Adrian Peterson, the former NFL MVP and four-time All-Pro running back, was surprisingly released by the Washington Football Team on Friday.
Head coach Ron Rivera said Peterson’s leadership was valued, especially after Derrius Guice was released amid off-field turmoil this summer. Rivera said that he tossed and turned overnight in pondering breaking the news to Peterson.
“For me it was personal,” Rivera said. “It was very difficult. He was a tremendous professional. He thanked me and wished us luck. It epitomizes who he is as a person. I know he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, so it’s tough.”
The Washington Football Team are going with rookie Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Bryce Love and Peyton Barber at running back. Peterson, 35, is a 13-year veteran who won the 2012 NFL MVP award with the Minnesota Vikings when he rushed for 2,097 yards, just 8 shy of the record held by Eric Dickerson (1984).
–New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick did not confirm Cam Newton as the team’s starting quarterback for the season opener, despite multiple reports suggesting otherwise.
“Yeah, we are not naming any starters at any positions, so any conversations that I have with the team will stay between me and the team, but we are not naming any roster, starters, positions or who’s on the team or anything else like that,” Belichick said. “So sorry, I’m going to have to bypass that one.”
Newton, 31, seemed ready to take the proverbial ball and run with it. “I have so much to prove with an opportunity of a lifetime,” Newton said on Friday, via the Providence Journal. He spent the past nine years with Carolina, earning three Pro Bowl selections and the 2015 NFL MVP award before being cut by the Panthers in March.
–The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing Damarious Randall before the safety played a snap with the club, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.
Randall signed a one-year deal with the Raiders in April after spending the past two seasons with Cleveland. The Browns had acquired Randall from the Green Bay Packers in a 2018 trade that involved quarterback DeShone Kizer.
Randall, 28, recorded 61 tackles and 2.5 sacks — albeit zero interceptions — in 11 games (all starts) last season with Cleveland. Randall has collected 290 tackles and 14 interceptions in 65 career games with the Packers and Browns.
–The Denver Broncos released linebacker Todd Davis, parting ways with a player who started 59 games over the past four seasons.
Davis, 28, started at least 14 games in each of the past four campaigns. He led the Broncos in tackles last season with 134 and in 2018 with 114. Davis was slowed by a calf injury during training camp.
Mark Barron is expected to replace Davis in the starting lineup. The 30-year-old signed with the Broncos on Monday after clearing COVID-19 protocols.
–The Cincinnati Bengals acquired defensive tackle Christian Covington from the Broncos in exchange for linebacker Austin Calitro, multiple media outlets reported.
Covington, 26, signed a one-year deal with Denver in April after spending last season with Dallas. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native recorded a career-best 28 tackles to go along with one sack in 16 games (six starts) with the Cowboys.
The Bengals claimed Calitro off waivers from Jacksonville in April. Calitro, 26, notched 40 tackles and a sack in 13 games last season with the Jaguars. He had 45 tackles and a half-sack in 16 games with Seattle in 2018.
–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new additions reportedly came at a cost for running backs Dare Ogunbowale and Raymond Calais and kicker Matt Gay.
The Buccaneers are expected to release all three players after adding running back Leonard Fournette and kicker Ryan Succop, the NFL Network and The Athletic reported.
Ogunbowale, 26, rushed 11 times for 17 yards and two touchdowns and added 35 receptions for 286 yards in 16 games last season. Calais, 22, was a seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Louisiana. Gay, 26, made 27 of 35 field-goal tries — including 5 of 8 from 50-plus yards — last season.
–The Indianapolis Colts said they will allow a maximum of 2,500 spectators at their home opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 20 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
That attendance figure was determined after discussions with the Marion County (Ind.) Public Health Department and is in accordance with local, NFL and CDC guidelines to help limit the spread of COVID-19, the team said. The average attendance for Colts games last season was 61,110.
The Colts are among only a handful of teams allowing any fans through the gates for their home openers amid the ongoing pandemic. Others operating at a reduced capacity include the Baltimore Ravens, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.
–Field Level Media