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Monday morning one-liners

Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers runs through the tackle of Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster to score in fourth quarter of NFL football game in Tampa Reuters

The Bills gave up a return touchdown for the second straight week.

Dolphins WR Davone Bess kept finding ways to get open in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots will try to wrap up the AFC East this week.

Speculating about possible coaching and personnel candidates for the Jets.

How did RB Ray Rice describe his fourth down conversion that helped save the Ravens? “Check down, Hey Diddle Diddle, Ray Rice up the middle.”

Said Bengals T Andrew Whitworth of getting ejected for fighting Raiders DE Lamarr Houston, “I’ve got two contracts in my life. One, with my wife because we’re married. And, two, I’ve got a contract to protect Andy Dalton. I’ll do both of those to the best of my ability.”

Sunday’s win upped the Browns’ record to 3-3 when CB Joe Haden is able to play.

Said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin of shuffling through his running backs, “They were fumbling the ball. So we are going to play people who can secure the football. But after everybody does it, obviously, there aren’t many choices left.”

A look ahead at the Texans’ remaining schedule.

WR T.Y. Hilton was the Colts rookie star of Sunday’s win.

WR Cecil Shorts has found his spot in the Jaguars offense.

The Titans benched S Jordan Babineaux for the second time this season.

Good health has paid off for Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas.

It’s becaome a weekly routine that the Chiefs lose on Sunday and Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star tears them apart for it on Monday.

Raiders QB Carson Palmer got an unfriendly welcome in his return to Cincinnati.

The Chargers defense got torn apart by injuries on Sunday.

The Cowboys parted ways with WR Andre Holmes this weekend.

A 15-year-old cancer patient gave the Giants a motivational speech before their game with the Packers.

The Eagles expect to encounter a hostile home crowd on Monday night.

Redskins QB Robert Griffin III spent the weekend enjoying a return to his old stomping grounds.

Bears P Adam Podlesh enjoyed getting a chance to score points when the team faked an extra point.

Rookie Riley Reiff’s first start at tackle for the Lions went fairly smoothly.

Said Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, “You win five in a row and everyone is happy, but like I said last year during the run, there are things that go under the radar that need to be handled. Sometimes it takes a loss. We need to remember this feeling and not have this kind of embarrassment happen again.”

Vikings WR Jerome Simpson called himself terrible after dropping three passes on Sunday.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers outperformed Falcons teammate Michael Turner by a fair margin in Sunday’s win.

Andy Reid once hired Ron Rivera as an assistant and the Panthers coach faces Reid Monday with both men fighting for their jobs.

The Saints were down to their fourth-string right tackle on Sunday.

Buccaneers RB Doug Martin couldn’t find much running room against the Falcons.

Cardinals LB Quentin Groves said that the Cardinals have to pull together in the wake of their seventh straight loss.

RB Steven Jackson put on his big-boy pads to help the Rams to a win.

49ers LB Aldon Smith is closing in on Reggie White’s record for most sacks in a player’s first two seasons.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times thinks the Seahawks lost a game he should have won.

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Bisciotti says no one at Ravens will lose job

Bisciotti Getty Images

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti met with the media on Monday, roughly 15 minutes after the Ravens disseminated a thorough, detailed response to the ESPN report accusing the Ravens of mishandling the Ray Rice case.

The press conference would have been a lot more efficient if the release had come sooner.  At one point, Bisciotti reminded someone off camera that Bisciotti had suggested sending it out sooner.

As to the Rice situation, Bisciotti said plenty of things.  Most importantly, he said that no members of the organization will lose their jobs as a result of the Rice investigation.

He also attributed much of the ESPN report to sources with ties to Rice, and the agendas that naturally flow from it.

“The majority of the sources are people who work for Ray,” Bisciotti said.  “It’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agents, and Ray’s friends.”

Bisciotti attributed the comments to a simple motivation.

“They are building a case for reinstatement,” Bisciotti said.  “The best way to build a case for reinstatement is to make everyone else make look like they were lying.”

Bisciotti also pointed out that ESPN worked on the report for 11 days, but gave the Ravens only a couple of hours to respond to ESPN’s questions before publication.  He questioned whether ESPN was even concerned about the team’s position, claiming that co-author Kevin Van Valkenburg teased a “bombshell” report on Twitter before the report was published.

Bisciotti also disputed the notion that he offered future employment to Rice as “hush money” aimed at getting Rice to go along with the notion that Rice had lied to the team about what he did.

Bisciotti vowed that changes will be made if/when future situations like this arise in the future, and that he harbors no animosity toward the league for its handling of this situation.  But he said that, if the league handles a similar case in the same way in the future, he’d lose faith in the league’s ability to address such issues.

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Ravens dispute the key allegations in the ESPN report

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Friday’s report from ESPN says many things about the manner in which the Ravens handled the Ray Rice investigation. The Ravens have now responded to it, with a detailed, written statement addressing numerous contentions contained in the story.

The most important allegations related to Ravens director of security Darren Sanders and Ravens president Dick Cass. The statement contains responses from both men.

As to Sanders, he reportedly had the contents of the elevator video described by an Atlantic City police officer within the hours after the incident occurred.

“I did not receive an account of what happened in the elevator ‘within hours’ of the incident,” Sanders said. “Within a couple of days, I asked the casino and the Atlantic City Police Department for a copy of any videotape of the incident. They said they could not release a copy of the videotape to me. Some days later — I believe it was on February 25 — I spoke to an Atlantic City police official again, asking again whether I could get a copy of the tape or, if not, whether I could come to his New Jersey office and view it. He said I could not, but he did offer to view the tape and describe what he saw. (As I understand it, he was describing a raw video, not the ‘cleaned up,’ ‘smoothed . . . out’ version that appeared on TMZ.) He said that Ray and Janay both appeared to be intoxicated, and that they were involved in a heated argument that began outside the elevator and continued inside. As he described it, Janay appeared to initiate the altercation, but they both spit at and struck each other, resulting in Janay falling and hitting her head against the wall railing. The officer could not tell from the video whether Ray slapped or punched her, but Ray told me very clearly that he did not punch her. It was not clear from the officer’s account whether it was being intoxicated, being hit, or hitting her head against the railing that caused Janay’s apparent unconsciousness.”

Cass reportedly was told by Rice’s criminal defense lawyer that the elevator video is “f–king horrible” and that he “knocker her the f–k out.” Cass also reportedly lobbied for the placement of Rice in a pretrial intervention program, partially in order to keep the video from public view.

“I believe Ray’s criminal defense attorney mentioned the video to me in late May around the time that the court granted Ray’s application for pretrial intervention,” Cass said. “I don’t recall his precise words, but he did say the video looked terrible. I did not ask Ray’s attorney for a copy of the video. I assumed the video would be terrible, because it would show a man striking a woman. But I also thought the video would show a physical altercation where Ray was defending himself with an open hand. My view about the video was also influenced by the fact that the prosecutor and the judge agreed to the ultimate dismissal of all charges against Ray after seeing the video. We had decided several months before to leave fact finding to the court system and the League. As we have said, that was a mistake, and I regret it.

“I did not urge Ray’s defense attorney to follow any particular course of action. I told his attorney that he should do what he felt was in the best interest of his client. I had never even heard of ‘pretrial intervention’ until Ray’s attorney explained it to me. So yes, I agreed with him that pretrial intervention was in Ray’s best interest. Who wouldn’t? It meant the ultimate dismissal of all criminal claims without a trial and the risk of a guilty verdict. Of course, I did not want a criminal trial because of all the adverse publicity associated with a celebrity trial. But I did not think that pretrial intervention would prevent the video from becoming public. I assumed that would eventually occur in any event.”

So while it took three days for the Ravens to respond, Sanders and Cass have provided a potent and pointed response to the ESPN report.

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Bruce Arians called hit on his QB a “cheap shot”

Drew Stanton, Michael Wilhoite AP

The Cardinals were already on their backup quarterback.

But they almost lost Drew Stanton, on a vicious hit from 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta.

Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made no bones about it, calling it a “cheap shot.”

“No doubt he was sliding,” Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “That could have ended his career.”

Arians said the fact Stanton was wearing a mouth guard helped lessen the seriousness of the injury.

But he clearly thinks Stanton wasn’t at fault.

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Niners hopeful Vernon Davis will return next Sunday

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

The 49ers are hopeful tight end Vernon Davis‘ absence will span just one game.

According to the club’s Twitter feed, head coach John Harbaugh said he was “optimistic” Davis would be able to suit up for Sunday’s matchup against 3-0 Philadelphia.

Davis exited the Week Two loss to Chicago with knee and ankle injuries. He was inactive for Sunday’s defeat at Arizona, as was second-string tight end Vance McDonald (knee).

The 30-year-old Davis is a key part of the 49ers’ offense. Long one of the game’s fastest tight ends, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Davis can give safeties, linebackers and cornerbacks fits.

The Niners (1-2) are two games back of the Cardinals and one game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West.

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DeAngelo Hall confirms his season is over

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

All indications on Sunday were that cornerback DeAngelo Hall was done for the season with a torn Achilles tendon and the veteran confirmed it on Monday.

Hall isn’t wasting any time when it comes to getting his rehab organized. He said that he’s already started reaching out to others, including Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who have suffered the injury to get their advice on the best way to progress.

“I’ve spoke to a couple other athletes, who have had this similar injury. I’m just trying to do my homework, my due diligence make sure I pick the right place [to have surgery],” Hall said, via the Washington Post. “I’m not a spring chicken, so I’ve got to make sure I get it done it the right way. I’ve got to be as patient as possible, attack this rehab and get back out on the field.”

He’ll turn 31 in November and it’s no sure thing that rehab will be a smooth one. Hall signed a four-year deal with the Redskins this offseason, which should afford him every chance to show he’s back to form in 2015.

The Redskins will promote Chase Minniefield from the practice squad to take Hall’s spot on the roster.

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Chip Kelly doesn’t think his practices are a problem

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams raised a few eyebrows Sunday when he followed up an Eagles win by going public with his feelings that the Eagles practiced too hard during the week and that “you can’t continue to run your team into the ground and expect great results.”

Williams said that other members of the Eagles felt the same way, which all but guaranteed that coach Chip Kelly would be asked about it on Monday. Kelly was asked about Williams’s comments and if he thought the team felt they were being worked too hard in practice.

“No,” Kelly said, via the Philadelphia Daily News. “I know we ask our guys to run a lot during practice. I met with Cary just a little while ago, he came in on his own today … I think he was frustrated. I understand that. Cary’s a competitor. I got no issues with Cary.”

Kelly added that he wasn’t bothered by Williams airing his feelings to the media, which should put a pin in this story as long as the Eagles don’t lose a game in which they look exhausted at the opening kickoff.

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Ravens schedule press conference for 4 p.m. ET

Steve Bisciotti AP

The Ravens are ready to talk about the “numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings” that they believe were included in the ESPN report about their handling of the Ray Rice case.

The team announced Monday afternoon that owner Steve Bisciotti will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. ET in Baltimore. The above quote was included in the Ravens’ statement about the report on Friday, but the team said they would not address what any of them were until after the team played the Browns on Sunday.

Predictably, coach John Harbaugh was asked about the report following that game and said that the team was united in their decision-making in response to a question about the report’s claim that he wanted to cut Rice after the running back was arrested in February. The Ravens parted ways with Rice two weeks ago after the video of him punching Janay Palmer Rice was released by TMZ.

The team took a page out of the NFL’s playbook for Friday’s Roger Goodell press conference by scheduling the press conference for a short time after they made the announcement. We’ll see if the strategy works out any better for them than it did for the Commissioner.

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Report: Kyle Rudolph needs sports hernia surgery

Kyle Rudolph, Jerraud Powers AP

It doesn’t look like Teddy Bridgewater will have tight end Kyle Rudolph to lean on when he makes his first start at quarterback for the Vikings.

Rudolph left Sunday’s loss to the Saints with a groin injury and was expected to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that Rudolph will need to have sports hernia surgery and is expected to miss about six weeks while he recovers.

If that’s the case and the timeline is in the neighborhood that Breer reported, he could be a candidate for injured reserve with the designation to return as the Vikings haven’t used it yet this season.

The Vikings have targeted Rudolph 17 times this season, just behind Greg Jennings for the most of anyone on the team. That would make for a significant absence that the Vikings will try to fill with Rhett Ellison and MarQueis Gray.

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Arian Foster says he’s day-to-day with hamstring injury

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpwzjzjrindfiyji1yzrkymiwnddlytq2zjmwy2ewnjhl AP

The Texans played without running back Arian Foster on Sunday because they didn’t feel Foster’s hamstring was up to facing the Giants.

Foster was missed. Alfred Blue broke a 46-yard run, but had 32 yards on his other 12 carries and the team was forced to lean too heavily on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to get their offense moving in a 30-17 loss that wasn’t as close as the final score might lead you to believe.

On Monday, Foster said that his hamstring felt “good” while working out on Sunday although it obviously wasn’t good enough to allay any fears that the team might have had about his condition. While he felt good on Sunday, he wasn’t making any overly optimistic predictions for this week’s game.

Foster, who looked good in running for 241 yards in the two Texans wins that opened the season, described himself as “day-to-day,” which will make his practice status on Wednesday closely watched in both Houston and Buffalo.

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Dolphins won’t commit to Ryan Tannehill as starter

Kansas City Chiefs v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Well, this should be a fun trip to London for the Dolphins this week.

During his press conference today, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin refused to commit to former first-rounder Ryan Tannehill for their game against the Raiders at Wembley Stadium.

After some early hedging, Philbin was asked specifically if Tannehill would start against the Raiders.

We’ll decide our game plan before we leave to play Oakland,” Philbin replied, via Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post.

The No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft — selected by a guy who no longer works there — Tannehill has slumped this season.

Tannehill helped them to a win over the Patriots in the opener, but his numbers this season are well off his previous pace. He’s only completing 56.5 percent of his passes, and his passer rating his declined each week to get him to 74.1 for the year.

The option is Matt Moore, and Philbin did everything he could to provide no clarity. Asked if the two were competing this week for the job, Philbin replied: “we’ll utilize the players the best way we see fit.”

Tannehill has shown flashes of competence, but nothing about him suggests that he’s going to be anything more than an average NFL quarterback, at best. Moore has shown similar flashes, and lighting a fire under the starter can’t hurt at this stage.

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Pettine blames himself for Browns’ loss

pettine AP

After the Browns surrendered a fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Ravens on Sunday, Mike Pettine put the blame on himself.

“I thought for the bulk of it the players played well enough to have a victory. I put this one on me. We didn’t coach well enough to win today. I’m not going to get into too much of the specifics until I get a chance to go through it. The list is long,” Pettine said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Pettine didn’t say exactly what he feels he should have done differently. But the Browns had a sloppy fourth quarter in which they picked up four penalties, had a field goal blocked and twice allowed the Ravens to drive into field goal range, resulting in a 21-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter turning into a 23-21 loss. Pettine also acknowledged that the Browns had to burn timeouts because the coaching staff didn’t do a good enough job of communicating to the players what personnel package they were supposed to be in.

That was a tough loss for the Browns to take. Pettine is taking it hard.

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Technically, league is running out of time on Rice appeal

Ray Rice AP

Ten days ago, the NFL indefinitely suspended running back Ray Rice.  Last Tuesday, Rice appealed the suspension.

Six days later, Commissioner Roger Goodell still hasn’t appointed a hearing officer, and no progress has been made toward establishing a date for the appeal.

That could soon become a problem for the league.  Per multiple sources, the following language from the labor deal applies to the resolution of Rice’s appeal: “Appeal hearings under Section 1(a) will be scheduled to commence within ten (10) days following receipt of the notice of appeal, except that hearings on suspensions issued during the playing season (defined for this Section as the first preseason game through the Super Bowl) will be scheduled for the second Tuesday following the receipt of the notice of appeal, with the intent that the appeal shall be heard no fewer than eight (8) days and no more than thirteen (13) days following the suspension, absent mutual agreement of the parties or a finding by the hearing officer of extenuating circumstances. If unavailability of counsel is the basis for a continuance, a new hearing shall be scheduled on or before the Tuesday following the original hearing date, without exception.”

In English, this means that the hearing ideally will be held between Tuesday and Thursday of this week, with the hearing held no later than next Tuesday, September 30 — unless the hearing officer decides that the circumstances prevent it, or the NFL and NFLPA agree to delay it.

The NFLPA accidentally cited the offseason rule in the announcement of the Rice appeal, and it’s possible the NFL will claim that this operated as a waiver of the stricter in-season timetable. That would be a flimsy argument, however; the rules are plainly set forth in the labor deal, and the first order of business in any situation where a party must take action by a certain time should be to figure out the last day on which the action can be taken.

The NFL may argue that Goodell’s decision to hand the baton to someone else creates “extenuating circusmtances” that justify a delay, but the league office told PFT last Wednesday that Goodell “never intended” to handle the appeal. So why has he waited 10 days and counting since suspension was imposed to appoint someone to handle it?

There’s a chance the NFLPA won’t make an issue of this. Rice literally (not actually literally, unless there’s a glow we don’t know about) has become radioactive to potential suitors. Whether the hearing happens this week or next week or next month or next year, it won’t change the fact that no one will be rolling out the red carpet for him any time soon.

Still, at a time when the league and the various teams embroiled in controversy have talked openly and repeatedly about “getting it right” despite so many things having gone badly wrong, it would be nice to see that something can be gotten right, especially when that something entails the fairly simple application of a clearly-worded scheduling rule that the NFL has used many times in the past.

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Two more Panthers backs headed to MRI tubes

Jonathan Stewart, Mike Mitchell AP

This is some kind of sick joke.

The Panthers — after years of buying all the running backs — are suddenly out of running backs.

Coach Ron Rivera just told reporters that Jonathan Stewart (knee) and Mike Tolbert (leg) were getting MRIs today on injuries suffered in last night’s loss to the Steelers.

The Panthers were already playing without starter DeAngelo Williams, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and reserve/special teamer Fozzy Whittaker.

That forced them to call undrafted rookie Darrin Reaves up from the practice squad over the weekend, and he is currently atop the depth chart.

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Lions confirm: Stephen Tulloch tore ACL celebrating

Stephen Tulloch AP

It’s bad enough he was compared to a Gramatica.

Now Stephen Tulloch has the entire season to plan his next celebration.

The Lions confirmed that Tulloch tore his ACL yesterday while celebrating a sack, and would be placed on injured reserve.

As difficult a break as it was, Lions coach Jim Caldwell knows it’s hard to curb such celebrations.

“It’s not going to happen,” Caldwell said. “This is an emotional game. We want enthusiasm.”

The Lions thought they ended their bizarre injury luck when they let veteran receiver/pizza delivery guy Nate Burleson go this offseason, but this may be even worse.

In a related development, high fives have been prohibited, and Ndamukong Suh has been given a big, soft, fuzzy boot to wear when he feels like stomping someone.

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Another OL hit: Jason Kelce needs sports hernia surgery

Jason Kelce

The hits keep coming for the Eagles offensive line, which was supposed to be their foundation.

According to Jeff McLaneof the Philadelphia Inquirer, center Jason Kelce has a sports hernia and will likely need surgery to repair it.

Kelce left yesterday’s game just after halftime and didn’t return.

They’re still another week away from the return of right tackle Lane Johnson from suspension, and left guard Evan Mathis is already using the IR/designated for return spot. Sixth-man/spot-starter Allen Barbre was lost for the season to an ankle injury in the opener.

Kelce could miss two months or more, though they’re waiting for additional tests to determine the time frame.

Backup David Molk replaced him yesterday, but they’d need to make some degree of roster move as their numbers dwindle. Veteran Wade Smith was dragged in off the street to start at guard, and he can play center as well.

The Eagles were scrambling yesterday, as veteran Todd Herremans was their only regular left after left tackle Jason Peters was ejected for fighting, leaving people called Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, Smith and Molk to finish the game.

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