After a tumultuous offseason, the Green Bay Packers can afford to look towards the 2021 season with excitement as a clear frontrunner to lift the Lombardi Trophy.

Their stand-off with Aaron Rodgers ended with his place on the roster secured for 2021 at least, meaning the league MVP will have the chance to replicate his 2020 heroics and take one of the most talented rosters one step further after losing in the NFC Championship Game in each of the last two seasons. 

Pivotal to Green Bay's hopes of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since they last won it in the 2010 season is Rodgers' rapport with his number one weapon, Davante Adams.

Their connection has been one of the most potent in recent NFL history yet, despite the resolution between Rodgers and the Packers, there is reason to fear it could be the final year in which the future Hall of Famer will be throwing in Adams' direction.

Prior to Rodgers finding middle ground with the Packers, he and Adams each posted a still from The Last Dance, which chronicled the final year of the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls NBA dynasty, on their respective Instagram stories.

That did little to calm the nerves of Packers fans and, with Adams an unrestricted free agent in 2022, it would be wise not to take the 17 regular-season games he and Rodgers are scheduled to play together in 2021 for granted.

Adams wants to be the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL and said that Rodgers' return has no impact on that desire. In other words, Green Bay will not be getting a discount even if Rodgers is back for 2022, which is no guarantee.

Green Bay would be left with a dead cap charge of nearly $27million were they to trade Rodgers next offseason. Still, given the staring contest they engaged in this year, a 2022 divorce cannot be ruled out, especially if the Packers fall short again.

The Packers could, therefore, be facing up to the possibility of playing 2022 without one if not both of the duo, and simply cannot afford to waste a potential final year of one of the most dynamic partnerships in the NFL.

A prolific pairing

A second-round pick in the 2014 draft, Adams has built a compelling case for being considered the best receiver Rodgers has played with during his storied career.

They have hooked up for 498 receptions in that time, which is 17th among all quarterback and wide receiver duos since 1991.

Rodgers has thrown for 6,018 yards passing to Adams, 24th-most among QB and WR pairings since 1991, while the 57 touchdowns he has thrown to Adams is joint-ninth in the NFL (tied with Brett Favre to Antonio Freeman) in that same timeframe.

When throwing to Adams, Rodgers has a hugely impressive passer rating of 107.7, ranking 22nd on the list for QB-WR duos with a minimum of 250 targets since 1991, though it is some way adrift of the 124.2 rating he posted when throwing to Jordy Nelson between 2008 and 2017, which tops that same leaderboard.

The combination between Rodgers and Adams may not be as efficient as his partnership with Nelson, yet it seemingly has the chance to improve further in the coming season with arguably both players the best at their position in 2020.

2020's gold standards

Rodgers took Matt LaFleur's offense, with its roots in the schemes of Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, to heights not scaled since Matt Ryan took the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2016 with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator.

Like Ryan five seasons earlier, Rodgers was named MVP after a year in which he led the league with a completion percentage of 70.7 and threw for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

Remarkably consistent with his accuracy and his decision-making, Rodgers was third in the NFL with a well-thrown percentage of 82.4 while his pickable pass percentage of 2.23 was also bettered by only two quarterbacks – Alex Smith (2.12) and Tom Brady (2.20).

Adams was the main beneficiary of one of the finest seasons of Rodgers' career. Indeed, he led the league in receiving touchdowns with 18, his ability to adjust to the football in the air combined with Rodgers' consistently superb placement making them a near-unstoppable duo in the red zone.

He racked up 1,374 receiving yards and delivered that production at an extremely efficient rate through his proficiency for creating separation with route-running skills that are among the best in the league.

Adams registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup on plays where he is targeted regardless of whether the pass is catchable, on 70 per cent of his 147 targets.

And he led wide receivers in burn yards per route with an average of 3.9 yards, delivering a clear improvement having ranked tied-fourth in that same metric with 3.4 yards in 2019.

The 2020 season was the one where Adams made the leap from elite to the clear-cut top receiver in the league in the eyes of many.

While his position as the gold standard may be up for debate, what is not in question is that he and Rodgers are performing at the peak of their respective powers.

So what must the Packers do to ensure their final year together, if that is what 2021 proves to be, is a successful swansong?

How to get over the hump

The Packers' 2020 season came to an end amid a controversial decision by LaFleur in the NFC Championship Game. 

With the Packers trailing the Buccaneers 31-23 and faced with fourth and goal from inside the Tampa Bay 10-yard line, LaFleur opted to kick a field goal to trim the deficit rather than to give Rodgers a final shot at finding the endzone.

Green Bay never got the ball back after the field goal, leading to intense criticism of LaFleur.

That sequence was not reflective of the Packers' performance inside the 20 last season, when they led the league in red-zone touchdown efficiency.

Yet Green Bay could certainly benefit from LaFleur being more aggressive on fourth down.

The Packers were 10th in the NFL in fourth-down conversion percentage (61.9) but their 21 fourth-down attempts ranked tied-14th.

Therefore, there is room for the Packers to put more faith in their dynamic quarterback-receiver duo in those situations. To do so, however, La Fleur will need to have plenty of confidence in his defense.

Having parted company with much-maligned defensive coordinator Mike Pettine following their playoff exit, the Packers are hoping that his replacement Joe Barry can elevate that unit to the ranks of the elite.

Green Bay finished 14th in opponent yards per play (5.49), though the Packers were top 10 in that regard against the pass. They conceded 6.13 yards per pass play.

To further bolster their options defending the pass, the Packers drafted Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes, who ranked second among Power 5 corners by allowing an open percentage of 38.5, in the first round.

Yet if the Packers are to reach the upper echelon in pass defense, the onus is more likely to be on their front seven.

They ended 2020 tied-26th in opponent negative plays (72) and would benefit hugely from a bounce-back year from Preston Smith.

His pressure rate of 10 per cent was the eighth-worst among edge rushers with a minimum of 100 plays and came a year after he registered 12 sacks. Za'Darius Smith had double-digit sacks for the second successive year but his pressure rate of 16.5 was only marginally above the average of 15.9 for edge players.

The progress of Rashan Gary, who had a pressure rate of 19.1 per cent last season, has been encouraging but, as much as a better pass rush would aid Green Bay's cause, run defense is the most pressing issue on that side of the ball.

Twenty-first in opponent rushing average (4.55 yards) in 2020, the Packers appear just as vulnerable to the ground game as they were when their 2019 season was ended in an NFC title game that saw the San Francisco 49ers rack up 285 net rushing yards.

Green Bay's deficiency at linebacker was laid bare in that rout and the Packers have done little to address it. Their likely starters at inside linebacker are Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin. Barnes' 2020 run-disruption rate of 2.1 was the ninth-lowest in the NFL among linebackers while Martin made just six starts in 10 games.

Jordan's successful last dance could not have been possible without a stellar core around him. Rodgers and Adams performed at a level worthy of a Lombardi Trophy in 2020 but they will need their head coach and their defense to rise to the expectations for their potential goodbye to be one that comes on the podium in Los Angeles.

The Dallas Cowboys have activated wide receiver Amari Cooper off the physically unable to perform list as they continue preparing for the new NFL season.

Cooper had surgery on his right ankle during the offseason, undergoing a procedure to remove bone spurs after being bothered by the issue in the 2020 campaign.

His recovery had been continuing under the guidance of the Cowboys' medical staff, but now the 27-year-old – a four-time Pro Bowler - is clear to return to practice with his team.

The fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the then-Oakland Raiders, Cooper was traded to Dallas in October 2018.

He has 449 receptions for 6,211 yards in his career during the regular season, plus 38 receiving touchdowns. His three playoff appearances have seen him record 15 catches for 181 yards and a score.

Cooper led the way for the Cowboys in terms of receptions (92) and receiving yards (1,114) in 2020, while rookie CeeDee Lamb matched him with five touchdown catches. Dallas' offense was hampered badly when starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in Week 5.

They finished with a 6-10 record at the end of head coach Mike McCarthy's first year in charge, having used four different quarterbacks.

The Cowboys start the new season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are the reigning Super Bowl champions, on September 9.

The Baltimore Ravens will not rush into an extension on quarterback Lamar Jackson's contract says coach John Harbaugh, in light of Josh Allen's bumper Buffalo Bills deal.

The Ravens already exercised their fifth-year option on Jackson's contract, which will see the 24-year-old paid just over $23 million in 2022, and have since been in talks about an extension.

Jackson had indicated he wants to remain with the Ravens long-term, saying in May he "would love to be here forever".

The situation has now been complicated after the Buffalo Bills handed quarterback Josh Allen one of the richest deals in NFL history, with a six-year extension worth $258m.

"There’s really not a hurry for us," Harbaugh said about how Allen's deal may impact talks with Jackson on an extension.

"He’s going to be our quarterback for years to come."

Jackson, who was a unanimous choice as the NFL's Most Valuable Player two years ago, has won more games (30) than any other quarterback since taking over as Baltimore's starter midway through the 2018 season and became the fastest QB in NFL history to reach 30 regular-season victories (37 games).

The Ravens have reached the NFL postseason for the past three seasons with Jackson, although they have only won one playoff during that span, failing to progress to any Championship games.

Jackson's output slipped in 2020 but he remains the NFL's premier dual-threat quarterback, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and scoring seven touchdowns on the ground in each of the past two seasons in addition to his work in the passing game.

The 24-year-old is also the first in league history to produce 5,000 passing yard and 2,500 rushing yards in his first three NFL seasons. He had 242 completions for 2,757 yards – at 64.4 per cent – 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 appearances for Baltimore in 2020.

In total, Jackson has tallied 606 completions, 7,085 yards, 68 touchdowns and 18 interceptions since entering the league.

Kyle Shanahan believes it will be difficult for rookie quarterback Trey Lance to win the San Francisco 49ers' starting quarterback job from Jimmy Garoppolo.

The 49ers traded three first-round picks to the Miami Dolphins to move up to the third overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, which they subsequently used on Lance.

Lance's performances in training camp have only served to increase the hype around the dual-threat signal-caller who has continually impressed in practice.

Yet Shanahan has been similarly pleased by what he has seen from Garoppolo, who helped guide the Niners to Super Bowl LIV, where he was criticised for his part in a fourth-quarter collapse before enduring an injury-plagued 2020.

And the head coach appears to be confident it is the former New England Patriot who will be under center against the Detroit Lions in Week 1.

"I think it's gonna be tough for [Lance] to win the job, just in terms of it being two different styles of quarterbacks and maybe a little different style of offense for both of them,” Shanahan told The MMQB's Albert Breer.

"I'd be very surprised if he did with the way Jimmy's playing. It'd put a lot on a kid to do that.

"He's doing everything he can. I'm very impressed with him so far, but I'd be very surprised if that happened."

However, Shanahan had previously said Lance, whose ability with his legs adds another dimension to the San Francisco offense, would see playing time as a rookie and indicated he could rotate Garoppolo and Lance based on in-game matchups.

"I think I can ride it out week in and week out, personally," Shanahan added. "I think our guys trust us to make the right decision. It's cool being in a building where no one has an agenda, whether it's me, the GM, the owner.

"Everyone's on the same page, there's no pressure – 'Hey, you have to do this or you have to do that'. And our players know that too, that's what's great about our place here.

"When players know you're on the same page with the personnel department, with the owner, then they don't really care. They just want to win.

"And I think when this is all said and done, there's gonna be two guys they believe will help us win and I think they'll trust us to make that decision, whether it's permanently, for one game, for a series or just a situation. We gotta balance that out right, though. It's tough to do, but it is as easy as 'How do you win the game?'

"I really try to keep as simple as what gives us the best chance right now to win. And I think our players trust that I'm like that. I think our quarterbacks trust that I'm like that.

"You can disagree, but it's hard to take it personally when it's like that. I hope we've got the right guys, the right team, and if they both keep getting better, it should be a good problem for me."

Saquon Barkley has returned to practice for the first time since his anterior cruciate ligament tear but still does not know if he will make the New York Giants' 2021 opener.

Barkley has been out of action since sustaining the knee injury in the Week 2 defeat to the Chicago Bears last year.

The second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft had established himself as one of the league's elite dual-threat running backs prior to that setback.

In his rookie season, Barkley ranked second for carries (261) and rushing yards (1,307) and was also second for catches among players at his position (91).

That amounted to 15 total touchdowns, trailing only Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara for running backs.

Year two was slightly slower but Barkley still became the first Giant to pass 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons and was looking forward to a big 2020 when he went down against the Bears.

It has been a long road back for the Bronx-born star, but he was finally fit to come off the physically unable to perform list and take part in practice on Monday before fielding questions.

"I don't know," Barkley said with a smile when asked if he could face the Denver Broncos in Week 1.

"I'm not even thinking about that. I just wanted to be able to get out there and practice and just play football with my team-mates again and I was fortunate enough for that day to be today.

"My mindset is definitely hopeful. It's definitely better being able to practice now than later on in camp."

Head coach Joe Judge said of his returning star: "We're going to be patient with him.

"We're going to watch how he responds to each situation. When the doctor says he's green-lighted to go out there and do something, he will."

Russell Wilson wants the Seattle Seahawks to quickly work out a solution to get left tackle Duane Brown back on the field.

Brown has only a single year remaining on his existing contract, which will count for $13.35million against the cap in 2021.

The veteran lineman is keen for an extension, though, and he has the backing of superstar quarterback Wilson.

"Not having Duane Brown out there is a pretty significant deal because I think he's one of the best left tackles in the game, there's no arguing it," Wilson said.

"I think he's as good as it gets. There's nobody more athletic, more talented than he is."

Brown turns 36 this month, but the QB added: "Age is just a number. He looks like he's 28, 30 out there. He's really exceptional.

"He's so smart and physical, understands the game, and I think people fear him, to be honest with you, when they're rushing him and playing against him.

"So we definitely want to be able to get him back out there. We've got to figure that out because we need Duane Brown."

The issue and Wilson's comments should be of particular concern to the Seahawks, who for a time looked as though they might enter this year without the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

Wilson this offseason bemoaned "getting hit too much", prompting speculation after an impressive 2020 went off the rails fast.

The 32-year-old, who had appeared on course for an MVP year, suffered as he was sacked 47 times for 301 yards, ranking third and second in the league respectively.

It is a common issue for Wilson, who has lost more sack yards (975) over the past three seasons than any other QB.

However, of those 146 sacks, Brown has allowed just six, showing why Wilson is desperate not to disrupt the one position that is performing in front of him.

Wilson believes Brown can continue to perform well into his thirties, too.

"I think he's got several more years to play," Wilson said. "I think he can definitely do it. I don't think there's anybody more athletic than him. You see what he can do.

"And he's also our leader. He's a guy who really leads the offensive line and, really, he commands the offensive line and really can set the tone."

Any regression in 2020 was minimal, as Brown allowed only a single sack for a second successive year and had just one penalty.

The former Houston Texans tackle allowed four adjusted sacks – up from one – but that still accounted for a mere 0.9 per cent of his 444 pass protection snaps, ranking 12th in the league among left tackles. His 0.4 per cent of 250 snaps had ranked fourth a year earlier.

There was no change, meanwhile, in the pressures Brown allowed, staying at 5.2 per cent – sixth in the NFL in 2020 (23 pressures allowed) and tied-second in 2021 (13).

Football has been a part of Peyton Manning's life since the day he was born, and his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech Sunday amounted to a love letter to the sport. 

The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback was the headliner at the ceremony in Canton, Ohio, that honoured the 2020 and 2021 inductees. 

Famously personable, Manning took amiable shots at former rivals like Tom Brady and thanked those who helped him reach the game's pinnacle – starting with his father, Archie – but spent a significant portion of his speech looking ahead. 

"We have inherited the history of this sport, even helped create it, but our responsibility cannot stop there," Manning said. "If we simply relive history and don't ignite the future of the sport, then we're not doing football justice."

Manning acknowledged threats to his sport's hegemony in the United States and its worldwide appeal, from an increasingly fractured entertainment market to concussion concerns and polarising social-justice issues, before vowing to do what he could to maintain the sport's prominence and encouraging others to do the same. 

"I don't know about you but I'm not done with this game. I never will be," he said. "I'm committed to ensuring its future, and I hope you will join me in that commitment.

"As members of this honoured class, we have a responsibility to make our game stronger, from the corner playground to the most-celebrated stadiums. ...

"When we leave this stage tonight, it is no longer about us. It is about cultivating the game that has given so much to us. It's about nurturing football to live and thrive another day, another year, decade and another generation."

Joining Manning in the Class of 2021 were receivers Calvin Johnson and Drew Pearson, defensive back Charles Woodson, safety John Lynch, guard Alan Faneca, pioneering coach Tom Flores and legendary scout Bill Nunn.

The Class of 2020, whose induction was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, included receivers Isaac Bruce and Harold Carmichael, safeties Steve Atwater and Troy Polamalu, defensive backs Bobby Dillon and Donnie Shell, tackles Jim Covert and Winston Hill, defensive tackles Alex Karras and Duke Slater, ends Mac Speedie and Ed Sprinkle, running back Edgerrin James, guard Steve Hutchinson, coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson, general manager George Young, NFL Films co-founder Steve Sabol, and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. 

Xavien Howard will be staying with the Miami Dolphins after the two parties agreed to a restructure of his contract.

The All-Pro cornerback last month requested a trade, saying he did not feel "valued or respected" by the team.

The 28-year-old signed a five-year, $76.5million extension in 2019, which at the time made him the highest-paid corner in the NFL.

However, Howard was seemingly irritated by not even being the highest-paid corner on his team, with Byron Jones signed to a five-year $82.5m deal to lure him from the Dallas Cowboys last year.

Jones' contract carries an average annual value of $16.5m compared to $15.05m for Howard.

Howard's 2021 base salary of $12m sees him paid over $2m less than Jones.

But the Dolphins have satiated the 2020 first-team All-Pro, who led the league in interceptions (10) last year, increasing his fully guaranteed money for this year to $12.78m and his maximum with added incentives to $16.28m.

Howard has also seen his 2022 base salary of $12.97m guaranteed against injury. It will become fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2022 league year. Additionally, it has been reported Howard has received assurances the Dolphins will revisit his deal next year should he stay healthy and perform at a productive level again in 2021.

On top of his league-leading interceptions tally, Howard recorded a career-high of 20 passes defended in 2020.

Per Stats Perform advanced data, Howard's adjusted open percentage – which measures how frequently an opponent got open against a defender's coverage, adjusted for position – was 25.19, almost a full percentage point better than that of Jones (26.16) in 2020.

His efforts last season helped the Dolphins lead the NFL in takeaways (29), though that did not translate to a playoff berth as Brian Flores' team finished 10-6.

The Dolphins have not reached the postseason since the 2016 campaign and have not won a playoff game since their Wild Card victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2000 season.

They begin their quest to end those droughts at the New England Patriots on September 12.

The Indianapolis Colts have made Darius Leonard the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL after signing him to a five-year contract extension worth $99.25million.

Leonard's deal includes $52.5m in guaranteed money, and he will receive an annual salary of $20m over the first three years, according to a report by NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

It means he overtakes San Francisco 49ers star Fred Warner as the highest-paid player at the position.

Warner signed a five-year, $95m extension with the Niners last month, with his deal paying him $19m annually.

Leonard is one of the key players on a stout Colts defense that ranked 10th in yards per play allowed in 2020.

A second-round pick out of FCS program South Carolina State in 2018, Leonard was named Defensive Rookie of the Year after a stellar first season.

His 416 total tackles are the fourth-most among linebackers since 2018, while he ranks tied fifth for his position group with 22 pass breakups in that time.

Adept at stopping both the passing game and opposing rushing attacks, Leonard registered a run disruption rate of 9.1 per cent in 2020, putting him sixth among all linebackers, according to Stats Perform data.

The signing of Leonard to a long-term deal is some much-needed good news for the Colts, who have lost both quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson to foot injuries during training camp.

As a result, the pressure may be on Leonard and the defense to do the heavy lifting when the Colts start their 2021 campaign against the Seattle Seahawks on September 12.

Josh Allen has agreed a six-year contract extension with the Buffalo Bills reportedly worth $258million with $150m guaranteed.

The deal will keep Allen tied to the Bills through the 2028 season and will see him average an annual salary of $43m.

Buffalo traded up to select Allen with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, making the bet that his outstanding athletic gifts would translate to NFL success despite concerns over his accuracy.

That looked a questionable move over the first two years of his career, despite a playoff appearance in the 2019 season.

However, Allen took a spectacular leap forward in 2020, leading the Bills on a run to the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Having failed to complete 60 per cent of his passes in 2018 or 2019, Allen posted a completion percentage of 69.2 in 2020, throwing for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Allen's completion percentage, passing yardage and passing touchdowns all marked single-season records for the Bills. He also set franchise records for 300-yard games (8) and total touchdowns (46).

Per Stats Perform data, Allen was the seventh-best quarterback in the NFL when it came to delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball. He recorded a well-thrown percentage of 80.5 and was ninth in air yards per attempt among quarterbacks with at least 200 passes, averaging 8.92.

Yet the Bills were ultimately second-best to the Chiefs by a wide margin, losing 38-24 in the AFC title game. Buffalo start their campaign to go one better in 2021 with a Week 1 encounter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 12.

The Dallas Cowboys remain hopeful Dak Prescott will be ready for the season opener despite a shoulder injury that knocked him out of training camp, but they got a look at their other quarterback options as they opened the NFL pre-season on Thursday. 

Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush turned in solid performances even though they were unable to lead a touchdown drive in a 16-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

Gilbert got the start and completed nine of 13 attempts for 104 yards and a 93.1 passer rating, while Rush came on in the second quarter and was eight-of-13 for 70 yards and a 75.8 rating.

Gilbert twice drove the Cowboys into the red zone but Dallas was left to settle for two field-goal tries, with Hunter Niswander making only one of them.

Niswander missed another field goal at the end of the first half, this one a 52-yarder, and Rush saw another of his drives end in a lost fumble by Malik Turner.

Despite those miscues, Dallas out-gained Pittsburgh 217-123 in the first half while racking up 13 first downs to Pittsburgh's six.

"The performance was decent," Gilbert told reporters. "We did some good things.

"Personally, I was a little sloppy with a couple of things, but it was good to knock the rust off. As an offense, we did a nice job overall of getting the ball moving."

Head coach Mike McCarthy concurred, saying he was pleased with the way his offence moved the football, but called for better finishing in the red zone.

They can expect that aspect to improve under Prescott, who did not travel to Canton for the game.

He told Fox Sports from California during the half-time show that he remains optimistic about being able to start the September 9 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"We're being cautious," Prescott said. "We're taking it day by day, obviously. It's five weeks before the season opener, so I've got a lot of time. And I'm going to use that time to get myself ready for that game."

Nick Foles made it clear he has not had any talks with Frank Reich about a trade to the Indianapolis Colts, but he sounded distinctly like a man making his pitch for such a move on Monday.

The Colts are in a perilous situation at quarterback after Reich confirmed Carson Wentz, whom they traded for in the offseason to be their starter, would undergo foot surgery and miss five to 12 weeks.

Wentz is therefore in danger of missing the opening two months of the 2021 season, leaving the Colts facing up to the prospect of starting Jacob Eason, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, under center.

Reich was the Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator when Wentz was in the MVP conversation in 2017 before he suffered a season-ending injury and was replaced by Foles, who spectacularly guided the Eagles to Super Bowl glory.

It was hoped the reunion between Reich and Wentz could revive the latter's career after his dismal final season with the Eagles but his injury has led to talk of the Colts bringing Foles, now the third-string quarterback with the Chicago Bears, into the mix.

Asked about that possibility, Foles told a media conference: "Frank Reich is one of my favourite if not favourite coaches of all time, he understands me as a player, he understands me as a person.

"I haven't had any talks with him. I'm a Chicago Bear right now. You all watched the 2017 season in the playoffs where he changed the offense and built it around me and y'all saw what happened, he understood my mentality as a player and he was able to build it around me and put me in a successful position.

"That being said they have Carson, and Carson and I have a lot of history. I have a lot of respect for Carson, he's a tremendous player, he's going through adversity once again but he'll bounce back. He might miss a few games but I know he'll be back out there, but we haven't had any talks.

"Right now I'm a Chicago Bear and I'm going to keep slinging it with these third-stringers and we're going to dice 'em up."

On talks with other teams, Foles added: "There was a couple of opportunities that came to me this offseason with a couple of teams but it wasn't the right time.

"It wasn't the right time or the situation with what was going on in my life. You don't just want to go somewhere to go somewhere, you want to go somewhere where you know the people somewhat or you know someone who knows the people that can vouch for the people so you can succeed.

"Listen, I feel great. The version of me right now is much better than the version of me that played in the Super Bowl, I'll tell you that and I'm confident in that, so put that through your mind, I know that.

"I know what this game's about, you have to have the whole package as a team, you have to have everyone in there. Top-down has to be great, if it's not great you're going to be mediocre. I've seen it and I've been a part of it, and unfortunately when you're a quarterback you've got to go through a lot of the baloney.

"That's part of it, that's why we play this position because at the end of the day there might be some kid that's watching this press conference and they say Nick Foles is a three quarterback and he's going out there and his mentality is to dice up that defense and help his team-mates and that's what I will continue to do until I lace up the cleats for the last time."

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz is to undergo foot surgery and could be out for as long as 12 weeks.

Colts head coach Frank Reich confirmed Wentz would have an operation on his left foot after injuring it during last Thursday's training camp practice and will need five to 12 weeks to recover.

Reich told reporters the injury was to Wentz's metatarsal and that the pain stemmed from a previous issue that could date as far back as high school.

The Colts traded for Wentz back in March, sending a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick that could become a first-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles to land the 2016 second overall pick.

Philadelphia will receive a 2022 first-rounder if Wentz plays 75 per cent of the offensive snaps in 2021, or if he plays 70 per cent and the Colts make the playoffs.

However, the prospects of either scenario coming to pass now look slim, with the Colts' hopes of Reich getting Wentz's career back on track dealt a significant blow. 

"Obviously we're optimistic and hopeful that we can be on the front end of that [five to 12 week recovery time]," said Reich.

While Wentz is sidelined, the focus will be on getting Jacob Eason, a fourth-round pick in 2020, ready to start Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.

"The job is Jacob's right now … and he's gotta earn it," Reich added. "But he's in the driver’s seat."

Reich was the offensive coordinator in 2017 when Wentz was a frontrunner for the MVP award before a knee injury curtailed his campaign and backup Nick Foles improbably led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.

The Colts banked on a reunion with Reich helping Wentz rediscover that form following a 2020 season in which he suffered 50 sacks - the most of any quarterback in the league - and was tied-first for interceptions with 15.

As per Stats Perform data, Wentz had the worst well-thrown percentage in the NFL last year. He delivered an accurate, well-thrown ball on just 68.8 per cent of his passes. He threw a pickable pass on 6.78 per cent of his attempts, with only three quarterbacks doing so more often.

The Colts will now have to wait to see if he can bounce back and reprise his 2017 form, while Eason has the opportunity to give Reich a headache in the game's most important position.

The Cleveland Browns have officially announced running back Nick Chubb's contract extension, a move that sees them lock down a player who has quickly established himself as one of the best at his position.

Chubb's three-year extension with the Browns was initially reported on Sunday. It is said to be a deal worth $36million, of which $20m is guaranteed.

It is just reward for Chubb's incredible start to his NFL career, which has seen him rack up the third-most rushing yards in the league since being drafted in 2018. He has 3,557 yards in his career, a tally bettered by only Derrick Henry (4,620) and Ezekiel Elliott (3,770), as well as 28 rushing touchdowns in that time.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (6.03) is the only player to have posted a better rushing average than Chubb's 5.23 yards per carry across the last three seasons.

A key reason for Chubb's success has been his ability to stay on his feet through tackle attempts. He has finished in the top five in broken tackles in each of his three NFL seasons and was tied for first with Dalvin Cook last season with 14.

Chubb was third in yards after contact per rushing attempt in both 2019 (2.37) and 2020 (2.59) and Browns executive vice president of football operations and general manager Andrew Berry is excited at the prospect of him leading Cleveland's backfield in the coming seasons.

"From the day Nick Chubb first entered our facilities, it was clear to see that he would become a pillar of our organisation," said Berry.

"Although Nick may be a man of few words whose strong-and-silent demeanour can be easy to overlook from the outside, his actions over the past three years have reverberated within the walls of our building.

"Nick's on-field contributions stand for themselves. He is a dynamic runner who is on pace to be one of the most accomplished players to ever don an orange helmet at the position.

"But it's his work ethic, intelligence, toughness and selflessness that makes us proud that he represents our city.

"Quite plainly, Nick embodies the soul of our team and we are thrilled that he will be a Cleveland Brown for years to come."

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer expressed his disappointment and frustration with unvaccinated players Saturday after three of his team's four quarterbacks missed practice due to COVID-19 protocols. 

Starting quarterback Kirk Cousins and backups Kellen Mond and Nate Stanley had to sit out the evening workout, leaving Jake Browning to take all of the reps under center. Offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, who played center Friday, also missed Saturday's practice. 

The Vikings released a statement prior to the workout that read: "Due to the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols, multiple players will be held out of tonight's practice inside TCO Stadium."

Zimmer met with reporters before the workout and did not address the missing quarterbacks by name. 

He did, however, make a plea to his players and everyone else. 

"It’s why people should get vaccinated,’’ Zimmer said. "[If] something like this happens a day before a game that has a chance to get you to the playoffs or something like that, [it could hamper a team].

"This Delta variant is rough. You can see the cases going up every single day now. That’s why, for the sake of everybody’s health, I think it’s important. But some people don’t understand, I guess.

"I am disappointed that this happened. I’m frustrated with, not just with my football players who won’t get vaccinated, I’m frustrated with everybody [who won’t]."

It was not clear when the players who sat out Saturday's practice would be able to return. 

In the meantime, Browning will be the star of the show for the Vikings.

"Jake’s really smart," Zimmer said. "He’s vaccinated. That helps to be the backup. So as we move forward here, he’s going to get a ton of reps.

"I don’t know about saying 'it’s going to go a long way' because we’ve still a lot of camp to go. But we’ll see.

"He’s out there, he’s available, that’s important. It’s important to be available when you’re playing football, a team sport."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.