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Week 17 Monday 10-pack

Green Bay Packers quarterback Flynn hands off the ball against the Detroit Lions during the second half of their NFL football game in Green Bay Reuters

It’s the first Monday of the year, and it’s the last Monday 10-pack of the year.

I miss the days when football season ended before December 31.

As a setup goes, that’s all I got.  Let’s get on to the 10 takes from a 32-team season-ending Sunday.

1.  Packers should strongly consider franchising Flynn.

In 2008, after the first annual Brett Favre retirement, the Packers drafted two quarterbacks.  The gesture was interpreted by some (i.e., by us) as a bolting of the door behind Favre and the blocking of it with large pieces of furniture.

Brian Brohm, who entered the 2007 college football season as one of the top prospects, slid to the Packers in round two, pick 56.  LSU’s Matt Flynn was an afterthought, with pick number 209 in round seven.  Four seasons later, Brohm is long gone — and Flynn showed on Sunday that he’ll be the hottest commodity in the 2012 free-agent market.

If he gets there.

Like Matt Cassel of the Patriots in 2009, the Packers should think about slapping the franchise tag on Flynn, in order to trade him to a quarterback-needy team.  With Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III the best options in the draft, teams like the Redskins and Dolphins and Browns and maybe the Seahawks will be clamoring for a proven commodity like Flynn.

The risk, of course, is that Flynn would sign the franchise tag but no serious offers would come for his services, given that the starting point for a long-term deal would be the one-year guaranteed salary of $14.5 million or so in 2012.  If that would happen, the Packers would be stuck with a backup earning roughly $6.5 million more next year than starter Aaron Rodgers, who is due to earn a base salary of $8 million next season.

The other side of the coin is that Flynn will walk away with plenty of coins in his pockets — and zero compensation to the team that transformed him from a seventh-round pick into a guy who’ll be the most coveted quarterback not named Luck or Griffin.

2.  Rex should be on the hot seat.

Though it’s too early to fire Jets coach Rex Ryan, who has two appearances in the AFC title game in three seasons as a head coach, he deserves the pressure that goes along with the accountability for guaranteeing a Super Bowl win (and, even more importantly in New York, a win over the Giants) and failing to deliver.  Only so many times can a head coach protect his players and assistants by saying “put the blame on me” until someone decides to put the blame on him.

Yes, his players seem to still believe.  More importantly, the owner seems to still believe.  But the players and the owner may believe a little less in 2012 — especially if Rex emerges from a disappointing 2011 season (in light of the expectations fueled by Ryan) as brash and bold as ever.

Beyond the boundaries of his team, Rex has become a caricature.  (Some would say he already was one.)  If that sense ever makes its way into the locker room, and eventually it should, it’ll be time to move on.

Apart from all the words, it’s one specific action that could, as a practical matter, put Rex in a position to be coaching for his job in 2012.  The misguided decision to make receiver Santonio Holmes a captain, given that Holmes spent much of the year not acting like a captain, could come back to haunt Ryan.

Arguably, it already is.  And now Rex has a mess on his hands, especially since a guy who spent much of Sunday acting like he didn’t want to be with the Jets signed a long-term, big-money deal before the season.

3.  Steelers fleeced Jets on Holmes.

Speaking of Santonio, Steelers fans didn’t care much for the abrupt decision to trade Holmes to New York for a fifth-round pick in 2010.  With a four-game suspension for violation of the substance-abuse policy coming on the heels of Ben Roethlisberger’s misadventures in Milledgeville, it was perceived that the Steelers’ decision was driven less by football strategy and more by public relations sensitivities.

But the Steelers were looking ahead.  With Holmes due to miss the first four games of the 2010 season and one wake-n-bake away from a one-year suspension, the Steelers opted to unload a potential headache — especially since the Steelers knew they’d never tie their hands by giving Holmes a huge contract.

And so the Steelers didn’t simply get a fifth-round pick.  The Steelers also received the peace of mind that comes from dumping a wideout who would have been a major pain in the butt for the balance of 2010, and who simply no longer factored into their plans.

Meanwhile, the Steelers traded that fifth-round pick to the Cardinals for cornerback Bryant McFadden and a sixth-round pick.  And with that sixth-round pick the Steelers found their 2011 MVP in round six of the same draft.  Receiver Antonio Brown has become almost everything Holmes was as a player, without creating any of the headaches or other issues that go hand in hand with having Holmes on the team.

Advantage Steelers.

4.  Texans-Bengals game could be the key to the AFC playoffs.

I’ve been concerned throughout much of the 2011 season that, once the Texans get to the postseason, a lack of playoff experience would keep them from being successful.  But their first opponent is the Bengals, a team with young players having no playoff experience and, by all appearances, no players having any positive playoff experiences.

So the Texans, who beat the Bengals last month after trailing 16-3 at the half and 19-10 after three quarters, will have a very good shot at holding off the No. 6 seed.  Taking a broader look at the AFC field, the outcome of that game could have a huge bearing on the determination of the eventual conference champion.

If Houston holds serve at home, it will be time for a return to Baltimore, where the Ravens’ eight regular-season wins included a trouncing of the Texans.  The Steelers, after most likely beating Denver, will head to New England.

Though Baltimore would have to face one of those two potent teams (either Pittsburgh at home, where the Ravens won 35-7 in Week One or the Patriots in New England, where the Ravens won in the playoffs two years ago, 33-14), the Ravens wouldn’t have to play both of them.  Which, for the Ravens, is nice.

If, in contrast, the Bengals upset the Texans, Cincinnati would head to Foxboro — and Pittsburgh would return to Baltimore with a burst of momentum and a shot at becoming the latest wild-card winner to catch a division rival flat-footed after a bye week and knock them out of the playoffs.  If Baltimore manages to beat the Steelers for a third time this year, the reward would be a trip to New England.

The converse is true for the Pats.  A win by the Bengals keeps New England from having to play both Pittsburgh and Baltimore.  If Houston wins, the Patriots would have to face a Steelers team that gave New England one of its three 2011 losses before inviting the Ravens back to town.

One way or the other, the outcome of Saturday’s game will make the path to Indy considerably easier for New England or Baltimore, by sending the Steelers to one place or the other.

5.  Crossroads for Daniel Snyder.

The Redskins became the property of Daniel Snyder in 1999.  In the 13 seasons since then, Snyder has employed (excluding interim hires) six head coaches.  Other than Snyder’s boyhood hero, Joe Gibbs, no coach has made it more than two seasons on the job.

Mike Shanahan has just completed his second season on the job.  Recently, Shanahan has been subtly justifying his two losing seasons by explaining that much work needed to be done to improve the bad team he inherited.  And while there’s no indication that Shanahan will be fired, there likewise was no indication that the end was coming three years ago for Shanahan in Denver.

The bigger question for Snyder is whether he’s willing to stay the course not only now but after the 2012 season.  If Shanahan and G.M. Bruce Allen position themselves to land Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III in the draft, it would be foolish to give Shanahan only one year to work with the new quarterback.

And so Snyder needs to realize that, by deciding to keep Shanahan now, Snyder essentially is deciding to keep Shanahan for 2013 — and possibly for 2014.

6.  Another Manning/Leaf dilemma coming?

Speaking (twice now) of Luck and Griffin, what once was a one-man show at the top of the draft quickly has become another Peyton Manning vs. Ryan Leaf conundrum.  On Sunday’s Football Night In America, former Colts coach Tony Dungy explained that Colts vice chairman Bill Polian has shown a willingness to go against conventional wisdom in the draft, taking Edgerrin James in 1999 over Ricky Williams and Dwight Freeney over Albert Haynesworth in 2002.

Dungy even said he’d personally lean toward Griffin, the Heisman winner and architect of a 67-point explosion in Baylor’s bowl win.

Luck still has one more chance to create some separation, when Stanford takes on Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.  Despite the obsession over measurables and the things a guy can do when not wearing pads, scouts seem to be influenced heavily by performances on the big stage.

What Luck does with it could ultimately determine whether Luck and Griffin will become another Manning and Leaf dilemma, which despite being a no-brainer in hindsight was a much closer call in 1998.

7.  Pay the Cruz.

Giants receiver Victor Cruz has made, in two seasons, the unlikely climb from undrafted free agent to superstar.  Nearly as shrewd as the Giants’ decision to give him a chance was their decision to sign him to a three-year contract.

And so Cruz remains contractually obligated to show up for mandatory offseason workouts and training camp in 2012, despite being slated to earn a paltry $490,000.

But the Giants need to send a message to the locker room that stellar play will be rewarded.  While they could force Cruz to continue to prove himself — and to bear the injury risk — for the final year of his rookie deal and a season as a restricted free agent, the best move would be to find a way to pay him a fair salary that reflects not only his skills and abilities but also the contributions he made during a season that seemed destined for failure again.

In each of the last two games, a long-yardage catch-and-run from Cruz gave the Giants the upper hand.  It’s only right to put a lot more money in the guy’s pockets.

8.  Broncos should get Quinn ready to play Sunday.

Tebowmania landed with a thud 15 days ago, with the Patriots providing the rest of the league with the blueprint for turning the page on the NFL’s flavor of the month.

As a result, Tim Tebow has played worse than poorly the last two weeks, with as many turnovers against the Bills and Chiefs (six) as Tebow had in his 10 prior games combined.

Enter the Steelers, who have made crafted their legacy over the past two decades by methodically building a lead and then gradually choking off the opposing offense.

As a result, if the Broncos want to have a realistic shot at advancing, it may be prudent to be ready to pull off a Rocky-style switch to southpaw, by switching from the southpaw to Brady Quinn.

This isn’t a long-term indictment of Tebow.  It’s a recognition of the fact that, at least for now, he has bumped up against his ceiling.  The goal on Sunday is to win one game, and it could be that the only way to do that will be to know when to flip the switch from the unconventional quarterback to the guy whose abilities would defy the Steelers’ preparation.

9.  MJD deserves high praise.

Every year, there’s a sense that Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew has reached the limit of his abilities, and that a regression is coming.  Every year, he simply continues to play at a high level.

This year, on a team with no passing offense to draw safeties away from the box, Jones-Drew piled up 1,606 rushing yards, more than 240 yards better than Ray Rice, who finished at No. 2.  Jones-Drew added 374 receiving yards, which gives him 1,980 yards from scrimmage.

At a time when former USC tailback Reggie Bush is still trying to become the best running back in the game, the former UCLA running back who entered the league in the same draft as an afterthought to Bush is what Bush has always wanted to be.  Unfortunately for Jones-Drew, the Jaguars may not be able to develop a decent passing game before the window closes on his prime.

10.  Packers defense is even worse than the Patriots.

All year, the media has harped on the Patriots’ porous defense, barely noticing the Swiss cheese sieve in Green Bay.

At the end of the season, the numbers don’t lie.  The Patriots gave up 411.1 yards per game, and the Packers gave up 411.6.

The Packers also finished with a worse pass defense, giving up 299.8 yards per game.  The Pats surrendered, on average, 293.9.  That’s 34.1 yards per game more than the third-worst pass defense, the Saints.

Fittingly, the three worst pass defenses are complemented by the three best pass offenses.

And so, if the top two seeds make it to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl (or if the Saints get there instead of the Packers), it could be time to reduce the field from 100 yards to 50, put up nets at either end, and just call the game what it will be — arena football.

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Hall of Fame game lawyer takes aim at David Baker’s history

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker presents a Hall of Fame ring to Jerome Bettis at Heinz Field on October 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The lawsuit arising from the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game is getting nearly as nasty as the ongoing presidential campaign.

The latest salvo comes not in the form of a court filing, but through comments from lawyer Michael Avenatti to Julia Marsh of the New York Post regarding the hiring of Hall of Fame president David Baker in 2014.

Under an article titled “How Roger Goodell let a check-forging politician run the Hall of Fame,” Marsh explains that Baker “once forged a signature on a check to himself for $48,000 from a health care nonprofit where he was the director.”  Although Baker stopped payment shortly after writing the check, he was sentenced in 1988 to a one-year suspended sentence, probation, and community service for attempting to use the money for a failed Congressional bid. He had faced up to three years in prison for the felony forgery charges.

“Either they did not know about it or they knew about it and blew it off,” Avenatti told the Post regarding the decision to make Baker, a former AFL Commissioner, the head of the Hall of Fame.

The article in the Post generally touts “strong ties” between Goodell and Baker, but specifically cites only that Goodell was Baker’s main NFL contact when Baker ran the Arena League, and that the pair “regularly dined together and discussed how to bolster the sport.”

The connection has little or no relevance to the pending litigation against the Hall of Fame and the league, but that’s what happens in litigation, which often can be every bit as nasty as a political race.

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Falcons sign Stevan Ridley, release A.J. Hawk

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 01:  Stevan Ridley #35 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the football upfield against Chykie Brown #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons spent Monday coming up with plans to deal with running back Tevin Coleman’s injury and they addressed the need for other options by adding a pair of runners to the roster on Tuesday.

The team announced that they have signed veteran Stevan Ridley and promoted Terron Ward from the practice squad.

Ridley spent the summer with the Lions and Colts, but failed to crack the backfield rotation in either spot. He played eight games for the Jets last season, running 36 times for 90 yards after wrapping up rehab for the torn ACL he suffered with the Patriots in 2014. Ward played in 13 games for the Falcons last season.

To make room on the roster, the Falcons released linebacker A.J. Hawk and offensive lineman Mike Person. Hawk signed with the team a few weeks ago when they needed some depth due to injuries, but never saw a defensive snap and may be at the end of the line after 11 years in the NFL.

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DeMarcus Ware’s home is burglarized during Monday Night Football


Crooks with the brainpower of the Wet Bandits decided to burglarize the home of an NFL player while he was at a game.

“After a great win, came home to find my house was robbed,” Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweeted after Monday night’s 27-9 victory over the Texans. “Never about the material things for me but my safety. Thank God for hidden cameras.”

That’s right, Ware had hidden cameras in his house. Which, via the Denver Post, obtained clear images of the faces of the perps.

They were at least smart enough to wear blue gloves to conceal their fingerprints. They should have opted for masks, too.

Police said that “valuables” were taken from the home, but they did not specify what was stolen. Meanwhile, perhaps one of them will be selling a Broncos Super Bowl ring on eBay soon.

Through an account that creates no electronic paper trail. But with a picture of the ring that has his face reflected in it.

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Patriots trade A.J. Derby to Broncos

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 18:  A.J. Derby #86 of the New England Patriots smiles on the sideline during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in the second half on August 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

For the second time today, the Patriots have made a trade.

New England has sent tight end A.J. Derby to Denver, ESPN reports. The Broncos gave up a draft pick for Derby, likely a conditional late-round pick next year.

The Patriots drafted Derby out of Arkansas with a sixth-round pick in 2015. He spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve. He has played in four games this year, but only sparingly.

In Denver, Derby will add some depth at tight end and contribute on special teams.

New England also acquired linebacker Kyle Van Noy in a trade with the Lions. Trading Derby and acquiring Van Noy keeps the Patriots at 53 players on the roster.

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Bills promote rookie wide receiver Eagan

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Bills have promoted rookie wide receiver Ed Eagan from the practice squad.

Eagan had spent the last four weeks on the Bills’ practice squad. The Bills released offensive tackle Michael Ola to make room for Eagan, who could see immediate action in a receiving corps that’s been hit hard by injuries.

Eagan, an undrafted rookie, spent the offseason with the Cowboys and Browns.

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Bill O’Brien: No thought to benching Brock Osweiler

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans rushes for a first down before being tackled by cornerback Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans offense failed to produce a touchdown in Monday night’s loss to the Broncos and quarterback Brock Osweiler turned in the latest poor performance in a season that’s seen more of them than the Texans were hoping to see when they signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract as a free agent.

The Texans also weren’t hoping to hear any questions about whether they plan to stick with Osweiler as their starter, but coach Bill O’Brien got that query when he met with the media on Tuesday. O’Brien said that he has not considered turning to Tom Savage or Brandon Weeden while admitting that the quarterback and everyone else on the offense needs to do a better job.

“He’s a good player. I think he can play better, receivers can run routes better,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “It has to get better. I can’t really pinpoint one thing.”

Plenty of others have pinpointed Osweiler’s play as a major problem for the Houston offense and another bad outing against the Lions this weekend will send the Texans into a bye week where their quarterback’s struggles will continue to be a major issue.

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Anti-football crowd tries to wedge Arian Foster retirement into its #narrative

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Arian Foster #29 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Have you heard that plenty of football players are walking away from football before football walks away from them? It’s the latest #narrative of the anti-football crowd. You know, that very real contingent of Fainaru-Wada-inspired media types who either want to see football go away or would prefer to see other sports eclipse it in popularity and profitability.

The anti-football crowd has made an appearance in connection with the abrupt retirement of running back Arian Foster, and the sentiment is best captured by this tweet from the New York Times: “Arian Foster is the latest N.F.L. star to walk away near the top of his game.”

Foster isn’t near the top of his game; he’s not even close to being near the top of his game. And he knows it. To his credit, Foster became one of the first to admit it. Typically (spoiler alert), aging players pay unintentional homage to Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense by becoming the last to realize their careers been dead, for a while.

Arian Foster isn’t Chris Borland or Robert Smith or even Calvin Johnson (who has suggested that he would have kept playing if the Lions were true contenders). Arian Foster, due to ongoing injuries and the sudden and significant emergence of Jay Ajayi, has simply acknowledged the obvious. He wasn’t going to be the guy he was a couple of years ago, when he rushed for more than 1,200 yards for the Texans. And the guy who led the league in rushing six years ago is long gone.

Foster deserves praise for admitting that the time has come. Precious few players are willing to come to grips with the fact that, essentially, part of their lives has died.

That’s still a far cry from the handful of players who decide to call it quits while they still are in their prime, with a tank containing enough gas to carry them for at least several more years, if not longer. But the anti-football crowd would never let that fact get in the way of a good #narrative.

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After trading one linebacker, Lions bring back Josh Bynes

Josh Bynes, Martellus Bennett AP

The Lions were already thin at linebacker, so when they traded linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots today, it seemed certain that acquiring another linebacker must be in the works.

That’s just what happened, as Josh Bynes is re-signing with the Lions, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Bynes already knows Detroit’s defense, having played his entire five-year career for Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, first in Baltimore and then in Detroit. Last year Bynes played all 16 games for the Lions, with 11 starts. The Lions released him with an injury settlement in September, but now he’s healthy and ready to return. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bynes on the field Sunday against the Texans.

Van Noy was a former second-round pick and a starter this year, but he was a disappointing player and the Lions were ready to move on from him: According to multiple reports, Detroit gave Van Noy up for just a swap of late-round picks, with the Lions getting the Patriots’ 2017 sixth-round pick in exchange for Van Noy and the Lions’ 2017 seventh-round pick.

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Josh Brown has potential claim against Giants, if he chooses to pursue it

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 06:  Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants reacts after missing a game tying field goal in overtime against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on December 6, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  The Jets won by a score of 23-20. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Indefinite paid suspensions are a bad idea in the NFL, in part because in plenty of cases the teams will decide to convert those indefinite paid suspensions into permanent unpaid suspensions.

That’s precisely what the Giants have done to kicker Josh Brown. Faced with the prospect of paying him $72,058 per week until the NFL’s reopened investigation of Brown becomes a final, appealed suspension, the Giants have severed ties with Brown.

Sure, there’s a chance that the move was aimed at giving the team a sliver of moral high ground after nearly a weekly of gutter-level optics. Regardless of the specific reason(s) for the move, Brown has now been cut — which means that his NFL cash pipeline has been cut off, likely for good. No one will sign him until the outcome of the NFL’s reopened investigation is known, at the earliest. Even then, there’s a strong chance Brown eventually will become the new Ray Rice: Free and clear to play in the NFL, but shunned by all 32 teams.

Against that background, Brown must decide whether to pursue the balance of his 2016 salary from the Giants. While he’s a vested veteran, which ordinarily would give him the right to receive the rest of his 2016 salary as termination pay, he wasn’t on the 53-man roster as of Week One, due to his suspension.

With 10 weeks left in the season, the Giants owed Brown another $720,480 before cutting him. Brown can file a grievance, like Rice did, arguing that he already has been punished by the NFL for the May 2015 incident of domestic violence, that the league already has commenced the process of disciplining him for any other incidents of domestic violence (blocking the Giants from taking action), and that the Giants already knew or should have known about any and all of his alleged indiscretions before signing him to a two-year, $4 million deal earlier this year.

There’s a chance the Giants wouldn’t fight it, or that they’d do so half-heartedly, honoring their commitment to Brown but making the roster move in order to restore some sense of honor to an organization that typically exudes a sense that it peers down its nose at the team with which it shares stadium, along with the rest of the league.

Either way, Brown has rights. The league may eventually violate those rights. By cutting Brown for reasons clearly unrelated to his football abilities or to any new evidence of misconduct that wasn’t already available to the team, the Giants arguably already have.

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Jay Cutler on having John Fox’s confidence: “He doesn’t have a choice”

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25: An injured Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears looks on from the sideline during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears coach John Fox avoided promising quarterback Jay Cutler his job back while he was injured, so it makes sense that Cutler seems to realize his future in Chicago is something other than secure.

Cutler came back to practice Tuesday after missing five games with a right thumb injury, just in time to replace injured replacement Brian Hoyer, and was asked if he felt confident he had the support of his coach.

He doesn’t have a choice, I guess, at this point,” Cutler said, via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “Brian is out, so I’ve got to go. I’ve had good conversations with Foxy this week, last week, the week before. There’s never been any strain in our relationship. We’re both very open and honest, and we’re on the same page. We just want to win football games.”

Asked about how he felt when Fox left the starting job open-ended while he was on the sideline and Hoyer was playing reasonably well, Cutler busted out one of Fox’s favorite cliches.

“It is what it is,” Cutler said. “Anytime you have a backup quarterback—and to Brian’s credit, he played well. I think as a team, we wish we would have won some more of those ball games. But Brian went in there and did a great job. My discussions with everybody that I have relationships with in here were positive, and whenever I was ready to go, I’d be ready to go.

“There was never any discussion regarding [whether I’d take back over] with me.”

It was a solid moment of #selfawareness from Cutler, who seems to get that he’s no longer the quarterback of the future there. He acknowledged as much, saying those would be conversations that happened at the end of the year, which is his eighth in Chicago.

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Terrell Suggs hopes to play after Ravens bye week

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 2:  Terrell Suggs #55 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates during player introductions before the game against the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Tuesday that he is hopeful that his knee will be feeling well enough for him to return to the lineup for the team’s Week Nine game against the Ravens.

His longtime antagonist Terrell Suggs wants to be on the other side of the ball. The Ravens linebacker tore his biceps late in a Week Six loss to the Giants and did not play against the Jets last Sunday, but was on the practice field for the Ravens’ bye week workout on Tuesday.

Suggs said he wants to play against the Steelers and said that the issue will be “pain tolerance” because he’s sure this isn’t a season-ending injury.

“Man, who am I? What team do I play for? I come from an area where this is just a bump in the road,” Suggs said, via the Baltimore Sun. “It may be season-ending for somebody else. It’s not season-ending for Ravens. I’ve played through it before. I told you all that. That was always the plan. Last time, I tore it [in 2012], I missed the first game. I came back and struggled through the second game. I slowly but surely got it back, and it came at a good time. We’ve got nine left. We’re still in second place in the [AFC North] division, and we can still do some things. I want to be here when we do that.”

Suggs only missed one game after tearing his biceps in 2012 and helped the team on their run to a Super Bowl title. This year’s Ravens team hasn’t shown many signs of going on that kind of run during their current four-game losing streak, but Suggs wants to be part of turning things around in Baltimore.

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Patriots acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy from Lions

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25: Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers is hit by Kyle Van Noy #53 of the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Lions and Patriots can work easily together, since Lions General Manager Bob Quinn used to work with Bill Belichick.

And now they’ve swapped a starter, a week ahead of the trade deadline.

In a deal that was broken by more ESPN reporters than people involved, the Lions sent linebacker Kyle Van Noy to New England. The compensation was not disclosed.

The former second-round pick from BYU in 2014 had finally moved into the starting lineup this year, starting all seven games.

The Patriots have a track record of taking other people’s misfits and making them contributors, which will give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

The Patriots previously sent linebacker Jon Bostic to Detroit, and he’s on injured reserve with a foot injury (though he could return).

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John Mara on Josh Brown: Our decisions were misguided

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 13:  John Mara, CEO of Giants attends the AEG Live announcement of Paul McCarthy's concert at Met Life Stadium on April 13, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants released kicker Josh Brown on Tuesday, several days after the NFL placed Brown on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list in the wake of the release of documents from police in Washington detailing Brown’s abuse of his then-wife and several months after the team re-signed Brown despite the kicker telling them that he had been abusive.

Giants owner John Mara said last week that the team was not aware of the “extent” of the abuse when they opted to bring Brown back to the roster. In a statement accompanying the announcement of Brown’s release, Mara called that decision “misguided.”

“We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh,” Mara said. “Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided.  We accept that responsibility. We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation, and to becoming a better person and father.  We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution.”

The team also included a statement from Brown that featured much of the language he used in a statement released through Adam Schefter of ESPN earlier in the day. One notable change is that Brown’s first statement included his belief that it was “important to share that I never struck my wife” and the one released through the Giants makes no such equivocation from a man who wrote that he “physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife.”

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Giants cut kicker Josh Brown

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2013, file photo, New York Giants kicker Josh Brown reacts after missing a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Brown admitted in journal entries and emails that he verbally and physically abused his wife, according to documents that were part of a domestic violence case obtained by SNY. Team spokesman Corry Rush declined comment Thursday morning, Oct. 20, 2016,  on the details that emerged from a case in Washington. Brown was arrested in May 2015 on a domestic violence allegation but no charges were filed against the 37-year-old player. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File) AP

The Giants made it clear they wanted as far away from Josh Brown as possible, when they left him home from their London game.

Today, they made it official.

The team announced that they were cutting the kicker, after admissions of abuse were released last week, casting them in an even worse light after they re-signed him this offseason knowing of the domestic violence allegations involving his then-wife.

Brown apologized to the Giants in a statement earlier today, but it obviously wasn’t enough for him to keep his job. He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, effectively paid leave, last week.

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Dolphins work out veteran safeties

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 04:  James Ihedigbo #32 of the Detroit Lions reacts after sacking Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 4, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins lost safety Reshad Jones for the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury and they spent some time on Tuesday looking at veteran safeties who might be able to help them fill the hole that Jones left behind on their defense.

According to multiple reports, the Dolphins worked out James Ihedigbo, Major Wright and Sergio Brown.

Ihedigbo was a teammate of current Miami starter Isa Abdul-Quddus in Detroit and was actually benched in favor of Abdul-Quddus last season. He spent two years with the Lions and has also spent time with the Ravens, Patriots and Jets since entering the NFL in 2008.

Wright was cut by the Buccaneers in August and had a workout with the Panthers a short time later that ended without a contract. He played in 21 games and made nine starts for Tampa over the last two seasons. Brown spent a week with the Falcons this summer and played in 15 games for the Jaguars last season.

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