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Penn State coach Bill O’Brien considering an NFL interview

Bill O'Brien AP

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien may be a candidate for one of the NFL’s seven coaching vacancies.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC reports that O’Brien is strongly considering interviewing with an NFL team.

King doesn’t say whether there’s one specific team that has asked O’Brien to interview, but the Jaguars and Eagles have both been mentioned in previous reports about teams that might be interested in O’Brien. It’s easy to see why NFL teams would take a liking to O’Brien: He was well regarded as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, and he did an outstanding job at Penn State this year, holding his team together amid harsh NCAA sanctions for the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

It’s also easy to see why O’Brien would want to leave: He didn’t know when he took the Penn State job that he’d be coaching a team that wouldn’t be allowed to play in a bowl game or a Big Ten Championship Game for his first four seasons, and that he’d be coaching a team that would have severe scholarship reductions. O’Brien thought he was taking over a program where he could win a national championship, and that’s not realistic at Penn State any time soon.

There’s been talk that the buyout in O’Brien’s Penn State contract would keep him from leaving, but that’s not necessarily as big an obstacle as has been reported. For starters, there have been conflicting reports about just how much O’Brien would actually have to pay the school if he leaves. And even at the high end of the estimates for O’Brien’s buyout — $18.4 million — the reality is that every owner in the NFL can afford it. If an NFL owner is convinced O’Brien is the coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl, that owner will pay whatever he has to pay to get his man.

So it’s not at all surprising that O’Brien is considering an NFL job interview. And it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he leaves Penn State to take an NFL job.

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Joe Flacco questionable for Sunday

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens stands next to Justin Forsett #29 during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco returned to practice Friday after missing two days with a right shoulder issue, but the team isn’t ready to say he’ll definitely be playing against the Jets this weekend.

Flacco has been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, which is also where Flacco hurt the shoulder during last week’s loss to the Giants. Coach John Harbaugh said it was “encouraging” to see Flacco on the field, but that he wasn’t “putting any labels” on the likelihood that the quarterback will play.

“We will see,” Harbaugh said at his Friday press conference. “We will see how he responds tomorrow. He is out there running around a little bit and throwing the ball a little bit. We will see what happens.”

Ryan Mallett would start in the event Flacco can’t play. The Ravens don’t have a third quarterback on their 53-man roster, but do have David Fales on their practice squad.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, wide receiver Steve Smith, cornerback Shareece Wright and guard Marshal Yanda are all listed as doubtful after missing practice all week. Safety Kendrick Lewis has the same designation after missing Friday’s practice.

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Bills activate Shaq Lawson

Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) takes part in drills during their NFL football rookie minicamp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Friday, May 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) AP

The Bills have activated rookie pass rusher Shaq Lawson from their physically unable to perform list.

Lawson suffered a shoulder injury during rookie minicamp last spring that required surgery and forced him to miss all of training camp and the preseason.

Lawson, the Bills’ first-round pick last spring, told reporters he’s “completely healthy” and Bills coach Rex Ryan said Lawson has been “flying around” and will be active for Sunday’s game at Miami.

The Bills also made some other moves. Tight end Manasseh Garner was called up from the practice squad, while tight end Gerald Christian and offensive tackle Michael Ola were released. Garner could play some fullback on Sunday because veteran fullback Jerome Felton is questionable due to a back injury.

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Report: Josh Brown headed to Commissioner’s-Exempt list

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13:  NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell talks on tthe sidelines before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum during preseason on August 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Rams won 28-24.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants said they weren’t going to turn their back on Josh Brown, but it appears they’re not going to let him kick for them again either.

According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the Giants kicker will be placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list, but that he has “kicked his last kick” for the Giants.

Banishing him to the exempt list — as was done with Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson — means he’s on paid leave, while the Giants try to find a way to divorce themselves from an ugly situation.

In documents released this week, Brown admitted years of phsyical and emotional abuse of his then-wife.

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Jamaal Charles questionable with swelling in knee

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Jamaal Charles #25 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes for a four-yard touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs took their time bringing running back Jamaal Charles back from a torn ACL in the early weeks of this season before he returned to the lineup for the last two games.

Charles’ continued immersion back into the lineup has hit a bit of a snag this week. Charles is listed as questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Saints because of some knee swelling that left him as a limited participant in practice.

The extent of the swelling is unknown, but any sign of trouble in Charles’ knee is likely to be taken seriously by the Chiefs given how cautious they were with bringing Charles back into action in the first place.

Spencer Ware has remained the lead back with Charles back in action and that will likely remain the case whether or not Charles is able to go come Sunday. Cornerback Phillip Gaines is also questionable with a knee injury for Kansas City.

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Josh Doctson heads to injured reserve

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson, 18, works out during NFL football rookie minicamp in Ashburn, Va. Doctson is inching his way back from an Achilles tendon injury, though the Washington Redskins still don’t know when the wide receiver will be ready to practice with the team, let alone play in a game. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) AP

Earlier this week, Redskins coach Jay Gruden ruled rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson out for this Sunday’s game against the Lions and suggested that it might not be until after the team’s Week Nine bye before there was a change in his status.

As it turns out, it will be a lot longer than that. Gruden announced on Friday that Doctson will be placed on injured reserve because of the Achilles injury that the first-round pick suffered in the spring and has limited him to two games this season.

“We saw another specialist, a couple of them now, I think with all the work that we put in we thought it was best to immobilize him for a little bit of time and see if that can help by the time he gets out of the boot,” Gruden said, via the team’s website. “Then he’ll need time to see if he’s ready and hopefully we’ll get him back for the last maybe two games of the year.”

Doctson will be eligible to return to action in Week 15, although, as Gruden said, that’s far from a sure thing given how long Doctson has already been dealing with the injury.

Wide receiver Maurice Harris will be added from the practice squad to fill Doctson’s spot on the roster.

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Steelers rule out DeAngelo Williams, Markus Wheaton, Marcus Gilbert

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 02:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers rushes against the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter during the game at Heinz Field on October 2, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won’t be the only key offensive player missing when the Steelers face the Patriots on Sunday.

The team has ruled out three others ahead of the game. Running back DeAngelo Williams, wide receiver Markus Wheaton and right tackle Marcus Gilbert will also miss the game.

Williams has a knee injury and his absence will leave Fitzgerald Toussaint as the backup to Le’Veon Bell. Wheaton has been dealing with a shoulder injury all season and will miss his fourth game of the year while Gilbert will be replaced by Chris Hubbard for the third straight week.

The Steelers ruled out defensive end Cam Heyward earlier this week. Safety Shamarko Thomas will miss a second straight game with a groin injury, which impacts the Steelers more on special teams than on the defensive side of the ball.

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Giants’ Justin Pugh walks back support of teammate Josh Brown

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 01:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants celebrates a touchdown with Justin Pugh #67 during the second quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

Giants guard Justin Pugh voiced support for teammate Josh Brown after he was suspended for Week One of the NFL season over a domestic violence arrest. Now Pugh is walking back that support.

Pugh released a statement today saying that when he supported Brown previously, he did not know the full extent of the allegations against Brown, which became public when police documents were published this week.

“I was misinformed and unknowingly speaking with limited information at the time I commented earlier this year,” Pugh said today. “I had no personal knowledge of his behavior at home and obviously do not condone domestic violence of any kind.”

Pugh’s support for Brown struck some as particularly questionable because Pugh has also spoken strongly in support of standing for the national anthem. Some took Pugh’s comments as suggesting that he would support a teammate who beats his wife, but not a teammate who kneels for the anthem.

Pugh now wants to distance himself from that support of Brown. As do the Giants.

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Reed out, Jackson questionable for Sunday

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 26: DeSean Jackson #11of the Washington Redskins antagonizes fans of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter of a football game at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins have ruled tight end Jordan Reed out for Sunday’s game at Detroit and will list wide receiver DeSean Jackson as questionable.

Reed was diagnosed with a concussion last week, and given his concussion history it’s no surprise that he’s missing another game. The Redskins play the Bengals next week in London, then have a bye, so it’s reasonable to think Reed will be out until the second weekend of November.

Jackson missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday with a shoulder injury. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden told reporters that Jackson looked “pretty good” in Friday’s practice, but Gruden stopped short of declaring Jackson ready for Sunday. Jackson will be further evaluated Saturday and could end up being a game-time decision Sunday.

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Muhammad Wilkerson doesn’t practice, questionable for Sunday

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Temmates  Leonard Williams #92 of the New York Jets and  Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets react after a play against the Cincinati Bengals during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets season has been short on good news in the first six weeks and their chances of turning that around against the Ravens this Sunday won’t be helped by the ankle injury suffered by defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.

Wilkerson missed his second practice of the week on Friday due to an injury that Wilkerson said, via Kimberley Martin of Newsday, has been bothering him for the last couple of weeks. Wilkerson had 1.5 sacks in the season opener against the Bengals, but has been relatively quiet over the last five weeks.

Wilkerson is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game as a result of the ankle and it sounds like it might be a situation where time off is called for if he’s going to get past the injury once and for all.

There are also a pair of question marks on the other side of the ball. Left tackle Ryan Clady and center Nick Mangold are both listed as questionable, although both of them were able to practice on Friday.

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League, law enforcement are both to blame for lack of information in Josh Brown case

2011 NFC Championship: Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears Getty Images

King County Sheriff John Urquhart blames the NFL for failing to work hard enough to obtain information about the Josh Brown case. The NFL blames the Sheriff’s office for failing to cooperate with its efforts.

The truth, as usual, lives somewhere in the middle, with both sides bearing blame for the NFL’s lack of information at the time Brown initially was suspended only one game. Ultimately, however, the league’s lack of appropriate diligence resulted in the discipline being imposed based on incomplete facts.

Allow me to explain. (As if you have a vote in the matter.)

The materials released by the King County Sheriff’s department earlier this week show that, indeed, the NFL tried to gather information about the case. A woman named Deborah Katz called Josh Brown’s ex-wife, Molly, on June 3, 2015. (The document says 2016, but that apparently is a typo, based on the full context of the report.)

“Molly told me that she had a very limited conversation with the woman and told her that she did not want to speak to her about any of this,” wrote Detective Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff’s office. “Molly told me that if it truly was someone from the NFL calling her, she would not trust them to really be having her or her children’s best interest in mind. Molly states that the NFL would only be looking to bury this whole incident and protect Josh. I told Molly that she was under no obligation to talk to this woman, or discuss with anyone that might try to contact her, the nature of the investigation. I told Molly if she wanted, I would call this woman and ask that she not call her anymore; Molly stated that she would appreciate if I would do that.”

Ostrum then explained in the report that she contacted Deborah Katz, who “started pressing me for information on this case.” Ostrum said she would not discuss the case, explaining it was an “open and active investigation.”

“Deborah tried to ingratiate herself to me by telling me she was once a Prosecutor for the State of New York,” Ostrum wrote. “I told Deborah that if that was true, then she should know that I would not discuss an open and active investigation with her. Deborah then asked me why I was saying there was an open and active investigation if the Prosecutor’s Office dropped the charges. I explained to Deborah that the Prosecutor’s Office had not ‘dropped’ the charges against Josh, they had simply chosen not to ‘file’ charges at this time, pending further investigation into this matter, which I was doing.

“I clearly informed Deborah that depending on the outcome of my investigation, the Prosecutor’s Office could still file charges against Josh. Deborah stated that she would call me back from time to time to check on the status of my investigation. Over the next several months I did receive several phone calls from Deborah that [resulted] in the same thing, me telling her I would not discuss my open and active investigation with her. When that didn’t seem to be getting the NFL anywhere, they had a Detective from another local law enforcement agency, who apparent also works as a representative for the NFL, call me and try to get information from me on my investigation. I told him the same thing that I had discussed with Deborah, that I would not share information with him, or discuss my open and active investigation with him.”

The NFL, as noted by senior V.P. of communications Natalie Ravitz on Twitter, also submitted a formal request for public records, apparently on May 26, 2015. The response, along with the public records, finally arrived on October 19, 2016. This explains why media reports regarding the details of the records appeared that same day; others had made a request for public records, and the requests we all filled on the same say.

While it’s clear that the NFL did something to find out more about the allegations and evidence against Brown, the NFL didn’t do enough. It’s one thing to call the same person over and over again and say, “Are you ready to talk about the case?” It’s quite another to employ creative, aggressive, and relentless measures to get around, through, above, or under a stone wall and get to the truth.

Whether it’s contacting the sheriff directly to explain the importance of obtaining more information about the case, pushing Brown, his agents, and his lawyers to pressure law enforcement to conclude the case and release the information, or ultimately threatening to place Brown on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list until the case is closed and the information is obtained, the NFL could have and should have, when faced with that stone wall, done something other than repeatedly bang its head against it.

Law enforcement bears blame as well, given that the investigation languished for more than 14 months, with the case finally closed on September 14, 2016. The timeline suggests that the case fell into a black hole and that, after the league suspended Brown for one game, media inquiries resulted in the case being dusted off and concluded.

That’s unacceptable from a law-enforcement perspective, but it’s hardly unprecedented. Still, the fact that media agitation caused the Sheriff’s office to complete its work proves that the NFL could have pushed the investigation to a conclusion much sooner, with the right approach.

And so the NFL imposed discipline on Josh Brown based solely on information provided by him, without the benefit of the final report or the various attachments that demonstrate a pattern of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Faced with the choice as to whether the outcome arose from incompetence or design, the safer bet is incompetence, because anyone with an ounce of common sense had to know that, eventually, the investigation would be concluded and a report would be generated for public consumption.

Apart from the league’s decision to suspend Josh Brown for one game based on incomplete facts, these details make the team’s decision to re-sign Brown earlier this year even more confusing. All the Giants had to say was, “Josh, if you don’t find a way to get that investigation finally closed so that the information can be reviewed, we just can’t hire you again.”

Again, this outcome suggests more incompetence than design. Unless, of course, the incompetence flowed not from the efforts to obtain the necessary information but from the belief that the team would be able to brush this matter under the rug and that no one would ever know or care about the truth, especially since it involves a kicker.

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LeSean McCoy questionable for Sunday

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:    Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills hands of to LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

During a radio interview on Friday morning, Bills running back LeSean McCoy’s agent Drew Rosenhaus said that a report that his client will miss Sunday’s game against the Dolphins with a hamstring injury was premature and that he expected McCoy to be a game-time decision in Week Seven.

Rosenhaus’ prediction wound up being right on the money. The Bills have listed McCoy as questionable after he was able to return for a limited practice with the team on Friday.

McCoy is coming off two straight big weeks on the ground, running for 150 yards in a win over the Rams in Week Five and going for 140 yards and three scores against the 49ers last Sunday. He tweaked his hamstring in Wednesday’s practice to create the uncertainty about whether he’ll keep it going this weekend.

Wide receiver Robert Woods, who has a foot injury, and defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who hasn’t played since returning from a four-game suspension and suffering a hamstring injury, are both listed as doubtful.

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Browns will list Pryor as questionable, Haden as doubtful

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (11) catches a 7-yard touchdown pass as he is defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Brice McCain, right, and safety Rashad Johnson, left, in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.(AP Photo/Weston Kenney) AP

The Browns will list cornerback Joe Haden as doubtful and will list wide receiver Terrelle Pryor as questionable on their Friday injury report.

Both had missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Haden has a groin injury that kept him out of last week’s game, and Pryor suffered a hamstring injury during last week’s loss at Tennessee.

Browns Coach Hue Jackson told reporters earlier in the week he was “very hopeful” that Pryor and Haden would be able to play Sunday in Cincinnati. Pryor has a team-high 33 catches for 413 yards and three touchdowns.

Haden has previously missed two games due to two different groin injuries. Haden was limited to five games last season by various injuries.

The Browns have also ruled out safety Marcus Burley, tight end Seth DeValve, quarterback Josh McCown and wide receiver Corey Coleman, who’s not yet been cleared to return to action due to a broken hand.

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Jerry Jones expects a lot of injured guys back after bye

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on prior to a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

His weekly Friday radio appearances give Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plenty of chances to talk about his quarterback.

But while he didn’t have an update on Tony Romo’s status today, Jones did offer some good news on several other key injuries.

During his appearance on 105.3 The Fan, Jones said he expects wide receiver Dez Bryant, defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and cornerback Orlando Scandrick to play next week against the Eagles after they take their bye this weekend.

Bryant has been out since Sept. 25 with a knee injury, but said earlier this week (when he wasn’t ginsu-ing himself while making soup) that he was ready to return after the bye.

Lawrence suffered a shoulder injury two games into his return from a four-game suspension. Scandrick hasn’t played since Week Two with hamstring injuries

Regarding his starting quarterback, Jones said it was “up in the air,” whether Romo would practice next week, as he recovers from broken bones in his back.

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Joe Flacco practicing on Friday

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens warms up prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) Getty Images

After Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco missed practice on Wednesday, neither he nor head coach John Harbaugh expressed much concern about Flacco missing Sunday’s road game against the Jets due to the right shoulder soreness that kept him off the field.

Flacco missed practice again on Thursday, which may have had some wondering if things were moving in the wrong direction for the quarterback. Friday brought better news, however.

The Ravens announced that Flacco is back on the practice field with the rest of the team for the final day of on-field preparations for the Jets. The team’s final injury report for the week will be released later in the day and Flacco’s return to work would seem to make any listing other than questionable a surprise.

The Ravens have lost three straight games, including last week’s loss to the Giants in the same building they’ll be in to face the Jets.

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Robert Quinn, William Hayes questionable for Sunday

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates a sack on a play that was called back due to a penaltyduring the second quarter of the home opening NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams have been dealing with injuries to three of their starting defensive linemen in recent weeks and final word on how many of them will be available this Sunday in London won’t come until Sunday morning.

Defensive ends Robert Quinn and William Hayes are both listed as questionable for the game against the Giants. Quinn has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury while Hayes returned to the lineup last week after missing two games with an ankle injury. Both players were full participants in practice the last two days, which would seem to bode well for their chances of playing.

Defensive tackle Michael Brockers won’t play for the second time in three weeks after being ruled out due to a thigh injury. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson is out for the second straight week with an ankle injury.

Johnson’s absence will hurt the Rams as they try to keep Odell Beckham under wraps, but the return of Quinn could help mitigate that absence if he’s in the lineup and able to consistently pressure Eli Manning.

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