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Source — Dolphins extend versatile DB Eric Rowe for 3 years, $18M



DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins are re-signing versatile defensive back Eric Rowe to a three-year, $18 million contract extension with $7 million guaranteed, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Rowe made an early-October transition from cornerback to safety that has worked out extremely well. Rowe’s versatile skill set has allowed him to play in the box and in coverage at times, but his most prominent role has been in minimizing tight ends.

In Sunday’s 37-31 upset win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Rowe excelled in his role, helping keep Zach Ertz to what the tight end told reporters was “one of the worst games he’s ever played in.” Ertz finished with three catches for 24 yards, and Rowe broke up a key touchdown late in the game as the Eagles were attempting to mount a comeback.

“I thought Eric played well. Tough matchup, we know Ertz is a very good player — one of the top if not the top tight end in the league. I thought Eric did a good job,” coach Brian Flores said. “Collectively as a team we tried to hit him and disrupt him as much as possible. Eric played a big role in that.”

Rowe has assumed the starting spot that belonged to Minkah Fitzpatrick until he was traded in September. Rowe is one of several low-key Dolphins signings and waiver claims that have worked out better than initially expected. He appears to have the inside track for one of Miami’s starting safety spots next season.

“The main thing is the selflessness of Eric. He’s willing to do whatever we need [him] to do to help us win. It starts there,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “He’s a guy who’s been a hard worker in this league — a diligent worker — and he’s smart. He can tackle. He’s tough and he provides us with an advantage in terms of size, his length, combination of speed; you put that on a tight end in terms of coverage, that helps out a lot. It’s a different skill set than dealing with a linebacker. Then he also provides us with some flexibility because he can do corner skills, safety skills, set the edge — he can do a bunch of things.”

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Clinton Portis surrenders to authorities after fraud indictment



Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis, who was among 10 former NFL players charged in a multimillion-dollar scheme to defraud the league’s health care benefit program by submitting false claims for medical equipment on Thursday, turned himself in to authorities in North Carolina on Friday.

Portis is expected to make an initial court appearance later Friday in Charlotte, according to Justice Department officials.

The players were charged in two separate indictments filed in federal court in Kentucky, accusing them of conspiracy, wire fraud and health care fraud. Prosecutors allege they submitted nearly $4 million in phony claims, leading to payouts of about $3.4 million between June 2017 and December 2018.

Portis’ lawyer, Mark Dycio, said Thursday his client “had no knowledge that his participation in what he believed to be an NFL-sanctioned medical reimbursement insurance program was illegal.”

“He is completely taken aback by the indictment and will move forward with the process of clearing his good name and those of his fellow NFL alumni,” Dycio said.

Also charged was former Redskin Carlos Rogers.

Prosecutors allege the players targeted the Gene Upshaw NFL Player Health Reimbursement Account Plan, which was established as part of a collective bargaining agreement in 2006. It provides tax-free reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical care expenses that were not covered by insurance and that were incurred by former players, their spouses and dependents.

“As outlined in the indictments, a group of former players brazenly defrauded the plan by seeking reimbursements for expensive medical equipment that they never purchased,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, who leads the Justice Department’s criminal division.

The players claimed to have purchased hyperbaric oxygen chambers, ultrasound machines and electromagnetic therapy devices that were designed to be used on horses, he said.

Prosecutors say the group’s alleged ringleaders, Robert McCune and Correll Buckhalter — who they allege broke off to create his own similar ring — would recruit former players by offering to submit fake claims to the health care plan. The ringleaders would then demand thousands of dollars in kickbacks for each fake claim, prosecutors allege.

The suspects are accused of fabricating letters from health care providers about using the medical equipment, fabricating prescriptions that were purportedly signed by health care providers and creating fake invoices from medical equipment companies in an effort to prove the equipment was purchased, according to court documents. In reality, they had never purchased or received the medical equipment, prosecutors said.

Investigators believe the defendants had forged the prescriptions and authorization letters, and they uncovered no evidence that any doctors were complicit in the scheme, Benczkowski said.

After the phony claims were submitted, the former players would receive reimbursement checks and pay a kickback to the ringleaders and recruiters, the indictments charge.

Prosecutors moved to bring charges, in part because the scheme put the health care plan’s tax-exempt status at risk, which could’ve forced other former players using the plan legitimately to pay more, Benczkowski said.

Four of the suspects — McCune, Rogers, John Eubanks and Ceandris Brown — were arrested Thursday morning by the FBI. Six others, including Portis, agreed to surrender to authorities, the Justice Department said. The others are: James Butler, Frederick Bennett, Etric Pruitt, Tamarick Vanover, and Buckhalter.

The Justice Department has also filed court papers in Kentucky noting that it plans to file charges against two other players — Joe Horn, a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, and Donald “Reche” Caldwell.

The investigation was continuing, but because the plan involves only former players, prosecutors do not expect any current NFL players to face charges, Benczkowski said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Giants waive CB Janoris Jenkins after ‘offensive’ tweet to fan



The New York Giants waived cornerback Janoris Jenkins on Friday, two days after he made an inappropriate remark to a fan on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Jenkins called a critical fan a “retard” when taking exception to questioning about why the stats Jenkins was using to showcase his effectiveness weren’t contributing to victories.

Jenkins said Thursday that the usage of the word was “slang” that is “just part of my culture.”

Giants coach Pat Shurmur met with Jenkins on Wednesday and said in a statement Friday that Jenkins’ refusal to admit what we did was wrong led to his dismissal.

“This was an organizational decision,” Shurmur said. “From ownership to management to our football operations, we felt it was in the best interests of the franchise and the player. Obviously, what happened this week, and the refusal to acknowledge the inappropriate and offensive language, was the determining factor.”

Jenkins appeared to react to the news in a tweet Friday morning.

Jenkins, 31, had one year and $11.25 million remaining on his contract. He has 54 tackles this season and is tied for fourth in the NFL with four interceptions.

He was officially listed as being waived/injured, as he had been recovering from an ankle injury suffered Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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‘Vintage’ Todd Gurley has showed up for Rams, but can it last? – Los Angeles Rams Blog



THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Todd Gurley tucked the football into his left arm, then defended himself to his right.

The Los Angeles Rams running back delivered a posterizing stiff arm to the helmet of Tre Flowers, keeping the Seattle Seahawks cornerback at arms length as Gurley muscled his way across the goal line.

“I had to go Derrick Henry style with the stiff arm,” said Gurley, referring to the Tennessee Titans running back. “I thought [Flowers] would try to punch out the ball.”

Gurley’s 7-yard touchdown run gave the Rams a commanding lead in a win over the Seahawks last Sunday, and provided notice Gurley hasn’t gone away.

“He’s a bad man,” Rams quarterback Jared Goff said. “It was vintage Todd.”

Gurley’s run was powerful. It was assertive. It was game changing.

“It’s just like, ‘WOW,'” defensive tackle Aaron Donald said. “For you to be able to stiff arm a grown man and throw him down and score a touchdown, that’s pretty crazy.”

“I loved it,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We needed it.”

But more than anything, as Goff so deftly pointed out, it was vintage Gurley. If only for a moment.

Signature plays from Gurley, the kind that highlighted his last two seasons under Rams coach Sean McVay and earned him 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, have been few-and-far between throughout the Rams’ 8-5 season.

In fact, the stiff-arm delivery last Sunday was the only vintage Gurley move seen in 2019.

Dating to the NFC Championship Game last January, the Rams $60 million running back hasn’t delivered a single 100-rushing yard game. He hasn’t broken for a long touchdown score. He hasn’t hurdled a single defender.

As McVay’s offense has sputtered and struggled to find an identity a season after powering the Rams to the Super Bowl, Gurley — who rushed for more than 1,200 yards in each of the last two seasons — has 721 yards rushing in 13 games (inactive in Week 6, left thigh bruise).

He had been relegated to a role player, a running back who made record money, but was expected to share carries with Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson.

But something has changed recently. In three of the Rams last four games, McVay’s playcalling has returned to Gurley, who signed a four-year extension that included a then NFL-record $45 million in guarantees, before last season.

The Rams face an uphill battle to reach the postseason and Sunday enter their latest must-win contest against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (6-7) at AT&T Stadium (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

The last time the Rams traveled to play the Cowboys, Week 4 of the 2017 season, Gurley was the best player on the field. Gurley hurdled Cowboys’ defenders and raced through their secondary on his way to 215 total yards.

In the third quarter, Gurley caught a seam pass as he cut through the middle of the field, blowing past four defenders on his way to a 53-yard touchdown to jump-start the Rams’ come-from-behind 35-30 victory.

“I just remember thinking, ‘Wow,’ I mean it was like he was shot out of a cannon,” McVay said Thursday. “When you sit back as a coach, and you’re thinking, ‘Damn, I’m glad he’s on our team’ that was a really good play and at the moment, too, we really needed that.”

Gurley was the Rams leading rusher and pass-catcher that day, delivering a signature performance that helped the McVay-led Rams serve notice to the NFL that they had arrived.

The last time Gurley rushed for 100 yards was against the Cowboys in the divisional round of last season’s playoffs, when he shared carries with C.J. Anderson, but still managed to break off 115 rushing yards in a 30-22 win.

Indications are Gurley will again play a prominent role against the Cowboys Sunday.

“The approach for us is that Todd is a big-time player,” McVay said. “He’s shown that he’s feeling good and when he’s doing those kind of things — whether it be through the pass game, through the run game — good things seem to happen for the Rams.”

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