Mike McCarthy was back in front of the Green Bay Packers’ players on Wednesday. Three days after being fired, he was given the opportunity to address his now former players after making a request to do so.
“He wanted an opportunity to speak with the team. I was 100 percent, fully supportive ... and he did a fantastic job talking to the team,” interim coach Joe Philbin told reporters on Thursday. “Not just about football and winning football games, but his passion. His passion for the game, his love for the players was clearly evident.”
McCarthy paid a visit to team headquarters on Tuesday to make the request, and chief executive officer Mark Murphy and others in upper management agreed to it. Murphy felt it was a good idea as McCarthy didn’t have a chance to address the team after being fired Sunday, hours after Green Bay’s 20-17 home loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
McCarthy, who turned 55 last month, was in his 13th season at the helm in Green Bay. He finished with a 125-77-2 regular-season record while going 10-8 in the postseason, leading the team to a Super Bowl XLV victory following the 2010 season.
—The Washington Redskins released a statement asking for privacy for Alex Smith and his family amid reports that the quarterback is dealing with an infection in his surgically repaired leg.
Smith underwent immediate surgery on Nov. 18 after incurring compound and spiral fractures to his tibia and fibula in the Redskins’ game against the Houston Texans. Multiple outlets report Smith has undergone subsequent surgeries to battle the infection.
—Reuben Foster’s ex-girlfriend and accuser detailed the alleged abuse against her, telling ABC that the former San Francisco 49ers linebacker slapped and pushed her during an incident that led to his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
Further, Elissa Ennis told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that she was “shocked” that Foster was picked up another team — the Washington Redskins — so soon after his release by the 49ers.
“When he got signed, I was like, ‘I can’t believe somebody picked him up,’” Ennis said on GMA, her first public comments about the incident. “I just couldn’t believe somebody picked him up in less than, how many hours? I was shocked.”
—The New York Giants placed safety Landon Collins on injured reserve, ending the two-time Pro Bowl selection’s season.
Collins sustained a partially torn labrum in his shoulder last Sunday in the Giants’ overtime win over the Chicago Bears and reportedly will undergo surgery.
The club signed defensive back Kenny Ladler from the practice squad to take Collins’ spot on the roster and added punter Brock Miller to the practice squad.
—The Kansas City Chiefs are signing Kelvin Benjamin two days after the wide receiver was waived by the Buffalo Bills, according to a report from ESPN.
ESPN reported earlier in the day that Benjamin was visiting the Chiefs, who are led at the position by Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins — though Watkins has missed three of the past four games with a foot injury.
Benjamin, a first-round pick in 2014, was released by the Bills, who acquired him from the Carolina Panthers last year in exchange for two draft picks. He struggled to fit in with Buffalo, hauling in 39 receptions for 571 yards and two touchdowns in 18 total games with the club. He has 23 catches for 354 yards and one score in 12 games this season.
—Another football league is in the works, and former NFL players such as Ricky Williams and Terrell Owens are behind it.
The Freedom Football League doesn’t have a launch season, but Williams said it would begin with 10 teams and would play games in spring and summer. Among the other former NFL players involved in the FFL are Simeon Rice, Jeff Garcia, Byron Chamberlain and Dexter Jackson.
The league’s first 10 teams will be the Birmingham Kings, Connecticut Underground, Florida Strong, Oakland Panthers, Ohio Players, Oklahoma City Power, Portland Progress, St. Louis Independence, San Diego Warriors and Texas Revolution.
—Field Level Media