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INDIANAPOLIS — While many NFL coaches would cringe at the thought of their star quarterback taking part in MLB spring training, the Seattle Seahawks‘ Pete Carroll says he’s not one of them.

“I think it’s awesome,” Carroll said Thursday from the scouting combine.

Russell Wilson is spending the week with the New York Yankees in Tampa, Florida, as part of the latest spring training tour for the onetime minor league baseball player-turned-four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

The way Carroll sees it, Wilson is going to use this time to train his body one way or another. What difference does it make if he’s taking batting practice and fielding grounders?

“Some guys are maybe traveling all over the world. He’s playing ball. He’s playing baseball. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, at all. The focus that it takes to play at this level — whether it’s baseball, basketball or football — to compete at that level, the mentality that you have to be at, I think it’s only enriching. So I have no problem with that.”

Pete Carroll, on Russell Wilson being at spring training with the Yankees

“He’s going to be working out doing something, anyway,” Carroll said. “He reports in impeccable condition. He’s extraordinarily dedicated to doing everything right. I don’t think at this stage right now in the program here, there’s a lot of free time that guys have to do their things that they have to do. Some guys are maybe traveling all over the world. He’s playing ball. He’s playing baseball. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, at all. The focus that it takes to play at this level — whether it’s baseball, basketball or football — to compete at that level, the mentality that you have to be at, I think it’s only enriching. So I have no problem with that.”

Wilson, 29, spent two seasons in the Colorado Rockies’ organization, hitting .229 between 2010 and 2011, the year before the Seahawks drafted him in the third round. He appeared at spring training with the Texas Rangers after they acquired him in the 2013 Rule 5 draft. Texas traded his rights last month to the Yankees last month, a team that Wilson admired growing up and the favorite team of his late father.

Wilson reported to Yankees camp on Monday and plans to leave Saturday. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters that he’s open to Wilson appearing in a spring training game but said Carroll might not want that.

Asked about that possibility, Carroll instead offered a scouting report of sorts on Wilson’s hitting with the Yankees.

“He’s not doing a great job of going with pitches away from him,” Carroll said. “We are hoping he will start putting the ball into right field a little bit more, you know. We want him to go with the pitch. Aside from that, the curveball is still giving him a problem, like it always did you know, back in the day. So we will see what happens.”

Other topics covered by Carroll, who was speaking with reporters for the first time since his season-ending news conference in early January:

  • All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman is on track to be ready by training camp. Sherman had surgery in November to repair his ruptured right Achilles, an injury that ended his season, and recently had a cleanup procedure on the same part of his left foot.

Carroll expressed optimism on Sherman’s recovery after seeing him within the past week.

“Very positive,” Carroll said. “He’s had a seemingly great process up until now. It’s a bit of a setback for a couple of weeks now because he is in the boot on the other foot, but he is not slowing down. He’s working like crazy. He’s having a fantastic offseason, his mentality is good. He’s competing like crazy right now.”

  • Carroll had no new information on the health of strong safety Kam Chancellor, defensive end Cliff Avril or defensive tackle Malik McDowell. Chancellor and Avril suffered career-threatening neck injuries last season; McDowell didn’t play as a rookie after suffering what the team called a severe concussion in a summer ATV accident.

“Those guys are still in process and we are waiting for the word where they have their stations along the way where they check in with the docs and all that,” Carroll said of Chancellor and Avril. “Really holding out hope that things work out.”

  • Carroll’s comments on Thursday also marked his first since he fired several assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, offensive line coach Tom Cable and defensive coordinator Kris Richard. At least eight assistants from last season will not return in 2018, marking the largest overhaul of Carroll’s staff since he took over in 2010. Carroll spoke only in vague terms about the decisions to fire Bevell, Cable and Richard, who had all been on staff since at least 2011.

The Seahawks hired Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator, Ken Norton Jr. as defensive coordinator and Mike Solari as their offensive line coach.

“I just felt it was time,” Carroll said. “It really comes back to compete, and just trying to find a way to get a little bit better. That’s why we made those choices. I’m really excited about the guys that are here, and how it’s working out so far. We are seeing the new energy. I am energized by it. The whole group is. And we are looking forward to working to see how it’s going to turn out.”

  • Carroll was asked about where things stand with All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas, who has one year left on his contract and floated the possibility of a holdout if he doesn’t get a new deal.

“Let’s see, last year at this time he had retired,” Carroll said jokingly, in reference to the stir Thomas caused when he mentioned the possibility of retiring after he broke his leg in December 2016. “I’m not sure where to put that right now. Earl and I have talked about some stuff. That specifically was not very much on the top of our discussion. He’s a great competitor he wants to take it as far as he can and I admire the heck out of him.”

  • Carroll hedged when asked if the Seahawks are optimistic about re-signing tight end Jimmy Graham, one of the team’s 16 unrestricted free agents.

“I hope so,” Carroll said. “I’d love to keep him. We love Jimmy, we love what he did. He had a very effective year for us last year. We’d love to have him back. We’ll see how it goes and see how the competition is for him.”

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NFL mandatory minicamps 2021 — Derek Carr’s stance, Julio Jones’ debut, Tua Tagovailoa’s rough day and more

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From quarterback Derek Carr making a bold statement about his commitment to the Las Vegas Raiders to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing five interceptions in a heavy rainstorm to wide receiver Julio Jones taking the field in the Tennessee Titans‘ No. 2 uniform, some of the big names in the NFL made waves on Tuesday during NFL mandatory minicamps.

Eighteen NFL teams opened their mandatory three-day minicamps this week. Ten held theirs last week, with four teams electing to cancel. Teams that opted out of mandatory minicamps this week are the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. The Philadelphia Eagles were the first team to skip theirs when they did so a week ago.

While practices were underway for half the league, much of the talk of Tuesday’s camps included the players who haven’t stepped foot on the field because of ongoing contract negotiations. Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore and Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams were among the notable players absent from their respective team facilities.

Teams already have been going through organized team activities, but this marks the first time that many veterans will take the field since the end of the 2020 NFL season. That includes some players who joined new teams this offseason, including prized free agents and edge rushers Matt Judon (Patriots) and Yannick Ngakoue (Raiders).

Here are some snapshots, many from ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters who are on the scene at this week’s activities, from Tuesday’s minicamps:

Jump to the best of the day:
Photos | Videos | Quotes

Top news of the day

Carr says he has no desire to leave Raiders
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr re-asserted his desire to remain with the team that drafted him in the second round in 2014. “I’d probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else,” Carr said.

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Derek Carr explains why he has no interest in playing for a franchise other than the Raiders.

Howard not at Dolphins camp over ‘unique’ situation
Xavien Howard, who hasn’t shown up to any portion of the Dolphins’ voluntary offseason program this year, was not in attendance for minicamp meetings Tuesday, and he’s officially a holdout as he seeks a new contract. Coach Brian Flores noted the cornerback’s situation is “unique” in regard to his contract because Howard feels like he has outplayed the five-year, $75.25 million extension he signed in May 2019.

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1:28

Dolphins coach Brian Flores discusses the team’s desire to keep Xavien Howard amid a contract dispute.

Packers’ Rodgers jokes about ‘quiet offseason’
Aaron Rodgers, who has dominated the NFL headlines this spring because of his dissatisfaction with Green Bay, showed his sense of humor during a promotional video in advance of the July 6 golf match featuring Rodgers and PGA Tour star Bryson DeChambeau against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson.

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1:18

Adam Schefter says Green Bay’s front office isn’t doing itself any favors when it comes to keeping Aaron Rodgers.

More NFL headlines:


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Quotes of the day

“I played with Julio [Jones], Mohamed Sanu, since Day 1, those guys, I feel like I’ve been moving toward that way of I can do it by myself. Obviously I’m not by myself, we have other players who are really good, but I feel like I’ve been ready and I just needed an opportunity to get in those positions.”

Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley

“I was surprised. … You never like to see things like that.”

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce on Le’Veon Bell’s comments about coach Andy Reid

“I wore 9 in college my senior and junior year. I’m one of 10 children, so I got 9 siblings – every time I go out there, I represent them. I like 9; that’s one of the reasons I rock it. And 99 was taken, so I chose to use the new rule.”

Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon on his jersey number

“You don’t feel like yourself, even when you pass the symptoms. There’s a certain level or feeling you have when you’re ready, and COVID made it a little harder to get to that good feeling.”

Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell has had no post-COVID issues the past couple of months


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Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers jokes about his ‘quiet offseason’ in interview for July 6 golf match

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Through everything that has happened surrounding Aaron Rodgers this offseason, one thing is clear: He still understands sarcasm.

The reigning MVP, who has dominated the NFL headlines this spring because of his dissatisfaction with the Green Bay Packers, showed his sense of humor Tuesday during a promotional video in advance of the July 6 golf match featuring Rodgers and PGA Tour star Bryson DeChambeau against Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson.

TNT’s Brian Anderson, who hosted the video conference, set up Rodgers with this: “You’ve really kept a low profile this offseason, I’ve hardly seen your name at all and you haven’t hosted any TV shows or been involved in any kind of controversy or anything. It’s been a nice, peaceful offseason for you, it sounds like.”

Rodgers’ reply was both deadpan and dripping with irony.

“It’s been one of those quiet offseasons you dream about, where you can kind of just go through your process on your own, quietly,” Rodgers said. “And that’s all you can ask for as an older player in the league and someone who’s been around for a long time and just enjoys that time to yourself, just relax, to not be bothered, to not have any obligations or anything going on.

“I think that’s what this offseason has been about. It’s been about really enjoying my time and spending it where I want to spend it, not feeling like I have to go anywhere but still be an NFL player at the same time. It’s been great.”

Rodgers skipped his only actual obligation, the Packers’ mandatory minicamp last week, and is subject to fines of $93,085. He also missed the entire offseason program, thereby forfeiting his $500,000 workout bonus.

The Packers have publicly maintained their desire to have Rodgers back for “2021 and beyond,” as team president Mark Murphy put it earlier this offseason, but it’s unclear whether Rodgers will report for training camp next month or will hold out and try to force a trade. Since the news of Rodgers’ unhappiness with the Packers broke on the afternoon of this year’s draft, the Packers have insisted they will not trade him.

Earlier this month, Murphy wrote that the situation has divided the Packers’ fan base and added that the less said publicly about the situation, the better. However, Murphy didn’t heed his own advice last week when, during a speaking engagement, he referred to Rodgers as “a complicated fella,” saying he was echoing how former Packers general manager Ted Thompson once described him.

It’s unclear whether the T-shirt Rodgers wore for Tuesday’s videoconference, which read “I’m offended,” was in response to Murphy’s comment.

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Carolina Panthers WR Robby Anderson says he sees new ‘glow’ in QB Sam Darnold

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson sees something in quarterback Sam Darnold that he didn’t in their two years together with the New York Jets.

“When I walked in the building I could see a new energy out of him, like a glow, charisma that I didn’t really see in New York,” said Anderson, who played with Darnold in 2018-19. “I can definitely see the difference in him so far.”

Anderson was the only Carolina player not seen by media for any of the voluntary portions of on-the-field offseason workouts.

So Tuesday, the first of a three-day mandatory camp, was the first time Anderson had a chance to work with Darnold since the Jets’ 2019 finale against Buffalo when they connected three times for 18 yards.

“You know when a person can see like a glow, energy, their aura?” Anderson said. “I could kind of see that when I walked in the building.”

Anderson was Darnold’s favorite target with the Jets. He had 102 catches for 1,431 yards and 11 touchdowns during their time together.

Stopping short of making a prediction, Anderson expects better things for them in Joe Brady’s system at Carolina, where in 2020 Anderson had a career-best 95 catches for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns.

“The New York system was a little more complex, had a lot of nuances that was more difficult for everybody, not just him, not just me,” Anderson said. “This system is a little more graspable.”

New Carolina edge rusher Haason Reddick hasn’t played with Darnold before, but he likes what he has seen.

“Sam’s completing passes,” said Reddick, an offseason free-agent signing from Arizona. “It looks like he’s playing intelligent football.”

Coach Matt Rhule just wants Darnold, who struggled with consistency with the Jets, completing only 59.8% of his passes and going 13-25 as the starter, to continue playing “good” football in practice.

“I don’t want him to have great days right now … just steady progress to make good days roll into great days,” he said of the quarterback Carolina traded for before the draft.

Anderson, who should help Darnold’s growth because of their past chemistry, didn’t go into detail on why he stayed in South Florida throughout the voluntary portions of OTAs.

“I’m to the point of my career where I know how to get myself ready,” he said. “So it wasn’t nothing against the team or nothing like that. I feel I capitalized on this time. The work I was putting in with my trainer, I was on a good program.

“I didn’t want to step away from that.”

Rhule said it was great to have Anderson back even though Anderson wasn’t in all the team drills.

“Robby is a guy that brings energy to the practice field,” he said. “He’s in great shape. You can tell he’s been working hard. We had a goal of like three to four reps in a team drills. I’m not going to over-rep anybody.”

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