WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — From rookie starter to second-year captain.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is one of the team’s six captains for the 2022 season, Coach Bill Belichick announced Wednesday. Jones is joined by longtime captains Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty and David Andrews, plus defensive lineman Deatrich Wise and linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley. Jones and Wise are first-time captains.

“I think it’s really cool,” Jones said. “I think I have a lot of work to do, I want to become a better leader and I think we have great guys around us that make everything better. So great coaches, great org and we’ve just gotta build and learn from the older guys like I did when i first got here, and continue to do that and hopefully some of the younger guys can come to me with whether that be issues or things they want to get fixed or things that they’re struggling with, and I’ll be happy to help anybody on our team.”

This will be Bentley’s second season as a captain, after being selected in 2020. He handed his role off last season to Dont’a Hightower, who opted out of the 2020 season and is currently out of football. McCourty and Slater are entering their 12th consecutive seasons as captains, while this marks Andrews’ sixth straight leading the offense.

During the offseason, Jones was widely praised for his leadership and work ethic, as he traveled the country working out with teammates. Last week, Pats wideout Jakobi Meyers said he’s also elevated his command inside the building.

“He’s definitely taking authority, and his leadership has been crazy this year. He’s always in the building,” Meyers said. “He knows what he wants.”


And now, he’s been recognized for it.

“I think it’s great, but you’ve got to be yourself,” Jones said. “And that’s what is important to be is just being myself. I’m plenty good enough, and I just need to continue to grow and try and figure out how to get better as a player and a leader and a person and all that stuff.”

BILLS: The Buffalo Bills signed tight end Dawson Knox to a four-year contract extension, locking up one of the team’s top scoring threats.

Knox was entering the final year of his contract and is now signed through 2026. The move was announced a day before the two-time defending AFC East champions open the NFL season at the Los Angeles Rams, and follows a year in which Knox established himself as one of Josh Allen’s top red-zone targets.

Knox finished second on the team with nine touchdown receptions to set the franchise’s single-season record for tight ends, and also tying for second in the NFL among players at his position.

The signing also comes three weeks after Knox mourned the loss of his younger brother, Luke Knox, a Florida International University player who died of unknown causes.


JETS: Joe Flacco will huddle up for the Jets against his former team. And likely a few more opponents after that.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Flacco will start at quarterback in the season opener Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens in place of the injured Zach Wilson – who likely will be out until Week 4 at Pittsburgh.

“Yeah, it’s frustrating, of course,” Wilson said. “You want to be healthy as much as possible.”

Flacco starting this week is not unexpected, as it appeared to be trending that way for a few weeks. But the announcement that the Oct. 2 game against the Steelers is likely “the earliest” Wilson will return from a knee injury was a surprise.

“Now, can it change? Sure, I’m always going to leave that door open,” Saleh said. “You guys know me, I’m the eternal optimist. But we are going to make sure both mind and body are 110% and make sure we do right by him.

“And we feel like, talking to the doctors and everyone, it’s going to be that Pittsburgh week.”


Wilson worked out on the field Monday and Tuesday while testing out his right knee, which was injured in the preseason opener at Philadelphia on Aug. 12.

Saleh said Monday “it’s possible” Wilson could play against Baltimore but that the quarterback would be evaluated in the next few days. Saleh said the second-year QB had no setbacks while working out, but the Jets don’t want to rush him back to the field.

“He looks fantastic, he still looks good, he feels good,” Saleh said. “He’s not walking with a limp or anything.”

Despite Wilson missing at least the first three games, the Jets did not consider putting him injured reserve – which would sideline him for a minimum of four games – so that he can continue to practice with the team. Wilson will work with the training staff this week, Saleh said, and then slowly resume practice during the next few weeks. Wilson said he’s able to throw and drop back.

EMMANUEL SANDERS announced his retirement after a 12-year NFL career that included six season in Denver, where he helped the Broncos win Super Bowl 50.

Sanders started his career in Pittsburgh in 2010 and joined the Broncos as a free agent in 2014. He posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in Denver, where he caught 101 passes and nine TD receptions in 2014.


Sanders played in three Super Bowls, with the Steelers, Broncos and 49ers, who acquired him from Denver in 2019.

He played for the Saints in 2020 and the Bills in 2021.

He finished his career with 704 receptions for 9,245 yards and 51 touchdowns in the regular season and another 52 catches for 622 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs.

CARDINALS: The Arizona Cardinals put backup quarterback Colt McCoy on injured reserve heading into Sunday’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cardinals Coach Kliff Kingsbury said McCoy strained a calf at practice on Monday. McCoy’s absence means Trace McSorley is starter Kyler Murray’s primary backup.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.