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Arms Race: Jags, Jets ignite run on quarterbacks with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, BYU’s Zach Wilson

Quarterbacks are on the menu in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on Thursday night, as the Jacksonville Jaguars made Clemson star Trevor Lawrence the first pick, the New York Jets followed with BYU’s Zach Wilson, and the San Francisco 49ers took North Dakota State’s Trey Lance third overall.  

Thursday’s first round matches 1971 (Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini) and 1999 (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith) as the only drafts with quarterbacks taken with the top three picks.   

Wilson’s girlfriend, Abbey Gile, didn’t waste any time in celebrating the moment, donning a Jets cap and posting a picture of herself on social media with a new replica jersey: ‘JET UP BABYYY’ 

Lawrence, a junior who led Clemson to a national title, generally is considered the best prospect at the position since Andrew Luck in 2012. He joins new coach Urban Meyer, himself a major success in the college ranks, in trying to turn around a franchise that went 1-15 last season.

‘I’m just pumped,’ Lawrence said. ‘The best is yet to come.

‘I don’t what the point is … if you don’t expect to win every week. I’m going to bring the same mindset.’   

Lawrence will be joined in Jacksonville by his Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne, who was picked by the Jaguars with the 25th-overall pick. 

Two other quarterbacks went in the first round: The Chicago Bears traded up with the New York Giants to take Ohio State’s Justin Fields 11th overall, and the New England Patriots hope to have picked Tom Brady’s successor with Alabama’s Mac Jones at No. 15.  

TOP 5 DRAFT PICKS

1. Jacksonville Jaguars – Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence

2. New York Jets – BYU quarterback Zach Wilson

3. San Francisco 49ers – North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance

4. Atlanta Falcons Florida tight end Kyle Pitts 

5. Cincinnati Bengals –  LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase

It was also a banner day for Jones’s teammates from the national champion Crimson Tide. Alabama wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith were taken by the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles with the sixth and 10th picks, respectively, while cornerback Patrick Surtain II went ninth to the Denver Broncos, offensive guard Alex Leatherwood was picked 17th by the Las Vegas Raiders, and the Pittsburgh Steelers took Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris 24th overall. 

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts went fourth overall to the Atlanta Falcons while LSU wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase was picked fifth and will reunite with his college quarterback, 2020 top pick Joe Burrow, with the Cincinnati Bengals.  

The mindset in Cleveland was positive simply because there were 12 prospects (not Lawrence) and thousands of fans – including, according to the league, fully vaccinated folks near the stage – joining Goodell on the shore of Lake Erie. Last year’s draft, scheduled for Las Vegas, was instead a totally remote affair because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perhaps emboldened by successfully finishing the 2020 season on time and then staging the playoffs and Super Bowl without a hitch during the pandemic, the NFL targeted the draft as an opportunity to embrace some normalcy in America’s biggest sport. It also has used the event to support vaccinations for COVID-19 and, for the second consecutive spring, as a Draft-a-Thon raising money for a variety of causes.

Goodell received plenty of kudos for his hosting of last year’s draft in casual wear from his home. On Thursday night, dressed in a suit, he lauded the folks who sit in the seats.

‘We all agree over the past season, one thing we missed the most was all our fans,’ Goodell said. ‘And we can’ wait to have all of you back in First Energy Stadium and every stadium across the league this season.’

While Wilson was expected to go to New York, Lance was something of a surprise. He played only 17 games for his FCS school, but his offseason workouts sold San Francisco.

‘It was awesome getting to know coach Shanahan a little bit,’ Lance said. ‘He is an awesome dude and what he has done on the field speaks for itself. 

Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over video call after being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the number one overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Zach Wilson holds a jersey onstage after being drafted second by the New York Jets during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center

Zach Wilson holds a jersey onstage after being drafted second by the New York Jets during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center

Pictured: Wilson's girlfriend, Abbey Gile (left)

Wilson's girlfriend, Abbey Gile, didn't waste any time in celebrating the moment, donning a Jets cap and posting a picture of herself on social media: 'JET UP BABYYY'

Wilson’s girlfriend, Abbey Gile (far left, near right), didn’t waste any time in celebrating the moment, donning a Jets cap and posting a picture of herself on social media: ‘JET UP BABYYY’

In this handout photo provided by the National Football League, quarterback Trevor Lawrence poses after being selected with the first overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars

In this handout photo provided by the National Football League, quarterback Trevor Lawrence poses after being selected with the first overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, right, holds a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen by the San Francisco 49ers with the third pick in the first round

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance, right, holds a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being chosen by the San Francisco 49ers with the third pick in the first round

The Jacksonville Jaguars waited more than four months to make the easiest and maybe most significant pick in franchise history.

As obvious as it was, fireworks and frivolity followed.

A sold-out draft party that included 8,000 fans celebrated wildly as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stepped to the podium and announced Lawrence’s name as the first pick in the draft Thursday night.

The Clemson star had a more subdued reaction in Seneca, South Carolina – probably because he knew, like everyone else, that he would be the first pick in the NFL draft.

‘It was just a kind of a weight lifted off my shoulders,’ Lawrence said. ‘I’m going to do everything in my power to get us back to where we need to be. I’m going to put in the work. No one’s going to work harder than me.’

Lawrence is the fourth quarterback drafted by the franchise in the first round in its 27 years of existence, joining Byron Leftwich (2003), Blaine Gabbert (2011) and Blake Bortles (2014).

The chance to draft Lawrence was one of the factors that lured coach Urban Meyer out of the broadcast booth and got him back on the sideline. Jacksonville has five of the top 65 picks, including the 25th pick later in the opening round.

Picks 6 Through 10  

6. Miami Dolphins – Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle 

7. Detroit Lions – Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell 

8. Carolina Panthers – South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn 

9. Denver Broncos – Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II 

10. Philadelphia Eagles – Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith 

No matter who else the Jaguars bring in, none of them will compare to Lawrence. He’s now the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future. And Jacksonville is counting on him solving the team’s decades-old problem at the all-important position.

‘My mindset always going in is I’m going to earn everything that I get,’ Lawrence said. ‘I don’t have any expectations for anything other myself. I’m not expecting anyone to hand me anything. I want to come in there and earn the respect and trust of my teammates and the right to lead the team.’

Meyer spoke to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who initially had four words for his former college coaching colleague.

‘Don’t screw it up,’ Swinney said.

‘This will be a very easy transition’ for Lawrence, Swinney added. ‘What he’s stepping into, the expectations, all those things, that his normal. And it has been for a long time. He’s built the right way. … He’s the epitome of consistency. And if you know anything about Urban Meyer, he values consistency and toughness. I didn’t have to sell him on his toughness.’

Lawrence enjoyed a stellar college career, going 34-2 as Clemson’s starter and leading the Tigers to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and the 2018 national championship.

He completed 66 percent of his passes for 10,098 yards, with 90 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He also ran for 18 scores.

He finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting to Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith last season. Lawrence threw for 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns and five interceptions while missing two games after testing positive for COVID-19 in October.

The Jaguars locked up the No. 1 pick in the next-to-last week of the 2020 NFL regular season, and Lawrence was the target long before Meyer was hired to replace Doug Marrone.

Meyer, general manager Trent Baalke and owner Shad Khan never tipped the obvious pick, but they didn’t try to disguise it, either.

‘No negatives,’ Baalke said recently. ‘All the research we’ve done, you’re always looking for the stars to align when you’re looking at prospects, whether that be from a physical, mental, character aspect, whatever the case may be. With his situation, like many others in this draft, the stars all align and that’s what you’re looking for.’

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts went fourth overall to the Atlanta Falcons

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts went fourth overall to the Atlanta Falcons

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Miami Dolphins as the number six overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Jaylen Waddle (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Miami Dolphins as the number six overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

The Patriots are hoping they've found their next franchise quarterback with Alabama's Mac Jones (right)

The Patriots are hoping they’ve found their next franchise quarterback with Alabama’s Mac Jones (right) 

The Jaguars already gave Lawrence a playbook and held several Zoom sessions with him. Even Khan sat in on at least one, getting to know a player he’s prepared to guarantee nearly $40 million in a five-year deal.

Lawrence was the fourth quarterback Jacksonville drafted in the last four years, following Tanner Lee (2018), Gardner Minshew (2019) and Jake Luton (2020). Minshew and Luton remain on the roster, but Lawrence is expected to start from Day 1.

He should be a significant upgrade for a franchise that has endured Gabbert, Chad Henne, Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Nick Foles, Minshew, Luton and Mike Glennon as starters over the past decade.

‘I’m just pumped. The best is yet to come,’ Lawrence said.

Picks 11 Through 32 

11. Chicago Bears – Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields

12. Dallas Cowboys – Penn State inside linebacker Micah Parsons 

13. Los Angeles Chargers – Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater 

14. New York Jets – USC offensive guard Alijah Vera-Tucker

15. New England Patriots – Alabama quarterback Mac Jones 

16. Arizona Cardinals – Tulsa outside linebacker Zaven Collins 

17. Las Vegas Raiders – Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood 

18. Miami Dolphins – Miami defensive end Jaelen Phillips 

19. Washington Football Team –  Kentucky inside linebacker Jamin Davis

20. New York Giants – Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney

21. Indianapolis Colts – Michigan defensive end Kwity Paye 

22. Tennessee Titans – Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley 

23. Minnesota Vikings – Virginia Tech offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw 

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Alabama running back Najee Harris 

25. Jacksonville Jaguars – Clemson running back Travis Etienne 

26. Cleveland Browns – Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II 

27. Baltimore Ravens – Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman 

28. New Orleans Saints – Houston defensive end  Payton Turner

29. Green Bay Packers – Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes 

Wilson was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night after being linked to the Jets for the last few months. He’s now the blond, blue-eyed face of a frustrated franchise that has gone 10 seasons without making the playoffs – and 52 without reaching the Super Bowl.

‘There’s not another team I’d want to play for besides the Jets,’ Wilson said on NFL Network shortly after being drafted. ‘We’re going to be a special team. We’re going for the Super Bowl.’

The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Wilson made a massive jump in his development – and on teams’ draft lists – while throwing for 3,692 yards with 33 touchdown passes and just three interceptions last season for BYU. He also broke Steve Young’s school record for completion percentage with an eye-popping mark of 73.5 percent.

New York was also scheduled to pick No. 23 overall, marking the first time it has had two first-round selections since 2013 when cornerback Dee Milliner (No. 9) and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson (No. 13) were taken.

The Jets have been fruitlessly searching for decades for a quarterback to emerge from the massive shadow of Joe Namath, who led the franchise to its only Super Bowl in 1969. There have been flashes of individual and team success from several players under center since. But none has produced consistent enough results to solve the team’s seemingly endless quarterback quandary.

Since Namath was taken in the first round of the AFL draft in 1965, the Jets have used their first selection in the NFL draft on a quarterback six times: Richard Todd (1976), Ken O’Brien (1983), Chad Pennington (2000), Mark Sanchez (2009), Sam Darnold (2018) – and now Wilson.

And the Jets and their fans are hoping the former BYU star is finally the answer.

‘When a team isn’t doing super well and you can go in there and actually be a key piece to actually flip that that organization around, I think that’s so special,’ Wilson said during a video call. ‘I’m so excited, along with this new coaching staff, to go in there and try and do the best that we can to flip this thing around.’

Some are skeptical about how smooth Wilson’s leap to the NFL will be since he played a schedule that was low on top-flight opponents. But the 21-year-old gunslinger has impressive accuracy and outstanding zip on his passes from multiple arm angles. Those skills were on full display last month during his pro day at BYU – with Jets general manager Joe Douglas, coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur all in attendance.

That performance appeared to seal the Jets’ desire to make Wilson their quarterback. Douglas officially created that opportunity by trading Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick in 2018, to Carolina for a sixth-rounder this year and second- and fourth-rounders next year.

It marked a disappointing end to a once-promising tenure for Darnold, who the franchise hoped would someday lift the Jets to sustained success with him leading the charge as one of the NFL’s top playmakers at his position.

That never happened. And now that responsibility falls to Wilson, whose baby-faced looks belie his ultra-confident and competitive nature.

His quick feet and hands make him a seemingly perfect fit for LaFleur’s offensive scheme – the ‘Shanahan System’ – which includes lots of play-action, screens, outside zone runs and jet sweeps and is predicated by pre-snap motions.

‘That West Coast-style offense that Coach LaFleur and Coach Saleh are going to bring in,’ Wilson said, ‘is exactly, you know, if I had to write exactly the offense I’d want to play in, it would be it right there.’

But Wilson has some other dubious history to contend with. The Jets have picked No. 2 overall in the NFL draft just two other times – and they turned out to be among the franchise’s biggest busts: Texas wide receiver Johnny ‘Lam’ Jones (1980) and Penn State running back Blair Thomas (1990).

Wilson had some injury issues in college, including surgery to repair a torn labrum before the 2019 season and a thumb injury that also required surgery and caused him to miss four games. But he bounced back from those ailments with a spectacular junior year and the Jets were confident enough in Wilson’s health moving forward that they didn’t hesitate.

Wilson, a native of Draper, Utah, is Mormon, one of six children and also of Hawaiian ancestry – his middle name Kapono means ‘righteous.’ His father Mike was raised in Hawaii and played defensive line at the University of Utah. That’s where Mike met his future wife, Lisa Neeleman, whose family includes several successful entrepreneurs and business people in the airline and medical industries.

Now their son will be tasked with leading an NFL team for what the Jets and their fans hope – finally – is many winning years to come.

‘I can’t wait,’ Wilson said, ‘to be able to represent that city.’

A fan holds a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Justin Fields was selected 11th by the Chicago Bears during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29

A fan holds a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Justin Fields was selected 11th by the Chicago Bears during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29

Detroit Lions fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Detroit Lions fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Cincinnati Bengals fans drove across the state along Interstate-75 to attend the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on Thursday

Cincinnati Bengals fans drove across the state along Interstate-75 to attend the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on Thursday 

After trading the 12th pick, two future first-round picks and a 2022 third-rounder to Miami for the No. 3 selection last month, coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch decided on Lance as the eventual successor to the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

While many 49ers fans were worried Shanahan would take a pocket passer like Mac Jones with the pick, the Niners instead went with a more unproven quarterback who possesses all the physical tools necessary to succeed in the modern NFL.

Lance started only 17 games at FCS-level North Dakota State, where he displayed a strong arm, mobility and mastery of a pro-style offense against lesser competition. Lance played only one game in 2020 because the FCS moved its season to the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But his production in 2019 was off the charts as he threw for 2,786 yards, 28 TDs and no interceptions and ran for 1,159 yards. Lance threw his only collegiate interception last fall against Central Arkansas in a game North Dakota State played in part to give him more exposure to NFL teams.

While Lance played under center in an offense that featured plenty of play-action that should translate to Shanahan’s offense with the 49ers, he still needs work on some of his mechanics and accuracy.

The Niners could ease Lance’s progression to the NFL by keeping Garoppolo as starter in 2021 in a fashion similar to what Kansas City did with Patrick Mahomes and Alex Smith in 2017.

Garoppolo helped San Francisco make the Super Bowl in the 2019 season when he threw for 3,978 yards and 27 TDs. But his struggles in the fourth quarter of that title game contributed to a loss to Kansas City and his injuries have derailed two of the past three seasons.

Garoppolo missed 13 games with a knee injury in 2018 when San Francisco went 4-12 and 10 games with ankle injuries last season when the Niners finished 6-10.

This marks just the fourth time in the common draft era that San Francisco took a quarterback in the first round, with Steve Spurrier going third in 1967, Jim Druckenmiller 26th in 1997 and Alex Smith first in 2005.

The 49ers also have pick 43 in the second round and 102 in the third round Friday, along with five more selections Saturday.

Green Bay Packer fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Green Bay Packer fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

The Patriots also made major headlines on Thursday by drafting Brady’s potential successor in Mac Jones, who will compete with last year’s starter, Cam Newton, for the top job in New England in 2021. 

It was believed the Patriots would have to trade up to get one of the consensus top five quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. It turned out Jones fell right into their lap.

After Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance came off the board in the first three picks, top-rated prospects Justin Fields and Jones were still up for grabs.

The Bears moved up from No. 20 to No. 11 in a trade with the Giants to select Fields, leaving only Jones available. He becomes the first quarterback selected in the first round during Bill Belichick’s 21-year tenure in New England.

Jones has been high on the Patriots´ list for some time, as evidenced by the pre-draft scouting they did on him. They sent scouts to the Senior Bowl and both Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels attended Alabama’s pro day.

Jones, who played under Belichick’a longtime friend and former coaching colleague Nick Saban, earned the Davey O´Brien Award in 2020 as the top quarterback in college football.   

Lauded for his accuracy and ability to command Saban’s system in his lone year as the Crimson Tide’s full-time starter, Jones arrives in New England coming off a season that saw him lead Alabama to a national title while completing an NCAA-record 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

He joins a Patriots team that is in transition after finishing 7-9 in 2020 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. One of the biggest reasons was Cam Newton’s struggles to get his footing in the offense after taking over for Brady following his departure in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Newton was re-signed this offseason but returns on only a one-year deal. His backup last season, Jarrett Stidham, was beaten out for the starting job and has underwhelmed in limited action during his first two years in the league.

Jones becomes the 10th consecutive player to win the O’Brien award and be selected in the first round of NFL draft. He is also the third former Crimson Tide quarterback to be chosen in the first round since 1967, following Tua Tagovailoa (taken fifth in 2020) and Richard Todd (sixth in in 1976).

Micah Persons (Penn State) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the number 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Micah Persons (Penn State) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the number 12 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Patrick Surtain II poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell onstage after being selected ninth by the Denver Broncos during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29

Patrick Surtain II poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell onstage after being selected ninth by the Denver Broncos during round one of the 2021 NFL Draft at the Great Lakes Science Center on April 29

a'Marr Chase (LSU) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Cincinnati Bengals as the number five overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

a’Marr Chase (LSU) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Cincinnati Bengals as the number five overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

An overall view of the stage before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

An overall view of the stage before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Unlike the 2020 NFL Draft, which commissioner Roger Goodell hosted from his basement (pictured), this year's event was held in Cleveland where fans, players, and officials were required to be vaccinated in order to get anywhere near the stage

Unlike the 2020 NFL Draft, which commissioner Roger Goodell hosted from his basement (pictured), this year’s event was held in Cleveland where fans, players, and officials were required to be vaccinated in order to get anywhere near the stage 

Urban Meyer recently accepted the head coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars

Urban Meyer recently accepted the head coaching job with the Jacksonville Jaguars 

IS IT SAFE TO ATTEND SPORTING EVENTS YET?  

Is it safe to go to big sporting events during the pandemic?

Not yet, but there are ways to make it safer if you go.

‘Yelling, chanting, hugging and generally pouring out our sports enthusiasm is still not the safest activity,’ noted Jennifer Dowd, associate professor of population health at University of Oxford and chief scientific officer of Dear Pandemic, a website that offers expert opinions.

If you do decide to go to a game, outdoor stadiums are safer than indoor arenas, which won’t be as well ventilated. Venues that limit attendance and require masks are safer as well. Some teams are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for the coronavirus.

Detroit Lions fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Detroit Lions fans cheer before the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium

Rick Dermer, a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, points out his "Terrible Mask" as he waits for potential draftees to appear on the Red Carpet at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Cleveland

Rick Dermer, a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers, points out his ‘Terrible Mask’ as he waits for potential draftees to appear on the Red Carpet at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame before the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Cleveland

Once at the stadium, avoid indoor bars, restaurants and box seating, Dowd said. ‘Spaces that are indoors with lots of people eating and drinking without masks are still among the riskiest,’ she said.

Going to a game is much safer if you’re fully vaccinated, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the agency advises wearing masks at crowded sports events regardless of whether you’ve had your shots.

Evidence on the safety of big games is mixed. The NFL says it safely hosted 1.2 million fans at 119 games during the 2020 season. Some studies that haven’t yet been vetted by outside experts have reached differing conclusions about whether the football season led to more infections. The study findings can’t be certain, since they were based on disease rates in counties, not on contact tracing investigations.

Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said enough Americans will likely be fully vaccinated by June or July to see significant declines in transmission of the virus.

‘The risk won’t go to zero,’ Hotez said, but it will drop enough that sporting events, restaurants and larger gatherings may be much safer.

The CDC offers additional guidance to help sports fans make decisions as the pandemic continues, such as checking with event organizers about what safety measures are being taken. An important reminder: If you have symptoms, are waiting for a virus test result or have been exposed to someone who’s infected, you should stay home, the CDC says.

– Associated Press 

Fans enjoy the Bud Light Legends Bar at the NFL Draft Experience on Thursday, April 29, 2021 in Cleveland

Fans enjoy the Bud Light Legends Bar at the NFL Draft Experience on Thursday, April 29, 2021 in Cleveland

Reigning NFL MVP and Jeopardy host Aaron Rodgers has reportedly become dissatisfied in Green Bay and has told Packers officials that he doesn't want to return to the team

Reigning NFL MVP and Jeopardy host Aaron Rodgers has reportedly become dissatisfied in Green Bay and has told Packers officials that he doesn’t want to return to the team

Rodgers enjoyed a stretch as the guest host of Jeopardy this off-season

Rodgers has been busy this off-season. In addition to a stretch hosting Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley (eft) when he accepted his third MVP award back in February

Rodgers has been busy this off-season. In addition to a stretch hosting Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley (near right) when he accepted his third MVP award back in February

The draft wasn’t the only major NFL news on Thursday. 

Reigning NFL MVP and part-time Jeopardy host Aaron Rodgers has reportedly become dissatisfied in Green Bay and has told Packers officials that he doesn’t want to return to the team.

The 37-year-old is frustrated by contract extension negotiations, according to NFL Network. Rodgers is reportedly seeking ‘contractural security’ in a deal that would prevent the need for any future restructuring – a common practice by NFL teams with their highest-paid players. 

As ESPN reported ahead of Thursday’s NFL Draft, the Packers are aware and concerned about Rodgers’s displeasure. Sources told ESPN that Packers president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have all met with Rodgers privately this off-season, and outwardly, the team remains committed to the former Super Bowl champion.

‘As we’ve stated since the season ended, we are committed to Aaron in 2021 and beyond,’ Gutekunst told ESPN. ‘Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team.’

NFL Network reported there’s ‘zero percent chance’ he’s traded, but ESPN says the Packers are open to a deal.  

Rodgers’s agent did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

According to ESPN, he's been upset in Green Bay dating back to the 2020 NFL Draft, when the team selected Utah State QB Jordan Love (pictured) as Rodgers's heir apparent

According to ESPN, he’s been upset in Green Bay dating back to the 2020 NFL Draft, when the team selected Utah State QB Jordan Love (pictured) as Rodgers’s heir apparent

According to ESPN, he’s been upset in Green Bay dating back to the 2020 NFL Draft, when the team selected Utah State quarterback Jordan Love as Rodgers’s heir apparent in the first round. 

Rodgers also made cryptic comments before the 2020 NFC title game, saying his future is a ‘beautiful mystery.’

The Packers have shown no interest in trading him, and according to ESPN, turned down offers from the Los Angeles Rams, who ultimately dealt for the Detroit Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Rodgers has played his entire 16-year NFL career with the Packers, winning three MVP awards and Super Bowl XLV over that time.

He is signed through the 2023 season, but has an out clause in his contract that could allow him to become a free agent in the summer of 2022. Rodgers has earned more than $240 million in salary over his 16-year career.

Rodgers has been busy this off-season.

In addition to a stretch hosting Jeopardy, he revealed his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley when he accepted his third MVP award back in February.

Rodgers’s trade value is buoyed by his own recent success after leading the NFL in completion percentage (70.7) and touchdown passes (48) in 2020, while throwing just five interceptions.     

As ESPN reported, the Packers are aware and concerned about Rodgers's displeasure. Sources told ESPN that Packers president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst (pictured) and head coach Matt LaFleur have all met with Rodgers privately this off-season, and outwardly, the team remains committed to the former Super Bowl champion

As ESPN reported, the Packers are aware and concerned about Rodgers’s displeasure. Sources told ESPN that Packers president Mark Murphy, general manager Brian Gutekunst (pictured) and head coach Matt LaFleur have all met with Rodgers privately this off-season, and outwardly, the team remains committed to the former Super Bowl champion

Back in Jax? NFL QB-Turned-Minor League Baseball Player Tim Tebow ‘Works Out for Jaguars as a TIGHT END’ and Could Reunite Urban Meyer in Jacksonville 

After stints as an NFL quarterback and a minor league baseball player, Tim Tebow is reportedly attempting a professional football comeback as a tight end, and his former college coach Urban Meyer may be willing to give him a chance. 

Tebow, a former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback, worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, NFL Network and ESPN reported Thursday.

Tebow, 33, starred at the University of Florida under Meyer, who’s entering his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach. Although he was born in the Philippines, Tebow grew up in Jacksonville before enrolling at Florida.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that ‘there has been at least some discussion’ of Jacksonville signing him.

Tebow, the son of Christian missionaries, is still an on-air analyst for ESPN's college football coverage. He recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with wife Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (right), the 2017 Miss Universe winner

Tebow, the son of Christian missionaries, is still an on-air analyst for ESPN’s college football coverage. He recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with wife Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (right), the 2017 Miss Universe winner

Tebow played in the New York Mets' organization from 2016 to 2019, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2019, but announced his retirement from baseball in February. In 2019, which turned out to be his final season due to the pandemic, Tebow batted .163 in 77 games at Triple-A - the highest level of minor league baseball - before suffering a season-ending pinky injury. He finishes his career with a .223 average over 287 minor league games

Tebow played in the New York Mets’ organization from 2016 to 2019, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2019, but announced his retirement from baseball in February. In 2019, which turned out to be his final season due to the pandemic, Tebow batted .163 in 77 games at Triple-A – the highest level of minor league baseball – before suffering a season-ending pinky injury. He finishes his career with a .223 average over 287 minor league games

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 57 touchdowns over four seasons at Florida, while also passing for 88 TDs. At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Tebow has a frame that could translate to the tight-end position despite not playing there at any point since high school. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is 6-5, 260, while San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is 6-4, 250

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 57 touchdowns over four seasons at Florida, while also passing for 88 TDs. At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Tebow has a frame that could translate to the tight-end position despite not playing there at any point since high school. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is 6-5, 260, while San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is 6-4, 250

Denver selected Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After only lasting three seasons in the NFL with the Broncos and Jets, Tebow changed focus to professional baseball. 

He played in the New York Mets’ organization from 2016 to 2019, reaching as high as Triple-A in 2019, but announced his retirement from baseball in February.

In 2019, which turned out to be his final season due to the pandemic, Tebow batted .163 in 77 games at Triple-A – the highest level of minor league baseball – before suffering a season-ending pinky injury. He finishes his career with a .223 average over 287 minor league games.

‘I want to thank the Mets, Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization,’ Tebow said in a statement released by New York Mets. ‘I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions.’

Tebow, the son of Christian missionaries, is still an on-air analyst for ESPN’s college football coverage. He recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with wife Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the 2017 Miss Universe winner. 

‘My prayer is that God will bless him & his wife in this next chapter,’ tweeted preacher Franklin Graham. ‘I’m sure He has great things in store. Thank you Tim for your friendship—& your consistent witness for Jesus Christ.’

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was a dual-threat quarterback who ran for 57 touchdowns over four seasons at Florida, while also passing for 88 TDs.

At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Tebow has a frame that could translate to the tight-end position despite not playing there at any point since high school. Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is 6-5, 260, while San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is 6-4, 250.

Accuracy issues limited Tebow’s potential as a quarterback and he ultimately failed to win the starting job with the New York Jets in 2012. He went on to have brief stints with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, but never officially played for either team in a regular season game. 

There remains some debate over how good Tebow really was in the NFL, but the numbers are not on his side. 

In 2011, the only season he played regularly, Tebow completed 46.5 percent of his passes. For comparison, no qualifying NFL passer had a lower completion mark than 57 percent in 2020.  

Reuters and Alex Raskin, sports news editor for DailyMail.com 

Tebow, a former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback, worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, NFL Network and ESPN reported Thursday. Tebow, 33, starred at the University of Florida under Meyer (right), who's entering his first season as the Jaguars' head coach. Although he was born in the Philippines, Tebow grew up in Jacksonville before enrolling at Florida

Tebow, a former Denver Broncos and New York Jets quarterback, worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars as a tight end, NFL Network and ESPN reported Thursday. Tebow, 33, starred at the University of Florida under Meyer (right), who’s entering his first season as the Jaguars’ head coach. Although he was born in the Philippines, Tebow grew up in Jacksonville before enrolling at Florida

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