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PFT Live: Bye bye kickoffs?

Mike Florio updates us on the latest news in the NFL starting with Commissioner Goodell’s idea to eliminate kickoffs entirely, the possibility that a confession from the “Manhattan Madam” will reveal the names of her NFL clients, and an analysis of Thursday night’s matchup pitting the Raiders against the Broncos in Denver.

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Bill Belichick’s politely declining to elaborate on #DeflateGate

Bill Belichick AP

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was probably hoping he buried #DeflateGate with Saturday’s Mona Lisa Vito press conference.

And upon arriving in Arizona last night, he gave a hint of what he’s going to be saying a lot today.

Via Phil Perry of, Belichick insisted that he’s said his last about the relative air pressure of footballs.

I appreciate the questions but I’ve covered everything I can cover in the previous week,” Belichick said. “My attention is focused on the Seattle Seahawks.”

Several attempts were made to revisit the topic, but they were met the same way.

“This week,” Belichick said, “it’s all about Seattle.”

He’ll have an opportunity to reprise that answer a few dozen times today at media day. And in fairness to and solidarity with my media brethren, there are still plenty of questions to be asked.

Because as much as Belichick wants to think it’s over, there have been plenty of developments in the case since Saturday’s filibuster, including our report that there’s video of a ballboy taking a dozen footballs to the bathroom with him.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington Redskins Getty Images

A look at Bills DE Jerry Hughes as he approaches free agency.

How can the Dolphins create cap space for the offseason?

The Patriots believe they can run the ball on the Seahawks.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll called trading Percy Harvin to the Jets a “difficult choice.”

S Matt Elam is hoping to turn things around for the Ravens in 2015.

Is Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s Pro Bowl dud a big deal?

A call for the Browns to part ways with WR Josh Gordon and QB Johnny Manziel.

The Steelers haven’t lost hope in CB Cortez Allen.

Assessing the Texans’ chances of making a Super Bowl trip in the near future.

Stopping Colts WR T.Y. Hilton will be a focus of defensive coordinators in 2015.

S Devin McCourty should be an attractive free agent for the Jaguars if he makes it to the open market.

Speaking of McCourty, Titans CB Jason McCourty will be watching his brother in the Super Bowl this weekend.

The Broncos want more takeaways from their defense in 2015.

Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett would like to play for Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

Said Raiders S Charles Woodson of returning for another year, “I get the opportunity to keep doing what I love and to keep having fun.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is expected to announce a Chargers stadium advisory group this week.

Does former Cowboys QB Roger Staubach think Russell Wilson is an updated version of himself?

Giants WR Odell Beckham is hosting a fashion show at the Super Bowl.

A suggestion that Eagles coach Chip Kelly take a page from Pete Carroll.

Discussing the pros and cons of trading Redskins WR Pierre Garçon.

The recently deposed members of the Bears coaching staff have found new jobs quickly.

Lions WR Golden Tate admitted to a little envy of his former Seahawks teammates.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s brother Joseph was laid to rest on Monday.

Previewing the Vikings’ offseason plans at cornerback.

The Falcons coaching staff keeps taking shape while the team waits for prospective head coach Dan Quinn’s season to come to an end.

Panthers TE Greg Olsen and LB Luke Kuechly could be in line for raises.

Seven Senior Bowl prospects that the Saints were keeping an eye on in Mobile.

Will the Buccaneers find trade interest in QB Mike Glennon?

Cardinals players had the unusual experience of playing the Pro Bowl on their home field.

The Rams will be in St. Louis in 2015, but everything’s cloudy after that.

New 49ers special teams coach Thomas McGaughey likes the team’s trophy case.

Seahawks T Garry Gilliam took the long road to the Super Bowl.

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Fire alarm at Patriots hotel goes off in middle of the night


The Patriots ball boy who took the footballs to the bathroom is going to have to make room in the doghouse.

Because the guy in charge of wake-up calls at the Patriots’ team hotel is going to be in there with him.

Via Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network, the fire alarm at the Patriots hotel went off in the middle of the night, forcing everyone up for about 10 minutes.

The hotel was not on fire, thankfully.

But the Patriots might not be as well-rested today as they’d have otherwise hoped.

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Mel Tucker headed to University of Alabama

Mel Tucker AP

The Bears fired defensive coordinator Mel Tucker after his unit followed up a dismal 2013 season by being as bad or worse in 2014, all of which combined to deal a blow to his reputation as a coach.

He’s headed to the college ranks to turn things around. Thayer Evans of reports that Tucker will be the defensive backs coach for the University of Alabama in 2015.

Tucker and Alabama coach Nick Saban have worked together in the past. Tucker was a graduate assistant at Michigan State and coached the secondary for a year when Saban was at LSU, jobs that helped propel him to a defensive coordinator job at Ohio State and then a move into the professional ranks.

Tucker may be trying to make the same kind of jump after his latest stint with Saban and should have plenty of talent on hand to help him do it in Tuscaloosa.

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Seahawks, Patriots both saw seasons turn after losses to Chiefs

Dontari Poe, Russell Wilson AP

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t make the playoffs this season, but they had a major impact on the playoffs.

Last week, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said that he felt his team’s play in the second half of a 41-14 loss to the Chiefs in Week Four was a turning point for the team. That loss led to a week of questions about how good the Patriots were this season, questions they answered by winning seven straight games and establishing themselves as the best team in the AFC.

On Monday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said something similar about his team’s 24-20 loss to the Chiefs on November 16. The Seahawks haven’t lost a game since then and Carroll credited a team meeting his players called for galvanizing the change of fortunes.

“There’s no question that the change took place the night we got together and the days to follow because of the leadership of the 12 guys that were in that meeting. They took the thought, they took the messaging and delivered it to the club. I told them I will do our best to keep us on topic, but you guys are going to have to embed the thoughts that are going to give us a chance to adjust at this point and they did a remarkable job,” Carroll said during a press conference. “There’s no doubt that our team has changed and we’ve grown. In essence we really recaptured something that we had understood earlier and we just needed to get back in touch with it.”

The Chiefs don’t get any extra credit in the standings for being a common thread between the two Super Bowl participants, but 2015 will bring better results if they can find a way to extend that success across a full schedule.

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Report: Rams interested in trading for Nick Foles

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Last year, the Eagles made one of the most surprising moves of the offseason when they released receiver DeSean Jackson. This year, the Eagles may again make a surprising move by getting rid of starting quarterback Nick Foles.

Multiple stories have surfaced this month indicating that Eagles coach Chip Kelly is interested in moving on from Foles, especially if Kelly could replace Foles with his old Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota. The latest report comes from, which says that possible suitors are beginning to emerge, and the Rams have interest in Foles.

The Rams have indicated that they would like quarterback Sam Bradford to return this year, but only at the right price. If the Rams can’t convince Bradford to take a significant pay cut from the $13 million he’s scheduled to make this year, they’ll surely release him, and then trading for Foles could make sense.

The question, however, is whether it would make sense for the Eagles. If Kelly is going to get rid of Foles, he has to be confident he can acquire someone better. Unless the Eagles are able to move up in the draft and get Mariota in three months, trading Foles feels like an odd move.

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Thirty years ago Tuesday, quarterbacks were on the run in the Pro Bowl

Mark Gastineau of the New York Jets Getty Images

From 2009 through 2012, Pro Bowl scoring surged, with the NFC and AFC combining to average 92 points per contest. This coincided with grumbling about the quality of play and speculation the whole thing could be scrapped.

In the last two games, however, the points haven’t flowed as easy, with 60 scored in Sunday’s all-star game in Arizona and just 43 tallied in 2013.

Whether this is just a two-season blip or a sign of things to come remains to be seen. And frankly, it may not matter much as long as there are compelling stretches of competition in each Pro Bowl. Points don’t necessarily signal high-quality play.

On the other hand, all-star games should be a little loose. These are exhibitions featuring some of the league’s best players. A highlight-reel play or two against token defensive pressure is a good thing.

Which brings us to a bruising chapter in Pro Bowl history.

On this day in 1985, quarterbacks were sacked a record 17 times in the Pro Bowl, with the AFC grinding to a 22-14 victory over the NFC.

Picture this: One week after facing off in the Super Bowl, Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and 49ers quarterback Joe Montana were sacked a combined nine times. Marino was sacked a half-dozen times, including twice in a four-play span by Chicago’s Richard Dent.

The game’s Most Outstanding Player was Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau, who had four sacks, including three take-downs of poor Neil Lomax, the Cardinals’ quarterback.

Sacks haven’t disappeared from the Pro Bowl; Carolina’s Cam Newton was brought four times in last season’s game. However, it bears noting that there were only two sacks in Sunday’s all-star contest.

Which, frankly, isn’t a bad thing.

In the end, the optimal of sacks in a Pro Bowl is closer to zero than 17, given that the game doesn’t count.

The hits, of course, very much count.

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Brett Keisel was shocked by departure of Dick LeBeau

Keisel Getty Images

Super Bowl week kicked off with an annual visit from Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, who joined PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio to promote his ongoing partnership with Head & Shoulders and to talk about his long-time team.

Among other things, Keisel said he was shocked upon learning that long-time defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau had resigned.  Keisel also talked about the impact of the man the players called “Coach Dad” on the team.

Keisel believes the Steelers will stick with a 3-4 defense, and that safety Troy Polamalu will return.  As to Keisel, who is recovering from a torn triceps that ended his season on November 30, he doesn’t seem to be rushing back for offseason workouts after a 2014 experience that saw him miss most of training camp and the preseason before returning to Pittsburgh for a 13th year — after spurning the Cardinals.

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Majority of PFT readers like Doug Baldwin to exceed four catches

Doug Baldwin AP

Flipping through today’s NFL-furnished press conference transcripts, we couldn’t help but notice Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin was asked about an oddsmaking firm setting the Over-Under on his catches in Super Bowl XLIX at four.

Here was Baldwin’s take:

“Four catches in our offense is a good day. If I get four catches in the Super Bowl, that is a good day for our offense.”

Well, actually, a majority of PFT Planet believes Baldwin can do even better than that.

It just so happens that Saturday, we wrote about Baldwin’s catch total in our ongoing look at the various proposition bets Nevada sports books set for the big game. And with nearly 4,000 readers voting thus far, nearly 55 percent of those polled like Baldwin to finish OVER four catches, which is the total the William Hill U.S. linemaking firm has set for the fourth-year wide receiver from Stanford.

The Seahawks’ leading receiver, Baldwin hauled in six passes for 106 yards in the NFC title game vs. Green Bay. And in his first Super Bowl appearance, he recorded five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in Seattle’s rout of Denver last February.

For the record, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has set Baldwin’s Over-Under a little higher, putting the total at 4.5 catches.

Hey, maybe PFT Planet is on to something.

Anyways, we’ll continue to look at one Super Bowl prop per day through Sunday. And when it’s all over, we’ll see just how well the readers handicapped.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need to pick a prop for Tuesday. If you’re reading about it, we’ll keep writing about it.

And happily so.

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Video shows employee taking 24 balls into bathroom


On Monday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports added the next new big piece of news in #DeflateGate, reporting that the NFL has interviewed a locker room attendant who allegedly took footballs from the officials’ locker room after they had been inspected and approved “to another area on way to field” before the start of the game.

PFT can now contribute additional details to that story.

First, per a league source, the other “area on way to field” is a bathroom.  The bathroom consists of one toilet and one sink and a door that locks from the inside.

Second, according to the same source, the person carried two bags of balls into the bathroom:  the 12 balls to be used by the Patriots and the 12 balls to be used by the Colts.

Third, from the same source, the evidence comes from a surveillance video that was discovered by the Patriots and given to the NFL early in the investigation.

Fourth, again from the same source, the video shows the employee in the bathroom for approximately 90 seconds.

Could the employee have fished 12 balls out of a fairly large bag, deflated each of them by two pounds, put them back into the bag, and exited the bathroom in roughly 90 seconds?  That question will surely become the centerpiece of the next red state/blue state debate between folks who have determined that the Patriots have done something wrong and those who are staunchly defending the franchise.

And, yes, the photo accompanying this story was taken inside one of the bathrooms at Gillette Stadium.  When NBC broadcast the Ravens-Patriots playoff game from Foxboro on January 10, Florio Jr. demanded pictures from the venue.  Since he didn’t specify where he wanted them from, I took one inside the bathroom and texted it to him.

He didn’t think it was funny.

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Seahawks response mixed to Browner comments on Sherman, Thomas injuries

Brandon Browner AP

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman still considers Brandon Browner to be a member of the “Legion of Boom” even if he won’t be on the same sideline in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday.

However, Browner said there will be no regard for their friendships off the field when it comes to the Super Bowl. Browner said he would tell his teammates with the New England Patriots to go after the injured elbow of Sherman, and injured shoulder of safety Earl Thomas.

The comments received a mixed review from his former teammates in Seattle on Monday.

Linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright both were asked to respond to what Browner had to say during their Monday press conferences at the Arizona Grand Hotel in Phoenix.

Wright didn’t particularly take the comments all that well and felt that any attempt to injure an opponent, especially a former teammate, is crossing a line.

“I didn’t know he said that but we don’t play like that,” Wright said. “We don’t go out there and try to hurt guys. And I don’t care if they do have an injury. We’re not going out there trying to hurt people, and especially guys you’re close to. If he said that, it’s fine, but that’s not our main focus.

“If you know a player’s injured, you don’t try to re-hurt him. You just try to play ball and play hard. But as far as going out there and targeting certain areas, that’s unacceptable and shouldn’t be in football.”

However, Wagner didn’t take Browner’s comments as being anything nefarious.

“If somebody knows you’re weak in an area, they’re definitely going to try to exploit it,” Wagner said. “I don’t think he meant it in a malicious way or trying to hurt Sherm by any means. It’s just, all trying to compete. It’s a competitive nature.”

“That’s BB. We know him too. We know him very well, so we’re going to go after him too. It’s going to be a fun game. Tell him Bobby said he’s coming after him,” he said with a smile.

They may repair their friendships from Seattle beginning on Monday morning, but neither side is going to let their relationships stand in the way of winning a title Sunday night in the desert.

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Robert Kraft: NFL should apologize to Patriots if football tampering isn’t proven

Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots, NFL Getty Images

In a prepared statement Monday night, Patriots owner Robert Kraft criticized how the NFL’s investigation of allegations of under-inflated footballs has proceeded and offered a strong defense of his franchise, most specifically coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

In one of his strongest remarks, Kraft said the NFL would owe Belichick and Brady apologies if its probe did not find wrongdoing committed by New England.

“If the Wells investigation is not able to definitely determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure in the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team, and in particular, Coach Belichick and Tom Brady, for what they have had to endure this past week,” Kraft said Monday night.

Of Brady and Belichick, Kraft said: “They are my guys. They are part of my family. And Bill, Tom and I have had many difficult discussions over the years, and I have never known them to lie to me.”

In his statement, Kraft held that the Patriots’ integrity had been unfairly questioned because of “public discourse which has been driven by media leaks.”

Said Kraft: “I am disappointed in the way this entire matter has been handled and reported upon. We expect hard facts as opposed to circumstantial leaked evidence to drive the conclusion of this investigation.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Patriots’ owner reportedly said he was sure his team had not done anything wrong.

“I want to make it clear that I believe unconditionally that the New England Patriots have done nothing inappropriate,” Kraft said, according to the Boston Globe.

Kraft did not take questions afterwards, leaving Belichick and Brady next to take the podium as the Patriots collectively channel their energies towards Sunday’s Super Bowl vs. Seattle.

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Tom Brady: Patriots can deal with adversity

tombrady AP

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady says he and his teammates are capable of overcoming anything, and that the Deflategate controversy of the last week won’t be an issue.

Brady, who previously said that his feelings were hurt by suggestions that he’s a cheater, now says it’s time to prove what kind of team the Patriots really are.

“I have moved forward and I’ve moved past those initial feelings,” Brady said. “It’s all part of the process so I kind of left those things behind and I want to move forward because that’s what the team expects of me. We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity this season and we’ve got to deal with some more so we’ll just keep fighting. Hopefully we’ll go out and get a win.”

The kind of adversity the Patriots have dealt with this season was mostly about playing poorly early in the season, and the Patriots were able to take the “On to Cincinnati” mantra and turn it into a Super Bowl season. Now the Patriots’ mantra is “On to Seattle,” and Brady sounds confident.

“This team has really risen to the occasion,” Brady said.

Now Brady and his teammates need to rise to the occasion one more time.

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Packers sign punter Cody Mandell

Cody Mandell AP

The Packers have added a punter to their offseason roster.

Green Bay has signed Cody Mandell, who appeared in one preseason game for Dallas in 2014.

An Alabama product, the 22-year-old Mandell signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in May. He posted a 47.1-yard gross average in his final season with the Crimson Tide in 2013.

Mandell’s signing gives the Packers two punters on the roster, which expands to 90 players in the offseason. Incumbent punter Tim Masthay posted a career-low 37.0-yard net average in 2014, which ranked 30th among qualifying punters. However, it’s often common for clubs to carry an extra kicker and punter in the offseason to take some practice reps and as insurance against injury.

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Brent Grimes’s wife goes off on the NFL

brentgrimes AP

Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes played well in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, but he was not named the game’s Most Valuable Player. That has Grimes’s wife very unhappy.

As a result, Miko Grimes went off on an epic Twitter rant against the NFL on Monday afternoon, starting off with complaints about Grimes missing out on the Pro Bowl MVP award but then veering toward discussions of more serious issues like domestic violence and concussions.

Miko Grimes started by saying that she believes the reason Brent Grimes wasn’t named Pro Bowl MVP is that he took a day off from Pro Bowl practice to be with her while she had emergency oral surgery. Miko said Brent asked coach Jason Garrett for permission to miss the practice and that the permission was granted, but that the NFL was angry at Grimes and froze him out of the MVP award as a result.

Of course, it could just be that another Pro Bowler, J.J. Watt, also had an excellent game, and he was chosen as the defensive MVP as a result. But Miko Grimes sees something much more sinister at play. In a series of profane tweets, Miko Grimes lashed out at the NFL for what she sees as hypocrisy, and she said that she has information about violations of the league’s concussion policies.

Miko Grimes also wants fans to know that players’ contracts aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be, because players can be cut long before they earn the full value of their contracts.

And Miko Grimes is warning the NFL that if her husband isn’t treated properly, she’ll air the league’s dirty laundry.

Roger Goodell, you’ve been warned. You don’t want to get on Miko Grimes’s bad side.

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