United States president Donald Trump suggested Drew Brees caved "under the PR pressure" as he doubled down on his criticism of the New Orleans Saints quarterback.

Earlier this month, Brees issued an apology for comments he made about kneeling during the national anthem, a gesture first made in the NFL by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when he was protesting racial injustice and police brutality.

The 41-year-old initially said he disagreed with sports stars who take a knee while the anthem is playing, remarks which were made in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last month, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

Brees' comments sparked responses of outrage, including from team-mates Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins.

He later asked for forgiveness, saying he "completely missed the mark", an apology that drew condemnation from Trump on Twitter.

Trump, speaking in a video with his son Donald Trump Jr. on the Team Trump YouTube page, delved further into the issue, claiming Brees "hurt himself very badly".

"I was shocked, because I consider him a great football player, but I consider him a champion and a star and I didn't understand what was going on," Trump said. 

"And he took it back and I've never seen anything like it and I think he hurt himself very badly. 

"I was going to put out that he'll regret that in the future years because you stand for the flag. You have to stand for the flag and the anthem. Our national anthem, you have to stand. I think the NFL's gonna have a lot of problems if they don't."

Trump suggested Brees does not necessarily believe his own apology and merely acted to stem the wave of criticism coming his way.

"A lot of warriors, they cave under PR pressure because his manager said, 'Oh this isn't right', and his team-mates said, 'This isn't right', and all of a sudden he's out there disclaiming about the flag and the country," Trump added.

"I don't believe he believes his second statement, by the way. He may believe it, but what he should be doing is not talking about the second, he should have stuck with his first."

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.

Malcolm Jenkins credited New Orleans Saints team-mate Drew Brees "for listening" after the NFL quarterback sent a message to United States president Donald Trump saying he stood by his apology.

Brees, the NFL's all-time leader for passing yardage and touchdown passes, caused outrage earlier this week when he said those who protest against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem are "disrespecting the flag".

A tearful Jenkins, who returned to the Saints this offseason, described Brees' comments as "hurtful" and "insensitive", with the quarterback later issuing two apologies and an admission he had "completely missed the mark".

While his apologies were welcomed by Saints colleagues, Trump - a vocal critic of those, like Colin Kaepernick, who have knelt during the national anthem - suggested Brees was wrong to row back on his initial views.

However, Brees later posted an Instagram note addressed to Trump in which he reiterated "this is not an issue about the American flag", words which were welcomed by Jenkins.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

"Drew, as much as your comments hurt me and many other people, I appreciate you for listening because being heard is a big part of it," the safety said on his Instagram story.

Other prominent voices in the Saints' locker room were also pleased to see Brees express regret over his original comments.

Veteran defensive end Cameron Jordan wrote on Twitter: "My teammate dropped a bar... paraphrasing @demario__davis, "apology is a form of true leadership... that's taking ownership." Only through open dialogue & open hearts can we expand our comprehension and only in courage can we create positive change! @drewbrees".

Wide receiver Michael Thomas, Brees' go-to receiver over the past four seasons, retweeted his team-mate's note and wrote: "MY QB".

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees responded to United States president Donald Trump and called for change in the country.

Trump criticised the 41-year-old for apologising for his comments about kneeling during the national anthem, saying his stance should not have changed.

Brees said earlier this week he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the anthem.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality while he was playing in the NFL.

After Trump's tweets on Friday, Brees responded on social media, saying it was time for change in the USA.

"To @realdonaldtrump. Through my ongoing conversations with friends, team-mates, and leaders in the black community, I realise this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been," he wrote on Instagram.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

"We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

"We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation's history! If not now, then when?

"We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us."

United States president Donald Trump criticised New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for apologising for his comments about kneeling during the national anthem.

Brees, 41, apologised after saying he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the anthem.

His comments came in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality while he was playing in the NFL.

But Trump believes Brees should not have apologised for his stance.

"I am a big fan of Drew Brees," he wrote on Twitter. "I think he's truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high.

"We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart.

"There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!"

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologised again after saying he disagreed with protests when players kneel during the national anthem.

Brees, 41, faced criticism after his comments on Wednesday, although the veteran apologised the following day.

His comments came after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

After posting a lengthy apology on Instagram, Brees later produced a video to again say sorry.

"I know there's not much that I can say that would make things any better right now, but I just want you to see in my eyes how sorry I am for the comments that I made yesterday," he said.

"I know that it hurt many people, especially friends, team-mates, former team-mates, loved ones, people that I care and respect deeply. That was never my intention.

"I wish I would've laid out what was on my heart in regards to the George Floyd murder, Ahmaud Arbery, the years and years of social injustice, police brutality and the need for so much reform and change in regards to legislation and so many other things to bring equality to our black communities.

"I am sorry and I will do better and I will be part of the solution and I am your ally and I know no words will do that justice."

Brees' comments came years after sports stars across the globe kneeled during anthems, echoing Colin Kaepernick's demonstration during his time in the NFL.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against perceived racial injustice and police brutality.

Drew Brees displayed "true leadership" by apologising for his comments on NFL players who protest during the national anthem, according to New Orleans Saints team-mate Demario Davis.

Saints quarterback Brees came under fire on Wednesday for saying he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag" by taking a knee for The Star-Spangled Banner, as former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick did in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

The death of George Floyd while in police custody last week has brought those issues back to the fore, with protesters and sports stars across the world kneeling in a show of solidarity.

Brees' response was described as "hurtful" and "insensitive" by New Orleans team-mate Malcolm Jenkins, while NBA superstar LeBron James said kneeling had "nothing to do" with disrespecting the flag.

On Thursday Brees, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage and touchdown passes, posted a lengthy Instagram statement in which he said sorry for comments that "completely missed the mark", and the apology was welcomed by eight-year veteran Davis.

"Hearing Drew's apology, I think that is a form of true leadership," he told CNN.

"That's taking ownership. What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community.

"He admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, 'I missed the mark, I've been insensitive but what I'm going to start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them'... I think that’s a model for all of America because historically, in general, most of America has missed the mark in not hearing the cries."

Davis, a prominent voice in the Saints locker room, added: "For him to admit that he was wrong and say, 'I can do better and I will do better'. I think that is leadership at its finest.

"That's not easy; to come out and admit when you're wrong. For a long time I feel like a lot of people have taken that posture of not wanting to admit that they're wrong.

"For him to do that, I think it's very symbolic of America - especially all the ethnic groups that aren't people of colour or black people - in understanding, 'Hey, it's okay, you might have got it wrong, but don't get it wrong now'.

"That's what we have to be as a country. We can't get it wrong this time."

Drew Brees has apologised, asked for forgiveness and accepted he "completely missed the mark" for saying he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback says he "should do less talking and more listening" following his comments in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.

Floyd, a black American, died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

One protest adopted by sports stars across the globe was to kneel, echoing Colin Kaepernick's demonstration during his time in the NFL.

Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against perceived racial injustice and police brutality, the same subjects that have been brought to the fore once more by Floyd's death.

However, Brees said this week he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" in this manner.

The veteran's comments sparked responses of outrage - including from team-mates Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins.

Brees posted a lengthy apology on his Instagram page on Thursday.

"I would like to apologise to my friends, team-mates, the city of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday," he wrote.

"In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity and solidarity centred around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.

"They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.

"Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.

"This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.

"I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.

"I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.

"I recognise that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.

"I will never know what it's like to be a black man or raise black children in America, but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.

"I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy.

"I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognise that I should do less talking and more listening...

"And when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."

Malcolm Jenkins said New Orleans Saints team-mate Drew Brees "should shut the f*** up" after controversial comments made amid protests in the United States.

Saints star Brees sparked backlash by saying he does not approve of people kneeling in front of the American flag during the USA national anthem in the midst of protests over George Floyd's death.

Floyd – an African-American man – died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest last week.

Violent protests have broken out across the United States since Floyd's death, during which he was filmed crying out for help as he was handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial inequality, and Brees told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday that he believes the gesture is disrespectful to those in the military.

Jenkins – who has returned to the Saints after winning a Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 – hit out at Brees in a since deleted social media video.

"Our communities are under siege and we need help," Jenkins said via Instagram. "And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way, ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those, and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem.

"And it's unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes you should shut the f*** up."

Saints safety Jenkins uploaded another video, and the tearful 32-year-old said: "Drew Brees, if you don't understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem.

"To think that because your grandfathers served in this country, and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals as and thoughts that you do is ridiculous.

"It shows that you don't know history, because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served, and they came back ... they didn't come back to a hero's welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to racism, to complete violence.

"Here we are in 2020 with the whole country on fire, everybody witnessing a black man dying, being murdered at the hands of the police, just in cold blood for everybody to see, the whole country’s on fire. And the first thing that you do is criticise one's peaceful protest?"

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James called out New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for his lack of understanding for the reasons players kneel in front of the flag during the United States national anthem.

Brees said on Wednesday he still does not approve of people kneeling and takes offence to the gesture, which he believes is disrespectful to those in the military.

James was then quick to point out that Colin Kaepernick began kneeling in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial inequality, and his action had nothing to do with those who fight and serve.

"WOW MAN!!" James tweeted, with a facepalm emoji. "Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn't! You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers [men and women] who keep our land free.

"My father-in-law was one of those men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitment. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong!"

James' tweet came in response to remarks Brees made earlier in the day in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said when asked about players kneeling.

"Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. 

"I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about."

The 41-year-old does see a connection between the sacrifices made by those in the military and those fighting for civil rights, but still feels the flag should be respected.

"In many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed," he said. "Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the '60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.

"And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."

Brees' comments come a day after Blackout Tuesday, a day established to observe, mourn and bring policy change in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the African-American who died on May 25 while in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  

Since Floyd's death, people have been protesting in several American cities, calling for an end of police brutality against minorities, and the NFL and the league's teams are addressing ways of supporting and fighting for justice.

Drew Brees has angered his team-mate Michael Thomas by saying he still does not approve of people kneeling in front of the American flag during the United States national anthem. 

Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial inequality. 

New Orleans Saints quarterback Brees takes offence to the gesture, which he believes is disrespectful to those in the military. 

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said when asked about players kneeling in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

"Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States.

"I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about."

The 41-year-old does see a connection between the sacrifices made by those in the military and those fighting for civil rights, but still feels the flag should be respected. 

“In many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed," he said. "Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the '60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. 

"And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution."

Brees' comments come a day after Blackout Tuesday, a day established to observe, mourn and bring policy change in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the African-American who died on May 25 while in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Since Floyd's death, people have been protesting in several American cities, calling for an end of police brutality against minorities, and the NFL and the league’s teams are addressing ways of supporting and fighting for justice.

Shortly after Brees' interview, Thomas took to Twitter to respond to his quarterback’s opinion. 

"He don't know no better." Thomas wrote in one tweet.  

He followed up a few minutes later with another message directed at Brees. 

Thomas added: "We don't care if you don't agree and whoever else how about that."

Brees then tried to clear the air with his team-mate and others criticising him.

"I love and respect my team-mates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said in a statement to ESPN. "I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."

Eli Apple is once again off the free-agent market, agreeing to terms on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. 

This is the second time Apple has agreed to terms with a team this offseason after the 24-year-old cornerback reportedly had a deal in place with the Las Vegas Raiders in March before it ended up falling through. 

Apple now joins a Panthers team that are light on experience at cornerback after Carolina selected two in last month's NFL Draft to add depth to the position. 

The 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft by the New York Giants, Apple has appeared in 55 games and has made 48 starts in his four-year career, totalling 197 tackles and three interceptions.

Apple started the first 15 games last season for the New Orleans Saints before an ankle injury sidelined him for the regular-season finale and playoffs. 

The New Orleans Saints cut veteran guard Larry Warford on Friday, as reported by NFL.com.

The move comes two weeks after the NFL Draft, during which the Saints used their first-round pick on interior offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz from the University of Michigan.

Ruiz played mostly center in college, but many scouts deemed him able to play guard as well.

The middle of New Orleans' starting offensive line now likely includes Ruiz at right guard, Erik McCoy – who was a second-round pick in 2019 – at center, and Andrus Peat – who signed a five-year contract extension in March – at left guard.

Warford, who will turn 29 in June, becomes a free agent and is likely to be one of the most sought-after players still without a team.

He was due a reported base salary of $7.65million this season after he signed a four-year, $34m deal with New Orleans in 2017.

Selected in the third round of the 2013 draft, Warford began his career with the Lions and played four seasons in Detroit before signing with the Saints.

He has started 101 games over seven career seasons, allowing a total of 14 sacks and being flagged for holding just four times.

If the 2020 NFL season does begin as planned, it should have quite an opening act. 
 
Old faces in new places, new faces in new places, and few high-profile rivalry games highlight a Week 1 schedule that's (for now) slated to begin with a rematch of one of last season's most entertaining playoff showdowns. 

With the coronavirus creating the very real possibility of an early-September start without spectators, fans could be tuning in in record numbers when the 101st NFL season kicks off. 
 
Here are six Week 1 games that fall into the can't miss category, as well as a few others that figure to provide ample entertainment. 

.@TomBrady vs. @drewbrees.

Coming Week 1 and Week 9 @Buccaneers @Saints pic.twitter.com/lIs2Bd3Xfz

— NFL (@NFL) May 8, 2020

1) Tampa Bay at New Orleans (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
Tom Brady's first regular season game in which he won't be wearing a New England Patriots uniform. Rob Gronkowski's return to the gridiron after a year-long dabble into professional wrestling. Brady vs. Drew Brees.

Two potentially unstoppable offenses full of big-name playmakers. This one's got all the makings of a must-see affair. It's a mild upset, and a somewhat disappointing one, that this NFC South clash wasn't picked to be NBC's exclusive Sunday Night Football lid-lifter. 
 
2) Miami at New England (Sunday, Sept. 13)  
 
The Patriots' first season opener in two decades without Brady on the payroll is intriguing enough, but the possibility of the Dolphins getting an early start on the Tua Tagovailoa era at quarterback would give this AFC East encounter even more juice.

Miami was one of the league's most active teams in free agency this offseason, adding ex-New England starters Kyle Van Noy and Ted Karras among several others as it attempts to end a streak of three straight losing campaigns. 
 
3) Green Bay at Minnesota (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
One of two Week 1 games involving playoff teams from last season, the Packers and Vikings combined for 23 regular-season wins in 2019 and appear poised to contend once again in what's shaping up to be a loaded NFC.

These longtime rivals have also endured their share of offseason drama, with Minnesota shipping disgruntled wide receiver Stefon Diggs to Buffalo and Green Bay making the most controversial pick of this year's draft with the first-round selection of quarterback Jordan Love. Aaron Rodgers certainly won't be lacking for early-season motivation. 
 
4) Houston at Kansas City (Thursday, Sept. 10) 
 
It'll be interesting to see if the Chiefs decide to raise the banner to commemorate their first Super Bowl championship since 1969 if fans aren't allowed in Arrowhead Stadium, but if you've waited 50 years to celebrate a title, what's a few more weeks?

The Texans very nearly spoiled the party in the divisional round of last season's AFC playoffs, jumping out to a 24-0 lead before Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City to seven consecutive touchdown drives in the Chiefs' 51-31 comeback win. Houston won't have to wait long for a revenge opportunity in this marquee matchup that starts it all off. 
 
5) Dallas at Los Angeles Rams (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
The Rams hope to have their sparkling new stadium open for business by the time Week 1 rolls around, while the Cowboys hope to have Dak Prescott locked up with a new long-term contract when 'America's Team' heads to Hollywood for this primetime showdown.

With gifted rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb joining Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, Dallas shouldn't be short on star power for new coach Mike McCarthy's debut. 
 
6) Cleveland at Baltimore (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
The Browns enter the season with a new coach and are coming off a campaign of double-digit losses. Sound familiar? It remains to be seen if Kevin Stefanski can get the most out of a talented Cleveland roster, and the former Minnesota offensive coordinator gets tested right out of the gate with a road date against a loaded Ravens team that went a league-best 14-2 in 2019.

Lamar Jackson, the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, will try to duplicate his spectacular MVP season of last year, while the guy who went first in that draft - Baker Mayfield - attempts to put behind a difficult 2019 in which he threw 21 interceptions. 

HONOURABLE MENTION WEEK 1 GAMES 
 
Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati (Sunday, Sept. 13) 

 
This potential meeting of rookie quarterbacks would be bumped up into the must-see category should Justin Herbert be able to wrest the starting job away from veteran Tyrod Taylor in Chargers camp. Barring injury, No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow will certainly be under center for the Bengals, which gives this matchup plenty of intrigue in itself. 
 
Chicago at Detroit (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
This NFC North clash may be the most pivotal game of the Week 1 schedule with coaches Matt Nagy and Matt Patricia squarely on the hot seat. The Bears' quarterback battle between incumbent Mitchell Trubisky and new addition Nick Foles should be one of the most interesting training-camp competitions of the summer, and whoever does win the job will likely need a good start as well. 
 
Indianapolis at Jacksonville (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
 
A Colts-Jaguars game usually doesn't move the needle much, but Philip Rivers in something other than a Chargers uniform will be a sight to see and Gardner Minshew's amazing mustache is always something to behold. 
 
Las Vegas at Carolina (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
Philadelphia at Washington (Sunday, Sept. 13) 
Pittsburgh at N.Y. Giants (Monday, Sept. 14) 

 
Three of the league's five new head coaches get to open up at home, with the Redskins' Ron Rivera and the Giants' Joe Judge each drawing difficult assignments in the defending NFC East champion Eagles and a formidable Steelers team that presumably gets Ben Roethlisberger back from injury.

The Raiders get to tune up for their ballyhooed first official game in Las Vegas - a Monday night skirmish with the Saints in Week 2 - by traveling cross-country to take on a Panthers team that doesn't appear to be very good, but should at least be interesting after plucking coach Matt Ruhle and offensive coordinator Joe Brady from the college ranks.  

The Kansas City Chiefs will officially begin the defence of their Super Bowl title against the Houston Texans on September 10 in the NFL's annual kickoff game – pending developments in the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chiefs rallied from a 24-0 deficit for a 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs in January.

Tom Brady's anticipated regular-season debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will come on the road against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on September 13 in the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in league history.

Brady's Buccaneers will appear in five primetime games, including three consecutive weeks starting October 25 with a visit to the Las Vegas Raiders at the new Allegiant Stadium as the schedule was released on Thursday. Next is a Monday night road game against the New York Giants and new coach Joe Judge followed by another matchup with Brees and the Saints on November 8, this time in Tampa Bay.

The Week 3 Monday night game features the past two league MVPs, as Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens visit Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

The traditional opening weekend Monday night doubleheader has the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the Giants and the Tennessee Titans facing the Broncos in Denver.

The Cincinnati Bengals and top overall draft pick Joe Burrow open their season at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, who used the sixth overall selection on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert.

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