NFL Notes: Goodell says '15 draft down to L.A., Chicago

usa-today-goodell.jpg

NFL Notes: Goodell says '15 draft down to L.A., Chicago

For the first time since 1964, New York will not host the NFL draft in 2015.

According to Sam Farmar of the Los Angeles Times, Roger Goodell told reporters on Thursday that New York was considered but ultimately was ruled out. The prospective location has been narrowed down to either Chicago or Los Angeles for next year's draft.

“We’re focusing solely on Los Angeles and Chicago now,” Goodell said.

The decision to drop New York from consideration was made when Radio City Music Hall, the event’s usual venue, couldn’t offer available dates in April or May. The draft is expected to take place either April 22-25 or April 29-May 2.

Goodell did not give a timeframe on when the league will choose between the two cities.

“We had 12 cities that were interested,” Goodell said. “We felt the best thing to do was to focus on the three cities, because they had such a tremendous interest. There are very attractive aspects to each of those cities. Because we don’t have the appropriate dates in May our focus is completely on Los Angeles and Chicago. They both have tremendous bids.”

Though the draft has recently been a three-day event, the NFL has given thought to expanding it to four days starting next year.

-CSNPhilly.com

49ers: Staley signs two-year extension 
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers showed off their new home in style Thursday while quietly making a move to protect quarterback Colin Kaepernick's blindside.

After an extravagant ribbon-cutting ceremony to open Levi's Stadium, the 49ers announced left tackle Joe Staley has signed a two-year contract extension that will run through the 2019 season.

The 29-year-old Staley, who had wanted a new deal this offseason, was among the players at the event.

"We both felt it was time to get something done, and what I'm most excited about is the opportunity to play my whole entire career as a San Francisco 49er," Staley said later on a conference call with reporters. "That was one of my goals that I set out to do as a rookie coming into the NFL -- make an NFL roster, become a starter, win a Super Bowl and play my whole entire career with one team.

"So very excited for the opportunity to do that and really grateful for the 49ers allowing me that opportunity. Now it's really just time to go work on that Super Bowl."

Staley's extension is the latest move in a busy offseason that has seen some of San Francisco's biggest offensive contributors get new deals -- and others take strong measures in hopes of getting one.

Last month, the 49ers rewarded Kaepernick with a six-year extension worth up to $126 million. Tight end Vernon Davis and right guard Alex Boone, though, have held out of the team's voluntary offseason workout program and mandatory minicamp despite two years left on their current contracts (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Titans: Taylor Lewan to go to trial in fan-punching case
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Tennessee Titans rookie Taylor Lewan will go to trial in October on charges he punched an Ohio State fan.

The former Michigan offensive tackle is accused of hitting the fan after the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines last season. He is charged with one count of aggravated assault and two counts of assault and battery.

He was told during a pretrial hearing Thursday to return to Ann Arbor District Court on Oct. 27 for jury selection. The trial could begin the next morning.

The Titans will not be preparing that week for a game, minimizing the possible impact of Lewan being back near his college campus. Lewan, drafted No. 11 overall, is one of three players drafted this year without a contract.

Lewan and the Titans declined to comment after the pretrial hearing. When asked about the possibility of a plea bargain, Lewan's attorney, John Shea, said: "Who knows what the future holds?" He is "assuming" the case will be decided by jurors. (see full story)

-The Associated Press

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

Eagles Mailbag: Fletcher Cox, OTA evaluations, Nelson Agholor

The Eagles have completed one round of OTAs and will kick off another next week, starting Tuesday. 

OTAs are basically light practices in shorts and there's not a ton to gain from watching them, but they're not completely worthless. We already learned who some starters are for now and got a chance to see some new players on the field. 

Training camp will be here before you know it. 

To your questions: 

This is an interesting question because I think if I'm his teammate, I'd be a little annoyed. Especially if I'm some backup player making league minimum and the $100 million man doesn't show. 

But it really isn't like that. Even talking to players off the record, they don't seem to be bothered that Fletcher Cox wasn't with the team during a week of OTAs. Basically, players assume if a guy isn't there, they have a reason and are working out on their own. 

Guys especially understand if a player misses because of contract reasons — get paid, fellas. Obviously, that's not the reason Cox is missing. He signed a $100 million deal last offseason. And Cox's absence allows some other guys to get more reps, which is good for younger guys. 

It definitely doesn't look good from the outside that Cox isn't there. And it's pretty obvious Doug Pederson wants him at the facility. But the players inside the locker room? They're more understanding. 

Let's pump the breaks on the Nelson Agholor OTAs praise. Sure, he looked pretty good in the one day we got to watch of practice this week, but Agholor has looked good in shorts before. 

Does he have a shot at being a starter? Maybe a very slim shot. But the chances he actually beats out Torrey Smith for a starting gig seem minuscule. Perhaps you're thinking Smith is completely shot after looking that way in San Francisco, but it's hard to imagine he can't beat out Agholor for the job. 

That said, Agholor will be on the team this year. His contract makes cutting him nonsensical. And it'll be interesting to see how he performs without the pressure of being a starter. To me, it would make sense to occasionally work him into the slot, something the coaching staff hasn't done much of in the last couple years. 

I put these together because I want to make this point first: we have only been allowed to watch one of their three practices, so we don't have a lot to work from. But I'll give you what I can. 

Barnett: He looks impressive in shorts, at times beating Lane Johnson, who is a very good tackle. That bend we've heard so much about was evident really early. Remember Joe Douglas' talking about ankle flexion? Well, it's absolutely there. It's clear Barnett is a technician, but I'll reserve my judgment until training camp when the pads go on. 

Wentz: Thought he looked fine. I saw some folks saying they saw differences in his mechanics ... Eh. Hard to say in one practice. What I did see were a few beautifully tossed balls and some chemistry forming with Alshon Jeffery, who ought to be the team's No. 1 target this year.

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

NFL Notes: Vikings' Mike Zimmer says he'll coach with 1 eye if necessary

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer has had a lot of time on his hands this week while sitting at home on his Kentucky ranch as his team went through optional practices in the Twin Cities.

Zimmer was under strict orders to leave the team and rest his right eye, which has needed eight surgeries to try to repair a detached retina. The lingering issues have led some to wonder if he would be forced to shorten his career.

Zimmer has heard the speculation all week long. The hard-nosed coach said he has reached out to some of those doubters personally this week.

"I'll be back shortly," Zimmer vowed in a conference call with reporters on Friday. "One eye or two, it doesn't matter. I'll be back. We can put that retiring thing to bed quickly."

Zimmer missed one game last season due to the problems with his eye . He tried to work through the issues, but said on Friday that he was told to skip this week's practices and go home to allow his eye to recover.

"It's not much fun," he said. "Usually I love it down here in my place here. But I don't love it too much this week. It was kind of a forced situation. But for the long run it's the best thing for me."

Giants: Smith trying to resurrect career
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Geno Smith didn't catch a break in his final two seasons with the New York Jets, and it seems his chances of resurrecting his career with the Giants are facing obstacles.

Not only does Smith have to beat out incumbent Josh Johnson for the backup quarterback job to Eli Manning, his prospects of making the team took another hit in the NFL draft when the Giants selected Davis Webb with their third-round draft pick.

The 26-year-old Smith doesn't seem concerned.

Speaking after the Giants organized training activities Thursday, Smith sounded confident for a player who had a promising rookie season four years ago and then regressed, in large part due to inconsistency.

"Honestly, I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone other than myself," said Smith, who has played in only three games in the past two seasons, starting one. "I am just trying to be my best every single day, focusing on trying to be perfect. I know that is a far goal to try and reach, but just trying to be perfect every day and understanding what is required of me once I step onto the field, and then trying to get it done."

Redskins: Injured Moreau final draft pick to sign
ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have signed the final member of their 10-player draft class, third-round pick Fabian Moreau.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The cornerback out of UCLA tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. He was projected to be a first- or second-round pick before the injury and went 81st overall to the Redskins.

Moreau says doctors told him it was a five-month recovery, putting him on track to be ready by late in the preseason. The 23-year-old was at Washington's practice facility for rookie minicamp and the first sessions of organized team activities.

Coach Jay Gruden says the team is playing by ear the injury situations of Moreau and fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson and hopes they learn the schemes for the secondary as they rehab.

NFL: Judge tosses lawsuit over cheerleader wages
SAN FRANCISCO -- A lawsuit accusing the NFL and team owners of conspiring to suppress wages for cheerleaders lacks evidence to support that claim, a federal judge said.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup dismissed the lawsuit by a former San Francisco 49ers cheerleader. The suit sought class action status on behalf of all NFL cheerleaders.

"To state an antitrust claim here, plaintiff must plead not only `ultimate facts, such as conspiracy, and legal conclusions,'" Alsup said. "The complaint must answer the basic questions of `who, did what, to whom (or with whom), where, and when?'"

An email to an attorney for the 49ers cheerleader, Drexel Bradshaw, was not immediately returned. The cheerleader was only identified in the suit as "Kelsey K."

Alsup gave her an opportunity to amend the lawsuit and refile it by June 15.

The lawsuit was among a spate of legal actions in recent years accusing NFL teams of failing to pay cheerleaders for hours they spent practicing and making public appearances.