NFL Opens up Sunday without Le’Veon Bell
The Steelers and their no-show running back headline the NFL news for the weekend:
Le’Veon Bell Still A No-Show For Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is still a no-show at Steelers practice and will be unlikely to play in the season opener on Sunday. Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari hinted to the media that the holdout might last well into the 2018 season. On Wednesday afternoon several Steelers teammates, especially the offensive line, was critical of Bell to members of the media.
Bell has yet to sign his franchise tag which is valued at $14.5 million this season and has until week 11 to do so. As long as the running back plays by week 11 then he will become a free agent after the 2018-19 season. Bell’s absence is a huge blow to a Steelers team that was expected to contend for a Super Bowl this season. The Steelers are planning on starting James Conner at running back in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Earl Thomas Ends Holdout With Seahawks
In Seattle, All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas has ended his holdout and has returned to the Seahawks. Thomas showed up to practice on Wednesday and is expected to play for the team in the season opener on Sunday. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did not say if Thomas would start on Sunday, but the team will monitor his level of strength and conditioning prior to the game. The 29-year old Thomas sat out the entire preseason in hopes of getting a contract extension or a trade from the Seahawks.
The Dallas Cowboys reportedly offered Seattle a second-round pick in exchange for Thomas, but the team turned them down. Thomas will make $8.5 million dollars in 2018, but will also be subject to over 1.5 million dollars in fines for missing training camp. The Seahawks open up the 2018 regular season with a game against the Denver Broncos.
Griffin To Start For Seattle
Shaquem Griffin will be a starting linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in their game at Dallas. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll announced that the talented rookie would make the start with K.J. Wright still trying to recover from knee surgery. Griffin is well known for having just one hand, and in April became the first one-handed player to ever be drafted in the NFL Draft.
The Seattle Seahawks selected Griffin in the 5th round of last year’s draft and he has been practicing as Wright’s backup at outside linebacker. Shaquem Griffin will join his twin brother, Shaquill, as a defensive starter for the Seahawks. Griffin led the Seahawks with 24 tackles in the preseason and has impressed the Seahawks coaches during the entire preseason. The Seahawks expect K.J. Wright to return to the team by week three which could push Griffin into a bench role.
Antonio Gates Questionable For Opener
Veteran tight end Antonio Gates is listed as questionable for the Los Angeles Chargers in the season opener. Gates is entering his 16th season in the NFL, and although he wasn’t listed on the Chargers injury report, could be held out as he tries to build up strength and conditioning. The Chargers signed Gates to a one year deal as a free agent in an effort to bolster their depth heading into the season.
The Chargers starting tight end Hunter Henry will start the season on the physically unable to perform list as he rehabs from a torn ACL, which could throw Gates into the mix. The Chargers open the 2018 regular season with a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Adrian Peterson Starts For Redskins
The Washington Redskins have announced that Adrian Peterson will be their starting running back in the season opener on Sunday. The 33-year-old will be starting against his former team, the Arizona Cardinals. Peterson was signed by the Redskins two weeks ago after Washington saw their top runner, Derrius Guice go down with an injury. Peterson started six games for the Arizona Cardinals last season and eclipsed the 130-yard mark in two of those games. Peterson remained a free agent until the Washington Redskins called him at the end of August. The future Hall of Famer is hoping to lead the Redskins back to the NFL playoffs.