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Chilo Rachal back at Bears facility

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Bears guard Chilo Rachal left the Bears on Wednesday after learning that he was being replaced as the starting left guard by Chris Spencer.

His absence from the team didn’t last very long. Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune reports that Rachal was at the Bears facility on Thursday morning. McClure also reports, via a source, that Rachal’s emotional state is “very bad.” McClure reported Wednesday that Rachal became extremely upset after being told of his demotion.

The Bears, who said only that the guard left the team for personal reasons, placed Rachal on the reserve/left squad list. McClure writes that it is unkown whether or not he’ll be immediately reinstated to the roster. The team promoted offensive lineman James Brown from the practice squad to take Rachal’s place on the active roster.

Seeing as how Rachal was benched and was part of an offensive line that just got steamrolled by the 49ers, the team might just decide to move forward without him. Rachal is on a one-year deal and his is one of many offensive line spots the team should be trying to upgrade come the offseason.

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Ray Farmer on Manziel: The time of the incident is concerning

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Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his entourage were reportedly involved in an altercation after a 33-year-old man asking Manziel for a hug outside an elevator at a Cleveland apartment and hotel complex at 2:36 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Chris Gonos, the man whose request apparently touched off the melee, spoke to CleveScene.com and confirmed much of the website’s original account of what went down. He also added that he thought someone in his group caught Manziel with a punch to the face after Manziel “sucker punched” his brother.

Browns General Manager Ray Farmer has also released a statement about the incident, which did not result in any arrests.

“We are aware of the incident and are in the process of gathering additional information in order to gain a complete understanding of what occurred. Nonetheless, the time of the incident is concerning to us. We continually stress to all of our players the importance of sound decision making in an effort to avoid putting themselves in these types of situations. We have addressed this appropriately with the player and will have no further comment at this time.”

The inclusion of a note about the time of the incident suggests the Browns weren’t thrilled to learn that one of their players was out of the house in the wee small hours of Saturday morning regardless of the circumstances that forced the police to intervene.

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Dominic Raiola won’t be suspended, but will face possible fine

Dominic Raiola AP

Dominic Raiola’s diving at the knee of an opponent on a meaningless play was unsportsmanlike, dangerous and stupid in that he bragged about it afterward.

But it’s not going to get him suspended.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Raiola won’t be suspended by the NFL, but will face a possible fine.

It could (and should) be a sizable one, since he also threw a punch at the back of Patriots lineman Zach Moore’s head earlier in the game.

Of course, he also has to deal with the everlasting shame of being owned by Bill Belichick, which has to be worse than any financial penalty the league can impart.

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Raiola threw a punch to the head, too

Dominic Raiola AP

The misconduct of Lions center Dominic Raiola wasn’t limited to a dive at the knees of New England defensive lineman Zach Moore.  Earlier in the game, Raiola also delivered a blow to the back of Moore’s head.

While it’s unclear whether the league office will discipline Raiola for diving at Moore’s knees on a play that entailed Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford taking a knee, the punch to Moore’s head is more likely to result in a fine.

Last year, the league office initially missed a similar move by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.  Because the video of the blow to the head of former Cardinals tackle Eric Winston didn’t emerge until after the next game was played by Detroit, the incident did not result in a suspension for Suh, whose history possibly would have provoked another temporary banishment.  In the end, Suh wasn’t even fined — possibly to avoid questions as to why he wasn’t suspended and then questions as to why the blow to the head wasn’t seen soon enough to suspend Suh for the team’s next game.

For Raiola, the combination of the blow to the head and the dive at the knees could potentially trigger a one-game suspension.  At a minimum, it should result in a major fine.

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Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt out for the year

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The Vikings have tackle issues at the moment — one who’s acting poorly and one who’s out for the year.

Via Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Vikings right tackle Phil Loadholt is out for the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in yesterday’s loss to the Packers.

He’s the second Vikings starter to go on IR this year, following guard Brandon Fusco early in the year.

He’ll be replaced in the lineup by Mike Harris, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Harris was previously with the Chargers, starting 12 games for them in 2012 and 2013.

That’s a much bigger problem for the Vikings than Matt Kalil being rude to a fan, as protecting Teddy Bridgewater so he can develop properly has to be their first priority the rest of the season.

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Report: Manziel entourage accused of assaulting fan

Manziel Getty Images

Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has managed to stay out of trouble after a rocky offseason that featured inflatable swans, champagne showers, and rolled-up dollar bills.  Even as he has languished on the bench, Manziel has behaved.

The tranquility surrounding Johnny Football may have been disrupted recently, based on a report from ClevelandScene.com.   Per the report, a police report accuses Manziel’s entourage of assault.

33-year-old Chris Gonos reportedly approached Manziel at an upscale apartment complex known as “The 9″ in Cleveland on Friday night, gushing over Manziel and requesting a hug.  Instead of a hug, Gonos got a punch in the face, along with other alleged physical indignities.

The general manager of “The 9″ declined comment to ClevelandScene.com.  The Browns have not yet addressed the issue.

The blows apparently were delivered not by Manziel but by someone who described Manziel as his “client,” claiming that the alleged victim attempted to assault Manziel.

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Matt Kalil regrets knocking hat off heckling fan’s head

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Vikings tackle Matt Kalil has had a rough season and it got worse on Sunday.

Kalil, who has struggled as a blocker all year, was flagged for three penalties that knocked the team back 35 yards and then blew off reporters waiting to speak to him after the game by telling them that he was on a phone call. Kalil might have been on the same call outside the stadium later when a Vikings fan heckled him for his poor game, causing Kalil to react by knocking the fan’s hat off of his head before walking away from the crowd.

Deadspin has a video of the incident as well as the fan’s responses to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com on Twitter after Goessling asked him to explain what went down.

“We just watched Matt Kalil cost us the game, so when he came out I really didn’t want to see him, so I said to him “where do you want to be traded?” and he was on his phone, and when it finally registered with him what I said he turned and then he told me to “get the (expletive) outta here” and then I said “I’d rather have your brother than you on my team” and then he walked away like he didn’t hear what I said, but then he turned back around and asked me what I said again and then I repeated what I said again and then he proceeded to grab my hat off my head and throw it on the ground and mumble some stuff I didn’t hear, I then threw my program in his face.”

Goessling reports that Kalil apologized for refusing to talk to reporters and said he regretted his actions with the fan, whose Twitter handle is a profane reworking of late Twins great Kirby Puckett’s name. Kalil said he should have just walked away from the fan, which is certainly good advice for any player faced with a heckler even if one can understand the desire to answer back.

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Brian Hoyer: I have to do a better job

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

If someone compiled a list of things you don’t expect to hear a quarterback say after leading a game-winning drive in the final seconds, “I feel like I let my team down” would have to be somewhere near the top of the list.

That’s what Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer said after Sunday’s 26-24 victory over the Falcons that moved the Browns to 7-4, however, and he was pretty accurate in his assessment of the game. Hoyer went 4-of-6 — one incompletion was a spike to stop the clock before Billy Cundiff’s winning kick — for 61 yards on the final drive of the game, but that came after he’d thrown three interceptions that left you wondering whether coach Mike Pettine would get a round of questions about Johnny Manziel after the game.

“It’s great to win but I’m really disappointed in myself,” Hoyer said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I feel like I let the team down even though we won. That’s not how I play. Obviously it’s great to get a win and be 7-4, but I have to do a better job.”

Hoyer has generally done a better job this year with only stinkers in losses to the Jaguars and Texans joining Sunday’s performance as ones that didn’t add to the team’s chances of winning. That’s not a terrible ratio, especially with Hoyer able to fight through Sunday’s struggles and get a win that counts the same as if he’d had the game of his life.

The Browns will obviously have to weigh this game along with all the others Hoyer plays this season when deciding how to handle his impending free agency, but that’s an issue for February. In November, it’s enough that the Browns won a game they probably should have lost.

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Tashaun Gipson expected to miss 6-8 weeks with MCL sprain

tashaungipson AP

The NFL’s leader in interceptions is likely to miss the remainder of the regular season.

Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, who is leading the league with six picks, has suffered a grade-3 MCL sprain, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN. That’s an injury that typically comes with a recovery time in the six-to-eight-week range.

With only five weeks remaining in the regular season, that could be a season-ending injury. But the Browns are in the playoff hunt at 7-4, so it’s possible Gipson could return for the postseason.

Gipson was carted off the field during Sunday’s win over the Falcons after a collision with cornerback Joe Haden. The injury looked bad enough that there were fears of a torn ACL, so in that context, an MCL sprain is actually good news. Gipson should be 100 percent for offseason work, and it’s still possible that he’s not done this season.

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Ryan Mallett’s pectoral injury a season-ender

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Getty Images

Ryan Mallett waited nearly four years for a chance to start in the NFL, and that chance ended after two weeks.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the pectoral injury suffered by the Texans quarterback yesterday against the Bengals was season-ending.

The Texans will now have to turn back to Ryan Fitzpatrick, though it’s possible they’ll take a look at fourth-round rookie Tom Savage if they decide they’re in tire-kicking mode again.

The Texans gave up a sixth-round pick in exchange for the former Patriots backup, who will now go into the free agent market as damaged goods.

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NFL has no comment on Lynch’s media comments

Lynch AP

On Sunday, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch complied with the letter of the league’s media policy by meeting with reporters after a 19-3 win over Arizona.  But Lynch violated the spirit of the rule with a series of non-responsive responses to reporter questions, with “yeah” being the predominant answer — even when the question didn’t call for a “yeah” or “nah” answer.

The NFL has “nah” comment on the matter, which sheds no light on whether Lynch will be disciplined for doing what plenty of others have done in recent weeks, from “on to Cincinnati” to “focused on San Francisco” to “I’m just trying to be a good teammate.”

Lynch was fined $100,000 for failing to meet with reporters last Sunday.  He later called two reporters, giving far more meaningful responses than his stream of “yeah, yeah, yeahs” from Sunday.

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Lions won’t discipline Raiola

raiola AP

The NFL might discipline Detroit center Dominic Raiola, but the Lions won’t.

Raiola, who admitted after Sunday’s loss to the Patriots that he took a cheap shot at Zach Moore’s knees as payback for what he perceived as the Patriots running up the score, is under review for potential discipline from the league office. But Lions coach Jim Caldwell said today that the team will not discipline Raiola.

“He and I talked,” Caldwell said today. “We addressed the issue. He knows how we like to do things here. That’s the end of the story.”

The way they’ve played the last couple of weeks, the Lions look like a team in need of a wake-up call, and the Lions cutting Raiola would be a strong statement to the rest of the team about how they like to do things. But that’s not going to happen. The Lions may say they don’t condone Raiola’s actions, but they’re going to leave it to the league to do something about it.

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After gutsy call, Jim Harbaugh praises Frank Gore’s fourth-down run

frankgore AP

Jim Harbaugh made one of the best calls of the day on Sunday when he decided to go for it on fourth-and-1 from his own 34-yard line while trailing 13-10 with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter. If the 49ers had failed to convert, Washington would have taken over deep in San Francisco territory at a time when a Washington touchdown would have put the game out of reach.

But the 49ers converted, as running back Frank Gore made the first defender miss behind the line of scrimmage and then lunged forward for a three-yard gain. Following that conversion, the 49ers marched down the field and scored their game-winning touchdown. Harbaugh deserved plenty of credit for the decision, but afterward gave Gore the credit.

I thought it was a great run by Frank,” Harbaugh said.

The 49ers went 2-for-2 on fourth downs on Sunday, with the other fourth-down conversion setting up a field goal just before halftime. So in a close win, 10 of the 49ers’ 17 points were attributable to Harbaugh’s aggressive decisions on fourth down. Other coaches should take note.

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Bears survive “worst half of football” thanks to defense

Matt Forte AP

The Bears coaching staff might not have all the answers this year, but they can successfully diagnose a problem.

That led to a frank halftime speech, after they fell behind 10-0 to the Buccaneers yesterday.

“Basically at halftime coach was telling us that basically we just played the worst half of football and we’re only down 10 to nothing,” Forte said, via Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. “Our defense definitely kept us in the game with that. We can’t come out and lay an egg in the first half and expect to come from behind all the time. Luckily it was only 10 points. Our defense did a great job in the second half causing turnovers that we could convert into touchdowns down in the red zone. Our defense did a great job doing that and helped us win the game.”

They were able to survive thanks to the defense (14 of their 21 points came off Bucs turnovers), but it helped that the offense did a little something, after gaining 68 yards in the first half.

“It was all on us,” Forte said. “Penalties … backing us up first-and-15 and not executing little nuances of the plays. If all 11 aren’t on the same page, sometimes the play can work but most times it won’t work. Halftime we came in and Kyle [Long] wrote on the board, ‘Execute and no excuses.’ Don’t make excuses of why we didn’t do this or why we didn’t do that, just go out there and execute the plays and drive the ball down the field.”

Ah, so it’s that simple. It also helps to be playing the 2-9 Buccaneers, I suppose.

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PFT Live: Eagles talk with Geoff Mosher, Ravens talk with Clifton Brown

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwu2nmyxn2q0zmnmnzdhntk0njbjmjrhn2i1ztcznjnl AP

The Eagles outlasted the Titans on Sunday for a 43-24 win that guaranteed them at least a share of first place in the NFC East when the day came to an end.

That share is all they own after the Cowboys were able to come back to beat the Giants on Sunday night, leaving both teams with 8-3 records after 11 games. Only one of them can win their ninth game this week, though, as the two sides will square off in Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Geoff Mosher of CSN Philly will join Mike Florio on Monday’s edition of PFT Live to take a look back at what the Eagles did on Sunday as well as look ahead to how they’ll fare on Thursday after a quick turnaround.

There are still two games yet to play in Week 12 and we’ll take a look ahead to one of them with Clifton Brown of CSN Baltimore. He’ll talk to Florio about what the Ravens have to do to get a win in the Superdome and keep pace with their competition in the AFC North.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Jarvis Jones returning to practice this week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Steelers are returning from their bye week on Monday and they’ll have one more body on the practice field than they had last week.

Bob Labriola of the team’s website reports that Jones will return to practice on Monday, opening up a three-week window for him to practice before the team would have to decide whether to activate him from injured reserve. It doesn’t have to take that long, however, and Jones is eligible to play as soon as this Sunday if the team deems him ready.

Jones needed to have wrist surgery after getting injured in a win over the Panthers in Week Three, one of several key injuries that have provided obstacles on defense for the Steelers this season. His loss helped lead the Steelers to coax James Harrison out of retirement, a decision that has brought them 18 tackles and four sacks in Jones’s absence.

That’s one more sack than Jones has managed in his first 17 NFL games, something that the Steelers would surely like to see their 2013 first-round pick improve on as they try to make the playoffs.

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