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Ten ways to improve the Hall of Fame selection process


Every year, on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, 44 men and women gather in the host city and determine the members of the next class of Hall of Famers.

Typically, the panel considers 15 modern-era candidates, which systemically is whittled down to five finalists for an up-or-down vote.  The voters also consider two previously-determined finalists determined by the Seniors Committee, which comes up with two players who, for whatever reason, were passed over during past sessions.

In the end, as few as four and as many as seven secure admission to Canton.

Every year, complaints inevitably arise regarding the persons who make it and those who don’t.  At times, those complaints are aimed at the process.  Usually, the debate fizzles by the next day, when the Super Bowl starts.

This year, largely through the efforts of Jason Whitlock of, the criticism has lingered.  The fact that Whitlock’s opinions have sparked a pointed response from two of the voters has served only to give the discussion ongoing life.

Though some of the voters who perhaps feel a threat to their fiefdom may not like it, any effort to consider whether the process can be improved represents a valuable expenditure of time and effort.  In this vein, we now offer 10 specific ideas for improving the procedure for determining who gets in, and who’s left out of, the Hall of Fame.

1.  Expand the panel.

The panel currently consists only of media members, some of whom are unemployed, underemployed, self-employed, and/or semi-retired.  One voter is assigned for each team, even if the voter has no specific jurisdiction over that team.  For example, Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange holds the vote that corresponds to the Falcons, even though he hasn’t focused his efforts on that team for years.  Ditto for David Elfin, the Redskins’ representative who no longer works for a Washington-focused publication.  Others, like Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, had limited experience covering the NFL but was the only guy at the only paper in the town in which the team is headquartered.

That’s not a knock on Joe, whom we know and like.  But, surely, he’ll acknowledge that he had limited experience covering the NFL when he got the assignment.  Before inheriting the Bengals beat from Mark Curnutte in 2009, Reedy previously covered the Jets for two years (1997 and 1998) at the Post-Star in Glen Falls, New York and the Jaguars for one year (1999) at the Gainesville Sun.  Many would contend that three relatively distant years at non-first-tier publications shouldn’t be enough to secure 2.27 percent of the say as to who makes it to Canton.

The panel also includes one representative of the Professional Football Writers Association and 11 at-large media members.  That’s 44 total voters.

The panel, put simply, is too small.  (And, trust me, I’m not saying that because I’m angling for a seat at the table.  I don’t want one, I don’t expect to ever be offered one — especially after writing this article — and I wouldn’t have the time to do the assignment justice unless and until I become unemployed, underemployed, self-employed, and/or semi-retired.)  Because the human beings who comprise the panel are subject to the same human factors that influence us consciously or otherwise, one way to neutralize those realities is to involve more voters.

As explained below, that doesn’t mean more media members.  To enjoy the full faith and confidence of football fans, the process needs more voices, more perspectives, and less power in the hands of any one voter.

Many of the persons who hold these votes take great pride in the assignment.  As a result, they naturally will be inclined to resist any changes that will make the achievement less significant, such as adding significantly more people to the process.

Regardless, significantly more people need to be added to the process.

2.  Overhaul the Board of Trustees.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is governed by a Board of Trustees.  Some of the names are instantly recognizable, like Commissioner Roger Goodell, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.  (One name is recognizable but curiously out of place. ESPN’s Todd Blackledge, whose bailiwick is college football, has a seat on the Board of Trustees.)

There is also a cluster of persons with no connection to the NFL, but who hold positions of prominence in and around Canton, Ohio, the geographic location of the Hall of Fame.

With all due respect to those Canton-area businesspeople, it makes no sense for the policies and procedures of the Hall of Fame to be set by folks whose biggest contribution to the process is the ability to show up for meetings without incurring travel expenses.  Though it makes sense for the Pro Football Hall of Fame to seek the support and involvement of the Canton business community, the Board of Trustees should be composed of folks who have a direct role in the game and who have the best interests of the game at all times in mind.

To the extent that there are some Canton-area businesspeople who have a direct role in the game, such as Packers great and successful Akron businessman Dave Robinson, they should have a seat at the table.  We also realize that some members of the Board of Trustees are instrumental in organizing the events that surround each year’s enshrinement ceremony.  But most of the persons who are setting policy for the Hall of Fame should have names that ardent fans and followers of the sport instantly recognize.

Currently, it’s roughly a 50-50 split.  That needs to change.

3.  Change the bylaws.

The Board of Trustees ultimately determine the contents of the Hall of Fame’s bylaws.  All too often, members of the panel who are faced with criticism of the selection process instantly explain that their hands are tied by the bylaws.

So change the bylaws.

Every year, the NFL changes multiple rules in the hopes of making the game better.  In the past half-decade, the only meaningful change to the bylaws occurred when the modern-era finalists were increased from 13 to 15.

The bylaws shouldn’t be used as a shield for avoiding change, but as a sword for implementing it.  All too often, the bylaws become an excuse for the status quo, not the impetus for improvement.  For that reason alone, the powers-that-be need to be willing and able on an annual basis (or more often) to look for ways to improve the rules that govern the selection process.

4.  Include Hall of Famers.

Every year, the winner of the Heisman Trophy acquires the ability to vote on all future winners of the award.  The logic is simple, and undeniable.  Winning the Heisman represents membership in an exclusive club, and the men who have won it should have a say in who gets it.

The argument applies even more strongly to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hall of Fame coach John Madden believes that the busts talk to each other at night.  If they do, the first comment when a new crop joins them shouldn’t be, “Who in the hell let that guy in?”

They say it takes one to know one, and a Hall of Famer is in the best position to know another Hall of Famer.  Though giving Hall of Famers votes would introduce the possibility of biases and prejudices, those factors surely apply from time to time (or, as the case may be, every year) to the 44 men and women who currently have the keys to Canton, especially when players who earn a reputation for being hard on the media seem to have a hard time getting into the Hall of Fame.

The only requirement?  To vote, the Hall of Famer must attend the meeting.  No proxies or absentee ballots.  If they show up, they get a say in the process.

5.  Include coaches and other established football minds.

In responding to Jason Whitlock’s column calling for change, Bob Gretz argued that “Rick Gosselin has forgotten more football in a week than Whitlock has known in his life.”  That same observation likely applies to many of the folks currently on the selection committee.

And that observation probably would apply to all of them if, say, guys like Joe Gibbs or Ron Wolf or Bill Parcells or Chuck Noll were in the room.

So why not give people who have devoted their careers to coaching football and/or running football teams a direct say in who should and shouldn’t land in the Hall of Fame?  For those not already in the Hall of Fame, they’d have to forfeit their own eligibility for the Hall until two years after leaving the committee.

Frankly, those folks are far better suited to picking the new members of the Hall of Fame than pretty much everyone on the selection committee as its currently constituted.

6.  Categorize the candidates.

Every year, the finalists are thrown into a vat regardless of the position they played, with the new members of the Hall emerging from a stew that can’t distinguish between pancake blocks and pick-sixes.  It would make more sense to allow one new member per year from each of the various positions on the field:  quarterback, running back, receiver/tight end, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive back, and coach/G.M./contributor.

The finalists would be determined by position, with the list of candidates trimmed to three-to-five before the selection meeting, and with no requirement that a person be admitted from each position group.

This would expand the potential maximum size of the class from seven to eight, but the high-water mark of seven per year has been in place since 1964, the year after the charter class was inducted.  At the time, the NFL and AFL had only 22 teams.

Today, the NFL has 32 franchises, as a result of the addition of two in 1966, one in 1967, one in 1968, two in 1976, two in 1995, one in 1999, and one in 2002.  Moving the maximum annual class from seven to eight in light of the growth of the league isn’t simply justified, it’s overdue.

7.  Scuttle the Senior Committee.

The Senior Committee serves the purpose of allowing the selection committee to revisit two players from past seasons who fell through the cracks.  In other words, it gives the selection committee to right past wrongs.  By improving the selection process, there would be no reason to clean up past messes by devoting two of seven annual spots to guys who failed to get in when competing directly with their peers.

In his response to Jason Whitlock’s criticisms, Bob Gretz unwittingly proved our point.

Gretz explained that, ever year, a pair of Hall of Famers join the Seniors Committee to assist in the process of whittling down the previously overlooked players to two finalists, who seem to almost always get in.  For the 2011 class, Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham and Hall of Fame tight end Charlie Sanders worked with the Seniors Committee.

Ham, per Gretz, made a strong case for linebacker Chris Hanburger.

“Ham told the group that when he went to the Steelers in the 1971 NFL Draft out of Penn State, the Pittsburgh coaches gave him film of Hanburger to study,” Gretz writes.  “There was no doubt in Ham’s mind that Hanburger was a legitimate candidate.  Whose word are your going to take on this subject:  Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham, or Jason Whitlock?”

Gretz essentially is admitting that the selection committee screwed up by not putting Hanburger in the Hall years earlier.  With the involvement on the selection committee of guys like Hall of Famer Jack Ham convinced that Hanburger should get in, that wouldn’t have happened.

In other words, if Ham and the other Hall of Famers had a seat at the table, perhaps Hanburger wouldn’t have been erroneously passed over.

After all, whose word should the Hall of Fame been taking on this subject:  Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham, or any member of the media?

8.  Embrace transparency.

Though many voters seek refuge in the bylaws and regard them as if they’d been etched onto stone tablets by the hand of God, many also will acknowledge the validity of Whitlock’s complaint that the process unfolds in secrecy.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC, who has nothing but the best interests of the process in mind (and I say that not because he’s a friend and a colleague but because I’ve spent enough time around him to know that’s who he is and how he operates), would welcome transparency.

I’d be fine with our votes being made public, which the Hall currently doesn’t want us to do,” King wrote in his February 7 Monday Morning Quarterback column.  “The feeling from Hall officials is if our votes are published, then some voters might vote differently; if a voter from Buffalo, for instance, didn’t vote for Andre Reed (and this is only an example, not the truth), he might face a backlash when he goes back to cover his team. Or in some small way it might affect his vote if he or she knew everyone would know exactly how the vote went. I believe it’s incumbent on us to not hide behind the privacy of the room. The Hall is a huge deal, obviously, with burgeoning interest every year. If we’re going to sit on the committee and sit in judgment of these men for enshrinement, I think you ought to know how we vote.”

If one of the most respected members of the NFL media believes that the process should be more transparent, then it’s fair to say that the process should be more transparent.  With an expanded panel of voters, anyone who covers the team on which a player played most or all of his career could abstain from voting, thereby addressing the biggest concern that King raised.

9.  Involve the NFL.

As mentioned above, the Commissioner and various owners occupy seats on the Hall of Fame’s Board of Trustees.  But the NFL should be even more involved than that.

Though it’s called the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it’s essentially the NFL Hall of Fame, and the NFL should be in position to propose changes to bylaws and initiate procedural enhancements aimed at improving the process of determining each class of enshrinees.

One change the NFL would likely make relates to the consideration of off-field conduct.  Currently forbidden by the bylaws, the reality is that plenty of voters consider the things a candidate did when not playing football, especially in close cases.  The bylaws, then, should change to reflect the reality of the process.

If the NFL is the perpetual custodian of the highest levels of the sport, the NFL should have much greater involvement in and dominion over the museum that celebrates those who made the biggest impact on the game.

10.  Commit to continuous improvement and change.

Most of the criticisms of the current selection process arise from a perception that the system is stale and stagnant, in large part because change doesn’t happen often and doesn’t seem welcome.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell repeatedly explains that the league constantly must look for ways to enhance and improve the game.  That same attitude must infect, and overtake, the Hall of Fame.

So many things about the selection process need to be changed because so little change has happened in the 48 years since the Hall of Fame opened.  Egos and agendas and pride and any other factor that stands in the way of change needs to be set aside, and folks need to look for ways to make the process better, and ultimately more fair.

We’re not advocating change for the sake of change.  But in this case there has been little or no change.  Changes need to be made, and then the Hall of Fame needs to be willing to consider future change without external calls for it.

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Giants signing Robbie Gould

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 06:  Robbie Gould #9 of the Chicago Bears paces the sidelines after missing a field goal with two seconds on the clock against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on December 6, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The 49ers defeated the Bears 26-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants aren’t taking Josh Brown to London, which means they needed to find another kicker for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

According to multiple reports, they are signing longtime Bear Robbie Gould to fill Brown’s role for this weekend’s game. Gould is on his way to England to meet the team.

Gould was released by the Bears in early September after serving as their kicker since 2005. He made 85.4 percent of his field goal attempts over that period, which is only a little bit better than the 84.6 percent he managed on 39 attempts last season.

Gould is a temporary fill-in at the moment, but he could get the job on an extended basis. Brown could be facing further league discipline and/or paid leave from the team thanks to the renewed interest from the league  in the domestic violence case that led to his one-game suspension to start the regular season. Brown could also be released by the Giants, who said they will “revisit this issue” after they return from London.

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What’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers?

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Packers prepare to host the 1-5 Bears in a game the home team should win, questions persist regarding the struggles of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

On Thursday’s PFT Live, I addressed 10 potential explanations, harvested not from film review or hot-take short-order cooks but from people in position to know what’s going on.

Here are the 10 possible explanations, all or some of which are causing the guy who not long ago was the clear-cut best quarterback in the NFL to experience a sharp decline while still in his prime.

1. Too many hits.

Although it doesn’t account for the full range of Rodgers’ struggles, which began with a 77-yard performance against the Broncos last October, recent issues may have something to do with the pounding he took against the Vikings five weeks ago. While never on the wrong end of a huge hit, Rodgers was constantly peppered with shots from an aggressive Vikings pass rush.

This has created a belief that he’s paying too much attention to the blocking and the rush, and not enough to watching which of his receivers is or will be open.

2. Defenses are keeping him in the pocket.

As noted recently by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, whose assessments of the situation are regarded in league circles as completely accurate, Rodgers throws much better when he escapes the pocket. By keeping him inside the pocket, Rodgers is simply less effective than he otherwise could be.

3. Free plays aren’t happening.

Rodgers had become very good at using the hard count to get a defensive lineman to jump in the neutral zone, quickly call for the snap, and fire a nothing-to-lose ball down the field, often resulting in a big play.

Per McGinn, last year Rodgers turned neutral-zone infractions into gains of 52, 34, 29, 27, and 22 yards — along with a 52-yard pass interference penalty — in the first six weeks of the season. Since then, none.

4. Receivers aren’t getting open.

As noted both by McGinn and future Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, the receivers aren’t getting open quickly enough. Whether that’s due to the offensive design, which requires receivers to beat man coverage without a bunch of gimmicks and tricks (like bunch formations), or the limitations of the receivers, if they’re not open, it’s hard to get them the ball.

5. Rodgers isn’t trusting what he sees.

Rodgers may be partially responsible for the receivers not being open because he’s not trusting what he sees when receivers are trying to get open.

By not anticipating that the receivers will get open and waiting until they are, the delay in the process of seeing them open and delivering the ball results in them not being open by the time the ball arrives. Or it results in Rodgers holding the ball too long and missing the window completely.

6. Rodgers lacks a high-end pass-catching tight end.

Every since the retirement of Jermichael Finley, the Packers have struggled to replace the production of the tight end position in the passing game. Without that presence putting pressure on the middle of the defense, it’s easier to account for the pass-catchers on the outside.

7. Sitton’s departure.

Some think the absence of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton is a factor in the regression of Rodgers. But the problems began while Sitton was still there.

Put simply, the belief is that the issues would still exist, even if Sitton was still a Packer.

8. Impaired running game.

It’s no secret that a potent running game makes it easier to throw the ball, especially via play-action. The Packers haven’t had a potent running game in recent months, which has allowed defenses to skew toward stopping the pass.

9. Rodgers may be freelancing.

It’s impossible to know this unless someone publicly or privately breaks ranks, but there’s a theory from some in the know that Rodgers has developed a habit of ignoring the plays that have been communicated to him from the sideline. Apart from creating extra tension with the coaching staff (regardless of whether Rodgers’ efforts are successful), it’s possible that Rodgers is changing the play from something that would have worked to something that doesn’t.

“My guess is that Rodgers, after 12 years as a pro, would be a hard man to coach,” McGinn recently wrote. That can manifest itself in many ways, including Rodgers thinking he knows what works better than the men paid a lot of money to decide on what will and won’t.

10. Personal issues.

Last year, Rob Demovsky of threw a rock into the hornet’s nest by suggesting that Rodgers may be having issues with girlfriend Olivia Munn. For that reason and plenty of others, I won’t be nearly that specific.

But the reality is that personal issues can indeed make it harder to be successful at work for anyone. It can be even more of an issue for NFL franchise quarterbacks, who carry their work pretty much everywhere they go.

Regardless of what the issues may be or how they may have arisen or who they may involve, when trying to identify the potential reasons for a consistent dip in the play of a short-list franchise quarterback, it’s fair to wonder whether something unrelated to football is affecting his football performance.

This isn’t about intruding on his privacy or pouring salt into any wounds. It’s about trying to understand why, at a time when his remaining physical skills and ever-accumulating experiences should be causing him to enter the mid-30s sweet spot where he essentially becomes a coach on the field, Rodgers isn’t playing like he did in his 20s.

That said, he still has the skills and the brains to turn it around. If/when it happens, the Packers will be a dangerous presence down the stretch and in the postseason.

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Mom of Giants cornerback not happy with John Mara comments

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  Draftee Eli Apple of Ohio State and his mother Annie arrive to the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL was quick to suck up to Annie Apple, the mother of Giants first-round pick Eli Apple, with commissioner Roger Goodell making sure she knew how important she was.

But it hasn’t stopped her from making it clear she’s not thrilled with her son’s employer today.

In the wake of Giants owner John Mara’s rather tone-deaf comments about the Josh Brown situation, Apple went on a bit of a Twitter rant, and rightfully so.

The tweet came after Mara’s appearance on WFAN to explain the decision to leave their kicker home from the London trip, after reports emerged of his admission of physical and emotional abuse of his then-wife.

“He’s admitted to us he’s abused his wife in the past,” Mara said. “But what I think is a little unclear is the extent of that.”

Mara said in August that they had done their “due diligence” before re-signing the free agent kicker this offseason, but the team admitted they didn’t know about the most recent information until it was reported last night.

Apparently, the abuse they knew about fell within the threshold allowed for a kicker. Because knowing and signing him anyway (did we mention he’s a kicker?) sends a horrible signal for a franchise often cited as one which operates in a first-class manner.

And their first-round pick’s mother picked up on that hypocrisy, and isn’t pleased.

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Tracy Porter, Zach Miller active for Thursday Night Football

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 15: Tracy Porter #21 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after breaking up a pass in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 15, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Unfortunately for both the Bears and the Packers, injuries made filling out their respective inactive lists ahead of Thursday night’s game in Green Bay relatively easy.

The Packers had already ruled seven players out. The Bears had previously listed two as out, four as doubtful and seven as questionable.

Notably, Bears cornerback Tracy Porter and tight end Zach Miller will play after being listed as questionable. Guard Josh Sitton, a former Packer, is out with an ankle injury after being listed as doubtful. Rookie Jordan Howard again starts at running back with Jeremy Langford still out.

The Packers knew that starting cornerbacks Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall would be out. Ladarius Gunter and Demetri Goodson will start in their place.

The Packers list rookie Don Jackson as their starting running back. He was just promoted from the practice squad Thursday afternoon, filling the roster spot opened when the Packers put starting running back Eddie Lacy on injured reserve.

Also potentially in the mix for snaps at running back are wide receivers Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb and veteran running back Knile Davis, just acquired in a trade with the Chiefs earlier this week.

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Darron Lee will miss Ravens game with ankle injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 02:  Jimmy Graham #88 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a catch against Darron Lee #50 of the New York Jets in the first half at MetLife Stadium on October 2, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets Coach Todd Bowles told reporters Thursday that rookie linebacker Darron Lee has been ruled out of Sunday’s game vs. the Ravens.

Lee suffered an ankle injury during Monday night’s loss at Arizona. Bowles said he’s hopeful that Lee only misses one game.

Lee, the team’s first-round pick last April, started in Arizona because veteran linebacker David Harris missed the game due to injury. Harris has been back at practice this week.

Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle), right tackle Brent Qvale (neck) and tight end Braedon Bowman (knee) all missed Thursday’s practice due to injury. Seferian-Jenkins missed the Arizona game; Qvale left that game after suffering a stinger and did not return.

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NFLPA has no comment on Josh Brown situation

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Josh Brown #3 reacts against the New Orleans Saints during the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL has reopened its investigation, the Giants have closed the door on his trip to England, and the union has opted for silence. For now.

The NFL Players Association has no comment (yet) on recent developments regarding kicker Josh Brown. Information obtained by the media demonstrates that Brown’s domestic violence issues extended far beyond a supposedly isolated incident in May 2015, and now the NFL and the Giants are commencing the process of taking enhanced action against Brown — months after the league imposed a mere one-game suspension.

Some will call on the union to discipline or to condemn Brown on its own, but that’s not how labor unions operate. The NFLPA has an absolute obligation under federal law to defend Brown’s rights. The union is his paid representative, and if he chooses to fight further discipline from the league and/or the team, the union has no choice but to defend him.

Brown has rights. He already has been punished once for domestic violence, under circumstances where the league and the Giants had limited information, due to their own incomplete efforts (wilful or otherwise) to get to the truth. Forced by the efforts of the media to get to the truth, the league and the team are now being shamed into doing more.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. By all appearances, the league and the team wanted to look the other way, and so they did. Now that their eyes have been pried open, Clockwork Orange-style, they have no choice but to take action, from a P.R. standpoint.

Brown should have received a more stringent punishment in the first place. The league and/or the team, in potential violation of his rights, will try to impose further punishment on him — not because of anything new he did, but because facts about which they should have known are suddenly news to them.

Thus, the union can and should fight any further effort to discipline Brown, both for his sake and for the sake of any other player who may find himself in this situation in the future. As the team and the Giants stumble through a potential minefield of CBA violations, it makes no sense for the union to say anything that would cause management to figure out a way to punish Brown without violating his rights.

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Ben McAdoo has little to say about Brown, needs to find a kicker

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo talks during a news conference announcing him as the new head coach of the NFL football team, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) AP

Giants coach Ben McAdoo had little to say today about kicker Josh Brown, who will miss Sunday’s game amid new information about his history of domestic violence becoming public. Instead, McAdoo is focused on the field.

“We decided not to take Josh with us, make sure we get all the facts, do everything right by Josh, the organization and the locker room,” McAdoo said on WFAN about the decision not to take Brown to London for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

McAdoo said he doesn’t know who his kicker will be on Sunday in London, but he expects that the team will contact a kicker tonight or tomorrow and have him fly to London in time to play on Sunday. Randy Bullock, who kicked for the Giants while Brown was suspended in Week One, is still an available free agent. The best free agent kicker available is former Bear Robbie Gould. McAdoo said wide receiver Odell Beckham can kick in an emergency, although McAdoo doesn’t expect to use Beckham in that role.

It was telling that in his WFAN interview, McAdoo was focused on getting his team ready and getting a kicker in place, and not on the ugly story that is swirling around the Giants regarding Brown and the team’s and league’s failure to discipline him appropriately for multiple domestic violence incidents that the team now admits it knew about. In the NFL, it’s all about getting ready to win on the field.

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Josh Brown not traveling to London with Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants kicks the game-winning field goal against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Giants won 16-13.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants have announced that kicker Josh Brown will not accompany the team to London for Sunday’s game against the Rams.

The decision comes after the King County, Washington Sheriff released damning documents related to allegations of domestic abuse against Brown by his former wife. Brown, who was arrested on related charges, was suspended one game by the NFL, which said Thursday that it is reopening their investigation because they say they were unaware of the information.

The Giants made a similar claim and cited the new information as the reason for leaving Brown in New Jersey. Brown remains on the roster and, per the statement, continue to support Brown.

“In light of the news reports regarding the documents released by the State of Washington yesterday, we think it makes sense to review this newly disclosed information and to revisit this issue following our trip to London. The Giants do not condone or excuse any form of domestic violence.  Josh has acknowledged that he has issues in his life and has been working on these issues through therapy and counseling for a long period of time. We remain supportive of Josh and his efforts.”

During a Thursday afternoon appearance on WFAN, Giants owner John Mara said it is “too early to tell” what the team will do regarding Brown’s spot on the roster. The Giants re-signed Brown this offseason and Mara said the team was comfortable with keeping Brown on the team “based on the information we had at the time.” Mara said during the interview that the information they had included NFL security moving Brown’s former wife to a different hotel room after an incident at the Pro Bowl this year and Brown’s own admission of abusing his wife, with Mara adding that they did not know the “extent” of the abuse.

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Steelers angry with Suh; Foster has strong words for Goodell

Miami Dolphins v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

The Steelers aren’t happy with what they feel was a dirty play in last week’s game by Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.

Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers have filed a formal complaint with the NFL and asked the league office to look into Suh intentionally kicking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter. The report says Roethlisberger told teammates that Suh kicked him, and Steelers guard David DeCastro said the tape backed up his quarterback’s claim.

“I don’t know what [Suh] was thinking,” DeCastro said.

The conversation about Suh’s play and history got Steelers guard Ramon Foster talking about Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who’s been involved in dirty plays against the Steelers in the past and was back in the headlines this week for two plays in last week’s Bengals-Patriots game. Foster said the NFL is “absolutely not” doing enough to punish repeat offenders when it comes to player safety.

“[Burfict] has a known history,” Foster said. “[The Bengals] are going to say he’s getting targeted because of his history. But he’s getting new cases against him. What are [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and [his staff] saying about player safety? They’re not saying anything about it. You have a known repeat offender getting a $75,000 fine when he has a $20 million contract. That [fine] doesn’t matter to him. You fine [Antonio Brown] more for freaking dancing in the end zone than you do when you know for sure that he tried to do that. His history showed he tried to do that.

“It just wasn’t the instances in that game…Roger Goodell really needs to come off his high horse and do something about that.”

Foster said he would “live” with Suh’s kick more than he would with plays Burfict has made over the last several seasons. Wednesday, Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams called Burfict “a danger to the game.”

“Burfict is trying to injure guys,” Foster said. “I still think his celebration on the tackle with Le’Veon Bell [last season] shows he’s trying to injure guys. It changed the whole complexion of that game. It’s on film. They see it. But Goodell doesn’t give a [darn] about that. He’s more worried about the ratings dropping and the owners fattening his pockets. He knows that type of attention brings more viewers for a Cincinnati game.”

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NFL security moved Josh Brown’s ex-wife to new hotel room after Pro Bowl incident

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants celebrates kicking the game-winning field goal against the New Orleans Saints in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The New York Giants won 16-13.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL and the Giants both said that they had no knowledge of the information included in the release of new documents by the King County, Washington Sheriff regarding Giants kicker Josh Brown’s history of domestic violence, but it appears that’s not quite true.

One of the pieces of information included in those documents, as reported by Ralph Vacchiano of, involved NFL security moving Brown’s ex-wife Molly from her hotel room at the 2016 Pro Bowl after an incident with the kicker. Per Molly Brown, she took the trip with her sons and the daughter she had with Brown while the couple was in the process of getting a divorce at her ex-husband’s request.

Once there, she said she was subjected to “cutting comments” and had her phone taken by Brown so he could search her texts before pounding on her door (they had separate rooms) while drunk until NFL and hotel security intervened. She said NFL security eventually moved her to a new room on the Friday night before the game, something that Albert Breer of confirmed with the league, and the family had no further incidents over the course of the weekend.

That information raises further questions about why the league cited “insufficient information” about the issues between Brown and his ex-wife when they opted to suspend Brown for one game earlier this year.

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Brock Osweiler, DeAndre Hopkins land on Texans injury report

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 16:  Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

One of the lead storylines for Monday night’s game is Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler’s return to Denver to face the team he played for during his first four NFL seasons.

The Texans issued their first practice report ahead of that game on Thursday and Osweiler’s name is among the most notable on it. Osweiler is listed with a foot issue, although there doesn’t seem to be a high likelihood that he’ll miss the game as he is listed as a full participant.

Another name that catches the eye on the injury report is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is listed as limited with a hamstring injury, but there’s no word from Houston at this point to indicate that he’s in danger of missing the game.

The Texans are expected to get Will Fuller back in the lineup after he didn’t play in Week Six due to his own hamstring injury. Fuller was also limited in practice along with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and right tackle Derek Newton.

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Landry Jones has a great opportunity

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01:  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a call at the line against the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

In a league where, at the most important position, supply doesn’t match demand, Steelers quarterback Landry Jones now has an important opportunity, for anywhere from one to five games.

Jones, who appeared in five games last year with two starts, will be starting at least one game in his contract year. If he can play like he did when he replaced Mike Vick against the Cardinals a year ago, completing eight of 12 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns in a 25-13 win, Jones could position himself for a chance to be a starter elsewhere next year.

Jones lost at Kansas City in his first start last year, a tough spot for any quarterback to thrive. For the years, he had three touchdowns and four interceptions, but an impressive per-attempt average of 9.3 yards.

He gets a chance to build on that starting Sunday against the Patriots, with possible future chances against the Ravens, Cowboys, Browns, and Colts. If he passes the eyeball test, he could be getting his fingers on plenty of cash come March.

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Mike McCarthy: Injuries up, quality of play down due to lack of practice time

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25:  Head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers walks off of the field after a win over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 34-27.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he expected the reduction of practice time negotiated as part of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement will “undoubtedly” come up again during negotiations for the next CBA.

Count Packers coach Mike McCarthy among those who would like to see those reductions go away. McCarthy’s team has been hit by enough injuries that they ruled seven players out for Thursday night’s game against the Bears and he said that he believes the “outrageous” amount of injuries around the league are a result of the limits placed on practice time.

“I think it’s clearly a reflection of the training part of it. People don’t want to hear coaches say that, but how can you not be in tune to the fact you have a younger football league than pre-2011 and now you’re spending five less weeks with the players?” McCarthy said, via Mike Garafolo of NFL Media. “I mean, that’s not the best formula. I think it’s been proven since then.”

McCarthy also bemoaned the impact of less practice time on the quality of play around the league, a notion that Goodell rejected on Wednesday but has come up with other coaches since the new regulations were put in place in 2011.

As with anything in the CBA, negotiating a change would require the league to give the players something else they want in return for increasing the amount of time players spend with the team. That’s not an impossibility, but it will be up to owners to decide what’s worth giving up to put practice time back on the table.

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Report: LeSean McCoy out this weekend

FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2016, file photo, Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy (25) breaks away from San Francisco 49ers inside linebacker Nick Bellore (50) during the first half of an NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y. McCoy did not finish practice Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016,  after hurting one of his hamstrings. Coach Rex Ryan said that McCoy was being evaluated by trainers. He didn't have any details about how McCoy was hurt and didn't know the severity of the injury.  (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File) AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy hurt his hamstring in Wednesday’s practice and didn’t take part in Thursday’s session, which appears to be a prelude to him missing Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that McCoy will not play this weekend. Anderson adds that McCoy could miss more time, which would put him at risk of missing Buffalo’s home game against the Patriots in Week Eight. The rate that McCoy heals would determine that, however, and that won’t be known until some point next week.

McCoy has a history of hamstring issues, something that will likely factor into the decision as the Bills would like to avoid aggravating the injury in a way that leads to an extended absence.

Mike Gillislee would likely step into the lead back role if McCoy can’t play. Reggie Bush and rookie Jonathan Williams are the other running backs on the Bills’ active roster.

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Bears activate Pernell McPhee

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01:  Pernell McPhee #92 of the Chicago Bears celebrates a tackle against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Vikings defeated the Bears 23-20.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bears have activated linebacker Pernell McPhee ahead of their Thursday night game in Green Bay.

McPhee had been on the team’s physically unable to perform list. He had missed the team’s offseason program and preseason while recovering from knee surgery, and the Bears kept him on PUP to start the regular season to give him extra time to heal.

McPhee, who’s probably the team’s best pass rusher, had six sacks and one interception last season, his first with the Bears.

Fullback Paul Lasike was waived to make room on the roster for McPhee.

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