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NFL notebook

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Buccaneers hit practice field ... and LeSean McCoy joins them

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady lets fly during a practice at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.
Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady lets fly during a practice at AdventHealth Training Center in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.Mike Ehrmann/Getty

Six-time Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy finalized a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared on the east practice field at AdventHealth Training Center on Tuesday morning.

Normally, on the first day reporters were allowed to watch camp proceedings, this would have been big stuff. But with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski now with the new-look Bucs, there’s not a lot of spotlight left to share.

The 32-year-old McCoy agreed to terms last week with his fourth team in what will be his 12th NFL season. McCoy led the league in rushing in 2013, earning the first of five consecutive Pro Bowl berths. He added a Super Bowl title to his resume as a backup with the Chiefs last season, rushing for 465 yards and scoring five touchdowns.

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LeSean McCoy gets a hug from Tom Brady during Tuesday'a camp session.
LeSean McCoy gets a hug from Tom Brady during Tuesday'a camp session.Douglas R. Clifford/Associated Press

Brady, 43, signed a two-year, fully guaranteed $50 million contract in free agency after appearing in nine Super Bowls — winning six — over 20 seasons with the Patriots.

The Bucs also added Gronkowski, the quarterback’s favorite target, to an already exceptional group of receivers and tight ends.

And now Brady has McCoy, who has rushed for 11,071 yards and 73 touchdowns, and caught 503 passes for 3,797 yards and 16 more TDs .

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Brady’s passes were precise, and he shouted encouragement to his receivers, as they all worked in shorts and T-shirts. Helmets and pads will come next week.

Stafford, wife riled by false positive

The Lions removed Matthew Stafford from the COVID-IR list, saying he received a false positive test result — and drawing the ire of the quarterback’s wife toward the NFL.

The list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with an infected person. Stafford was listed on it Saturday, but the team said Tuesday his testing sequence for the pre-entry period was: negative, negative, false positive — then the next three tests were all negative.

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Matthew Stafford got some good news Tuesday.
Matthew Stafford got some good news Tuesday.Paul Sancya/Associated Press

“To be clear, Matthew does NOT have COVID-19 and never has had COVID-19 and the test in question was a False-Positive,” the team said in a statement. “Also, all of Matthew’s family have been tested and everyone is negative.”

Stafford’s placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list was big news because of his stature in the game and because of the health issues his family recently has dealt with. His wife, Kelly, had surgery last year to remove a brain tumor.

Kelly Stafford had plenty to say on her Instagram page Tuesday.

“Even after we knew it was false positive, our school told us they were not allowed back, I was approached in a grocery store and told I was ‘endangering others,’ my kids were harassed and kicked off a playground,” she wrote. “I don’t blame these scenarios on any of the people directly involved.. I understand where they are coming from, but I do blame the @NFL. I blame the @NFL for not holding themselves accountable . . . Maybe we should be absolutely positive a person has covid before releasing that info to the world.”


Players on the COVID-19 list have been listed in the league's transaction reports. The Lions have not been commenting further about players' health when they are put on the list.

Roethlisberger confident about comeback

Ben Roethlisberger is pretty sure there isn’t a technical term for what doctors did to his shredded right elbow last fall. The Steelers quarterback is pretty sure about one thing though: no one who has ever played his position has ever recovered from it well enough to continue throwing a football for a living.

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Yet the 38-year-old is confident he will be the first. Maybe it's because the pain that led to three flexor tendons rupturing late in the first half against Seattle last September is gone.

“I’ve had no setbacks,” he said. “It feels really good. I’m excited about that.”

Relieved too.

Ben Roethlisberger struck an optimistic note Tuesday.
Ben Roethlisberger struck an optimistic note Tuesday.Adam Hunger/FR110666 AP via AP

Roethlisberger admitted he’d been dealing what he described as minor elbow discomfort for a while heading into Week 2 against Seattle. In the waning moments of the second quarter, he flung the ball deep to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. He clutched his arm immediately after letting it fly. Though he finished out the drive, it was obvious something was really wrong.

“I just really felt a different pain, a different discomfort than I ever felt, and it was kind of shooting down my arm,” he said. “I knew something was different at that moment.”

There are two years (and nearly $70 million) left on the extension he agreed to in 2018.

“I’m not saying I’ve got 10 years left in me, but I feel like I’ve got some good years in me,” he said. “That was definitely the motivating factor — coming back, showing I still have it in the tank, that I have a lot to give this team, that I had a lot to give the fans.”

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Raiders deal falls through

The trade that sent defensive tackle P.J. Hall from Las Vegas to Minnesota for a conditional draft pick has been negated after Hall failed a physical with the Vikings. Minnesota had agreed Monday to send a conditional seventh-round pick in 2021 to the Raiders for Hall. The Vikings sent him back to the Raiders on Tuesday and he was then waived by Las Vegas. Hall was a second-round pick in coach Jon Gruden’s first draft back with the Raiders in 2018, selected 57th overall out of Sam Houston State . . . Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley was activated off the reserve-COVID-19 list and then waived. Tankersley was a third-round draft pick in 2017 who has started 11 NFL games, all as a rookie . . . The Giants improved their pass rush by re-signing linebacker and team sack leader Markus Golden to a one-year tender for $5.1 million.