(The Sports Xchange) - A day after Tony Dungy was largely skewered for saying he would not have drafted openly gay linebacker Michael Sam, the former NFL coach clarified his comments and provided context.
Dungy issued a statement Tuesday in an attempt to explain what he called an “honest answer” to a question for a story that appeared Sunday in the Tampa Tribune.
“I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does,” Dungy said.
“I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not. I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.
“But those were not the questions I was asked. What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.
“I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction to his team mates or his organization.
“I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately, we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.”
Coach Mike Pettine and the Cleveland Browns are not ready to give up on troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Pettine told The Plain Dealer in Cleveland this week that Gordon is expected to show up for the start of training camp on Friday.
“We have no plans to cut him,” Pettine said, according to The Plain Dealer.
Gordon faces a possible one-year suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. Pettine thinks an announcement on the length of Gordon’s punishment will come down from the league offices in the next 10-14 days.
As for Johnny Manziel, the story is he is closing in on No. 1 in jersey sales, which is fine with Pettine because it means the quarterback’s off-field behavior was not a headline.
“I’ve talked to him. I don’t think I used the phrase ‘tone it down,’” Pettine told the Akron Beacon-Journal in response to ESPN’s report that the organization talked behavior issues with Manziel.
“I don’t want to get into specifics of the conversation, but I’m comfortable with where we are and what we’ve talked about and I’m comfortable heading into training camp that he knows where I stand.”
Wide receiver Andre Johnson skipped organized team activities and minicamp during the spring because he was upset with the Houston Texans’ direction, but he might report to training camp on time, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Johnson was seen at the team’s facility on Monday. ESPN reported that he was there to learn the new offense being put in by first-year coach Bill O’Brien, with whom Johnson has remained in contact while staying away from the team.
The Chronicle indicated that the seven-time Pro Bowler was there to talk with team officials.
Outside linebacker Larry English, a former first-round pick, was released by the San Diego Chargers, who also announced a two-year contract extension for running back Danny Woodhead.
The Chargers also signed rookie free agents outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton and center Khalil Wilkes.
Linebacker Rolando McClain must stand trial in Decatur, Ala., for resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after a fourth delay was denied by Judge Bill Cook Jr.
McClain was acquired by the Dallas Cowboys from the Baltimore Ravens for a sixth-round pick after he sat out last year.
The Cowboys, looking to fill a hole left by Sean Lee’s season-ending injury, are hoping McClain can at least offer depth at the position, provided he makes the team.
That will not be easy depending on the length and outcome of the trial, which is a significant setback for a player already facing a steep battle to resurrect his career. He last played in an NFL game in 2012.
The Atlanta Falcons went shopping for a linebacker after Sean Weatherspoon was lost for the season and found Pat Angerer. The Falcons also signed wide receiver Jeremy Ebert on Tuesday.
Angerer, a former Indianapolis Colts linebacker, worked out for the Falcons on Tuesday and impressed them enough to land a job. Angerer’s 2013 season ended after 11 games with a knee injury that was repaired with microfracture surgery.
Ebert had three receptions for 18 yards with the Jacksonville Jaguars last year.
Offensive lineman Mike Pollak was placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list by the Cincinnati Bengals with a knee injury. He will count against the team’s roster limit and can be activated to practice as soon as he is cleared medically.
Pollak, an experienced guard who is expected to also compete for the starting center job, hopes to return to the field in time for the Bengals’ first training camp practice Thursday.
He joins defensive tackle Geno Atkins and cornerback Leon Hall on the physically unable to perform list for the Bengals.
Tight end Joel Dreessen was released by the Denver Broncos after being designated as having failed a physical.
Dreessen was signed as a free agent two years ago with the goal of providing quarterback Peyton Manning with a veteran pass-catching tight end threat.
He caught a career-high 41 passes for 356 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, but his production dipped to just seven catches last year as he struggled to regain full strength following two offseason knee surgeries and with Julius Thomas emerging as one of the top young tight ends in the league.
Free agent tight end Mike Caussin signed with the Washington Redskins. To clear a roster spot, the team waived long snapper Kyle Nelson.
Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes