Hernandez's double murder trial set for 2015

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Hernandez's double murder trial set for 2015

BOSTON -- A judge on Tuesday scheduled a tentative May trial date for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men, and his lawyers asked a judge to issue a gag order because of intense media coverage of the murder case.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado after a random nightclub encounter in Boston.

During a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court, Hernandez's lawyers asked Judge Jeffrey Locke to issue a gag order prohibiting anyone involved in the case from commenting outside court.

Attorney James Sultan said the defense is concerned that Hernandez can't get a fair trial because of extensive media coverage of his indictment in the double slayings and another murder case against Hernandez in the 2013 death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's North Attleborough home.

"I think it's incumbent upon all of us ... to do whatever we can to safeguard Mr. Hernandez's constitutional right to a fair trial and a jury that has not been poisoned by unfairly prejudicial pretrial publicity," Sultan said. He argued that a judge in Bristol County, where Hernandez is charged with killing Lloyd, issued a gag order in that case.

Prosecutors opposed the request. Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan called a gag order "unreasonable" and "unwarranted," and said it not the usual practice in Suffolk County.

Haggan said Hernandez's lawyers were suggesting that "because of his celebrity and his public figure status that Mr. Hernandez should not be held to the rules of this court."

Haggan said prosecutors involved in the Hernandez case had not made any improper statements outside court. Sultan disagreed, saying District Attorney Dan Conley had "held a press conference" after the indictments against Hernandez were issued and again after he was arraigned.

The judge took the request under advisement and did not indicate when he would rule.

Family members and friends of the two men filled the front two rows of the courtroom. Several relatives wept as Hernandez was brought into the room. Two women left the courtroom as Hernandez talked and laughed with one of his lawyers just before the hearing began.

Locke made it clear that the May 28 trial date is only tentative. He acknowledged that the date could change because Hernandez's trial in Lloyd's killing is scheduled for October.

Hernandez's lawyers told the judge they don't plan to file any motions in the 2012 double slaying case until after the trial in the Lloyd case is over.

But Locke warned them, "Don't consider this case suspended until October."

Hernandez is due back in court on Aug. 14.

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game, and an Eagles linebacker fighting for a roster spot says he'll do the same in their final preseason contest.

Kaepernick decided not to stand because of the divisive and violent racial issues that have been building in America. Tavarres has taken a similar stance, telling ESPN.com's Tim McManus on Monday that he nearly followed Kaepernick's lead by sitting out the anthem in Indianapolis.

"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres told ESPN. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.

"We've got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We've got that right. There's just a lot going on that people don't want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we're looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he's doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that's his opinion, he's entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it."

According to the report, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had players express their feelings about the topic during a meeting Monday and Tavarres was one of the players who spoke, along with team leader Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

Jenkins discussed the topic with USA Today over the weekend.

"At some point, I think guys in multiple sports across the country, guys are starting to realize if we do want a change, it is something we need to get involved in at some point," Jenkins said.

“I have already done some things. I have spoken to the police commissioner of Philadelphia. We are trying to come up with some plans to do some stuff on the ground and get some work done. A lot of what is going on in the country is outrageous. I try to be careful. I ask myself what is the outcome that I want to see and how do I go about that?

"At the end of the day when it comes down to relationships of African Americans in this country right now, my entire family is black. I can sit on my stage and act like these things don’t apply to me but my two brothers, my dad, my mom, all of them are dealing with the same thing."

Tavarres, meanwhile, is not a lock to make the Eagles' final 53-man roster, but their lack of depth at backup linebacker has created an opportunity for him. Dave Zangaro had Tavarres on the practice squad in his roster projection Monday. 

"In this situation, I've really got nothing to lose," Tavarres told McManus. "I'm a rookie free agent, haven't signed any major contract, so there's not a lot of money on the line, I don't have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what's at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn't stand my ground on this issue we have today?

"[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don't think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don't know if it's going to be burned, but it's a major issue and I'm definitely going to stand my ground for this one."

NFL Notes: Broncos name QB Trevor Siemian Week 1 starter over Mark Sanchez

NFL Notes: Broncos name QB Trevor Siemian Week 1 starter over Mark Sanchez

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Trevor Siemian is Peyton Manning's successor.

Coach Gary Kubiak told the team Monday that Siemian will be the starting quarterback when the Denver Broncos face Carolina in the season opener Sept. 8.

Kubiak informed Siemian, Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch of his decision before telling their teammates.

Siemian has just one NFL snap on his resume, a kneel-down when he was the No. 3 QB last year behind Manning and Brock Osweiler.

Manning retired and Osweiler left for Houston after the Super Bowl.

General manager John Elway acquired Sanchez from the Eagles and drafted Lynch. The Broncos will save $3.5 million and a conditional seventh-round draft pick if they cut Sanchez, as expected.

Browns: Veteran LB Paul Kruger cut
CLEVELAND — The Browns have released linebacker Paul Kruger, a startling move in another step in the team's youth movement.

Kruger started 46 games and made 18 sacks in three seasons for Cleveland and was considered one of the team's leaders. He was signed in 2013 after four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

The 30-year-old recorded just 2.5 sacks last season as the Browns struggled to find the right role for him. Last week, the Browns traded linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Rookies Emmanuel Ogbah or Joe Schobert could take Kruger's starting spot.

Kruger posted a statement on Twitter in which he thanked the Browns but said his release was "absolutely the wrong decision."

The Browns also terminated the contracts of defensive end Nick Hayden and quarterback Austin Davis. The team waived kicker Travis Coons, giving Patrick Murray the starting job.

Redskins: Team signs veteran defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have signed defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins.

Washington, which announced the signing on Monday, worked Jenkins out earlier Monday and he was on the field for practice.

The 35-year-old spent the past three seasons with the New York Giants and has also played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers during his 12-year NFL career.

Jenkins, who has 332 tackles and 47.5 sacks in 169 games, brings needed depth to the Redskins' defensive line.

One rib still damaged, Carson Wentz won’t play Thursday

One rib still damaged, Carson Wentz won’t play Thursday

Carson Wentz’s preseason is over.
 
Because one of his ribs isn’t completely healed Wentz won’t play in the Eagles’ preseason finale on Thursday, the rookie quarterback said.
 
According to head coach Doug Pederson, a CT scan revealed that Wentz’s 10th rib on his right side is completely healed but the 11th is just at 60 percent.
 
When asked if that means Wentz won’t play, Pederson said, “If he’s 60 percent with that rib, probably not.”
 
The No. 2 overall pick hurt his ribs when he took a shot late in the first preseason game against the Bucs back on Aug. 11. He hadn’t practiced in full since then, but has worked out and went through a lengthy pregame workout on Saturday. Pederson said Wentz is still sore from Saturday’s workout. Wentz was back in practice with a helmet on Monday. 
 
For now, the plan is to continue to rehab Wentz by giving him more and more over time.
 
“Obviously, where we are this late in the process as far as training camp goes, it definitely hurts from a young quarterback standpoint, his position to fully grasp and understand the offense,” Pederson said. “But again, I just go back to what I see in the classroom, what I see off the field. His work habit here, his work ethic here, and just what he knows and what he understands.”
 
Pederson also said he’s a little less concerned because of where Wentz is on the depth chart. The plan all along was to have Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel ahead of Wentz.
 
Still, Wentz missed a ton of reps. And it’s not really feasible to replace them.
 
“It’s hard in the regular season to replace those types of reps,” Pederson said, “because our focus is with the ones and the starters, getting them ready to go offensively and defensively.”

As far as other injured players, Jordan Matthews returned to practice on Monday. He won't play on Thursday but said his knee feels fine. Isaac Seumalo is day to day; Pederson said the team won't put him out there until he's healthy. Wendell Smallwood is in the NFL's concussion protocol. Vinny Curry (knee) and Taylor Hart (knee, ankle) are expected to be ready for the season opener. Cornerback Aaron Grymes (shoulder) said he won't practice this week and won't be able to play on Thursday.