After signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward criticized his former team, the Denver Broncos, for the way they handled his release, calling their timing "unprofessional". Ward said the Broncos had a full offseason to inform him of what’s going on so he can prepare his next move but the team failed to do so. “I know it's a business, but when you have good employees, you're supposed to treat your employees a certain way. And I think they handled it completely unprofessional,” Ward told a handful of Buccaneers reporters.

The 30-year-old Ward was informed of his release Saturday, partly because of the non-guaranteed $4.5 million due to him in the final year of his deal.

During training camp, Ward was slowed down by hamstring issues, allowing second-year defender Justin Simmons to emerge as a starter. Hours after his release, the Buccaneers immediately grabbed the opportunity, signing him to a one-year deal worth $5 million. Last season, Ward started 14 games, recording 87 tackles and an interception. In his three years with the Broncos, he started 41 games, tallying a total of 564 tackles and eight picks. He played his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him 38th overall in 2010.

Broncos expect players to be irritated over Ward trade

Some Broncos players expressed their disappointment over Ward’s trade, with linebacker Brandon Marshall saying that the move was a mistake.

“I don't think he should be going,” said All-Pro pass rusher Von Miller. The sentiments of his players didn’t surprise Broncos coach Vance Joseph, who expected the reaction since they became close during Ward’s three-year stint with the team. "I would say so because he was obviously a valuable teammate to these guys," Joseph said.

Le’Veon Bell signs franchise tender with Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that running back Le'Veon Bell signed his $12.1 million franchise tender. Bell passed his physical when he returned to the team facility last week. "I feel good, I feel great, I feel fresh," said Bell, who sat out the whole of training camp and the preseason.

However, he will not be subjected to fines as he was not officially under contract with the Steelers. Earlier, Rapoport said that Bell turned down a multi-year offer from the Steelers, which could pay him more than $12 million per year, the highest for a running back in the NFL. However, Bell insisted that the Steelers should add more because of his status as the No. 2 receiver on the team.