NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans

NFL notebook: Pats file tampering charges vs. Texans
The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans and the NFL opened an investigation, according to multiple reports Wednesday, regarding Houston’s attempts to hire New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio as its new general manager.

FILE PHOTO - NFL Football - Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams - Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. - February 3, 2019. New England Patriots Sony Michel in action with Los Angeles Rams Micah Kiser and Lamarcus Joyner. REUTERS/Mike Segar

The Texans fired former GM Brian Gaine on Friday, 17 months after giving him a five-year contract and one day after the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony. According to multiple reports, new Texans executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby — the Patriots’ former team chaplain — was at Thursday’s ring ceremony, as was Caserio.

Asked Tuesday if he or Easterby had contact with Caserio or his representatives before Gaine’s firing, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, “I would say that the answer to that is not relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans. No.”

The Texans have formally requested permission to interview Caserio, just as they did in January 2018, when the Patriots denied the request and the Texans moved on to hire Gaine.

—Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wishes Antonio Brown’s run in Pittsburgh — which ended with his trade to the Oakland Raiders — had resolved more amicably.

Brown left Pittsburgh, torch in hand, criticizing management, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and other team leaders. He didn’t exactly share kind words about Smith-Schuster, either.

“The man’s a role model. In that situation, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Smith-Schuster said. “I have no hard feelings against him. Obviously if we’re ever in the same room, I’m going to say what’s up to him. I think hatred is a huge word to use against somebody. At the end of the day, he’s a great player, he comes out every day with work ethic. He worked hard. Other than that, I don’t have anything toward him like that.”

—The Kansas City Chiefs signed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to a one-year extension, putting him under contract through 2021.

NFL Network reported the extra year is worth $11,255,000, with Schwartz’s 2019 and 2020 salaries fully guaranteed.

Schwartz, who was named first-team All-Pro in 2018, was scheduled to make $6.6 million in both 2019 and 2020, with a cap hit of $8 million in each season. It’s unclear if the contract structure in 2019 and 2020 was affected.

—Running back Sony Michel underwent minor knee surgery, causing him to miss offseason workouts with the Patriots, according to multiple reports.

A reason for his absence had not previously been revealed. The date of the knee scope was not announced, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Michel should be ready for training camp next month.

Michel wasn’t seen at any of the Patriots practices that were open to the media, including minicamp last week, during the offseason.

—The Tennessee Titans will retire quarterback Steve McNair’s No. 9 jersey and running back Eddie George’s No. 27 during the Sept. 15 home opener.

The pair, who led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV, will be the first to have their jerseys retired after playing primarily for the Titans, since the team was rebranded from the Oilers in 1999.

Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bruce Matthews (No. 74) played five of his 19 seasons in Tennessee — after the team moved from Houston in 1997 — and three as a Titan, but none of the franchise’s other five with retired numbers played more recently than 1993.

—The Chicago Bears waived former Pitt kicker Chris Blewitt, one of three kickers at mandatory minicamp.

“Um, whatever went through your mind went through my mind,” coach Matt Nagy said of the missed kicks. “Yeah, no, I mean, that’s about as real as it gets. They were 0-for-3 out there. For today, we can’t have that. We are going to figure this thing out, but 0-for-3 today, no good.”

—Baltimore Ravens first-round wideout Marquise Brown was cleared for individual drills, allowing him to practice with teammates for the first time.

Brown didn’t do much, but his progress in his recovery from a Lisfranc injury has him on track to be ready for training camp.
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