NFL roundup: Patriots owner wants NFL team in LondonJune 28 - The Sports Xchange
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has taken his team to England for regular-season games, and he'd gladly do it every season.
Kraft isn't just talking about the once-a-year featured game in London. He said Wednesday the NFL is ready for a franchise based across the pond.
"I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for," Kraft said, according to Sky Sports, at a speaking engagement in England. "I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL and this fan base has proven they deserve it."
The NFL schedules one regular-season game each year in England and there are plans to expand to two games per season. Kraft believes the time is right to expand even further, but assured New Englanders it won't be the Patriots.
"I think we're starting to tap out in the United States," Kraft said. "If you look at the last Super Bowl we were in this past season, we had over 180 million people watching -- that's almost two thirds of America. So for us to grow the game, we have to expand globally. Having seen the kind of support we have received here in London, it is the intention of the NFL owners to get two games here, starting next year."
--New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma informed federal judge Helen G. Berrigan by letter that he plans to file an injunction if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn't overturn his one-year suspension.
Vilma is one of four players suspended for their role in the team's alleged bounty scandal. He was suspended for the 2012 season and has filed a separate defamation suit against Goodell.
Vilma and his attorney, Peter Ginsberg, left the June 18 appeal hearing with Goodell and the other suspended players -- Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith -- calling the session a "sham." The other three players returned to a meeting with Goodell after a delay of more than three hours.
--Last season the NFL instituted new on-field kickoff rules. This season, the kickoff adjustment is schedule related.
To avoid overlap with the end of games beginning at 1 p.m. ET, the league is shifting its mid-afternoon game start time to 4:25 p.m. ET for games that were scheduled to start at 4:15.
Games scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET kickoffs remain unchanged.
--The Miami Dolphins promoted director of player personnel Brian Gaine to assistant general manager.
Gaine is considered a rising star in the scouting community.
He was a candidate for the general manager job in St. Louis that went to veteran Les Snead (Falcons). Gaine has been in the NFL for 15 seasons and is entering his fifth with the Dolphins. He came to the organization from Dallas in 2007.
--Colts' pass rusher Jerry Hughes, a 2011 first-round pick from Texas Christian, has yet to show the skills on the NFL level that he displayed while playing for the Horned Frogs.
Hughes has seen limited playing time and appeared at times to be uninspired while working with the special teams units. But he's getting a second -- and perhaps final -- chance with new GM Ryan Grigson and first-year head coach Chuck Pagano.
"I saw him in college and really liked what I saw. The only exposure I have to Jerry Hughes has been all good, what I saw in college and here. He's done everything (the coaches) have asked. He's great in the (linebackers) room. He's making strides every day," Grigson said.
--Maurice Jones-Drew has declined to speak with local reporters about his desire to have his contract renegotiated, saying he doesn't want to discuss it through the media. Yet for the second time in two weeks, the Jaguars running back aired his concerns publicly.
A week ago, Jones-Drew appeared on the NFL Network after being named the No. 12 player on the Network's list of top 100 players in the league. He said at that time, it was part of the business side of the NFL and went on to offer his thoughts on the matter.
Then Jones-Drew reiterated some of those comments when he appeared on The Ticket, a radio show in Denver where Jones-Drew had played in a charity golf tournament.
When asked about his situation, he said, "Well, I really don't want to talk about (and) get into detail throughout the media." But the Jaguars' running back went on to clarify some of his thoughts.
"It's the business side of football. And every player is a businessman, and whatever you feel is best for you and your family, you have to do that sometimes. And so, like I said before, hopefully we can work on something and get something done. But I can't talk about it in the media, because that's not how I handle my business. I'd rather do it face to face and that's just what it is."
-- What's become a chippy rivalry between the longtime division foes added a new layer for potentially fueling more friction. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz indirectly may have taken a shot at counterpart Mike McCarthy's approach to the end of the Packers' offseason program.
McCarthy canceled practice on the second day of a three-day minicamp in mid-June to take the team to a range outside Green Bay for clay shooting.
Based on comments he later made, Schwartz seemingly had an issue with the likes of the Packers and other teams in the league that sacrificed a couple hours of work on the football field for a team-building exercise.
"We had no sporting clays today or no amusement parks or water parks. (It was a) work day of minicamp," Schwartz said as the Lions wrapped up their offseason workouts. "We take a lot of pride in the fact that we play for a blue-collar town, and we try to reflect that kind of work ethic."
--If all goes as planned, Brandon Weeden will become the 11th quarterback in 14 years to start a season opener for the Browns on Sept. 9.
Put another way, the last quarterback to start back-to-back openers for the Browns was Charlie Frye in 2006 and '07, and he played so poorly against the Steelers in the 2007 opener he was benched in the second quarter and traded to Seattle two days later.
Weeden has not been declared the starter yet, but that is definitely in the forecast.
--Reggie McKenzie believes in familiarity.
So in remaking the Raiders' organization as a first-time general manager, he reached out to several people with whom he has had a background working with, the better to move ahead with a new era.
As promised, McKenzie let Dennis Allen hire the assistant coaches and install systems of offense and defense. Allen brought in Greg Knapp to install a West Coast style offense heavy and bootlegs and rollouts with a strong running game keyed to zone blocking.
By letting the coaches install systems of football, it enabled McKenzie to rebuild an infrastructure which previously depended on Al Davis, who once said he didn't believe in chain of command and in fact thought inner conflict was a natural part of putting together a team.
---The San Francisco 49ers filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in an attempt to prevent a Santa Clara County Oversight Board from backing out of its commitment to fund $30 million of an NFL stadium under construction in Santa Clara, the team announced Thursday.
The 49ers also requested a temporary restraining order on Wednesday, hoping to prevent the County from disbursing disputed funds for another purpose until the court can review last week's action by the Oversight Board, which voted to reject the stadium funding commitment.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly issued an order Thursday requiring the County to hold the disputed funds until a July 3 hearing on the temporary restraining order.
The $1.2 billion stadium was scheduled to receive the funding after voters approved a $40 redevelopment fund in 2010. However, the state has made redevelopment agencies illegal, so the County ended the funding after paying $10 million.