KAEPERNICK a possibility for Ravens.
RAVENS Kaepernick a possibility
With starter Joe Flacco sidelined for at least a week with a disc issue in his back, the Baltimore Ravens are exploring signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Following the team’s first full-squad practice of training camp Thursday, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh brought up Kaepernick before even being asked about the free-agent quarterback.
It’s an obvious connection given that Kaepernick played his best football in San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, and former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Roman is now a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach for the Ravens.
“I’ve known Colin really through my brother for many years and we’ve talked,” John Harbaugh said. “I got to know him really well when they scrimmaged here [in 2014]. He and I have been talking throughout the summer, a number of times. We’ve had some great conversations on the phone. It’s really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics and stuff, too, and we’ve had some debates. It’s been fun. He’s a great guy. He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about and we’ll just see what happens with that. I think it will all be speculation right now, but I think he’s a really good football player. As I said at the owners meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year.”
Asked later about Kaepernick, Harbaugh said, “I wouldn’t rule it out at all. He’s a really good football player.”
The Ravens currently have only two healthy quarterbacks on their roster: Veteran Ryan Mallett ( Arkansas Razorbacks) and Dustin Vaughan. During one drill Thursday, offensive assistant Matt Weiss stood in as the quarterback because Mallett and Vaughan were needed on other parts of the field.
BRONCOS Booker surgery set
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos Coach Vance Joseph’s first training camp got off to a rough start with word that Devontae Booker, who was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as Denver’s starting running back, will undergo wrist surgery today and is expected to miss six weeks.
Booker suffered a hairline fracture late in OTAs but he and the team thought it was just a minor sprain until the Broncos did X-rays Wednesday when he reported for his training camp physical.
“And it was a wrist fracture,” Joseph said. “So, it’s obviously been there for a couple of months and we didn’t know and he didn’t know.”
The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus last season, while Jamaal Charles slowly works his way into action after missing most of the last two seasons in Kansas City with leg injuries.
Booker led the Broncos with 174 carries for 612 yards and four touchdowns in 2016 after Anderson went on IR after getting hurt in the seventh game.
With Booker shelved, the Broncos agreed to terms with free agent running back Stevan Ridley on a oneyear deal. He’ll join a backfield with Anderson, veteran Juwan Thompson, rookie De’Angelo Henderson and free agent Bernard Pierce.
REDSKINS Cousins: 1-year deal OK
RICHMOND, Va. — Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said Thursday that his focus heading into his third season as a starter is to get better at “situational awareness,” knowing when in a game to take risks, for example, and when not to.
“You’ve got to go back and look at last season and look at where you can improve,” he said at a news conference on the first day of training camp. “I want be better at situational awareness. If I can do that, the final result will be an improved player, and I think that’s the next step in my development.”
The allusion was to the final interception he threw in last year’s season-ending game against the New York Giants, sealing a defeat that kept the team out of the playoffs.
Cousins went on to say that he didn’t think playing the 2016 season under the NFL’s one-year franchise tag had any bearing on his performance. And contrary to common perception, Cousins said he didn’t view his decision to play the upcoming season under a second tag rather than sign a longer deal as “betting on himself.”
“I bet on the system,” Cousins told reporters after the morning’s walk-through on the opening day of training camp. “I’m just going out and playing. There’s never been anything but positive feelings [toward the Redskins].”
BENGALS Jones grateful for support
CINCINNATI — Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones has accepted his one-game suspension for an offseason misdemeanor conviction, and teared up Thursday over the unwavering support he’s received from Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown.
Jones is suspended by the NFL for the season opener as a result of his confrontation with hotel security personal and an obscenity-filled tirade against arresting police officers.
In his first public comments since the suspension, Jones accepted responsibility for his actions and said he’s ready to move on. He began to tear up when asked about Brown’s support, saying he can’t put his gratitude into words.
Bengals players reported Thursday for the start of training camp. Their first practice is today.
SAINTS No contract talks yet
METAIRIE, La. — On the eve of training camp, typically tight-lipped General Manager Mickey Loomis declined to answer questions about the possibility of a contract extension for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees — or any other player for that matter.
The 38-year-old quarterback said there are not any contract talks taking place, adding, “I don’t expect them to; I don’t really desire them to.” He said he is concentrating at this time on making himself and his team better. “I want to help this team win,” he said.
Winning hasn’t been easy for the Saints in recent years, even if moving the ball has been. Despite ranking first in the NFL in net yards in 2014 and 2016 (and second in 2015) the Saints have posted three successive 7-9 records.
Last season, Brees passed for 5,208 yards and 37 touchdowns. But Coach Sean Payton said statistics won’t necessarily be the best measure of what kind of season Brees has.
“The most important thing is for us to win and I think Drew himself would say that,” Payton said. “That’s the stat that we’re playing close attention to.”