Notebook: Patriots interested in Jackson to succeed Brady?

By The Sports Xchange  |  April 25, 2018 at 7:45 PM
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The New England Patriots reportedly met with quarterback Lamar Jackson of Louisville twice, leading to speculation that they might be interested in making him the heir apparent to Tom Brady.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Patriots hosted Jackson in Foxborough, Mass., recently, and Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated wrote that New England also held a private workout with Jackson in South Florida.

Vrentas said the latter session was conducted by Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Rapoport claimed New England is "intrigued and impressed" with Jackson, even though scouts are mixed in their opinions in how Jackson's unquestionable skills will fit into an NFL offense.

New England has the 23rd and 31st picks in the first round of the draft on Thursday draft and could be considering making a trade to move up to select Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner.

--Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway admitted he smoked marijuana weeks before a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

"I take full responsibility for everything," Callaway said, per Rapoport.

Callaway's agent confirmed on Tuesday that his client's drug test sample at the Scouting Combine came back diluted.

Callaway has talent, as evidenced by his 89 receptions, 1,399 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons with the Gators. But off-field issues have hurt his NFL stock and he was suspended all of last season.

--Former Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley isn't worried about size being an issue in the NFL.

"Man, I'm a football player," the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Ridley said in a visit to PFT Live. "I got the film. You know, I get the job done. I played with the best. I beat the best.

"You know, I'm ready. That's what I say. And I don't think about it, I just keep working. I think about it when I'm working. I think, you know, I'm going to take advantage of my opportunity."

NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang lists Ridley 17th overall in his most recent Big Board.

--Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey isn't letting the world know of his intentions for the 2018 draft.

In fact, Dorsey isn't revealing the news within his own home ... or reportedly with head coach Hue Jackson.

Dorsey told NFL Network's Steve Wyche on Wednesday that he hasn't "even told (his) wife" which player the Browns will select with the first overall pick in the draft come Thursday night in Arlington, Texas.

According to Robert Klemko of themmqb.com, Dorsey's "decision has been made" but Jackson is "out of the loop."

NFL.com's Michael Silver disputed that Jackson has been left in the dark.

"Last year Hue Jackson (who desperately wanted Myles Garrett) WAS kept out of the loop -- by then-GM Sashi Brown," Silver wrote on Twitter. "He found out who Browns were taking 1 overall the morning of the draft. This year with John Dorsey has been a different story. He's in the loop. All good."

Dorsey also acknowledged that Cleveland has not received a legitimate trade offer for that pick.

--The New Orleans Saints will honor the memory of the late Tom Benson by keeping an empty chair in their draft room on Thursday.

Benson, a longtime owner of the Saints and NBA's Pelicans and contributor to many charities in his native New Orleans, passed away on March 15. He was 90.

New Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, Tom Benson's widow, will be at Saints headquarters for the draft, per The Advocate.

--Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll went on the offensive after two of his former defensive charges levied verbal shots against him.

Cornerback Richard Sherman said Carroll's philosophy was "more built for college," while defensive end Michael Bennett told Sports Illustrated that he was so bored with the coach's message that he would bring a book to team meetings, a report that Carroll refutes.

"The thing I would tell you about that is that we've been through a lot around here, we've grown tremendously together and all of that, and changes are inevitable," the 66-year-old Carroll said, via The News Tribune's Gregg Bell. "Sometimes, guys can't hang with what's expected, for one reason or another -- their growth, their development and all of that.

"And the best thing I can tell you is, that they're not here."

--Free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant turned down a multi-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, citing a source informed of the situation.

Bryant, the former Dallas Cowboys star, rejected the deal because he wants to sign a one-year deal and test the free agent market again in 2019, according to the source.

The Ravens' offer was "pretty lucrative," according to Rapoport, comparable to the three-year, $21 million deal wide receiver Michael Crabtree signed with the Ravens after being released by the Oakland Raiders.

The Ravens needed a multiyear deal to fit Bryant's number under the salary cap.

--Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills returned home to Buffalo on Wednesday to continue his recovery from surgery to remove cancer from his jaw.

The 58-year-old Kelly was discharged from a New York hospital on April 14 after undergoing a 12-hour procedure on March 28 to remove oral cancer and reconstruct his upper jaw.

Kelly was diagnosed with cancer in his jaw in 2013 and underwent surgery. After doctors determined the cancer had spread to his nasal cavities, he underwent additional treatments and had another surgery in March 2014.

In 2016, Kelly was declared cancer-free before the disease returned earlier this year.

-- Patriots owner Robert Kraft took issue with his longtime friend, President Donald Trump, during a confidential emergency NFL meeting last fall to discuss player protests during the national anthem, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The New York Times obtained an audio recording from the October meeting between owners and league executives at Park Avenue.

"The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don't feel is in the best interests of America," Kraft said. "It's divisive and it's horrible."

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