NFL Notes: Jets meet with McCown, Smith agrees to deal with Giants

NFL Notes: Jets meet with McCown, Smith agrees to deal with Giants

NEW YORK -- A person with direct knowledge of the situation says that free agent quarterback Josh McCown is meeting with the New York Jets.

The quarterback-needy Jets have just the inexperienced Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg on their roster and McCown would provide a veteran presence who could potentially start and be a mentor to the youngsters.

McCown will meet with the Jets on Friday and Saturday, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the visit.

NFL Network first reported McCown's visit with New York.

McCown, who'll turn 38 on July 4, played the last two seasons with Cleveland. He played in 13 games for the Browns, throwing for 3,209 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Giants: QB Geno Smith agrees to a deal
NEW YORK -- A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press that quarterback Geno Smith has agreed to terms with the New York Giants.

Like receiver Brandon Marshall last week, Smith is leaving the Jets but remaining in the same stadium. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

The 26-year-old Smith was a second-round draft choice by the Jets in 2013, but his stint with them was marred by injuries and inconsistency. He also lost his starting job in 2015 after a teammate broke Smith's jaw with a punch during training camp.

When Smith did get onto the field last season, it was brief. Ryan Fitzpatrick was benched for poor play, but Smith tore his ACL in the second quarter against Baltimore and was done for the season.

The deal is pending Smith passing a physical.

Seahawks: Willson, Shead agree to deals
RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks are bringing back two of their own free agents, agreeing to terms on new deals with tight end Luke Willson and cornerback DeShawn Shead.

The team confirmed the agreements Friday. KIRO-AM first reported the deals. Shead's deal is for one year and worth up to $1.5 million with $1 million guaranteed.

Willson and Shead have spent their entire careers with the Seahawks. Willson was a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 and has caught 74 passes and seven touchdowns in 56 career regular-season games.

Shead was an undrafted free agent who developed into a starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman last season. His value on the free agent market took a hit when he suffered a torn ACL in Seattle's playoff loss to Atlanta and he is not expected to be ready by the start of next season.

NFL: Second female official hired
NEW YORK -- A person with knowledge of the hiring tells The Associated Press that the NFL is adding a second female official, Terri Valenti, to work as an instant replay official next season.

Valenti will join Sarah Thomas, who has been a line judge since 2015. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not announced the hiring.

The instant replay official is the individual in charge of the replay crew at the stadium on game day.

Sporting News first reported Valenti's addition to the NFL's officiating ranks.

Valenti previously worked in college football, the Arena League and the UFL, which no longer is in business. She has also been a Navy engineer and economics professor.

She has experience as a replay communicator from 2012-16 and worked Super Bowl 50.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece. 

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

Eagles withdraw all but 1 rule proposal for owners meetings

As the annual NFL meetings get set to kick off next week, the Eagles originally proposed four playing rule changes and a resolution that could have eventually led to bringing back Kelly green uniforms as an alternate option. 

But after getting feedback from the NFL's competition committee, the Eagles are withdrawing all but one proposal, according to league sources. 

The only one left would prohibit players from leaping over the line of scrimmage on kicking plays. For now, players are allowed to leap line as long as they don't make contact. That proposal, which the NFLPA has previously supported, seems likely to pass. 

That means the other three playing rule changes and the proposal to allow teams to wear helmets that would match their alternative jerseys won't be specifically discussed. 

Translation: No Kelly green jerseys yet. 

Among the 15 proposed playing rule changes the league released on Friday, teams were responsible for seven of them and the Eagles accounted for four of the seven. 

Just because a specific proposal won't be directly discussed, it doesn't mean that topic won't be discussed by the committee in Phoenix during next week's annual league meetings. 

For instance, one of the Eagles' proposals would alter the current replay system. While the Eagles' individual proposal won't be discussed, replays will be a topic of discussion during the meetings.