Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Notes: Vikings WR Michael Floyd handed 4-game suspension

NFL Notes: Vikings WR Michael Floyd handed 4-game suspension

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The NFL has suspended Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd without pay Friday for the first four games of the regular season for violating its substance-abuse policy.

Floyd was arrested in Arizona in December after Scottsdale police found him unresponsive at the wheel of his vehicle while it was running at an intersection, reporting a blood alcohol level of 0.217 -- more than 2 1/2 times legal limit in Arizona. He pleaded guilty in February to extreme drunken driving.

Last month, an Arizona judge ordered Floyd to serve one day in jail for failing alcohol tests while under house arrest for the drunken driving conviction. He blamed the results on a type of fermented tea called kombucha.

Floyd will be allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games. He can return to the active roster Oct. 2.

Released by the Arizona Cardinals after the arrest, Floyd signed with the New England Patriots and played in two regular-season games with one touchdown catch. He appeared in one playoff game, but wasn't active for the AFC championship game or the Super Bowl. He agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Vikings in May that has incentives that could push the value as high as $6 million.

Floyd is a native of St. Paul, where he was a two-time winner of the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year award at Cretin-Derham Hall High School. After three alcohol-related incidents while in college at Notre Dame, including a drunken driving charge the summer before his senior season, Floyd underwent counseling and vowed to disassociate himself from certain people who'd influenced his behavior.

Redskins: Negotiator at center of Cousins’ contract talks
Kirk Cousins could easily feel uncertain about his future with the Washington Redskins. There have been two rounds of tense negotiations with little progress, coupled with the history of the Redskins not valuing him enough to have already signed him to a long term deal.

Yet as another deadline looms, Cousins harbors no animosity toward Eric Schaffer, the person he describes as the team's "classy" chief negotiator.

"This isn't his first rodeo," Cousins said of Schaffer. "I have a lot of faith in him not only in handling my situation, but when my situation is handled, handling everybody else's. I have faith in that. But make no mistake: There are titles ahead of him."

People in the organizational pecking order with titles above Schaffer include owner Dan Snyder, president Bruce Allen and senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams, so it's far from just Schaffer hammering out an agreement with Cousins and agent Mike McCartney.

"Those people make decisions, too," Cousins said.

NFL: League has 1st female replay official, more leeway to celebrate
IRVING, Texas -- Terri Valenti always enjoyed football as a little girl, but never dreamed then of being in the NFL. That became her goal only after officiating games for the first time in 1999.

Valenti this season will be the NFL's first female instant replay official in the booth, moving into that position two years after Sarah Thomas became the league's first full-time official on the field.

"I didn't know what was involved, how long the road would be, how hard it would be, or if I would ever get there," Valenti said Friday at the NFL's annual officiating clinic. "To be here at this point is just awesome."

The annual clinic, held before each season, was the first since Alberto Riveron's promotion to be the head of officiating after Dean Blandino left the NFL.

Valenti spent the past five seasons working for instant replay in the NFL, including a Super Bowl. She also worked in the past as an on-field official in the professional United Football League in 2009, as well as high school, college, minor league and international league games.

Her new instant replay role for the NFL is different and more prominent. Each of the 17 officiating crews have an instant replay official who is the go-between for the on-field referee and the NFL's centralized operations in New York, where final decisions on reviews will be made starting this season.

"The roles I've had in the past have been supporting the replay official and getting that information that person needs to do his or her job effectively," she said. "Now I'm kind of point person for a little team at each field" (see full story).

NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

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USA Today Images

NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

OWINGS MILLS, Md.  -- Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has retired from the NFL after just three seasons.

Urschel, a former fifth round pick from Penn State in 2014, received notoriety for pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason. He started 13 games over the past three seasons and was expected to compete for a starting role at center or guard. Instead, he will pursue other interests outside of football.

"This morning, John Urschel informed me of his decision to retire from football," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement Thursday. "We respect John and respect his decision. We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Broncos: RB Devontae Booker expected to miss 6 weeks with wrist injury
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Broncos coach Vance Joseph's first training camp got off to a rough start with word that Devontae Booker will undergo wrist surgery Friday and is expected to miss six weeks.

Booker was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as Denver's starting running back. He suffered a hairline fracture during organized team activities in June, marring a solid spring for the second-year pro as he bounced back from a rough rookie season that followed two knee surgeries.

The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus that sidelined him over the last half of last season.

If Booker's recovery goes well, he will be back in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11 (see full story).

Vinny Curry healthy, feeling like himself at start of training camp

Vinny Curry healthy, feeling like himself at start of training camp

After signing a huge contract extension last February, the 2016 season was a major disappointment for Vinny Curry. 

Curry finished the year with just 2 1/2 sacks and played just 43 percent of the team's defensive snaps. That wasn't good enough production for a player who just signed a $46.25 million extension. 

On Wednesday, as Eagles veterans reported for training camp, Curry said he fought through injuries during the entire 2016 season. Curry sprained his MCL in the third preseason game and said the injury lingered, although he wasn't listed on the Eagles' injury report past the first few weeks of the season. Curry also claimed he dealt with a lingering hamstring injury. 

"It was just a snowball effect of different type of things," he said. "I couldn't do what I do at 100 percent. You could see a flash of it, but then I couldn't finish it. There was something just missing there. I fought through it, showed guts. This year, though, I'm feeling good, feeling healthy, feeling relaxed, feeling like myself."

Curry, 29, said he's now 100 percent healthy and expects to be the type of player the Eagles thought they were getting when they gave him a big contract extension last winter. 

After the Eagles handed out a huge contract to Curry, fans expected the type of production that saw him pick up nine sacks in a limited role in 2014. Instead, they got a part time player who finished with the second-lowest sack total of his career. There was a lot of criticism coming Curry's way in 2016. 

"I was able to block it out," he said. "We got a great PR team. But at the end of the day, we all know that I wasn't 100 percent, so it wasn't like I was hanging my head low. It is what it is. That's just sports. Everybody has an opinion. Everybody wants to be a GM or a reporter, or everybody wants to get ahead of the next person to report something. I could not play now and just start talking trash about you and it's not going to ruin your day. You're just going to be like 'oh, what's Vinny's problem?' " 

Last season, the Eagles tried to let Curry start as the team's left defensive end, but eventually Brandon Graham beat him out for the job during camp. During this spring, Curry took over Connor Barwin's old spot as the right defensive end. That's the way Graham sees things staying: Graham on the left, Curry on the right. (The Eagles also have Derek Barnett and Chris Long fighting for time.) 

"I think it's set in stone," Graham said. "I like the left side. Vinny playing on the right. I think sometimes you just want to switch, sometimes it's good to give people a different look. But I think it's pretty set."

The sides defensive ends play, especially in the NFC East, is extremely important. The right defensive end will constantly go up against left tackles, normally a spot that has the best player to protect the quarterback's blind side. In the NFC East, that means going against Washington's Trent Williams for two games and Dallas' Tyron Smith for two more. That means a quarter of the schedule is against one of the best left tackles in football. 

Is Curry up for it? 

"I think he'll be fine," Graham said. "It's all about, like anything, when I had to move to the right side, and play the left tackles, you get used to that side as you take reps and then you get that signature move that you like. And then you have to study your guy and know what he's been getting beaten off of and incorporate that for that week. I think with Vinny and the coaching that we have in that room, he should be really good in Year 2 of this system."

Does Curry have something to prove this year? 

"Just have to get back to being me," he said. "That's it."