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    49ers QB Brock Purdy resumes throwing program
    By JOSH DUBOW, AP Pro Football Writer | 

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy has officially resumed his throwing program as he tries to return from offseason elbow surgery in time for the season opener.

    Purdy began throwing on the side this week for the first time since undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow on March 10.

    “He’s had one (throwing) session thus far and we’re incredibly encouraged by that,” general manager John Lynch told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. “He’s hitting all his marks and that doesn’t surprise us, because he’s putting in all the work.

    “As for best-case scenario, we’ll take it as it comes. The hope is he’s ready for training camp. The hope is he’s ready for the regular season.”

    Coach Kyle Shanahan said last week that Purdy was on schedule in his rehabilitation and that he was optimistic that he could be healthy enough to start Week 1 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 10.

    Lynch once again called Purdy the “leader in the clubhouse” in the 49ers quarterback competition after he had a strong finish to his rookie season.

    Getting back on the field throwing is the first step.

    “I saw him moving around throwing it a little bit,” receiver Brandon Aiyuk said. "I haven't caught with him. Same old Brock. He’s doing good. So, we’ll see when he gets out there there. I’m not sure. But excited to see him."

    Purdy tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on the first drive of a 31-7 loss in the NFC title game against Philadelphia on Jan. 29.

    Purdy went from the last pick of the draft to the starter in the conference title game in an impressive rookie season for the 49ers. He won his first seven starts before the loss to Philadelphia in the conference title game.

    Purdy threw for 1,374 yards with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions in the regular season and his 108 passer rating in the regular season and playoffs was the highest ever for a rookie with at least 200 passes.

    With Purdy working his way back, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold are getting the bulk of the work at quarterback. Darnold got more work with the first-team offense Wednesday after Lance got the nod the first week as Shanahan plans to rotate them.


    AP NFL: and

    Packers' Bakhtiari feeling healthy again, upbeat while adapting to Rodgers' absence
    By STEVE MEGARGEE, AP Sports Writer | 

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari doesn’t know the exact whereabouts of the golf cart that transported him and former teammate Aaron Rodgers from the Lambeau Field locker room to practice every day.

    Bakhtiari gave Rodgers the golf cart in the summer of 2021. Now Rodgers is gone and so is the golf cart. Bakhtiari instead is taking his Jeep Wrangler to practice while wondering if his old gift has made its way to New York Jets camp yet.

    “In the divorce papers, Aaron unfortunately won legally, so he’s allowed to have the cart,” Bakhtiari quipped this week.

    This has been a year full of change for Bakhtiari, who protected Rodgers’ blind side for the last decade. The trade of Rodgers and the departure of several other veterans make the 31-year-old Bakhtiari the Packers' second-oldest player, behind only 32-year-old punter Pat O’Donnell.

    Bakhtiari noted this is hardly the first time he’s had to bid farewell to a good friend and teammate, citing the exits of former Packers offensive linemen Josh Sitton. T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga and Corey Linsley.

    But it does seem the Packers are entering a transitional phase after making seven playoff appearances and reaching the NFC championship game four times during Bakhtiari’s 10 seasons. Bakhtiari has acknowledged the Packers are rebuilding – something his teammates have disputed – though he’s been careful to point out that doesn’t mean they can’t have a successful season.

    Bakhtiari first used that word to describe the Packers publicly on the “Bussin’ with the Boys” podcast in April, when the Rodgers trade negotiations were still going on. Bakhtiari also got some attention for referring to the Packers as “they” on that podcast, though he later clarified that he was referring to Green Bay’s front office and not the team itself.

    During the Packers’ organized team activities this week, Bakhtiari said he feels grateful for his situation and is ready to be a model teammate.

    “Whatever they want to have me to be for this team, I’m going to be for the team,” said Bakhtiari, a 2013 fourth-round pick from Colorado. “We’ve had a great relationship over the decade and going into my 11th year, and that’s how I’m going to treat it. I’m not going to sit here and be a (ticked) off old veteran. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed. I’m a Day 3 guy who worked his (butt) off.

    “At times, Green Bay was very happy and very fortunate for what I was doing for them, and at times I’ve been very fortunate for what Green Bay’s done for me. So that’s exactly how I’m looking at it.”

    The Packers need a big season from Bakhtiari, who finally has turned the corner after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on Dec. 31, 2020.

    That injury sidelined him for the rest of that season and limited him to one game in 2021. He returned last year to play 11 games — he missed three late-season games after an appendectomy — and remained one of the league’s top pass-blocking tackles when available.

    “I have finally not had a surgery for the first time in the last two or three offseasons,” Bakhtiari said. “I had four surgeries in 20 months.”

    The presence of a healthy Bakhtiari at left tackle and Elgton Jenkins at left guard — both were recovering from knee injuries at this time last year — is expected to provide plenty of security for new quarterback Jordan Love.

    “We talked about how we want to be the best left side in the NFL,” Jenkins said.

    Bakhtiari has the credentials to suggest that’s possible. He was playing well enough to earn first-team All-Pro honors for a second time the season he tore his ACL. He’s been a second-team All-Pro on three other occasions.

    The one achievement that has eluded him is a Super Bowl appearance. Bakhtiari says that goal “gets me up every morning and that puts me to bed early every night.”

    For the Packers to have any shot at making that a realistic possibility this year, they need a huge season from their offensive line. While the Packers made plenty of changes elsewhere on their roster, they didn’t lose any of their top offensive linemen.

    “Not too many new faces, so we can really kind of get going with a little more complex stuff and start establishing ourselves early,” Bakhtiari said. “I think that’s something that’s going to be big for us this year as an entire unit. Each one’s got to fill their role and pick up where they need to pick up.”


    AP NFL: and

    Jets' Breece Hall working way back after knee injury cut short promising rookie season
    By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Pro Football Writer | 

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Breece Hall still razzes Garrett Wilson about what could've been.

    In the New York Jets running back's mind, the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award absolutely would have been his.

    And then Hall blew out his left knee in October, had surgery and spent the rest of his first NFL season rehabilitating his injury — while his playmaking teammate rose above all rookies with lots of impressive catches.

    “If I wouldn’t have gotten hurt ... ,” a smiling Hall said he tells Wilson. “But, nah, I don't really care about that stuff anymore. All I can do is look forward and just try to work myself back to being that same Breece that was making all those plays last year.”

    That has been the goal since Hall was carted off the field in Denver in Week 7 after tearing the ACL and injuring the meniscus in his left knee in the second quarter of the Jets' 16-9 victory.

    Until then, Hall quickly had established himself as the most dynamic playmaker in an otherwise struggling offense. His combination of speed and power made him a threat to score whenever he had the ball in his hands, as he showed early in that game against the Broncos with a 62-yard TD run during which he hit a top speed of 21.87 mph, according to Next Gen Stats — the fastest by a ball carrier to that point last season.

    The second-round pick out of Iowa State finished with 463 yards on 80 attempts — an eye-popping 5.8 yards per carry — and four touchdowns in seven games. Hall also was becoming an overwhelming favorite to win the offensive rookie award.

    “The past is the past,” Hall said. “I can't really take it back.”

    But he can certainly look ahead, knowing his knee is getting better every day — and he's expected to be a key playmaker again in an upgraded offense led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    “I'm feeling good,” Hall said. “It's good to be back on the field, running around, doing drills and starting to cut and stuff.

    "And feel like myself again.”

    Hall, who turned 22 on Wednesday, sees “glimpses” of that. He spends the bulk of his time during voluntary practices working with the trainers. But the hope is he'll participate fully in training camp in July and be ready to play in Week 1 of the regular season — which would be a remarkably fast recovery for an injury that can sideline some players for more than a year.

    “Yeah, I’m very, very optimistic on that one,” coach Robert Saleh said. “I don’t want to jinx it. I mean, the kid’s already hitting over 22 (mph) on the GPS, so he looks freaking good.”

    That Hall is flashing that kind of speed while running straight is promising. He said he hit 23 mph against Atlanta last summer but usually sits in the 20-23 mph range.

    “Everybody — myself, the coaches, my teammates — wants me to be ready for Week 1,” Hall said. “But you've got to come back when you feel like you’re ready. So until I feel like I'm ready ... I’ll just know.”

    Hall, whose third cousin is three-time Super Bowl champion running back Roger Craig, has chatted with a few other running backs who have worked their way back from similar knee injuries. That includes the Giants' Saquon Barkley, the 49ers' Christian McCaffrey and the Titans' Derrick Henry.

    “It’s been cool just to talk to those guys about going through the injuries,” Hall said, “and how to keep your mental right and how to just keep pushing through and keep going every day.”

    And Hall will continue to do that during the next three months — with the hope of running onto the field at MetLife Stadium and playing in the season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 11.

    “He’s one of those kids that we’ve had to kind of hold back from him because there’s a process,” Saleh said. “It’s weird to say, but you don’t want to heal too fast with an ACL. You’ve got to be able to balance it out with the strength.

    "He looks strong, he looks powerful, he’s learning. I mean, I’m excited for him to get back on the field.”


    AP NFL: and

    Chargers coordinator Moore taking offense through first lap through playbook
    By JOE REEDY, AP Sports Writer | 

    COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Kellen Moore is with a new team, yet he has the same mandate.

    Take a good offense and make it great.

    Moore is in his first season as the Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator after eight years in Dallas, including the last four as coordinator. With the Bolts in their second week of voluntary on-field workouts, Moore is putting the unit through what he called a first lap through the playbook.

    “It’s a little bit fast," Moore said, referring to the installation process over the next couple weeks. “There is going to be some stuff that is good, plenty of stuff that we have to clean up and redefine and all of that sort of stuff. Then, you just have to kind of ace it in training camp.”

    Moore is quarterback Justin Herbert's third offensive coordinator in four seasons. Shane Steichen directed the Bolts offense as well as being QBs coach under Anthony Lynn in 2020 before Lynn was fired at the end of the season. Joe Lombardi was the coordinator the past two seasons under head coach Brandon Staley.

    Even though Herbert was second in the league last season in completions (477) and passing yards (4,739), the Chargers were inconsistent on offense.

    Los Angeles was ranked ninth in total offense, but 20th in scrimmage yards per play along with having the third-worst rushing attack in the league.

    The Chargers also had the second-biggest discrepancy between passing and running plays (65% pass to 35% run).

    By comparison, Dallas was fourth in total offense, ninth in rushing and 21st in scrimmage yards per play last season.

    After sitting behind his desk watching film for the first three months after getting hired, Moore has been happy to get on the field the last couple weeks to start installing the offense.

    “You’re able to carry over what we can from the past couple of years and then build off some of the Dallas stuff that is, maybe, coming from a scheme standpoint," he said. "There are a lot of different ways of playing football, and you just have to keep it tight and condensed so that these guys can play fast.”

    While Moore sounded this week as if he is not planning to do much tinkering with the passing game concepts, his bigger concerns have been with trying to make adjustments to the run game to get it back on track.

    The Cowboys ran it 47% of the time last season, which was tied for the ninth-highest percentage of run plays.

    Moore said the biggest thing he wants to do with the run game is streamline it so the team moves at a quicker pace.

    “I think it’s identifying what your primary runs are going to be, your go-to runs," he said. “Trying to identify what are going to be our strengths, and then you have to have enough flavors through a season just to be able to present different things to defense, protect your primary runs.”

    The Dallas offense was balanced the past couple seasons because it had two great backs in Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.

    Austin Ekeler, who led the league with 18 touchdowns from scrimmage last season, has emerged as one of the NFL's top all-purpose backs and will be in the backfield one more season after incentives were added to his contract. But Moore will be looking for either Isaiah Spiller or Joshua Kelley to emerge as a dependable second back.

    Wide receiver Keenan Allen, who has had five offensive coordinators since being drafted by the Chargers in 2013, has been happy with Moore's approach to the offense during the offseason.

    “He’s played before, so he knows what we like, what we don’t like, how defenses play, rather than sticking to something that has been in the offense for a long time. He’s willing to change it and make it more friendly to us,” Allen said.


    AP NFL: and

    Buffalo Bills sign Brandon Shell to add veteran offensive line depth

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills added veteran depth to their offensive line by signing Brandon Shell to a one-year contract on Thursday.

    Shell is listed at 6-foot-5 and 324 pounds and has seven years of NFL experience, starting 11 games for Miami last season after being promoted off the Dolphins’ practice squad. He spent his first four seasons with the New York Jets and spent two years with the Seattle Seahawks.

    With 72 starts in 83 career games, Shell has spent much of his career playing right tackle. He was a four-year starter at South Carolina and selected by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.

    Shell's great-uncle is Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Art Shell, who spent his 15-year career with the Raiders.

    The Bills opened a roster spot for Shell by releasing defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, who appeared in seven games combined over the past three seasons.

    In a separate move, Buffalo shuffled its receiver depth by signing Marcell Ateman and releasing undrafted rookie free agent Braydon Johnson. Ateman spent this year playing for the XFL St. Louis Battlehawks and previously spent three seasons with the NFL's Raiders.

    Ateman was selected by Oakland in the seventh round of the 2018 draft and had 20 catches for 270 yards and a touchdown in 19 games spanning 2018-21.


    AP NFL: and

    Seahawks' Kenneth Walker III hopes to turn award disappointment into on-field success
    By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer | 

    RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Kenneth Walker III had a terrific rookie season after being called upon to take a bigger role as the primary ball carrier for the Seattle Seahawks.

    His rookie year was so good that right up until the point the announcement was made during the NFL Honors award show during Super Bowl week, Walker felt confident he was going to be named offensive rookie of the year.

    Instead, it was Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson who walked up on the stage and received the award.

    “Yeah, I thought I was going to win it, but Garrett Wilson is a great player though,” Walker said Thursday after the Seahawks wrapped up their latest offseason workout.

    To his point, Walker did have a rookie season worthy of being acknowledged as the best in the league. He led NFL rookies in rushing touchdowns with nine as part of a season during which he played in 15 games and ran for 1,050 yards.

    Finishing second in the offensive player of the year voting became a momentary topic Thursday when Walker’s position coach, Chad Morton, ran past and jokingly yelled that Walker should have been the award winner.

    Walker actually received one more first-place vote than Wilson, but Wilson had more total points in the voting.

    “(I was) kind of frustrated, but it happens. I can’t make those decisions,” Walker said. “I just have to come out here and do my best and get better.”

    Last offseason, Walker was focused on learning after being drafted by the Seahawks in the second round and he leaned heavily on Rashaad Penny to help him in pick up Seattle’s offensive system.

    Now Walker is the one passing on information after Seattle added a few more bodies to its running backs room by drafting Zach Charbonnet in the second round and Kenny McIntosh in the seventh.

    “I just hope I can be a mentor to the running backs that are younger than me, like Rashaad was to me,” Walker said. “I just hope I can guide those guys in the right direction.”

    Walker saw first-hand the importance of having depth in the backfield last season as he was thrust into a starting role after Penny was lost to a season-ending lower leg injury after Week 5. With the additions of Charbonnet and McIntosh, and veteran DeeJay Dallas, the Seahawks feel there is a good variety of styles and skills in their offensive backfield.

    “I think this is a great time of the year for all of the running backs to continue to develop a wide variety of skills when you don’t have the pads on,” offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said. “We are not going live in the run game so to speak, so the more that you can do and the more that you can develop a wide range of skills for those guys, I think will be beneficial.”


    Tariq Woolen watched Thursday’s workout following surgery to repair a cartilage issue in his right knee last week. Coach Pete Carroll said the second-year cornerback noticed something felt amiss in his knee and that eventually led to the decision to have surgery.

    Woolen is expected back in four to six weeks.

    The Seahawks expect linebacker Jordyn Brooks (ACL) and safety Jamal Adams (quadriceps tendon) to be in attendance at minicamp next week. Carroll said the team will likely have a better timeline for their return to the field early in training camp.


    AP NFL: and

    Aaron Rodgers' tweaked calf is 'fine'; Jets hope QB will fully practice Friday
    By DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Pro Football Writer | 

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers could be back fully practicing with the New York Jets on Friday after straining his right calf last week.

    The 39-year-old quarterback, acquired last month from Green Bay, was injured while participating in conditioning drills last Tuesday. Rodgers downplayed the injury at the time but hasn't been a full participant in practice since.

    “He's fine,” coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday. “He's just doing a bunch of rehab.”

    Saleh added the team hopes Rodgers will fully participate by Friday — or next week at the latest.

    “I still argue that he’s still a young man, the way he takes care of his body,” Saleh said. “His body is not his age.”

    Rodgers wore a sleeve on his calf throughout the practice and was limited, as Saleh said he would. He began the session riding a stationary bike and threw some passes on the side — including a few tight-spiraled tosses of more than 40 yards — but was otherwise mainly a spectator.

    He often chatted with the other quarterbacks, including Zach Wilson, who has been working with the starting offense. Rodgers also took aside some receivers after one drill to offer some pointers.

    “I've been around some really good quarterbacks,” said left tackle Duane Brown, entering his 16th NFL season. “Just the command he has with everything, it's different.”

    Rodgers will frequently point things out in meetings and quiz teammates to make sure they understand the nuances of the offense, which is being installed by coordinator Nathaniel Hackett — who was in the same role in Green Bay during the last two of the quarterback's four NFL MVP awards in 2020 and 2021.

    "You feel that sense of calm, but you also know you've got to be on your stuff because he expects you to be in this spot because you know he's going to get you the ball if you're in the right place," second-year running back Breece Hall said.

    Rodgers has also provided value to the Jets' defense, which once had to face him but now has the benefit of learning from him.

    “His impact on this team, especially these younger players, is going to be felt for the remainder of all their careers,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. “To see a guy, not just the talent that he has, but the preparation and the process. ... Yeah, he's going to change the course of these young players' careers forever.”

    New York acquired Rodgers, the No. 15 overall pick and a fifth-rounder in this year’s draft from Green Bay on April 26. In exchange, the Packers got the 13th overall selection, a second-rounder, a sixth-rounder and a conditional 2024 second-round pick that could become a first-rounder if Rodgers plays 65% of New York’s plays this season.

    Rodgers has been attending the Jets' voluntary practices this offseason, something he hadn't done the past few years in Green Bay. In New York, he wants to get to know his new teammates and help Hackett install the offense.

    Rodgers has also been busy embracing his new home city, taking in Knicks and Rangers playoff games with some teammates, and attending two of Taylor Swift's three concerts at MetLife Stadium last weekend.

    “I don't know how long you all have been at your jobs, but can you imagine being somewhere for 18 years and then going somewhere else — something different, new environment, new people, a different situation?” said wide receiver Randall Cobb, a longtime teammate of Rodgers in Green Bay. "It sparks something different in you.

    “I think you can definitely see that on his face, just the way he goes about things. He's still the same him, but at the same time, he's learning new people and learning a new environment. And I think that freshness brings something different.”

    NOTES: Saleh said the Jets are “very optimistic” Hall will be healthy in time for the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 against Buffalo. He tore the ACL in his left knee last October, ending what was shaping up to be a terrific rookie season. “He looks freaking good,” Saleh said. ... Saleh appeared to indicate the Jets wouldn't explore adding free agent WR DeAndre Hopkins, who was released by Arizona last Friday. “We love our current group,” the coach said.


    AP NFL: and

    Former Broncos kicker Brandon McManus hoping for 'equally great run' with Jaguars
    By MARK LONG, AP Pro Football Writer | 

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Brandon McManus started planning for the next chapter of his NFL career years ago.

    McManus would regularly seek out opposing special teams coaches during pregame warmups and introduce himself. He figured making contact and conversation might come in handy down the road.

    It did. His exchange with Jacksonville’s Heath Farwell a few years back in Buffalo and again last year in London made it much easier to cold-call Farwell last week after Denver surprisingly dumped McManus and his $3.75 million salary.

    “I started talking to the coordinators a few years back and trying to build relationships with them,” McManus said following his first practice with Jacksonville on Tuesday. “You never know when the time will come."

    He definitely didn’t see this change of address coming. McManus was admittedly blindsided when the Broncos told him they were releasing him after nine seasons that included a Super Bowl title.

    “I don’t know what changed,” said McManus, who will wear No. 10 with his new team. "I had a great run there. Hopefully I can have an equally great run here. Kickers can play a long time, so I’m excited to be here and in a place that is up and coming."

    McManus will return to Denver in a few weeks to “pack up the last nine years of my life” and then return to Jacksonville with his wife and their three preschool-aged sons. Moving full time to the Sunshine State won’t be a complete shock since the family has an offseason home in Lighthouse Point, about 300 miles south near Boca Raton.

    The Jaguars signed McManus to a one-year deal worth $2 million, a low-risk move that could pay off huge for a team favored to repeat as AFC South champions.

    Jacksonville traded kicker Riley Patterson to Detroit for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2026 to make room for the 31-year-old McManus. Patterson hit 30 of 35 field goals and 36 of 37 extra points with Jacksonville last season. But he attempted just three from beyond 50 yards.

    Coach Doug Pederson and general manager Trent Baalke were looking for someone with a little more leg — something that could be the difference in a close game and especially in the playoffs.

    “There is a comfort level, obviously, as a decision-maker to put a kicker out there,” Pederson said. “When you look at some of the top kickers around the league, when you cross the 50, the 45, the 40, you’re in the field-goal range, so obviously we’re going to take a look at this spring and training camp and see how that plays out.”

    McManus has hit 42 of 74 attempts of 50 yards or longer, including 8 of 13 last season. Although many of those came in Denver’s thin air, he’s been more accurate outside the Mile High City.

    That was a strong selling point for the Jaguars, who also liked that McManus wanted to be in Jacksonville. One of McManus’ former special teams coaches in Denver, longtime NFL veteran Joe DeCamillis, still has a home in the area and was quick to suggest the Jaguars might have interest.

    So McManus reached out to Farwell, who then relayed the information to Pederson and Baalke. The deal came together quickly from there.

    “That gives you the picture of where the culture’s gone, just a testament to what Coach Peterson’s done,” Farwell said. “It’s a guy that wanted to be here and then it was an opportunity to get better as a group. … This is a guy that gives us a lot more flexibility (on kickoffs and longer field goals). Maybe that’s three points that we could take advantage of.”


    AP NFL: and

    Broncos sign kicker Elliott Fry after dumping veteran Brandon McManus
    By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer | 

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Elliott Fry will get the first chance to serve as Brandon McManus' successor in Denver after the Broncos signed the third-year kicker who has appeared in three career NFL games games with the Falcons, Chiefs and Bengals.

    The Broncos cut ties with McManus on May 23, and coach Sean Payton indicated last week that money was a driver in the decision. They saved $3.75 million in salary and $2.5 million in cap space by dumping McManus.

    The last holdover from the Broncos' Super Bowl 50-winning team, McManus took out a full-page advertisement in the Denver Post last weekend thanking “Broncos Country” and listing more than 150 members of the organization.

    McManus quickly signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after his nine-year career in Denver came to a close with him as the second-leading scorer in team history, highlighted by his 10-for-10 run through the playoffs on the way to the franchise's third Super Bowl title. He connected on a franchise-most 42 field goals of 50 or more yards in the regular season and playoffs.

    The Broncos held offseason workouts without a kicker last week.

    Fry is a third-year pro from the University of South Carolina who appeared in a game each with Atlanta in 2020 and with both Kansas City and Cincinnati in 2021.

    For his career, he's made five of six field goal attempts but has also missed two of seven extra points.

    Fry appeared in 51 games at South Carolina between 2013-16, making 66 field goals and 161 extra points. He's the second all-time leading scorer in Gamecocks history.


    AP NFL: and

    Packers debate term 'rebuild' as they adjust to life without QB Aaron Rodgers
    By STEVE MEGARGEE, AP Sports Writer | 

    GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The exit of four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers has led to some debate among the Green Bay Packers regarding exactly what constitutes a rebuild.

    Most Packers insist they’re not rebuilding even as they try to break in new starting quarterback Jordan Love after getting three decades of Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback production from Rodgers and his predecessor, Brett Favre.

    “It’s the crutch that everyone wants to lean on outside of the facility, not knowing what’s going on in here,” wide receiver Christian Watson said Wednesday. “It’s easy to say, ‘They lost Aaron. It’s going to be a down year or whatever.’ I feel like that’s the easy route to take. That’s not our mentality in here. We’re never trying to think of it as a rebuild or whatever people want to say it is.”

    Left tackle David Bakhtiari has no problem thinking of it that way.

    “To me, flat-out, how I look at it it’s disrespectful to say you’re not rebuilding (after replacing) a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Bakhtiari said. “It was disrespectful to say you weren’t rebuilding off of Brett Favre when you moved to Aaron.”

    Bakhtiari and his teammates have similar goals, though they’re using different methods to explain it.

    As far as Bakhtiari is concerned, going through a rebuild doesn’t necessarily mean a team will have a losing season. He cited a very recent example.

    “We’re all batting 1.000 come the first game of the year and we’ll figure it out,” Bakhtiari said. “I think the Seahawks rebuilt off of Russell (Wilson). Look at how that turned out.”

    Seattle posted a 9-8 regular-season record and reached the playoffs last season after trading Wilson — their nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback — to the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks improved upon their 7-10 finish in their last season with Wilson.

    The Packers went 8-9 last season to miss the playoffs and end a string of three straight NFC North titles. They have since allowed Rodgers and plenty of other veterans to depart while welcoming in a 13-man draft class.

    Former Packers receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb are with Rodgers in New York. Kicker Mason Crosby, the Packers’ leading career scorer, is unlikely to return after the Packers drafted Anders Carlson in the sixth round. Tight end Robert Tonyan signed with the Chicago Bears. The Packers also seemingly are moving on from tight end Marcedes Lewis and safety Adrian Amos, free agents who remain unsigned.

    All those departures explain the skepticism surrounding the Packers. The over-under for wins by the Packers this season is 7½, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. That figure was at 10½ before the start of training camp last year.

    “When you prove people wrong, it’s one of the best feelings in the world,” running back Aaron Jones said earlier this month. “I think that’s what we’re going to do this year — prove a lot of people wrong.”

    Whether they embrace the word “rebuild” or dispute it, their mission remains the same.

    “Our goal each and every year is to win the North, make the playoffs and win a Super Bowl,” Watson said. “Regardless of who’s leaving and who’s coming in, that’s our No. 1 goal, and I think that we’re attacking every single day with that mentality.”


    AP NFL: and

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