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Duke Johnson hires agent Rosenhaus

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Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson Jr. signed Thursday with agent Drew Rosenhaus, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Johnson still is expected to seek a trade from Cleveland.

Rosenhaus this offseason helped facilitate a trade from the Browns for client Emmanuel Ogbah, and also got Breshad Perriman out of his deal in Cleveland.

Earlier this week, agent Kristin Campbell confirmed to Cleveland.com that she no longer was representing Johnson.

Johnson, who has attended mandatory Browns workouts during the offseason, said last month that there was nothing the team can do to change his mind about wanting a trade.

In June 2018, Johnson signed a three-year, $15.6 million extension with the Browns. He is under contract through the 2021 season.

A third-round draft choice of the Browns in 2015, Johnson has rushed for 1,286 yards over four seasons. He fell behind rookie Nick Chubb on the depth chart last season, and the team signed Kareem Hunt, who will miss the first eight games of 2019 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

ESPN’s Jake Trotter contributed to this report.

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Panthers owner David Tepper, frustrated by latest loss, says he won’t accept long-term mediocrity

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper would not address the future of coach Ron Rivera and general manager Marty Hurney during a Monday meeting with Charlotte-based reporters, but made it clear he will not accept long-term mediocrity.

Tepper also made it clear no decision has been made on the future of quarterback Cam Newton, saying that can’t happen until the first pick of the 2015 draft is completely healthy.

Newton, who has one year left on his contract, recently was placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc injury that sidelined him after an 0-2 start.

Tepper’s meeting with reporters was held 24 hours after the Panthers fell to 5-5 with a 29-3 loss to Atlanta that put a big dent in their playoff aspirations.

Tepper said he didn’t sleep well after the Atlanta loss, the second time in four games the Panthers were blown out by an opponent. They were beaten 51-13 at San Francisco on Oct. 27.

“Every time we have a loss, my mood is s—-y,” said Tepper, adding that he never accepted losing on the business side, where he accumulated a $12 billion net worth as a hedge fund manager.

The Panthers have a 13-14 record since Tepper purchased the organization for an NFL-record $2.275 billion from former owner Jerry Richardson in 2018. If they post a losing record this season, it will be the second in a row and third in the past four seasons since reaching the Super Bowl in 2015.

Carolina’s record against NFC South opponents since 2015 is 7-14, compared to 14-4 in the three previous seasons.

Tepper’s frustration over losing was evident as he continually said long-term mediocrity would not be accepted. He also said fans, many of whom left the stadium early on Sunday, were smart enough to recognize long-term mediocrity.

Rivera, who this year surpassed John Fox as the winningest coach in team history, has an overall record of 76-61-1. The Panthers have a record of 195-198-1 since becoming a franchise in 1995.

Tepper made wholesale changes to the business side after purchasing the team from Richardson, who put the team up for sale amid allegations of sexual and racial workplace misconduct. The NFL fined Richardson $2.75 million after a lengthy investigation.

Tepper did not make changes to the football staff last season after a 7-9 record following a 6-2 start because Newton’s sore right shoulder played a factor in a seven-game losing streak.

Newton’s shoulder healed after offseason cleanup surgery, but he suffered a Lisfranc injury in the third preseason game and re-aggravated it in the second game. Tepper said that ideally Newton, 30, will recover fully from the injury and perhaps one day lead the Panthers to a Super Bowl.

Tepper said Newton has done a lot of good for the team and Charlotte, calling him one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

Tepper also made it clear he liked Newton’s replacement, Kyle Allen, suggesting the second-year, undrafted quarterback has played above expectations despite throwing four interceptions against Atlanta and nine in the past four games.

The Panthers are 5-3 under Allen this season and 6-3 overall dating back to a victory in last season’s finale at New Orleans, where the Panthers play on Sunday. Allen started his career with a 5-0 record, making him the seventh quarterback in NFL history to get off to such a start.

Tepper defended the organization’s decision not to go to Colin Kaepernick’s workout in Atlanta on Saturday, saying the team has a young quarterback in Allen, a third-round pick in Will Grier, and Newton, so there was no interest in signing a veteran quarterback.

Tepper also said he has a copy of the video of Kaepernick’s workout, so attending the session wasn’t necessary.

Neither Rivera nor Hurney were a part of Tepper’s meeting. Earlier in the day, Rivera expressed hope the Panthers still could make a playoff run. He said they still control their own destiny with two games left against the Saints (8-2), a rematch against Atlanta (3-7) and contests against Washington (1-9), Indianapolis (6-4) and Seattle (8-2).

“Probably the biggest thing is we control it,” Rivera said of the team’s playoff hopes, even though the Panthers currently stand ninth in the NFC playoff hunt. “It’s one game at a time. It’s one focus at a time. That’s probably the biggest thing we have to do, is focus in on the next opponent.

“That’s just getting ready for New Orleans.”

Tepper’s focus, with future plans to move the team headquarters to a state-of-the-art facility in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and ultimately get a new stadium in Charlotte to host the Panthers and an MSL team, is to give fans hope and end the long-term mediocrity.

While he didn’t mention Rivera or Hurney, he appeared to be putting them on notice.

As Tepper indicated the day he was hired, his first priority is winning.

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Raiders ink Preston Brown to 1-year deal

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have been searching for a prototypical middle linebacker for their 4-3 base defense since the NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for the remainder of the season after Week 4.

They believe they have found one in Preston Brown, unemployed since last Tuesday after the Cincinnati Bengals cut him nine games into the three-year, $16.5 million contract ($4.8M guaranteed) he signed there this offseason.

The Raiders, who are 6-4 and riding a three-game winning streak into playoff contention, signed Brown to a one-year deal Monday and reportedly will be on the hook for the remainder of his base salary, estimated to be about $400,000.

“He’s 27 years old,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Brown. “We really liked him coming out of Louisville. He had [four] straight 100-tackle seasons as a Buffalo Bill, went to Cincinnati and, obviously, things didn’t work out.

“But he has the intangibles, first of all, that you look for in a middle linebacker. He’s charismatic, he’s intelligent, a physical guy, football junkie and he’s been productive in the league. We’ll put him in the room with [linebackers coach David] Lippincot and [defensive coordinator Paul] Guenther and see if he can get caught up quickly and we’ll try to fast-track him.”

The Bills selected Brown in the third round (No. 73 overall) of the 2014 draft. He led the NFL with 144 tackles in 2017. And he had 54 tackles with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in nine games (eight starts) for the Bengals this season.

With so many injuries, the Raiders have added defensive pieces over the past few weeks in linebacker Will Compton, safety D.J. Swearinger and edge rusher Dion Jordan. All three played key roles on Oakland’s 17-10 defeat of the Bengals on Sunday.

Oakland visits the New York Jets (3-7) on Sunday and then the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 1.

In the corresponding roster move, the Raiders placed return specialist/receiver Dwayne Harris on season-ending injured reserve. He has been limited to only three games with ankle and foot issues.

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Eagles to host HS game interrupted by shooting

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PHILADELPHIA — Following a shooting at a New Jersey high school football playoff game between Pleasantville and Camden Friday night that injured three and suspended play, the teams were in search of a neutral site to finish the game.

That’s where the Philadelphia Eagles stepped in.

The Eagles have offered to host the game at Lincoln Financial Field Wednesday, opening their doors to two teams affected by the unfortunate incident.

Each high school will be provided a defined number of free passes for distribution to players’ parents and family members. The game will be closed to the general public.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that a senselessly violent act has impacted this game, and there will certainly be a wide range of emotions along both sidelines. However, thanks to the Eagles’ generosity and community spirit, Pleasantville and Camden student-athletes and their families will have an opportunity to write their own ending to this game,” said Larry White, executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association in a statement. “They’ll compete on a world-class stage, sending a clear message that violence will not win.”

The game was stopped with about 17 minutes remaining Friday when gunshots rang out at the stadium in Pleasantville, near Atlantic City.

Three people were shot including a 10-year old boy who was critically injured.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the shooting.

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