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The attorney representing De’Vincent Spriggs, the man who accused Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald of assault earlier this week, is now offering an apology to Donald on behalf of his client.

Attorney Todd J. Hollis told Pittsburgh television station KDKA on Friday evening that Spriggs mistook his attacker outside a Pittsburgh-area nightclub for Donald.

The apology comes on the same day when an attorney hired by Donald refuted Spriggs’ claim that Donald was involved in the assault. Casey White, Donald’s attorney, told ESPN on Friday morning that Spriggs swung a bottle at Donald that grazed his head as he ducked, before other people surrounding Donald stepped in.

“As he ducks, somebody from behind grabs him to stop him from interacting with this guy, Mr. Spriggs, so he holds Aaron back in a sense,” White said. “At that point, that’s when other people come to Aaron’s aid and defend him by removing, so to speak, Mr. Spriggs from the area where he is punched and he is fighting; it’s a mutual fight at this point between other individuals who Aaron does not really know.”

White said they have obtained at least five witness accounts and have others who have come forward willing to provide statements. White also said that video surveillance from the area did not show Donald assaulting Spriggs and that Donald eventually helped pull people away from Spriggs.

“Aaron actually runs over to [Spriggs’] aid and starts pulling people off of this guy,” White said. “He’s trying to get these kids off Spriggs. He gets at least two or three people off of Spriggs, and at that point in time, somebody grabs Aaron and says, ‘This is not a good situation, let’s get the heck out of here.'”

Hollis had filed a criminal complaint on behalf of Spriggs with Pittsburgh police on Wednesday, saying his client needed 16 stitches and suffered a broken orbital bone, a broken nose, a concussion and a sprained or broken arm.

The alleged attack occurred around 3 a.m. Sunday, Hollis said, and the attorney released a photo that showed Spriggs with facial injuries and swelling.

According to Hollis, Spriggs accidentally bumped into Donald and an incident ensued inside the nightclub that caused both parties to be asked to leave. White said Spriggs dug his elbow into Donald’s back, which Donald initially brushed off, thinking it likely was someone he knew.

“He turned around, and it’s this Mr. Spriggs … and Aaron goes, ‘What’s up?’ and Mr. Spriggs starts yelling belligerently, ‘Did I mean to? Did I mean to?’ He keeps repeating. It’s kind of nonsensical, but he keeps yelling, ‘Did I mean to?’ It’s apparent to Aaron and it’s apparent to all the witnesses that [Spriggs] is intoxicated,” White said.

White said Spriggs was then escorted out of the establishment, which he described as “a private party in somebody’s apartment” above a business-bar area. According to White, Donald and a colleague left the party shortly after, where they encountered Spriggs in the back alleyway off the exit.

Prior to the apology Friday, the Rams had previously released a statement saying they were aware of the reports regarding Donald, who is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time Pro Bowl selection with 85.5 career sacks.

Donald, 29, is a Pittsburgh native and was a star college player at Pitt, where he often trains during the offseason. The Rams selected Donald with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft. He is in the midst of a six-year, $135 million extension.

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Lions releasing running back Kerryon Johnson, per reports

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The Detroit Lions are releasing running back Kerryon Johnson, according to multiple reports.

Detroit drafted the former Auburn standout in the second round in 2018. Johnson became expendable after the team drafted D’Andre Swift No. 35 overall in 2020, signed free agent running back Jamaal Williams in March and drafted Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson last week.

Johnson ran for 1,225 yards and eight touchdowns over three seasons. He also has 61 career receptions for 527 yards and three scores.

Last year, he had 181 yards rushing and two scores on 52 carries. and had 19 receptions for 187 yards receiving and a touchdown.

NFL Network first reported that Johnson would be waived.

The Lions also added a player in free agency, signing tight end Darren Fells on Wednesday. The move gives the team a veteran at the position it can put on the field with Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson.

The 35-year-old Fells has 123 career catches with 1,483 yards receiving and 21 touchdowns. The previous two years in Houston, he had a combined 55 catches for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Fells has started 76 games — including 13 with the Lions in 2017 — and played in 102 games with Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and the Texans. He was a rebounding standout at UC Irvine and played basketball in Argentina, Mexico, Belgium, Finland and France before playing in the NFL.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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QB Blaine Gabbert re-signing with Tampa Bay Buccaneers on 1-year, $2.5 million deal, source says

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TAMPA, Fla. — Once again, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has kept his word.

Days after saying the Bucs would work to re-sign Tom Brady’s top backup, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the team is indeed re-signing Gabbert to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Gabbert, who has played in 60 career games with 48 starts, previously earned $1.187 million in 2020 and $1.6 million in 2019.

Last season, Gabbert, 31, completed 9 of 16 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, with all but one of those pass attempts coming in the second half against the Detroit Lions in Week 16, when Arians opted to rest Brady.

The Bucs selected quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the NFL draft last week, but Arians said that would not preclude them from re-signing Gabbert. The team also re-signed Ryan Griffin, who was last year’s third-string backup, earlier this offseason.

Gabbert enters his third season with the Bucs, after spending 2018 with the Tennessee Titans, 2017 with Arians and the Arizona Cardinals, 2014-16 with the San Francisco 49ers and 2011-13 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Gabbert has had an eventful offseason. In addition to attending the Kentucky Derby with Brady and Griffin on Saturday, he married longtime sweetheart Bekah Mills in Paradise Valley, Arizona, in March.

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NFL sends memo reminding clubs the league will not pay players who suffer injuries away from facilities

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The NFL reminded teams Wednesday that they are not obligated to pay players who suffer an injury away from the team facility, an issue that moved this week to the center of an ongoing dispute between the NFL and NFL Players Association over in-person participation in offseason workouts.

The memo, obtained by ESPN, was prompted by several prominent players who were surprised by media reports about Denver Broncos offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James, who tore an Achilles tendon this week while working out on his own and could miss the 2021 season. NFL contracts have long classified such injuries as “non-football,” because they happen away from the team environment, and they are not covered by typical injury guarantees. As a result, the Broncos could withhold James’ salary for as long as he is sidelined. More than $10 million would have been guaranteed if the injury had occurred at the Broncos’ facility.

The NFL has noted this contractual leverage multiple times during negotiations with the NFLPA, which has advised players to skip the voluntary portion of in-person offseason training unless they stand to lose workout bonuses.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was among those who seemed unaware of the full implications of “non-football’ injuries in comments this week on social media.

“According to the media coverage,” the NFL wrote in its memo, “several players have expressed surprise that Mr. James’ injury was not covered by his Injury Guarantee, although this point has been made frequently in our discussions with the NFLPA about the offseason program. Clubs are encouraged to remind players of the significant injury-related protection provided if they choose to work out at the club facility and the risks they undertake in choosing to train in non-NFL locations.”



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