Senior linebacker Uchenna Nwosu celebrates after wrapping up a sack in a game against Arizona State. Photo by Matt Karats | Daily TrojanAs the No. 11 Trojans prepare to wrap up the 2017 regular season against UCLA this weekend, the football team’s 2018 schedule was released on Thursday.USC opens its campaign at the Coliseum against UNLV next Labor Day weekend, hosting the Rebels on Sept. 1 in the second-ever meeting between the two programs. The Trojans then enter a two-game road stretch, first opening Pac-12 play at Stanford. The Trojans beat the Cardinal 42-24 in Los Angeles in Week 2 of this season, and the two sides could rematch in the conference championship on Dec. 1 if Stanford wins out and No. 18 Washington takes down No. 14 Washington State next week.USC then travels to Austin for a matchup against Texas. The Trojans and Longhorns clashed in Week 3 this fall for the first time since the two programs’ classic national championship game in 2006: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold led USC to a comeback victory, and freshman kicker Chase McGrath converted his first career field goals — one to tie the game as time expired and another to win in double overtime.After their tilt in Austin, the Trojans return home on a short week to face off against Washington State — much like this season, when the team took on the Cougars on a Friday coming off a trip to Berkeley. Unlike September’s trip to Pullman, however, USC will be at home next year as the team seeks revenge for its first loss of the season at Washington State this year. The Cougars’ visit to the Coliseum will be their first since 2013, when they pulled off a 10-7 upset thanks to a late field goal.USC then travels to Tucson for a game versus Arizona. The Trojans edged the Wildcats 49-35 at the Coliseum two weeks ago after blowing a 22-point lead. However, Arizona will be bolstered by the expected return of quarterback Khalil Tate, who stood out on a national scale after exploding onto the scene midway through the 2017 season.Unlike this season, USC will enjoy a bye in 2018. The lack of a bye was a thorn in the side of the Trojans from the start of the season. As injuries continued to pile up, coaches and players stressed that the lack of break — paired with a short turnaround on a road game in Pullman, Wash., to play Washington State — was one of the more difficult factors of the season. The team will host Colorado coming off its break on Oct. 13. The Trojans clinched the Pac-12 South title with a 38-24 victory over the Buffaloes last weekend.After taking on Colorado, head coach Clay Helton will set his sights on a trip to Utah (the Trojans squeaked by the Utes 28-27 at home last month), before welcoming Arizona State to the Coliseum, when USC will look for a repeat of this season’s 48-17 blowout victory in Tempe.The Trojans travel to Corvallis, Ore., for the first time since 2013 after facing the Sun Devils. USC breezed by Oregon State 38-10 this year, and it will host Cal after facing the Beavers. Finally, the Trojans wrap up the regular season with back-to-back rivalry games — first at the Rose Bowl versus UCLA, then a tilt at the Coliseum against Notre Dame.If USC returns to the Pac-12 Championship, the title game will take place in Santa Clara on Nov. 30.
With preseason openers kicking off later this week, there are more injury updates and developments around contract negotiations keep coming out. Some of the questions that remain as the season gets closer: Will the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott reach a new deal before the season starts? What does Jerick McKinnon’s return from a season-ending ACL injury mean for the 49ers? When will Panthers quarterback Cam Newton make his preseason debut and is he fully healthy? The Cowboys have reiterated that they are commited to giving Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper new extensions, but Jones hinted that he doesn’t think they will reach any new deals at training camp. Jones said (per the team’s website): “I don’t see any momentum that would lead me to believe that we’re going to get anything done while we’re out here.”49ers running back Jerick McKinnon (ACL) activated from PUP listAfter missing all of last season with a torn ACL, Jerick McKinnon has been activated from the physically unable to perform list. He was projected to be the team’s top running back before suffering his season-ending injury last September. He wasn’t ready to return when the 49ers’ training camp opened last month as a result of a setback in his rehab process when his surgically repaired knee flared up. He joins Matt Breida, who stepped up to fill the void McKinnon left in 2018, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert in a crowded backfield. His activation comes just days before San Francisco begins its preseason against the Cowboys at home on Saturday. Cam Newton won’t play in Panthers’ preseason openerThe Panthers are taking a cautious approach when it comes to Cam Newton. The veteran quarterback will sit during Carolina’s preseason opener against the Bears on Thursday, coach Ron Rivera announced Tuesday. “It’s just to be careful,” Rivera said (via the team’s official website). “Everything we are doing with Cam has been mapped out and everything is fine. … Again, we are just going through the next step in the process.”Newton struggled with shoulder pain in his throwing arm last season, which ultimately hampered his ability to throw downfield. He was shut down for the Panthers’ final two games after Carolina fell out of playoff contention. He had surgery at the end of January on the same shoulder he had surgically repaired in mid-2017. The decision to rest Newton only creates more questions as to whether the quarterback is completely healthy entering the 2019 season.Two things that don’t matterPatriots QB Tom Brady puts Boston-area home up for saleSpeculation is swirling after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen put their Boston-area home up for sale for just less than $40 million. The news comes as Brady is entering the final year of his contract. He recently agreed to a deal that will pay him an additional $8 million this season, increasing his 2019 salary to $23 million, but includes void years for 2020 and 2021.The news doesn’t necessarily translate to what the Patriots and the star 42-year-old quarterback will do next season. There’s always the possibility that if he does sell his house, he could still reach a new deal with New England. As one ESPN reporter noted: “This isn’t to say Brady is making real estate decisions with the sole intention of leaving the Patriots at the end of the 2019 season — which his contract would reportedly allow — but it most certainly paves the way for their family’s roots in the Boston area to loosen.”Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner sidelined after ‘procedure’Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner had a “procedure” on his lower body, though coach Pete Carroll downplayed the severity of any injury. He explained that Wagner had a platelet-rich plasma therapy treatment on his leg, but he still expects Wagner to play at some point this preseason. The news shouldn’t be too concerning to Seattle as Wagner has had the procedure before. Ezekiel Elliott contract: Cowboys star’s no deal-no play ultimatum ‘news to us,’ COO says “He’s done it a couple times before, it’s been successful for him,” Carroll said (per the Seattle Times), “and it’s helped him out over the years. He felt like it was time to do it, so we took the time to go.”One video you have to seeIt seems Saquon Barkley can do just about everything on the football field. The Giants running back was seen at practice throwing the football into a net. It would’ve been an impressive throw for any quarterback, but the fact he’s a running back makes it even more extraordinary.What can’t @saquon do? 🎯😱 pic.twitter.com/OSGn3QNUIn— New York Giants (@Giants) August 6, 2019Tuesday tweet of the dayLe’Veon Bell weighed in on Ezekiel Elliott’s holdout as he responded on Twitter to a report that Elliott’s camp told the Cowboys he won’t play until he gets a new deal. Bell, who sat out all of last season before joining the Jets over a similar contract dispute, wrote: “(T)hey gotta pay up, period.”they gotta pay up, period 🙌🏾 https://t.co/M08n7VQCsc— Le’Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) August 6, 2019 Jerick McKinnon injury update: 49ers back (ACL) activated from PUP list We look at each of those topics and more in this edition of NFL news and notes. Three things that matterCowboys COO Stephen Jones comments on Ezekiel Elliott’s status Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones responded to a report that indicated running back Ezekiel Elliott’s representatives have told the Cowboys he won’t play this season without a new contract. Jones revealed it’s “news to us and it certainly doesn’t change anything.” He also described the team’s offer to Elliott as “very generous,” though he didn’t go into detail over what exactly that means. Related News Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen put Boston-area house on market — let the speculation begin read more