NFL Notes: League to allow group celebrations, use of football as prop

NFL Notes: League to allow group celebrations, use of football as prop

CHICAGO -- The NFL wants to put some flair back into touchdown celebrations, allowing players to use the football as a prop, celebrate as a group and roll around on the ground again if they choose.

In an email from Commissioner Roger Goodell sent to fans in an effort to deliver "a more exciting game experience," the commissioner said the new guidelines came after conversations with more than 80 current and former players.

The league, however, will continue to penalize any celebration deemed offensive, including those that embarrass opponents or mimic the use of weapons.

"Players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves," Goodell wrote.

That freedom had been stripped in many cases, with fans and media criticizing the NFL as being the "No Fun League." A 15-yard penalty often was the price paid for excessiveness.

Goodell's email also mentioned how the league is placing an emphasis on speeding up the pace of games. To go with that, he said the league knows "that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown"​ (see full story).

Jets: Richardson rips former teammate Marshall
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Sheldon Richardson likes the vibe around the New York Jets' locker room -- and Brandon Marshall not being there is a big reason why.

The defensive lineman, who feuded last season with Marshall, was asked after the Jets' first practice of organized team activities Tuesday if he wants to remain a part of the team despite persistent rumors he could be traded.

"Yeah, it's the team that drafted me," said Richardson, a first-round pick in 2013. "I enjoy being here. Other than that, yeah, the locker room's a whole lot easier to get along with now, so, yeah."

As reporters began to chuckle at the obvious reference to his beef with Marshall, Richardson smiled and began to shake his head.

"Y'all so thirsty," he said, grinning. "Let's just say we've got 15 reasons why it's better."

Marshall, of course, wore No. 15 in his two seasons with the Jets. The wide receiver asked for and was granted his release this offseason and is now with the Giants, where he also is wearing the same jersey number (see full story).

Bears: Glennon says 'the 2017 season is my year'
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Quarterback Mike Glennon was as shocked as anyone when the Chicago Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft.

A call from general manager Ryan Pace about 10 minutes later eased his mind. So did another one the next morning.

Glennon says "the 2017 season is my year" and that he is not worried about his future. He says he did not discuss the possibility of Chicago drafting a quarterback in the first round with the team prior to signing in March, and he says he still would have left Tampa Bay for the Bears even if he knew they would pick Trubisky.

Glennon spoke after Tuesday's workout (see full story).

NFL Notes: Rams' All-Pro Aaron Donald skips OTAs amid contract talks

NFL Notes: Rams' All-Pro Aaron Donald skips OTAs amid contract talks

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald has skipped the Los Angeles Rams' first day of organized team activities while he negotiates a long-term contract extension with the club.

Rams general manager Les Snead says the team knew Donald wouldn't be at their training complex Monday.

Snead acknowledged Donald's absence is because of their contract negotiations, which are reaching "the serious part." The GM is confident Donald will be a long-term fixture on the Rams' line.

The Rams exercised their fifth-year option for 2018 on Donald last month. He will make nearly $7 million next year. Snead has repeatedly said the Rams plan to sign Donald to a long-term deal.

Donald is a three-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro in his three-year career.

Vikings: Zimmer takes time off after latest eye surgery
MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer finally relented, taking some time away from the team to allow his right eye a proper recovery from his latest surgery.

Better in the spring than during the fall, he realized.

As Zimmer departed Monday for some rest and relaxation at his vacation ranch in rural Kentucky, general manager Rick Spielman said the organization anticipates a return by Zimmer "in a few weeks." Players will take the field Tuesday for the first of 13 scheduled offseason practices, including the three-day mandatory minicamp that runs June 13-15.

"We all agree Mike's health is the priority, and we believe rest and recovery are in his best interest for the long term," Spielman said.

Zimmer directed a free youth football camp Saturday at team headquarters. He revealed to reporters that he underwent an eighth procedure on the eye last week, a trying seven-month stretch that has included several unplanned operations (see full story).

Jets: Former 2nd-round pick Smith waived
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Wide receiver Devin Smith has been waived from the injury list by the New York Jets.

A second-round draft pick from Ohio State in 2015, Smith rarely saw the field for the Jets. He tore his ACL during the offseason workout program after he appeared in four games last season. He started that season on the physically unable to perform list while rehabbing from another ACL tear suffered in December 2015.

If Smith clears waivers, he would revert to the Jets' injured reserve list.

"It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," coach Todd Bowles said last month during the NFL draft. "He has to persevere and adversity will help him get stronger. But unfortunately in this game, over my course of time playing and coaching, you see these types of things. Some of the best athletes get hurt and don't get a chance to get on the field, and it's just bad timing, bad luck."

The Jets also re-signed wide receiver WR Deshon Foxx on Monday. Foxx originally signed with the Jets in January and was waived May 9. The Connecticut product first signed with Seattle 2015 after going undrafted and was waived/injured with a hamstring injury that August.

Buccaneers: TE Howard signs rookie deal
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tight end O.J. Howard has signed his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Howard, who was the 19th overall pick in last month's NFL draft, signed a four-year deal on Monday that includes a team option for a fifth season. He is the first of Tampa Bay's six draft picks to sign.

Howard, who is 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, was a third-team Associated Press All-America selection last season. He started 12 of Alabama's 14 games last season and had 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns.

The drafting of Howard and signing DeSean Jackson in free agency should give Jameis Winston more options in Tampa Bay's passing game.

The Buccaneers also announced that defensive end Jacquies Smith has signed his restricted free agent tender.

Temple product, current Jets WR Robby Anderson arrested in Miami

Temple product, current Jets WR Robby Anderson arrested in Miami

MIAMI -- Authorities say a wide receiver for the New York Jets has been charged with resisting arrest and obstruction of justice after sparring with officials who asked him to leave a Miami music festival.

A Miami Police Department arrest report says 23-year-old Robby Anderson refused an order by a police lieutenant to sit on the ground and pushed the officer and other officials at the Rolling Loud festival Sunday evening.

A hearing is scheduled for May 15.

A phone number wasn't available for Anderson, who is from South Florida. An undrafted rookie from Temple, Anderson caught 42 passes for 587 yards last season.

In a statement the Jets said they're "aware of the situation" but have no comment.