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Report: Jeff Fisher spotted at Buccaneers’ team hotel

Jeff Fisher AP

The Glazer family notoriously keeps their plans regarding the football team they own to themselves.  In early 2009, for example, no one expected Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden and G.M. Bruce Allen to be fired.  But they were, promptly replaced by Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, respectively.

Now, with the Bucs in a nine-game free fall and storm clouds gathering over Morris and fan apathy deepening in Tampa, the Glazers have given no hints as to what they plan to do with their head coach, whose contract expires after the 2012 season.  Many expect Morris to be fired.  Recently, former Bucs quarterback Shaun King made a fairly persuasive case for keeping Morris in an appearance on PFT Live.

With Black Monday looming, with multiple coaches likely to be fired (primarily to allow the official search to begin immediately), a log has been thrown onto the smoldering embers in Tampa.  Or, more accurately, Atlanta.

With the Bucs in Georgia to play the Falcons, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that former Titans coach Jeff Fisher was spotted at the Buccaneers’ hotel on Saturday.  Stroud points out that Fisher’s son, Trent, plays college football at Auburn, which faced Virginia Saturday night at the Georgia Dome in what used to be known as the Peach Bowl.

It’s unknown why Fisher, one of the hottest commodities entering the 2012 coaching carousel, was at the team hotel, or whether he met with anyone while he was there.  Perhaps he was catching up with Albert Haynesworth, who played for Fisher in Tennessee from 2002 through 2008.  Perhaps he addressed the team at Raheem’s request.  Perhaps Fisher was walking by the hotel and received a phone call from the area code in which Mother Nature resides.  Or perhaps Fisher decided to build a little buzz — and mess a little bit with the media — by swinging through the lobby of the Bucs’ hotel while he was in town, knowing at some level that it would create a stir.

Regardless of the explanation, it would be odd and out of character for the Glazers to bring Fisher into the team hotel for an interview for a job that is still filled.  But odd things happen when the time comes to hire and fire coaches; three years ago, the timing of the Gruden/Allen ouster and the Morris/Dominik arrival created a clear impression that the replacements were lined up behind the backs of the men who held those jobs, before those men were relieved of their duties.

Either way, we’ll find out more once the regular season ends, and Morris is, or isn’t, fired.

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Delanie Walker not interested in meeting rookies just yet

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball against the Houston Texans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Rookies across the NFL are learning new things this summer.

But the ones in Tennessee won’t be getting much information about Delanie Walker, at least not yet.

The veteran tight end told Jason Wolf of the Tennesseean that it’s not time to make friends with newcomers until they prove their value.

“I don’t get to know anybody until they make the team,” Walker said. “I talk to them, but they might not be here. There ain’t too much I need to learn from them till they make the team. That’s everybody. Anyone that’s a rookie.

“You’ve got to earn the right. These rookies come in nowadays, stuff’s given to them. I’m not going to be your friend until you make the team.”

Of course, Walker came up the hard way, making the 49ers as a sixth-round pick and forging a long and productive (and lucrative) career. And his words might sound a little harsher than they were probably meant. He’s just trying to  make sure there’s nothing taken for granted on a roster which will include plenty of rookies, including running back Derrick Henry.

“I’ve been sizing up Henry, man, and he’s a big dude,” Walker said. “I have to put him in his place early. But he’s a good dude. I’m just messing with him, giving him a hard time because I feel like he’s going to be a monster for this team. I usually don’t talk to the rookies until they make the team. But he’s one of the guys that I think can help this team out.”

With a fresh contract extension signed this offseason, Walker knows he’s going to be around for the foreseeable future, and it sounds like he’s going to spend part of it sizing up the new class, as one of the few elders on the Titans roster with the right.

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Nate Chandler expected to visit Lions Wednesday

Nate Chandler AP

The Lions brought in veteran tackle Lamar Holmes as a reserve possibility early in the offseason, but saw enough of him by the middle of the May to know that they were comfortable moving in a different direction.

That direction will still require depth up front on offense and may include former Panthers tackle Nate Chandler. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that Chandler is slated to visit with the team on Wednesday.

Chandler was released in March after missing the entire 2015 season because of a knee injury. He started 11 games at right tackle in 2014 and eight games in 2013 while shuffling between guard and tackle.

The Lions drafted Taylor Decker in the first round this year and have been looking at him on the left side during recent offseason work. Riley Reiff has been on the right in that alignment and the two are expected to form the starting tandem even if they wind up swapping sides for the regular season.

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Trevor Siemian feels “really confident” right now

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Trevor Siemian #3 of the Denver Broncos warms up prior to facing the San Francisco 49ers during preseason action at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 29, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the 49ers 19-12.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

Of the three quarterbacks on the Broncos roster, Trevor Siemian is the only one with prior experience in the team’s offense.

Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch both arrived this offseason while Siemian spent last year as the third man on the depth chart in Denver’s offense, something that may help him in the competition for a starting job that’s playing out in Denver. That competition was described as wide open by the team last week and coach Gary Kubiak said he “wouldn’t sleep” on Siemian winding up with the job.

One of the things that Kubiak cited in his discussion of Siemian’s positive attributes was a high level of confidence in himself, something that Siemian also mentioned while speaking to the media last week.

“I feel great,” Siemian said, via the Denver Post. “I feel really confident at this point. Last year at this time, I had the knee [injury] and was swimming a little bit in the playbook. I’m light years ahead of where I was last year. I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel pretty confident.”

Mark Sanchez didn’t do team drills last week after left thumb surgery, offering Siemian more time working with the first team. That may change this week if Sanchez is cleared to do everything in this week’s workouts while a continued diet of work with starters would seem to hint at Siemian remaining well positioned in the competition as spring work winds down.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

cairosantos AP

Bills defenders expect to be part of a better unit this season.

Memorial Day is a special one for former Dolphins LB Derrick Rodgers.

DT Terrance Knighton and QB Tom Brady reminisced about past matchups when Knighton signed with the Patriots.

Jets special teams coach Blaine Boyer likes his units to run at 500 miles per hour.

The Ravens have an unexpected week off from work.

Embracing special teams work with the Bengals has paid off for Cedric Peerman.

Browns veterans like what they’ve seen from rookie LB Emmanuel Ogbah.

Said Steelers G Roman Foster of T Marcus Gilbert, “He took the initiative to be really good last year, and that’s all on him. He’s motivated to do it again.”

Texans QB Brock Osweiler continues to get immersed in the team’s playbook.

LB Nate Irving has cut weight in his bid for a Colts job.

Undrafted rookie CB Mike Hilton is trying to make the Jaguars.

The Titans are looking for more from WR Dorial Green-Beckham.

Broncos QB Mark Sanchez has learned to speak Spanish.

New cleats give Chiefs K Cairo Santos a taste of home.

The Chargers’ stadium plan wasn’t accepted with open arms.

An early projection of the Cowboys’ offensive roster.

The Giants may have more continuity on the offensive line than some would like.

What’s on tap for the Eagles this week?

S David Bruton is trying to win a starting job with the Redskins.

A learning curve awaits the Bears offensive line.

The Lions saw enough from RB Dwayne Washington to draft him despite a limited workload at the University of Washington.

Packers CB Damarious Randall says he’s moved past the Larry Fitzgerald touchdown that ended last season.

General Manager Rick Spielman has been with the Vikings for 10 years.

Former Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan thinks the team should sign Dwight Freeney.

WR Stephen Hill’s comeback from a torn ACL continues at Panthers practices.

Quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi’s return to the Saints has been an easy transition.

Said Buccaneers DE Robert Ayers, “So the atmosphere is real contagious and the expectations are high and we’re trying to win. I think everybody here is trying to win.”

Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin is getting a bigger taste of playcalling.

DT Dominique Easley is among the players to watch as the Rams start OTAs.

What grade do the 49ers get for their offseason work?

A look at the competition for a fullback job with the Seahawks.

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Damarious Randall blames himself for Packers’ playoff loss

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals hauls in a pass over cornerback Damarious Randall #23 of the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Getty Images

Packers defensive back Damarious Randall had a good rookie season last year, but it did not end well.

The Packers’ season ended with an overtime loss to the Cardinals, and the game-changing play in that loss was a 75-yard reception by Larry Fitzgerald. Randall has now acknowledged that he was responsible for the coverage breakdown that allowed Fitzgerald to get open.

“I put that play on myself,” Randall said, via USA Today. “I take 100 percent blame for it.”

Randall said that four months later, he can’t dwell on it.

“It was just a mistake that was made,” Randall said. “That’s football. . . . I just know that I’m going to make a lot more plays than I give up for the Green Bay Packers.”

Randall’s rookie season showed that he’s a talented young player who surely will make more plays than he gives up in his career. Even if that season will be remembered largely for one play he didn’t make.

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Former QB hit by Shaq Thompson’s car out of hospital, may sue

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 27: Anthony Boone #7 of the Duke Blue Devils throws the ball prior to the game against the Miami Hurricanes on September 27, 2014 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) Getty Images

Former Duke quarterback Anthony Boone is finally out of the hospital, but Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson isn’t out of the woods yet.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Boone was released from Carolinas Medical Center over the weekend, after needing hip and hand surgeries following the May 22 car wreck with Thompson.

“He’s got a serious road ahead of him,” Boone’s agent Adam Sattler said. “But we’re happy he’s home.”

The Panthers linebacker was cited for driving left of center for his role in the head-on crash which happened early on a Sunday morning. Police said there was alcohol in his system but he was below North Carolina’s legal limit. Thompson said his cell phone fell into the floorboard of his SUV, causing him to lose control.

Now he has to wait to see if that’s the extent of the losses.

Boone, who played for the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL last year, now has to recover from the broken hip and tendon and ligament damage to his hand suffered in the accident.

His agent said he’s considering a lawsuit against Thompson, but wants to wait to see how his rehab progresses before discussing those options.

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Jared Goff takes center stage as Rams begin OTAs today

OXNARD, CA - MAY 06:  Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams comes off the field before the start of a Los Angeles Rams rookie camp on May 06, 2016 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams are the last team in the league to start their OTAs, so it’s time to see the first pick in the draft.

So while it’s effectively the first day of class, it’s still an important test for quarterback Jared Goff, as he leads the entire team onto the field today.

Just kind of stay low and gain their respect,” Goff said of his goal this week, via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.

Of course, keeping a low profile is harder when your team makes such a dramatic move to get you, as the Rams did trading up to the No. 1 overall pick this year.

Goff has been through some degree of positional work and has a rookie minicamp under his belt, but today will be the first real glimpse of him with the team, and there’s a natural curiosity among them, to see if he can be the quarterback they need to become something other than 7-9.

 

“I’m excited for him,” cornerback Trumaine Johnson said. “He’s going to go out there and make plays — and he’s going to make mistakes. That’s what a rookie quarterback does.

“But we drafted him for a reason, to come in here and win games. And I feel like we can win games with him.”

Of course, the Rams may trot Case Keenum out there first in the quarterback line for show, but the team is obviously in Goff’s hands, and he gets a chance to show what he can do with it today.

 

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Seahawks working to “broaden” Russell Wilson’s football horizons

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29:  Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks talks with quarterback Russell Wilson #3 with under two minutes left in the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Steelers 39-30.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has stressed that the entire team has to get better in the absence of retired running back Marshawn Lynch.

But for his part, he’s going back to school with coach Pete Carroll, who wants to make him an even better quarterback.

Carroll said he wants to get deeper into the intricacies of professional defenses with Wilson, such that offseason limits allow them to.

“We’ve visited a number of times,” Carroll said, via Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times. “We’ve really started now football-wise. We’re just having fun with it and developing. . . .

“We’re just trying to bring him around to understand things that he hasn’t had to pay attention to in the past. Just to broaden his outlook on football.”

Wilson’s play last season suggests that he’s moving in the right direction, but the demands are even greater this year. Not only does he have to go into a season knowing there’s not a safety net such as Lynch beneath him, but they’re overhauling their offensive line (which they needed to), putting more of a burden on Wilson to identify pressure before it happens.

“He’s the best he’s been,” Carroll said. “He’s the most versed he’s been. He can command the calls more so than ever, so he can correct things that might not get seen by a guy or might not get communicated properly. He’ll catch it.”

The Seahawks’ success this year depends on it, and Carroll seems confident in Wilson’s ability to do so.

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Kirk Cousins seeks advice from other quarterbacks

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14:  Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins throws out the first pitch before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on May 14, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) Getty Images

In his four prior NFL seasons, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins never spent an entire offseason as the starter. This year, as he adjusts to being “the guy” for the first time ever, Cousins has sought advice from other guys who have been or currently are “the guy.”

“I’ve called a few of the starting quarterbacks around the league, a few of the retired guys who had great careers, and just asked them what worked for them in the offseason,” Cousins said, via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNMidAtlantic.com.

Cousins didn’t say who he contacted, but Cousins discussed what he wanted to find out.

“What was their rhythm in January, February, March?” Cousins said. “When they went back in April, May, June, what’s their rhythm? What’s their rhythm in the summer? How do they handle family? How do they balance travel and opportunities?”

It’s a smart approach for Cousins to take. And it underscores just how well he performed in 2015, given that he was thrust into the starting job late in the preseason. This year, with the benefit of being the starter for the entire offseason, Cousins could be even better.

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Ezekiel Elliott finds things are moving faster during OTAs

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 24: Ezekiel Elliott #15 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during a game at High Point Solutions Stadium on October 24, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys took running back Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick of the draft, so it’s not going out on too much of a limb to say that they want him to be their starter come the regular season.

The only things standing in the way of that happening are Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and a rough transition to the professional game. Elliott got his attempt to avoid the last of those pitfalls going during OTAs last week and noticed one significant difference from life on the collegiate level.

“Just a lot faster pace,” Elliott said, via the team’s website. “The game moves so much faster.”

Elliott is competing with the two veterans because, per running backs coach Gary Brown, it is “the best thing for our team.” He’s also looking to McFadden as a model for how to prepare for the offseason work that will determine the pecking order in the backfield.

Assuming the acclimation process speeds up to match the speed of the game, Elliott’s upside should win him that competition well before the first Sunday of the regular season.

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Agent says Seantrel Henderson will be in Buffalo Tuesday

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 07:  Willie Young #97 of the Chicago Bears rushes against Seantrel Henderson #66 of the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field on September 7, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bills defeated the Bears 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tackle Seantrel Henderson hasn’t been around the Bills this offseason, but his agent Alan Herman says that will change on Tuesday.

Herman spoke to Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News in the wake of a report that the Bills didn’t know where Henderson was and haven’t heard from him since the end of last season. Per Herman, Henderson has been recovering from surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota about a month ago that was part of treatment for Crohn’s Disease.

Herman added that the Bills medical staff is aware that Henderson had this surgery and another operation that was required to “remove all infected areas and reattach his intestines” after serious stomach issues last season.

“Crohn’s disease is no minor condition,” Herman said. “It has to be treated properly. … He had the surgery and had to wear a bag for a number of months after that, which is no walk in the park. And he stayed close to Minnesota to make sure he was getting the right kind of treatment. Then, they basically took the bag out about a month ago. Everything is OK now to the point where once he had the second surgery and was in the hospital for three days, he’s been cleared to do whatever he wants.”

Herman said his client has spoken to some teammates, but that no members of the coaching staff have been in touch. They’ll get a chance to catch up this week, it seems, as Henderson returns to compete for the right tackle job with Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandjio.

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Manziel goes missing in New York (updated)

johnnymanziel Getty Images

Unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel recently arrived in New York for reasons entirely unrelated to attempting to become something other than an unemployed quarterback. According to the Page Six of the New York Post, Manziel has now gone missing.

In a short blurb posted at the Page Six microsite, Manziel was supposed to take a helicopter to the Hamptons on Saturday, where he would be hosting a small party for friends and family. He reportedly didn’t show for the flight.

The night before, Manziel reportedly was confronted in Manhattan by the owner of the Mercedes in which Manziel was a passenger when it crashed into a pole and sustain serious damage last month. Manziel supposedly promised to reimburse the owner for the vehicle, but Manziel reneged.

Straight punk. Straight punk. Straight bitch,” Wayne Schneider told TMZ after blocking a vehicle in which Manziel was riding outside the Trump Soho.

For weeks, Manziel’s situation gradually has developed an ominous vibe. Hopefully, he’ll get things straightened out before that feeling comes to fruition.

UPDATE 6:21 p.m. ET: Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Manziel has been in touch with sources close to him as recently as this afternoon. So if he was missing, he isn’t now.

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Bills haven’t heard from Seantrel Henderson since season ended

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Seantrel Henderson #66 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates with the fans after the game against the New York Jets at Ford Field on November 24, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bills defeated the Jets 38-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) Getty Images

As if the Bills didn’t have enough issues with the players who have shown up for offseason workouts, they apparently have one lingering issue with a player who hasn’t.

Via Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News, the Bills have heard nothing from right tackle Seantrel Henderson since the 2015 season ended.

Henderson, the starting right tackle in 2014 and most of 2015, missed the last five games of the season due to Crohn’s disease.  Per Scull, Henderson had surgery “a few months ago” for the condition. One source told Dunne that “nobody knows” whether Henderson will even be on the team in 2016.

Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandjio are the primary candidates to replace Henderson, if he doesn’t return to the team.

Crohn’s disease has a wide range of symptoms, consequences, and complications. Plenty of people have it and rarely suffer through any significant issues. Plenty also struggle with it, constantly. While the article notes that a team source questioned Henderson’s work ethic, with a reference to past marijuana issues, it’s entirely possible that Henderson is simply focused on his health — and that he chooses not to make his situation any more public than it needs to be.

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Earl Thomas enjoying healthy shoulder, more freedom in defense

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 6: Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks carries the ball after an interception against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter of the game on December 6, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas spent much of last offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery, something that he says kept him from getting into the best possible shape for the 2015 season.

Thomas never missed a game last season, but was critical of some performances and told John Clayton on 710 ESPN there were “a lot of mental battles with my shoulder” over the course of the year. During his interview with Clayton, Thomas said he has found it easier this year to “get my lungs prepared to really run and hit” during offseason practices.

He’ll use that lung capacity in his customary role as the leader of the Seahawks defense, although his on-field role will be a bit different than it has been in past years.

“I think they’re giving me more and more freedom just to roam back there and see what I see. Most of the time I know where the ball is going,” Thomas said. “Me and [defensive coordinator Kris Richard] kind of butt heads about me taking too many chances sometimes but I’ve got to stick to my guns. And we’re getting a better relationship with that but most of all, they let me roam, let me be myself, let me play with personality back there. And I’m having fun.”

Thomas said he felt the defense has improved its depth this offseason through the draft and by bringing back old friends Brandon Browner and Chris Clemons. Having those two back has reminded Thomas why the Seahawks defense was “so dominant in the first place” and having Thomas back to being 100 percent healthy on the field won’t hurt their chances of getting back there again.

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Dion Jordan will apply for reinstatement Wednesday

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Dion Jordan #95 of the Miami Dolphins reacts to winning a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

Like so many of NFL players suspended for at least a year due to violations of the substance-abuse policy, Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan has become both gone and largely forgotten. Jordan could soon be no longer forgotten, and also no longer gone.

The third overall pick in the 2013 draft tells Tom Pelissero of USA Today that a petition for reinstatement will be filed on Wednesday.

Jordan says that he has passed two tests a week since his suspension began in early 2015, and that he hasn’t taken drugs in more than two years. He says that, in November 2014, he provided a diluted sample after admittedly drinking excess water to flush alcohol from his system, without realizing he wasn’t being tested for alcohol.

Jordan also claims that his previous six-game suspension in 2014 resulted from a positive test for MDMA and a positive test for marijuana. Without other violations, however, those two failed tests shouldn’t have put Jordan off the field, at all.

Whatever the outcome of the reinstatement effort, the league’s obsession with checking a player’s urine for drugs that don’t enhance performance continues to keep skilled, able players off the field for reasons unrelated to their skills and abilities. At a time when many think the NFL should be worried about skilled, able players choosing to retire from football prematurely, maybe the league should reconsider its attitude regarding the things willing participants in professional football do when they aren’t at work.

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