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NFL News And Notes for February 22

With the Super Bowl behind us, the NFL officially moves into the offseason. Some of the important dates ahead include March 16, which is the official start of the new league year, meaning NFL teams can start signing free agents.

Furthermore, the draft is slated for April 28 to April 30. With teams needing to evaluate prospects, scouting combines start March 1.

With so much going on as teams prepare for the 2022-23 season, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories around the NFL.

Scouting Combine Not Without Concerns

While the NFL scouting combine is set to kick off at the beginning of March, there are some issues popping up around how effective the combine might be.

Most notably, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network is reporting that several agents are organizing a boycott due to concerns over testing and on-field workouts.

If things can’t be worked out, Rapoport reports that many players may only do medical evaluations but no workouts for the teams as in previous years.

Basically, the NFL’s proposed bubble would limit who can accompany the prospects, as well as make it mandatory that they were vaccinated and boosted. Also, if a player were to leave the bubble, they would not be allowed to rejoin the combine.

This seems like a situation that will likely be worked out over the next week, but it is also worth monitoring as many teams can be influenced by the combines when it comes to their draft boards.

Tom Brady Is Retired, Or Is He?

While Tom Brady announced his retirement, it appears that there are some doubters. In fact, several rumors have popped up that he will likely return to play next season, and the list of possible suitors ranges from rejoining the Bucs to even playing with San Francisco.

Even Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network alluded to the fact that the Buccaneers would welcome Brady back if he were to change his mind on retirement.

Elsewhere, former player Rich Ohrnberger reported that Brady and Arians were not seeing eye to eye, a report that Arians vehemently shoots down. This feeds into the speculation that Brady could seek to play elsewhere if he does decide to return.

Still, if Brady were to come out of retirement, the Buccaneers still technically hold his rights as there was another year left on Brady’s contract.

While it is unclear if there are any legs to this rumor, it will likely be something speculated about until Week 1 of next season.

Mason Rudolph The Starter… For Now

After the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers are left with considerable question marks for next season. According to general manager Kevin Colbert, it appears that the job currently belongs to Mason Rudolph.

This season, Rudolph played in two games (starting one) and threw for 277 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His longest duration as starter came in 2019 when he started eight games and threw for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions.

In total, he is 5-4-1 as a starter for the Steelers. It will be interesting to see if this is good enough for the Steelers for next season, but one thing is for sure, Pittsburgh will likely have their eyes on a quarterback either in the draft or free agency.

Steelers Bring In Flores

Sticking with Pittsburgh, they have added a notable assistant coach in Brian Flores. During this season’s coaching cycle, Flores made headlines as he has a lawsuit against the NFL and a few teams for racial discrimination.

Flores also made allegations against the Dolphins that he was offered financial incentives for every game they lost (thus enhancing their draft status).

Despite being hired as an assistant coach, Flores is not dropping his lawsuit.

For the Steelers, Flores will serve as a senior defensive assistant and in charge of the linebackers.

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