NFL notebook: Chiefs' Hill denies accusations in attorney's letter

The attorney for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill sent the NFL a four-page letter Thursday, a detailed denial of child abuse allegations made against his client.

FILE PHOTO - Dec 30, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) warms up before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

In the letter obtained by ESPN, attorney N. Trey Pettlon accused Hill’s fiancee, Crystal Espinal, of abusing the couple’s 3-year-old son. Espinal secretly recorded a conversation she had with Hill that was broadcast last week by Kansas City station KCTV.

Pettlon wrote in the letter, “He (Hill) categorically denies he has ever ‘punched’ his son in the chest or anywhere on his body, or otherwise touched him in the chest in a mean-spirited manner or as a form of discipline.”

The attorney does not deny the audio in question is of Hill and Espinal, but does challenge Espinal’s assertion on the recording that the child in question is “terrified” of Hill. Pettlon also called a comment Hill made on the recording, “You need to be terrified of me, too, b--,” inexcusable.

--All-Pro linebacker Derrick Johnson will sign a one-day contract with the Chiefs next week, then retire, 610 Sports Radio reported.

Now 36, Johnson was the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick, No. 15 overall, in 2005. He played 13 seasons for Kansas City, and in 182 games (169 starts), he had 1,151 tackles, 14 interceptions, 27.5 sacks and 40 quarterback hits.

He played in six games for the Oakland Raiders last season, after the Chiefs released him, and started in one. He had 17 tackles with the Raiders.

--The Raiders released veteran tight end Lee Smith and officially re-signed running back Doug Martin.

Smith, 31, had two years remaining on a three-year, $9 million extension signed last March. Considered one of the league’s best blocking tight ends, he spent the last four years with the Raiders, catching 36 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns, including three TDs in 2018.

Martin’s re-signing was reported Wednesday. He led the Raiders with 172 carries for 723 yards and four scores last season.

--Free agent edge rusher Shane Ray will visit the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, NFL Network reported.

Ray, who turns 26 on May 18, remains unsigned after playing out his rookie contract with the Denver Broncos, who last spring declined the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option for 2019.

Ray had eight sacks and 21 quarterback hits as a rotational rusher in 2016, but he has just two sacks and five QB hits since while battling injuries and missing 13 games.

--Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage became the first of the 2019 first-round draft picks to sign his rookie contract.

Like all first-round picks, Savage received a four-year deal with a fifth-year option for 2023, his agent announced.

The Packers traded up from No. 30 to No. 21 to take Savage last Thursday, swapping first-round picks and giving Seattle two fourth-round picks in the deal. The Maryland product was Green Bay’s second first-round pick, after Rashan Gary at No. 12.

--The Los Angeles Rams waived safety Blake Countess, though they have interest in potentially bringing him back, according to the team’s website.

NFL Network reports Countess declined to take a pay cut from his $2 million restricted free agent tender, leading to his release. Los Angeles drafted safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott this weekend.

Countess, 25, has 44 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups across 37 games (four starts) in three seasons with the Rams, playing primarily special teams.

--The Minnesota Vikings signed eight of their 12 draft picks, including second-round tight end Irv Smith, to four-year rookie contracts.

Others signed are running back Alexander Mattison (third round), offensive linemen Dru Samia (fourth) and Oli Udoh (sixth), linebacker Cameron Smith (fifth), safety Marcus Epps (sixth), and wide receivers Dillon Mitchell (seventh) and Olabisi Johnson (seventh).

--Free agent tight end Maxx Williams will join the Arizona Cardinals, he announced on Twitter.

Williams, 25, was a second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 but never emerged as much of a receiving threat, finishing his tenure with 63 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

--The New York Jets claimed quarterback Luke Falk off waivers from the Miami Dolphins, according to multiple reports.

Considered a likely mid-round pick in 2018, Falk slipped to the Tennessee Titans in Round 6 and was waived during final cuts. The Dolphins claimed him and kept him through 2018 before waiving him Wednesday.

--The New England Patriots signed linebacker Shilique Calhoun and defensive lineman Nick Thurman, in addition to 10 undrafted rookies.

Calhoun, 27, was a third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2016 but has just a half-sack and seven QB hits through 26 career games.

--Field Level Media