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Jim Schwartz says Lions weren’t celebrating Colts injury

Ndamukong Suh AP

Lions defensive tackle/professional lightning rod Ndamukong Suh earned another round of negative feedback from one of his opponents this week.

No kicking or stomping this time, but Colts guard Mike McGlynn took issue with Suh laughing and celebrating with his teammates after a block by Suh left Colts tackle Winston Justice with a concussion. The block came during an interception return by Lions cornerback Don Carey and was not penalized by the officials, although that didn’t affect McGlynn’s opinion that the Lions showed “blatant disrespect.”

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was asked about what happened on Monday. He said he thought his team was celebrating an interception that looked like it would improve their chances of winning up two scores in the fourth quarter as opposed to Justice’s injury.

“There were no penalties on that play. Our guys were rightfully excited. We had a very good pass rush on that. The quarterback, like we had talked all week, had to elevate his throw, made the interception, got the ball around midfield and, unlike our other interception, didn’t have any penalties. We’re excited about it,” Schwartz said, via Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “I don’t think anybody’s reveling in anybody being injured or anything like that.”

Only Suh and the other Lions defenders know what was actually in their heads at the moment in question. What we do know is that they gave up a two score lead from that point, so they might want to hold onto their celebrations until the final whistle in future games.

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Cardell Hayes’ lawyer argues Will Smith’s killing shouldn’t be tried during NFL season

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 28:   Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints dances after a big play against the New York Giants at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 28, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Giants 49 to 24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

A trial date of September 20 has been set in New Orleans to determine the fate of Cardell Hayes, who is charged with second-degree murder for shooting and killing former Saints defensive end Will Smith earlier this year.

John Fuller, one of Hayes’ lawyers, would like to see the start date for that trial changed. Fuller argued in an Orleans Parish court on Wednesday that “it’s only fair” to avoid trying his client during football season because the timing could bias a jury against Hayes.

District Judge Camille Buras denied the request, although she said she would consider a continuance for other reasons.

“I do not mind continuances when it’s based on reasons, either for complexity reasons or forensic issues that are outstanding,” Buras said, via the New Orleans Advocate. “I cannot in good conscience say I’m going to continue the case because it’s football season.”

Hayes shot Smith and Smith’s wife — he faces an attempted murder charge as well — after an argument resulted from Hayes’ car bumping theirs from behind on April 9. Hayes has argued self-defense and his attorneys have tried unsuccessfully to get video footage from bars and restaurants the Smiths visited before the shooting after toxicology reports found Smith’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

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Report: Johnny Manziel plans to go “completely sober” — Friday

johnny_manziel.vadapt.664.high.52 Getty Images

Maybe Johnny Manziel is taking seriously all the good advice people keep giving him to clean up his act.

At least he says he plans to, after this one sweet kegger he’s throwing in Mexico.

Manziel told TMZ that he’s “going completely sober starting July 1st.”

Of course, that gives him between now and Friday to get it all out of his system, and it seems like plenty of people with him aren’t taking the same pledge. TMZ has photos of a woman holding what appears to be an illicit substance, but Manziel said the drugs weren’t his and he didn’t know who the woman was.

That’s a perfect recipe for sobriety, of course. Just like giving yourself time for one last big blowout before becoming an adult.

And while he can promise to eat right, give up drinking and start “training like crazy,” Manziel’s actions have gotten us to the point where no one should put much stock in his words. The fact he was willing to taunt his father in one of his latest social media posts should tell us all we need to know.

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Jim Caldwell is skeptical of going for two more often

Jim Caldwell, Chip Kelly AP

As teams around the NFL discuss the possibility of going for two more often, Lions coach Jim Caldwell sounds unconvinced.

Caldwell said he’s aware that quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees have said they want to go for two as the default after every touchdown, but Caldwell said that’s more a matter of quarterbacks getting their competitive juices flowing than thinking about it rationally.

There’s not a quarterback in the league that doesn’t want to go for two,” Caldwell said.

Some of us think it makes sense to make going for two the default, while others think coaches should base it on the game situation. Caldwell leans closer to the latter option.

“It just depends on the situation, I think. We’re certainly prepared to go for [two points] every time. We’re certainly prepared to kick it as well,” Caldwell said. “Sometimes you’re going to have to adjust to teams that decide to go after it. I think we discussed that when the rule was first changed. You have to match [the strategy], just in terms of point differential.”

Caldwell’s skepticism may stem from his own team’s lack of success: The Lions are 1-for-6 on two-point conversions in Caldwell’s two seasons as head coach.

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Troy Vincent: NFL is still trying to help “out of control” Johnny Manziel

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 2:  Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, testifies before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Capitol Hill on December 2, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee was holding a hearing on addressing domestic violence in professional sports. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many continue to pay attention to the life and times of Johnny Manziel in order to determine whether the story ends with Manziel turning things around — or whether it concludes with a much worse outcome.

Even though Manziel currently isn’t (and likely never again will be) employed by an NFL team, the NFL wants to help him. NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent recently addressed the issue in an appearance on 610 Sports’ The Rob Maaddi Show in Philadelphia.

“It’s what you go to bed every night thinking how do you assist someone that’s really not interested or quite frankly doesn’t want to meet you halfway,” Vincent said. “You can have all the resources and they’re endless, confidential resources in your hometown, the individual club where the players or family members live. They’re there. They’re available. But if an individual is not willing to meet you halfway to get assistance, it’s very difficult because it’s something you can’t make an individual do anything.

“In this particular case, it’s obvious it’s gotten out of control,” Vincent said. “You see his parents. When a father speaks out about losing his son potentially to substance abuse, you know there’s a problem. Johnny’s not returning phone calls. He’s in different states. You kind of see him, you get notice of where he is off social media and that’s a challenge, but we won’t stop. We’ll continue to keep reaching out, letting Johnny know we love him, we care for him and we’re here when he’s willing and wants and is able to accept assistance, we’ll be there for him.”

Vincent said that he has been personally involved in reaching out to Manziel, along with the Browns “from ownership on down, General Manager, head coach, their player engagement director, everyone.”

“Again, we won’t stop,” Vincent said. “We’re just hoping that moment happens where Johnny is willing to accept some assistance and get the help that he really needs to just function as an individual. Forget football. But to really get his life turned around so that he can function as a good citizen and a good young man.”

Setting aside the Manziel angle, the fact that Vincent appeared on Rob Maaddi’s radio show should come as a major surprise to anyone who remembers the nuances of the Ray Rice case. It was Maaddi who reported, on behalf of the Associated Press, that someone in the league office had received the in-elevator video before TMZ published it, sparking a full-blown investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller and, for at least a few days, creating the impression that Commissioner Roger Goodell’s tenure was in danger.

The league, needless to say, wasn’t happy with Maaddi’s report, which ultimately was not corroborated by Mueller’s investigation. The fact that Vincent nevertheless appeared on Maaddi’s show gives hope that the rest of us who have said and done far less antagonistic things will get some of these key employees to appear our own radio shows again, at some point.

The connection also invites reasonable speculation as to how long the two have been acquainted (Vincent provided an endorsement last year to a book Maaddi had written), and whether and to what extent they communicated before Maaddi dropped a bombshell that nearly brought down the league office.

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Longtime defensive lineman Cory Redding retires

Cory Redding AP

Cory Redding, a defensive lineman who has played in the NFL since 2003, announced his retirement today.

The 35-year-old Redding, who was released by the Cardinals in April, wrote on Twitter that he is “leaving the game I’ve played for 23 years.”

Redding played 12 games for the Cardinals last season. His most memorable moment was an interception against the Lions that the 318-pound Redding returned 30 yards.

A third-round draft pick of the Lions in 2003, Redding played in Detroit through 2008. He then played one year in Seattle, two in Baltimore and three in Indianapolis before finishing his career last year in Arizona.

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Justin Hunter: There’s another level I have to reach

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 01:  Justin Hunter #15 of the Tennessee Titans completes a catch in front of Johnathan Joseph #24 of the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on November 1, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Earlier this week, we shared Titans wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham’s feeling that he had a good offseason after coach Mike Mularkey pushed the team’s receiving group to step up their games.

Green-Beckham isn’t the only holdover with room to do more. There’s also 2013 second-round pick Justin Hunter, who ended last season on injured reserve with a fractured ankle. Hunter had 22 catches for 264 yards and a touchdown in nine games before getting hurt, which marked a third straight year that saw his production fail to meet the potential that led the Titans to draft him in the first place.

That’s left Hunter facing a challenge from Mularkey “to step up and be more aggressive” because the coach believes Hunter has the talent to succeed. It’s a challenge that Hunter says he’s ready to accept.

“There’s another level,” Hunter said, via the team’s website. “I am definitely going to have to bring it in training camp. There’s a lot of competition, a lot of people fighting for positions and things like that. You can’t slack off because another guy is coming for your spot. I have to keep grinding.”

The Titans closed their offseason work with rookie Tajae Sharpe on the top line of the depth chart with Kendall Wright and Rishard Matthews. Assuming those three and Green-Beckham are healthy, Hunter may need to beat out Harry Douglas for a spot on the roster and another opportunity to show that talent translates to numbers on the field.

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Jake Plummer slams “billionaire a–hole” Jerry Jones over weed policy

Quarterback Jake Plummer of the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots at Invesco Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on January 14, 2005. The Broncos beat the Patriots 27-13 to advance to the AFC Championship. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/NFLPhotoLibrary) Getty Images

A number of former and a few current players have been able to eloquently state their cases for research into the use of medicinal marijuana as a pain-killing alternative for players.

And then, there’s Jake Plummer, who is willing to be a little salty when it comes to the collection of NFL owners who have yet to embrace the possibilities their plant of preference offers.

“I have a hard time with it because everybody says, ‘Oh, poor NFL millionaires. Oh, you poor people.’ They don’t understand,” Plummer told BSN Denver. “Maybe they should have a little more to say about the owners that are billionaires, they’re not millionaires; they’re billionaires.”

“Like Jerry Jones, who says it’s ‘absurd’ that there would be a link between brain trauma, football and CTE. Shame on him for saying that, that billionaire a–hole. It’s the worst thing in the world for a guy like that to say. That’s where we’re sitting; grown-ass men are asked to go out there for millions of dollars — which, yeah, it’s a lot of money — bang themselves around and completely f— their lives over for their 40s and 50s. So yeah, poor football players is what I say. If you’re a grown-ass man, you should be allowed to make grown-ass decisions.”

That’s a perfectly reasonable — if slightly coarse — description of the basic struggle between labor and management on this issue.

The former Cardinals and Broncos quarterback has dealt with hip problems and the usual aches and pains since leaving the game after a 10-year career. And he’s willing to admit embracing marijuana in all its forms might be an effective pain-relief plan, as part of a larger point about individual rights.

“They should be able to say, ‘I’m going to have some CBD and puff on this fatty, relax after a football game and take the pain away,’” he says of players in general. “Not get tested for it like [suspended Browns wide receiver] Josh Gordon, who now can’t play the game that he’s been playing since he was a kid because he smokes marijuana. It didn’t derail him or cause him to underachieve from what I witnessed. He dominated the league for two straight years, and now he’s out of the league because he chose an alternative form of medicine.”

Of course, not every player who uses marijuana or wants to is considering the full range of therapeutic benefits. Some of them want to just get high before they head to the airport for preseason games, and the NFL’s hesitance to throw out all regulation is also understandable, given the establishment’s usual openness to change.

But while some are fighting the fight with science and research, Plummer’s willing to say all the bad words to draw attention to his cause, which he thinks can save football and its players.

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NFLPA demands “credible evidence” of PED violation by Harrison, Matthews, Peppers, Neal

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 08:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks onto the field before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field on November 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

The dance continues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association regarding the Al Jazeera PED allegations, and at this point it’s becoming a mosh pit.

The NFL Players Association has sent a letter to the NFL on behalf of Steelers linebacker James Harrison, in which the union reiterates its request “that the NFL inform him and the NFLPA whether the NFL possesses any credible evidence (e.g., verified documents or verified testimony of witnesses) that warrants an interview of Mr. Harrison regarding a potential violation” of the PED policy.

Although the letter doesn’t expressly take the position that Harrison has no obligation to cooperate until the NFL disciplines him based on “credible evidence” of a violation, the message is clear: Harrison apparently won’t be doing anything unless and until the NFL produces “credible evidence” beyond the remarks contained in the Al Jazeera report.

“Especially in a business where the mere mention of a player-employee’s name can generate ratings for a broadcaster, the NFLPA and Mr. Harrison do not believe that unsupported, unsubstantiated verbal remarks provide ‘sufficient credible evidence’ to initiate an investigation of, and require an interview with, an employee.”

The letter, a copy of which PFT has obtained, mentions only Harrison. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the same letter was sent on behalf of all other active players implicated by the Al Jazeera report: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Mike Neal.

The PED policy seems to contemplate that the player accused of a PED violation won’t be required to provide information until discipline is imposed based on “credible documented evidence” that the rules were broken. The NFLPA apparently is willing to entertain the possibility of a pre-discipline interview if — and only if — the NFL puts the same cards on the table that would be placed on the table if discipline is imposed and the appeal process commences.

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Report: No significant improvement in Jaylon Smith’s injured nerve

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Linebacker Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks off the field after an injury during the first quarter of the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish 44-28.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys were able to get linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round of the draft because fears about lingering nerve damage resulting from the knee injury he suffered in the Fiesta Bowl.

Teams wondered if the issue would keep him from playing in 2016 and if it would limit his effectiveness beyond this year, but Smith’s surgery was done by the Cowboys’ team doctor and his confidence in Smith’s future carried over to the team.

Smith said there was “absolutely” a chance that he’d be on the field this season because “the nerve can come back tomorrow.” Smith’s knee surgery was done by the Cowboys doctor and owner Jerry Jones said he shares Smith’s hope that the knee will improve sooner rather than later.

As of now, though, it doesn’t look like there’s much positive movement. Ed Werder of ESPN reports that there’s been no “significant improvement” in the injured nerve at this point and, as a result, it remains unlikely that Smith will be on the field in 2016.

If that’s the case, the big question in Dallas will shift to whether or not Smith can return to being the kind of player that was projected to be a high first-round pick throughout his career at Notre Dame.

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Are Seahawks overpaying Doug Baldwin?

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a third quarter touchdown past cornerback Jimmy Smith #22 of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

To the extent that Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin plays better when he’s angry, he needs a reason to be angry. My goal isn’t to give him one, but that could be the result of the words I’m about to type.

Did the Seahawks give Baldwin too much money in his new contract?

The most important numbers — signing bonus, full guarantee at signing, cash flow over the next three years — still aren’t known. But the big-picture numbers suggest top-10 money for a guy who, while above average and for a stretch of last season flat-out dominant, may not be a top-10 option.

It’s easy to call a guy “top 10” in the abstract. When actually listing the players, however, the 10 seats fill up, quickly.

In no particular order, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall, and Jarvis Landry would make up the top nine receivers in the league. So who would be the 10th?

Amari Cooper? Alshon Jeffery? Jordy Nelson? Jeremy Maclin? Keenan Allen? Brandin Cooks? Larry Fitzgerald? Emmanuel Sanders? Demaryius Thomas? T.Y. Hilton? Mike Evans? Sammy Watkins? Baldwin?

Apart from where Baldwin fits in the league-wide receiver pecking order is the question of how the investment in a receiver (along with the $9 million per year devoted to tight end Jimmy Graham) meshes with the team’s supposed commitment to the running game. Of course, the $21 million per year paid to quarterback Russell Wilson already doesn’t mesh with a cloud-of-dust-or-at-least-those-little-rubber-pellets approach to offense.

Still, with the passing game now consisting of three highly-paid players, the tailback depth chart currently a smattering of minimum-contract guys, and the offensive line a perpetual work in progress, it’s getting harder and harder to reconcile the team’s desired attack to the picture painted by the money.

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Doug Baldwin recalls humbling start to career after signing extension

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 27:  Wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Rams defeated the Seahawks 23-17.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tuesday’s announcement that the Seahawks and wide receiver Doug Baldwin have agreed to a four-year contract extension didn’t come as much of a surprise given how often both sides talked this offseason about wanting to get a deal done.

Telling someone in 2011 that Baldwin would one day ink a deal with $24 million in guaranteed money and a total value of $46 million would have come as more of a surprise. That’s when Baldwin went undrafted after completing his career at Stanford, something that Baldwin reminisced about in a Facebook post after signing his contract.

“It was 2011,” Baldwin wrote. “I was sitting by myself at a small Mexican restaurant across the street from the Stanford campus. The draft had just ended and my name wasn’t called. I sat in my chair unable to move as if my heart had just been ripped out of my chest. I’ve been playing football since I was 7 years old and, in that moment, it seemed like it was all coming to an end. I humbled myself and waited out the lockout for one last shot at my dream. Then … Seattle called and they wanted me. That was almost 5 years ago. This is now. I’m thankful and blessed to formally announce my 4 year extension with the Seattle Seahawks.”

Baldwin’s production hit a new level in the second half of last season as the Seahawks passing offense took off, but he’d been an efficient and reliable target for Russell Wilson throughout his time with the team. Those traits matter more than how he entered the league or the fact that he doesn’t have the ideal size teams look for at receiver and explain why he has a shiny new contract that will keep him in a prime role on the Seahawks offense for the next few years.

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Eli Manning expects to score more points this season

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on January 3, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Ben McAdoo arrived as the Giants’ offensive coordinator in 2014, the Giants were coming off a season that saw them rank 28th in points scored.

McAdoo has overseen a steady rise over the last two seasons, with the Giants jumping from just over 18 to 26.3 points a game by the end of the 2015 season. That work helped McAdoo bump Tom Coughlin out of the head coaching job this offseason in a move that brought some change to the team without throwing out something that’s worked well the last two years.

Quarterback Eli Manning is happy that the offense has remained in place and sees room for improvement. Manning believes that adding rookie wide receiver Sterling Shepard to the offense while also getting wideout Victor Cruz and tight end Larry Donnell back from injury will lead the team to put up even more points in 2016.

“We expect to be able score the ball,” Manning said, via Rhett Lewis of NFL Media. “We feel like we can score over 28 points a game. That’s what we want to do. We were close to hitting that last year.”

Scoring points is only half the battle, of course, and the Giants’ 420 points scored last season still left them with a -22 point differential thanks to the abysmal defense put together by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. The Giants went with continuity by keeping him on the staff for this season, but tried to overhaul the personnel in free agency by spending big money on defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

Assuming the offense continues humming, it will be that side of the ball that again determines the Giants’ fate in the standings.

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Cardinals president says digital distribution of NFL games is the future

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16: Inside linebacker Dwight Freeney #54 of the Arizona Cardinals (left) celebrates with team president Michael Bidwill (right) after the Arizona Cardinals beat the Green Bay Packers 26-20 in overtime of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s major media partners remain the traditional television networks of NBC, CBS and FOX, the cable network ESPN and the satellite provider DirecTV. But it’s only a matter of time before an online distributor also becomes a major media partner of the NFL.

That’s the word from Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, who said today on PFT Live that he expects an online video distributor like Amazon, Netflix or YouTube will some day out-bid the traditional television companies to broadcast NFL games.

“There’s no doubt it’s coming,” Bidwill said. “The question is how we transition into it. What we need to do is do a great job of listening to our fans about how they want to consume NFL content. Our fans are switching to digital, they’re switching to handheld and mobile devices, and we want to respond to that.”

The Cardinals teamed with Amazon for the new documentary series All or Nothing, which debuts July 1 on Amazon Prime. Bidwill is excited about the way that series can help the team draw fans from outside Arizona.

“This was a great way for us to tell our story across the country,” he said. “We want to expand our footprint, expand our fan base.”

Eventually, the NFL hopes to expand the fan base around the world, and the path to doing that will be broadcasting games online.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Former NFL Head Coach Buddy Ryan watches the Buffalo Bills and the Indianapolis Colts warm up before the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Joe Namath says all the Jets on the Super Bowl III-winning team loved their defensive line coach, Buddy Ryan.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins might be better off not talking about his injury.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick says it was Buddy Ryan’s 46 that drove the two-back offense out of the NFL.

The Dolphins like their depth on the offensive line.

Buddy Ryan may deserve a bit of credit for the great 2000 Ravens defense.

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says Buddy Ryan had a huge impact on him.

Jim Brown says suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon has been to rehab and is taking his recovery seriously.

Steelers LB James Harrison plays a version of volleyball with a heavy medicine ball.

The Texans like the versatility of TE Ryan Griffin.

Former Colts RB Zurlon Tipton, who died on Tuesday in an accidental shooting, is remembered as one of the loudest and funniest players in the locker room.

Jaguars OT Josh Wells is trying to learn the little things about playing on the offensive line in the NFL.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey talks about the lengths fans will go to to get him to give the ball to the players on their fantasy teams.

Former Broncos QB Peyton Manning says he was honored to call the late coach Pat Summitt a friend.

Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin is taking young receivers under his wing.

Here’s a look at some of the best videos on the Raiders’ website.

Ex-Chargers QB Moses Moreno is now a high school ref.

Does Cowboys QB Tony Romo have one of the worst contracts in the NFL?

Ex-Giants WR Preston Parker will avoid jail time in a plea deal on cocaine charges.

In Philadelphia, they still debate whether Buddy Ryan was good for the franchise.

Washington CB Josh Norman was name-dropped by Jay Z.

Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary and other 1985 Bears loved Buddy Ryan.

The Lions are choosing their first cheerleading squad.

The Packers’ shareholders are considering a new director.

Former Vikings coach Bud Grant has fond memories of Buddy Ryan.

The Falcons think they have an improved offense.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera considered Buddy Ryan a great mentor.

Saints TE Coby Fleener is a self-proclaimed nerd.

Former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden says Pat Summitt made an impression on him.

When Buddy Ryan became coach of the Cardinals, he memorably said, “You’ve got a winner in town.”

New Rams assistant coach Mike Singletary was a teammate of head coach Jeff Fisher on the 1980s Bears.

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin promises his new contract won’t turn him soft.

49ers DL Glenn Dorsey bought a home for $2.7 million.

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NFLPA agrees: NFL needs “credible evidence” before players must respond to PED charges

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 13:  The logo for Al Jazeera America is displayed outside of the cable news channel's offices on January 13, 2016 in New York City. Al Jazeera America, which debuted in August 2013,  announced today that they are shutting down. Employees of the struggling news network known as AJAM were informed of the decision during an all-hands staff meeting on Wednesday afternoon.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The plain language of the NFL’s PED policy indicates that, before a player ever talks to the league or otherwise provides information regarding a potential violation arising from anything other than a positive test, the league must have “credible documented evidence” that a violation happened. Per a source with knowledge of the union’s thinking on the issue, the NFL Players Association agrees with that assessment and procedure.

Put as simply as possible, if the league believes that it has “credible documented evidence” of a violation arising from something other than a positive PED test, the league should impose discipline, which then triggers the obligation of the players to provide information via the appeal process.

Although NFLPA spokesman George Atallah didn’t put it that bluntly during a Tuesday appearance on PFT Live, that was the clear gist of his remarks.

“The interpretation has been there for many, many years that we need, from our perspective, we need some sort of credible evidence beyond just eight lines in a dialogue where the main source recanted everything he said in order to trigger a full-blown investigation the way the league has positioned it,” Atallah said. “So I think from our point of view, we are where we are because in the report from December they had one source, that one source recanted everything. You know, for a guy like James Harrison, I mean we pulled all of the documentary. Our attorneys watched the whole thing over and over again to see what exactly was alleged during that report and all we came up with for a guy like James was literally eight lines of a dialogue in a piece where Charlie Sly, the source, recanted all of his statements. So we certainly don’t think that that’s enough to merit an investigation. You and I both know that people say a bunch of crazy things on media and social media and if were in a world where the league wanted to investigate every time somebody tweeted something about a player they’d have a whole heck of a lot of staff they’d need to hire to do that.”

Thus, even though the NFL has said that the interviews of the players implicated in the Al Jazeera report will happen at the opening of training camp, the NFLPA does not yet believe the time has come for the players to speak.

“We’re at the point now where the process, we believe, dictates that we need specific credible evidence to make a determination and recommendation for how the players are going to move forward,” Atallah said. “The league has not provided that evidence yet beyond, again, the initial report that was there. They have said to us that the MLB is looking into it and USADA is looking into it. That frankly so far is not enough.”

The league apparently thinks it is enough, to the point where the NFL apparently will take action against players who fail to submit to an interview.

“If you take the league at their word from the letter that they leaked on Friday, they are threatening to impose some sort of discipline if the players don’t cooperate so I would assume that that would trigger some sort of mechanism by which an arbitrator would have to resolve this,” Atallah said. “Our position [is] pretty clear. They have not provided anything beyond the report to substantiate doing a full-blown investigation and the dance goes on.”

It could be, as suggested in our Tuesday item, that the league doesn’t want to impose discipline based simply on the Al Jazeera report, and that the NFL hopes the players will say something during interviews that will in some way conflict with whatever objective evidence the NFL has gathered, justifying the finding of a violation. The NFLPA strongly objects to this approach, if that’s what the NFL is doing.

“That’s not a fair due process and I think that is a concern that has been highlighted in the way that they have done other investigations in the past,” Atallah said. “If this was a league office that had a shred of integrity left then there would not be this issue at the moment and we would have figured out a way already to resolve this. If we had a group of players and a group of fans and media who had a shred of confidence in the way that they proceed with these issues we would not be having this discussion about whether or not they have the right to investigate or not because we would have resolved this thing already. They’re not in the business of resolving issues quietly, amicably, and in a way that’s best for business. They just are interested in imposing their will any which way they want, and we’re always going to stand up for our players rights.”

If that means the players will refuse to be interviewed, this one could get a lot more interesting once training camps open.

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