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NFLPA files grievance over Toradol waivers

hypodermic_needle_crop_340x234 Getty Images

As expected, the NFLPA has launched an effort to block teams from requiring players to sign legal waivers before receiving the medical benefits of Toradol.

The union has announced that a grievance has been filed against the NFL Management Council and the 32 teams in response to the requirement that players sign away their rights before receiving a potent pain-killing injection that may have long-term health consequences.

The announcement points out that NFL has complied with an agreement that the teams refrain from requiring players to sign waivers.  However, the doctors are instead presenting the players with the documents, which exonerate not only the doctors but also the teams from liability.  (We ordinarily would say “allegedly” here, but we have obtained a copy of one of the waivers.)

The union contends, basically, that the doctors are trying to foist the ultimate medical decision regarding Toradol use onto the player.  “The position of the NFLPA is NFL Club physicians have a duty to inform Players of the risk and side-effects of prescribed medications and may obtain informed consent from the Player,” the union says in a statement regarding the grievance.  “However, if an NFL Club physician believes a player would be placed at an unacceptable medical risk by using Toradol as part of the care and treatment of an injury, or if the Club physician is concerned about the long-term effects of such use, the team’s medical staff should inform the player of that opinion and refuse to administer Toradol. The NFL Club physician should not administer Toradol and require that a player sign a waiver of liability before doing so. If, on the other hand, there is no such concern on the part of the Club’s medical staff, it should advise the player that the use of Toradol is appropriate.”

The union is entering delicate territory by suggesting that team physicians should refuse to administer Toradol.  The players want it, because many of them need it in order to be able to play.

Of course, the NFLPA also realizes that the teams want the players to be able to play, which means that the doctors will be less inclined to refuse to administer a drug that in plenty of cases will provide the difference between playing or not playing — or playing and not playing very well.  So if the team doctors won’t be naturally inclined to refuse to provide a drug that allows players to play, it’s only fair for players to be able to retain any legal rights they may have if a doctor fails to shut off  the Toradol supply for a player/patient who shouldn’t be taking it.

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Trump confirms Woody Johnson will be UK ambassador

New York Jets Introduce General Manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles Getty Images

President-elect Trump confirmed today that Jets owner Woody Johnson is his choice to be the next United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

In a speech today, Trump referenced that Johnson was “going to St. James.” The U.S. ambassador to the U.K. is sometimes referred to as the Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James’s.

As we’ve previously reported, Johnson has been planning to accept the ambassadorship and hand over operations of the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher Wold Johnson.

Woody Johnson has recently been in the news with comments dismissing criticism of quarterback Christian Hackenberg and denying he’d fire coach Todd Bowles for missing the playoffs next year. But it appears that Johnson won’t be focusing on football decisions in the coming years.

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Adrian Peterson eyes Texans, Giants, Buccaneers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts on December 18, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peterson returns to play after injuring his knee in week two of the season. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

So where will Adrian Peterson play in 2018? He’d like to stay with the Vikings, but he has declined to say whether he’ll take a pay cut.

If he won’t and if the Vikings will cut him if he doesn’t, Peterson has his eyes on three other teams. Via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Peterson said on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Giants, and Buccaneers.

It’s unclear whether and to what extent any of those teams would be interested in him, and if so whether they’d offer more than the Vikings will pay. The Texans have Lamar Miller, the Giants have Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, and the Buccaneers have Charles Sims and Doug Martin.

But Martin’s status is uncertain, given his PED suspension and lackluster 2016 season. As the Bucs try to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, adding Peterson to an offense that features Jameis Winston and Mike Evans could make them an instant postseason contender.

Peterson can’t negotiate with other teams while under contract with the Vikings, absent permission. As a practical matter, his agent can “gauge the market,” determining via hypothetical discussions the money that would be available to him if/when the Vikings release Peterson.

The question of whether Peterson will be with the Vikings for another season will be answered fairly soon. He has a $6 million roster bonus due on March 11. He’ll likely either sign a new deal or be released before then.

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Seahawks may lose 2nd-round pick for not disclosing Richard Sherman injury

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks runs out against the Atlanta Falcons prior to the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted this week that the team failed to disclose a knee injury that cornerback Richard Sherman was dealing with throughout the regular season, saying “he never missed anything” as a way of explaining why the team didn’t share the information.

The Seahawks could be missing something as a result of not disclosing Sherman’s condition. PFT reported that the NFL is looking into the situation; Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the team may lose a second-round pick as a penalty.

The league has issued fines in the past when teams haven’t shared full injury information, but there can be additional discipline handed down if teams have multiple offenses of league policies. The Seahawks have run afoul of the league three times due to violations of the rules governing offseason work, which led the NFL to strip a week of organized team activities this offseason and a fifth-round pick from the team.

There’s no word on when the league might announce any penalties for the Seahawks as a result of Carroll’s admission that their injury reports were incomplete during the regular season.

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Raiders file paperwork for Las Vegas relocation

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4:  Fans cheer on the Oakland Raiders against the Buffalo Bills on December 4, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Raiders won 38-24.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Getty Images

The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

OK, if they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

OK, when they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“Today, the Oakland Raiders submitted an application to relocate their franchise to Las Vegas, as is provided for under the NFL Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations,” the NFL said in a statement. “The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees. The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).”

It’s just a matter of time that owner Mark Davis and at least 23 of his colleagues provide the thumb’s up for the relocation to Sin City. The notion of a move to Las Vegas was laughable when it first emerged, especially since not long ago the NFL laughed off the prospect of even playing an exhibition game there.

But with public money harder and harder to come by and Nevada ready to fork over $750 million toward a new stadium, the league is able to look the other way on its longstanding obligation to gambling, even if there will be gambling every way the Raiders look once they move.

The Raiders are expected to stay in Oakland through at least 2018, since they have a lease that allows them to do so — and since they don’t have a suitable place to play in Las Vegas.

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Joe Flacco expects Marty Mornhinweg to put stamp on offense this year

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 16: Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg of the New York Jets makes a catch during the first day of rookie minicamp on May 16, 2014 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens made an in-season change at offensive coordinator when they dismissed Marc Trestman and elevated Marty Mornhinweg from offensive coordinator.

It wasn’t always the smoothest transition and quarterback Joe Flacco lamented the offense getting too conservative during a late November game against the Bengals. Mornhinweg also said the offense had work to do to get where everyone wanted it in December and Flacco said Thursday that he believes one of the steps to get to that place will be Mornhinweg putting more of his own stamp on the unit this offseason.

“I think the other thing you have to realize is that a lot of what we’ve been doing isn’t necessarily his offense,” Flacco said on 98 Rock, via “So, I think this offseason will be a big point for him to get a lot of the stuff that he’s comfortable running. He and I can work through that stuff together. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

The Ravens brought in former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman as a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach. Roman’s teams have a history of running the ball well, which is an area where the Ravens have room to improve after finishing 28th in rushing yards in 2016.

Growth in that area should help Mornhinweg’s chances of success in his first full year on the job in Baltimore. If not, Flacco might be heading into next season with another coordinator directing the offense.

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It’s time for the Packers to make Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid player again

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after the Packers scored a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

During a four-game losing streak that invited plenty of criticism from the outside and speculation about the status of key relationships and how the future could unfold for coach Mike McCarthy and G.M. Ted Thompson, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of PFT and me specifically, “Don’t waste your time reading crap like that.”

Here’s some crap he may want to read. And then forward to General Manager Ted Thompson, CEO Mark Murphy, and/or the full board of directors.

It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to once again be the highest paid player in football. A year ago, he was — based on the “new money” analysis used by agents to make contracts look better than they are, Rodgers was getting $22 million per year. Others have since leapfrogged him, including Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, whose annual average of more than $24 million is the current high-water mark.

Currently, Rodgers is due to earn an average of $18.55 million over the next three years. That needs to be torn up and thrown away.

Rodgers should be getting $25 million per year, or more. With only $6.65 million in cap dollars for 2017 arising from past money paid to Rodgers, the team should acknowledge the greatness they have witnessed in the past nine seasons (and, more specifically, the past eight weeks), reward it, and send a clear message that he’ll be the quarterback of the team as long as he wants to be.

Sure, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady routinely takes less than he’s worth. That’s his prerogative. Rodgers didn’t do a below-market deal the last time around, and he shouldn’t do one now. The publicly-owned team, which generated $408.7 million in total revenue and $49 million profit, can afford it, especially with the salary cap poised to spike to $170 million.

It’s clear that Rodgers is the biggest reason for the stunning reversal to a season that was teetering on being lost. No matter the players running the routes and catching the passes, Rodgers has made it work. The Packers now need to make the numbers work, as a matter of fairness to an underpaid player and as a sign of respect for a player whose talents have helped overcome plenty of organizational shortcomings in the six years since the last time the Packers made it to the Super Bowl.

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Eliot Wolf withdraws from 49ers G.M. search

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Ron Wolf and his son Eliot pose with Wolf's bust during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

If the 49ers were down to four finalists for their General Manager position, they’re down to three now.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Packers executive Eliot Wolf has pulled out of the hunt for San Francisco’s General Manager position.

That usually means he wasn’t going to get it, and Wolf apparently got a new deal in Green Bay out of the deal.

He’s viewed a possible successor to Packers G.M. Ted Thompson, though he was reportedly upset by being blocked from interviewing with the Lions last offseason.

The 49ers have also identified Packers executive Brian Gutekunst and Minnesota assistant G.M. George Paton as finalists, with Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough still a possibility as well.

Those three could be part of the next round of meetings the 49ers have with incoming coach Kyle Shanahan.

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Ravens hire Joe D’Alessandris as offensive line coach

Ravens Helmet Getty Images

The Ravens have filled their vacant offensive line coach position, hiring veteran assistant Joe D’Alessandris.

He replaced Juan Castillo, who went to Buffalo to work on coach Sean McDermott’s staff.

D’Alessandris is entering his 40th year of coaching and ninth as a pro. He spent three seasons with the Chargers but was out of coaching last year.

He’s also worked in the CFL and the World League, as well as with the Chiefs and Bills.

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Marcus Mariota “should be back” when Titans get rolling this offseason

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 24: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans is carted off the field after fracturing his fibula during the second half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 24, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) Getty Images

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had a metal plate implanted to his fractured fibula in a surgical procedure three weeks ago and a Wednesday update on his condition from coach Mike Mularkey was a positive one.

Mariota was instructed to keep weight off the leg for two months after surgery and had a recovery timeline of 4-5 months before he’d be able to ramp up his football activity. That would fall around the time the Titans are going through organized team activities this offseason and Mularkey said that timeline remains in place during an appearance with Jared Stillman and former Titans General Manager Floyd Reese on 102.5 The Game.

“I spoke with Marcus this afternoon,” Mularkey said. “He actually had an appointment, and they did a good thorough checkup on him. He’s on track. He’s doing great. He should be back when we get this thing rolling. I can’t tell you exact times of when he’s going to practice, but he should be ready for the season, which is what we want him for. But he’s doing good. He’s going to be a very good patient, if I have anything to do with it.”

Whether it comes in OTAs or during training camp, the Titans will likely be cautious with their franchise quarterback when he first resumes on-field work as the goal will be to have him ready to roll come September.

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PFT’s conference championship game picks

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 30: A fan of of the Green Bay Packers stays in his seat after the defeat against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The season is getting closer and closer to its final act. The last Sunday with more than one game has arrived, and MDS and I are separated by only one game with three left.

Last week, I correctly picked three of the four games. MDS was 2-2. He’s 6-2 and I’m 5-3 so far in the postseason.

This week, keep reading to see what we think about the two games that will determine the Super Bowl participants.

Packers at Falcons

MDS’s take: Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers are playing the quarterback position better than anyone else in the league right now. So this game should be a shootout, with 300-plus passing yards from both quarterbacks, and 30 or so points for both teams. The difference, I think, will be the Falcons’ ability to make plays both on the ground and through the air. I expect Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman to combine for more than 100 rushing yards and to help the Falcons protect a late lead. The Falcons will win a close one and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 33, Packers 30.

Florio’s take: Before Week One, I picked the Packers to get to the Super Bowl and win it. And then came the playoffs, where I had a chance to pick the Packers over the Giants, and didn’t. Next came the divisional round, where I had a chance to pick the Packers over the Cowboys. And didn’t. So now the Packers are one game away from making my September prediction at least half-accurate (the Ravens were my AFC choice), and I’m sorely tempted to pick against them again.

I’m stupid, but not that stupid. Aaron Rodgers has reached a higher level of performance, and he has sustained it regardless of who is running routes and catching passes. Yes, the Falcons have been great. The Falcons are good enough to advance. But in a toss-up game, I’ve got to go with the guy who made one of the best tosses we’ve ever seen to earn the spot in the NFC finals.

Florio’s pick: Packers 37, Falcons 31.

Steelers at Patriots

MDS’s take: Both of these teams’ offenses struggled in the divisional round, with the Patriots throwing as many interceptions in one game as they had thrown in 16 games of the regular season, and the Steelers failing to get to the end zone and winning on field goals. I think the AFC Championship Game may be a defensive struggle as well, perhaps with a defensive touchdown making the difference. In the end, I like the Patriots to win a close game and get to their seventh Super Bowl in the Tom Brady-Bill Belichick era.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Steelers 20.

Florio’s take: Bill Belichick likely will try to take away Antonio Brown, forcing the Steelers to run the ball into a two-gap front that could make Le’Veon Bell hesitate a little more than he already does before hitting the hole. Forcing the Steelers to sustain drives without mistakes on one hand and moving the ball largely at will against a defense that Tom Brady traditionally has managed to crack adds up to the Patriots emerging from the game with at least one more point than the Steelers.

Florio’s pick: Patriots 27, Steelers 20.

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Melvin Gordon: Anthony Lynn is “perfect” coach for me

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 04:  Melvin Gordon #28 of the San Diego Chargers runs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of a game at Qualcomm Stadium on December 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon’s second season was a big step up from his rookie year as he made strides as both a runner and receiver while cutting down on the fumbles that marred his rookie year.

Gordon ran for 997 yards and had 419 more through the air in 13 games while seeing his average per carry and per catch go up as well. That work displayed more of the skills that made Gordon a first-round pick in 2015 and the running back believes that the arrival of Anthony Lynn as head coach will bring even better things in 2017.

Gordon said he is “fired up” to play for Lynn, who helped put together strong rushing attacks in Buffalo the last two seasons as the running backs coach. He’s also gotten good results from backs with the Jaguars, Cowboys and Jets over the course of his career.

“This really means a lot,” Gordon said, via the team’s website. “He obviously knows the game, so if he sees some wrinkles, I’ve got another set of eyes.  Everyone’s got some holes in their game, and he’ll bring some wisdom to help get my game right when I need it.  I’ve got someone who has been around the game for so long and coached some of the league’s best players.  He’ll know how to help me.  He’s perfect for me, so I’m excited to get this thing rolling under him.”

Lynn shares the affection for Gordon, who he says is “growing like a weed” as he progresses in his professional career. Another leap in 2017 and better health elsewhere on the offense would spell good things for the Chargers.

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QB who played for both thinks Kyle Shanahan’s like Bill Belichick

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Connor Shaw #9 of the Cleveland Browns sits with Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Quarterback Tyler Thigpen #4 during the first half of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers are willing to wait for Kyle Shanahan, and one of his former quarterbacks thinks it’s a decision that will pay off handsomely for them.

Via Albert Breer of, veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer said working with Shanahan reminded him of his time in New England working under Bill Belichick.

Hoyer started 13 games for the Browns in 2014 with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator (going 7-6 as a starter), and spent his first three seasons with the Patriots.

“For me, you just know those two, when you see them in the building, they’re constantly thinking about football,” Hoyer said. “That’s the one thing I really admired about Kyle. You knew when he was there, he was putting the work in, that’s all he was focused on. He might walk by you in the hallway, and you’d say, ‘Hey what’s up, Kyle?’ and he’d keep walking.

“But that was because he’s working on third down or he’s worried about the red area. To me, his total commitment, his mind, he’s always thinking about it. That’s why I made the comparison. Bill was the same way. You’d see him in the hallway, ‘Hey Bill,’ and he’d just look up, and nod, and keep going. You knew he had so much he was thinking about.”

Hoyer also said the two share a perfectionist bent.

“There’s nothing fake about that, he wants everything be to perfect,” Hoyer said. “We’d be going over game plans and he’d be like, ‘I have it studied to a point where I pretty much know what they’ll call on third down. Just trust me, don’t worry about the percentages, I’ll take care of that. I just want you to execute the play.’”

Whether Shanahan can replicate the success he’s having on offense in Atlanta now, or Belichick’s sustained excellence, remains to be seen. But Hoyer’s also about to become a free agent, and buttering up a guy who will needed a quarterback or two can’t hurt.

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Broncos hire Brock Olivo as special teams coach

14 Nov 1999:  Brock Olivo #26 of the Detroit Lions stands on the field during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Lions 23-19. Mandatory Credit: Tom Hauck  /Allsport Getty Images

The Broncos interviewed Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub for their head coaching opening. They hired his assistant to be one of their assistants.

According to Mike Klis of KUSA, the Broncos are hiring Brock Olivo to coach their special teams.

Olivo played four years in the NFL with the Lions, and has worked for the Chiefs as an assistant special teams coach the last three seasons.

They also interviewed Bears assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower and former Saints special teams coach Greg McMahon.

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Report: Andrew Luck expected to start throwing in three months

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 01:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts is forced out of bounds by Jalen Ramsey #20 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of a game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colts owner Jim Irsay announced on Thursday morning that quarterback Andrew Luck had surgery on his right shoulder and that the team expects he will be ready to play in Week One next season.

There’s a lot of time between now and then and Irsay wasn’t specific about when Luck might be expected to resume football activities ahead of the start of the season.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Luck is expected to resume throwing in three months, which would be around the time the Colts are ramping up their offseason work. Rapoport adds that a full recovery expected in six months. The latter date would fall in mid-July, which would seem to suggest that Luck will be participating in training camp this summer.

As with any recovery timeline, there are sure to be tweaks along the way as doctors see how Luck is recovering from the surgery in the coming months.

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Dick LeBeau will return for his 59th NFL season, at age 80


Dick LeBeau will be 80 at the start of the 2017 season, his 59th as an NFL player or coach. And if you think he’s ready to retire, you don’t know Dick LeBeau.

LeBeau, a Hall of Fame defensive back for the Lions and one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL season, confirmed that he will be back as the Titans’ defensive coordinator next season. The only question for LeBeau was whether head coach Mike Mularkey would bring him back; once Mularkey told LeBeau he wanted him to return, LeBeau immediately agreed.

“The only question in my mind was from the standpoint that somebody’s got to want you to work,’’ LeBeau said. “When Mike said he wanted me to stay, there was no doubt.”

LeBeau said he’s proud of the growth he saw in the Titans’ young players last season and believes they can get better with another offseason of work.

“It was really fulfilling for me to watch our players have some success and to see our team have some success, and that is really why you coach. You are just a teacher. It was a rewarding year,” LeBeau said. “We didn’t get where we wanted to get, and we know we have work to do. But it was not the type of thing you want to run away from. I want to see if we can get this thing over the top. If I were a younger person you wouldn’t even think about [walking away]. Things are headed in the right direction. I try not to pay much attention to the age aspect.”

Eventually, Dick LeBeau’s time in the NFL will come to an end. But it won’t be his 59th season. And no one should bet against his 60th, either.

Photo via Tennessee Titans.

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