ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos braced themselves for a second straight season without their steadiest wide receiver and locker room leader after Tim Patrick was carted off the field with a left Achilles tendon injury Monday – almost a year after tearing his right ACL at training camp.

“It’s a tough break for us as a team when you see something like that, a great player, a great leader,” cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. “We wish him the best and just go on from there.”

With an energized crowd of 3,000 looking on as the Broncos practiced in full pads for the first time, Patrick hit the ground in pain just as he came out of his cut on a short route during a seven-on-seven passing drill. He threw his helmet as teammates including Courtland Sutton and Russell Wilson rushed to his side.

The injury happened right in front of head coach Sean Payton, who was watching Patrick make an adjustment from a previous route.

“It’s always difficult, especially a guy like that’s a leader who’s coming off an entire year of rehabilitation,” Payton said. ”It’s difficult for his teammates, for all of us. So, maybe, hopefully we get some good news. But it appears it’s his left Achilles.”

After being carted off, Patrick entered the Broncos facility on crutches, keeping weight off his left leg.

Patrick is known for his strong work ethic and no-nonsense approach. He was one of the more notable finds by the Broncos in recent years.

Undrafted out of Utah in 2017, Patrick bounced around the Ravens’ and 49ers’ practice squads before arriving in Denver later that year. He became a contributor in 2018 and ’19 before posting back-to-back productive seasons that earned him a three-year, $34.5 million contract extension in November 2021.

He was the team’s No. 1 receiver going into last season when he tore his right ACL in a noncontact drill on Aug. 2. Two months later the Broncos lost their top running back when Javonte Williams suffered a knee injury and Denver’s offense never recovered from the one-two punch, averaging a league-worst 16.9 points a game in Wilson’s first year in Denver.

Like Williams, Patrick was looking for a big comeback in 2023 atop the receiver rotation alongside Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

“When I got hired here, he was one of the guys I saw every day because he was rehabbing last year’s injury,” Payton said. “So, that’s what makes it more difficult.”

The Broncos do appear to be in better position to weather the loss of Patrick this year if the injury proves to be as serious as suspected.

They bolstered their receiver room, chiefly by drafting speedster Marvin Mims Jr. out of Oklahoma in the second round and signing veterans Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey in free agency.

“We’ve just got great guys all around the receiving room, so obviously next man up situation,” Surtain said. “But Tim is a big loss, a big blow, because he brings such a presence out there on the field that many people can’t compare to.”

Mims pulled a hamstring in June and suffered a setback before camp, but Monday marked his first practice of camp and Payton was encouraged: “He’s feeling good. You’re going to see him more and more this week. He’s ramping up and we’re encouraged.”

However, another receiver, KJ Hamler, who is on the mend from a torn chest muscle, was released Monday when the Broncos signed guard Yasir Durant. Hamler was releasd with a non-football illness designation. Earlier in the day, he posted on Instagram that he was diagnosed with the heart condition pericarditis “after feeling some chest pains while working out on the break before camp started.” He vowed to return to the field as soon as he could “better and stronger than ever.”

Notes: Payton had no comment about Aaron Rodgers’ spirited defense of Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett after Payton ripped him last week for his poor head coaching job in Denver last year. “No, we’re past it,” said Payton, who did a mea culpa last week, saying he regretted criticizing Hackett, the Jets and members of the Broncos’ front office in trying to spread the blame for Wilson’s career-worst season in 2022 during an interview with USA Today.


PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Of the thousands of emotions – trepidation among them – running through Damar Hamlin’s head Monday while he pulled on his pads for practice for the first time at training camp, the one that ultimately won out was joy.

For everything the Buffalo Bills safety has overcome in seven months since going into cardiac arrest during a game and needing to be resuscitated on the field, Hamlin leaned on his faith in God and himself, along with the support from his family and teammates, to take another step toward resume his playing career.

“A super big hurdle as you can imagine. Like, I pretty much lost my life playing this sport,” Hamlin said at a news conference after practice.

“I made the choice to play. But I’m processing a thousand emotions. I’m not afraid to say that it crosses my mind of being a little scared here and there,” he added. “My faith is stronger than any fear. That’s what I want to preach up here. And that’s the message I want to spread on to the world that as long as your faith is stronger than your fear, you can get through anything.”

Though Hamlin was cleared to resume practicing in mid-April, he did so wearing a helmet and shorts with the rest of his teammates through their spring sessions and first four days of training camp, as mandated by NFL rules. The magnitude of the Bills’ first day in pads wasn’t lost on Hamlin, given it marked the first time he was in full uniform since collapsing on the field in Cincinnati on Jan. 2 after making what appeared to be a routine tackle of Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.

“Ah man, it feels amazing. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. I was kind of all over the place just being back for the first time,” Hamlin said. “Just trying to keep everything as normal as possible.”

The normality of football struck him about an hour into practice when Hamlin took the field for the first time during a team red-zone running drill in which tackling was still not allowed.

On his second play, Hamlin showed no hesitation when bursting toward Damien Harris and wrapping him up with both arms. A play later, running back James Cook broke a tackle before Hamlin joined a teammate in wrapping him up just before the goal line.

Hamlin’s biggest contact came on the final play of practice, when he avoided a block to work his way into the backfield and help a teammate stop tight end Quintin Morris for what would have been a loss.

“That first little moment of contact, that was just letting me know. I felt alive, man. I felt like I’m here,” Hamlin said with a wide grin. “So it felt good. It was just that moment of: ‘All right, let’s settle in and let’s just take one play at a time. Let’s just keep going.’”

Hamlin’s only lament was not having any balls thrown in his direction during team drills, though he laughed when saying that might not be a bad thing.

“When the ball’s not coming my way, that makes you think you’re doing your job right,” Hamlin said. “But, you know, I would love some more opportunities to make a big play and turn practice up a bit.”

The 25-year-old from the Pittsburgh area is entering his third NFL season. Selected by Buffalo in the sixth round of the 2021 draft out of Pitt, he opened last season as a backup before starting 13 games after Micah Hyde sustained a season-ending neck injury.

This year, Hamlin is competing with offseason free agent addition Taylor Rapp for a backup role behind Hyde and Jordan Poyer. As for Hamlin’s next hurdle, it’ll come Aug. 12, when the Bills open their preseason schedule at home against Indianapolis.

Rapp, who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams, might be new to Buffalo but is impressed with how Hamlin has handled himself.

“How far he’s come and what he’s able to come back from late last season and just seeing how he goes about himself and attacks the rehab at the facility is nothing short of inspiring,” Rapp said.

A day earlier, coach Sean McDermott said he was walking a fine line in treating Hamlin much like any other player, while keeping in mind what he’s gone through.

“I think awareness is important, right? You’ve got X amount of guys out here and then you have Damar in there as well and trying to make it as a normal as possible,” McDermott said. “We’re going to support him through this, and to this point he’s done a phenomenal job.”


General manager Joe Douglas’ vision for the New York Jets compelled Aaron Rodgers to take a pay cut of nearly $35 million over the next two years.

“I thought it was important they knew how committed I was,” Rodgers told Peter King of NBC. “And in my conversations with (GM) Joe (Douglas), he has made it very clear the vision for the football team. You probably agree with this. This year, compared to like 2005, the amount of transactions that happen now with guys getting cut and the amount of trades — way more than before. Big names move at the trade deadline now. I wanted to make sure that if somebody valuable came available that we’d be able to get him. I’m very happy with the contract. I feel great about it.”

Rodgers said he considered the reduction in pay “the right thing that made me feel best” which is a stark contrast to his position on contracts with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers floated retirement or potential trade ideas when his relationship with Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst became acrimonious. Rodgers was bitter, in part, over Green Bay selecting his heir apparent, Jordan Love, in the first round while rarely adding top prospects or free agents at skill positions.

He signed a three-year, $150 million deal with the Packers prior to the 2022 season not long after Green Bay traded away top wide receiver Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

At the time of the trade, Rodgers had $109.7 million guaranteed remaining on that contract. His new deal reportedly pays him $75 million over two seasons.

With the Jets, Rodgers has formed a quick connection with wide receiver Garrett Wilson, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season.

Douglas has kicked the tires on adding another running back to a group that includes Breece Hall, and the team signed a number of players who know Rogers well, including wide receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb.


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is letting a painful moment from his past serve as daily motivation for his future every time he makes a call, sends a text or checks social media.

The lock screen on Hurts’ cell phone is a picture of himself walking off the field following the Eagles’ 38-35 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12.

That picture came to light after Eagles punter Ty Zentner posted a video to Instagram of a singing showcase by the team’s rookies. Hurts was seen taking out his phone to record the events.

Hurts threw for 304 yards and totaled four touchdowns (one passing, three rushing) in Super Bowl LVII. He followed that up by signing a five-year, $255 million extension in April that included nearly $179.4 million in total guarantees.

Hurts, who turns 25 next week, has thrown for 7,906 yards and 44 touchdowns against 19 interceptions in 45 games (34 starts) since being selected by the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s also rushed for 1,898 yards and 26 TDs.


The New Orleans Saints are bolstering their depth on the defensive line with the addition of defensive end Kyle Phillips, reported Monday.

Phillips, 26, sat out the 2022 season after three seasons with the New York Jets.

He has 2.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits and 65 tackles in 29 career games (eight starts). He signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of Tennessee.


ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs need look no further than last season’s playoffs, and the sight of Patrick Mahomes hobbling to the sideline against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a high ankle sprain, to understand the importance in protecting their quarterback.

Yet oddly enough, they were OK watching both of their starting offensive tackles leave in free agency.

The big blow was the departure of left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., for whom the Chiefs paid the Ravens handsomely in a trade, when the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

But nearly as painful was the loss of right tackle Andrew Wylie, who had gone from an afterthought fighting for a job to one of the more reliable players along the offensive line.

Rarely do the Chiefs make such moves without a plan, though. General manager Brett Veach acted quickly to sign ex-Tampa Bay tackle Donovan Smith to handle the left side and former Jacksonville tackle Jawaan Taylor to handle the right, then Veach used a third-round pick on Oklahoma’s Wanya Morris to create instant competition at both positions.

So far, Chiefs coach Andy Reid — an old offensive line coach — has liked what he’s seen.

“You’re never sure exactly what you’re going to get there,” Reid said, “but they’re competing and that’s important. That’s an important part of this, that you’re able to push through these practices, run and pass. I like the way they work their game.”

The decision to put Mahomes’ health in the hands of Smith and Taylor is a gamble, though. Neither of them graded out particularly well last season, depending on the metric you use, though both of them have shown flashes of high-level play in the past.

Smith, for example, ranked No. 66 among 81 offensive tackles by Pro Football Focus. Taylor was just one spot better.

But the Chiefs have established a track record of unlocking the potential in relatively unheralded players, particularly along the offensive line, where assistant coach Andy Heck is among the best in the business.

Wylie is a prime example: He was undrafted out of Eastern Michigan and wound up earning two Super Bowl rings in Kansas City before signing with Washington.

“All of us have played a lot of football and a lot of big games, tough games,” Taylor said. “We’re all smart mentally, physically. It’s just more so we’re tying in each and every individual aspect of who we are and how we play and tying it together and figuring out what works, what meshes. You know, just the many things we bring to the table per guy I would say is our strength.”

Another strength is having one of the best interior offensive lines in the NFL. Left guard Joe Thuney is considered one of the top five in the league at his position, right guard Trey Smith is likewise considered a top-tier guard, and center Creed Humphrey was picked for the Pro Bowl in just his second season in the league.

It also helps having Mahomes calling out the signals.

“Just a great leader man. He brings that energy every day, you know? He holds everybody accountable,” Donovan Smith said. “You mess up, we are going to redo it. Even in the walk-throughs and the learning periods, we always slow it down and we get to learn the offense. That’s been helping me a lot with the walk-throughs and learning the things they like doing here.”

The Chiefs were fortunate to overcome Mahomes’ ankle injury in the playoffs. He returned in the second half to lead them past Jacksonville in the divisional round, and he hobbled through an AFC title game-thriller against Cincinnati, before hurting the ankle again in the Super Bowl — and then leading the Chiefs past Philadelphia for the Lombardi Trophy.

The pressure is on the Chiefs’ new offensive tackles to prevent the same such stress this season.

NOTES: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returned to practice Monday after missing the previous two with an illness. … TE Jody Fortson (shoulder), WR Kadarius Toney (knee) and DE Mike Danna (calf) were among those that remained out. P Tommy Townsend also spent time in the medical tent, though no reason was given by the Chiefs. … DT Chris Jones continued his holdout. He has been fined $50,000 for each day missed, which brings the total to $550,000. … The Chiefs had a short practice Monday after three consecutive workouts in pads. They are off Tuesday before resuming camp Wednesday.


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Jason Brownlee’s phone provides a constant reminder of how far he has come in his football journey.

And how much further he expects to go.

The New York Jets rookie wide receiver’s home screen is a photo of him being coached up by Aaron Rodgers on the field during offseason workouts. It’s a welcome to the NFL moment that will be forever cherished by Brownlee.

“I’m definitely going to get it framed,” a smiling Brownlee said after practice Sunday.

The undrafted free agent from Southern Miss has been among the early standouts in training camp, regularly making plays and impressing his new quarterback and coaches.

He might appear buried on the depth chart behind the likes of Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Corey Davis, Mecole Hardman and Randall Cobb. But being an underdog doesn’t faze Brownlee. It never has.

“I’ve been through this type of situation before where I had to start all over and build from the ground up,” Brownlee said in an interview with The Associated Press. “So I know what it’s going to take — hard work and dedication — so I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing.

“And real soon, you’re going to see something real special.”

Brownlee is already showing signs of that.

With Wilson and Lazard dealing with recent injuries and Davis out with an illness, Brownlee saw increased snaps with the starting offense. Last Thursday, Rodgers threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brownlee in 11-on-11 team drills, a play during which the young receiver got past cornerback Sauce Gardner, last season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Later, Brownlee had another TD catch, this time on a toss from Chris Streveler between two defenders.

“Really like where he’s going,” coach Robert Saleh said. “He still has a lot to prove, but he’s trending in that right direction.”

Not bad for a kid who didn’t play football until he was in middle school, when he started focusing on sports “because I used to get in trouble a lot growing up.”

The football field provided a safe haven for Brownlee, who played in junior high as a 5-foot-8 cornerback.

“I kept asking my mom, ‘When am I gonna get my growth spurt?’” Brownlee said with a laugh. “It didn’t happen until like 10th or 11th grade.”

That’s when Brownlee grew to almost his current 6-3 height at West Point High School in West Point, Mississippi.

“I shot up and got real tall, but I was skinny, though,” said Brownlee, who’s now listed at 198 pounds. “So I started playing receiver and told my coach, ‘Put me at receiver,’ because I liked scoring touchdowns.

“Ain’t nothing like scoring a touchdown. I love it.”

He was good at it, too. Brownlee scored 11 as a senior while helping lead West Point to back-to-back state titles.

But even with that success, he drew little interest from big-time Division I football programs. So he went to East Mississippi Community College, where he led junior college players with 75 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 TDs in his second season.

Southern Miss came calling and Brownlee quickly made his mark there, too. He led the Golden Eagles in catches, yards and TD receptions in his first two seasons, and then schools such as Ole Miss and Mississippi State asked him to transfer.

But Brownlee declined.

“I was like, no, I’m sticking with the school that stood beside me,” Brownlee said. “So I just kept putting on for my school and showed them loyalty. And everything wasn’t easy there, either, because I played with like 20 different quarterbacks over my college career so I had to make the most of every opportunity.”

Despite a big final season at Southern Miss during which he had 55 catches for 891 yards and eight TDs, Brownlee went undrafted in April.

“I told my mom, ‘Don’t hold your head down, I got it,’” Brownlee recalled. “I told her, ‘I’m going to go prove everybody wrong.’”

Then he got a call from the Jets, who had recently traded for Rodgers. Saleh said Brownlee was in the Jets’ discussions throughout the final day of the draft.

“Knowing that Aaron Rodgers was going to be my quarterback? I was like, ‘There ain’t no way I’m not going to the Jets to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Brownlee said.

Then came that moment during practice in June, when Rodgers sidled over to Brownlee and broke down the route he had just run — a curl during which he turned back a little too quick.

“Just be under control, really, that’s what he was telling me and don’t come in there real fast,” Brownlee said. “If I’m coming in fast and he’s throwing it fast and I’m running fast, it isn’t going to be good. It might go straight through my hands.”

That hasn’t happened much during his first NFL training camp.

Brownlee is soaking up everything Rodgers — who singled him out in June for having an impressive spring — and his coaches tell him. And he’s determined to make his mark in what he calls “the perfect offense” for him.

“It’s just a great opportunity, man,” Brownlee said. “I’m still trying to get my head around everything and soak it all in. But I’ve been having the best time of my life since I’ve been here.”


METAIRIE, La. (AP) Saints coach Dennis Allen expressed hope on Monday that Alvin Kamara’s plan to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would help resolve any disciplinary action the star running back might face in connection with his arrest in a February 2022 fight during Pro Bowl weekend in Las Vegas.

“Alvin really wants to get out ahead of this and have a chance to visit with Roger and kind of give him his side of the story,” Allen said after the Saints’ sixth practice of training camp at team headquarters.

“I think part of it is: ‘Let’s get some resolution with where we’re at and move forward.’ I think Alvin is looking forward to putting this behind him and focusing in on what he has to do to be the best he can for our team this season.”

Allen said the Saints have yet to receive an indication of if, or when, the NFL could decide on whether to discipline Kamara, who has been among New Orleans’ leaders in yards from scrimmage since 2017, when he was selected as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The NFL on Monday declined comment on Kamara’s planned meeting with Goodell or any potential timeline for issuing discipline.

Kamara played throughout the 2022 season while the NFL waited for a resolution to his court case, which also involved cornerback Chris Lammons.

The two players were accused, along with two other defendants, of beating Darnell Greene Jr., of Houston, unconscious following an altercation that spilled out of an elevator and into a hallway.

Kamara and Lammons pleaded no contest on July 11 to misdemeanors and agreed to each pay just more than $100,000 toward Greene’s medical costs. The deal allowed the players to avoid trial and possible prison time after initially being charged with felonies. The plea agreements came in conjunction with a settlement of a civil case Greene filed. Financial terms of that deal remain undisclosed.

Under the NFL’s player conduct policy, the league office may issue suspensions for conduct that is “illegal, violent, dangerous, or irresponsible puts innocent victims at risk, damages the reputation of others in the game, and undercuts public respect and support for the NFL.”

A conviction is not required for the NFL to suspend a player. The league reserves the right to take an independent view of available evidence, which in Kamara’s case, includes security video of the fight.

In 15 games last season, Kamara gained 1,387 yards from scrimmage – 897 rushing and 490 receiving. He scored two TDs rushing and caught two scoring passes.

For his career, Kamara has 8,888 yards from scrimmage (5,135 rushing, 3,753 receiving) and has scored 71 TDs (49 rushing, 22 receiving).

Kamara has not done any interviews since training camp began last week, but has participated fully in practices and produced several highlights during 11-on-11 drills.

“Alvin is going to be a huge part of what we do here,” Allen said. “We’ll take things in stride and how they happen. We’ll deal with anything we have to deal with. We’ll deal with it when the time is right.”

The Saints have several new running backs this season in addition to Kamara, including former Detroit Lion Jamaal Williams, who was acquired as a free agent, and Kendre Miller, a third-round draft choice out of TCU.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers held their first padded practice Monday without their most important defensive player and little indication that Nick Bosa will end his holdout and join the team soon.

General manager John Lynch said he remains in contact with Bosa’s agent Brian Ayrault as the two sides try to come to an agreement on a long-term deal that could make Bosa the richest defensive player in NFL history.

“I don’t like not having one of our best players here,” Lynch said. “We’ve got a really good track record that I’m proud of as a group of having our players in. But I also understand it and understand that we’re going to have to exhibit some patience and understand that ultimately this thing will work out. I’m very confident in that and we’re just going to have to have that right mix of urgency and patience.”

The 49ers have had a strong history of rewarding their own stars, giving lucrative extensions the past three summers to tight end George Kittle, linebacker Fred Warner and receiver Deebo Samuel.

Bosa’s contract should top all of those after he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2022 and has consistently been one of the top defensive ends in the league when healthy since being drafted second overall in 2019.

Bosa led the NFL with 18 1/2 sacks last season when he was named the league’s top defensive player and has 43 in 51 career games. He is currently under contract on the fifth-year option for $17.9 million this season.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the only defensive player with a contract worth at least $30 million a year after signing a three-year, $95 million extension last offseason. Bosa could top that with his new deal.

By holding out of camp, Bosa is subject to fines of $40,000 a day and could be fined a game check for each exhibition game he misses. But because he’s still on a rookie deal, the 49ers have the option of waiving those fines, which Lynch said the team plans to do.

“That’s not going to get him in here,” Lynch said about a fine. “We’re both striving for the same thing, so we’ll focus on that.”

Bosa typically stays away from the team for the voluntary portion of the offseason and always reports in top shape each summer after months of workouts back home in Florida.

Lynch said he has no doubt Bosa is working to stay in shape but knows it will be important to get him back with enough time to make sure he is in top form to start the season.

“I don’t know what that right time period, we’ve talked a lot about it internally, but I think that’s important to give yourself the best chance to not only play at the highest level, but to stay healthy and get yourself primed and ready, calloused to play,” Lynch said.

Even with Bosa holding out, the Niners still have a deep defensive line group after adding Javon Hargrave as an interior rusher next to Arik Armstead as a free agent this offseason.

Javon Kinlaw, a 2020 first-round pick, is finally healthy this camp and showing flashes as a defensive tackle, and second-year edge rusher Drake Jackson bulked up after wearing down as a rookie.

Clelin Ferrell, Kerry Hyder Jr. and Austin Bryant have also gotten more opportunities early in camp but the Niners know they will need Bosa if the unit wants to be dominant once again.

“This is definitely a great group and we’re not even all the way together yet. We don’t have our guy here yet,” Armstead said. “We have a great group. We have to keep grinding, keep getting better and see where it takes us in the season. But we always have that responsibility. They invest up front and we know that a lot of games will be on our shoulders to go out there and win. We accept that challenge to get to work and go out there and play as hard we can.”

NOTES: There was one big scuffle on the first day with pads that led to a brief halt of practice. … LT Trent Williams didn’t take part in team drills for a second straight day. … LB Dre Greenlaw had an interception against Brock Purdy in team drills. … Backup QBs Trey Lance and Sam Darnold both had strong practices.


The NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ronald Jones without pay for the first two games of the season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Jones, 25, will miss the Cowboys’ games against the New York Giants and New York Jets. He’ll be allowed to return to the Cowboys’ active roster on Sept. 18 ahead of their Week 3 game at Arizona.

The Cowboys signed Jones to a one-year contract in March. He played last season with the Kansas City Chiefs. Jones finished with 17 carries for 70 yards and a touchdown in six games (zero starts).

Jones is third on the Cowboys’ depth chart at RB behind Tony Pollard and Malik Davis.

Selected by Tampa Bay in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Jones has 505 carries for 2,244 yards and 19 touchdowns in 61 career games (25 starts) with the Buccaneers and Chiefs. He also has 77 catches for 593 yards and a score.



LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Nebraska defensive back Myles Farmer, the team’s second-leading tackler last season, was not on the 120-man roster when the Cornhuskers opened practice Monday and his return was uncertain.

First-year coach Matt Rhule said he suspended Farmer indefinitely. Rhule didn’t disclose the reason other than to say it had to do with a failure to adhere to team standards.

The previous coaching staff suspended Farmer for the game against Michigan last November after he was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

Rhule also announced that wide receiver Josh Fleeks, a transfer from Baylor, reported “significantly” overweight Sunday and will be held out until he makes weight.

Brodie Tagaloa, who was expected to be in the defensive line rotation, probably is out for the season because of injuries sustained in a car accident two weeks ago. Rhule said Tagaloa had facial cuts and required knee surgery.


(AP) — Northwestern is hiring veteran college football coach Skip Holtz, who has won two straight USFL championships with Birmingham, to a temporary role as special assistant to interim head coach David Braun, a person with knowledge of the move told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because Northwestern was still finalizing the hire.

Braun was named interim head coach earlier this month to replace Pat Fitzgerald, who was fired after an investigation into hazing allegations in his program.

Holtz, the son of former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, has 17 years of experience as a major college football head coach with East Carolina, South Florida and Louisiana Tech. He is 119-98 overall and was 64-50 with six straight bowl victories at La Tech before stepping down after the 2021 season.

He also coached UConn for five years before the program made the jump to the top tier of Division I.

Braun was hired as defensive coordinator by Northwestern in January after coaching at North Dakota State and has no previous head coaching experience in college.

Holtz’s job with Northwestern is expected to run through the season and not interfere with his USFL job, the person said.


(AP) — Pac-12 leaders are scheduled to meet this week and Commissioner George Kliavkoff is expected to present the members with details of a long-awaited and critical potential media rights deal, a person familiar with the conference’s plans told The Associated Press on Monday.

The meeting is set for Tuesday for presidents and chancellors, along with athletic directors, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Pac-12 is not publicly addressing its internal discussions. The meeting, which was first reported by Oregon-based sports blogger John Canzano, comes less than a week after Colorado announced it was leaving the Pac-12 after this year and re-joining the Big 12.

Pac-12 leaders have mostly been steadfast – at least publicly – that they want to keep the conference together and were cautiously optimistic the league’s next media rights deal would provide enough revenue to do so.

Kilavkoff has been pursuing a new deal to replace the ones that expire in 2024 since Southern California and UCLA announced a little more than a year ago that they will to join the Big Ten when the current contracts with ESPN and Fox run out. Meanwhile, the Big 12 swooped in last fall and agreed to an extension that kicks with the two networks that starts in 2025.

“We’re on track to announce our deals at about the same time everyone would have anticipated and predicted before conference realignment,” Kliavkoff said at Pac-12 football media day two weeks ago in Las Vegas. “Patience will be rewarded.”

With Colorado’s planned departure, the Pac-12 is down to nine still-committed members. If Kliavkoff can’t deliver a deal that gets close to the $31 million per year the Big 12’s contract is expected to pay its members there could be more defections.

“Each of us will make our own independent analysis,” Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in June. “I’m hopeful that the deal is going to be good enough to keep us together.”


Tennessee added to its already strong 2024 recruiting class, landing a commitment from offensive tackle Bennett Warren out of Texas.

The 247Sports composite ranks the 6-foot-7, 330-pound Bennett, from Fort Bend Christian Academy in Sugar Land, as the No. 8 player at the position.

He made the announcement Monday on social media.

Last month, Warren announced he had narrowed his choices to Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and the Volunteers.

Coach Josh Heupel’s 2024 class is ranked No. 8 in the nation by 247Sports after the addition of the four-star Warren.

Warren is ranked second in the Tennessee class, following five-star wide receiver Mike Matthews of Georgia.


Akili Smith Jr. will follow in his father’s footsteps and play quarterback at Oregon, he announced Monday.

The younger Smith is a four-star quarterback in the Class of 2025 and rated as the No. 84 overall prospect and the No. 6 quarterback in his class, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

Akili Smith Sr. was the Pac-10 offensive player of the year and a second-team All-American quarterback for Oregon in 1998, when he threw for 3,763 yards and 32 touchdowns. In two seasons with the Ducks, he gained 5,148 passing yards and tossed 45 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, adding six rushing touchdowns.

The elder Smith went on to play four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him third overall in 1999.

Smith Jr. had offers from several other Power Five schools: Arizona, Boston College, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Utah and Washington.


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida coach Billy Napier opened fall practice talking to his team about expectations — internal ones, anyway.

The once-mighty Gators are mostly an afterthought in the Southeastern Conference these days. Coming off consecutive 6-7 seasons — one in former coach Dan Mullen’s final season and the other in Napier’s inaugural campaign — Florida was picked to finish fifth in the Eastern Division in the league’s annual preseason media poll.

That’s one spot above last.

It was the lowest preseason prognostication for the Gators since also coming in fifth in 2015, former coach Jim McElwain’s first season. Florida responding by winning the East that year. Could it happen again? It would be an unbelievable long shot considering Napier pretty much has an overhauled roster after losing quarterback Anthony Richardson and 14 other starters.

“I really feel like we’re going to shock a lot of people this year as far as the standard is so low right now,” cornerback Jaydon Hill said. “It blows my mind a little bit. But then again, we’ve just got to win games. It just comes down to winning.”

Florida hasn’t won nearly enough for a fanbase that grew accustomed to it under legends Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer. Although the Gators have enjoyed pockets of success since, they have yet to put it all together in terms of recruiting talent, developing players and building a consistent contender.

Napier had a detailed plan when he took over in November 2021, but it didn’t account for having to navigate a burgeoning transfer portal or a constantly changing name, image and likeness landscape.

So Napier sounds more like a coach entering their first year rather than one expecting the kind of second-year jumps that helped vault Spurrier and Meyer to stardom. He’s implemented several team-building exercises, including moving players into on-campus dorms for the opening week of training camp and rooming them with guys from other position groups.

They’ll eat every meal in an old-school dining hall — no phones allowed — and work on developing leadership as much as perfecting concepts, formations and plays.

“I think it’s important that we connect and try to create crossover relationships in all parts of what we do,” Napier said. “It’s absolutely important to what we do.”

Adding another layer to his unification efforts, Napier has a get-to-know-your-teammate initiative that requires players to be able to provide names and hometowns on the spot for 10 colleagues pictured.

“It’s one thing to know the guy’s first name, but it’s another thing to know his first and last name, where he’s from, part of his story, and I think with time we’ll get to that place,” Napier said. “But it’s about agreeing that there’s an expectation, and then, ‘Hey, if you can do better, you can do better.’ I think that’s the key to the drill. That’s where we’re at as a team.”

It’s a far cry from having to tamp down expectations of making the College Football Playoff or winning championships. No one’s ruled those out in Gainesville, but most would agree they seem more plausible down the road.

Florida returns seven starters from last year’s team and has a number of transfers to work into the mix. Quite possibly the main reason for Florida’s humble preseason forecast is because the team appears locked into starting former Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, who completed 60% of his passes for 5,405 yards, with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions, in four years with the Badgers.

Florida lost four-star QB recruit Jaden Rashada in a failed NIL deal in January, leaving Mertz and former Ohio State backup Jack Miller to compete for the starting job. All signs point to Mertz taking the first snap when the Gators open the season at Utah on Aug. 31.

Although Napier appears to have Florida on the path back to national relevancy; the team’s 2024 recruiting class is ranked third behind Georgia and Ohio State, according to In the meantime, the only expectations he’s focused on are the internal ones.

“The expectation we’re going to establish for each other … should be much higher than any outside narrative or outside opinion,” Napier said. “If I’m walking around the building each day, if I’m living life and I’m most concerned with not letting the people down that are going to be in this team meeting in a couple hours, that’s the most important piece.”



QB Drake Maye, North Carolina
RB Will Shipley, Clemson
RB Trey Benson, Florida State
WR Tez Walker, North Carolina
WR Oronde Gadsden II, Syracuse
WR Johnny Wilson, Florida State
TE Bryson Nesbit, North Carolina
T Graham Barton, Duke
T Zion Nelson, Miami (FL.)
G Christian Mahogany, Boston College
G Javion Cohen, Miami (FL.)
C Matt Lee, Miami (FL.)

DI Leonard Taylor, Miami (FL.)
DI DeWayne Carter, Duke
Edge Jared Verse, Florida State
Edge Akheem Mesidor, Miami (FL.)
LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr., Clemson
LB Cedric Gray, North Carolina
CB Fentrell Cypress II, Florida State
CB Nate Wiggins, Clemson
S Kamren Kinchens, Miami (FL.)
S James Williams, Miami (FL.)
Flex Brandon Johnson, Duke

K Andres Borregales, Miami (FL.)
P Daniel Sparks, Virginia
RS Jaylen Stinson, Duke


QB Jordan Travis, Florida State
RB Jawhar Jordan, Louisville
RB Henry Parrish Jr., Miami (FL.)
WR Ali Jennings III, Virginia Tech
WR Antonio Williams, Clemson
WR Jalon Calhoun, Duke
TE Jake Briningstool, Clemson
T Matt Goncalves, Pitt
T Renato Brown, Louisville
G Marcus Tate, Clemson
G Kyle Hergel, Boston College
C Bryan Hudson, Louisville

DI Tyler Davis, Clemson
DI Ruke Orhorhoro, Clemson
Edge Kaimon Rucker, North Carolina
Edge Donovan Ezeiruaku, Boston College
LB Barrett Carter, Clemson
LB Marlowe Wax, Syracuse
CB Aydan White, NC State
CB Caelen Carson, Wake Forest
S R.J, Mickens, Clemson
S LaMiles Brooks, Georgia Tech
Flex Greedy Vance Jr., Florida State

K Ben Sauls, Pitt
P Ivan Mora, Wake Forest
RS Will Shipley, Clemson


QB Cade Klubnik, Clemson
RB Jordan Waters, Duke
RB Bhayshul Tuten, Virginia Tech
WR Keon Coleman, Florida State
WR Jamari Thrash, Louisville
WR Ryan O’Keefe, Boston College
TE Jaheim Bell, Florida State
T Jeremiah Byers, Florida State
T Blake Miller, Clemson
G Blake Zubovic, Pitt
G Casey Roddick, Florida State
C Will Putnam, Clemson

DI Braden Fiske, Florida State
DI Fabien Lovett Sr., Florida State
Edge Xavier Thomas, Clemson
Edge R.J. Oben, Duke
LB Tatum Bethune, Florida State
LB Payton Wilson, NC State
CB Shyheim Battle, NC State
CB M.J. Devonshire, Pitt
S Jaylen Stinson, Duke
S Jalyn Phillips, Clemson
Flex Andrew Mukuba, Clemson

K Brayden Narveson, NC State
P Alex Mastromanno, Florida State
RS Trebor Pena, Syracuse