NFL Notebook: Mixon attends NFLPA event, Brady humble about G.O.A.T. status

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Bengals RB Mixon to attend NFLPA’s rookie eventCincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon is among the 40 players who will attend the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere event this week.The NFL Players Association announced Monday that the 23rd annual event will take place Thursday through Saturday in Los Angeles to help rookies “learn the business of football.” The event also is designed to help rookies secure endorsement deals.The Bengals received criticism for using the 48th overall draft pick on Mixon, who punched a female student in the face and fractured her jaw during his freshman year at Oklahoma in 2014. Mixon recently settled his civil suit with the woman.The players’ union released the list of rookie participants, including Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette and Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer.Brady humble about G.O.A.T. statusNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, selected last week as the cover star of “MaddenNFL 18,” dubbed the G.O.A.T. edition, is uncomfortable being called the greatest of all time.Brady, in a wide-ranging interview with ESPN’s Ian O’Connor, disagreed with the talk he has surpassed his boyhood hero, former San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana, as the GOAT of quarterbacks in the game’s history.Montana won four Super Bowl rings and Brady collected his fifth in February when the Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime of Super Bowl LI.”I don’t agree with that,” Brady told O’Connor of the GOAT talk, “and I’ll tell you why. I know myself as a player. I’m really a product of what I’ve been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I’ve been very fortunate. … I don’t ever want to be the weak link.”I was the backup quarterback on an 0-8 team in my freshman year of high school. I got to Michigan, I was seventh (string), and I had a hard time getting to be No. 2, and when I finally got to No. 1 there was someone else (Drew Henson) they wanted to be No. 1. I got to be a sixth-round pick behind a great player, Drew Bledsoe, and then I got an opportunity, and I’m still trying to take advantage of it. Part of who I am now is very much who I was, and that was cultivated growing up.”Kessler in lead for Browns QB jobCleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said the quarterback competition is open, but Cody Kessler will begin offseason practices as the starter.Jackson indicated Kessler has earned the chance to open organized team activities as the starter ahead of Brock Osweiler, Kevin Hogan and rookie DeShone Kizer.”This thing’s open. It really is,” Jackson told reporters Saturday at rookie minicamp. “But Cody’s done a great job. That’s the reason I brought his name up first. He’s really improved. He’s worked his tail off, and he deserves the right and the opportunity to walk in this building and walk out there first. And they’ve got to take it from him.”Kessler started eight games last season for the Browns, passing for 1,380 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions as a rookie.The Browns acquired Osweiler from the Houston Texans in March, even though he was not expected to be in the team’s long-term plans.”He’s competing,” Jackson said of Osweiler. “He’s here. And I said from the beginning, if a guy is in our locker room we’re going to treat him like any of our other players.”Broncos won’t treat Charles like workhorseJamaal Charles wasn’t brought in to start at running back. But he wasn’t brought in to twiddle his thumbs, either.The Kansas City Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher signed an incentive-heavy contract with the Denver Broncos right after the draft. His lengthy history of knee problems, especially in the last two seasons, put a cap on his potential effectiveness as he heads into his 10th season.But in a group that includes 2015 Pro Bowler C.J. Anderson, 2016 draft pick Devontae Booker and 2017 sixth-round choice De’Angelo Henderson, the Broncos aren’t counting on Charles to take the position and carry the team’s hopes of an improved ground game on his back.In fact, they’re not counting on any one back to do all of the heavy lifting.”The running back position, you need two or three guys that can carry the load,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “It is no longer a one-guy position.”I’m excited to have Jamaal, C.J., Book, even De’Angelo in the mix there. It’s a good group. It’s going to be competitive, and that’s the way it should be.”Saints expect Unger back in preseasonThe New Orleans Saints now expect center Max Unger, who recently underwent foot surgery, to be ready to play in Week 3 of the preseason.There were reports speculating that Unger would miss the start of the regular season, but Saints coach Sean Payton said otherwise on Saturday.”We anticipate probably early August,” Payton told reporters on day two of rookie minicamp when asked about Unger’s return. “I see him possibly being able to get into the preseason. Our goal would be Week 3 (of the preseason), so that’s where he’s at.”The 31-year-old Unger has been dealing with the same foot injury that caused him to miss one game last season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14.Payton said Saturday that Unger decided to have surgery about a week ago to insert a screw into the foot after not seeing positive results following the initial plan of resting the Lisfranc injury.