Sun, 21 Oct 2018

The Supreme Court on Monday opened the door for states to allow betting on sporting events by invalidating a federal law that prohibited such wagers in most of the United States.

The court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in 1992 and sided with the state of New Jersey, which has waged a six-year battle to permit sports betting within its border.

The PASPA barred states from legalizing gambling on sporting events with the exception of Nevada and less notable exceptions for sports lotteries in three other states (Montana, Delaware, Oregon).

--Defensive back DeAngelo Hall announced his retirement from the NFL after a 14-year playing career.

Adam Schefter initially reported the news while fellow ESPN reporter John Keim added that Hall, 34, is "weighing offers to join a front office or work in TV."

Hall began the 2017 season on the Redskins' physically unable to perform list, stemming from a torn ACL in Week 3 of 2016. He returned with a starting role in Week 9 last season but played just one snap in the final six games.

--The Carolina Panthers released wide receiver Russell Shepard after one season with the team, the Panthers announced.

Per the Charlotte Observer, Shepard refused to accept a pay cut from the team after signing a three-year, $10 million deal last offseason.

Shepard had just 17 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown in 2017.

Also, the Panthers signed wide receiver Bug Howard, center Kyle Friend, guard Quinterrius Eatmon and defensive end Karter Schult. Carolina also waived cornerback Zack Sanchez with an injury designation.

--Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson has set a date to jump into Lake Erie, fulfilling a promise.

Jackson said after the 2016 season, when the Browns went 1-15, that he would jump into Lake Erie if they finished 1-15 again in 2017.

They did not finish 1-15; they were worse, becoming the second team in history to go 0-16.

The team announced on its website on Monday that Jackson will take the plunge on June 1. Jackson will make the jump for the symbolic cleansing of the franchise and for charity.

The coach will donate $100 to his foundation, which combats human trafficking across Northeast Ohio, for every Browns employee who joins him in jumping into Lake Erie.

--Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien expects quarterback Deshaun Watson to be ready for training camp, and he hopes defensive end J.J. Watt will be able to participate in practice then, too.

Watson played in only seven games, including six starts, during his promising rookie season in 2017 before he tore his ACL in practice, ending his season.

O'Brien also expressed optimism regarding the 29-year-old Watt. He did not give a timetable for Watt's return to practice, but said he expected him to be at full strength at some point.

Watt's 2017 season ended with a fracture of his left leg. He is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

--Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers was present for workouts with the New York Giants on Monday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.

Multiple media outlets reported that Flowers' absence from voluntary organized team activities and minicamp in April stemmed from the Giants acquiring left tackle Nate Solder in free agency. That acquisition forced the former first-round pick to be moved from left tackle to presumably compete with Chad Wheeler and Tyler Howell for a starting job at right tackle.

That same reason for Flowers' absence also was a topic of conversation on radio station WFAN for safety Landon Collins, who was then asked by new coach Pat Shurmur to stop speaking publicly on the matter.

"That's not for Landon to talk about," Shurmur said, via the New York Daily News.

--Denver Broncos running back De'Angelo Henderson was taken to the hospital following his involvement in an automobile accident, but he said on social media that he was not seriously injured.

Henderson said on Instagram that he expects to be ready to participate in Denver's Organized Team Activities.

Henderson, 25, played in five games for Denver in 2017, when had seven carries for 13 yards and two receptions for 36 yards.

--Chad Pennington, who serves as Baker Mayfield's mentor with the Cleveland Browns, shared some of his words of wisdom for the first overall pick of the 2018 draft in a phone interview with the Akron Beacon-Journal.

"My first piece of advice came from a place of transparency and honesty in saying that, 'Baker, you have to remember who you are,'" Pennington said. "'And that is a guy who was a twice walk-on in college, and without your work ethic and your talent, you would probably be a (graduate assistant) somewhere coaching.'"

"(O)nce you believe you're an entertainer, not a football player, your time is going to be limited in this league," Pennington told the newspaper. "We talked about keeping it strictly about football, eliminating some of those distractions. I certainly understand the business side of building your brand, but like I tell all the rookies I speak with, your brand is not how many followers you have on Twitter and friends on Facebook. Your brand is how you work and how you treat people, and if your work ethic is right and you treat people right, your brand will be built the correct way."

--Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has played on the NFL's grandest stage.

On Monday night, Norman will compete in a triple-elimination round of "Dancing with the Stars."

"It is the Super Bowl," the 30-year-old Norman said, via ESPN. "It's just a different type of pressure because your heart will be racing, man, with anxiety. You get out there and put it all out there on the dance floor in front of millions of people watching. Then you've got a couple of hundred people in the audience that is extremely looking at every moment."

--Punter Johnny Townsend, the Oakland Raiders' fifth-round draft pick, signed a four-year contract with the team, the Raiders announced.

Townsend is the only punter on the Raiders' roster at the moment. The Raiders released their 2017 punter, Marquette King, in the offseason, and he was signed by the Denver Broncos.

Townsend played in 44 games for the University of Florida and averaged 46.2 yards per kick during his four years with the Gators. That is the best career punting average in Southeastern Conference history.

--The San Francisco 49ers signed their sixth-round draft pick, safety Marcell Harris, to a four-year deal, the team announced.

Harris was selected with the 184th overall pick out of the University of Florida. He played in 37 games, including nine starts, in five years and registered 102 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions.

--The Indianapolis Colts are looking to address their secondary with visits from free-agent safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Tre Boston, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Vaccaro recorded 60 tackles, three interceptions and 1.5 sacks in 12 games last season with the New Orleans Saints before landing on injured reserve. He told The Times-Picayune in March that he was fully healthy following core muscle surgery.

Boston collected 79 tackles and five interceptions last season for the Los Angeles Chargers. The 25-year-old, who spent his three previous campaigns with the Carolina Panthers, has 187 tackles, eight interceptions and two sacks in 58 career games.

--The Colts signed undrafted free-agent tackle Jared Machorro, the team announced. Machorro participated in the team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 302 pounds, Machorro was named the Lone Star Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in 2017 while playing for Texas AM-Commerce.

The Colts waived center Anthony Fabiano.

--Quarterback Stephen Morris, who was waived by the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend, has been claimed by the Houston Texans, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Monday.

Morris was added to the Texans' 90-man roster, giving them four quarterbacks. Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb signed with the team as free agents this offseason and are expected to compete for the backup spot behind Deshaun Watson.

--The Chicago Bears announced they signed five players, including offensive lineman Matt McCants, and also placed four players on waivers.

McCants has played 28 NFL games, including three starts, while with the Raiders, Browns and Bears. He has not started a game since 2013.

The Bears also signed wide receiver Matt Fleming, defensive back John Franklin III, offensive lineman Jeremi Hall and defensive back Tyrin Holloway.

The team waived offensive lineman Travis Averill, linebacker Howard Jones, offensive lineman Cameron Lee and linebacker Nyles Morgan.

--The Arizona Cardinals signed of four players and released four others, the team announced.

The team signed defensive tackle Siupeli Anau, wide receiver C.J. Duncan, linebacker Airius Moore and offensive lineman Greg Pyke. All four players participated in the Cardinals rookie mini-camp this past weekend on a tryout.

To make room on the roster, the team released cornerback Elijah Battle, linebacker Mike Needham, offensive lineman Austin Olsen and wide receiver Jonah Trinnaman.

--Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be featured twice a week on FOX during the 2018 NFL season.

FOX announced that Buck and Aikman will call the new "Thursday Night Football" package. The two also represent the network's top afternoon pairing for Sunday's games.

Buck will also be in demand for FOX when postseason baseball comes around. It is not immediately known who will team with Aikman at that time.

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