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NFL notebook: Tepper expected to sign Panthers puchase deal

Sports Xchange
16 May 2018, 09:45 GMT+10

Hedge fund manager David Tepper is expected to sign a deal to purchase the Carolina Panthers, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Per reports, the deal could be completed as early as later in the day.

The sale is expected to come in at $2.2 billion, marking a record for the highest sale price for an NFL team. That price would surpass the $1.4 billion for which the Buffalo Bills were sold in 2014.

Tepper will have to sell his five percent minority stake in the Pittsburgh Steelers and have the deal approved by three-fourths of NFL owners (24) at the owners meetings in Atlanta next week.

The 60-year-old Tepper founded Appaloosa Management, a hedge fund company based in Miami Beach (Fla.) and is worth an estimated $11 billion, according to Forbes.

Jerry Richardson, 81, announced he was selling the Panthers in December after the league took over an investigation looking into allegations of workplace misconduct.

--Former NFL head coach John Fox joined ESPN as an NFL analyst, the network announced.

Fox, who most recently coached the Chicago Bears from 2015 to 2017, made his debut Tuesday afternoon on "NFL Live." He is also expected to make appearances on "SportsCenter," ESPN Radio and across the network's platforms.

--Quarterback Ryan Tannehill should be close to full health when the Miami Dolphins hold organized team activities next week.

Tannehill, who missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a preseason knee injury, is expected to participate in OTAs with little or no limitations, the Miami Herald reported, citing team sources.

--The Tennessee Titans signed linebacker and first-round pick Rashaan Evans, the team announced.

Evans, the No. 22 overall pick out of Alabama, signed a four-year contract with a fifth-year option. He is expected to receive a contract worth $11.7 million with a signing bonus of $6.59 million.

--Recently retired Jason Witten said he is expecting former Dallas Cowboys teammate Dez Bryant to end up at the site of his most famous "non-catch."

"I think he's going to end up going to the Green Bay Packers," Witten told ESPN's Adam Schefter, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I think that's a great spot for him. Aaron Rodgers, he throws that back-shoulder throw so well, and Dez (can have) great chemistry with a good quarterback that can put the ball wherever he wants."

NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport doused some of Witten's optimism Tuesday. While acknowledging that the Packers have been linked to Bryant, he reported that Green Bay is not "engaged now and nothing is imminent."

Witten added another potential landing spot for Bryant: the New Orleans Saints.

--The Packers signed first-round draft pick Jaire Alexander to a rookie contract, the team announced.

Alexander received a signing bonus of $6.5 million on a four-year deal worth approximately $11.6 million.

The Packers traded up with the Seattle Seahawks to select the cornerback from Louisville with the 18th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

--Free-agent safety Kenny Vaccaro is scheduled to visit the New York Jets, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.

Vaccaro previously has visited the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts after being released by the New Orleans Saints.

The 27-year-old Vaccaro recorded 60 tackles, three interceptions and 1.5 sacks in 12 games last season with the Saints before landing on injured reserve. He told The Times-Picayune in March that he was fully healthy following core muscle surgery.

--Three sports memorabilia collectors who accused New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning of providing fraudulent "game-worn" equipment that was sold to fans settled their lawsuit.

The attorneys for both sides issued a joint statement on Monday that was also distributed by the Giants. It read as follows:

"(Plaintiffs) Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown have resolved all claims in their pending litigation against the New York Giants, Eli Manning, John Mara, William Heller, Joseph Skiba, Edward Skiba and Steiner Sports, in accordance with a confidential settlement agreement reached today. The compromise agreement, entered into by all parties, should not be viewed as supporting any allegations, claims or defenses."

Details of the settlement were not given for the trial that was scheduled to proceed later this week.

Inselberg, Jakab and Godown had sought triple the amount of their alleged losses -- which totaled less than $20,000 -- for purchasing two helmets that were billed as worn by Manning. They also had sought punitive damages in the lawsuit that alleged Manning delivered the memorabilia to Steiner Sports with a signed letter claiming that they were "game used."

--The ex-girlfriend of San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster will testify that the player did not hit her, according to a published report.

Attorney Stephanie Rickard, who is representing Elissa Ennis, told the Sacramento Bee that she lied to police when she accused Foster of physically assaulting her on Feb. 11, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

Last week, Foster pleaded not guilty to felony domestic violence and weapons charges stemming from an incident involving Ennis three months ago. The preliminary trial is set for Thursday.

--Washington Redskins guard Arie Kouandjio will undergo surgery to repair a partially torn quad later this week, multiple media outlets reported.

Kouandjio had an MRI and a second opinion before electing to undergo surgery, per reports.

The 26-year-old's exact recovery time is expected to be known after the surgery, but NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that it will be "several months" under any circumstances.

Kouandjio started the final six games last season for the Redskins, who were ravaged by injury along the offensive line.

--Cornerback Adam Jones still doesn't have a team but he's back at full health.

Jones, who became a free agent when the Cincinnati Bengals declined to pick up the 2018 option on his contract in March, told SiriusXM NFL Radio that he's fully recovered after undergoing groin surgery following the season.

The Bengals did leave the door open to bringing back the 34-year-old Jones, with the team saying it would consider re-signing Jones as a nickel back and kick returner.

--The Arizona Cardinals had their first day of organized team activities on Tuesday, giving new head coach Steve Wilks an up-close look at star running back David Johnson, who was lost for the season in Week 1 in 2017 because of a broken wrist.

"I thought the first day was pretty good," Wilks told the media after the first practice, via Mike Jurecki on Twitter. "When you look at certain guys, and I don't want to get too excited, but David Johnson looked outstanding today. It's good to have him back out there just flying around. The things that he's doing right now is pretty exciting."

Wilks was also impressed with first-round draft choice Josh Rosen.

"Some of his timing and his throws ... were right on point," said Wilks of Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick. "We got to continue to get better each and every day, which we will."

--Wide receiver Christian Kirk was arrested in February and charged with disorderly conduct and damaging property on Feb. 3, nearly three months before the Cardinals selected him with a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Scottsdale (Ariz.) police told AZCentral.com that Kirk and some of his friends allegedly were throwing rocks at cars as they were exiting the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

The Cardinals said in a statement that they were aware of the incident before selecting the former Texas AM wide receiver and Scottsdale native with the 47th overall pick of the draft.

--Los Angeles Chargers offensive guard Forrest Lamp never made it to the field for his rookie season in 2017 after suffering a torn ACL in training camp.

Lamp still is awaiting medical clearance after undergoing a minor procedure on his knee during this offseason, Sam Wyche of NFL Media reported.

A second-round draft pick (No. 38 overall) a year ago, Lamp is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

--Free agent defensive end Ryan Russell will visit the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported.

Russell, 26, spent the past two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but did not receive a tender from the club.

--The Los Angeles Rams placed fullback Sam Rogers on waivers, the team announced.

Rogers was one of two sixth-round picks in 2017 for the Rams and spent the season on the practice squad.

Los Angeles also waived running back Lenard Tillery, who landed on injured reserve at the beginning of September.

The team filled those roster spots by adding defensive tackle Dalton Keene and safety Charles Williams.

--The Indianapolis Colts signed undrafted free-agent safety Michael Cirino and released cornerback Kenneth Acker, the team announced.

Cirino participated in last week's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. The 5-foot-11, 191-pound Cirino played two seasons at Adams State and recorded 55 tackles, three interceptions and three forced fumbles in 18 games.

--The Detroit Lions have their entire rookie class under contract.

The Lions came to terms with their final draft pick Tuesday, signing cornerback Tracy Walker to a four-year contract, the team announced.

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