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Dick LeBeau intends on returning to Steelers next season

Dick LeBeau AP

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will likely return for another season as the head of the vaunted Steelers’ defense.

According to Chris Adamski of the Associated Press, the 75-year old LeBeau told his players this week he plans on coming back to head the Pittsburgh defense for another season.

LeBeau continues to say that his job status remains purely in the hands of head coach Mike Tomlin. While that may technically be true, the chances Tomlin wouldn’t bring LeBeau back if he wants to return next season is pretty miniscule.

“Let’s just say I really like Pittsburgh and I really like working for the Steelers,” LeBeau said. “Coach Tomlin will tell you if he wants me back or not. It will be up to Mike.”

LeBeau has spent 55 consecutive seasons in the league as a player and then a coach. Next season would be his tenth straight season at the helm of the Pittsburgh defense. During his time in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have led the league in total defense five times in nine seasons.

The Steelers defense has never ranked outside the top 10 in the league in total defense since LeBeau took over in 2004. If LeBeau wants to continue coaching, Tomlin will be happy to have him.

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Week Seven injury report roundup

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 22:  Tight end Tyler Eifert #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals hauls in a fourth quarter touchdown over strong safety Tony Jefferson #22 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Bengals 34-31.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Week Six kicked off on Thursday night with a Packers win and it continues with 13 more games on Sunday, which means that the 26 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Giants vs. Rams (in London)

Giants S Nat Berhe (concussion), T Marshall Newhouse (calf) and S Darian Thompson (foot) have been ruled out. LS Zak DeOssie (ankle) is questionable.

The Rams won’t have DT Michael Brockers (thigh) or CB Trumaine Johnson (ankle) on Sunday. WR Nelson Spruce (calf) and G Jamon Brown (hand) are listed as doubtful while DE Robert Quinn (shoulder) and DE William Hayes (ankle) are questionable.

Browns at Bengals

CB Joe Haden (groin) is doubtful for the Browns. The team ruled out CB Marcus Burley (hamstring), WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Seth DeValve (knee) and QB Josh McCown (left shoulder). DE Xavier Cooper (shoulder), WR Terrelle Pryor (hamstring) and TE Randall Telfer (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (back) is questionable to make his first appearance of the 2016 season and the only player with an injury designation this week.

Redskins at Lions

Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) is out again this week and WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder) is questionable.

TE Eric Ebron (ankle, knee), LB DeAndre Levy (quadricep, knee), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), RB Theo Riddick (ankle) and T Corey Robinson (ankle) have been ruled out by the Lions. DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), G Larry Warford (groin), RB Dwayne Washington (ankle) and LB Tahir Whitehead (abdomen) have been listed as questionable.

Raiders at Jaguars

The Raiders listed OL Vadal Alexander (ankle) as doubtful. They also listed OL Jon Feliciano (calf), C Rodney Hudson (knee), G Gabe Jackson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), S Brynden Trawick (shoulder) and T Menelik Watson (calf) as questionable.

Jaguars T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), TE Julius Thomas (ankle), WR Neal Sterling (foot) and DE Jared Odrick (hip) all got questionable tags.

Saints at Chiefs

Saints LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring), CB Sterling Moore (abdomen) and T Andrus Peat (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday. DE Paul Kruger (back) and T Terron Armstead (knee) are listed as questionable.

RB Jamaal Charles (knee) is listed as questionable after a limited practice for the Chiefs on Friday. CB Phillip Gaines (knee) is also questionable.

Bills at Dolphins

Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) is listed as questionable along with TE Charles Clay (ankle), RB Jerome Felton (back), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), C Patrick Lewis (knee), CB Kevon Seymour (shoulder) and DT Kyle Williams (neck). T Seantrel Henderson (back) is out while DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring) and WR Robert Woods (foot) are doubtful.

The Dolphins ruled out TE Jordan Cameron (concussion), CB Xavien Howard (knee) and TE Dion Sims (concussion). RB Arian Foster (hamstring), LB Jelani Jenkins (groin), CB Tony Lippett (hamstring) and LB Spencer Paysinger (hamstring, calf) have been listed as questionable.

Ravens at Jets

The Ravens are set to play without several starters on Sunday, although QB Joe Flacco (shoulder, questionable) looks in good shape after returning to practice Friday. LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and LB C.J. Mosley (thigh) have been ruled out while S Kendrick Lewis (thigh), WR Steve Smith (ankle), LB Terrell Suggs (biceps), CB Shareece Wright (thigh) and G Marshal Yanda (shoulder) are unlikely to play after getting doubtful tags. WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), WR Devin Hester (thigh), CB Jerraud Powers (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (concussion) and T Ronnie Stanley (foot) are all listed as questionable.

T Ryan Clady (shoulder), C Nick Mangold (knee) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) were listed as questionable by the Jets. TE Braedon Bowman (knee), LB Darron Lee (ankle), T Brent Qvale (neck) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) have been ruled out.

Vikings at Eagles

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs (groin) and WR Laquon Treadwell (thumb) are both questionable to play and WR Jarius Wright (ankle) is doubtful. DT Sharrif Floyd (knee) and TE MyCole Pruitt (knee, back) have been ruled out.

The Eagles listed CB Ron Brooks (calf), LB Mychal Kendricks (ribs), DT Bennie Logan (groin) and CB Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) as questionable.

Colts at Titans

The Colts won’t have much work to do on an inactive list with TE Dwayne Allen (ankle), DT Henry Anderson (knee), WR Phillip Dorsett (foot, hamstring), DT Zach Kerr (ankle), LB Curt Maggitt (ankle), G Jack Mewhort (tricep) and WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder) ruled out already. CB Darius Butler (calf, hamstring), S T.J. Green (knee), C Jonotthan Harrison (illness) and WR T.Y. Hilton (hip) got designated as questionable.

The Titans are in better shape than their AFC South rivals as they have no players with injury designations.

Chargers at Falcons

The Chargers will play without S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), LB Jeremiah Attaochu (ankle) and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion). WR Travis Benjamin (knee) is questionable.

WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion) and CB C.J. Goodwin (hamstring) are out for the otherwise healthy Falcons.

Buccaneers at 49ers

The bye week wasn’t enough time for Buccaneers DE Robert Ayers (ankle), RB Doug Martin (hamstring) and DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring) to get healthy. They’re out for Sunday and CB Jude Adjei-Barimah (knee), C Joe Hawley (knee), DT Gerald McCoy (calf), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and TE Luke Stocker (ankle) are listed as questionable.

RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder) is out for the 49ers. DT Glenn Dorsey (knee), CB Rashard Robinson (concussion) and WR Torrey Smith (back) are questionable.

Patriots at Steelers

TE Martellus Bennett (ankle), RB Brandon Bolden (knee), LB Jamie Collins (hip), WR Julian Edelman (foot), DT Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder), LB Shea McClellin (concussion), WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring), LB Elandon Roberts (ankle) and DT Vincent Valentine (back) were this week’s recipients of questionable designations from the Patriots.

The Steelers ruled out QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), RB DeAngelo Williams (knee), WR Markus Wheaton (shoulder), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Cam Heyward (hamstring), S Shamarko Thomas (groin) and C Cody Wallace (knee).

Seahawks at Cardinals

S Kam Chancellor (groin) is doubtful to play after missing last week’s Seahawks win. DE Quinton Jefferson (knee), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle), RB Thomas Rawls (fibula) and TE Luke Willson (knee) will not play.

Carson QB Carson Palmer (hamstring) is listed as questionable, but got in a full practice on Friday. WR Jaron Brown (knee) is also questionable while WR John Brown (leg) and LB Gabe Martin (knee) are doubtful. DT Ed Stinson (toe) is out.

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Browns promote rookie defensive back

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

The Browns made a roster move Friday, promoting cornerback Darius Hillary to the active roster and releasing defensive lineman Gabe Wright.

The Browns have been ravaged by injuries in the secondary. With cornerback Joe Haden likely to miss a second straight game Sunday, Hillary should be active Sunday vs. the Bengals. Hillary, an undrafted rookie and a native of Cincinnati, spent the offseason with the Bengals and the first four weeks of this season on their practice squad.

Browns Coach Hue Jackson said Friday that the Browns will move rookie cornerback Tracy Howard to safety after placing starting safety Jordan Poyer on injured reserve earlier this week.

Wright has appeared in three games this season and has also spent time on the Browns’ practice squad.

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Kam Chancellor doubtful this week, but Jimmy Graham is OK

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Strong safety Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks heads off the field after warmups prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at CenturyLink Field on September 27, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks are likley to be without Kam Chancellor again this week.

The veteran safety is listed as doubtful for Sunday night’s game against the Cardinals, not making enough progress from the hip injury which kept him out of last week’s game.

He was injured in practice last week.

Tight end Jimmy Graham was held out of practice Thursday because of knee and hip injuries, but coach Pete Carroll told reporters Graham was “ready to go.”

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NFLPA issues statement on NFL placing Josh Brown on exempt list

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 22:  Robert Malone #8 of the New York Giants congratulates  Josh Brown #3 after Brown kicked a field goal in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars during preseason action at MetLife Stadium on August 22, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL announced on Friday that Giants kicker Josh Brown has been placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list “to permit the league fully to review” documents from the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office that it says it did not have access to before they were released this week.

In their letter to Brown, the NFL points out his right to appeal that decision. The NFL Players Association, which passed on an opportunity to comment earlier this week, has done the same in a statement about the league’s decision.

“The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses. The League office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency.”

The league has cited “other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which” Brown was suspended one game under the Personal Conduct Policy earlier this year. That phrasing suggests the league is trying to find a way to penalize Brown again, which would likely lead to a further response from the union given the way things played out in the Ray Rice case.

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Kawann Short fined $18,231 for hitting Drew Brees in face

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (99) shoves New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) down by the face after Brees released a touchdown throw in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. Short was called for a personal foul on the play. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) AP

Saints quarterback Drew Brees thought Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short “straight punched me in the mouth.”

The league agreed.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the NFL fined Short $18,231 for his roughing the passer penalty last week.

Short said he thought the hit looked worse than it was because of Brees’ stature, but he’s the one a little short in the wallet this week.

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Aaron Donald fined for crashing Lions kneeldown

SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams walks off the field after being ejected for contact with an official during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

At the end of last Sunday’s victory over the Rams, the Lions lined up for quarterback Matthew Stafford to take the familiar kneeldowns that run out the clock on a win.

The Rams weren’t willing to concede defeat, however, and defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Dominique Easley crashed into the Lions linemen on two straight snaps. They got pushed back into Stafford and Lions center Travis Swanson hurt his hand during the pushing and shoving that followed.

According to multiple reports, Donald has been fined $18,231 for unnecessary roughness as a result of the plays. Easley was not fined.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that the call to rush the Lions didn’t come from the sideline and intimated that his players were frustrated by “some things that Aaron endured during the game” without elaborating on what those things might have been.

Donald was fined $21,269 after being ejected in Week One for making contact with an official.

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Vernon Davis fined for jump shot celebration

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Tight end Vernon Davis #85 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedExField on October 16, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Redskins tight end Vernon Davis was fined $12,154 for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in last week’s win over the Eagles, the Washington Post reported.

Specifically, Davis was fined for simulating a jump shot while celebrating a touchdown. The NFL ruled that Davis shooting the ball over the goalpost constitutes using the ball and the goalpost as a prop, and that’s against the rules.

There is to be no fun in football or basketball, apparently.

The Redskins won the game, 27-20.

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Mewhort injury will cause Colts to shuffle line

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

The Colts have ruled seven players out of Sunday’s game at Tennessee, most notably starting guard Jack Mewhort.

Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said rookie Joe Haeg took the majority of the reps at left guard this week. Haeg is listed as the team’s starting right tackle, and if he moves inside Joe Reitz figures to be the right tackle.

Pagano said Mewhort’s injury is more “week-to-week” than day-to-day but doesn’t know if Mewhort will miss additional games.

Also out for the Colts sunday are tight Dwayne Allen, defensive end Henry Anderson, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, defensive tackle Zach Kerr, linebacker Curt Maggitt and wide receiver Donte Moncrief. The Colts placed wide receiver Quan Bray on injured reserve earlier in the week, meaning they’re down to four healthy receivers for Sunday: T.Y. Hilton, Chester Rogers, Devin Street and Tevaun Smith.

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On Thursday, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Josh Brown

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants looks on after an extra point against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s biggest flaw in the handling of Josh Brown arose from its decision to impose discipline before the authorities had concluded their investigation. The conclusion of the investigation has allowed the prosecutor to conclude that no formal charges should be filed.

At the very end of the better-late-than-never-but-still-way-too-late report filed last month, Detective Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff’s Department explains that “[t]his case file will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for their review of filing charges of [two] counts of DV-Assault 4 Degree.”

Via, the King County Prosecutor determined on Thursday, October 20, to not file charges. The memo cites the reluctance of Molly Brown to cooperate with the case as the primary reason for the decision not to proceed.

The two counts mentioned by Detective Ostrum relate to the May 22, 2015 incident for which Brown was arrested, and a May 2014 incident that occurred after Josh Brown “had come home intoxicated after being at a bachelor party.” Molly Brown confronted Josh Brown for driving drunk, and she claimed that he responded by slamming her “into a large mirror with a very large frame around it,” and that she struck her head and left arm on the frame.

The impact caused a crack in the mirror, and she then fell and landed on a marble floor.

“Molly was face down on the floor and Josh held her down by putting his forearm across the back of her neck and laying on her with his full body weight,” Detective Ostrum wrote. “Molly’s face was pushed into the carpet and she stated that she could not move her heard or her body, and it made it very hard for her to breathe.”

Detective Ostrum personally inspected the crack in the mirror, and Josh and Molly Brown’s young daughter witnessed Josh holding Molly down on the floor.

The memo from the prosecutor also points out that the investigation was left open for a year in the event Molly Brown changed her mind. Still, the authorities seemed to move quickly to resolve the matter after the NFL imposed a one-game suspension on Josh Brown — and after media inquiries undoubtedly snowballed regarding the status of a case that quickly was growing stale.

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Patriots list nine questionable, including Jamie Collins

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 28:  Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots defends a pass to Greg Olsen #88 of the Carolina Panthers during their preseason NFL game at Bank of America Stadium on August 28, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Patriots won’t have to face Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Sunday, but they still have some issues of their own.

They listed nine guys as questionable for this week, including linebacker Jamie Collins, who was out last week because of a hip injury.

Collins has been listed as a limited participant in practice all week.

Also questionable for the Patriots are tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), running back Brandon Bolden (knee), wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot), defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder), defensive end Shea McClellin (concussion), wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring), linebacker Elandon Roberts (ankle) and defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (back).

Backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer listed on the report at all, as his shoulder issue isn’t even limiting him at this point.

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Antonio Andrews not fined for hit that ended Poyer’s season

Cleveland Browns free safety Jordan Poyer (33) walks off the field after being shaken up on a play against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski) AP

Titans running back Antonio Andrews was not fined for his hit on Browns safety Jordan Poyer last Sunday that ended Poyer’s season, PFT has confirmed.

Poyer suffered a lacerated kidney and was hospitalized for two nights. Andrews was penalized for an illegal blindside block, but Andrews not being fined indicates that after further review of the play the league office believed there was no helmet-to-helmet contact and that Andrews did not lead with his helmet.

Poyer was not pleased that Andrews posted video of the play on his Instagram account with the tag, “relentless.” The Browns placed Poyer on injured reserve earlier this week.

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Sickle cell trait causing leg pain for John Brown

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Wide receiver John Brown #12 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game against the Los Angeles Rams at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

It looks like the Cardinals will have quarterback Carson Palmer in the lineup against the Seahawks on Sunday night after he practiced for a second straight day on Friday despite a hamstring injury that sidelined him on Wednesday.

It’s not looking so good for wide receiver John Brown. Brown missed a third straight day of practice with what the team had been calling a hamstring injury, although coach Bruce Arians said Friday that’s not quite accurate.

Per Arians, a blood test determined that Brown has a sickle cell trait that is causing Brown to experience pain in his leg. Work is being done to figure out a solution and the Cardinals haven’t ruled Brown out of the game, but it looks like there’s a decent chance he’ll be out of the lineup for the NFC West matchup.

Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson could be in line for bigger roles if Brown can’t play as a result of the leg issue.

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Rob Gronkowski, LeGarrette Blount fined $9,115 each

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots argues with members of the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter of a game at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) Getty Images

The biggest fine to come out of last Sunday’s Patriots victory over the Bengals was the $75,000 penalty levied on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for stepping on Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount’s leg.

That wasn’t the only fine for a player in that game and Blount was among the other players penalized by the league. PFT has confirmed with the league that Blount received a $9,115 fine for an unnecessary roughness penalty he received after getting stepped on by Burfict. Blount reacted by shoving Burfict and getting into it with Bengals defensive tackle Pat Sims.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was also fined $9,115 after being flagged for taunting in the fourth quarter. The flag came at the end of the second of two straight catches by Gronkowski that ended with him barking at members of the Bengals, including Burfict, before getting barked at by Bill Belichick.

Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick rounds out the list of fine recipients. Kirkpatrick picked up the same $9,115 for grabbing Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman’s facemask during a tackle.

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Suh not fined for alleged kick on Roethlisberger

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Ndamukong Suh #93 of the Miami Dolphins looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was not fined for what the Steelers felt was a kick on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in last week’s game, PFT has confirmed.

Suh was rushing Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter, and the Steelers reportedly filed a formal complaint with the NFL because they believed Suh intentionally kicked Roethlisberger.

The league office apparently disagreed with the Steelers’ view of things, and Suh wasn’t fined.

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NFL plans to investigate Josh Brown based on “other incidents of abuse”

18giants-web-master768 AP

The NFL officially has placed Giants kicker Josh Brown on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list based on information that came to light earlier this week. The text of the letter from senior V.P. of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch to Brown makes it clear that Brown is now being investigated for “other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which you were disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy.”

The move, which essentially suspends Brown with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, is a precursor to an eventual, inevitable suspension of Brown without pay for Personal Conduct Policy violation(s) arising from the conduct explained in the materials released by the King County (Washington) Sheriff following the official conclusion of the investigation of the May 2015 incident.

And so Brown will be prevented from working indefinitely (while getting paid) before eventually absorbing another suspension for, as he possibly will argue, conduct about which the league knew or should have known. Brown’s case could be bolstered by Thursday’s comments from Giants co-owner John Mara, who said a day after the release of materials reflecting other potential incidents of abuse that Brown had been honest with the team and that the Giants knew Brown had engaged in domestic violence. Thus, Brown can — and should — argue that he already has been punished once for the conduct for which he is now on the Commissioner-Exempt list.

Whether that argument has any success remains to be seen. Armed with recent federal appeals court rulings from cases against Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson, the league has the blueprint for doing whatever it wants to do to Brown. As long as Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t delegate the internal appeals process to a truly neutral arbitrator (like he did when the league tried to suspend Ray Rice a second time for allegedly lying to the league during his original internal appeals process), the league likely will prevail in its effort to suspend Josh Brown a second time — absent any smoking-gun admissions from the league or the team that Brown’s initial suspension was intended to be comprehensive. (Mara’s comments already could be that smoking gun, frankly.)

No matter how wrong and despicable his conduct may have been, Brown has rights. By bungling the case in the first instance via the failure to acquire information needed to reach an informed decision and/or an inexplicable refusal to wait for the investigation to end before imposing discipline, the league has put the union and anyone interested in the fair treatment of all players in the unenviable task of having to defend Brown.

Maybe that’s how the league decided to handle the case if/when the truth ever came out. Instead of admitting that they should have known more before suspending Brown for only one game, the league can now deflect criticism by pivoting back toward the man many will agree is the real culprit for more discipline.

Regardless of whether it’s supposed to work that way (and it’s not), the league and the Giants will now try to avoid any and all scrutiny or criticism of its flawed investigation by doing to Brown now what should have been done months ago.

Specifically, Brown should have been placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list pending the outcome of the investigation in King’s County, which would have ensured that the investigation didn’t fall into a black hole for more than a year, and which in turn would have resulted in the information that was released Wednesday coming to light many months ago.

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