Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans said Tom Brady is already one of his favourite team-mates as he lauded the legendary NFL quarterback.

Brady swapped the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers via NFL free agency following 20 seasons in Foxborough, where he won six Super Bowl championships.

The 43-year-old quarterback and three-time MVP is already making an impact in Tampa Bay, where he has impressed Evans.

"He's the GOAT, on and off the field. It's crazy. He's a superstar – the most accomplished player in our game in history, and he's just like everybody else," Evans said on Tuesday.

"He just works extremely hard, he's always taking care of his body. He loves his family. He loves family time. He's just cool. He's a real down-to-earth guy.

"He's already up there as one of my favourite team-mates, and we've only had a few practices together. So that says a lot. I'm learning a lot from him and hopefully we can tear it up this year."

Evans – a three-time Pro Bowler – is on the cusp of his seventh successive 1,000-yard season to start his career in the NFL.

The 26-year-old made 13 appearances last season, tallying 1,157 yards for eight touchdowns.

"It's cool. He's trying to turn me into a living legend as well, so I'm appreciative of that," Evans said of Brady.

The Buccaneers will open their season against the New Orleans Saints on September 13.

Aaron Lynch has informed the Jacksonville Jaguars he is retiring from the NFL for personal reasons.

The 27-year-old is expected to be placed on the team's reserve/retired list on Tuesday, the Jaguars confirmed in an announcement.

Lynch's decision came a day after fellow defensive lineman Rodney Gunter was forced into retirement due to a heart problem.

Defensive ends Lynch and Gunter had both signed for the Jaguars this year and were yet to play for the team.

Lynch had 20 sacks in six seasons in the league, having spent four years with the San Francisco 49ers and two with the Chicago Bears.

The Jaguars have significant issues across the line, as Al Woods and Lerentee McCray opted out due to coronavirus, while Dontavius Russell and Brian Price were lost to injury.

That followed the offseason exits of Marcell Dareus and Calais Campbell, while Yannick Ngakoue is yet to sign his franchise tag tender.

Timmy Jernigan was among the players signed this week to provide some reinforcement.

Bruce Arians believes Tom Brady has already answered whether he can still throw an effective deep ball on his first day of padded practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Six-time Super Bowl winner Brady, who has been questioned over his arm strength at the age of 43, threw a deep touchdown to Scotty Miller on the first passing play of Monday's session.

Arians suggested that trend continued throughout the opening padded practice of the Bucs' training camp.

He feels the quarterback is making a swift adaptation to a new aggressive offense after his 20-year stay with the New England Patriots came to an end.

"He answered that question the first day," said Arians, per ESPN.

"I think he was dropping 60-yard dimes. Our job is to make sure he maintains that strength and not overwork it because he's an over-worker.

"[His first padded practice was] everything I expected. He's still learning some guys. He was a little bit hesitant on a throw with a young receiver - they got their hands on it. He's throwing to the right guy all the time.

"The 7-on-7 is what it's supposed to look like - completion after completion. In the blitz drills, he's seeing how we call it, how we protect it. 

"He's doing a real good job with his hots and sights. He's right where he needs to be. I'm not worried about him."

Tight end O.J. Howard was also impressed, saying of Brady: "He does a really good job of putting the ball in a spot where you have the opportunity to make plays and run after the catch. 

"It allows the defender not to make a play on it."

Brady's first padded practice with the Bucs came after he had discussed his blockbuster offseason decision to change teams with Peter King of NBC Sports.

"I made a decision to do something different," explained Brady. "It was a very thoughtful decision. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. 

"Really since the moment I got here they [the Bucs] have embraced me. 

"They have embraced me with the opportunity to go and lead the team - that's a big responsibility for me.

"It's my 30th year playing football, including high school, and it's the first time I've ever had an offensive coach so that provides something a little bit different for the quarterback.

"In the condensed format that we have, we are trying to get on the same page, trying to really understand each other.

"They obviously know how I have done things, I'm trying to understand how they do things so that it can be as efficient as possible.

"Again also understanding that we have both come from different backgrounds and ideas, which is totally fine. I've really enjoyed the opportunity of getting to understand the way they do things."

Washington Football Team veteran Alex Smith said he is excited and feels like a teenager again after being activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list having almost lost his life following an horrific leg injury in 2018.

Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the NFL quarterback suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula two years ago.

However, the 36-year-old and three-time Pro Bowler was cleared for football activity on Sunday, capping a remarkable recovery.

"In the football world, I'm a dinosaur," Smith told ESPN. "But I felt like a 16-year-old again. The nerves, the feeling of excitement, obviously anxiety.

"All that stuff of being alive, the range of emotions of going out there with your team-mates. That's why you play. It felt good to get those nerves going again."

Smith, who went down in November 2018, led Washington to a 6-3 record in 2018, completing 205 of 328 passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdown and five interceptions before being sidelined.

"I know a lot of people probably think it's funny that I'm even pursuing this," Smith added. "I really feel like I need to see where this ends. I need to, I need to see what my limitations are, what I'm capable of.

"I really feel like I've been faced with this giant challenge in life. I can't help it. I think that my three little kids see everything that I do. And for me, just kind of continuing to push this and see where it goes, you know, and, and no expectations."

"There are steps," Smith continued. "This isn't something where you just immediately run out there. The next one is to get into team drills and, and obviously see if you can go out there and defend yourself, see if I can go out there and move around.

"Can I adapt? Can I go out there and play football at this level? It's something that will reveal itself."

Washington, meanwhile, made an historic appointment after Jason Wright became the first African-American team president in NFL history on Monday.

Former San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals running back Wright, 38, will oversee the business aspects of the team, while head coach Ron Rivera will maintain control over all on-field footballing decisions.

"From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organisations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me," Wright said in a statement.

"The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organisation – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.

"As a DMV local and fan, I've been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder's vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team."

Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs announced plans to play NFL home games at a greatly reduced capacity in 2020, while also revealing enhanced health and safety protocols designed to minimise the risk of fans being exposed to coronavirus. 

The Chiefs, who will kick off the NFL season against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10, are set to limit attendance to approximately 22 percent capacity and will implement physical-distancing measures in seating areas as well as high-traffic areas. 

Arrowhead Stadium has a listed capacity of 76,416. The plan will limit attendance to under 17,000 fans.  

The revised safety protocols will require all staff members to go through a health screening, which includes a questionnaire and temperature check, upon entering the stadium.

Kansas City will also install hand sanitising stations throughout the stadium and will prohibit fans from using banknotes when making transactions. Parking must also be pre-paid before entering the stadium. 

Fans will also be required to wear face coverings at all times, except for when eating or drinking. The Chiefs will provide commemorative masks to all patrons attending any of the first three home games.  

"The club is introducing a number of changes to the fan experience as the safety of fans, vendors, staff, players and coaches is the utmost priority during this unprecedented NFL season," the team said in a statement. 

The Chiefs will begin ticket sales for the first three home games on August 24, with season ticket holders owning first preference in order of tenure.

Tickets will be sold in grouped pods of seats and will be limited to six seats within the same pod.  

Gerald McCoy ruptured his right quadriceps tendon in practice with the Dallas Cowboys and will miss the 2020 NFL season.

The defensive tackle was hurt during the Cowboys' first padded practice session at training camp and had to be helped from the field.

Dallas only signed the six-time Pro Bowler to a three-year contract in March. He will now undergo surgery to repair the damage this week, according to the team's website.

McCoy heading to injured reserve is a major blow for the Cowboys, who also signed Aldon Smith, Dontari Poe and Everson Griffen during the offseason to revamp their defensive line.

"First and foremost we're disappointed for Gerald," Stephen Jones, Dallas' chief operating officer, said.

"I know he was fired up about being here. But also, it's disappointing for us. He was one of our major acquisitions here in the offseason and free agency.

"But having said that this will give Trysten Hill and Gallimore an opportunity to really step up now. Two young players we will need to come through for us."

Picked third overall in 2010, McCoy spent his first eight years in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2019.

The 32-year-old has recorded 59.5 sacks and forced six fumbles during his career.



The Washington Football Team have named Jason Wright as team president, making him the first black man to hold the position in the history of the NFL.

Wright takes on a role that had been vacant since Bruce Allen was fired after the 2019 season. 

The 38-year-old, who had a seven-year NFL career as a running back, becomes just the fourth former player to be named president of a team, while is also the youngest in the league.

Wright will be responsible for leading Washington's business divisions, including operations, finance, sales and marketing. Like head coach Ron Rivera, he will report into owner Dan Snyder.

"This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me," Wright said in a statement.

"The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organisation – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise."

After going undrafted in 2004, Wright spent time with four different teams – San Francisco, Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona - before retiring to attend business school.

Following on from the appointment of Rivera, Snyder feels Washington are ushering in a "new era" for a franchise that has reached the postseason just once in the previous seven seasons.

"If I could custom design a leader for this important time in our history, it would be Jason. His experience as a former player, coupled with his business acumen, gives him a perspective that is unrivalled in the league," Snyder said.

"We will not rest until we are a championship caliber team, on and off the field. Jason has a proven track record in helping businesses transform culturally, operationally and financially. He is a proactive and assertive advocate for inclusion of all people and will set new standards for our organisation, and for the league.

"There could not be a better duo than Jason Wright and Coach Ron Rivera as we usher in a new era for Washington Football."

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Rodney Gunter has announced he is retiring from the NFL due to a serious heart condition, which could be life-threatening.

Gunter only signed a three-year $18million contract, with $11m guaranteed, in March after spending five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals.

The 28-year-old revealed doctors told him he was in danger of rupturing his aorta if he carried on playing and he has to wait before qualifying for surgery.

"These last three weeks have been a hard pill to swallow," Gunter said via a statement on Twitter. 

"Seeing my dreams vanish right in front of me has been extremely difficult.

"After seeing several heart specialists I was told if I continue to play ball with my condition, I could possibly rupture or tear my aorta which is enlarged.

"This can cause sudden death or a severe stroke.

"There is a 50/50 chance that surgery will fix my current health condition. But at the moment, I do not meet the criteria to undergo the operation. 

"Those who qualify must have 5.5+ cm enlarged aorta, while mine measures 5.0 cm. At this time, I cannot play or have the surgery so I must wait. So at this moment, the best choice for me and my family is to walk away from this game.

"I appreciate the Jaguars for giving me an opportunity, and I'm thankful for everyone who has believed in me along the way. Thank you!"

During five years with the Cardinals, Gunter recorded 126 tackles and 11 sacks, while he started 13 games in 2019 – a career high.

The Washington Football Team activated Alex Smith off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Sunday following a horrific leg injury in 2018.

Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the veteran NFL quarterback suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula two years ago.

However, the 36-year-old and three-time Pro Bowler was cleared for football activity on Sunday, capping a remarkable recovery.

Smith's wife Elizabeth shared a video on social media as the family celebrated the former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback's return.

It remains to be seen just what Smith's role looks like in Washington, where Ron Rivera is head coach and also has 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins at his disposal.

But Smith's story and his path back to the field, regardless of the ultimate outcome, has been celebrated across the league.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who worked with Smith from 2013 to 2017, said: "How great is that [coming off the PUP list]? I'm so happy for him. I know how he is – he's dirty tough and he loves playing the game.

"He didn't want to end the way it ended with the leg, so now he's back. We all saw the special on him and the rehab that he went through, that day-in and day-out grind of the rehab, so I'm happy for him.

"I'm very, very happy for him, and I'm happy for the Washington team too."

Smith, who went down in November 2018, led Washington to a 6-3 record in 2018, completing 205 of 328 passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdown and five interceptions before being sidelined.

Washington are scheduled to open their 2020 season against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 13.

The Green Bay Packers and nose tackle Kenny Clark have agreed to a four-year, $70million contract extension hours before the team's first practice of the season, according to multiple reports.

The deal, which includes a $25m signing bonus, makes Clark the highest-paid nose tackle in league history and the 12th highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, according to ESPN. 

Clark, still just 24, was entering the fifth and final year on his rookie contract after being selected 27th overall in 2016 out of UCLA. 

Coming off his first Pro Bowl season, Clark has been a cornerstone of the Packers' defense for the past three seasons. 

Clark's versatile skillset has been compared to that of Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, who received a four-year contract extension of his own worth up to $85m earlier this offseason. 

In addition to being one of the Packers' few effective run-stoppers, Clark is equally disruptive on passing downs, racking up 16 and a half sacks over the last three years. 

Since Clark became a starter in 2017, the Packers' defense allows an opponents' passer rating of 103.0 when he is on the bench and is allowing a 90.6 passer rating on snaps that he plays. 

Over the last three seasons, the Packers have pressured the opposing quarterback on 39.0 percent of pass plays when Clark is on the field, compared to just 32.8 percent when he is on the sidelines. 

Clark's extension is the first domino to fall in a series of tough financial decisions for Green Bay, with All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and touchdown machine Aaron Jones entering the final seasons of their contracts. 

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Cam Newton is a "hard-working kid" as the star quarterback impresses at the NFL powerhouse.

Newton will play for the Patriots in 2020 after signing a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers release in March, filling the void left by legendary QB Tom Brady.

Asked about the former NFL MVP, Belichick said on Friday: "Cam's a hard-working kid. He really is. He's worked very hard, I'd say, as all of our players have.

"I'd say that certainly for all the quarterbacks, at that position, those guys have been locked in, focused and confident in what they're able to do and the information they have to give to the team -- playcalling, adjustments, audibles, protection adjustments, things like that. That's all going pretty well."

Newton spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers after he was chosen first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft – throwing for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions.

He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was named the 2015 NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos.

The Panthers made the playoffs in four of Newton's nine seasons with the team.

However, in recent years, Newton has been hindered by injuries.

Newton battled a shoulder injury in 2018, with a once-promising campaign derailed as the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games to finish 7-9.

He played only two games in 2019, losing both, with Lisfranc fracture forcing him to watch the rest of a 5-11 season from the sideline.

Patriots running back Rex Burkhead added: "He's a big guy, that's for sure -- just his physical presence. He's always been a great player, just [with] his versatility -- his ability to run the ball and pass as well. He's been able to do that at a high level for many years.

"He's come in right away, head down, and tried to pick it up as quick as possible. ... His first impact has been great. He's just trying to learn as much as he can and mesh and jell with the rest of the guys."

Travis Kelce is staying with the Kansas City Chiefs for the long term after his new contract was confirmed on Friday.

The 30-year-old tight end has committed to the Chiefs for the next six seasons, a team announcement said.

The Chiefs did not immediately provide financial details of Kelce's extension to his previous contract, which had two years left to run.

Initially reports of Kelce agreeing fresh terms with the Chiefs had emerged through NFL Network on Thursday.

Kelce helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl last season and his opposite number in that game, George Kittle, secured a record-breaking pact on Thursday with the San Francisco 49ers, said to be worth $75million over five years.

The Chiefs star's new contract, if the reported details are correct, will see him earn $57million for the additional four years.

The five-time Pro Bowler was selected by Kansas City in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Kelce was an instrumental figure for the Patrick Mahomes-led champions in the 2019 season, although he was even more masterful in the previous campaign.

He had 103 receptions for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018, building an effective partnership with MVP Mahomes.

In July, the Chiefs announced quarterback Mahomes was also staying with the franchise for the long term, the 24-year-old committing to a 10-year deal.

Travis Kelce has agreed terms with the Kansas City Chiefs on a contract extension in Thursday's second big NFL tight end deal, according to reports.

Kelce helped the Chiefs win the Super Bowl last season and his opposite number in that game, George Kittle, has secured a record-breaking pact with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs star's new contract does not quite match Kittle's but represents a boost for a player with two years remaining on his previous deal.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says Kelce is set to receive $57million across four years in his third NFL contract.

The five-time Pro Bowler has spent his entire career to date with Kansas City, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Kelce was a key piece for the Patrick Mahomes-led champions in 2019, although the best season of his NFL career came the previous year.

He had 103 receptions for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2018, building an effective partnership with MVP Mahomes.

The Chiefs quarterback has also committed his future to the franchise since their Super Bowl success, agreeing an unprecedented 10-year deal.

George Kittle has agreed a five-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers worth $75million, according to reports.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport says Kittle is to become comfortably the NFL's best-paid tight end, while he will also receive an $18m signing bonus.

More than half of the deal is said to be made up of guarantees.

The 26-year-old had been set to be a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.

Kittle, taken fifth overall in the 2017 draft, played a starring role in the previous campaign as the 49ers reached the Super Bowl before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The two-time Pro Bowler played 14 games in the 2019 regular season and had 85 receptions for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns.

Over a three-year NFL career, Kittle has played 45 games and has 216 receptions for 2,945 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Kittle's new contract surpasses Rob Gronkowski's six-year, $54m pact with the New England Patriots in 2012 for the largest ever for a tight end.

It also exceeds the record average annual value at the position, which saw Austin Hooper sign a four-year, $44m deal with the Cleveland Browns earlier in 2020.

Dak Prescott is still dreaming of retiring with the Dallas Cowboys, despite failing to agree a new contract.

Prescott will play the 2020 NFL season on a one-year exclusive franchise tender after the quarterback and Cowboys were unable to strike a deal on a long-term contract last month.

The two-time Pro Bowler had already signed his tender offer and will earn approximately $31.4million for the upcoming season before becoming an unrestricted free agent, unless the Cowboys opt to again place the franchise tag on him – a move that would count over $37m towards the 2021 salary cap.

Prescott, though, remains keen to see out his NFL career in Dallas.

"I grew up wanting to be a Dallas Cowboy and I am, and I've got dreams of being a Dallas Cowboy until I'm done throwing the football," Prescott said in a conference call on Wednesday.

"None of that's going to change just because we couldn't reach an agreement there for this season. But as I said, I'm a Cowboy right now and that's all that matters and that's my whole focus."

Prescott was drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 and the 27-year-old has 1,363 completions for 15,778 yards and 97 touchdowns during his time in the league.

"I'm not a guy that looks at my future, to be honest. I really don't," Prescott added. "I mean, I count my blessings every day. I walk in the day that I'm given and rejoice in it. I'm thankful for it.

"It can sound cliche and whatever you want to make it, but I can't look at tomorrow without taking care of today and that's the way I've been throughout my life."

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said: "We just couldn't get together at this particular point. It's easily worth nothing a lot of people this year in franchise mode didn't get together."

"Dak and I had a great visit right at the deadline," Cowboys vice-president Stephen Jones said. "He's so fired up about our team and about our future. Ultimately now we're going to have to figure out how to get this done.

"I'm more convinced than ever it will get done, but because of the moving parts we were dealing with the virus and some of the other deals, which were not down the middle in terms of being normal, it just made for some challenges."

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