Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has had an incredible start to life in the NFL and his numbers through his first 20 regular-season games are historically good.

Mahomes, a first-round pick in 2017, was named MVP last season after lighting up the league in his first campaign as the Chiefs' starter and has begun in a similar vein in 2019.

The 24-year-old has led his Chiefs team to a 3-0 record and is the only man to have thrown for over 1,000 yards and reached double figures in touchdowns tossed through three weeks of the campaign. 

With the help of Opta, we take a look at Mahomes' record-breaking first 20 NFL games.

 

PASSING YARDS = 6,576

Prior to Mahomes' arrival, Hall of Famer Kurt Warner held the record for the most passing yards in the first 20 games of a player's career when he accumulated 5,613 for the St Louis Rams.

Mahomes managed to eclipse that figure after just 18 games, and had a staggering 963 more yards by the time he had finished his 20th game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

Behind Warner are Andrew Luck (5,289), Marc Bulger (5,272) and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (5,150).

Mahomes is averaging a staggering 328.8 passing yards per game in his career and is averaging almost 400 (398.3) in 2019. He has passed 300 yards in 13 of his 20 games.

PASSING TOUCHDOWNS = 60

The Chiefs' high-octane offense has put up points thanks to Mahomes' production, and he has already thrown 60 touchdowns in 20 games.

That is 13 more than anyone else at that stage of their career, with Warner and former Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino having tossed 47.

Current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was taken two picks after Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft, threw 41 in the opening 20 games of his professional career.

Mahomes has thrown just 13 interceptions in that time and is yet to cough the ball up through the air this season.

The Indianapolis Colts are sticking with their newest starting quarterback after signing Jacoby Brissett to a contract extension.

Brissett was promoted on the depth chart following the surprise retirement of Andrew Luck, who cited issues with recurring injuries being behind his decision to end a seven-year NFL career.

The Colts confirmed on Tuesday that Brissett has signed a new deal. While details were not disclosed by the franchise, it is reportedly worth $30 million over two years with $20m guaranteed

"Jacoby Brissett is a winning football player in this league, and he is a rare, rare, leader," general manager Chris Ballard said.

"He is a rare human being, man. That locker room loves Jacoby Brissett. They love him. I think you saw it last year when as we went through the season – just a special guy man and I'm excited to watch him play."

Brissett completed 58.8 per cent of his passes when starting 15 of 16 games for the Colts in 2017, throwing for 3,098 yards with 13 touchdowns to seven interceptions, while also running the ball for 260 yards and four scores. 

The Indianapolis Colts are sticking with their newest starting quarterback after reportedly re-signing Jacoby Brissett in the aftermath of Andrew Luck's retirement.

Brissett was thrust into the role after Colts star Luck shockingly retired less than two weeks before the start of the NFL season.

The 26-year-old Brissett quickly resumed quarterback duties and now has a contract to back it up.

According to the NFL Network, which cited unidentified league sources, the two parties agreed to a two-year, $30million extension.

Brissett will receive a $20m signing bonus, the report noted.

The new deal will secure Brissett through the 2021 season, a report from The Athletic added.

Brissett – who entered the league as a third-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 2016 draft – landed in Indianapolis via a trade in September 2017.

He gave the Colts another option under center with Luck's status still up in the air as he recovered from shoulder surgery.

"We are in good hands with Jacoby Brissett as our starting quarterback," Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters last week.

Brissett completed only 58.8 per cent of his passes in 2017. By comparison, Luck's percentage was under 60 only twice in his six seasons.

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers said Andrew Luck deserved a standing ovation after the retiring Indianapolis Colts quarterback was booed by his own supporters.

Luck announced his shock retirement on Saturday – the same day as the Colts' 27-17 NFL preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

The four-time Pro Bowler was in attendance as reports of his decision emerged prior to Luck making it official and Colts fans were not happy.

Some Colts fans decided to boo Luck when the 29-year-old star left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On the boos, Packers quarterback Rodgers told reporters on Monday: "I thought it would've been more of a standing ovation type thing and a thank you than boos.

"I said it this morning. I 100 per cent respect him immensely for his decision. I salute him for choosing quality of life, and he's a fantastic player. He had a great career and he's got a lot to be proud of.

"I'm excited for him, and I think actually what he did is very selfless."

Rodgers, though, was critical of how Luck's plans were leaked.

Luck had initially planned to make his retirement announcement on Sunday but was forced to move his timetable up after reports began to surface about his intentions.

"He's making a really tough decision," Rodgers said. "I don't know why that doesn't stay in-house. You've got to protect him a little bit."

Luck spent seven years with the Colts after being drafted with the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and won Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

Luck said during Saturday's news conference that the boos he received "hurt".

Andrew Luck's shock retirement has thrust Jacoby Brissett into the limelight for the Indianapolis Colts.

Before Luck announced his decision there had been talk of Brissett potentially being traded, though such suggestions were shut down by the Colts' front office.

Now he is the man tasked with leading Frank Reich's offense and will have an extremely tough act to follow after Luck finished his fine career with a 2018 season that saw him throw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

But who is Brissett, and does he have what it takes to fill the void? Here we take a look at the Colts' new starting quarterback.

 

When was Brissett drafted?

Brissett entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2016 draft after a pair of stellar college seasons at NC State. After transferring from Florida, Brissett threw for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions for the Wolfpack.

How did the Colts acquire him?

The Colts sent wide receiver Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots to land Brissett in a trade in September 2017, giving them another option under center with Luck's status still up in the air as he recovered from surgery on a separated shoulder.

What is his NFL experience?

Indianapolis will have been convinced to trade for Brissett partially by his performance in relief of the suspended Tom Brady and injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3 of the 2016 season. Brissett led the Patriots to a 27-0 victory and, with Brady guiding them to a Lombardi Trophy following his return, left New England with a Super Bowl ring.

He replaced Scott Tolzien in Week 1 of the 2017 season as the Colts were thrashed 46-9 by the Los Angeles Rams. From there he started the remaining 15 games and, though he only managed to lead a poor Colts team to four victories, Brissett emerged from the campaign with plenty of credit. He threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He also ran for 260 yards and four touchdowns.

Can he fill the void?

"Jacoby Brissett is a winning football player in this league. Jacoby Brissett is a rare, rare leader. He is. He's a rare human being, man. That locker room loves Jacoby Brissett. They love him."

Those were the words of Colts general manager Chris Ballard following Luck's retirement, making it clear Brissett will have the faith of the locker room.

But is he good enough to ensure the Colts remain contenders post-Luck?

There is no doubt he has the arm. Brissett has no problem throwing the long ball and, when Luck was still struggling with his shoulder last year, was brought on for a late Hail Mary attempt against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his 2017 season, Brissett also demonstrated the ability to go through his progressions and hang tough in the pocket even as it collapsed around him.

He may not have to worry too much about the pocket disintegrating in his second go-around as starter. The Colts have invested heavily in the offensive line, in an effort to protect Luck from the injuries that ultimately brought an early end to his career, and 2018 draft picks Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith have done an excellent job of shoring things up in the trenches.

Luck was sacked only 18 times in 2018, with Brissett having suffered 52 a year earlier.

Brissett is a superior runner to Luck and the damage he can do with his legs adds another dimension to an offense featuring plenty of talent.

In addition to an improving O-Line, Brissett has the benefit of one of the better offensive minds in the game in Reich, as well as an impressive array of pass-catching options including T.Y. Hilton, tight end Eric Ebron and electric rookie Parris Campbell.

The Colts have done a tremendous job of putting Brissett in a position to succeed. For him to do so he will need to show greater consistency and accuracy.

Completion percentage is not the ultimate barometer of the latter, but Brissett completed only 58.8 per cent of his passes in 2017. Luck's percentage was under 60 only twice in his six seasons.

However, with Reich at the helm he has an ideal coach to help him realise his potential. Without Luck the Colts may not be the favourites to win the AFC South, but Brissett is capable of keeping them firmly in contention.

Andrew Luck rocked the NFL on Saturday when he confirmed he was retiring.

The 29-year-old, who has battled injuries since entering the league with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, said at a press conference that his problems had "taken my joy of this game away".

One of the most hyped quarterbacks to enter the NFL in recent years, former first overall pick Luck certainly lived up to the billing when he was able to get on the field.

Here, we take a look at Luck's career in numbers.


171 - The former Stanford Cardinal tossed 171 touchdowns with the Colts. In NFL history, only Aaron Rodgers and Dan Marino threw more in their first 86 regular-season games.

40 - Of those 171, 40 came in 2014 when Luck led the league in touchdown passes. Only eight men have thrown for more in a single season.

53-33-0 - Indianapolis won 53 of the 86 regular-season games Luck started. The Colts won two AFC South titles in 2013 and 2014 and made the playoffs on four occasions in the Luck era.

4 - Luck was named to the Pro Bowl four times and last season he won the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year award.

20 - There were 20 game-winning drives in Luck's career. Only Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford have had more since 2012.

28 - The Colts were 28 points down to the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs when Luck engineered what was, at the time, the second-biggest postseason comeback of all time on January 4, 2014.

174 - Luck was sacked on 174 occasions in his career, with 156 of those coming in his first five years as a pro and 41 in his rookie campaign.

4,374 - The record 4,374 yards Luck threw as a rookie remains the leading mark of any first-year quarterback.

11 - Luck played the Tennessee Titans on 11 occasions in his career. The Colts won every single game. 

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has not given up hoping he will see Andrew Luck back in the NFL following the star quarterback's shock retirement.

Luck sent shockwaves through the NFL when he announced his retirement on Saturday, following the Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

The 29-year-old and four-time Pro Bowler cited injuries as a key factor behind his decision to quit American football.

Luck – who suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2017 – was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone problem throughout the offseason that limited him to just three practice sessions heading into the campaign.

Asked whether Luck could eventually return, Irsay told reporters: "I don't rule it out because as quickly as this thing descended on us and mysterious as it was, it could leave the same way.

"That's just a fact. It's very hard to measure sometimes our human experience and we all perceive life from our chair. I would say it's possible."

But Irsay is not banking on the slim chance Luck will have a change of heart.

"We know we have to get on and play," Irsay added. "We are focused on having a great season. It's possible but no one knows and he would be the first to say it. Only time will tell."

Luck was a Pro Bowl player in four of his six pro seasons and is fresh off a 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. He led the Colts to a 10-6 record last season and into the second round of the playoffs.

Colts head coach Frank Reich only had positive things to say about what Luck brought to Indianapolis since being selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"Being in that room with him for the last 18 months was just the experience of a lifetime," Reich said. "You know, a true competitor in every sense of the word, a great team-mate and just one of the truly unique players to ever put on an NFL uniform and certainly, to wear that horseshoe proud. So, for the coaching staff in that locker room, just getting a chance to work with this guy every day was incredible."

Now Indianapolis are focused on moving forward with Jacoby Brissett, who threw for 3,098 yards and 13 touchdowns with the Colts when Luck sat out for all of 2017 to recover from a shoulder injury.

"There's a saying in football that everyone knows and everybody lives by, it’s next man up and even though this situation is unique, no one is exempt," Reich said.

The Colts will kick off their 2019 season away to the Los Angeles Chargers on September 8, with Brissett under centre.

When a star quarterback retires, things change.

Andrew Luck announced on Saturday that he is retiring from the NFL following the Indianapolis Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears, so just about everything is going to be different in 2019.

OK, that is a bit of a hyperbolic statement, but what is true is Luck's retirement does have a ripple effect on the NFL this upcoming season.

So, what are those effects? We have five for you.

 

Five effects of Luck's retirement on the NFL in 2019

Brissett gets a shot at being a franchise quarterback

Is Jacoby Brissett a franchise quarterback? That is unclear. But one thing is for certain, he is going to get a chance to be one in Indianapolis. There is a reason the Colts would not trade Brissett this offseason even if they were offered high draft picks. Indianapolis like him. Now Brissett is going to have a chance to prove he can lead this team better than he did when he did not have a ton of time to prepare in 2017 and had a bad roster around him. This is Brissett's chance. We will see if he takes advantage.

Texans, Jaguars can breathe easier

The Houston Texans were likely the favourites to win the AFC South coming into 2019, but the Colts were certainly a threat considering Luck would be two years removed from the shoulder surgery which cost him the entire 2017 season. But the Jacksonville Jaguars' addition of Nick Foles at quarterback had to put them in the conversation before, and now that Luck is gone, they have to have the second-best odds, don't they? But either way, the Texans and Jaguars have to feel better about getting wins against the Colts now and they could easily see two more victories on their schedules just with this retirement.

Mahomes' path to a second-straight MVP got easier

While Luck did not finish second in the MVP voting last season, one had to figure he would be firmly in the conversation to start this year and possibly the main competition for Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes. Now that competition is gone and Mahomes will likely have to fend off aging quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger and maybe a younger guy like Carson Wentz or Baker Mayfield. But Luck was going to be far away from his injury and would have likely been even better than he was last year with a more solid team around him. Mahomes might not be happy, but he has to feel good about his MVP chances again.

Browns, Ravens, Steelers will be happy come playoff time

The Colts likely would have earned a wild-card spot this season with Luck at the helm. They still might. But without Luck it will be tougher to get there, and as good as Brissett might be, Luck would probably be a surer thing in a playoff scenario. The Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to be wild-card round competitors and not having to face Luck there will be nice. Again, maybe Brissett will be awesome when he gets there, but we know Luck has been good in the wild-card game, so looking ahead these teams have to be happy.

Patriots' path again gets easier

The New England Patriots have whipped up on the Colts in the playoffs but having Luck at 100 percent with a better defense made Indianapolis a tougher out in the playoffs, especially in year two with Frank Reich at the helm. Now Luck is out, and the playoffs may have completely changed. The Patriots are the favourites to win the AFC because they should be. The Chiefs are great, but until they beat the Patriots in the playoffs the conference goes through them. Now, the path to the Super Bowl looks ever so slightly easier.

Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck caught a lot of people off guard when he retired from the NFL on Saturday, but he is not the first player to do that.

In this league, the wear and tear can take a toll on a player, several stars decided to hang up their cleats unexpectedly.

We look at a few over the years we did not see coming.

 

Most surprising retirements in NFL history

Jim Brown, Cleveland Browns, RB, 1966

The original surprise came when Jim Brown, the NFL's MVP in 1965, announced that he was hanging up his cleats two months before the start of the 1966 season. Brown retired as the NFL's all-time leading rusher and was coming off a season where he rushed for 1,544 yards and 17 touchdowns. He stepped away at the peak of his game and moved on to become a movie star and true ambassador for the game.

Overall, Brown won.

Barry Sanders, Detroit Lions, RB, 1999

Along the same line as Brown, Barry Sanders was at the top of his game when he decided it was enough. He rushed for 2,000 yards in 1997 and eclipsed 1,400 in 1998. But after just 10 NFL seasons he decided to step away. He was playing behind an abysmal offensive and was repeatedly being stopped in the backfield.

The league lost a great entertainer that day.

Chris Borland, San Francisco 49ers, LB, 2015

Chris Borland was a pleasant surprise as a rookie with the 49ers and a player who the team thought would be a key part of their defense. But, citing concern over head injuries, he retired in 2015 and left San Francisco scrambling to fix the middle of their defense. Borland tallied more than 100 tackles in his first season and really has not done much since leaving the NFL.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, WR, 2016

The 6-foot-5, 237-pound wide receiver might have been the most gifted pass catcher in NFL history. Calvin Johnson's size suggested he should have been less athletic than he was, but his 4.3-second, 40-yard-dash speed was absolutely impossible to contain. But four years after he nearly hit 2,000 receiving yards, he announced his retirement. Johnson was coming off a 1,214-yard, nine-touchdown season and was still one of, if not the best, receiver in the NFL.

This was a shock to football fans everywhere.

Joe Thomas, Cleveland Browns, OT, 2018

For a man who never missed a start until midway through the 2017 year, it was hard to believe he was done. Joe Thomas made the Pro Bowl in every single year he played before an injury ended his final season and he was still an amazing offensive tackle. But he had had enough football and has since moved over to the media business and has been an instant success.

Andrew Luck said injuries took his enjoyment of NFL away after the Indianapolis Colts quarterback announced his shock retirement.

Colts star Luck confirmed his decision to quit the sport on Saturday following reports of the 29-year-old's imminent announcement emerged on social media.

Luck – a four-time Pro Bowl player – was set to make his retirement official on Sunday, however the former number one pick fronted the media after the Colts' 27-17 preseason loss to the Chicago Bears.

Following a career ravaged by injuries, Luck – who was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone problem throughout the offseason that limited him to just three practice sessions heading into the campaign – told reporters: "I'm going to retire, this is not an easy decision. This is the hardest decision of my life. But it is the right decision for me."

Luck – who never won a Super Bowl – was the number one pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford.

He was named the Pro Football Writers Association's Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. That came one year after he missed the season with a shoulder injury.

The Colts were hoping he would be back for the third preseason game so they could name him the starter, but they were ready to go with backup Jacoby Brissett, who the team acquired from the New England Patriots in 2017 to play in Luck's absence.

"[The injuries have] taken my joy of this game away. I've been stuck in this process. I haven't been able to live the life I want to live. After 2016, I played in pain and was unable to practice, I said I wouldn't go through that again.

"It's sad but I also have a lot of clarity in this. Difficult process. My wife, family, friends, Chris Ballard, Mr. Irsay, Frank Reich have been incredibly supportive. Thankful for them."

Luck threw for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions in his career. He made the playoffs four times with his longest run going to the 2014 AFC Championship game.

He added: "It was an honour to represent the city of Indianapolis on and off the field. So grateful to have been drafted here. Can't fathom another owner who loves his team as much as Irsay does... This has been an incredible place to make a home and grow. This city will always hold a special place in my heart."

Luck was sensationally booed by Colts fans as he left the field at Lucas Oil Stadium before speaking to reporters.

On the booing, Luck said: "It hurt… it hurt."

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is sensationally set to retire from the NFL, according to reports.

An ESPN report says Luck, 29, is planning to announce his decision at a news conference on Sunday.

Colts star Luck is "mentally worn down" and is "now checking out", according to the report.

The report also says that Colts owner Jim Irsay has been informed of the four-time Pro Bowler's decision.

Luck – who never won a Super Bowl – was the number one pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford.

He was named the Pro Football Writers Association's Comeback Player of the Year in 2018 after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. That came one year after he missed the season with a shoulder injury.

Luck was dealing with a lower leg/ankle/bone injury throughout the offseason and has practiced just three times in the lead up to the campaign.

The Colts were hoping he would be back for the third preseason game so they could name him the starter, but they were ready to go with backup Jacoby Brissett, who the team acquired from the New England Patriots in 2017 to play in Luck's absence.

Luck threw for 23,671 yards with 171 touchdowns and 83 interceptions in his career. He made the playoffs four times with his longest run going to the 2014 AFC Championship game.

He was described by several as the best quarterback prospect since John Elway in the 1983 draft and his maturity along with arm strength and athleticism gave the NFL a very unique player who truly was one of the best in his time.

Andrew Luck's calf injury in March did not cause much alarm because the regular season was months away, but flash forward to August and he is at risk of missing the Indianapolis Colts' season opener.

The quarterback is suffering from an ankle issue, which has shelved him for the preseason and has held him out of full practices. Will he be ready when September 8 rolls around?

Meanwhile, Kenny Stills and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are not seeing eye-to-eye with Ross' support of United States president Donald Trump and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones used a rather gross analogy to describe how the contract situation with some of Dallas' star players are going.

Those stories and more in Wednesday's edition of NFL news and notes.

Two things that matter

Colts GM says Luck now has ankle issue

Chris Ballard said he was not ready to declare that quarterback Luck is ready for the regular-season opener after he revealed he now has an ankle issue. The Colts general manager said the calf injury Luck has been dealing is separate from the ankle problem, which he attributed to years of wear and tear.

"The issue right now is the side-to-side stuff," Ballard said, via ESPN. "Kind of rolling of the ankle. Anything back-and-forth, he's good. Standing there throwing, he's good. Moving in the pocket, those are the kind of things we have to get him better at."

Ballard said Luck does not have to be 100 per cent to play, but there is a chance that Luck will miss the opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. Jacoby Brissett has been taking first-team reps in practice and has experience starting for the Colts – he played the majority of the 2017 season when Luck was out with a shoulder injury.

'Generational talent' makes Kyler Murray worth Josh Rosen trade, says Cardinals GM

Arizona general manager Steve Keim received a lot of criticism for his decision to draft quarterback Kyler Murray number one overall in this year's draft just one year after the team drafted Josh Rosen at 10 overall.

However, Keim told The Ringer that Murray is a "generational talent" and that having him on the team is worth the struggles the Cardinals have undergone in the past couple of seasons.

"You have to make the tough decisions and avoid the outside noise – 'Why'd you give up on this guy? Why would you trade this guy?'" Keim said. "It's unprecedented. I took [Rosen] in the top 10. I just felt that [Murray] was a generational talent that I just couldn't pass up."

Should the Cardinals have another disastrous season, Keim's time with the team could be in jeopardy.

Two things that don't matter

Jerry Jones' weird analogy to describe the Cowboys' contract issues

The Cowboys owner used a strange and rather gruesome analogy to describe the team's contract situations with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and receiver Amari Cooper.

"Picture you were a driver of a car and you had a wreck and your hand was almost severed off, but you didn't understand your anatomy," Jones said, via The Dallas Morning News. "You look down, you're spurting blood, you open the door, and run to the woods, and either die bleeding to death or shock. The educated man looks down, knows his anatomy, squeezes and knows his best chance is to wait for help. That's because he's been there a lot and done that. So I'm squeezing and waiting for help."

Essentially, Jones is minding the Cowboys' salary cap and does not want to have to release anyone due to massive contracts paid to other players, but the bottom line is all three of his offensive stars still do not have new deals. Neither the salary cap, nor Dallas' situation, is new.

Stills says he'll 'agree to disagree' with Dolphins owner Ross

The Miami receiver talked to Ross on the phone after he publicly called out Ross for holding a fundraiser for Trump's re-election campaign. Stills, a known social activist, said Ross' support of Trump contradicts the mission statement of his nonprofit, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). 

Apparently, the conversation did not leave the two seeing eye-to-eye, with Stills telling reporters (via The Palm Beach Post): "We agreed to disagree and that was it. There's not much to argue about. He has his feelings about it and he stands firm in that, and I respect that. But I disagree and I told him there's no hard feelings. There's no beef and let's win some games this year."

Stills said he still plans to kneel during the national anthem this season, but his willingness to play under an owner whom he has different political beliefs from reflects his loyalty to the team and should not affect them in the long run.

One video you have to see

Tom Brady is not taking any smack talk from Mike Vrabel – a former New England Patriots team-mate. The Patriots and Tennessee Titans had a joint practice on Wednesday, which led to the Patriots quarterback getting a little saucy with the Titans head coach.

Wednesday tweet of the day

Just in case you forgot what a giant man running back Derrick Henry is, here is photographic evidence. Henry towers over former Alabama team-mate Damien Harris.

Some of the narratives everyone has been following this NFL preseason took a new twist on Tuesday.

Antonio Brown, who just days ago reportedly threatened to retire because he could not use his old helmet, returned to Oakland Raiders training camp.

Jadeveon Clowney, a camp holdout who has been widely expected to report to the Houston Texans later this month, now appears likely to be traded, according to a report.

And there might be more to Andrew Luck's calf injury than has been reported.

Those stories and more in Tuesday's edition of NFL News and Notes.

 

Three things that matter

Brown returns to training camp

Brown opened a new chapter in his strange preseason on Tuesday, returning to the Raiders' training camp in Napa, California. Accompanied by his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and followed by the production crew for HBO's "Hard Knocks," the star wide receiver said he was excited to be back.

"I'm dealing with a lot of adversity … but I'm excited to be back with my team-mates," Brown said. 

Brown said he does not know when he will be able to return to practice, but head coach Jon Gruden said he expects he will be ready for the regular season. 

"We'll work him back in, obviously it's great to have him back," Gruden said. 

Rosenhaus said Brown returned to camp because he had completed treatment on his feet, which reportedly were frostbitten during cryotherapy. Rosenhaus did not offer details, citing possible legal action. However, Rosenhaus said Brown's feet were the real reason he missed camp. Brown had reportedly been absent from camp over a dispute involving what helmet he could wear. The All-Pro wide receiver wanted to use his old helmet, which is not on the NFL's approved list. He had even reportedly threatened retirement if he could not use the helmet.

The NFL has reached a compromise with Brown allowing him to use an old model if it is less than 10 years old. Rosenhaus said Brown has located several older models he plans to submit for approval. No word on whether Brown found any of those helmets through his Tuesday morning tweet seeking a helmet in exchange for an autographed helmet.

Texans' Clowney reportedly on trading block

Clowney, who wants a contract extension the Texans do not want to offer right now, has been a training camp holdout, but had widely been expected to report to camp later this month.

But a report Tuesday suggests the Texans are actively shopping Clowney. The Houston Chronicle's John McClain reported he would "be surprised" if Houston do not trade Clowney before the start of the season.

The Texans put the franchise tag on Clowney in the offseason, but he has not signed it yet.

McClain suggested the Texans might be looking to move Clowney for a left tackle. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times last season, more than any other NFL quarterback.

McClain did not believe, however, the Texans would pursue Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams, who has also reportedly requested a trade.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Luck's calf injury may be more complicated than has been reported. 

Luck has missed all but three training camp practices because the Colts are being cautious with the injury he suffered this spring. But Colts owner Jim Irsay told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Luck is dealing with a "small little bone" injury in his lower left leg.

"I feel very confident he's going to find a way through this thing. I think after the [Kevin] Durant thing, everyone is erring on the side of caution, but quite frankly, this is not even in the Achilles tendon," Irsay said. "It's a bone. I'm not good at these things, but it's a small little bone."

Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters last week that Luck will miss several more practices and sit out the team's second preseason game this Saturday against the Cleveland Browns.

This could be just a minor thing, but the fact Irsay has revealed this detail on Luck's injury suggests it might be something more. And notice how the timeline on Luck's full return to action has changed. Reich said in June that Luck would be able to play if there were a regular season game coming up. Yet he has been a spectator most of training camp, and now has something going on with a "small little bone." Recall how, throughout the spring and summer of 2017 the Colts kept moving back the goalposts on when Luck would return from offseason shoulder surgery. He ended up missing the entire season.

No one is suggesting this will end up being a similar situation, but the parallels are interesting.

Luck made his fourth Pro Bowl last season after throwing for 4,593 yards with 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The Colts desperately need him healthy to get ready for the season.

Two things that don't matter

Giants owner Mara hopes rookie Jones 'never sees the field' this year

New York Giants owner John Mara raised some eyebrows on Tuesday when asked about the team's quarterback situation this season involving veteran Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones.

"I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field," Mara told reporters. "That would be an ideal world where you would like to see that. Again, at the end of the day it's going to be the decision by the head coach [Pat Shurmur] as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year."

When pressed on whether he would be happy if Jones did not play "one snap" this year, Mara didn't back down.

"I'd be very happy about that because that means we're having a great year and Eli's having a great year," he added.

To just glance at Mara's quotes, which were featured in numerous headlines, is to imagine the owner is a kindred spirit to those Giants fans who ripped the team for picking Jones sixth overall in the NFL Draft. Despite the awkward soundbites, however, Mara was merely expressing the opinion that if Manning plays well, that probably means the Giants are excelling. Almost anything would be better than last season's 5-11 mark.

The 38-year-old Manning is set to open the season as the starter, but Jones has turned heads thus far. He completed all five of his passes for 67 yards and a touchdown in his NFL preseason debut against the New York Jets last week.

No matter who is under center, the Giants passing game will face a tough time early this season. The NFL has denied Golden Tate's appeal of a four-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, Corey Coleman suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament and Sterling Shepard is playing with a fractured thumb.

Rosen takes first-team reps at Dolphins practice

Miami Dolphins QB Josh Rosen, locked in a quarterback battle with Ryan Fitzpatrick, took first-team reps for the first time during Tuesday's practice.

So that is it, right? Rosen, acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in the offseason, has seized control of the job, right?

Not so fast. Fitzpatrick is still scheduled to start the second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just as he did the opener, with Rosen likely coming on to play most of the game. But Tuesday's development is a big step for Rosen, given head coach Brian Flores has studiously avoided giving him first-team reps in camp.

Flores was not exactly effusive in his praise for the second-year QB on Tuesday, saying he did an "OK job."

"I thought it was a lot of fun," Rosen told reporters afterward. "Got a lot to study tonight, overall it was a positive." 

Bottom line: This competition is not over yet.

One video you have to see

O.J. Simpson tweeted a video that touched on everything from Dak Prescott's and Ezekiel Elliott's contract negotiations with the Dallas Cowboys to Simpson's fantasy football league (he says Prescott would not even be drafted in the top 10) to how much the game has changed ("God forbid you hit a wide receiver too hard downfield").

Tuesday tweet of the day

Just when you thought the Brown helmet saga could not get any stranger … it did. Tuesday morning, Brown tweeted out a plea to help him locate a helmet: "I'm looking for a Schutt Air Advantage Adult Large Helmet that was manufactured in 2010 or after. In exchange I will trade a signed practice worn @Raiders helmet."

As training camp gets more competitive, so does vying for positions, and some players are getting a jump on their season by bringing their best moves early on.

But with that comes the risk of injury, something no team wants to experience before the first game of the year when their hopes are still high.

Three things that matter

Is the Fitzmagic back?

The quarterback competition is heating up at the Miami Dolphins, and Ryan Fitzpatrick appears to be honing in on the starting role as coach Brian Flores noted the veteran has the edge over second-year signal-caller Josh Rosen. 

"From a quarterback standpoint, it's pretty clear to me that Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the way," Flores told the Miami Herald. 

"He's been more productive. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to."

Fitzpatrick had a hot streak with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season as he filled in admirably for the suspended Jameis Winston, finishing with 2,366 passing yards for 17 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in seven starts.

Andrew having no Luck with calf strain

Given Andrew Luck's injury history, it will be concerning for the Indianapolis Colts to find that their quarterback experienced no improvement "pain-wise" with a calf injury.

"I did a disservice to myself by saying I'd be ready," Luck told CBS Sports on Tuesday. "Its a calf strain. I say lower leg because I feel pain at my ankle."

Nonetheless, Colts coach Frank Reich is optimistic Luck would be available if the team had a regular-season game on Sunday.

However, Reich added Luck will likely miss the next two practices and sit out the Colts' pre-season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

Eli Manning appears to be Giants' man

It was unlikely that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones would start over experienced veteran Eli Manning, but New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur clarified the sixth overall draft pick has not taken a snap with the first-team offense yet.

However, Shurmur preached patience as he hinted Jones would get his reps in eventually.

"We have a plan for how this is all going to play out," Shurmur said. "Just let it unfold for you."

Despite his inconsistencies in 2018, it appears the Giants are willing to give Manning one more chance before moving on from the 38-year-old.

Two things that don't matter Julio Jones will not play preseason games

Atlanta Falcons' Julio Jones is entering his ninth season in the league, so he does not feel the need to risk injury by playing in preseason games that do not count.

"I'm not playing preseason. I'm a veteran, I've been doing this. I don't need preseason to get ready," Jones told reporters on Tuesday.

The holdout is not surprising for Jones considering he did not play in any preseason games in 2018, and appeared in just one the previous season.

Tyreek Hill suffers bruised quad

The Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver limped off the field at practice on Tuesday and was taken away by a cart after he was hit by cornerback Bashaud Breeland, though it was later reported he suffered a quad bruise and seems to have avoided serious injury.

It is unclear if Hill will be sidelined this week or beyond, but considering the Cincinnati Bengals recently lost star A.J. Green for up to eight weeks with an ankle injury, it is safe to assume the Chiefs will be careful.

One video you have to see

In honour of launching his new documentary series 'Peyton's Places' on ESPN+, former quarterback Peyton Manning lobbed a football to Cris Carter, from the top of a building in New York City.

Tuesday tweet of the day

Chad Johnson, who last played for the New England Patriots in 2011, wants teams experiencing injury troubles to know his services are available.

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