August 2, 2018 / 12:41 AM / a year ago

NFL notebook: Patriots release injured WR Matthews

The New England Patriots announced they released wide receiver Jordan Matthews with an injury settlement on Wednesday, less than four months after signing him.

file photo: Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) fumbles the ball while stretching for yardage defended by New York Jets corner back Juston Burris (32) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Field Yates reported earlier Wednesday that the team would place Matthews on injured reserve, after earlier reports said the team was releasing Matthews. He is free to join another team and play this season if and when he is healthy.

Matthews, 26, who left practice Sunday with a hamstring injury, joined the Patriots on a one-year, $1 million deal as a free agent in April after the Buffalo Bills declined to re-sign him. The deal had just $300,000 guaranteed.

To fill Matthews’ roster spot, New England signed fullback Henry Poggi, an undrafted free agent who joined the Oakland Raiders in May before they released him in June.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given general manager Jason Licht a one-year contract extension, according to multiple reports.

Licht, 47, was entering the final year of his deal but is now under contract through 2019. He and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter — who is signed through 2020 — were rumored to be on the hot seat after the team missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season last year, taking a step back from 9-7 in 2016 to 5-11.

Expectations have cooled somewhat for 2018 with the three-game suspension for quarterback Jameis Winston over a Uber drive incident and the strength of the NFC South’s other teams, but Tampa Bay will be looking to reach the postseason for the first time since Jon Gruden’s second-to-last season in charge.

—The Seattle Seahawks signed free agent guard and former starter J.R. Sweezy, the team announced.

The six-year veteran Sweezy visited the Seahawks — for whom he played from 2012-15 — in early July after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, just two years into a five-year, $32.5 million deal signed in March of 2016. He was due to make $6.5 million in 2018 before his release.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Doug Baldwin’s knee injury will keep him out for most, if not all, of the preseason, according to an ESPN report. Baldwin, 29, has been sitting out practice since Sunday with what head coach Pete Carroll called a sore knee, an issue the wideout was dealing with coming into camp.

—Searching for the heir to Joe Thomas, the Cleveland Browns gave the first crack at left tackle to third-year pro Shon Coleman, while veteran left guard Joel Bitonio was deemed by offensive line coach Bob Wylie as a failsafe.

But by the sixth day of training camp, head coach Hue Jackson saw enough to bump Coleman to second string and install Bitonio as the starter at left tackle. Bitonio took over for Coleman midway through Wednesday’s practice, with rookie Austin Corbett stepping in as the starter at left guard.

Jackson confirmed to reporters after practice that the decision was made based on evaluations from the first week of camp. Jackson said he spoke with Bitonio during the team’s off-day on Tuesday, saying the fifth-year veteran was reluctant about the change but receptive to help the team win.

—The Green Bay Packers confirmed that linebacker Jake Ryan suffered a torn ACL during Monday’s practice, according to ESPN.

Ryan yelled in pain and pounded the ground after apparently injuring his right knee during 11-on-11 drills late in practice. The Green Bay players huddled around Ryan, 26, as he expressed his anguish before being carted off the field.

“He was just devastated,” fellow linebacker Blake Martinez said, per ESPN. “Obviously, he was super-excited about the season. He’s been putting a tremendous amount of work in. He’s been awesome throughout OTAs and these past four practices. It’s been good for him. It’s just really tough.”

—Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes continued to show inconsistency in practice, tossing a trio of interceptions to bring his total to seven through six sessions at training camp.

Per ESPN’s Adam Teicher, one of Mahomes’ interceptions came in the end zone after he had an open lane to score with his feet but opted to throw late instead. Another interception was the result of the young quarterback calling the wrong play in the huddle.

Mahomes, 22, played in just one game as a rookie, a Week 17 start when the Chiefs sat their starters against the Denver Broncos. He went 22-for-35 for 284 yards and an interception, but led a drive in the closing seconds for a game-winning field goal.

—The Carolina Panthers activated wide receiver Curtis Samuel from the physically unable to perform list, and he practiced for the first time this training camp.

Samuel is returning from surgery to repair a broken left ankle and ligament damage, which he suffered during a Week 10 victory over the Miami Dolphins in November.

Samuel, who turns 22 on Aug. 11, was the Panthers’ second-round pick (40th overall) last season out of Ohio State. He ran the third-fastest 40-yard dash (4.31 seconds) at the 2017 NFL Combine.

—Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson is being evaluated for a left shoulder injury after leaving practice in pain and not returning.

The team said it will issue an update on Doctson’s status Thursday. The third-year wideout appears to have escaped major injury, as he tweeted “#imgood” shortly after noon. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported later that Doctson’s injury is “not major” and sounds like an AC joint sprain/shoulder bruise.

Doctson, 25, missed all but two games of his rookie season while battling a sore Achilles. He played in all 16 games last season and averaged 14.3 yards per catch with six touchdowns, but he caught just 35 of 78 targets (44.9 percent).

—Quarterback Carson Wentz was held out of 11-on-11 drills for a third straight session, but the Philadelphia Eagles are just being cautious, according to coach Doug Pederson.

Wentz still participated in 7-on-7 drills and was involved in 11-on-11 drills for the first three days of camp. Pederson says Wentz, 25, being held out is strictly a precaution and that the quarterback hasn’t suffered a setback in his rehab from reconstructive knee surgery.

Wentz was initially cleared for controlled 7-on-7 drills during organized team activities in June, less than six months after his surgery. He hasn’t been cleared for contact yet.

—Defensive back DeAngelo Hall formally announced his retirement after 14 NFL seasons.

Hall intercepted 43 passes and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection while playing for the Atlanta Falcons (2004-07), Oakland Raiders (2008) and Washington Redskins (2008-17).

Hall, 34, was the eighth overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2004 NFL Draft.

—Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Jack Mewhort announced his retirement from the NFL after four seasons.

Mewhort, who turns 27 later this month, missed 17 games over the last two seasons will battling knee injuries, after starting 30 of a possible 32 games through his first two seasons. He started in all 45 NFL games in which he played.

He re-signed with the Colts on a one-year, $1.5 million contract in free agency in March, but will not play out that deal.

—Former star NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is trying his hand at combat sports. His knuckles, to be more specific.

Merriman, who has flirted with the idea of joining combat sports since leaving the NFL, revealed he has agreed to fight in the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation in a statement to ESPN. No opponent or date has been given, but the fight would take place in Casper, Wyoming.

Merriman, 34, retired in 2013 after recording 45 career sacks and making three Pro Bowl squads.

—Field Level Media

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