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Anthony Munoz witnessed Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow deliver a National Championship to LSU, and the Hall of Famer believes he has the requisite traits to turn around the Cincinnati Bengals' fortunes.

The Bengals hold the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft after going 2-14 in 2019 and it is expected they will select Burrow, a quarterback who was raised in Ohio.

The 23-year-old had an incredible senior year with LSU, throwing for 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns and leading the Tigers to a win over Clemson in the National Championship last month.

Cincinnati have had four successive losing seasons and have not won a playoff game since 1990 yet Munoz, a Hall of Famer who spent 13 years on the Bengals' offensive line between 1980 and 1992, believes their presumptive first pick Burrow can be a hit in the NFL.

"I think so. First of all, it's all about putting people in the seats," he told Stats Perform.

"Joe being an Athens, Ohio guy, I think that's going to help - not to mention the great leadership qualities he has and the player he's been this season.

"You look at him and it seems the better the college team, the better he's played.

"The higher ranked they've been, the bigger the game – not that that's the same as the NFL – but I think he's someone that has shown that.

"We need to help him in other areas. We need to shore up the offensive line a little bit.

"I think we have the pieces, having Jonah Williams healthy, coming in this year and doing what they think he should be able to do. I think we have a couple of young linemen that they can build on. It would surprise me if they didn't go with Joe."

There is a sense that winding up back in Ohio may not be Burrow's wish, though, with some pundits suggesting he should pull a John Elway or Eli Manning and refuse to play for the Bengals if he is selected by them.

A historically bad NFL franchise who have never won the Super Bowl, Cincinnati made Zac Taylor their head coach last season and he had the league's worst record in his rookie campaign.

However, Munoz is confident that the former Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach can find success in Cincinnati.

"I've been really impressed with Zac Taylor," Munoz added.

"I've been around him quite a bit. Didn't know a whole lot about him when he got there but I've had a chance to be around him and get to know him and talk to people who know him extremely well.

"I think he's a good fit and I think he's going to be very successful."

Travis Frederick wants Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper back in Dallas, but appreciates the Cowboys stars deserve a chance to sign lucrative contracts this offseason.

The Cowboys have some interesting decisions to make as starting quarterback Prescott and his number-one target Cooper are both scheduled to hit free agency.

Re-signing Prescott is surely the top priority for Dallas after he threw for 4,902 yards in his fourth season - a total only Jameis Winston could better across the NFL - and they will almost certainly use the franchise tag on the quarterback if they cannot iron out a long-term deal with the 26-year-old.

Last week Hall of Famer and ex-Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith suggested Prescott should take a discount to return to Dallas, freeing up more cap space to keep former first-rounder Cooper, yet starting center Frederick knows this is also an opportunity for both men to sign their first big contracts in the NFL.

Speaking before Smith's comments were aired, Frederick told Omnisport: "It's a business so as a person I hope so many good things for all of those people.

"I want them to go and make as much money as they can and do all of those things.

"From a selfish standpoint, I'd love to have them back on the team but first and foremost for me is those guys take care of themselves and their families."

Should Prescott and Cooper return to Dallas in 2020, they will be playing with a new head coach in Mike McCarthy.

The Cowboys replaced Jason Garrett with the ex-Green Bay Packers head coach after they went 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs, and Frederick cannot wait to get to work with a man who won a Super Bowl ring in his previous job.

"I'm excited to get a chance to work with him," the offensive lineman added.

"I know he's got a proven track record.

"He's a guy who has done really well in the past so really excited just to have a new take on things and get to know him more and get to know his system a little bit more."

Nate Solder knows all about the New England Patriots' winning culture and feels that will rub off on the New York Giants following Joe Judge's appointment as head coach.

The Giants last month hired former New England special teams coordinator Judge to succeed Pat Shurmur following a disappointing 4-12 campaign.

Judge was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams on Bill Belichick's staff, though his new role with the Giants is his first as a head coach.

Offensive lineman Solder, who won two Super Bowl rings in New England when Judge was there, believes his new head coach can bring 'The Patriot Way' to New York.

"He's a disciplined guy, he's a tough guy," left tackle Solder told Omnisport.

"He's got a winning model. He's won a lot of championships, been part of a championship games.

"I think those are all things that are going to benefit us hugely going forward."

The Giants are moving on without Eli Manning in 2020, the veteran quarterback having called time on his 16-season career after he lost his starting spot to rookie Daniel Jones in 2019.

Manning led the Giants to two Lombardi Trophies but his Hall of Fame candidacy remains a bone of contention, with his supporters highlighting his titles and longevity as his detractors point to average numbers.

Solder, though, has nothing but praise for Manning's dedication to his craft.

"What an honour," he said of playing with Manning. "I got to play with Tom Brady, I got to play with Eli Manning. I'm truly blessed for that.

"I've learned so many great lessons from him in terms of competitiveness, preparation and Eli's steadfastness through so many ups and downs.

"He was so steadfast and he was just consistent every day. He was the same guy.

"That's not easy to do, especially in the isolating position of being a quarterback, with so many expectations. I thought he did an excellent, wonderful job."

First-rounder Jones certainly impressed after replacing Manning, though, finishing the season with 3,027 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games.

"I think he's absolutely going to be better in his second year," Solder said of Jones.

"He did a lot of great things this year. It's tough to be a quarterback in this league, he's got a lot to learn, but he's very committed to getting better and I think that's going to pay off."

NFL owners have backed a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and invited the league's players to get the deal over the line.

Plans to expand the fixture schedule have proved a divisive issue amid a push for a 17-game regular season.

The existing deal expires at the end of next season and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recently insisted player welfare continued to be a priority.

The NFL said in a statement on its website that the new CBA would "transform the future of the game".

Now, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) will need to examine the terms on the table and give a two-thirds majority approval, before all players are then given the chance to vote.

Only then can the CBA be enacted, and there is no guarantee of the players' support. Initial talks within the NFLPA will reportedly begin on Friday.

Speaking last month, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who is an NFLPA vice-president, accused the NFL and team owners of putting a "price tag" on player safety in pushing for the extra game.

He and other suspect the move is a stepping stone to an 18-game season.

Sherman said ahead of the Super Bowl: "I don't think it's something the players are interested in, honestly. If that's the point they're negotiating on, I think these negotiations are going to go a lot longer than anticipated."

The NFL said in its statement on Thursday: "Following more than 10 months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players - past, present and future - both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans.

"The membership voted today to accept the negotiated terms on the principal elements of a new collective bargaining agreement. The Players Association would also need to vote to approve the same terms for there to be a new agreement.

"Since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under by next week, the membership also approved moving forward under the final year of the 2011 CBA if the players decide not to approve the negotiated terms.

"Out of respect for the process and our partners at the NFLPA, we will have no further comment at this time."

A report on the NFL website said the CBA proposal included an option for the future 17-game schedule, along with increasing the players' share of revenue from 47 to 48 per cent - reportedly rising to 48.5 per cent in the event of the 17-game season being implemented.

It also includes the plan to expand the play-offs to make it a 14-team competition, starting immediately.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is confident NFL convert Christian Wade can make the Buffalo Bills' active roster next season.

Wade left rugby union side Wasps to pursue a career in the NFL and the former wing - a one-cap England international - was allocated a spot with the Bills as part of last year's International Player Pathway programme.

The 28-year-old showed he is a quick learner when taking a 65-yard run for a touchdown on his very first touch in the preseason.

Wade spent the 2019 NFL campaign with the Bills but was not promoted to the active roster - meaning he is still yet to appear in a regular-season game - but Allen feels that could change next season if his ascent continues.

"I do. I definitely do," Bills starting QB Allen told Omnisport of Wade's chances.

"He's got the speed. Obviously, learning a new game, there's some challenges there, just as far as little things that guys that have been playing for so long know. The little nuances of the game of football are just a little different.

"But he's learning not to pitch it back, he's running forward, he's holding onto it so if he keeps doing that, we'll be just fine.

"He is awesome. Just how he attacks each day.

"In the preseason he did exceptionally well, he took his first carry 65 yards. Just a great kid that wants to learn, wants to work. We've become really good friends with him and his fiancee.

"To make the transition and do that, it's unbelievable. I'm pulling for him, I'm rooting for him, I love being around him. He's such a vibrant character too."

Bills head coach Sean McDermott will have more say in whether Wade is one of the 53 men on the final roster.

And he believes Wade's work ethic stands him in excellent stead.

"What a great ambassador for the game in terms of the UK and he's done a phenomenal job, just the positive energy and juice he brings to our football team every day is impressive," McDermott added.

"I think it's just being comfortable. Last year it was so new, going to play a new sport.

"It would be like me going over to the UK to play rugby or what have you. He's just made so many strides since coming to us less than a year ago.

"The sky's the limit. It's a matter of the hard work that he puts in. I know he's a hard worker and we'll see where it goes."

Adrian Peterson will remain with the Washington Redskins after the team activated their 2020 contract option to retain the running back.

Washington had until February 25 to exercise their club option, which ensures them of Peterson's services for next season on a $2.25million salary and keeps him out of free agency.

Peterson will carry a cap hit of $3.1m and his dead cap figure would have been just $750,000, but his importance to the Redskins was underlined by their move to keep him, which was announced on Wednesday.

A month ahead of his 35th birthday, Peterson has kickstarted his career with the Redskins, starting 31 of their 32 games in the last two seasons, rushing for 1,940 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The seven-time Pro Bowler has added 37 catches, 350 yards and a further score through the air and will remain with the rebuilding team, who have second-year pro Dwayne Haskins at quarterback.

Ron Rivera, the team's new head coach, hailed Peterson's professionalism as he sets about improving on a disappointing 3-13 season.

"Adrian Peterson is the epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league," said Rivera, whose team hold the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

"Adrian's leadership and passion towards the game of football will set an example of what is expected of the players in this program moving forward."

Peterson enters his 13th NFL season fifth all-time in rushing yards with 14,216, a total which is 1,054 behind Barry Sanders, and fourth in career rushing touchdowns having scored 111.

Greg Olsen has joined the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year contract reportedly worth $7million.

Tight end Olsen was a free agent after being released by the Carolina Panthers and will now link up with quarterback Russell Wilson in a deal that has $5.5m in guarantees.

"The Seahawks are adding one of the NFL's most accomplished tight ends for the 2020 season," read the team's statement confirming the move.

Olsen, 34, spent nine seasons with the Panthers, having started his career with four seasons at the Chicago Bears, who selected him in the first round of the 2007 draft.

The veteran had three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons between 2014 and 2016, becoming the first TE in NFL history to achieve the feat.

Injuries restricted him to 16 outings across the next two seasons before he managed just 597 yards and two touchdowns across 14 games in 2019 as the Panthers struggled to a 5-11 record with starting QB Cam Newton ruled out for most of the season.

Seattle, meanwhile, impressed with an 11-5 record before reaching the divisional round of the playoffs, where they fell to a 28-23 loss against the Green Bay Packers.

Olsen strengthens their TE options with Will Dissly coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, while Ed Dickson has only started one game in the last two years, Luke Willson is an unrestricted free agent and Jacob Hollister is a restricted free agent.

Drew Brees has confirmed he will return for the 2020 NFL season. 

The quarterback is poised to enter free agency but looks set to sign fresh terms with the New Orleans Saints after the 41-year-old revealed he will eschew retirement and play on for a 20th season in the league. 

He posted on Instagram: "My feelings about the 2020 season! I look forward to the grind and the journey, for the reward at the end will be worth it!!! Love you #WhoDatNation. Let's make another run at it!"

Last season Brees helped the Saints to a 13-3 record despite missing five games with a thumb injury.

He threw for 2,979 yards and 27 touchdowns with just four interceptions in 11 regular-season games. However, the Saints suffered a shock 26-20 overtime defeat to the Minnesota Vikings in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

The former Chargers quarterback joined the Saints in 2006 as a free agent after five seasons with the then San Diego franchise. Brees led the Saints to their only Lombardi Trophy with victory in Super Bowl XLIV at the end of the 2009 season.

He owns the NFL records for career passing yards, completions, touchdown passes and highest career completion percentage.

Brees' performance against the Vikings was overshadowed by that of backup Taysom Hill, who completed the game's longest pass, ran for 50 yards and caught a touchdown pass in just 23 offensive snaps.

Hill, who will be a restricted free agent when the new league year starts in March, has expressed a desire to earn a starting quarterback job. 

Teddy Bridgewater went 5-0 in his time as starter in Brees' injury-enforced absence and is expected to draw significant interest when he enters the market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Mason Rudolph said Myles Garrett's claim the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback racially abused him prior to their on-field brawl in November is a "bold-faced lie" and "1,000 per cent false".

Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after he ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit him over the head with it in the closing stages of the Cleveland Browns' Week 10 victory over the Steelers.

Although Garrett initially apologised for his actions, he subsequently accused Rudolph of using a racial slur, a claim that was vehemently denied by the Steelers signal-caller at the time.

Following an investigation, an NFL spokesperson said the league found "no evidence" to support Garrett's allegation.

After being reinstated by the Browns this week, Garrett again said Rudolph racially abused him, telling ESPN: "He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word'."

Responding to a clip of the interview on Twitter, Rudolph said: "1,000 per cent false. Bold-faced lie. I did not, have not, and would not utter a racial slur.

"This is a disgusting and reckless attempt to assassinate my character."

Rudolph's attorney and agent Timothy M. Younger suggested legal action could be taken against Garrett.

A statement posted by Younger read: "We waited to hear the entire interview. Garrett, after originally apologising to Mason Rudolph, has made the ill-advised choice of publishing the belated and false accusation that Mr. Rudolph uttered a racial slur on the night in question.

"Not that Mr. Garrett claims that Mr. Rudolph uttered the slur simultaneously with being taken down, and before Mr. Garrett committed a battery by striking Mr. Rudolph on the head with a 6 lb helmet.

"His claim is ludicrous. The obviously was not the first time Mr. Rudolph had been sacked by an African American player. Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to cox sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behaviour.

"Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, there are zero corroborating witnesses – as confirmed by the NFL.

"Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement – in California. He is now exposed to legal liability."

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said: "I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game.

"I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organisation – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns organisation.

"In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions."

Running back David Johnson will not be cut by the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, general manager Steve Keim has confirmed.

Johnson was an All-Pro in 2016 after accruing 2,118 all-purpose yards and, despite missing 15 of the 16 games the next season, he was given a three-year $39million deal on the eve of the 2018 season.

However, Johnson has failed to live up to that contract since, rushing for just 1,285 yards combined across the past two campaigns and losing his starting spot to Kenyan Drake last season when the Cards acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

Arizona want to keep Drake, who is due to enter free agency, but Johnson is owed a guaranteed $10m in 2020 and has a salary cap hit of more than $14m, so Keim acknowledged it does not make financial sense to move on from the 28-year-old.

"Cutting him is not an option," Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

"Not only the cap hit, but you're still paying him the cash as well, and it wouldn't be responsible for me or the organisation for me to do that.

"If David Johnson isn't the starter, he still has a significant role. He still creates big-time mismatches in the passing game, he still brings kick-return ability.

"There are a number of things, and you can't just have one back. You have to have a platoon of backs. We've seen that. So there are enough carries to go around."

Johnson was drafted by Keim in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft after Arizona missed out on their preferred target Ameer Abdullah to the Detroit Lions.

It looked like a stroke of good fortune after two seasons and Keim is hopeful Johnson can still deliver on the gridiron, though he would not discuss the possibility of a trade.

"I still have a lot of faith in David," Keim added.

"He's got tremendous skills, he's a great person, he works extremely hard.

"I think it was one of those things [last season], if you look at the big picture, Chase [Edmonds] got hurt, David got hurt, we made the trade [for Drake], and Kenyan Drake came in and he got the hot hand."

Josh Norman is ready to "start something new and fresh" after confirming he has been released by the Washington Redskins.

Norman joined the franchise on a five-year contract worth $75million in April 2016, making him the highest paid cornerback in the history of the NFL at the time.

However, the 32-year-old fell out of favour towards the end of the 2019 season. He did not start in their final six games, suggesting his spell with Washington was coming towards an end.

In releasing the player, the Redskins – who are yet to officially confirm the roster move - will save $12.43m in salary cap space.

"It's their choice not mine," Norman told Julie Donaldson of NBC Sports Washington. "Now I can start something new and fresh."

Norman previously played for the Carolina Panthers, where he worked with new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera.

The fifth-round draft pick was named first-team All-Pro after the 2015 season but failed to agree terms on a new long-term contract in Carolina, leading to him becoming an unrestricted free agent.

In his four years with the Redskins, Norman had seven interceptions and eight forced fumbles.

 

Reinstated Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett has once again alleged he was racially abused by Mason Rudolph prior to their brawl in November.

Garrett was suspended indefinitely by the NFL after he ripped off Rudolph's helmet and hit the quarterback over the head with it in the closing stages of the Browns' Week 10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although Garrett initially apologised for his actions, he subsequently accused Rudolph of using a racial slur, a claim that was vehemently denied by the Steelers signal-caller.

Following an investigation, an NFL spokesperson said the league found "no evidence" to support Garrett's allegation.

However, after being reinstated earlier this week, Garrett has again said that Rudolph racially abused him, telling ESPN's Outside The Lines: "He called me the N-word. He called me a 'stupid N-word'."

Garrett said he did not want his initial accusation to be made public, adding: "I didn't want to try to use it as justification for my actions because there's nothing to justify. Like, there's nothing I can say or do to justify what I did on that day. I'm not saying I didn't do anything wrong.

"I know what happened, I know what I heard. People say things when they're heated, or full of emotion. I leave it on the field. He said it, but that was three months ago, four months ago now. I leave that behind.

"I know something was said. I don't want to make it a racial thing, honestly. It's over with for me and I'm pretty sure it's over with for Mason so we just want to move past it and keep on playing football."

Following Garrett's initial allegation, Rudolph's attorney, Timothy M. Younger, told ESPN: "This false allegation was never asserted by Garrett in the aftermath of the game, never suggested prior to the hearing, and conspicuously absent in the apology published by the Browns and adopted by Garrett.

"The malicious use of this wild and unfounded allegation is an assault on Mason's integrity which is far worse than the physical assault. This is reckless and shameful. We will have no further comment."

Rudolph himself said Garrett's claim was "totally untrue".

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert does not believe Ben Roethlisberger "is at the end of the road" amid doubts over the quarterback following an elbow injury.

Roethlisberger underwent surgery on his right throwing elbow in September and was expected to make a full recovery and return for the 2020 NFL season, though question marks remain.

There has been speculation the 37-year-old – who turns 38 next month – and two-time Super Bowl champion could retire but Colbert said Roethlisberger is on track in his rehab.

"All signs are good at this point, and where that goes, we're hopeful he can make a complete recovery," Colbert said. "As of right now, he's on schedule for that. Where it goes from here remains to be seen.

"He had an injury to his right arm, but other than that, he's relatively healthy. We're not minimising the right arm injury to a right arm quarterback, but we don't think he's at the end of the road."

Colbert added: "Optimistically, [Roethlisberger] is on schedule to return and we hope to return to maybe even a better Ben Roethlisberger than he was previous to the injury.

"In the meantime, we understand who our backups are. We're comfortable with who those backups are. I thought they did a great, representable job in 2019 under the circumstances."

Steelers veteran Roethlisberger suffered the injury in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Roethlisberger, who hurt his right elbow in a 28-26 loss to the Seahawks, was seen shaking his throwing arm at various points during the first half of the team's home opener and even left for the locker room before returning to the sideline to play through the injury.

In April, the six-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year contract extension with the Steelers through the 2021 season.

Since being drafted by the Steelers in 2004, Roethlisberger has played 218 games, and completed 4,651 passes for 56,545 yards and 363 touchdowns.

Former sprinter and Jamaica’s most decorated male sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, has added his take on whether Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl-winning wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, can make the U.S. Olympic team as a sprinter.

Myles Garrett has been reinstated by the NFL and has rejoined the Cleveland Browns' active roster.

Star defensive end Garrett was handed an indefinite suspension after removing quarterback Mason Rudolph's helmet and hitting him with it during the Browns' 21-7 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 14.

He missed the rest of a 2019 season that the Browns finished 6-10, a campaign that cost head coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey their jobs.

Garrett, the first overall pick in the 2017 draft, was told he would have to meet with the commissioner's office prior to a decision being made over his reinstatement.

After meeting with Roger Goodell on Monday in New York, Garrett will be able to link up with the team and join the Browns for offseason activities in April.

"We welcome Myles back to our organisation with open arms," said Andrew Berry, the Browns' executive vice-president of football operations and general manager.

"We know he is grateful to be reinstated, eager to put the past behind him and continue to evolve and grow as a leader. We look forward to having his strong positive presence back as a team-mate, player and person in our community."

A Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2018, Garrett has recorded 30.5 sacks in his three seasons in the league.

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