400 years."

A Twitter user responded to that story on the social media channel by writing: "Pretty sure you won't see @JJWatt taking a knee...." along with three emojis of the American flag.

However, Watt hit back from his own account, saying kneeling for the anthem had nothing to do with either the USA flag or the country's military.

He quote-retweeted his mention, saying: "A) don't speak for me B) if you still think it's about disrespecting the flag or our military, you clearly haven't been listening."

The new NFL regular season will kick off with the Texans facing the Kansas City Chiefs, who are the reigning Super Bowl champions, on September 10.

Houston have won the AFC South in each of the previous two campaigns but were beaten by the Chiefs in the playoffs last year.

Alvin Kamara will be supporting Bubba Wallace in Miami on Sunday, having become a NASCAR fan following its decision to ban the Confederate flag this week.

The Confederate flag - which is viewed by many as a symbol of racism and slavery - was banned from all NASCAR races and properties in a decision made prior to Wednesday's race at Martinsville Speedway.

Its banishment came amid a renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minnesota on May 25.

NASCAR's decision was praised by many sports stars, including New Orleans Saints running back Kamara, who watched Wednesday's race with interest and tweeted the division to ask when the next race was.

On Saturday, the three-time Pro Bowler tweeted a picture of some merchandise of Wallace, NASCAR's only black driver, confirming he would attend the Cup Series' latest race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"See y'all tomorrow @NASCAR @BubbaWallace wassup?!!!" Kamara wrote.

Wallace is a fan of the University of Tennessee, where Kamara played two seasons of college football prior to entering the NFL in 2017.

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said he will take a knee with players during the national anthem this NFL season to protest racial inequality and police brutality.  

There have been nationwide protests in the United States after Floyd – an African-American man – died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

A police officer was filmed kneeling on Floyd's neck during an arrest after he was crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first player to kneel during the anthem in protest against racial injustice in 2016, before he was released the following year.

New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees said players who knelt during the anthem were "disrespecting the flag", comments which sparked fierce backlash and led to an apology, while US president Donald Trump insisted kneeling is "disrespecting" the country.

But O'Brien told the Houston Chronicle: "Yeah, I'll take a knee. I'm all for it. The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are.  

"They're not taking a knee because they're against the flag. They're taking a knee because they haven't been treated equally in this country for over 400 years." 

O'Brien has been a supportive presence during the recent social justice fight.

He cancelled virtual team activities on June 9 and instead encouraged players to attend the funeral service for Floyd.

O'Brien attended the service along with star defensive end J.J. Watt, owner Cal McNair, offensive co-ordinator Tim Kelly, defensive co-ordinator Anthony Weaver and former defensive tackle D.J. Reader. 

"It wasn't a conscious effort, O'Brien said on the team's response to Floyd's death. "It wasn't like we had a conversation together and decided to do it.

"I think we just said enough is enough, and we've got to do what's right. As an organisation, we're part of the conversation and we want to do our part."

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said he initially was not happy when the team brought in Nick Foles, but has since embraced the idea of competition.

Trubisky's comments on a conference call with reporters on Friday were his first since the Bears traded a fourth-round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for fellow quarterback Foles.

"I was kind of p****d off, in a good way. I've been motivated ever since,” Trubisky said. "It's a business decision. I'm all for the Bears getting better and winning games."

The Bears traded up one slot in the 2017 draft to select Trubisky second overall out of North Carolina, though he struggled in 12 games during his rookie season.

There was also regression last year in nearly every statistical category after a promising Pro Bowl campaign in 2018.

"I'm very confident about where I'm at right now and what I can do for this team," Trubisky said.

“I feel like I'm in a good mental space. I'm motivated and driven to do more than I did last year. I'm very locked into what I've got to do."

After a playoff appearance in 2018, Chicago squandered a 3-1 start last season to finish 8-8. The Bears' offense ranked 29th in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game.

"I've been motivated since our season ended last year. It didn't end the way we wanted it to, and we left a lot out there," Trubisky admitted. "It had to do with health and lack of details on offense.

"We need to get back to the playoffs. And we need to have a different mentality then we did last year. We let a lot of details slip and we didn’t play the way we should have been playing. We lost a lot of games we should have won."

While Bears coach Matt Nagy has yet to name a starting quarterback for Week 1, Trubisky's fourth campaign will be pivotal in terms of his NFL career. Chicago declined his fifth-year rookie contract option, making him a free agent at the end of this season.

"All I can do is control what I can control," he said. "That's go out and have a hell of a year with my team-mates."

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