Tuesday's NFL: Washington to reveal new name on Feb. 2; won't be RedWolves

Stephen Whyno
Associated Press

Washington’s NFL team announced Tuesday it will unveil its new name on Feb. 2 and that it will not be the Wolves or RedWolves.

Commanders, Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Sentinels, Defenders, Red Hogs, Presidents and the status quo “Washington Football Team” were among the other finalists.

FILE - Washington Football team players run into an empty stadium prior to the start of the Baltimore Ravens at Washington Football Team NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020, in Landover, Md.

“We are on the brink of starting a new chapter, but our history, our legacy cannot be lost along the way," team president Jason Wright said in an episode of the team-produced show “Making the Brand." "Now, more than ever, it’s important that we stay connected to our roots. We understand the importance of choosing a meaningful name: one that will anchor the team for the next 90 years and beyond.”

Wright said the decision was made not to go with Wolves or RedWolves because of trademarks held by other organizations. Those possibilities were popular among Washington fans.

The new helmets and uniforms will feature the franchise's signature burgundy-and-gold colors, with three stars on the collar and stripes on the shoulders of otherwise plain jerseys. In a “Making the Brand” clip showing him getting a look at one of the helmets, coach Ron Rivera said: “I love this. Right on. I think the look’s going to be hot."

A trailer teasing the reveal included a “W” logo making an appearance.

The video featured the messages: “Hail to the greats that laid the foundation for our legacy," “Hail to the fans we consider family,” “We are and always have been Washington," ”We will fight for our community" and “Together we will define our future.”

Photos of franchise greats were mixed in with current players meeting with military personnel and fans.

The organization dropped its old name in July 2020 after decades of complaints that it was racist toward Native Americans and recent pressure from team sponsors. The decision was made to be known as the Washington Football Team that season, which stuck around for 2021 while the front office went through a lengthy rebranding process.

“Our journey to a new identity is a marathon, not a sprint,” Wright said. “To get it right, we had to take every step of the process seriously, and the destination is a sum of all those parts.”

Washington was the first team in the four major North American professional sports leagues to move away from Native American imagery amid a national reckoning on race. Cleveland in Major League Baseball followed suit, adopting the new name Guardians that is now in effect after settling a lawsuit with a roller derby team by the same name.

MLB's Atlanta Braves and the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks have defended keeping their names.

Wright made it clear during the rebranding process that Washington would not use any sort of Native American imagery moving forward. He, Rivera and others have made references to wanting to honor the once-storied franchise's tradition, which includes three Super Bowl championships.

“I just think the heritage and the history of our team is what’s so important, and, as fans, I think we’re going to rally around that team," Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs said. "I’d say probably what’s more important about naming the team, it’s trying to bring everybody together. ... That’s the one thing that we’ve got going for ourselves is the loyalty that we have for that team.”

Washington has not had a lot going on or off the field in recent years. The league fined the team $10 million after an investigation into workplace conduct, owner Dan Snyder squabbled with minority partners before buying out their shares, the front office took criticism this season for botching late safety Sean Taylor's jersey retirement and over the past 15 years the team has not won a playoff game.

Browns' Mayfield to undergo surgery, sit out season finale

Cleveland — Baker Mayfield’s broken fourth season with the Browns has mercifully ended with one game left.

His time in Cleveland could be running short as well.

Mayfield is sitting out the season finale against Cincinnati so he can undergo surgery on his left shoulder, an injury that affected his performance, contributed to the Browns' falling way short of expectations and may have altered the path of his NFL career.

Mayfield, who played with a torn labrum suffered in Week 2 and a fracture in his non-throwing shoulder for most of the season, was sacked nine times in Monday night's 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Afterward, the 26-year-old said he “was pretty damn beat up” and planned to consult with his family and agents about whether to play against the AFC North champion Bengals.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said conversations Tuesday between Mayfield, his representatives and the team led to the decision to have the operation as soon as possible so he has more time to recover ahead of next season.

“Obviously frustrating for him, but we felt this was the best thing for him right now,” said Stefanski, who did not have a timeline for recovery.

While the operation, which has yet to be scheduled, ends this season for Mayfield, there's no certainty on where he'll take his next snap.

The Browns picked up Mayfield's fifth-year, $18.8 million contract option for 2022, but his erratic and often poor play this season has raised doubts as to whether the team wants to go forward with him.

The team has not approached Mayfield's agents about a long-term extension, which seemed almost a certainty after he led them to the playoffs last season.

But the Browns didn't live up to their hype, and were eliminated from the postseason while traveling to Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Even though it's over, Stefanski chose not to assess Mayfield's uneven season, which ended with him throwing six interceptions in his final two games. It also concluded with him questioning the coaching staff's decision not to give rookie right tackle James Hudson more help blocking Steelers superstar T.J. Watt.

Mayfield was sacked four times by Watt, who also had one of the five passes batted down by Pittsburgh defenders.

There were junctures earlier in the season when the Browns could have rested Mayfield. But he insisted on playing while wearing a cumbersome harness that kept his shoulder from popping out.

While it was a credit to his toughness to push through the pain, Mayfield may wind up regretting the decision to keep playing (he sat out a Week 7 win over Denver) if it damaged his standing with the Browns.

Monday's game was a microcosm of Mayfield's aimless season.

He started 1 of 10, threw a league season-high 10 incompletions in one stretch and took a pounding. However, he also made some nice throws and his two TD passes had the Browns within five points in the final minutes.

“I kept swinging,” said Mayfield, who finished with 17 TDs, 13 picks and 3,010 yards. “That’s who I am and that’s who I’ll continue to be.”

Stefanski said he trusted the team's medical staff to keep turning to Mayfield and did not lament playing him.

“Each one of those weeks and those days when we made those decisions, you are just going off of the information that is available to you,” he said. “That's information from our medical staff, from Baker, from second opinions and those type of things and then based on how he performed in practice.”

Titans linebacker Bud Dupree cited for misdemeanor assault

Tennessee outside linebacker Bud Dupree has been charged with misdemeanor assault in connection with a physical altercation at a Walgreen's hours after the Titans clinched their second straight AFC South title.

Metro Nashville police detectives cited Dupree on Tuesday morning after consulting with the district attorney's office. Dupree and his attorney met with detectives Tuesday morning.

According to the citation, a Walgreen's employee argued with some people shopping around 8 p.m. Those people left and came back into the store with Dupree who “then grabbed the victim and his phone" followed by the altercation before Dupree left.

Dupree is scheduled to be booked in three weeks. The 6-foot-4, 269-pound linebacker was the Titans' top free agent signee last March with a five-year deal worth $82.5 million. Dupree, who tore his right ACL in December 2020, has started five of 10 games played this season and has three sacks and a forced fumble.

The Titans issued a statement saying they are “aware of the situation and are gathering additional information.”

Tennessee (11-5) can clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC with a win Sunday in Houston.