Saturday's NFL: Josh McCown ends retirement to join Eagles
Philadephia — Josh McCown’s retirement lasted two months.
The Philadelphia Eagles signed the 40-year-old quarterback to a one-year deal on Saturday. He is coming out of retirement to join his 11th team and play his 17th season.
McCown provides insurance behind Carson Wentz, who has finished the past two seasons on the sideline because of injuries. The Eagles already lost two quarterbacks in the first two preseason games. Nate Sudfeld broke his left wrist and is expected to return in September. Cody Kessler left Thursday night’s game with a head injury.
Rookie Clayton Thorson was the only healthy quarterback on the roster behind Wentz before McCown ended his brief retirement.
McCown was 23-53 as a starter, including 5-11 with the Jets over the past two seasons. He’s completed 60.2 percent of his passes, has thrown 98 touchdowns, 82 interceptions and has a 79.7 passer rating.
Nick Foles backed up Wentz the past two years and led the Eagles to four playoff wins, including the franchise’s first Super Bowl title following the 2017 season. But the 2018 Super Bowl MVP left for Jacksonville in free agency.
ESPN hired McCown to be an NFL analyst on the day he announced he was calling it quits. Now he will put his broadcast career on hold for one more year.
McCown was a third-round draft pick by Arizona in 2002 out of Sam Houston State. He started 13 games in a season twice, for the Cardinals in 2004 and the Jets in 2017. McCown’s best season came in 2013 with Chicago. He was 3-2 as a starter and completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 1,829 yards, 13 TDs and only one pick with a passer rating of 109.
Brown closer to practicing
Antonio Brown made it through a walkthrough practice for the Oakland Raiders with no issues with his frost-bitten feet and is expected to be a full participant in practice soon for the first time this summer.
Coach Jon Gruden said that he thinks Brown will be able to get back into practice before the Raiders play their third exhibition game next week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, against the Green Bay Packers.
Brown hasn’t taken part in a full practice session all of training camp as he dealt with injuries to his feet suffered in a cryotherapy mishap in France last month and fought with the NFL over the helmet he’s allowed to use.
Young at crossroads
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Tavon Young is still weighing his options with his recent neck injury, coach John Harbaugh said.
Young, who signed a three-year, $25.8 million contract extension in February, suffered the injury during practice and he did not play in the second preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
Young must decide whether to have season-ending surgery or possibly start the season on injured reserve with the hope of returning later.
Following the game Thursday against Green Bay, Harbaugh was not optimistic about Young playing at all this season.
“Tavon has a more serious issue than we thought. He has a neck issue,” Harbaugh said at the time. “The doctors can explain it, but that’s a disk issue. That’s a serious injury. He could be out for the remainder of the season."
NFL preseason games
New England 22, (at) Tennessee 17: Jarrett Stidham threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Damoun Patterson with 4:12 left, rallying the New England Patriots to a 22-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.
Stidham picked up where he left off in his previous trip to Nissan Stadium. Stidham had five TD passes here helping Auburn rout Purdue in the Music City Bowl last December, and this time the rookie was 14 of 19 for 193 yards helping the Patriots (2-0) come back from a 17-8 halftime deficit.
Two days of practices against the Titans was enough for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to let Tom Brady watch a second straight exhibition with New England’s options at wide receiver thin because of injuries.
Marcus Mariota started for the Titans (1-1) and shook off a pair of three-and-outs before his best drive this preseason. He capped a 10-play, 87-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to his favorite target, three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker, who broke his right ankle in the 2018 season opener.
With kicker Ryan Succop on the physically unable to perform list, coach Mike Vrabel let Mariota go for 2 against his old team. Mariota looked to throw, then ran to the end zone before going into the air and flipping over Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon for an 8-0 lead. Mariota was 6 of 9 for 63 yards passing.
(At) Pittsburgh 17, Kansas City 7: Mason Rudolph guided a long first-half touchdown drive to perhaps nudge ahead of Josh Dobbs in the race to be the backup behind Ben Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh beat Kansas City.
Rudolph finished 10 of 15 for 77 yards while Dobbs completed 6 of 11 for 95 yards with a red-zone interception on a night the Steelers (2-0) opted to keep several key starters on the sideline, from quarterback Roethlisberger to Pro Bowl offensive linemen David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey to rookie linebacker Devin Bush (Michigan).
Kansas City coach Andy Reid suggested Patrick Mahomes would play most of the first half.
The reigning NFL MVP — who directed a touchdown in his lone drive in Kansas City’s preseason opener last week — did little during two series of work following a thunderstorm that forced the opening kickoff to be pushed back nearly an hour.
Mahomes completed just 2 of 5 passes for 11 yards, a far cry from his previous visit to Heinz Field, when he threw for six touchdowns in a Week 2 win last September that served as a harbinger of the season to come.
Mahomes’ best play during his cameo may have been his decision to slide during an 8-yard scramble, something he didn’t do a week ago when he lowered his shoulder against Cincinnati rather than step out of bounds.
Chad Henne (Michigan) found Mecole Hardman for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half for Kansas City (1-1), which managed a lone touchdown a week after putting up 38 against the Bengals. Hardman, a second-round pick, has two touchdowns in two weeks and his rapid emergence could give Reid another option to play with in what could be the NFL’s most potent offense.
Cleveland 21, (at) Indianapolis 18: Garrett Gilbert threw two touchdown passes in the first half and David Blough added another TD pass in the second half, leading Cleveland past Indianapolis.
Cleveland (2-0) has won nine of its past 10 preseason games — this one with its top two quarterbacks sitting out and Kareem Hunt returned to the field for the first time in nearly nine months. It’s the first time the Browns have beaten the Colts in the preseason since 1979 when the franchise was still located in Baltimore.
Quarterback Chad Kelly did everything he could to keep the Colts’ winning streak intact.
After Blough gave Cleveland a 21-7 lead early in the third quarter with a 4-yard TD pass to Derrick Willies, Kelly tried to rally the Colts.
He took advantage of one roughing the passer call to get the Colts into scoring position then threw a 24-yard TD strike to Ross Travis, who drew a lowering the helmet penalty on the play. Kelly’s 1-yard conversion pass to Hale Hentges made it 21-18. And Kelly led the Colts to the Browns 9-yard line in the final minute before Will Harvey swatted away Kelly’s final throw on fourth-and-1.
Gilbert played the entire first half and was 13 of 19 with 151 yards. Blough played the entire second half and was 7 of 12 with 74 yards.
Kelly wound up 12 of 17 with 115 yards for Indy (0-2).