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PFT’s Week One picks

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With the start of the NFL regular season comes the start of a new picks competition.  This year, MDS will pit his prognostication skills against the proprietor of this portal.  At least I can proudly say I’m currently tied for the lead at 0-0.

And given that we disagree on only one game, I’m guaranteed to be no more than one game back after one week.

Cowboys at Giants

Florio’s take:  That Dallas playoff win by the Giants in 2007 not only fueled a Super Bowl run but also sparked the first of seven wins by New York in nine games against their NFC East rivals.  Underestimated by many (not me) as they try to become the first team to repeat in nearly a decade, the Giants should be able to continue the string of eight straight defending champs who launch the ensuing season with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 30, Cowboys 24.

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset in an attempt to put some distance between myself and Florio right off the bat, but this looks like a tough game for the Cowboys to win. The Giants’ pass rush is going to give Tony Romo fits, and Romo likely won’t have his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten. The Super Bowl champions will begin the 2012 regular season the way they ended the 2011 regular season, by beating the Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Cowboys 14.

Colts at Bears

Florio’s take:  In 1961, a far less heralded rookie quarterback who would become a Hall of Famer launched his career with the Vikings (and the life of an expansion team) with a win over the Bears.  Though the Colts in many ways feel like a first-year franchise, lightning likely won’t be striking again, 51 years later.  Andrew Luck looks to be the real thing, but he’ll have to wait for a Week Two visit from the Vikings to get his first NFL win.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 27, Colts 13.

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has looked outstanding in the preseason, but I’m not falling into the trap of thinking a new franchise quarterback means the Colts are going to pick up right where they left off when Peyton Manning was healthy. Even if Luck is outstanding when the games count for real, the Colts have all kinds of problems on defense, and I like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte to have big games on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Colts 17.

Eagles at Browns

Florio’s take:  A reunion of the Green Bay mafia will be conducted on Sunday, with various branches of the Mike Holmgren tree coming together in Cleveland.  But the Factory of Sadness will likely continue to churn out chagrin for the denizens of the Dawg Pound.  Though Mike Vick may not be able to stay healthy all season, he’ll be ready go to in Week One.  And so will the rest of his teammates.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 35, Browns 20.

MDS’s take: I’m not sold on the Eagles, but I am sold on the Browns — sold on the idea that they’re the worst team in the league this year. It’s going to be a rough season in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Browns 7.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Even when the Rams won the Super Bowl, they couldn’t win in Detroit.  Now that the Lions are moving closer to a Super Bowl berth of their own, this one could get ugly.  Quickly.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Rams 10.

MDS’s take: Jeff Fisher is going to turn the Rams around, and they’re going to be a much better team this season than they were last season. An upset over the team coached by Fisher’s old protege Jim Schwartz wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll pick Detroit in a nail-biter.

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Rams 20.

Dolphins at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins won’t truly experience Hard Knocks until they get a look at the Texans’ defense.  I rarely predict a shutout.  It’s not really all that much of a stretch on this one.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 20, Dolphins 0.

MDS’s take: This looks like Week One’s biggest mismatch. Ryan Tannehill will have a steep learning curve adjusting to the NFL, while Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and the Texans’ offense will be in midseason form. This is a beatdown.

MDS’s pick: Texans 34, Dolphins 7.

Falcons at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Last year, I had a feeling that the much-hyped Falcons wouldn’t fare well on a Week One trip to the Midwest, against the Bears.  This year, the Falcons are on the road to the Heartland again, against the Chiefs.  But they’ve got too much firepower, notwithstanding the firewater-influenced fanatics at Arrowhead.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Chiefs 24.

MDS’s take: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has expressed disappointment with his team’s performance in the preseason, and with good reason.  The Chiefs have looked shaky on both sides of the ball. Kansas City
got off to a very rough start last season and never recovered, and the start of this season could be rough as well.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Chiefs 10.

Jaguars at Vikings

Florio’s take:  The battle for Matt Barkley would have been a hell of a lot more compelling in Week 17.  When the talent level is equally suspect, the home team gets the edge.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Jaguars 17.

MDS’s take: Who’s more likely to play and play well in this one, Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson? Jones-Drew is healthy and says he’s been staying in shape, but one week isn’t enough to completely learn an offense after a lengthy holdout, and I see Jones-Drew struggling early this season in much the same way Chris Johnson did last season. Peterson didn’t play at all in the preseason, but from all accounts he has recovered from last year’s season-ending torn ACL, and I like him to have a big game in Week One.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Jaguars 16.

Redskins at Saints

Florio’s take:  In a May appearance on PFT Live, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan joked that he hoped Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be suspended for Week One.  That would have been Washington’s only chance to steal a win in a Superdome that will be rocking almost as loud as it was the night they reopened the place in 2006.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 38, Redskins 22.

MDS’s take: The Saints feel like they have a point to prove, and they’ll be motivated, and the Superdome will be a hostile environment for Robert Griffin III. I think the Redskins’ offense is going to be better than most people expect, and they’ll put some points on the board against the Saints, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense will score more.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Redskins 24.

Bills at Jets

Florio’s take:  Lost in the hand-wringing regarding the Jets’ offense is the fact that the defense is still pretty good.  Good enough to outscore a Bills team that, while improving, isn’t ready to steal one on the road to start the season.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 15, Bills 10.

MDS’s take: This looks to me like one of the most interesting matchups of Week One, because the Jets are desperate to show that their terrible offensive showing in the preseason didn’t mean anything. Unfortunately for the Jets, I think the Bills, bolstered by the addition of Mario Williams, have exactly the kind of defense that can pressure Mark Sanchez and force him into a multiple-turnover game. The
chants for Tim Tebow be deafening by the end of this game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 10, Jets 3.

Patriots at Titans

Florio’s take:  The last time these two teams got together, the Patriots scored 59, and the Titans scored nothing.  While much has changed in Tennessee since 2009, enough players are still there to remind the teammates and the coaches of that day.  And it would matter if the Titans had the horses of defense to keep up with New England’s offense.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Titans 26.

MDS’s take: The consistency of the Patriots in the salary-cap era in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable. The Patriots look, once again, like one of the best teams in the NFL, and Bill Belichick’s defense will give fits to Titans quarterback Jake Locker, making his first NFL start.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Titans 17.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals didn’t have a shot at quarterback Russell Wilson, given that they sent their second-round pick to Philadelphia for a quarterback who is now second string.  But coach Ken Whisenhunt may be wishing that the team had traded up six spots to get the Seahawks’ new starter; Wilson looks to be better than anything the Cardinals have at the position, which may be enough to pull off a Week One division road win.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Cardinals 21.

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson emerged as the starter in Seattle after one of the most impressive performances in the NFL preseason, while John Skelton became the starter by default in Arizona because Kevin Kolb was one of the least impressive players in the NFL preseason. Advantage: Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Cardinals 20.

49ers at Packers

Florio’s take:  When one of the best offenses meets one of the best defenses, the game will turn on how the other offense fares against the other defense.  The Packers defense has improved just enough to hold serve at Lambeau Field in the season opener.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, 49ers 27.

MDS’s take: The NFL schedule makers gave us a potential NFC Championship Game preview in Week One, and I see the Packers’ offense picking right up where they left off last year — and the Packers’ defense looking better.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, 49ers 14.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are laying the foundation for a very good team.  The Panthers are on the brink of being a very good team.  Cam Newton will be out to prove last year was no fluke, and an improved defense will keep it from turning into a shootout.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

MDS’s take: Cam Newton won’t have a sophomore slump — he’ll be every bit the player this year that he as a rookie, and the Panthers will have a better team around him. Greg Schiano will turn the Bucs around, but there are going to be growing pains along the way, and they’ll struggle against the Panthers’ offense. This will be the Panthers’ first statement that they’re a team to be reckoned with in the NFC.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 14.

Steelers at Broncos

Florio’s take:  Some say this could be the highest-rated regular-season game in NFL history.  Though the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game ultimately may keep the crown, the return of Peyton Manning could set the high-water mark for the entire 2012 season.  He wouldn’t have come back if he couldn’t get it done, and the Steelers have too many issues to come out of the gates with a road win.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

MDS’s take: This is a rematch of last year’s playoff meeting, but it’s a very different game with Peyton Manning at the helm in Denver and Tim Tebow off running the wildcat with the Jets. The result, however, will be similar: In a close, competitive game, the Broncos’ offense will get a late score to win it.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

Bengals at Ravens

Florio’s take:  Cincinnati gets its first chance in 2012 to win a game that it shouldn’t.  Though in time those wins will come, the Ravens have too much talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 31, Bengals 24.

MDS’s take: The Bengals took a big step forward last year with the emergence of a young offense led by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. This is an opportunity for them to make a very big statement about re-ordering the AFC North, but I see the Ravens’ defense making a big statement that they’re not going to let their young rivals get the best of them just yet.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 16, Bengals 13.

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Oakland is taking a step back in the hopes of eventually taking a giant leap forward.  The Chargers are trying to finally put the pieces together.  For now, advantage Chargers.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

MDS’s take: In the game that will have those in the Eastern time zone drinking coffee late into Monday night and showing up to work bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning, the Chargers will get a big game from Philip Rivers and get a leg up on the Raiders in the AFC West.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

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Romo: Not conclusive that I’ll have collarbone surgery

Tony Romo AP

During his appearance on PFT Live from Radio Row in San Francisco on Friday, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo confirmed a report that he’ll be waiting about a month before making a decision about having surgery on the left collarbone he broke twice during the 2015 season.

Romo said that the plan is to “find the bone density and see how strong it is and make a decision” three or four weeks from now about whether to have an operation.

“There’s no conclusive anything,” Romo said. “I think you just want to make sure — a silly thing in some ways, I understand it’s an injury — but a little collarbone which really hurts our football team and our season when that happens. I just want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Romo said he’s otherwise healthy and that his sometimes balky back feels the best it’s felt in two or three years. He also reiterated that he’s fine with the Cowboys taking a quarterback with the fourth overall pick, saying that he learned a while ago that “if you’re worried about your job you’re probably not as good as you think.”

To hear everything Romo said during his visit, check out the video of his appearance.

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Every player on final Super Bowl injury report is probable

during practice at Stanford Stadium on February 4, 2016 in Stanford, California. The Broncos will play the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016. Getty Images

Thomas Davis is playing in the Super Bowl with a broken arm.

So you can bet anyone else that’s even close isn’t going to use whatever injury they have as an excuse.

Every player listed on the final injury report for Super Bowl 50 is probable, with three Panthers and 10 Broncos getting the designation that translate to a virtual certainty they’ll play.

For Carolina, Davis, defensive end Jared Allen (foot) and fullback Mike Tolbert (knee) all participated fully in Friday’s practice.

For Denver, all 10 players on their report also participated fully: Quarterback Peyton Manning (foot), tight end Owen Daniels (knees), linebacker Todd Davis (shoulder), cornerback Chris Harris (shoulder), linebacker Brandon Marshall (ankle), guard Evan Mathis (ankle), safety Darian Stewart (knee), guard Louis Vasquez (knee), safety T.J. Ward (ankle) and linebacker DeMarcus Ware (knee, back).

So while both teams lost guys over the course of the season who they might have been able to use Sunday night, there are at least no concerns about the guys who remain on the active roster.

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Report: Bowlen home following “lengthy” hospital stay

John Elway, Pat Bowlen, John Fox

Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen had a lengthy stay in the hospital before the team’s playoff run, a Denver Post report said Friday.

The report cited an NFL source that said Bowlen had a blood clot and has since returned home to rest. Bowlen, 71, is battling Alzheimer’s and resigned day-to-day control of the team in 2014. The Pat Bowlen Trust, established more than a decade ago, retains ownership of the team and will eventually pass it on to one of Bowlen’s seven children.

Bowlen bought the Broncos in 1984. Sunday’s Super Bowl is the team’s seventh under his ownership.

Bowlen was inducted into the team’s ring of honor last November.

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Judge signs protective order keeping Manziel away from ex-girlfriend

Johnny Manziel AP

No criminal charges will be filed by the Dallas Police Department against Johnny Manziel after his ex-girlfriend accused him of hitting her with an open hand and throwing her into a car, but the lack of charges didn’t stop a judge in Tarrant County from barring Manziel from further interactions with the woman.

Rebecca Lopez of WFAA reports that a judge found “reason to believe that family violence occurred” during the incident and, as a result, signed a protective order that keeps Manziel from having contact with her for the next two years. Manziel has also been ordered to pay $12,000 in legal fees.

Manziel remains under contract to the Browns, although that’s expected to change when the new league year begins March 9. His repeated off-field problems are sure to chill interest in being the next team to have him as an employee, although that pattern of issues suggests Manziel needs to get his life in order before worrying about his future on the gridiron.

Offers to help him to do that have come from several directions in recent days, although Manziel’s father said that his son has thus far declined pleas to enter rehab.

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Giants owner doesn’t think Titans ownership is a major concern

Titans co-owner Amy Adams Strunk and Nissan North America chairman Jose Munoz are congratulated by guests after an announcement that LP Field will now be called Nissan Stadium, Thursday June 25, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. The naming rights are subject to approval by the NFL and Metro Government Authority. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP) NO SALES AP

The NFL has expressed concerns about the Titans ownership in recent months, specifically the lack of a clear succession plan.

But while commissioner Roger Goodell talked around those issues Friday, one influential owner said he didn’t think it was a tremendous concern.

According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, Giants owner John Mara said he didn’t have a close relationship with owner Amy Adams Strunk, but didn’t seem in a panic about it.

“I really don’t know her,” Mara said. “I mean I’ve met her a couple of times but I really don’t know her, . . . I know [team president] Steve Underwood is a very capable executive. But I don’t have enough knowledge about what’s going on ownership-wise. I just know they have a good man in Steve.

I don’t know if it’s a major issue, no. I don’t think so. As long as you have a good, capable executive running the team, which I think Steve is, and I think they’ve got a good team, a good coach and a good general manager. They’ll be fine.”

Goodell was predictably vague when asked about the problems during his press conference.

“We have ownership policies, the ownership policies are lengthy, but essentially they require a single owner, to represent the club locally, but also at the league level,” he said. “We work on the basis of 32 individual owners, each having a vote. When league matters come up, whatever they may be, we work on a vote of 24 of the 32. It’s a very important principle to owners and their partners.

“They want to know who their partner is, they want to know who’s responsible for how the team is operated locally and they want to know that their partner is sitting at the table when they are making difficult decisions. So we will try to encourage our policies to encourage that type of behavior.

“We have to continue to work with the Tennessee ownership group to see how that’s going to conform with our policies. We’ll be meeting with our finance committee in the next few weeks. That’s a subject we’ll be discussing.”

Strunk owns 33 percent of the team, but Bud Adams’ heirs agreed to have her front the group. But she skipped the last round of owners meetings which were in Houston, near her home, which seemed an apparent finger to the eye of the league.

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Eli jokes Giants could probably find spot for Peyton if he wants to be quality control coach

Peyton Manning, Eli Manning

Giants quarterback Eli Manning was a guest on Friday’s edition of PFT Live from Radio Row in San Francisco and Mike Florio asked him the question you’d expect given the focus on his brother this week.

Eli gave the answer you’d expect, which is that no one knows whether Peyton will be calling it a career after Super Bowl 50. The youngest Manning brother did say with a smile that he’d be happy to play for his brother if he decides to transition to life as a coach in 2016.

“I think if Peyton wants to come and be a quality control [coach] for the New York Giants and work in the quarterback room … earn his ropes, earn his way into the coaching routine I think we could probably open up a spot for him,” Manning said. 

As for his actual coaches, Manning said he’s happy to still be working with Ben McAdoo and expressed gratitude for what he learned about football and life from Tom Coughlin over their 12 years working together.

Manning also shared stories about the worst torture he faced from Peyton while they were growing up and his thoughts about being a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award during an entertaining visit.

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Hospital fires two employees for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul records

Jason Pierre-Paul AP

Well, this isn’t going to make people want to tell us secrets.

Via Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, the Miami hospital which was treating Pierre-Paul has fired two employees who leaked medical records to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The two individuals were fired from Jackson Memorial Hospital, which has been investigating the leak since shortly after the July 4 fireworks accident which cost the Giants defensive end a finger and other parts of his right hand.

“During the investigation of a breach that occurred in July 2015, Jackson Health System became a party to related litigation,” the statement from the hospital read. “It is our policy that we do not comment during pending litigation. That litigation has now been settled. As part of our investigation into the breach, it was discovered that two employees inappropriately accessed the patient’s health record. That finding resulted in the termination of both employees. Protecting the privacy of our patients is a top priority at Jackson Health System. Any time we have allegations of a breach, we immediately and thoroughly investigate.”

Schefter published the records, which included part of a record of another patient, while Pierre-Paul was having surgery to remove the right index finger. In the immediate aftermath, he hedged as to whether he should have published the records as opposed to just going with the information.

That decision led to two people losing jobs, and an apparent privacy claim settlement.

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Ron Rivera: Thomas Davis and Jared Allen will start Sunday

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 02:  Defensive End Jared Allen #69 of the Carolina Panther addresses the media prior to Super Bowl 50 at the San Jose Convention Center/ San Jose Marriott on February 2, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers have few injuries to worry about going into the Super Bowl, and they’re not even all that worried about the two guys coming off broken bones.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive end Jared Allen were going to start Sunday.

“The only last hurdle is the conversation I have to have with the doctors, just to make sure they’re feeling comfortable, but I’d be surprised if it was anything different,” Rivera said. “I was real pleased with what we got from both those guys. I’m excited about having them back on the football field.”

Davis had surgery last Monday to get a plate and screws inserted into his broken right arm, while Allen has been getting treatment for a broken bone in his foot.

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Jets sign CFL pass rusher Freddie Bishop

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 30:  Freddie Bishop III #95 of the Calgary Stampeders celebrates after sacking Zach Collaros #4 of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the 102nd Grey Cup Championship Game at BC Place November 30, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets have had to face Dolphins edge rusher Cameron Wake many times since Wake left the CFL for Miami in 2009 and started racking up the 70 career sacks he’s recorded over the last seven seasons.

Now the Jets hope that they can get some of the same success from a Canadian import of their own. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Jets have signed edge rusher Freddie Bishop to a two-year contract.

Bishop, who visited with several teams, is coming off an 11 sack season for the Calgary Stampeders. He had three sacks in his first year with the team and spent some time in 2013 with the Lions after wrapping up his college career at Western Michigan.

Schefter reports that the Jets also signed kicker Kyle Brindza to a future contract. Brindza opened the year as the Buccaneers’ kicker, but lost the job after missing six field goals and two extra points in the first four weeks of the year.

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Goodell: No independent investigation of HGH allegations at this point

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference prior to Super Bowl 50 at the Moscone Center West on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) Getty Images

During Friday’s press conference in San Francisco, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell faced a question about the HGH allegations made against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Specifically, the question had to do with the league’s response to this allegation in comparison to the independent investigations that were launched to look into bullying allegations involving Dolphins players and last year’s Deflategate saga. Goodell said that the league was looking into the HGH allegations with the same gusto despite the fact that there is no independent investigation planned by the league at the moment.

“We take every allegation of violations of our policies and procedures, particularly as it results to safety, very seriously,” Goodell said. “When these allegations first came up, very seriously. When these allegations first came up, we immediately began our own investigation. We were making sure we were working with the other sports involved and the World Anti-Doping Agency, making sure that we were getting all the pertinent information. We will work with law enforcement if they are involved, but we will also continue our own investigation working cooperatively with everyone.”

Goodell said that the league could still initiate an independent investigation and promised that “when we find the facts, we’ll share.”

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Goodell doesn’t see early retirements as a player safety problem

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t believe that players are retiring early because the game is unsafe.

PFT asked Goodell about that in what turned out to be the last question of his annual “State of the League” press conference today, and Goodell said players’ retirements are personal decisions and not a reflection of heightened concerns about injuries. Asked specifically about Calvin Johnson’s expected retirement at the age of 30, Goodell praised Johnson but disagreed with the idea that his retirement is a bad sign for the league.

“Calvin Johnson is a great player and a great young man,” Goodell said.

Several players retired early last year, including Patrick Willis at age 30, Jason Worilds at 27, Jake Locker at 26, Anthony Davis at 25 and Chris Borland at 24. If Johnson is the first in a wave of players to retire early again this year, Goodell may have to re-examine whether it’s a bad sign for players’ perceptions of what the game is doing to their long-term health.

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Haslam says Browns willing to help, but unable to reach Manziel

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam told reporters at the Super Bowl Friday that team employees have been unsuccessful in their attempts to reach quarterback Johnny Manziel.

“We’ll do anything we can to help him personally,” Haslam said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Johnny and his family. We are not worried about Johnny Manziel the football player. We are worried about Johnny Manziel the person, and I think that’s all we need to say on the issue.”

Earlier this week the Browns released a team statement that quoted new executive director of football operations Sashi Brown as saying the Browns are essentially done with Manziel from a football standpoint. For salary cap reasons, he likely won’t be released until the start of the new league year next month.

Haslam said in Cleveland last week that he believed the team’s relationship with Manziel could be fixed, but that was about 30 hours before police helicopters were searching for Manziel in Dallas. Manziel’s father said Friday he fears for his son’s life.

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Goodell “disappointed” in last week’s Pro Bowl, hints at changes to format

HONOLULU, HI -  SUNDAY, JANUARY 31:  Jerry Rice, Team Irvin quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks Michael Irvin, and defensive end Michael Bennett #72 of the Seattle Seahawks pose with the Pro Bowl Trophy after the end of the 2016 NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 31, 2016 in Honolulu, Hawaii.Team Irvin defeated Team Rice 49-27.  (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images) Getty Images

The quality of the play in the Pro Bowl has been an issue for the NFL at various points in recent years and it has come up again this week after a lackluster showing in Hawaii last Sunday.

At his annual press conference from the Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about his reaction to the game. The commissioner did not have a positive take on what he saw.

“I was disappointed in what I saw on Sunday,” Goodell said. “I raised this issue three or four years ago. We worked with a number of players to make changes to the game. They had a positive impact, at least in the short term but I didn’t see that this past week. …It’s not the kind of game we want to continue to have in its current format. … If it’s not real competition that we can be proud of, we have to do something different.”

There have been a variety of ideas tossed around about other ways to approach the Pro Bowl, including ditching the game entirely or having some sort of a skills competition. Goodell wouldn’t speculate on what path the league might take, but it’s become clear over the years that stripping away the physical nature of the games that matter leaves very little of value on the field in the Pro Bowl.

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Ryan Leaf sees himself in Manziel

ryan-leaf Getty Images

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf told the Dan Patrick Show Friday that when he reads stories about Johnny Manziel, “I feel like I’m holding up a mirror. That’s how I behaved.”

Leaf said he didn’t develop substance abuse issues until his brief NFL career was over, but the No. 2 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft said he believes he relates to Manziel in that he didn’t understand that football could disappear so quickly.

“He says he’s fine and he’s been to treatments…when this happened, I thought it was a great thing,” Leaf said. “Imagine if I would have gone and got behavior counseling early in my career.

“You have to be out of football for a year. You have to get your stuff right because, though this is a great game and the NFL is an institution, it’s fleeting. It’s gone in a second.”

The recent news regarding Manziel, who’s expected to be cut by the Browns next month, has not been good. Manziel’s father said Friday that he’s worried for his son’s life.

Leaf told Patrick that his addiction to painkillers that led to his 2012 arrest “got bad enough that I was willing to walk into people’s homes and take their pills. The best thing that ever happened to me was being put in jail.”

After completing a chemical dependency program that was a required part of his parole, Leaf got out of prison in Dec. 2014. He’s now working for an addiction recovery company.

You can watch Leaf talking with Patrick about Manziel below.

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Roger Goodell wants two personal fouls to equal ejection

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., left, and Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, right, wrap one another up during first-quarter action at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. The Panthers won, 38-35. (Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS) Getty Images

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t getting planted questions from Play 60 kids Friday, he actually mentioned some things that might help the game.

Among the topics he broached was that he wanted to create a rule which would call for a player with two personal fouls in the same game to be ejected.

Turning it into a yellow card/red card situation would create a deterrent, or at least keep things from spiraling out of control such happened several times this year.

One of the most obvious examples was the Panthers-Giants game in which Odell Beckham was flagged for spearing Panthers cornerback Josh Norman in the head, and that would lead to him being thrown out under such a rule.

The measure will have to go through the competition committee, but should be the kind of thing that has plenty of traction.

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