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5 NFL officials take leave of absence

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL's longest-serving on-field official was among five who have opted to take a leave of absence for the 2020 season.

Line judge Jeff Bergman, who was entering his 29th year of service, headlined the list released Friday by the NFL.

Also in the group was back judge Steve Freeman, who was entering his 20th year. He is part of the league's only father-son duo in the officials ranks. Freeman is a former NFL player who spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Bills. His son, Brad, is a back judge is entering his seventh season.


Browns C Tretter undergoes knee surgery

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Cleveland Browns starting center JC Tretter underwent a surgical procedure on his knee Thursday and could be out for an extended period.

First-year coach Kevin Stefanski revealed Tretter's unexpected surgery at the start of his Zoom call with reporters on Friday.


Jerry Jones may soften stance on anthem

Jerry Jones sidestepped the question of whether he would change his policy requiring Dallas Cowboys players to stand during the national anthem.

Still, the owner who has taken the hardest line among his NFL counterparts against protesting racial injustice during "The Star-Spangled Banner" did acknowledge a changing social tide after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.


Cook at Vikings camp without new deal

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Vikings conducted their first official practice of the season Friday, and Dalvin Cook was a full participant.

The NFL's latest running back contract conundrum appears to be on track for resolution without a public clash between team and player.


Mayfield admits he was 'lost' in 2019

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Baker Mayfield knew he needed to drop some weight, and maybe a little of the attitude.

If there was anything the Browns' self-assured quarterback learned during a chaotic, losing 2019 season in Cleveland it was that he had to change.


Raiders' Crosby off COVID-19 list

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:



Kittle signs $75M, 5-year extension

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) All-Pro tight end George Kittle has signed his five-year, $75 million extension with the San Francisco 49ers that is the richest contract ever at the position.

Kittle officially signed the deal Friday, a day after agreeing to the contract that keeps him locked up in San Francisco through the 2025 season.


Jeudy shines, Chubb back for Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy went right to work dropping jaws Friday when the Denver Broncos gathered for their first full practice of 2020 under smoky skies from wildfires burning in the Rocky Mountains.

General manager John Elway, who spent his offseason buttressing Denver's offense, sat on the sideline smiling every time his top draft pick plucked another pass out of the haze, especially the one he cradled in the back of the end zone.


Cards' Jones has sack record in sights

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona's Chandler Jones was a great player on a mediocre defense one season ago, finishing with a career-high 19 sacks and solidifying his reputation as one of the NFL's premier pass rushers.

Now that the Cardinals linebacker has a little help, he's got Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2 sacks in his sights.


Watson clear Texans' star minus Hopkins

HOUSTON (AP) With DeAndre Hopkins dealt to Arizona during the offseason, Deshaun Watson is the undisputed star of the Texans' offense.

The quarterback will be leading a team intent on atoning for last year's playoff collapse against Kansas City. But rather than seeing that responsibility as a burden, the 24-year-old Watson sees it as an opportunity.

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