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NFL notebook: Tepper officially becomes Panthers owner

Sports Xchange
10 Jul 2018, 09:30 GMT+10

David Tepper officially became the owner of the Carolina Panthers on Monday.

The Panthers announced that the deal to transfer the team from Jerry Richardson to Tepper has closed. Tepper paid $2.275 billion for the right to own the team.

Tepper, a billionaire hedge fund manager, signed a definitive agreement to purchase the team on May 16. The NFL owners approved the purchase at the NFL Spring Meeting in Atlanta on May 22. The paperwork needed to officially transfer ownership was completed Monday.

The Panthers also announced chief operating officer Tina Becker has resigned. Becker worked for the Panthers for 19 seasons, and she was named COO on Dec. 18, 2017, shortly after Richardson announced his plans to sell the team.

No replacement for her position was named.

Richardson was fined $2.75 million after an investigation into workplace misconduct. Richardson, 81, announced shortly after the NFL took over the investigation that he planned to sell the team.

--Former NFL cornerback Brandon Browner was arrested after allegedly breaking into a home of an ex-girlfriend who has a restraining order against him, multiple media outlets reported.

La Verne (Calif.) Police said in a release that Browner broke into the house through a locked window at approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday and forced the woman back into her residence. The police said that he physically harmed and threatened the woman and stole a Rolex watch valued at about $20,000 before fleeing the scene.

Browner was identified as the alleged intruder and charged with kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment, and violation of a restraining order, according to an NBC Los Angeles report.

Last month, Browner pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of battery and cruelty to a child that stemmed from an incident in Pomona (Calif.) on May 6 involving Marin Foster, the mother of two of his children.

--Free-agent running back DeMarco Murray said he had conversations with a handful of teams and would like to join one of them before the beginning of training camp.

"I've had a lot of discussions with four or five teams that I feel will be a great fit for me," Murray told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "It's all about being transparent and, for me, I'm not looking to lead the league in rushing yards.

"Obviously I would work and do everything to give me the opportunity to do that, but it's all about having an opportunity to get to the playoffs and have an opportunity to win a championship."

Murray reportedly visited the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions after being released by the Tennessee Titans in March.

--Former NFL tight end Brandon Pettigrew was arrested following an exchange in which he allegedly punched a police officer, according to a published report.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Pettigrew had a confrontation with a limousine driver after refusing to pay a $97 fare at 3 a.m. on Monday in downtown Pittsburgh.

The 33-year-old Pettigrew was charged with two counts of aggravated assault, theft of services and public drunkenness. He had been previously arrested for disorderly conduct and public drunkenness in 2017.

--Joe Pendry was named the general manager of the Birmingham franchise in the Alliance of American Football, the league announced Monday.

Pendry most recently served in an advisory role with the Alabama Crimson Tide after three seasons as assistant head coach and offensive line coach with the Tide.

Also, Trey Brown has been named executive vice president of football operations for Birmingham. He had served in the Philadelphia Eagles front office since 2013.

--Dallas Cowboys cornerback Marquez White was indicted last month on a charge of second-degree aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in an apparent road-rage incident, multiple media outlets reported.

White, 23, was indicted June 7 for an incident that occurred last October on the Dallas North Tollway in Plano, Texas. He is currently free on $7,500 bond, according to jail records, the Dallas Morning News reported.

White said he had an altercation with another driver after they were attempting to exit a highway.

White, a sixth-round draft pick in 2017, has never played in a regular-season NFL game.

--When he was taken by the Buffalo Bills with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 draft, quarterback Josh Allen was seen as a long-term solution who might not make an immediate impact.

The lowered expectations for his first NFL season seem to be helping Allen's mindset as he competes for the starting job.

"There's really no pressure," Allen said on the Bills' official website. "There's nothing that's been said to me that has made me feel uncomfortable or feel worried about anything at all. I'm here to get better, I'm here to be the best teammate, the best quarterback that I can be. That's what I'm trying to do."

The Bills have said the quarterback competition is open, making it possible for Allen to earn the starting job at some point this season. AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman are the other two quarterbacks on the Bills' roster, and they have combined for five NFL starts.

--Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is bidding that slimming down will aid in bulking up his statistics.

Fournette plans to weigh in at 224 pounds when training camp opens later this month, per the Florida Times-Union. The total is 11 pounds less than his playing weight of his rookie season, in which he rushed for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns and had 36 receptions for 302 yards and a score in 13 games.

"I feel like I play my best at that weight -- 223, 224 -- that's what I played in college," Fournette said. "Why not? I don't want to be average. I want to be above average, be the greatest one to play this game. I feel lighter, quicker and I have a lot of my burst."

--The Oakland Raiders are planning to raise the bar for outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.

After two productive seasons, Irvin is being asked to take the next step under new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

"I knew he was a really gifted rusher," the 46-year-old Guenther said, via ESPN.com. "... Just coming here, I thought his best assets for us was to go forward rather than go backwards. He's done a good job with what we're asking him to do in the base fronts. Obviously, we know what he can do as a pass-rusher. Hopefully, we can get him over a double-digit (sack) mark this year. That's the goal for him."

Irvin, 30, came to Oakland as a free agent in 2016 after four seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, which included an eight-sack rookie campaign after being selected with the 15th overall pick of the 2012 draft.

--Miami Dolphins running back Frank Gore is 35 years old. That's considered old for an NFL player, particularly for a running back.

However, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase does not think Gore's age is an issue.

"It's irrelevant," Gase said regarding Gore's age via the Palm Beach Post. "He's a different dude."

Gore played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, when Gase was a 49ers assistant coach.

"It's been 10 years since we were together," Gase said. "I mean it seems like forever. The guy looks exactly the same."

--Jay Cutler still has not officially announced his retirement from the NFL, and he remained ambiguous on that issue during his appearance on his wife's reality television show.

Cutler, who unretired last season to start 14 games at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, played a prominent role on Sunday's telecast of "Very Cavallari." The program on the E! Network revolves around Cutler's wife, Kristin Cavallari, who is opening a Nashville store for her jewelry line.

Asked during the show by his wife whether he has plans for the next part of his life, Cutler replied, "I'm not really looking to do a lot of work right now. I'm looking to do the exact opposite of that."

Cutler later added, "I like to keep myself pretty free so if something does pop up ... bounce right into it."

Cavallari asked him if he was 100 percent done with football.

"I mean I can't say 100," he said. "Probably."

The 35-year-old Cutler said he would know in September whether he is done playing.

--New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur have said cornerback Eli Apple will start with a clean slate, and Apple seems happy with the situation.

After a strong rookie season in 2016, Apple struggled last season. He dealt with on-field and off-field issues that led to him being a healthy scratch in some games. Apple was suspended by the Giants for the season finale against the Washington Redskins a day after teammate Landon Collins called him as "a cancer."

Apple wants things to be different this season.

"Nobody wants to go out the way I went out," Apple said. "I mean, it was all over the place, so of course."

With a new head coach and general manager, Apple feels he is starting fresh. He was energized when told he would have a clean slate.

"Right when they told me, I was just like, you know what, just the way stuff ended (last season), I didn't want it to ever get to that," he said. "So every day I've just been thinking about just being better, being more positive."

--Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell did his best to toughen up the Cleveland Browns.

Liddell talked to the players on the positions on body contact and hand fighting during a trip to the Browns facility last month. The 48-year-old also stressed having the competitive mindset of a champion.

"If they take one lesson out of this, they need to break the guy in front of them. If they keep that in mind the whole game, it's gonna change," Liddell said.

Liddell was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2009 after competing in 23 fights from 1998-2010.

--New England Patriots offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn helped create several smiles when he recently visited the Boston Children's Hospital.

Wynn admitted he also walked away with one as well.

"For the most part everybody was just smiling. Of course at first the little kids were frightened but they warmed up to us and it was awesome," the 6-foot-2, 310-pound Wynn said, per the Boston Globe. "And the good thing about that is it was contagious. As soon as we came from one room that smile, it would just get passed down the hallway and everyone we ran into -- it was just a contagious type thing."

Wynn, who was the 23rd overall pick of the 2018 draft out of Georgia, joined the fellow members of the Patriots' rookie class in making the rounds at the hospital.

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