August 5, 2018 / 3:26 AM / a year ago

NFL notebook: Urlacher reflective, Kramer entertaining at HOF enshrinement

The 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was inducted in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday night, including former players Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher, along with front-office executive Bobby Beathard.

Aug 4, 2018; Canton, OH, USA; Fans wearing the jerseys of Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins (20) pose by banner with Class of 2018 enshrinees Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Terrell Owens, Dawkins, Ray Lewis, Robert Brazile, Bobby Beathard and Jerry Kramer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was the first of four men enshrined to approach tears. The eight-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro showed deep emotion while reflecting on his late mother, calling her the hardest-working person he’s ever known.

After waiting 49 years after retirement to get in, longtime Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer did not disappoint, delivering a lengthy speech filled with stories and inspirational quotes. Kramer, 82, also emphasized the importance of living a life built on character, not his list of accomplishments.

Robert Brazile, a seven-time Pro Bowler with the Houston Oilers, wore a memorable belt buckle to honor the late Bum Phillips, his former head coach. Longtime NFL personnel man Bobby Beathard, 81, is suffering from the early stages of dementia and chose to pre-record his speech.

—Terrell Owens put on gold Hall of Fame jacket Saturday, but the scene was out of place as Owens celebrated his induction into the Hall of Fame in Chattanooga, Tenn., approximately 600 miles away from Canton.

Before seven others voted into the Hall of Fame were inducted on live television later in the evening, Owens celebrated his induction in front of less than 4,000 people at McKenzie Arena on the Tennessee-Chattanooga campus.

Owens played football and basketball at the university before embarking on his stellar NFL career. The locals serenaded him with numerous “T.O, T.O” chants while providing a friendly environment. Owens is the first living inductee to skip the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

During his speech, Owens sharply criticized the selection committee, which is mostly made up of media members. Owens wasn’t inducted until his third year of eligibility. Owens ranks second in NFL history with 15,934 receiving yards, third with 153 touchdown catches and eighth with 1,078 receptions.

—Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said that he is optimistic that he and the New York Giants will work out a new contract.

In his first news conference since early last fall, Beckham said his ankle is healed and his contract situation is positive. Beckham and the Giants hope to have a contract agreement before the season opens. “Optimistic? Yeah. I’m optimistic,” he said. “I’m confident it will all work itself out. It always does.”

Beckham, 25, has said in the past that he wants to be the NFL’s highest-paid player, but he’s not going to reach quarterback money. So he’s going to have to settle for top wide-receiver pay. Antonio Brown’s contract with Pittsburgh pays him an average of $17 million per year, while Tampa Bay has guaranteed Mike Evans $55 million.

—With a huge need at defensive back, the Seattle Seahawks are working out veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, according to a report from NFL Network.

The secondary not too long ago was Seattle’s strongest spot, known as the Legion of Boom. But Richard Sherman now is playing for San Francisco, Earl Thomas is holding out for a new contract and it is believed Kam Chancellor won’t return over injury concerns.

Rodgers-Cromartie, a 10-year veteran who most recently played for the New York Giants, is a free agent who also has received interest from the Los Angeles Chargers. Now 32, he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015. Since then, however, he has started only 15 of the 30 games he’s played.

—Free agent Kenny Vaccaro signed with the Tennessee Titans, who lost starting safety Johnathan Cyprien to a torn ACL on Thursday.

Vaccaro, 27, played for the New Orleans Saints and started 67 games in his first five seasons. The 2013 first-round pick is ideally used as an in-the-box safety and plays more like a linebacker.

ESPN reported the Titans also tried to arrange a visit with free agent Eric Reid, but the former San Francisco 49ers’ starter had multiple flight issues.

—Arizona Cardinals center A.Q. Shipley reportedly suffered a leg injury during practice and was carted to the locker room where he seemed to be emotional as he had a towel draped over his head in video tweeted from the scene.

The six-year veteran, who started every game the past two seasons, was able to walk off the field on his own, but after a brief visit to the examination tent, he was carted to the locker room.

With coach Steve Wilkes not speaking to the media afterward and no practice scheduled for Sunday, the diagnosis of the injury might not be made public until the Cardinals resume training camp on Monday.

—New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue pleaded guilty to two separate DUI charges this week and now awaits the NFL’s word on a likely suspension.

Donahue checked himself into a treatment facility less than a month after his Feb. 26 arrest, which occurred after he drove the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and collided with a bus, injuring four people, police said.

He pleaded guilty Wednesday in Weehawken Municipal Court in New Jersey after prosecutors agreed to waive three of the charges in that case. His second guilty plea came on Friday in his hometown of Billings, Mont., for an arrest on May 9, 2017, nine days after the Jets took him in the fifth round of the NFL draft.

—New England rookie running back Sony Michel had fluid drained from a knee and is expected to miss the preseason, according to multiple reports.

Michel, taken by the Patriots with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, left practice Wednesday with a knee injury. The Athletic reported that Michel could miss the start of the regular season as well.

In the early days of training camp, Michel had impressed the Patriots. Needing depth at running back after the loss of Dion Lewis in free agency, the Patriots drafted a running back in the first round for the first time since 2006, when they chose Laurence Maroney of Minnesota.

—Six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was removed from the physically unable to perform list by the Baltimore Ravens after passing a physical.

Yanda had been placed on the PUP list to continue his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Yanda, who missed the final 14 games of the 2017 season with a fractured ankle, is still unlikely to play in preseason games.

James Hurst has filled in for Yanda for the first two weeks of camp and is likely to remain in the lineup until early September.

—Field Level Media

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