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Ten ways to improve the Hall of Fame selection process

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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 FOXSports.com, 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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Dominique Easley among nine placed on PUP/NFI lists by Patriots

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Former first round pick Dominique Easley is among nine players placed on either the physically unable to perform or non-football injury lists by the New England Patriots on Monday.

Easley landed on injured reserve last December after suffering a knee injury. He did not have surgery this offseason but still missed all of the team’s offseason workouts this summer. Easley was one of eight to be placed on the PUP list by New England.

In addition, linebacker Dane Fletcher, defensive tackle Chris Jones, wide receivers Brandon LaFell and Matt Slater, defensive tackle Vince Taylor, center Ryan Wendell and linebacker Chris White were also placed on PUP on Monday.

Quarterback Matt Flynn was placed on the non-football injury list.

Players on PUP/NFI count against the 90-man roster limit and can be activated any time during the preseason.

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NFL should inflate all balls to 13.0 PSI before kickoff

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The NFL’s rules regarding football inflation amount to the ultimate “it was like that when I got here” proposition, with the required range of 12.5 to 13.5 PSI something that has passed through the generations, with no clear understanding as to why the footballs should be within that specific limit.

For the first time ever, a league that ordinarily obsesses over shoe color and whether a guy’s knees are visible under his pants has tweaked the rules regarding air pressure. The NFL needs to tweak them even more.

The new rule still allows teams to submit the 12 balls they’ll use on offense at either end of the spectrum — even though it’s now known that the footballs at 12.5 PSI on cold day and footballs at 13.5 PSI on a hot day will move beyond compliance. The gamble teams will now face is that, if the balls they submit go beyond the range, the officials will re-calibrate the balls not to the team’s preferred number but to 13.0 PSI.

So why not just put all balls at 13.0 PSI in the first place? if this is such an important rule (as #DeflateGate would have everyone believe), the footballs need to be within the 12.5-to-13.5 range not just at kickoff but throughout the entire game. Putting them at 13.0 gives them room to move in either direction based on the elements.

It also could be argued that the balls should be set higher than 13.0 on a cold day and lower than 13.0 on a warm day, to fully account for the operation of the Ideal Gas Law. Even better, the footballs should be recalibrated to the kickoff number at halftime, to ensure compliance for 60 minutes with such a supposedly critical rule.

Just how critical is the rule? If it were as critical as the league’s handling of #DeflateGate would have anyone believe, the new procedures wouldn’t allow footballs at the high end of the range to be used under warm conditions or footballs at the low end to be used under cold conditions. In either case, the footballs will quickly be beyond the required limits.

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Vikings looking to extend training camp deal with Minnesota State-Mankato

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While the Minnesota Vikings are getting ready to move into a brand new regular season home in downtown Minneapolis, the team is looking to extend its preseason arrangements in Mankato.

According to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Vikings are negotiating with Minnesota State University to extend their training camp contract with the university. The current deal between the two sides expires at the end of this year’s training camp.

“With the facilities here and us having 90 players at Winter Park, it would be tough,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “So I do think that the situation we’re in right now is the best for us to get ready as a football team.”

“I think Mankato does a great job of helping us feel welcome and the university here, as well,” he said. “At this particular time, I believe that this is the best way to go for us.”

It is the Vikings’ 50th year spent preparing for the season at the Division II school southwest of the Twin Cities.

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Settlement talks continue in Brady case

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Last Tuesday, PFT reported that the NFL and NFL Players Association had engaged in settlement talks in connection with the Tom Brady suspension. Since then, multiple other similar reports have emerged.

Most recently, multiple reports have indicated that talks have resumed, in the wake of the NFLPA reportedly offering that Brady would consider an outcome entailing no suspension but including a fine. (That’s not an admission of guilt by Brady.)

It remains unlikely that an agreement will be reached, because Brady by all appearances is poised to fight tooth and nail for a zero-game suspension. Likewise, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has no good way out of the corn maze (absent the use of teeth and/or nails), with anything less than a four-game suspension opening him up to criticism both internally and externally.

Either way, the Patriots need a decision before they open training camp on Thursday, because they need to know whether and to what extent backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be prepared to play in September.

There’s still a chance Brady ultimately will play in September, either because he wins in court before Week One or because a court presses pause on any suspension until the litigation is resolved.

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Robert Mathis not cleared for camp

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The big news on the Monday after the start of the 2015 regular season would have been the torn Achilles suffered by Colts linebacker Robert Mathis while working out on his own during a four-game PED suspension, but for the whole Ray Rice video thing.

Nearly a year later, Mathis still isn’t ready to return to practice. And it’s still not clear when he will be.

“The good news is Robert is trending in the right direction,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “We’re all very excited and pleased with the progress that he’s making. The timetable is unknown. Will it be October 15? Will it be September 15? . . . At this point, no one knows.”

Mathis has vowed to be back for Week One.

“We just want to make sure that he’s ready-ready when it’s time to go,” Irsay said. “He can come in, have a couple of years with us at this point in his career, and be the difference-maker he was.”

Two years ago, he was a difference maker indeed, with 19.5 sacks. At 34, he still may have some gas in the tank.

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Four more days for Seahawks, Wilson talks

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More than a week ago, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson will pull the plug on contract negotiations if a deal isn’t done before training camp opens. On Monday, John Clayton and Jim Trotter of ESPN reported the same thing, with different words.

The real news (sort of) comes from the notion that the Seahawks are willing to pay Wilson a contract “worth slightly less” than the contract given earlier this year to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who averages $21.85 million in new money. Over the weekend, both Rapoport and PFT reported that the Seahawks’ current offer is in the range of $21 million per year.

The sticking point, as Rapoport reported, arises from the signing bonus and guaranteed money. Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, has represented baseball players exclusively in recent years, and their contracts are always fully guaranteed. The NFL has resisted bringing that trend to pro football, hiding behind the rule that requires future guarantees to be fully funded at signing. (Seahawks owner Paul Allen, the richest owner in the NFL, can afford to do that.)

Although the deadline is artificial, if the two sides regard it as real, there’s a good chance a deal will be done. A separate item from Clayton adds more beef to the notion that Wilson should consider taking the best offer the team makes now, since he’d replace his $1.5 million salary for 2015 with a much higher compensation package — driving up dramatically the new-money average.

If, for example, Wilson signs a four-year, $100 million deal in 2016 (a $25 million annual average), he will have made $101.5 million over five years, an average of only (only?) $20.3 million.

Clayton also points out that, in order to make what the Seahawks are willing to give Wilson now, he’d need a deal worth $26 million per year next year.

It’s all the more reason for Rodgers to keep squeezing the Seahawks as much as he can, ultimately taking the best offer, whatever it may be. But if Rodgers and Wilson eventually reject the best offer the Seahawks are willing to make now, the message will be that Rodgers and Wilson are looking for a lot more later.

They’ll need it, because they’ll have to make up for nearly $20 million that Wilson will have lost by not doing a deal in 2015.

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Cardinals hire league’s first female assistant, also Levon Kirkland

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The NFL is adding its first full-time female official this season, and one team is breaking another barrier during training camp.

Via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals are hiring Jen Welter for a coaching position through training camp and the preseason, making her what is believed to be (and almost certainly) the first female to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL.

They’re also hiring former Steelers linebacker Levon Kirkland as the inaugural participant in the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship, and that’s great.

But the news here is a female coach, at a time when Sarah Thomas is about to go to work for the league in stripes, and when Becky Hammon just coached the NBA San Antonio Spurs’ summer league team after spending last year as an assistant coach on Gregg Popovich’s staff.

“I wanted to open that door,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “Coaching is nothing more than teaching. The one thing I’ve learned from players: all they want to know is ‘How you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t [care] if you’re the Green Hornet. I’ll listen.’

“I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity through this internship to open some doors.”

Arians said after checking with several veteran players, ‘they were all cool” and added: “It’s not going to be a distraction in any way.”

Welter will work with the inside linebackers, and she’ll bring a unique background. In 2014, she played running back and special teams for the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution, becoming the first female to play a non-kicking position in a men’s pro football league. This spring, she was hired to coach linebackers and special teams.

She played rugby at Boston College, and has played women’s football at several levels. The 37-year-old also holds a master’s degree in sport psychology and a PhD in psychology.

Kirkland’s position is a two-year gig as part of the fellowship, and reunites him with a number of former Steelers with the Cardinals. On its own, it’s a significant piece of news, and furthers Bidwill’s commitment to creating minority opportunities in the NFL.

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Rams sign Isaiah Battle

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When the Colts signed a pair of third-round picks on Friday, all 2015 draft picks were under contract. On Monday, the entire 2015 supplemental draft class agreed to terms.

It was a class of one.

The Rams have announced that Clemson tackle Isaiah Battle is under contract, 18 days after being taken in the fifth-round of the supplemental selection process.

The Rams gave up their corresponding pick for 2016 to get Battle, and they undoubtedly gave Battle a slotted contract based on the contract given to the player taken in the same spot during the regular 2015 draft.

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Lawyer: HOF told Seau family that Sydney could speak

No.55 jersey seen on display at Qualcomm Stadium as part of "Celebration of Life" memorial, held in memory of Seau in San Dieg Reuters

The Seau family members are OK with the Hall of Fame’s policy on posthumously-inducted players. Unless they aren’t.

Seau family lawyer Steve Strauss has issued a statement to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal in which Strauss says Seau’s family still objects to the decision to prevent Seau’s daughter from speaking at the upcoming induction ceremony.

“The Seau family appreciates the overwhelming support for Sydney Seau to be able to accept Junior’s induction into the Hall of Fame live and in her own words,” Strauss said. “Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is unwilling to reverse its decision despite communicating to the family earlier this year that Sydney would be able to speak at the ceremony. Contrary to the most recent statement by the Hall of Fame, the family does not support the current policy that prevents family members from delivering live remarks on behalf of deceased inductees. However, the Seau family does not want this issue to become a distraction to Junior’s accomplishments and legacy or those of the other inductees. The Seau family never intended to use the Hall of Fame as a platform to discuss the serious mental health issues facing the NFL today which are most appropriately addressed in a legal forum. The Seau family looks forward to celebrating Junior’s extraordinary accomplishments at the Hall of Fame.”

Although the end result is still the same — the Seau family is accepting the policy — the suggestion from Strauss that the Hall of Fame previously told the Seau family that his daughter, Sydney, would be able to speak is news. And it conflicts directly with the five-year-old policy that the Hall of Fame adopted in 2010.

It’s no surprise that Strauss released the statement. Eventually, he may be trying to persuade a jury as to the merits of Seau’s wrongful-death case. Everyone in the jurisdiction where the case would be tried is a potential juror, and if they feel better about the Seau family and/or worse about the NFL now, that could come in handy later.

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Irsay: I have not talked to Goodell about Deflategate since January

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Colts owner Jim Irsay says he isn’t trying to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to deny Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of his Deflategate suspension.

Shortly after Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti denied lobbying Goodell to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension, Irsay offered a similar denial.

“That’s not true at all,” Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. “I haven’t talked to Roger Goodell about DeflateGate since late January. Not true. That’s not the way things work involving someone else’s business and someone else’s team. It’s not something I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around ownership [in the NFL] for half a century.”

Despite the denials from Irsay and Bisciotti, Goodell finds himself in a difficult position. If he upholds Brady’s suspension, he’s putting a black mark on the legacy of one of the league’s best and most popular players, while risking a lawsuit from Brady. But if he sets the suspension aside, there’s little doubt that other teams — particularly other AFC playoff contenders like the Ravens and Colts — will be upset.

No matter how Goodell rules, he’s going to have people angry at him. Maybe that’s why it’s taking him so long to make up his mind.

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CFL teams are converting two-point attempts at a high rate

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The upcoming NFL season has a wild-card in the form of a new rule pushing the one-point post-touchdown try to the 15 from the two. It’s unclear how it will unfold, but a preview is playing out north of the border, up Canada way.

The CFL has moved the one-point attempt to the 25, which makes the kick the same length as in the NFL, since the CFL goal post is at the front of the 25-yard end zone. The early results suggest that it could make more sense to go for two more often.

Via Yahoo! Sports Canada, CFL teams have gone for two 29 out of 101 times this season, converting 22 of them. That’s a 28.7-percent utilization rate of the two-point try, with a 72.4-percent success rate.

Conversely, teams have converted only 58 of 72 one-point attempts, an 80.6-percent rate.

That 25-yard end zone may have something to do with the two-point success rate, since it give receivers more room to maneuver. With only a 10-yard window, NFL teams may be better off running than throwing, especially after way the Super Bowl ended.

From the NFL’s perspective, the more relevant stat comes from the reduced conversion rate on a one-point try. Previously, the extra-point attempts in Canada came from the five yard line, and kickers made 99.4 percent of the 13-yard kicks. If the one-point try becomes a four-out-of-five proposition for the NFL, coaches could decide to go for two more often.

Still, football coaches like to do what is conventional, because when the conventional fails, there’s no criticism. When the unconventional fails, that’s when the pitchforks and torches come out.

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Texans place Jadeveon Clowney on PUP list

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The Texans’ team doctor said recently that linebacker Jadeveon Clowney’s recovery from microfracture surgery has been “spectacular” but that’s enough for him to avoid the physically unable to perform list to start training camp.

The Texans have placed Clowney on the PUP list, which means he won’t be practicing with the team until they’ve had more time to make sure his knee is ready for a full workload. It also keeps open the possibility that the Texans could put him on the regular season version of the list if he’s not able to practice this summer.

That option would keep Clowney from rejoining the team for at least the first six weeks of the year, which is obviously not what the Texans would like but it’s the most prudent approach for a player coming off that kind of procedure.

The Texans also placed linebacker Akeem Dent on the PUP list. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry is on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover from lymphoma and wide receiver Alan Bonner is on the non-football injury list. All four players can be activated at any point during training camp.

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NFL releases list of fines for 2015 season

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NFL players who want to budget for fines during the 2015 season now know how much money they need to set aside.

The league has released the list of fines for offenses committed on the field this season.

The most expensive fines are for fighting and physical contact with officials. Those fines are $28,940 for a first offense and $57,881 for a second offense.

Some of the fines are a little hard to understand. For instance, the fine for taunting is the same as the fine for late hits and chop blocks: $8,681. At a time when the NFL says player safety is its top priority, you’d think that taking a cheap shot at an opponent would be treated more harshly than taunting an opponent, but in reality the fine is the same for both.

The full list of fines is here.

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Buccaneers bring back defensive end Da’Quan Bowers

San Francisco 49ers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The Buccaneers haven’t needed Da’Quan Bowers all offseason.

But now that camp’s about to start, they realized some depth at defensive end might not be bad to have.

The Bucs announced they had re-signed the free agent, who had sat on the market untouched all offseason.

Bowers, who might have been a top-10 pick before a knee injury in college derailed his career, was ultimately picked in the second round by the Bucs.

He’s responded with 7.0 sacks in four seasons, but could still contribute, as he’s versatile enough to play inside as well. But the fact they brought him back also speaks to their depth chart at the position, where Jacquies Smith and George Johnson are the starters.

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DUI arrest of former Colts QB generates massive blood-alcohol reading

Trudeau Getty Images

The headline is the former Colts quarterback Jack Trudeau was arrested for DUI. The real story is the amount of alcohol that was in his system at the time.

Via the Associated Press, portable breath-testing showed Trudeau’s blood-alcohol concentration to be 0.31 percent.

That’s nearly four times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and it’s at the low end of the “life threatening” range of alcohol poisoning.

The Sunday night arrest includes a charge of intimidating a police officer.

A second-round pick in 1986, Trudeau played for the Colts through 1993. He also spent time with the Jets and Panthers.

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