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Carroll expects Kendricks on the field this season



RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team believes linebacker Mychal Kendricks will be available this season despite his ongoing insider trading case.

The 28-year-old Kendricks pleaded guilty last September to insider trading, then signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks a week later while Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright were injured. One source familiar with the situation said in October that Kendricks could be facing 30 to 37 months in prison — as had been reported — based on federal guidelines and the amount of money involved in his case.

“We do expect him to be on the team this year,” Carroll said Tuesday as the Seahawks began their mandatory minicamp.

Kendricks’ sentencing has been postponed multiple times for reasons that remain unclear.

“There’s not much that I can say that’s going to be proper at this time,” Carroll said. “Everything’s moving along and he’s real optimistic about how things are going. But really not too much to report. I can’t tell you much more than that.”

The Seahawks brought Kendricks back on a one-year, team-friendly deal that reflected the uncertainty over his situation. He received no signing bonus and no guaranteed money. The $4.5 million base value of his deal includes $2 million in per-game active roster bonuses plus two bonuses worth $250,000 apiece that are tied to Kendricks reporting to training camp and being on the 53-man roster in Week 1. He could make an additional $1 million in incentives tied to playing time and sacks, bringing the max value of the deal to $5.5 million.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission complaint, a Goldman Sachs investment banking analyst illegally fed Kendricks information in 2014 about corporate acquisitions that his bank was advising before those deals were publicly announced. The complaint alleges that those tips helped Kendricks make about $1.2 million in illegal profits by purchasing securities in four companies that were about to be acquired.

Kendricks said in a statement that while he didn’t fully understand the details of the illegal trades, he knew it was wrong and that he “wholeheartedly” regretted his actions.

He appeared in three games for Seattle before serving an eight-game NFL suspension. His season ended in his first game back because of leg and knee injuries that landed him on IR.

Kendricks has returned to practice from those injuries. Carroll said he recently hurt his pectoral muscle in the weight room but did not describe that as a serious issue.

If he is indeed available this season, the Seahawks will have a surplus of starting linebackers. They re-signed Wright, whom Kendricks had replaced on the weakside last season. All-Pro middle linebacker Wagner is under contract for another season, as is Barkevious Mingo, who started on the strong side in Carroll’s 4-3 defense last season.

Carroll has said the Seahawks plan to get Kendricks on the field at the same time as Wagner and Wright and that this could be the best group of linebackers he has had in his nine seasons in Seattle.

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O.J. joins Twitter — ‘I got a little gettin’ even to do’



LOS ANGELES — O.J. Simpson launched a Twitter account with a video post in which the former football star said he’s got a “little gettin’ even to do.”

Simpson confirmed the new account to The Associated Press on Saturday, saying in a phone interview while on a Las Vegas golf course that it “will be a lot of fun.”

“I’ve got some things to straighten out,” he said.

He did not elaborate before he said he had to go and ended the call.

Simpson has generally kept a low profile since his release from prison in October 2017 for robbery and kidnapping over an attempt to steal back some of his sports memorabilia from a Las Vegas hotel room.

In the Twitter video, Simpson said his followers would get to read all his thoughts and opinions on “just about everything.”

“Now, there’s a lot of fake O.J. accounts out there,” he said, adding that this one would be official. He appeared to record the message himself and ended it with a grin.

The 71-year-old recently told AP that he was happy and healthy living in Las Vegas 25 years after the killings of his ex-wife and her friend. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were stabbed to death on the night of June 12, 1994.

Simpson was ultimately acquitted of the crime after a televised trial that riveted the nation and raised thorny issues of racism, police misconduct, celebrity and domestic violence.

Relatives of the two victims have expressed disgust that Simpson is able to live the way he does. Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million for the wrongful deaths of the two victims, but most of the judgment has not been paid.

Simpson has continued to declare his innocence in the two slayings. The murder case is officially listed as unsolved.

In his recent interview, Simpson told AP that neither he nor his children want to talk about the killings ever again.

“My family and I have moved on to what we call the ‘no negative zone.’ We focus on the positives,” he said.

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Inside the NFL contract that two Steelers won’t sign – Pittsburgh Steelers Blog



PITTSBURGH — Alejandro Villanueva considered walking away from football in 2017. He was 28 years old and beginning business school at Carnegie Mellon. His exclusive-rights free-agent status kept him on league-minimum money despite two years as a starter at left tackle.

So in 2017, Villanueva worked out with the Pittsburgh Steelers but didn’t sign his exclusive-rights tender. Hours before the training camp reporting window expired, the Steelers signed him to a four-year, $24 million deal.

“I can’t say if it’s better to sign now or later,” said Villanueva during this week’s minicamp, entering his third year on that deal. “But betting on yourself, in this business, usually works.”

Intentionally or not, Villanueva set a precedent in the Steelers locker room that at least one player is following.

Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton finds himself in a similar situation, an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) who refuses to sign the tender, at least for now.

The two have discussed the matter, Hilton said, and though Hilton isn’t divulging the nature of those talks, he calls Villanueva “a guy I can go to with questions.”

These are shared experiences of a tapped market.

ERFAs are players with expired contracts and two years or fewer of accrued NFL seasons. Teams can retain them on a one-year tender at a low number (around $645,000) with no negotiation and no chance for the player to shop his services. Right tackle Matt Feiler, who started 10 games last season, signed his tender this offseason.

Restricted free agents have three years of experience, and players get a bigger amount for that experience (guard B.J. Finney is set to make $3.095 million on a second-round tender).

This is a way for owners to keep good undrafted players before they can cash out. Hilton wants out of that scenario after two productive years as a slot corner for Pittsburgh.

But what Villanueva pulled off is “very rare,” said former NFL agent Brodie Waters, a consultant who runs ESPN’s Roster Management System. He estimates fewer than 10 players under the current collective bargaining agreement have landed new deals during their ERFA year.

“The player has zero leverage other than retiring,” Waters said. “It would be extremely rare for the Steelers to do anything unless they identify they really want him, and he’s willing to take a below-market deal. If he’s played two years, they’ve got him for two more years. There’s not a lot of incentive to do something.”

Hilton’s situation is complicated. He tackles well and ranks highly by Pro Football Focus for his play. He also suffered a few late-season struggles that included scout-team work in Week 15.

Villanueva’s premium position and no viable options behind him likely helped his cause. And perhaps the Steelers knew signing him two years later would cost twice the amount. Villanueva, a Pro Bowler, considered that possibility before signing his deal.

Hilton has thought about that, too, but he knows where he wants to be.

“It’s too early to see what’s gonna happen, but I want to show the team I want to be here and want to be a part of this organization,” said Hilton, who doesn’t have plans to retire. “I wouldn’t say it’s a real tough situation because at the end of the day, it’s still a nice opportunity. As players, you feel like of course you want to earn more. Either way it works out, I’m excited. Hopefully things work out in the long run, but if not, I’ll do my best to go out there and help this team win.”

Still, Villanueva feels for Hilton. He knows firsthand uncertainty over a contract is “not fun.” Plus, as a former practice squad player, he knows Hilton didn’t get an accrued season toward free agency for his 2016 work on multiple practice squads.

Villanueva believes the Steelers know that’s a tough predicament for good players.

“You don’t want to have a guy in the locker room who’s not happy with his contract, especially when he has the backing of his teammates,” Villanueva said. “He’s been about it the right way. He’s shown up every single day, not making it a big deal. For that, he gets a lot of respect from all of us.”

The Steelers will soon show if Villanueva’s deal was an anomaly or a new precedent. Hilton is prepared for anything.

“It’s just part of the business,” Hilton said. “There are always steps to the business. Sometimes you have to fall in line with how it’s going and eventually things will work out in your favor.”

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Winslow II will face new rape trial in September



VISTA, Calif. — California prosecutors will retry Kellen Winslow II on eight charges left undecided by the jury that convicted the former NFL player of rape.

The prosecution announced its decision Friday in San Diego County Superior Court in Vista.

The new trial has been scheduled to begin Sept. 30.

Winslow, 35, was convicted Monday of raping a 58-year-old homeless woman and two counts of lewd conduct involving two other women.

The jury deadlocked on remaining charges, including two counts of rape, and the judge declared a mistrial.

The judge denied a defense request that Winslow be released on $1 million bail with home confinement.

Winslow played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets during his NFL career.

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