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Burbank boots Hargrove’s grievance, too

anthony-hargrove Getty Images

Last week’s ruling from Stephen Burbank in Bounty Grievance No. 2 gave Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove a glimmer of hope.  On Monday, Burbank snuffed it out completely.

Burbank has ruled, a week after retaining jurisdiction over Hargrove’s grievance, that the attempt to shift the case away from Commissioner Roger Goodell should be rejected because Hargrove’s eight-game suspension arose in no way from potential salary-cap violations.

The outcome should come as no surprise, given that Burbank’s initial decision supplied the league office with a road map for slamming the door on the argument that Goodell lacks jurisdiction to impose penalties for cap violations against Hargrove.  The league needed only to specify that Hargrove wasn’t being punished for receiving extra money for inflicting injury, and the league accomplished that fairly easy feat via a letter sent to Hargrove on June 8.

“This letter attributes the ‘vast majority of [Mr. Hargrove’s] eight-game suspension to [his] lying . . . and obstruction’ and the ‘balance . . . to [his] active participation in the program by pledging and contributing money to the pool,” Burbank writes.  “The June 8 letter goes on to state that Mr. Hargrove’s ‘suspension was not attributable to any agreement on your part to accept payments from the pool or to any moneys that you may have received from the pool.'”

Of course, there’s a chance that the discipline was at least in part based on Hargrove receiving money for inflicting injury, especially since Hargrove was believed to be one of the players who was in line to get paid for banging the bejeepers out of Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC title game.  Indeed, the original letter sent to Hargrove said nothing about the player being disciplined for pledging or contributing money to the bounty program, even though the substantially similar letters sent to the other three players use such language.

But with Burbank’s initial ruling making it clear that all the NFL needed to do was clearly state that Hargrove wasn’t being suspended for getting paid to injure Favre or anyone else, it was a quick and easy fix for the league office, which allowed Burbank to in turn make quick and easy work of Hargrove’s grievance.

The NFLPA previously has said that an appeal will be filed on behalf of Hargrove and the three other players whose grievances were dismissed by Burbank:  Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita.  That appeal most likely will not delay the appeal hearing on the bounty suspensions, which will be conducted by Goodell on Monday, June 18.

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Todd Bowles: We were “s—-y” all around

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Cornerback Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts a pass in front of wide receiver Jalin Marshall #89 of the New York Jets at Arrowhead Stadium during the first quarter of the game on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets lost 24-3 in Kansas City on Sunday due in large part to eight turnovers, six of which were interceptions thrown by Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall called it a “embarrassing” performance by the team and coach Todd Bowles treaded in similar water, although he used a different word to describe both the team’s plan and the way the team played.

“S—-y game plan, s—-y execution, s—-y all around,” Bowles said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis said the team still believes in Fitzpatrick and there’s not much chance that they’re going to bench him three games into the season after finally giving him $12 million for this year before the start of training camp. Things have to get significantly less s—-y on all fronts in a hurry, though.

The Jets host the Seahawks before road games against the Steelers and Cardinals and they’ll need some wins in those games to avoid a real question about how much there will be to play for over the rest of the season.

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Russell Wilson says he’ll be “good to go,” believes MRI will reveal no damage

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks runs off the field after a football game against the Cleveland Browns at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 30-13 and Wilson threw for three touchdowns. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)  *** Local Caption *** Russell Wilson Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told reporters after Sunday’s game that he’s “walking fine” and doesn’t believe his knee injury “is as severe as it looked.”

Wilson is scheduled for an MRI to determine if his left knee suffered any structural damage.

Wilson said he anticipates he’ll be “good to go” and said he would have returned to Sunday’s win over the 49ers if the game was more competitive.

He left the game in the third quarter. The Seahawks led 37-3 and won 37-18.

The Seahawks play at the Jets next Sunday.

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Jalen Ramsey doesn’t respect Steve Smith, Smith doesn’t care

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 25:   Steve Smith #89 of the Baltimore Ravens catches a pass in front of  Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 25, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith both picked up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 19-17 Ravens win when they came together after an interception by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny.

The two men exchanged words again on the field after the game and it seems those words weren’t apologetic about what had gone down before.

“Ya’ll tell me who got in whose head,” Ramsey said, via ESPN.com. “He came up to me after the game, you feel me? Y’all tell me who got in whose head. He’s an old man acting like that. Ain’t nobody worried about him. He came up to me, you know what I’m saying, on some disrespectful stuff. The game’s over with. You still mad ’cause I was locking you up? All right, go sleep on that. I ain’t trying to hear that after the game. … It is what it is. As a player, he’s still a good player. I’ll say that about him. But I don’t respect him as a man.”

Smith, who had eight catches for 87 yards, responded to Ramsey on Twitter.

“I gave U every opportunity to speak face to face,” Smith wrote. “But you found your voice safely behind closed doors. Young man I don’t need ur respect!”

Smith continued by saying that he’ll be in the Hall of Fame by the time Ramsey retires and that Ramsey will never join him because “I got cleats with stronger thread then you.”

Barring a playoff meeting between the two teams, there’s a pretty good chance that this will be the only time Ramsey and Smith face off as Smith was set to retire before last season’s torn Achilles led him to change his mind.

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MRI tonight for Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

Officially, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has a sprained left knee. Unofficially, they’re holding their breath about the extent of the injury.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Wilson will have an MRI on Sunday night to determine whether and to what extent any of the ligaments or cartilage or other stuff inside the knee is damaged.

Wilson already has overcome a high right ankle sprain suffered in Week One to keep playing. He now has a problem with his left knee.

Wilson’s determination will carry him far, but if ligaments  are torn, there’s only so much he or anyone else can do.

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Colts come back to beat the Chargers

San Diego Chargers' Melvin Gordon (28) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts' Clayton Geathers (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) AP

In a back-and-forth battle that went down to the final minute, the Colts got the last score and beat the Chargers today in Indianapolis.

The Colts won it on a last-minute touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton, who had an outstanding game. Hilton had eight catches for 174 yards and capitalized on a depleted Chargers defense all day, and the Colts won 26-22.

Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck both topped 300 yards passing, in a game that seemed to be full of momentum swings: The Colts led 10-0 in the first quarter, the Chargers tied it up at 13-13 before halftime and then took a 19-13 lead in the third quarter, the Colts jumped ahead 20-19 before the third was over, the Chargers went up 22-20 midway through the fourth, and the Colts finally won it with Hilton’s touchdown in the fourth.

It was the Colts’ first win of the season after a disappointing start, and both teams are now 1-2.

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Chip Kelly: No thought to pulling Blaine Gabbert

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #2 of the San Francisco 49ers passes the ball  during the second quarter of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle,Washington. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the 49ers lost 46-27 to the Panthers in Week Two, coach Chip Kelly said that he was not considering a quarterback change despite two interceptions from Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter.

The Niners closed within seven before those Gabbert turnovers, but they never came close to closing the gap against the Seahawks in this Sunday’s 37-18 loss. It was 37-3 before two late Carlos Hyde rushing touchdowns.

The fact that the 49ers elected to keep running the ball down by 34 points suggests that they didn’t have much interest in watching Gabbert throw the ball, which isn’t hard to understand after he went 14-of-25 for 119 yards and an interception. After the game, though, Kelly said he never considered turning to Colin Kaepernick.

“I thought he played OK,” Kelly said of Gabbert, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

It wasn’t a Ryan Fitzpatrick afternoon, but Gabbert’s play definitely left something to be desired in Week Three. The 49ers may not feel that Kaepernick offers them anything better, although that doesn’t create much confidence in the offensive performances to come as the season unfolds.

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Bucs and Rams in lightning delay at the two-minute warning

lightning-getty-3 Getty Images

The Bucs set up a dramatic finish, and they’re going to make us wait for it.

Referee Ed Hochuli called both teams off the field because of lightning in the Tampa area, with the Rams up 37-32 at the two-minute warning.

The Rams are facing a thrid-and-11 deep in their own territory, after Tavon Austin made a terrible decision to field a kickoff inside the 5 and circle into the end zone before running it out. Then Rams quarterback Case Keenum took a sack to move them farther back.

The Bucs made it close with a Jameis Winston touchdown pass to Mike Evans, giving themselves a chance if the Rams can’t convert after the long break.

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Wentz hits 300 for first time, Eagles run away from Steelers

Philadelphia Eagles' Darren Sproles, left, and Nelson Agholor celebrate after Sproles' touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola) AP

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz came out firing, again.

The Steelers didn’t do much in the way of firing back.

The Eagles ran away from the Steelers in the second half Sunday and won, 34-3. The Steelers missed a field goal on their first drive, made one on their third drive and didn’t score again.

The Eagles move to 3-0. The Steelers slip to 2-1.

Wentz had his first 300-yard game. He threw touchdowns of 12 yards to Jordan Matthews and 73 yards to Darren Sproles. He was 23-of-31, wasn’t intercepted and wasn’t sacked.

He hasn’t thrown an interception in three games and is the first quarterback in NFL history to go over 100 attempts to start his career without throwing an interception.

It was the worst loss for the Steelers under Mike Tomlin and the worst by any Steelers team since 1989.

The last two touchdowns came via the run in the third quarter, one by Wendell Smallwood and one by Kenjon Barner. The Eagles outgained the Steelers, 426-251.

The Eagles picked off Ben Roethlisberger once and sacked him once, recovering a fumble in the process. Roethlisberger threw for 257 yards but were held to 21 yards rushing.

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Patriots will add quarterback only as last resort

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots reacts after defeating the Houston Texans 27-0 at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) Getty Images

With only four days to get ready for a Week Three game against the Texans and only one healthy quarterback, the Patriots decided not to sign an available veteran. With 10 days between Week Three and Week Four games and possibly no healthy quarterbacks, the Patriots may still not sign another quarterback as they prepare to face the Bills.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Patriots will add a quarterback only as a last resort. For now, the focus is on rehabbing Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder injury and Jacoby Brissett’s thumb injury.

If as of Monday the Patriots firmly believe that neither player will be ready, they could decide to add a quarterback. Last week, T.J. Yates had a tryout, and Sean Renfree visited.

The Patriots are reluctant to add a quarterback because they’d be required to cut a player on the 53-man roster. If the player have fewer than four years of service, he’d be exposed to waivers. A vested veteran would be free to sign with another team.

So would New England run the risk of actually having to use Julian Edelman as the starter on Sunday? Perhaps. He knows the offense better than Yates or Renfree or any other free agent would, and Edelman played quarterback at Kent State.

The Patriots also have another player whom they believe would be able to take snaps, if need be. While the team is being characteristically tight lipped about who that would be, the smart money is on second-year tight end A.J. Derby, a sixth-round pick in 2015 who played quarterback at Iowa, Coffeyville Community College, and Arkansas.

Based on the manner in which the Patriots got Brissett ready to play quarterback in four days, don’t be shocked if they decide to start getting Edelman ready in the event that neither Garoppolo nor Brissett will be able to play in what will be the last game before Tom Brady’s suspension ends.

Whatever happens, coach Bill Belichick surely has a plan. And it would be unwise to assume his plan won’t work.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions, Chiefs win 24-3

New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) AP

The Jets turned the ball over three times in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs and they apparently liked the way it felt because they kept turning the ball over in the second half.

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw interceptions to Eric Berry and Marcus Peters in the end zone to kill scoring chances that would have put the Jets back into the game and the Chiefs improved to 2-1 with a 24-3 home win. He added another late in the fourth quarter when Daniel Sorensen grabbed an errant throw and appeared to put the icing on the cake when Derrick Johnson returned No. 5 for a touchdown, but there was still time for D.J. White to nab one just after the two minute warning.

Both of the interceptions in the end zone came off tipped balls, but that’s what happens when balls are forced into coverage in the red zone. Fitzpatrick, who was 20-of-44 for 188 yards overall, also narrowly avoided being intercepted a couple of other times over the course of a game that felt light years away from his success against the Bills in Week Two.

The Chiefs offense didn’t put up any points in the second half, but they didn’t need to thanks to their defense coming up with five takeaways over the course of the afternoon. Their best scoring chance of the final two quarters failed to produce points when Spencer Ware fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a Jets touchback.

Kansas City will be in Pittsburgh next weekend and the offense will have to do more unless Ben Roethlisberger decides to follow in Fitzpatrick’s footsteps. The Jets will be home to meet the Seahawks and then go on the road to play the Cardinals and Steelers, which means the season could be lost in a hurry if they can’t solve the offensive mess they put up on Sunday.

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No Jay Cutler or Tyron Smith on Sunday night

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Getty Images

All signs pointed to the Bears playing without quarterback Jay Cutler in Dallas on Sunday night and that’s exactly how things will play out.

Cutler is officially inactive for the game, leaving Brian Hoyer as Chicago’s starter as they try to avoid an 0-3 start to the season. Hoyer will have wide receiver Alshon Jeffery in the lineup despite knee trouble during the week.

The Cowboys will also be without a key offensive player. Left tackle Tyron Smith is inactive after his back locked up on him late in the week, which puts Chaz Green in the starting lineup for Dallas. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick is also inactive due to a hamstring injury that had him listed as questionable.

Defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, running back Ka’Deem Carey, linebacker Danny Trevathan, cornerback Kyle Fuller, cornerback Bryce Callahan and center Eric Kush are also inactive for the Bears. Quarterback Tony Romo, running back Darius Jackson, safety Kavon Frazier, linebacker Mark Nzeocha and defensive end Charles Tapper round out the inactive Cowboys.

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Seahawks destroy the 49ers

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) signals "no good" after San Francisco 49ers kicker Phil Dawson (4) missed a field goal-attempt in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

In one of the most one-sided beatdowns in this NFL season, the Seahawks took the 49ers behind the woodshed today in Seattle.

The game was never close, as the Seahawks jumped out to a 24-3 halftime lead and coasted through the second half, winning 37-18 in a game that wasn’t even close as the final score would indicate. Pete Carroll’s guys looked like the same great team they’ve been the last few years, while Chip Kelly’s guys looked disorganized and ill-prepared.

Seahawks running back Christine Michael topped 100 yards and ran for two touchdowns for one of his most impressive performances to date. Russell Wilson completed 15 of 23 passes for 243 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions before leaving in the third quarter after suffering an apparent ankle injury.

Blaine Gabbert looked lost running Kelly’s offense, with the 49ers reaching the end zone only in the fourth quarter, long after the Seahawks had stopped trying.

The 49ers dominated the Rams in Week One, and the Seahawks lost to the Rams in Week Two. Both of those results were surprising, and suggested that perhaps there’s not as big a gap between the top and bottom of the NFC West as we thought. But Sunday’s game showed just how much better the Seahawks are than the 49ers. These two teams are not on the same level.

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Trevor Siemian passes first road test

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

The Broncos played their first road game in more than nine months on Sunday. For quarterback Trevor Siemian, it was his first NFL game away from home ever.

It went as well as it could have.

Via Randall Liu of the league office, Siemian became the first quarterback in league history to throw for 300 or more yards and four or more touchdowns in his first career start away from home. Coupled with former Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler’s performance in his first road game with the Texans, Denver is surely feeling very good about the decision it made to not re-sign Osweiler and later to give the starting job to Siemian.

“His numbers were terrific,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters after the game. “He’s very composed. That’s a strength of his. We continue to work on decision-making. He got away with a few tipped passes today, and he hasn’t gotten away with that before, but that’s part of playing quarterback. He works hard. . . .

“[W]e know we have a good young quarterback who’s on a good team, and this was a great sign today,” Kubiak added. “He came into a tough environment, handled himself very well and played big.”

Siemian was unfazed by his stellar numbers.

“In this league you have be balanced and able to do both,” Siemian said of running and throwing. “When you’re not running, you’ve got to be able to throw it. It’s good to know we can win games a couple different ways.”

It’s good to know their offense can win games, given that the defense has been the unit more responsible for victories, more often than not. Shaky at times in his first two games with one touchdown pass and three interceptions, Siemian passed his biggest test yet, becoming only the third Broncos quarterback to start a season 3-0.

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Watch FNIA, Bears-Cowboys online

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys carries the ball against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you’re not near a TV, don’t sweat it. As always, NBC’s Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football stream through NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

It’s free, it’s clear, and it’s available wherever your desktop machine, laptop, or tablet get Internet juice.

So get all the highlights, news, and analysis from the third Sunday of the 2016 NFL season and then stick around as the Cowboys try to catch the Giants and keep pace with the Eagles in the NFC East. And as the Bears try to avoid falling to 3-0 on the year.

Football Night starts at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the game begins at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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Chiefs on wrong end of worst rule in football

Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) is tackled by New York Jets defensive tackle Steve McLendon (99) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) AP

Complain all you want about catch/no-catch or any other quirk of the NFL rule book. No NFL rule is worse than the rule that applies when a runner loses possession just before breaking the plane of the goal line and the ball rolls out of the end zone unrecovered.

In that situation, the defense gets possession at its 20. Never mind the fact that the offense would have kept possession if the ball had squirted out of bounds short of the end zone. Once it crosses the goal line and goes out of the bounds, the defense gets the ball, even if the defense fails to recover the ball.

The worst rule in football stung the Chiefs on Sunday, with a ruling that running back Spencer Ware had pushed the ball into the end zone reversed into a ruling that he had fumbled and the ball had gone out of the end zone.

End result? Points came off the board, and the Jets got the ball on their 20.

There has never been any real momentum to fix the rule. The most fair outcome would be to give the offense the ball at the spot of the fumble. That would happen if the ball goes out of bounds before bouncing into the end zone.

If the defense wants to possess the ball, the defense should recover the fumble. Otherwise, the rule that applies from goal line to goal line should apply beyond at and beyond each goal line.

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