No One to Wear #24

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The Seattle Seahawks appreciate everything Marshawn Lynch helped them accomplish over the past six seasons, and they plan to express their gratitude by not letting anyone wear his jersey number in 2016.

Over the weekend, Doug Baldwin sent a tweet after the draft asking Pete Carroll to not allow any new players to wear No. 24. Seahawks GM John Schneider was asked about Baldwin’s request on Monday, and he said the wide receiver does not need to worry.

“One of my last conversations with Marshawn was that nobody was going to wear No. 24 this year in the regular season,” Schneider told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk show. “I appreciate [Baldwin’s] input. I’m glad he wants to help distribute jersey numbers.”

There have been rumblings that some Seahawks players expect Lynch to keep playing, but Schneider says the team plans to get his retirement papers at some point in the near future. Plus, they made a pretty nice gesture toward the running back by letting him keep this.

Lynch seems to have parted ways with the Seahawks on good terms.

Top 10 Drafting Teams…According to Peter Schrager

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1. Tennessee Titans: A+

Maybe my favorite draft class in recent memory. The Titans, knowing they already had a quarterback of the future in their back pocket, leveraged the first overall pick for a haul of others, and then worked back into the top 10 to get a right tackle that they believe can be a starter for the next decade in Jack Conklin. Kevin Dodd dominated the national championship game and had a huge 2015. I like him in the second round, love Austin Johnson in Tennessee’s 3-4 base, and thought both Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard fit what Tennessee is building and can make a difference right away. GM Jon Robinson looks like a draft mastermind, and with the haul they got from Los Angeles paying off the next two years, the best could still be yet to come.

2. Los Angeles Rams: A

The Rams wanted a franchise quarterback to start the organization’s re-invigoration in Los Angeles and did whatever was needed to go get him. They were sitting at the 15 spot in this year’s draft, wanted Jared Goff, knew they’d need to give a lot up to get him, and then just went for it. I love that. Five years from now, the football gods will tell us if they went for the right quarterback or not, or if they gave up too much, but in the present, how do you not appreciate a team laying it on the table and just saying, “Let’s go for it”? I don’t know how you can rant and rave and praise the selection of backup cornerbacks and guards in the second and third round — guys the Rams couldn’t take because of trading picks — until we see what Jared Goff becomes. GM Les Snead has built a wonderful young team in Los Angeles, minus one position. The quarterback. So, they just put their franchise and many of their legacies on the right arm of the kid they wanted. In a league where everyone’s trying to get better and emerge from the dreaded world of 7-9 and 8-8, the Rams took a big swing to someday get to 10-6 or 12-4. For that alone, it’s an A.

Best value pick: None

3. Buffalo Bills: A

The Bills didn’t resemble a Rex Ryan team on defense last year, and if you’re going to employ Rex (and brother Rob), you might as well give the defense some thumpers up front. Shaq Lawson — if his shoulder checks out — can be the top pass rusher in this class, while Reggie Ragland is the perfect inside linebacker for a Ryan brother defense. I liked the selection of big boy Adolphus Washington up front, and can already envision Cardale Jones getting on the field at some point in 2016. I liked the value and the needs fulfilled with the first four picks in this draft, and think Kolby Listenbee, a late-round flyer, could be a decent threat in the deep game.

Best value pick: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama, 41st overall

4. Philadelphia Eagles: A

Similar to how I feel about the Rams, I love the Eagles going up and making the moves necessary to get their guy at No. 2. You can’t win in this league without a quarterback, and if the Eagles view Carson Wentz as that kind of quarterback, they weren’t getting him at 13 or 8. As Sam Bradford doesn’t show up to voluntary minicamp and sends messages through his agent, Carson Wentz now comes to Philadelphia, ready to compete and be the best player he can be. I also loved Chase Daniel welcoming him with open arms. It’s as if Bradford is being told, “Hey bud, we’re good here. Are you in or are you out?” And with a quarterbacks room that’ll include Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, and John DeFilippo, it’s hard not to feel good about a young, whip-smart quarterback’s chances for success. I liked the aggressiveness of GM Howie Roseman here, but also liked some of the Day 3 picks, including Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jalen Mills, and local product Wendell Smallwood.

Best value pick: Halapoulivaati Vaitai, OT, TCU, 164th overall

5. Arizona Cardinals: A

I’d feel less comfortable with other teams taking Robert Nkemdiche in the first round, but the Cardinals are a different beast. There’s an infrastructure in place, and the people in the building — from owner Michael Bidwill to GM Steve Keim to head coach Bruce Arians — are strong enough to handle any potential off-field pitfalls the young man may come across. Tyrann Mathieu is the blueprint. Now Nkemdiche — whom I had listed as my No. 1 prospect in this draft before the college season started — just needs to execute. I’m including Chandler Jones — traded to Arizona in a package that included the Cardinals’ second-round pick — as a part of this draft class and think he’ll be an absolute superstar next season. I also think Evan Boehm, a stout center/guard out of Missouri, can contribute right away.

Best value pick: Evan Boehm, C/G, Missouri, 128th overall

6. Cincinnati Bengals: A

Value, value, value. Hats off to Duke Tobin, Marvin Lewis, and the rest of the Bengals’ decision makers on this one. Cincinnati stayed true to its board and with seemingly every pick and took guys who produced in the college game. The first-round selection of William Jackson III was not one for need, and it stung their division-rival Steelers, who had the pick right after. Tyler Boyd could be a good complement to A.J. Green; he isn’t a burner, but is a tough, smart route runner. Andrew Billings was a disruptive force who I saw as a second-round pick. Cincinnati got him in the fourth, and offensive guard Christian Westerman is a big body who could have gone on Day 2. Offensive line coach Paul Alexander will get the very most of him.

Best value pick: Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State, 161st overall

7. Seattle Seahawks: A-

The rich got richer this weekend. Seattle traded back in the first round and still got an offensive tackle they coveted in Germain Ifedi at 31st overall, got big man Jarran Reed — a top-20 talent — in the second round, and two talented offensive players who can make real impacts next year in Nick Vannett and C.J. Prosise in the third round. I see Prosise as a Reggie Bush/Percy Harvin clone. He played wide receiver in college, moved to running back, and did it all in the special teams game. I also like the value they got in Tyvis Powell, an undrafted free agent, who is a tall, rangy safety that left Ohio State early. Perfect fit for the Legion Of Boom.

Best value pick: C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame, 90th overall

8. San Francisco 49ers: A-

I loved the 49ers’ draft, despite a complete lack of flash and/or sizzle. San Francisco needed to get tough and big up front on both sides of the ball and address their defensive backfield. They did that with DeForest Buckner, my top-rated defensive player; Joshua Garnett, arguably the best run-blocking guard in this class; and they got Ronald Blair, a big bull out of Appalachian State — in the fifth round. They also hit that cornerback need with three guys loaded with potential in Will Redmond, Rashard Robinson, and Prince Charles Iworah. I would have liked to have seen them take Connor Cook in the third round, but they waited and got Jeff Driskel in the sixth. A few years back, the young man was the highest-rated high school quarterback in the country. Maybe Chip Kelly can help him fulfill that potential.

Best value pick: DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon, seventh overall

9. Denver Broncos: A-

Round by round, Denver nailed its picks. If everyone was as hot as it sounds for Paxton Lynch late in the first round, Denver did what it had to do to land its guy. Again, I have the ultimate respect for the teams that make moves to get quarterbacks. I do not believe you can win without one. I also am a big fan of Adam Gotsis, the big Australian defensive tackle, and can see him learning from Derek Wolfe. Justin Simmons and Devontae Booker will have roles in 2016, and Connor McGovern is one of those weight-room freaks who can set the tone if given the chance to polish his skills. This draft will depend on Lynch and his development. I have high hopes.

Best value pick: Devontae Booker, RB, Utah, 136th overall

10. Indianapolis Colts: A-

The Colts’ offensive line was at least somewhat at fault for the shellacking Andrew Luck took last year. After that, Matt Hasselbeck got clobbered, too. To his credit, Ryan Grigson addressed the offensive line and then some over the weekend. I loved the Ryan Kelly pick, making he and Andrew Luck the only quarterback/center combo that has two masters degrees. I also am high on big boy Le’Raven Clark out of Texas Tech and Joe Haeg, the road paver out of North Dakota State. That’s three for three on the offensive line, and for that, I tip my cap.

Best value pick: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech, 82nd overall

Round 2 NFL Draft

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Round 2:

1 (32). Cleveland Browns

2 (33). Tennessee Titans

3 (34). Dallas Cowboys

4 (35). San Diego Chargers

5 (36). Baltimore Ravens

6 (37). Kansas City Chiefs (from 49ers)

7 (38). Jacksonville Jaguars

8 (39). Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9 (40). New York Giants

10 (41). Chicago Bears

11 (42). Miami Dolphins

12 (43). Tennessee Titans (from Eagles via Rams)

13 (44). Oakland Raiders

14 (45). Tennessee Titans (from Rams)

15 (46). Detroit Lions

16 (47). New Orleans Saints

17 (48). Indianapolis Colts

18 (49). Buffalo Bills

19 (50). Atlanta Falcons

20 (51). New York Jets

21 (52). Houston Texans

22 (53). Washington Redskins

23 (54). Minnesota Vikings

24 (55). Cincinnati Bengals

25 (56). Seattle Seahawks

26 (57). Green Bay Packers

27 (58). Pittsburgh Steelers

28 (59). Kansas City Chiefs

29 (60). New England Patriots

30 (61). New England Patriots (from Cardinals)

31 (62). Carolina Panthers

32 (63). Denver Broncos

Seahawks Address Needs

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The Seattle Seahawks addressed needs on the offensive line by taking Texas A&M offensive tackle Germain Ifedi with the final pick of the first round of the NFL draft.

Seattle closed out the first round on Thursday after trading down earlier in the night. Ifedi is 6-foot-6, 324 pounds and projects as a right tackle or possibly a guard.

Seattle had the No. 26 pick but traded that selection to Denver, who picked Memphis QB Paxton Lynch. Seattle moved back to No. 31 and picked up the No. 94 overall pick in the third round, giving the team 10 picks in the draft and five in the top 100. It was the second time in three years the Seahawks traded their first-round pick to a team that drafted a quarterback.

It was the eighth time the Seahawks have traded down under general manager John Schneider.

 

Browner Back to the Boom

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The original Legion of Boom is back.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Seattle Seahawks have signed veteran cornerback Brandon Browner to a one-year contract

Browner had a horrible season with the New Orleans Saints last year after he signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the team. He was released after the season and recently revealed that he was playing through a fairly significant injury.

Browner was a huge reason the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl two years ago, just as he played a major role with the Seahawks’ championship team before that. Unlike in New Orleans, he was not the top cornerback on either of those teams. Perhaps he will return to his old form in Seattle’s system and won’t have to get into Twitter beefs with Shannon Sharpe.

Wilson Comes from Royalty

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Russell Wilson got an eye-opening history lesson during a visit to his Virginia hometown over the weekend.

The Seahawks quarterback on Saturday attended the Richmond Forum, where he made an appearance with renown historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gates. After conducting thorough research, the host of the PBS show “Finding Your Roots” revealed to Wilson in front of a crowd of 4,500 that his ancestry included at least one English king. 

I knew it,” Wilson said, via the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Some of our ancestors may have grown up as slaves. Some may have been slave owners. … We forget we’re all human.”

Gates also showed Wilson a document that listed his slave ancestors as property worth $1,000 and shared a story about his heritage that included an 18-year-old slave woman who sued to have her family freed.

“What it all goes back to is really loving people,” Wilson said. “Sometimes you have to forget what a person looks like, forget what a person believes in, forget what a person does have or does not have. … You have to look deep inside and love. … Because you’re probably connected.”

At last, there’s an explanation as to why Wilson’s young football career is already the stuff of legends.

Lynch …Peace Out.

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Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has indicated publicly and to the Seahawks organization that he will retire from football

Lynch tweeted a peace-sign emoji and a photo of his cleats hanging up Sunday, a sign the running back would walk away from the game. There were reports Lynch would call it a career last week, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Lynch has indeed informed the Seahawks that he is retiring

After rushing for over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons for the Seahawks, Lynch carried the ball just 111 times for 417 yards in 2015. He played in seven games while dealing with hamstring and abdominal injuries. 

Lynch was a first-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and joined Seattle via a mid-season trade in 2010. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman seemed to confirm Lynch’s retirement on Twitter.

Salute to my guy @MoneyLynch … It was an honor sharing the field with you.

A fan favorite in Seattle, Lynch made one of the most famous runs in playoff history during a Seahawks upset of the New Orleans Saints in January 2011. Lynch won a Super Bowl with Seattle after the 2013 season.

Lynch finishes his career with 9,112 yards and 74 touchdowns.

Bronco Busted…. Sent Home from Super Bowl

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The Tuesday of Super Bowl week is always a stressful day for NFL coaches worried their players may get into trouble on their off-day.

Broncos safety Ryan Murphy is the latest player to find trouble.

MORE: Most embarrassing Super Bowl moments

The rookie from Oregon State was questioned by San Jose police Tuesday evening as part of a prostitution sting, according to multiple reports.

The sting, which targeted an area north of San Jose known for prostitution, was conducted by Santa Clara County’s multi-agency human trafficking task force. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Panthers on Sunday in Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. 

Police reportedly arrested a suspected prostitute and Murphy’s brother was cited for solicitation. 

Murphy, a seventh-round draft pick of the Seahawks, is a Bay Area native and a cousin of Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. He was released by the Seahawks in September and was signed to the Broncos’ practice squad Nov. 3.

“Although practice squad safety Ryan Murphy was not cited by police, we decided it was best for the team if we continued our preparations for Super Bowl 50 without him,” Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said in a statement Tuesday night. “Ryan is returning to Denver but his status as a practice squad player has not changed at this time.”

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office told the San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday night that 10 men were cited for solicitation and the task forced has identified more than 20 suspected female prostitutes throughout the county.

Murphy’s brush with the law comes a day after former NFL safety Eugene Robinson, now a Panthers broadcaster, told the Panthers a cautionary tale about his solicitation arrest in Miami the night before Super Bowl XXXIII while he was with the Falcons.

Wilson MVP with 3 TD’s

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 With no Super Bowl trip this season for the Seattle Seahawks, their stars came to play – and dominate – at the Pro Bowl.

Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead Team Irvin to a 49-27 victory over Team Rice on Sunday and earn offensive MVP honors at Aloha Stadium. Seattle teammate Michael Bennett was the defensive MVP after having the game’s only sack and deflecting a pass.

”To see us Seahawks out there is a real special thing,” Wilson said. ”It’s a testament to our hard work and to see two Seahawks out there as MVPs is really cool.”

The Seahawks quarterback, who was the first player picked in the all-star game’s draft, went 8 of 12 for 164 yards. He led scoring drives on three of Team Irvin’s first four possessions.

Wilson threw touchdown passes of 14 and 2 yards to Atlanta Falcons teammates Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman, respectively, in the opening quarter. Early in the second quarter, Wilson connected with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley for a 10-yard score.

The teams were drafted and captained by Hall of Fame wide receivers Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice. Winston Moss, Green Bay’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, filled in for the ill Mike McCarthy and coached Team Irvin. Kansas City’s Andy Reid led Team Rice.

A record 47 players declined to participate in this year’s Pro Bowl, either due to injury or for personal reasons, or couldn’t play because their teams are in the Super Bowl. Carolina had 10 players selected, including quarterback Cam Newton, while Denver had four, including defensive stars Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

Wilson was the lone quarterback originally selected to participate in the game.

”Any time you have the opportunity to play the great game of football, you take advantage of the opportunity,” Wilson said. ”Playing in the Pro Bowl is a special thing because to be able to see all the amazing players across the league, who are the best players in the world and to be able to play on one field together is a really, really cool thing.”

Bennett was busy on defense, but played one snap at quarterback late in the game and picked up 7 yards on a rush. The 6-foot-4, 274-pound defensive said it was his first experience under center in his career.

”Only in my dreams,” Bennett said with a laugh.

Two other Seahawks players mixed it up midway through the third quarter when Team Irvin’s Richard Sherman – a cornerback – was dropped for a 22-yard loss on a reverse by Team Rice linebacker Bobby Wagner.

”He said that he knew what he was going to do,” Sherman said. ”He knew I was getting the ball and he knew he was making the tackle.”

Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston each added two TD passes for Team Irvin. Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson, Tennessee’s Delanie Walker, Philadelphia’s Darren Sproles and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins had scoring receptions.

Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce caught two scoring passes for Team Rice. Miami’s Jarvis Landry also had a TD catch, and Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin ran for a score.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of the New York Giants had two of Team Irvin’s six interceptions.

After Kelce’s 4-yard reception from Manning gave Team Rice a 7-0 lead, Jones tip-toed the left sideline just after hauling in Wilson’s pass near the back corner of the end zone for a 14-yard score.

Kelce caught the second of his two TDs on a 10-yard pass from Oakland’s Derek Carr to cut Team Rice’s deficit to 21-14. The Chiefs star, who signed a five-year, $46 million contract extension on Friday, tied Martin with a game-high five catches for 91 yards.

Team Irvin added a score late in the second quarter on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to Sproles to hold a 28-14 lead after two quarters.

The halftime festivities included a parade of local high school football players. Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, a Honolulu native, led his alma mater, Saint Louis School, onto the field during the procession and was greeted by loud cheers from the sellout crowd of 50,000.

It was the 35th time the NFL’s annual all-star game was played at Aloha Stadium dating to 1980, and the third consecutive season that it has used an ”unconferenced” format.

The game was played at in Glendale, Arizona, last year. The site of next year’s Pro Bowl has not yet been determined by the NFL, although it does have an option to return to Hawaii.

Martin helped Team Rice cut the deficit to 28-21 in the third quarter with a 3-yard run early in the third quarter.

But Team Irvin put the game away with three straight TDs: a 50-yard catch by Robinson from Bridgewater, a 53-yard reception by Walker from Winston and a 7-yarder by Hopkins, also thrown by Winston.

Landry caught a 31-yard TD pass from Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor with 6:05 remaining in the game. Taylor was intercepted three times overall.

Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert appeared to injure a foot during the game while diving for a pass for Team Irvin.

It was the final game of Oakland safety Charles Woodson’s 18-year career. He was escorted by his two young sons off the field to rousing cheers from the fans that remained.

”I really got all the emotions out of the way a few weeks back, but this one is just the icing on the cake for me to be able to make the Pro Bowl, be able to bring my family over here and hang out in Hawaii,” Woodson said. ”It’s been great.”