Hall of Fame Game cancelled because of unsafe field conditions

Still, the cancellation came as a surprise to many. It’s not often that any NFL game, even one that doesn’t count, is called off.

Had no idea a cancellation was possible.. When it 1st got mentioned our entire locker room had the same reaction.. pic.twitter.com/920e2bXBOR
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 7, 2016

Realizing the bad look of the whole situation, the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame had both teams stay at the stadium and turned the event into a fan experience. Fans will be refunded their ticket costs. Still, it’s a major embarrassment for the game that annually kicks off the exhibition season.

The Hall of Fame Game was canceled in 2011 because of the ongoing lockout. The game also twice was cut short because of lightning concerns.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not expected to play anyway, and both teams’ starters likely wouldn’t have had much more than a series in the 2016 preseason debut. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano both expressed concerns about the state of the field, brought it up to game officials and monitored as the field crew tried to work on the surface before the game ultimately was canceled.

This was also scheduled to be the debut of “Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough, who replaced Mike Tirico in the offseason, for ESPN. Now the game goes down as a major waste of money for the network, plus that for the travel expenses of thousands of fans who came to Canton — including scores from Wisconsin — yes, mostly to watch the induction speeches of Brett Favre and Tony Dungy and others, but also catch a little NFL football for the first time in seven months.

People might not love the preseason in general, but this still is a bad look for the NFL.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – The NFL fans in St. Louis have, for the first time in 21 years, no local team to root for. The Rams have gone to Los Angeles, leaving at least some area fans looking for another team to support.

The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other end of Missouri and about 250 miles from St. Louis, hope it’s them.

The Chiefs’ preseason games this summer, beginning Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium, will be shown live on the CBS affiliate in St. Louis, beginning what could be a more aggressive marketing plan aimed at football fans in that city.

“We thought it’s important to have our games on there,’’ president Mark Donovan said during a visit to training camp at Missouri Western State University. “The NFL did, too. It’s a big market and we want to take advantage of that opportunity.’’

The Chiefs have intentionally moved slowly with regard to luring St. Louis area fans.

“It’s something we’re trying to be very respectful of,’’ chairman Clark Hunt said. “We know there are a lot of great Rams fans in St. Louis. They’re very disappointed to lose their team to Los Angeles. We’re not proactively courting them at this point. Probably the best thing we can do to build a fan base over there is to go out and have a great season on the field.’’

Donovan said, “I think our strategy has been the right strategy. Let’s seed our product and see how we do and let’s see what the reaction is, and then let’s go from there.’’


“We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve,” Fowler said. “If you’re making a lot of money and you think you’re already there, you’re not going to get better.

“… They had a bad attitude. You saw Kemp’s letter. Talk about a bunch of b.s.”

“Most of ’em are gone, thank God.”

Shields signed a four-year, $75-million deal with San Diego ahead of the 2015 season. He made 44 starts for the Padres and went 15-14 with a 4.00 ERA in 269 2/3 innings. Until his final Padres start, Shields was in the midst of a strong campaign with a 3.06 ERA in 10 starts.

A Southern California native who now resides in San Diego, Shields said he enjoyed his time with the Padres. But he can’t wrap his head around how he previously was singled out and is once again attached to Fowler’s ire.

The Padres owe Shields’ $22 million of the $44 million left on his contract over the next two seasons.

“I understand his reasoning and frustration,” Shields said. “With the situation with me, I felt it was unnecessary to call me out just for my one bad outing. I know his frustrations were more or less on the team. But to call me out individually — he had no respect for me as a player.

“The one thing I do know is that whenever I stepped foot on the mound, I was there to win and there was no lack of effort whatsoever on my part. It’s unfortunate. That’s a great city. The fans are amazing. They want to win. They want a winner over there. It’s unfortunate the way it happened. I’m not happy about the way that it happened because we did have some really good players. I do know one thing — I can talk on behalf of myself and I put in as good of an effort as I have my whole career.”

CANTON, Ohio – Brett Favre wants his induction speech at Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement to mirror his career.

It’s why the former gun-slinging Green Bay Packers quarterback said he won’t go in with any written remarks. He knows he’ll talk extensively about his father, Irv, who died in 2003 on the eve of one of his greatest performances. After that, it could be a free-for-all.

“My speech will be much like the way I played; it will be, ‘Who in the hell knows?'” Favre said on Friday.

“But it worked out pretty well in my career.”

Favre will be the last of the eight inductees to address the crowd.

“I say that not to scare anyone, but we may be here ’til 3 in the morning,” Favre said. “With my dad, I think what I want to get across, and it’s no big secret, is about [how] important he was to my life and my career, which was extremely important. There’s a lot of people who are important to my career and my success, but none more important than my dad, and I want to make sure I get that across.”

Favre’s free-wheeling style helped turn him into a beloved figure, especially during his 16-year run with the Packers.

However, there’s no ignoring his final stop — the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the rival Minnesota Vikings. That part of his career was commemorated in a Hall of Fame exhibit that includes both Packers and Vikings jerseys.

The artifacts were selected by the museum curators with no input from Favre, who finally saw the display on Friday while touring the Hall of Fame with one of his former coaches, Steve Mariucci.

How is Mark Sanchez doing against 2 QBs who have never thrown an NFL pass?

But Sanchez is probably the early favorite to be under center for the regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers. Siemian and Lynch have zero NFL passes between them. Sanchez has 72 starts, 15,126 yards and 86 touchdowns. A rebuilding team might ride with one of the young guys. The defending Super Bowl champs might not be so bold.

Sanchez’s experience is his edge. He talked about knowing when to give his teammates some extra reminders in the huddle, in pressing situations like third down or inside the red zone, or how to instill confidence in everyone. He joked about trying to be a leader in the huddle his rookie season with the New York Jets (“My first year was a good acting job, I felt like, because half the time I didn’t know what was going on,” he said) but he’s more comfortable with it after six NFL seasons. He’s seen it all by now.

“He doesn’t seem to get rattled out here,” Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler said. “I love the way he’s playing.”

Sanchez has been a starting quarterback in New York and Philadelphia, so he has felt pressure before. Nothing about Sanchez’s ever-optimistic demeanor indicates he’s bothered by this latest challenge.

“It’s almost like someone who has had that near-death experience and now nothing phases them,” Sanchez said. “You just have a different perspective and a different outlook. Once you’ve been through that fire a little bit, you’re hardened. Calloused, in ways. I think that’s good.”

Sanchez probably won’t have much room for error. First-round picks at quarterback don’t take redshirt seasons anymore.

In 2005, first-round rookie quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jason Campbell didn’t start a game. From 2006 through last year, 24 quarterbacks were picked in the first round. Twenty-two of the 24 started at least one game as a rookie. Jake Locker in 2011 and Brady Quinn in 2007 were the only exceptions. If Lynch doesn’t get a shot this year, it’s an anomaly.

Lynch isn’t a threat to start yet. He’s still wildly inconsistent. On Wednesday, Lynch’s accuracy was all over the place. There’s a reason he finished OTAs third on the depth chart and is still there. He needs some work, which isn’t uncommon for a rookie.

The Dallas Cowboys spent all of last season churning through injured and ineffective quarterbacks. 2016 is off to a similar start.

With backup passer Kellen Moore expected to be out three to four months with the broken ankle he suffered on Tuesday, the ‘Boys already have eyes for the league’s most available veteran passer: Nick Foles.

“It really seems they’re going to have to take a hard look at the veteran quarterback market, and the name to watch is Nick Foles,” NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday on NFL Network, per team sources. “There is legitimate interest. I’m told the Cowboys — that would be the name if they are going to bring in a backup.”

NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported that Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones has talked to Foles agent. The Cowboys are one of a handful of teams interested in Foles and there’s a chance he could sign with a team as early as Wednesday, Garafolo added.

Antonio Brown wants Steelers to ‘take care of him’

“I’m a first-class guy in the relationship (with the Steelers), and the first step to getting better is showing up,” he said.

Brown is regarded as the best route runner in the NFL and he’s strongly in the discussion as the best wide receiver in the league. His contract doesn’t add up to his contributions. Brown knows it and the Steelers should, too.

“When you don’t have contact with somebody for as long as we did, you don’t know every little detail of what’s going on,” Gase continued. “(Surgery) was a decision that we had to make. We’ll see how everything goes moving forward.”
The designation won’t affect Jordan’s future with the team or the conditions of his reinstatement, but he’ll lose out on the $1.7 million bonus he would have received Monday if he were on the active roster.

The move comes two days after the NFL conditionally reinstated after being suspended for more than a year following multiple violations of the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Gase said that Jordan “has a fresh start with him and that past events were “irrelevant.”

In addition to placing Jordan on the NFI list, the team also activated newly signed running back Arian Foster (Achilles tendon) from the physically unable to perform list. Foster was placed on PUP Friday a little more than a week after he inked a one-year deal with the team.

Jordan has been cleared by the NFL to join the Dolphins at training camp and participate in meetings, conditioning work and similar activities. He will be allowed to take part in all preseason activities, including practices and games, once certain conditions of his reinstatement are fully met. If he meets all the criteria of his reinstatement, he will be allowed to play in the regular season for the first time since December 2014.

“I just think the approach, the denial of everything. Looking me in my eye and denying everything, it’s tough,” Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It disappoints you as a man and a guy who cared so much about him. I obviously care a lot about him as a person and a football player.”

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