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INDIANAPOLIS — Keeping their own.

That’s Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s mentality when it comes to free agency. Yes, players will leave for more money, and there are some players that just don’t fit in the team’s plans going forward. But if Ballard believes a player’s talent and personality fit what they’re looking for, he will do his best to re-sign him.


“You are rewarding the guys in the locker room who have done the right things for you,” Ballard said. “I had some exit interviews with our players, ‘Look I want you to do what’s best [for you]. Do we want you back with the Colts? Absolutely we would love you back.’ But that doesn’t mean he is going to be back. Sometimes somebody might make him an offer that exceeds ours and I get it. Good for his family. It stinks for us if we lose the player, but we place a value on every guy … and we are going to be very disciplined in that regard.”

Ballard started the process of rewarding players when the Colts recently re-signed veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri and offensive lineman Mark Glowinski more than six weeks before the start of free agency on March 13. That leaves 11 other unrestricted free agents on the roster. The Colts have $120 million in salary-cap space to work with, but it’s shaping up to where they probably don’t have to overspend on any players they want to bring back.

Receiver Dontrelle Inman worked his way into a prominent role with the Colts in 2018. AP Photo/Michael Conroy
Dontrelle Inman, wide receiver

2018 stats: 28 receptions, 304 yards, 3 TDs (4 starts)

Why he’s a keeper: Inman went from being a player without a team through the first six weeks of the season, to signing with the Colts in Week 7, to becoming their second most reliable true wide receiver behind T.Y. Hilton by the end of the season. It didn’t take long for Inman to surpass Chester Rogers and Ryan Grant. Inman is 30, but his familiarity with coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni helps him. Having Inman as a third or fourth receiver means the Colts will have a solid receiving group next season.

Najee Goode, linebacker

Why he’s a keeper: Goode’s stats don’t scream that he needs to be re-signed — especially for much money — but his value goes beyond the stat sheet. He’s a veteran on what is a relatively young linebacker group. His leadership and experience of winning a Super Bowl with Philadelphia will carry some weight on a team that’s hoping to take another step next season.

Clayton Geathers, safety

2018 stats: 61 tackles (12 starts)

Why he’s a keeper: Geathers is the Colts’ most versatile safety because he can also play a hybrid linebacker role if necessary in defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ scheme. Geathers’ problem has been an inability to stay healthy. He has yet to play a full 16 games during his four-year career, but Ballard values Geathers, which means it wouldn’t be surprising if the Colts re-sign him at a cheaper cost than if he had found a way to stay healthy. “I got emotional with Clayton after the [Kansas City playoff] game, because I love him,” Ballard said. “I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for. I watched a guy every week fight his tail off to get ready to play.”

On the fence
CB Pierre Desir

2018 stats: 60 tackles, 1 Int (12 starts)

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Why he’s a keeper: Desir showed flashes at times during the season, like playing a significant part in limiting Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins to a combined nine catches and 73 yards over the game in December and the teams’ playoff matchup. Desir could land a significant pay increase, but it might have to come elsewhere with the Colts being high on fellow cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Quincy Wilson.

Not returning
Ryan Grant, wide receiver

2018 stats: 35 receptions, 334 yards, 1 TD (10 starts)

Why he won’t be back: Grant signed with the Colts with a significant chip on his shoulder after the Baltimore Ravens said he failed his physical, leaving him without a team, last offseason. Grant spent time as the No. 2 receiver during offseason workouts, but his time at that position didn’t last long because of inconsistent play and injuries.

Mike Mitchell, safety

2018 stats: 28 tackles, 1 Int (4 starts)

Why he won’t be back: Injuries at safety caused the Colts to sign the veteran Mitchell during the regular season. He brought experience and leadership to the secondary, especially for Wilson. Mitchell was even AFC Defensive Player of the Week once, but he will be 32 in June and there might not be a place for him in the secondary.

Margus Hunt, defensive lineman

2018 stats: 30 tackles, 5 sacks (15 starts)

Why he won’t be back: Hunt, who had been known more for his special teams play than his play on the defensive line, had a breakout season playing on the inside and outside on what ended up being a surprising line. He falls into the same category as Mitchell, as he’ll also be 32 this summer.

Al Woods, defensive lineman

2018 stats: 24 tackles (8 starts)

Why he won’t be back: Like Mitchell and Goode, Woods’ voice carried a lot of weight inside the locker room. But like Mitchell and Hunt, age isn’t on Woods’ side. He’ll also be turning 32 (in March).

Other free agents: Tight end Ryan Hewitt, offensive lineman J’Marcus Webb, safety J.J. Wilcox

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The Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans will play games in London during the 2019 season, leaving the Green Bay Packers as the only NFL team that will have not played in the United Kingdom.

The Panthers will face a NFC South rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Texans will play an AFC South matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the other London games, the Chicago Bears will play the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals will face the Los Angeles Rams.


Chiefs scheduled to play in Mexico City again
The NFL announced Monday that the Chiefs will play the Chargers in Mexico City during the 2019 season.

In addition, the Kansas City Chiefs will face the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City as a part of the league’s International Series that began in 2007.

The dates of the matchups and locations of the London games will be announced later.

“I’ve had the chance to play and coach in London before, and those were unbelievable experiences,” Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. Rivera played in London with the Bears in the 1986 preseason and coached in London with the Chargers in the 2008 regular season.

It also will be a chance for Carolina defensive end Efe Obada, who joined the Panthers in 2017 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and this past season became the first player from that program to make the 53-man roster, to play in the city where he grew up.

The Nigerian-born Obada shared last season that he and his sister were victims of human trafficking and were abandoned on the streets of London.

“It’s amazing the Panthers are going to play in London,” Obada said. “One of my goals, beyond making the roster, has been to play in London, be in front of the English fans and get a sack. It would be coming full circle to be on that field. Now I have to make the team again. It’s added motivation.”

This will be a home game for the Buccaneers, so the Panthers still will play eight home games at Bank of America Stadium.

Two of the UK games will be played at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium, and the other two at Wembley Stadium.

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Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said Monday during a radio interview that disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown wants to play for the San Francisco 49ers “really bad.”

Brown posted on his Instagram story Sunday an image of a FaceTime conversation with Rice, who was asked by 95.7 The Game on Monday what was discussed.


Brown to address Steelers drama ‘at a later date’
Receiver Antonio Brown said Friday on Instagram Live that he will address the situation with the Steelers “at a later date,” promising that “my actions will speak louder than my words.”

Rooney: ‘Hard to envision’ Brown on team in ’19
Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday that given the way the season ended, it’s “hard to envision” All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown being with the team when training camp opens.

Steelers’ Tomlin: Brown hasn’t requested trade
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Antonio Brown has not asked for a trade, and the organization will handle his absence from the team internally.

Asked by the station if he got the sense Brown would want to play for the 49ers, Rice answered: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He wants to come here really bad.

“He’s talking about running the hill with me — doing all that and just working out and just picking my brain. I don’t know if it’s going to happen because it’s going to be up to [coach] Kyle Shanahan and also [general manager] John Lynch, but I’m all for it if they want him to come on board.”

Rice, a 49ers star from 1985 to 2000, said he would look forward to passing on knowledge to Brown if San Francisco were to acquire him.

Niners tight end George Kittle had tweeted at Brown after news of his Week 17 drama with the Steelers had surfaced, drawing a response from Brown.

Last week, team president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Brown would not be released but “all other options are on the table” regarding his future with the team. He also said that it would be “hard to envision” Brown as part of the team when it reports to training camp in late July.

Antonio Brown posted this image on his Instagram Story on Sunday to show he was FaceTiming with Jerry Rice. Instagram/AB
Brown’s absence from Week 17 practices resulted in a benching for the season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, and during that week Brown had a flare-up in a team setting.

The Steelers would absorb $21.12 million in 2019 dead money on the salary cap by trading Brown, who has notched six consecutive 100-catch seasons — but taking his $22.165 million cap charge off the books would offset that cost. Brown enters the third year of a five-year, $72.7 million extension signed before the 2017 season.


Rice said he’s not worried that Brown wouldn’t fit in the 49ers’ culture.

“Not a question. No hesitation at all,” he said.

Rice said that if he were making the call, he’d definitely trade for Brown.

“If it was left up to me, he’d be here in a heartbeat.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.

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Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Kris Richard is about to embark on one of the busiest 24-hour stretches of his life.

After coaching the Cowboys against the Seattle Seahawks in Saturday night’s wild-card game, Richard will then get ready for three head-coaching interviews on Sunday. Richard is set to interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, league sources told ESPN.

All three teams have an interest in speaking with the coach whom players such as former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman have vouched for.

Sunday was the only day that Richard could squeeze in the interviews, so all three will take place that day, back-to-back-to-back, before Richard either gets back to his offseason or prepares to coach in a divisional playoff game.

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets entrusted the 2018 season to a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, who went from good to bad to good. Typical growing pains. Now they’re on to what will be a watershed offseason, and once again they’re relying on a rookie. Two, actually.

CEO Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan, neither of whom has coordinated a head-coaching search, are in charge of finding the replacement for Todd Bowles.

Unlike Darnold, they have no margin for error. Sorry, no growing pains allowed. Over the next few weeks, they will interview several candidates and ultimately will make a decision that shapes the future of the franchise. The right coach, teamed with a potential star quarterback in Darnold, could catapult the Jets into a new era of prosperity. The wrong choice will mean more misery for the team and could stunt Darnold’s development, which would qualify as a high crime and misdemeanor.

If you’re a Jets fan, you have a right to feel a bit uneasy.

“This is my first time in the big chair doing this,” said Johnson, who became the acting owner in 2017 when big brother Woody Johnson left to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Christopher Johnson is the most down-to-earth rich guy you’ll ever meet, and he cares deeply about the team. He’s a players’ owner, respected by the locker room, but the undeniable truth is he’s a novice when it comes to picking a coach. Does he know enough football to get inside a candidate’s head? Does he have the correct vision for the team? Will he pick an X’s-and-O’s guru to develop Darnold or will he look for overall leadership qualities to lead the 53?

Johnson made one thing clear: It’s his call. He will make the final decision.

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson is conducting his first head-coach search. Seth Wenig/AP Photo
Say this for him: He’s got guts, deciding to take a hands-on approach. His big bro went the other way, hiring a consulting firm for the 2013 GM search, which yielded the overmatched John Idzik. Woody Johnson also sought outside help for the concurrent GM and head-coach searches in 2015, using former NFL executives Charley Casserly and Ron Wolf as consultants. That resulted in the Maccagnan-Bowles pairing, which turned into Splitsville on Sunday night with the firing of Bowles.

“Look, I don’t think that anybody should be too confident going into a coaching search, because so much depends on it,” Johnson said. “People say they’re super confident about their ability to find the right coach. I think they’re a little too optimistic.”

Call him pragmatic.

Truth is, Johnson believes the Jets are a terrific landing spot in large part due to Darnold, $100 million in cap room and the appeal of the New York market. As Johnson said, “If you make it here, you’re a freaking legend.”

But that doesn’t mean the Jets will hit a home run with this hire. For one thing, they’ve already narrowed their approach, saying they won’t give total control to a coach and will retain the current power structure. That means the new coach and Maccagnan will be on the same level, both reporting to Johnson. That setup has inherent flaws, and it created fissures in the Maccagnan-Bowles relationship, yet Johnson has no plans to change it. He’s convinced there’s nothing wrong with the structure.

There’s also the issue of Maccagnan, who has only two years remaining on his contract. Can the Jets attract a top candidate if he suspects the GM could get fired in a year? That would mean a new GM, which puts the coach in a precarious position. The Jets lived it with Idzik and Rex Ryan, and they could go through it again if the team fizzles in 2019.

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Johnson didn’t issue a playoff ultimatum for Maccagnan, but he essentially put his GM on notice. As much he praised Maccagnan for Darnold — basically, the reason he gave a mulligan — the acting owner knows the talent level isn’t close to where it needs to be.

“I’m never going to have a mandate, but this team has to get better,” said Johnson, commenting specifically on Maccagnan. “Mike knows that. Mike knows that in all ways this team has to get better.”

Now Johnson and Maccagnan will be sitting side by side in the interviews, probing candidates. Maccagnan needs to pick the right guy because his future is riding on it. At the same time, his uncertain long-term status could make it awkward during the interview process. Will he downgrade a qualified candidate if he senses that guy might angle for control of the roster after a year?

You have to wonder if it might be the case with former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the only known candidate with the credentials to seek total control. Maccagnan doesn’t have final say on the choice, but he’s in a position to influence Johnson. Would he recommend a coach who might be a threat to his authority?

Maccagnan has been around the league for more than 20 years, so he has contacts and knows the game. He was involved in coaching searches with his previous team, the Houston Texans, but only on the periphery.

“For the most part, for me at least, this will be the first time going through this role right now in terms of my responsibilities,” Maccagnan said.

He’s a rookie at this. So is his boss. They can’t afford a pick-six on their first NFL pass.

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Heavy boos rained down from the Miami Dolphins fans still around in a half-empty Hard Rock Stadium late in the fourth quarter Sunday. Coach Adam Gase waved the proverbial white flag — punting on fourth-and-20 with a double-digit deficit — as his offense couldn’t get anything going. The Dolphins never touched the ball again.

In what was could be the last home game for several key Dolphins, it was an ugly way to go out — a 17-7 loss to an underachieving Jacksonville Jaguars team that was playing out the string.

The boos rang throughout the game — an obvious sign of displeasure with an offense that was flat-out hard to watch in every drive except for the first one — and they were loud again when the Dolphins walked off the field with the loss.

The Dolphins (7-8) failed to reach 200 total yards for the third time in four games and the fifth time this season. Injuries have mounted this season, but Sunday’s performance was certainly an indictment on everyone involved — especially on the offensive side of the ball.

After the first drive of the game, the Dolphins were completely ineffective on Sunday against the Jaguars. Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
“It’s terrible. The offense was awful,” coach Adam Gase said. “It was brutal to watch. To be a part of.”

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who will have many decisions to make regarding change in the coming weeks, couldn’t have been happy with anything he saw on Sunday. Ross walked through the Dolphins’ side locker room door with his head down and exited directly out the adjacent door after the game.

In what has been a roller-coaster season for the Dolphins, Sunday’s loss was revealing. Miami isn’t close to being a legitimate contender, and changes could be coming.

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For much of the game, it felt like a matchup between two of the worst teams in football. Neither team could muster much of anything on offense. The Jaguars (5-10) flip-flopped between Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles, neither of whom are likely in the team’s long-term plans. The Dolphins defense notched a season-high six sacks, yet it didn’t matter.

The biggest story of the day was in a game that still had playoff implications, the Dolphins offense came out and laid an egg. They would have been eliminated anyway because of wins by the Patriots and Colts, but that didn’t make Sunday’s lackluster showing any better.

“They dominated us up front. We got sacked. We couldn’t run the ball. There were no holes. We were getting pushed back,” Gase said. “We just didn’t do a good job. We were bad.”

Hope simmered for weeks in Miami that there was still a playoff chance, but the air left that sail as Ryan Tannehill’s fourth-quarter pick-six essentially ended the game. Tannehill didn’t play well, either. Gase, long a Tannehill supporter, admitted that Sunday.

“Today was a rough day for him. I wish he would have played a little better. I wish he would have made a few more decisions that were different,” Gase said. “I think there’s been games that he’s played really well — and there’s been some games where we haven’t played well. And it’s as much on me as it is on him.”

Tannehill added: “We have to be cleaner, every position, starting with me.”

There will be many questions to answer, many decisions to make, and the next week certainly won’t be pleasant at Dolphins headquarters.

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LOS ANGELES — Jared Goff hit Cooper Kupp in stride with a 70-yard touchdown pass that was just as gloriously wide-open as Rams coach Sean McVay had predicted when they drew it up this week.

While his teammates celebrated, Goff ran to the sideline and pointed at McVay, who accepted the challenge with a celebratory chest bump.

“I was fired up for him,” Goff said. “I told him after, ‘I didn’t mean to knock you over there.’”

Although the big quarterback knocked the headset off his smaller coach’s head, both men were left smiling. With that throw and several more of similar brilliance, Goff turned a phenomenal first half into the biggest game of his career.

And it was still just barely enough to beat Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings.

Goff passed for career highs of 465 yards and five touchdowns, winning a scintillating duel with his Minnesota counterpart and leading unbeaten Los Angeles to a 38-31 victory Thursday night.

Goff hit Kupp with two of his four TD throws during a 251-yard first half in which the third-year quarterback flawlessly executed the offence created by McVay. Goff finished 26 of 33 with a perfect 158.3 passer rating for the Rams (4-0), who won their third home game in 12 days.

“It was just great command by him,” McVay said. “I think he’s having fun. No moment is too big for him, and it gives you confidence when you see him playing like this.”

But McVay then had to watch apprehensively while his former prize pupil nearly executed a comeback for the Vikings (1-2-1). McVay was Cousins’ offensive co-ordinator in Washington before he became Goff’s head coach on the West Coast last season.

Cousins passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns, but the Vikings lost when Los Angeles rookie defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers strip-sacked Cousins near midfield with 1:18 to play.

“It’s fun for us, personally,” Goff said of his duel with Cousins. “I don’t know if it’s fun for the whole team, but it’s cool. Kirk is a guy we watched on film forever last year. Got a lot of respect for him and the way he plays, and I just think he’s such a great quarterback. To get a chance to go against him like that and kind of duke it out, I told him after the game how much I appreciated the battle with him.”

Todd Gurley finished with 83 yards rushing and 73 yards receiving for the Rams. Gurley and Brandin Cooks had first-half TD catches, but the Vikings trimmed LA’s lead to 31-28 late in the third quarter with Adam Thielen’s 45-yard TD catch and a 2-point conversion.

Goff promptly surpassed his previous career highs for yards passing during a swift drive ending in Robert Woods’ 31-yard TD catch, and the Rams’ defence hung on while the offence went scoreless in the fourth quarter.

One week after giving up 27 points in the first half and getting blown out as 16 1/2-point favourites in Buffalo, the Vikings gave up 28 before halftime against LA.

“We did not play well defensively,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “Offensively we moved the ball well, but we had too many missed tackles, and too many people were left wide open. I’ve not ever had a team that’s been this poor in pass coverage. We are going to have to look at everything.”

A healthy throng of purple-clad fans turned out for the Vikings’ first game in Los Angeles since 1993. They saw a show from Cousins, who hit Aldrick Robinson for two first-half scores.

Goff found Kupp with two beautiful TD throws in the first half, the first hitting Kupp in stride on that 70-yard sprint , and the second eluding two Vikings and dropping into Kupp’s hands deep in the end zone.

“Jared put it in about a 6-inch box that only he could fit it into,” McVay said.

Less than 2 1/2 minutes later, Goff hit Cooks down the middle for a 47-yard score. Goff’s four TD passes were the most in a first half by a Rams quarterback since Kurt Warner did it in 1999.


Minnesota defensive end Everson Griffen posted a message on Instagram expressing his gratitude for support from his team and family. Griffen has been away from the Vikings while undergoing a mental health evaluation, and he didn’t get to return to the Coliseum, where he starred for USC. Griffen said he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be back in uniform, but he plans to “return as a much-improved person and player.”


Vikings: RB Dalvin Cook had 20 yards on 10 carries after missing last week’s game with a hamstring injury. … Goff’s third and fourth TD throws beat CB Trae Waynes, who missed the second half with a concussion.

Rams: TE Tyler Higbee injured his knee early on. He returned later in the first half. … CB Marcus Peters played after injuring his calf last week.


Vikings: At the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 7.

Rams: At the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Oct. 7.

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CLEVELAND — For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns found a way to win.

Baker Mayfield showed them how.

The No. 1 overall pick replaced injured starter Tyrod Taylor and sparked the Browns, who got two 1-yard touchdown runs from Carlos Hyde and beat the New York Jets 21-17 on Thursday night for their first win since Dec. 24, 2016.

And so ends Cleveland’s 19-game winless streak, the NFL’s second-longest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

The Browns (1-1-1) trailed 14-0 in the first half before Mayfield came in for Taylor and led four scoring drives while winning an unexpected matchup against Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold. Cleveland passed on taking Darnold in the draft and instead chose Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma.

Mayfield finished 17 of 23 for 201 yards in a little more than a half after coming in after Taylor suffered a concussion.

Darnold had one last chance, but was intercepted by Terrence Mitchell with 11 seconds left.

When the final seconds ticked off the clock, Cleveland fans, who had endured a 0-16 season and waited nearly two years to see their Browns win, erupted in celebration.

Refrigerators around the city stocked with Bud Lights were finally unlocked, and there figured to be more than a few beverages consumed in the hours ahead.

This was just one win, and while it was an ending, it also felt like a beginning — because of Mayfield.

Isaiah Crowell had two touchdown runs for the Jets (1-2), who seemed in control when they took a 14-0 lead and knocked Taylor from the game.

Newly signed Browns kicker Greg Joseph made field goals of 45 and 27 yards after being signed just three days ago.

Browns coach Hue Jackson got just his second win in 35 games since being hired by owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and this win will ease some of the pressure he’s been feeling to get Cleveland turned around. Jackson could also be faced with a difficult choice — either stick with Mayfield or go back to Taylor when he’s healthy.

The decision might not be as tough now.

Mayfield made his NFL debut with 1:42 left in the second quarter, replacing an injured Taylor after Cleveland’s starter was sacked for the third time. Taylor struggled getting to his feet after being dragged down by linebacker Avery Williamson, but he had absorbed several hard blows before that — and had been ineffective.

With Cleveland’s crowd roaring, Mayfield completed a 14-yard pass to Jarvis Landry on his first pass as a pro and then found tight end David Njoku for 17 yards. Mayfield drove Cleveland into field-goal position and Joseph, who signed with the team on Monday following a tryout, drilled a low line drive to pull the Browns within 14-3.

Cleveland’s plan was to have Mayfield watch and learn this season.

Taylor’s injury may change everything.

For Darnold, a promising start ended with his second loss in three games. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards, but threw two picks late in the fourth as he tried to rally the Jets.

Hyde’s 1-yard TD run pulled the Browns within 14-12 and Cleveland tied it with a trick 2-point play.

Mayfield shifted to the left and the ball was snapped directly to running back Duke Johnson, who ran right and gave the ball to Landry on a reverse. Landry then lofted a pass into the end zone to Mayfield, whose conversion tied it and sent Cleveland fans into a frenzy.

Crowell scored his second TD with 7:54 left in the second quarter, and was flagged for excessive celebrating when he squatted and wiped the ball on his backside before flinging it into the crowd.

Crowell’s untouched 7-yard run TD run came five plays after Jets linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis got a hand on Britton Colquitt’s attempted punt and New York took over at Cleveland’s 28.

On the first play of the second quarter, Crowell took an inside handoff and raced into the end zone before firing the ball into the stands in celebration. Crowell spent four seasons with the Browns before signing a three-year, $12 million free agent contract with New York as a free agent in March.


Joseph stayed on the field and kicked by himself during the opening coin toss, and each of his makes drew a rousing ovation from Cleveland fans. Just a few days ago, Joseph was relaxing in South Florida with friends while Gonzalez missed four kicks in New Orleans and then got booted by the Browns.


The Browns suspended radio reporter Nathan Zegura eight games for his conduct on the sideline during last Sunday’s loss at New Orleans. Zegura, who also co-hosts the team’s in-house radio broadcast, can’t work a game until Nov. 25. He has also been removed from the team’s afternoon show for two weeks.


Jets: CB Trumaine Johnson left in the first quarter with a suspected head injury, but returned. …. WR Charone Peake sustained a hamstring injury. … CB Buster Skrine injured his knee in the first and did not return. … WR Robby Anderson injured his nose in the third quarter, but came back.

Browns: S Jabrill Peppers hurt a shoulder in the first half, and Landry replaced him on punt returns.

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COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers face a familiar scenario for the second straight game, preparing for an athletic but inexperienced quarterback.

After facing Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes last week, the Chargers will go up against Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who will be making his first NFL start Sunday.

Coach Anthony Lynn and members of the Chargers secondary say they don’t see much alteration of the game plan with the Bills going to their rookie, who was the seventh overall pick in this year’s draft.

“When preparing against someone like that, you are not going to change too much. You watch the tape, look at the tendencies when making certain throws and go off on that,” safety Adrian Phillips said.

The Chargers are preparing for Allen the same way they did with Mahomes, which is breaking down his college tape and preseason game.

Safety Derwin James said the biggest thing that surprised him watching Allen was that he was better than he thought as a runner. Allen was sacked three times in last Sunday’s 47-3 loss to Baltimore but did have four rushes for 26 yards.

Lynn said he expects a healthy amount of run-pass option plays for Allen.

“He can run the zone read. Two of those were designed quarterback runs so he can move. You are going to have some of the same issues (as last week),” he said.

The Chargers are hoping to have better success than they had last week, when Mahomes threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-28 Chiefs win. A big reason for Mahomes’ success was that the Chargers were unable to get much pressure up front. Los Angeles had just one sack and seven defensive hurries on 29 drop backs last Sunday.

Los Angeles is likely to be without two defensive line starters again. Defensive end Joey Bosa is seeking a second opinion on his injured left foot and defensive tackle Corey Liuget is serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

“I think you have to pick your moments in the game where you want to make him uncomfortable,” Lynn said. “It’s a chess game there, when you pressure and when you don’t. But we definitely want him to go through some of his progressions.”

The Chargers allowed four pass plays of 20 yards or more and a league-high 249 yards after the catch last week. James said a huge emphasis this week will be on preventing long completions.

“He has a big arm and likes the deep ball throws. We will have to stay back and do a good job of playing the ball in the air,” he said.

The Chargers are 3-0 since the 1970 merger when facing a rookie first-round quarterback who is making his first start. The last time they faced a Bills first-time starter it also went well as they picked off Nathan Peterman five times in the first half in a 54-24 win in Week 11 last season.

“We were hitting on all cylinders that day, getting good pressure on the quarterback and turning the ball over,” Lynn said. “But that was last year. We’re both 0-1 and need a win.”

Notes: This will be Lynn’s first game in Buffalo since he was the Bills’ running backs coach for two seasons (2015-16). He also was the interim head coach for the final game in 2016. “I feel good about going back there but it’s just another game,” he said. … Besides Bosa, offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (knee), wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foot) and cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring) did not practice.

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The Seattle Seahawks once used their top draft pick on a running back — Christine Michael in the second round in 2013 — even though they had Marshawn Lynch coming off his best season and a capable backup in Robert Turbin.

When: April 26-28
Where: Arlington, Texas
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In 2011, they sent reporters inside the media workroom at team headquarters scrambling to Google when they surprisingly used the 25th pick on James Carpenter. His wasn’t a well-known name nor one that had appeared in many first-round mock drafts that year.

They did the same thing in 2012 when they took Bruce Irvin 15th overall.

Unpredictability has been the Seahawks’ M.O. in the draft under general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll, especially with their early picks. That’s worth keeping in mind for those who assume it’s a foregone conclusion that Seattle will again trade back in the first round instead of staying put and picking at No. 18.

To be sure, another move back would be a logical move. Their history and their need for more picks makes it seem like the likely move, even.

The Seahawks haven’t made their original first-round pick since 2011 with Carpenter. They gave it up in pre-draft trades twice — for Percy Harvin in 2013 and Jimmy Graham in 2015. In the four other drafts since 2011, Seattle has either traded back in the first round or all the way out of it.

Here’s the rundown.

2012: Traded the 12th pick (DT Fletcher Cox) to Philadelphia for No. 15 (Irvin) plus a fourth-rounder (114, DE Jaye Howard) and a sixth (172, CB Jeremy Lane);

2014: Traded the 32nd pick (QB Teddy Bridgewater) to Minnesota for a second-rounder (40, which was traded again) and a fourth (108, DE Cassius Marsh);

2016: Traded the 26th pick (QB Paxton Lynch) to Denver for the 31st pick (OL Germain Ifedi) and a third-rounder (94, TE Nick Vannett);

2017: Traded the 26th pick (DE Takkarist McKinley) to Atlanta for the 31st pick, a third-rounder (95, SS Delano Hill) and a seventh (249, RB Chris Carson). Traded No. 31 (LB Reuben Foster) to San Francisco for a second-rounder (34) and a fourth (111, FS Tedric Thompson). The Seahawks then traded back one spot to No. 35, where they took DL Malik McDowell.

The reason it’s widely believed the Seahawks will trade back again is because they’re without picks in the second or third rounds, having given them up in last year’s trades for Sheldon Richardson and Duane Brown. Seattle has eight picks in all — a first (18), a fourth (120), three fifths (141, 146, 168) and three sevenths (226, 248, 250).

The Seahawks haven’t made fewer than two picks over the first three rounds in any of their eight drafts under Schneider and Carroll. They’ve only made fewer than nine picks total one time — in 2015, when they made eight. Their 77 picks in that span averages out to about nine and a half per year.

So you can imagine how temping it will be for Schneider and Co. to make another trade back from No. 18 in order to acquire more selections.

But why might they stay put? A few possible reasons.

If they were to trade Earl Thomas — a legitimate possibility by all indications — they’d almost certainly get an early pick in return. That could eliminate or at least alleviate the need for Seattle to recoup that missing early-round draft capital.

There’s also the reality that it takes two to trade. The Seahawks may want to move back, but what if they can’t find another team that wants to move up enough to make Seattle an equitable offer to do so?

And maybe a player the Seahawks love surprisingly falls to them at No. 18 and they simply decide that they can’t pass up on taking him there.

The odds are in favor of another trade back. But with the Seahawks and the draft, you just never know.