Tue, 23 Oct 2018

NFL notebook: Tepper signs agreement to buy Panthers

Sports Xchange
17 May 2018, 09:21 GMT+10

Hedge fund manager David Tepper signed an agreement to purchase the Carolina Panthers, the team announced on Wednesday.

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 (24) of NFL owners at the owners meetings in Atlanta next week. His share of the Steelers is estimated at $122.5 million given Forbes' recent list of the Steelers' worth.

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.

--Dennis Erickson, who has coached 47 seasons in the NFL and college football, was introduced as head coach of Alliance Salt Lake in the fledgling Alliance of American Football.

Salt Lake is the fourth announced market of the Alliance and will play home games at Rice-Eccles Stadium, home to University of Utah football and host of the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

--The Washington Redskins on Wednesday announced that Brian Lafemina has been named president of business operations and chief operating officer.

Lafemina will oversee all of the Redskins' club business operations and report directly to owner Dan Snyder.

Lafemina spent eight years at the NFL office, heading the league's club business development and building the team that works to create and share best practices across for the league 32 teams.

During his tenure, the league saw significant growth in season tickets sales, suite sales, local sponsorship and media revenue. He also led or played key roles in league-wide initiatives on fan experience, ticketing strategy, Super Bowl strategy, Pro Bowl strategy and stadium development."

--Suspended defensive end Randy Gregory is bidding for a return to the Dallas Cowboys in the 2018 season.

Gregory will submit his application for NFL reinstatement on Thursday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, citing a source informed of the situation.

The 25-year-old Gregory hasn't played since the 2016 regular-season finale. He sat out the entire 2017 campaign after being suspended for at least one year for violating the NFL's policy for substance abuse.

--Free-agent defensive tackle David Parry signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced.

Parry visited with the Vikings last week and is expected to provide depth for the club behind fellow defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson.

The 26-year-old Parry was arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz., in February 2017 on a number of charges related to an incident involving a stolen golf cart that was being used as a taxi. He received probation after a guilty plea and was released by the Indianapolis Colts in September.

The 6-foot-2, 317-pound Parry recorded 79 tackles and four sacks in 33 career games with the Colts and Saints.

--Free-agent running back Terrance West is expected to visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

West visited the Philadelphia Eagles last week and the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.

West appeared in only five games for the Baltimore Ravens last season before suffering a calf injury on Oct. 8. He finished with 138 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.

--Former offensive tackle Matt Light was voted by the fans of the New England Patriots to be selected into the team's Hall of Fame, the club announced.

Light served as protection for quarterback Tom Brady during his 11 seasons (2001-11) with the Patriots, helping the team win nine AFC East titles, five conference crowns and three Super Bowl championships.

The 39-year-old Light was selected by New England in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Purdue. He played in 155 regular-season games and 20 postseason contests.

--The Tennessee Titans bolstered their wide receiver depth by signing Nick Williams. Terms of the deal were not disclosed for Williams, who played in only three games over the last two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

Williams, 27, has 28 receptions for 263 yards and two touchdowns in 22 career games with the Washington Redskins and Falcons.

Williams will be reunited with Matt LaFleur, the Titans offensive coordinator who served as quarterbacks coach with the Falcons in 2015-16.

--Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas will have his No. 34 jersey retired by the Buffalo Bills during the 2018 season, the team announced.

Thomas, who played with the Bills from 1988-99, will have the ceremony during halftime of the team's home game against the New England Patriots on Oct. 29. He joins former teammates Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith as the only members of the team to have their numbers retired.

The Bills' all-time leading rusher (12,074 yards), Thomas was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1991 and a five-time Pro Bowl selection before retiring in 2001. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

--Free-agent wide receiver Russell Shepard is expected to visit the Bills this week, the Buffalo News reported.

The Carolina Panthers released Shepard on Monday after he declined their offer of a pay cut, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Shepard recorded only 17 receptions for 202 yards and a touchdown last season after signing a three-year, $10 million deal with Carolina. The 28-year-old had 47 catches for 634 yards and four scores in 72 career contests with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Panthers.

--Ryan Tannehill outwardly wasn't concerned about the Miami Dolphins potentially selecting a quarterback with their first-round pick of the 2018 draft, coach Adam Gase said.

While the Dolphins instead named defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick with the 11th overall pick, Gase told PFT Live that Tannehill wasn't sweating the choice. His attitude, Gase said, is focused only on things he can control.

Tannehill is aiming to show he's back to form this season after missing the entire 2017 campaign with a knee injury.

--Free-agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland was expected to visit with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday and the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday, multiple media outlets reported.

Breeland agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Carolina Panthers early in free agency, but a failed physical negated the deal.

The 26-year-old Breeland needed a skin graft to repair a laceration to his left foot in March while he was in the Dominican Republic. He sustained the same injury when he was in the fourth grade, which required a skin graft then.

Breeland, who played college ball at Clemson, recorded 50 tackles and one interception in 15 games last season with the Washington Redskins. He has collected 270 tackles, eight interceptions, seven forced fumbles and one sack in 60 career contests since being selected by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

--Dez Bryant remains a man without a team, but that doesn't mean the free-agent wide receiver regrets turning down the lone reported offer he has received since being released by the Dallas Cowboys.

The Baltimore Ravens extended an offer to Bryant, who was released on April 13 after spending eight seasons with the Cowboys. Baltimore, in turn, eventually signed restricted free agent Willie Snead, formerly of the New Orleans Saints.

Bryant had a team-leading 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns with Dallas in 2017. The three-time Pro Bowl selection has gone a career-worst 23 regular-season games without a 100-yard performance.

Since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015, Bryant has failed to record a 1,000-yard season or reel in more than eight touchdown receptions in a season.

--Prosecutors in Florida will drop a felony resisting arrest charge against New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, his attorney told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

Ed O'Donnell told Garafolo the charge against his client for a May 2017 arrest will be formally dropped in the coming days.

Anderson was charged with felony resisting arrest with violence after being arrested on May 7, 2017, in Miami. Police accused Anderson of pushing an officer after he got into a fight with security officials at an event in Miami.

Anderson still faces a misdemeanor count of reckless driving in connection to a Jan. 19 arrest in Sunrise, Fla. He was facing multiple felony charges stemming from that incident before prosecutors dropped most of the counts against him.

If convicted, Anderson faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail or 90 days of probation, according to the state attorney.

--The Oakland Raiders signed defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, their fifth-round draft choice in the last month's draft, and wide receiver Marcell Ateman, their seventh-round pick, the team announced.

Hurst appeared in 46 games and made 17 starts during his career at Michigan, totaling 133 tackles (64 solo), 12.5 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.

Ateman played four seasons at Oklahoma State, appearing in 51 games with 29 starts, and made 146 receptions for 2,466 yards (a 16.9-yard average) with 13 touchdowns. Ateman's 2,466 receiving yards rank sixth in school history.

--Defensive back Duke Dawson, second-round pick of the New England Patriots in the NFL draft last month, signed with the team, the team announced. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Dawson, 22, was selected by the Patriots with 56th overall selection of the draft out of Florida, where played all 48 games over four seasons with the Gators.

The 5-foot-10, 202-pounder had 82 tackles, 23 passes defensed and returned three of his six interceptions for touchdowns during his career. In 2017, he made 34 tackles, returned one of his four interceptions for a touchdown and had nine passes defensed.

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