NFL Notebook: Saints looking at Johnny Manziel, Pats going to White House

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Pats visiting Trump on 4/19The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will make their fifth trip to the White House on April 19, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Thursday.The Patriots have met George W. Bush and Barack Obama during their previous title reigns. Their come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI has set up a date with President Donald Trump.While quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft view Trump in a favorable light, the same cannot be said for some of the members of the Super Bowl winning team.Tight end Martellus Bennett, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, joined running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Don’t’a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long and defensive back Devin McCourty in stating that they will not attend for either political or personal reasons.Brady is on record as saying he is a friend of Trump while Belichick sent a congratulatory letter to the now President in the final days of his campaign. Kraft attended a campaign donor dinner with Trump after his election and even rode in Air Force One.Saints reportedly kick tires on ManzielNew Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and Johnny Manziel were discussing a return to the league for the embattled quarterback during last month’s Super Bowl, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday.Payton also was interested in Manziel possibly joining the Saints in the future, according to the report. Manziel has struggled with substance abuse and legal issues since being selected by the Cleveland Browns with a first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 draft.Manziel, who is subject to suspension for a violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy, has claimed to have rededicated himself to football and cleaned up his life.Manziel has completed 57 percent of his passes for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in two NFL seasons. Nicknamed “Johnny Football,” Manziel has been out of football since being released by the Browns in March 2016.From a Saints’ perspective, quarterback Drew Brees is 38 years old and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. New Orleans’ current quarterback group consists of Brees, Luke McCown and Garrett Grayson.Packers bring back RB MichaelThe Green Bay Packers addressed their limited backfield by re-signing running back Christine Michael to a contract.Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael joins converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery as the lone running backs on the roster.Michael was claimed off waivers on Nov. 16 with Green Bay dealing with injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Lacy has signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Starks was released.Michael provided a change of pace for Montgomery last season. The 26-year-old Michael had a 42-yard touchdown run against the Chicago Bears in Week 15 to highlight an otherwise pedestrian six-game stretch with Green Bay.Michael finished with 31 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown in 2016. He has 254 carries for 1,080 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in 37 career games with the Dallas Cowboys, Seahawks and Packers.Vikings RB Murray has surgery on ankleRunning back Latavius Murray, signed by the Minnesota Vikings last week, underwent successful ankle surgery Wednesday.The Vikings said in a statement that they were aware that Murray would require surgery prior to the team signing him on March 16. Dr. Bob Anderson performed the procedure in Charlotte, N.C.”Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp,” the team said in a statement.The 27-year-old Murray was signed as a free agent to replace perennial Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson, who was not re-signed and allowed to walk after Minnesota declined to pick up his 2017 option.Murray spent his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and led them in rushing the past two. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015 after rushing for 1,066 yards and six touchdowns. He has rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns (12 in 2016) in 45 games (31 starts).