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Peyton Manning could follow in footsteps of Ray Lewis, John Elway with retirement after Super Bowl win 02.01.16 at 1:43 pm ET
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There’s been plenty of talk about how Sunday could mark the “last rodeo” for Peyton Manning. If he finds a way to lead the Broncos to a win over Carolina and then calls it a career, he’ll join some pretty exclusive company. Here’s a look at four other players who won it all and then decided to hang them up.

Jerome Bettis: After a decade with the Steelers, the Pittsburgh running back was a part of a team that ended up dumping the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL in Bettis’ hometown of Detroit. (Did you know Bettis was from Detroit?) It wasn’t the best game of his career, but the Hall of Famer had 43 yards on 14 carries in the win for the Steelers. The running back retired at the age of 33 with 13,662 rushing yards and a Super Bowl ring.

Ray Lewis: The Ravens beat the Niners in Super Bowl XLVII, the last game for Lewis after a 17-year career with Baltimore. (That came two weeks after the Ravens upset the Patriots in the AFC title game in Foxboro.) The controversial linebacker, who may or may not have had some help getting healthy with some deer antler spray in the weeks leading up to the game, ended with two Super Bowl rings.

John Elway: The model for every other quarterback, including Manning. Elway went out like every quarterback hopes to finish his career, winning back-to-back titles at the end of the 1997 and 1998 seasons before riding off into the sunset. The Hall of Famer then came back to take over the Broncos, and he reportedly played a sizable role in convincing Manning to join the Broncos. (Manning supplanted him as the oldest quarterback to get his team to a Super Bowl, and if Denver wins on Sunday, Manning will take over Elway’s spot as the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl.)

Michael Strahan: Avert your eyes, Patriots fans — the Giants defensive end was part of the New York team that knocked off the 2007 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in Arizona. (Like Bettis, it was his only title.) Strahan called it a career after the game, finishing with 141.5 sacks after 15 seasons in the NFL.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Bill Belichick, Jerome Bettis, Michael Strahan
5 things you have to know about Colts: Indy a massive underdog against Patriots 10.12.15 at 12:59 pm ET
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Andrew Luck has watched Matt Hasselbeck lead the Colts to a pair of wins.  (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Andrew Luck has watched Matt Hasselbeck lead the Colts to a pair of wins. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Five things you have to know about the Colts, who host the Patriots on Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.

1. With Andrew Luck sidelined, they have gotten good play out of backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

The 40-year-old Hasselbeck, who took over after Luck went down with a shoulder issue, has started the last two games and has done a good job managing to wring just enough out of the offense to allow the Colts to escape with a pair of wins. In his two starts, Hasselbeck is 48-for-76 (63 percent completion rate) for 495 yards and three touchdowns, with no picks and a passer rating of 95.0. (Through the first three games, Luck was 65-for-116 for a 56 percent completion rate, with 753 yards, five touchdowns, seven interceptions and a passer rating of 65.1.) It has to be taken with a grain of salt because the wins were relatively narrow victories over Jacksonville and Houston, but Hasselbeck’s steadiness and consistent play the last two weeks has allowed Indy to climb just over .500 entering this game. It’s likely that the Colts will do whatever they can to keep the Patriots guessing this week when it comes to who will be under center at the start of Sunday’s contest, but Hasselbeck might be the first Indy backup quarterback in 20 years to show that he can do more than just hold a clipboard. (For what it’s worth, Indy released quarterback Josh Johnson on Monday, which likely is a sign that one or both of the Luck/Hasselbeck combo is feeling better.)

2. Hasselbeck isn’t the only veteran who has helped the Colts offense through a rough patch.

In his first season with Indy, 32-year-old running back Frank Gore (76 carries, 325 yards, 3 TDs) has provided the bulk of the yardage on the ground. Meanwhile, 34-year-old receiver Andre Johnson (13 catches, 128 yards, 2 TDs), also in his initial season with the Colts, has also seen action as a complementary pass catcher, augmenting the work of youngsters like the speedy T.Y. Hilton (a team-high 27 catches, 382 yards) and Donte Moncrief (24 catches, 278 yards, 3 TDs). The positional grouping won’t remind anyone of Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison, but it’s provided just enough offense over the last few weeks to lift the Colts to three consecutive victories. (One more quick note on the Indy offense: the Colts are 31st in the league in giveaways with seven interceptions and five fumbles. In all, Indy is 31st when it comes to turnover ratio at minus-7. Not a good sign when you are facing a New England team that’s tied for fifth overall at plus-5.)

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Read More: Adam Vinatieri, Andre Johnson, Andrew Luck, Frank Gore
Frank Gore makes recruiting pitch to Vince Wilfork to join Colts for University of Miami reunion 03.13.15 at 12:07 pm ET
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The Colts have made some noise this week at the start of NFL free agency, as they have signed a few players including running back Frank Gore and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Gore took to Instagram Thursday night and made a recruiting pitch to another free agent, former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

Wilfork played college at the University of Miami where both Gore and Johnson played their college ball. They all played at the school in the early 2000s, and furthermore Colts coach Chuck Pagano was the lead recruiter there from 1995-2000.

Gore wrote: The u we waiting for big Vince wilfork now family

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A photo posted by Frank Gore (@fg2132) on

Read More: Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, NFL free agency 2015, Vince Wilfork
John Clayton on MFB: Darrelle Revis has shown ‘willingness’ to work with Patriots, take a discount 03.10.15 at 1:41 pm ET
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Could Darrelle Revis take a pay cut to return to New England? (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Could Darrelle Revis take a pay cut to return to New England? (Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

ESPN NFL reporter John Clayton joined Middays with MFB Tuesday with Greg Dickerson in for Tim Benz to discuss Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and other NFL free agent news. To listen to the interview, go to the Middays with MFB audio on demand page.

When it comes to Revis, the Patriots reportedly won’t pick up his $20 million team option for 2015 and he will become a free agent, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. Being the best cornerback on the market, and even overall player on the market, it seems likely he will demand big dollars.

Clayton said Revis could take somewhat of a discount to return to New England because of what he did last offseason.

“He did that last year because even though the contract averaged $16 million and he was making $16 million on the average on the Tampa Bay contract, he was willing to play for $12 [million],” Clayton said. “I think he’s shown his willingness to be able to work with the team and take a discount. The question is going to be how much of a discount?

“Let’s say for an example he does hit the market and there is nothing out there, it could be one of those things where his agents say to the Jets, make everything you can, make us an offer we can’t turn down. I think there is a chance that could happen because you know Woody Johnson knows him and he’s been there before. If it is within $2 million I think he stays [in New England].”

The Patriots have also reportedly let Browner test the market and see what his value is, as he is set to receive a $2 million roster bonus on Tuesday. The team could be looking to restructure his deal, possibly for a way to bring Revis back.

“He has a bonus that is due today that will be guaranteed, so it’s possible they may not pick up that bonus,” said Clayton. “Because he makes $5 million a year they are giving him the opportunity to see, ‘Hey, can you get into anything? If you can then we’ll let you see that.’ You kind of get the idea they may not want to have the bonus or they may want him to see what is available and what kind of market value he has so they can restructure his contract and make him stay.

“It’s a very curious move because if you think about it, part of the great success of the team was the addition of the two cornerbacks and both cornerbacks may not be there. It’s a gamble. It’s a timing thing too because they also knew they had until 4 o’clock to figure this out. If they know Revis is gone maybe they do something different with Brandon or maybe vise versa. Very curious move, but you can see it is a business and that is part of the business.”

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Read More: Andre Johnson, Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, John Clayton
Adam Schefter on D&C: Patriots will show interest in Andre Johnson at 9:25 am ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter joined Dennis & Callahan with Glenn Ordway in for John Dennis Tuesday morning to talk about NFL free agency, which gets officially underway Tuesday at 4 p.m., and to also discuss what he thinks will happen with a few Patriots players. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The big story with the Patriots is Darrelle Revis and will he return to New England, but there are also other players with the team and in the league that will be available. One of those players is former Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who was released by the Texans on Monday. Schefter said the Patriots will be one of the teams interested in Johnson.

“I believe they will be one of the teams in there,” Schefter said. “I don’t know exactly whether he will choose there. I think he wants to play for a Super Bowl contender, he wants to play on a team with a quarterback. You look at the final four teams last year. New England, Indy, Green Bay, Seattle — that would be a smart starting point.”

When it comes to Revis, Schefter reported Monday the Patriots will not pick up his $20 million option for 2015, thus making him a free agent come Tuesday afternoon. The Patriots can still sign him long-term before then, and Schefter says the Patriots chances go down if they cannot re-sign him by Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Schefter still remains confident it will come down to the Patriots and Jets — he doesn’t believe there will be a mystery team. He also said the Patriots’ attention shifted right to Revis after agreeing to a new deal with Devin McCourty on Sunday night.

“Here is the window to get Darrelle Revis re-signed. If he is going to come back to New England, to me, the chances are greater that he would do it by 4 p.m EST,” said Schefter. “If 4 p.m. EST comes and he is not a member of the Patriots, I think the percentages that he comes back to New England drop some. I don’t know how you quantify that.

“The Patrots are going to come at him with a compelling offer. They are not going to tip toe around this. They are going to say, ‘Darrelle, here is the best we can do, we can do this.’ If that is enough to interest him and he wants to be there, you would think he’d take that, right?”

If Revis does sign with the Jets, Schefter said they will be overpaying.

“It depends, is he going back to New England, or is he going to the Jets. If he goes to New England it will be less, if he goes to the Jets it will be more. That is my guess,” said Schefter. “The Jets are going to have to overpay to get him there and my guess is they know that — they are smart enough to figure that out that they aren’t getting him at the same price the New England Patriots would have to pay, and then the question becomes what will they offer and is it so much more than the Patriots are offering that it is enough to entice Darrelle Revis.”

Here are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, check out

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Read More: adam schefter, Andre Johnson, Brandon Browner, Danny Amendola. New England Patriots
As opening of free agency officially approaches, Texans cut ties with WR Andre Johnson 03.09.15 at 4:36 pm ET
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Andre Johnson has apparently played his last down with the Texans. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Andre Johnson has apparently played his last down with the Texans. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

With 24 hours before the official start of free agency Tuesday afternoon, teams continued to make roster adjustments in preparation for the opening of the market. Here are some of the more notable moves:

The Texans cut wide receiver Andre Johnson. The veteran, who has played all 12 of his seasons in Houston, has 1,012 catches for 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns over the course of his career, all while working with some truly wretched quarterbacks. Johnson will almost certainly be one of the most attractive targets in free agency, but he’ll turn 34 before the start of the 2015 season, which means he’ll have to take a slight pay cut from the $21.5 million (over two seasons) he had left on his deal with the Texans. It’s debatable as to whether or not the Patriots would be in the mix for Johnson, but he’ll certainly find plenty of interested partners when free agency begins on Tuesday, including the Colts, who recently cut ties with veteran Reggie Wayne.

One note we forgot to include earlier in the day — the Bills have retained pass-rushing specialist Jerry Hughes, as the TCU product has apparently agreed to a five-year deal worth roughly $45 million, with $20 million in guaranteed money. Hughes had 10 sacks in each of his first two seasons with Buffalo, and the 6-foot-2, 253-pounder will likely have s sizable role in Rex Ryan‘s defensive scheme with the Bills.

The Eagles reached an agreement on a new contract with outside linebacker Brandon Graham. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a four-year deal with $26 million, with $14 million in guaranteed money. One of the highest-rated edge defenders in the league, the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder finished with a career-high 5.5 sacks with Philly in 2014.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Brandon Graham, Buffalo Bills, free agency 2015
Could Patriots make push for Andre Johnson? 05.15.14 at 1:35 pm ET
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The news out of Houston that receiver Andre Johnson has started pushing for a trade has led many Patriots fans to openly speculate about the possibility of New England trying to put together a deal for the former All-Pro receiver.

Given the depth of the relationship between Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Texans coach Bill O’€™Brien, the two sides would appear to be natural trade partners. That, combined with the fact that New England and Houston have been talking on and off throughout the offseason about a potential deal involving quarterback Ryan Mallett, would naturally spark conversation on the topic. The starting point between the two sides likely would be Mallett and a draft pick (probably a second- or third-round selection) for Johnson.

Johnson is a tremendous talent. The 6-foot-3, 219-pounder has played 11 years in he NFL, all with the Texans, and has 927 career receptions, 12,661 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns. The most impressive thing about those numbers? The fact that he’€™s had a relatively mediocre (at best) group of quarterbacks throwing him the ball over the course of his career: Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, Sage Rosenfels and David Carr. Considering the level of talent on the pre-2012 Texans offense, it’s a remarkable run.

However, when it comes to assembling a trade, the biggest hurdle might be trying to work around Johnson’s sizable contract. According to Rotoworld, Johnson still has $34.5 million remaining on a deal that runs through 2016. For a receiver who is set to turn 33 in July — even one who has been as productive over the last five years as Johnson — that’€™s a major financial hit. While the Patriots could get some cap relief via the recent indictment of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, that might still be too much to handle from a financial perspective.

In addition, a Johnson trade would leave $11.96 million in dead money against Houston’s 2014 cap, according to NFL Media’€™s Albert Breer. It is worth noting that reports that the Texans would save $3.68 million against the cap if he was dealt before June 1, so if there is going to be a trade, it would be in Houston’s best interest to do something as soon as possible.

Some have drawn an analogy between Johnson and Randy Moss, who was acquired by the Patriots in the spring of 2007 after two sad and sorrowful seasons in Oakland. While Johnson doesn’t necessarily have the reputation as the third rail of the NFL that Moss had over his first decade or so in the league, both have put up great numbers over the course of their career, and both did it with some decidedly average quarterbacks. Sprung from the Raiders, Moss went on to three-plus seasons of great success with New England before being dealt to the Vikings.

However, it is important to note that Johnson is set to turn 33 this summer, while Moss had just turned 30 when the Patriots picked him up. That’€™s not a colossal age difference, but something that has to be taken into consideration when you are approaching the team-building process for the next few years.

Ultimately, the Patriots should be expected to at least inquire about the possibility of Johnson. But unless the receiver is willing to re-work his contract — or New England is able to move a lot of money around over the next couple of weeks — it seems like a bit of a long shot, at least at this point.

Read More: Andre Johnson, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Ryan Mallett



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