NFL Notebook: Vick wants to retire with Falcons, Brady pays tribute to fallen S.E.A.L.

Jason Getz—USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1

Brady pays tribute to fallen Navy SEALNew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady delivered a video message to the family of a Navy SEAL killed recently in action.In a column this Memorial Day weekend, Bill Speros of the Boston Herald wrote about Navy SEAL Kyle Milliken, a Maine native and former UConn track athlete killed in Somalia on May 5.Brady delivered the video message last week at the funeral of Milliken, thanking the hero’s wife and their two children for their sacrifice.Speros shared that at Milliken’s funeral in Virginia Beach, Va., Brady’s video offered condolences and spoke of how Milliken was considered a “glue guy” by UConn track coach Greg Roy.Milliken, 38, became the first American service member killed in Somalia since the early 1990s, dying in a firefight during a raid. He spent 15 years in the Navy, earning a spot on SEAL Team Six and securing four Bronze Stars for his efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.Milliken had a special connection to the Patriots when in 2011 he and other Navy SEALs took part in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium.Vick wants to retire with FalconsQuarterback Michael Vick, the former No. 1 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons, clarified his earlier comments regarding retirement, saying he has not spoken with anyone from the organization about signing a one-day contract so he can officially retire as a member of the Falcons.Vick previously told CBS Radio in Atlanta on Friday night that he has talked with the Falcons about signing a one-day contract and then officially retiring.”Hopefully soon,” the 36-year-old Vick said during the interview.Vick was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft out of Virginia Tech, but his tenure in Atlanta ended in disgrace when he was arrested for running a dog-fighting operation. He spent 21 months in federal prison for the crime.In February, the 36-year-old Vick announced he was retired from the NFL, but he had told CBS Radio in Atlanta on Friday night that he has talked with the Falcons about signing a one-day contract and then officially retiring. He spent six seasons with the Falcons and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection before his dog-fighting conviction.Raiders sell out tickets despite Vegas moveThe Oakland Raiders’ season tickets for the 2017 campaign have sold out despite their impending move to Las Vegas.Fans spending money on season tickets for a lame-duck team comes as Raiders owner Mark Davis is hinting he will ask to stay around the Oakland Coliseum for an extra season while Nevada builds his Vegas dome stadium, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.The team’s lease in Oakland runs through the 2018 season, but the Las Vegas stadium may not be ready until 2020.”We haven’t heard anything official, but that’s what we are hearing through the NFL blogs,” Scott McKibben, executive director of the Oakland Coliseum Authority, told the newspaper.Gronkowski sharp in Pats’ OTANew England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, coming off a season-ending back injury and fresh from signing a restructured deal that could pay him as much as $10.75 million this season, impressed coaches this week during organized team activities.”He looks like Gronk,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters. “We haven’t got into a big evaluation. He’s involved in everything.”The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski is less than six months removed from back surgery, but was a full participant during Thursday OTAs practice in the rain.”I mean, we’ll see how it goes,” coach Bill Belichick told reporters regarding Gronkowski. “We’ve only practiced a couple days. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’ll see how it goes.”Gronkowski was injured in Week 12 against the New York Jets on Nov. 27. He caught 25 passes for 540 yards and three touchdowns in eight games in 2016.Vikings’ Zimmer says he will be backMinnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he plans to return to his duties even if he loses sight in his right eye.Zimmer is away from the team during this week’s organized team activities after undergoing his eighth eye surgery in the past seven months.”I’ll be back shortly with one eye or two,” Zimmer said during a conference call. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll be back either way.”Zimmer’s latest surgery was on May 17 when doctors inserted a gas bubble into his eye, designed to stabilize his detached retina and keep it in place.The possibility of becoming permanently blind exists and the 60-year-old Zimmer has pondered the situation.”I don’t want to go blind in this eye (but) if that’s what it is, that’s what it is,” Zimmer said. “This will not keep me from coaching.”Kelly joins ESPN as NFL, college football studio analystFormer Oregon and NFL coach Chip Kelly is joining ESPN as a studio analyst next season, the network announced Friday.Kelly, 53, primarily will be part of Saturday’s college pregame, halftime and wrap-up shows on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN said he will provide NFL analysis on Sundays during “SportsCenter.””Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective — as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I’ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.”Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”