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Ravens put Jah Reid on IR

Reid Getty Images

The good news for the Ravens is that they have no injured players listed as less than probable to play on Saturday at Denver.  The bad news is that guard Jah Reid has been placed on injured reserve with a toe injury.

Reid had started seven straight games to finish the regular season.  He missed the wild-card win over the Colts, and he did not practice all week.

As to the 17 players listed as probable — including receiver Anquan Boldin (shoulder), linebacker Ray Lewis (triceps), safety Ed Reed (shoulder), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), and receiver Torrey Smith (back) — there’s technically a virtual certainty they’ll play.

If, of course, that term means what we think it means.

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Jay Gruden: When McCoy comes out and Sproles comes in, we’re like “Oh s—“

Jay Gruden AP

Eagles running back Darren Sproles had a monster game against the Colts on Monday night, displaying exactly the kind of playmaking ability that he showed in New Orleans and San Diego before being traded to the Eagles for a fifth-round pick during the offseason.

That ability makes Sproles’ impact on the Eagles offense has hard to miss and Redskins coach Jay Gruden has picked up on it while preparing for this weekend’s NFC East clash between the two teams. As Gruden explains, there’s no longer a reason to catch your breath when LeSean McCoy is on the sideline.

“You’d think when McCoy comes out of the game we’re high-fiving, you know, ‘Hey, he’s on the bench, thank god.’ All of a sudden Sproles come in and we’re like, ‘Oh, s—,'” Gruden said, via CSNPhilly.com. “They’re two dynamic players when the ball is in their hands out in space. Our job is to know where they are at all times. We’ve got to do a great job of not just tackling one guy but gang-tackling and everybody running to the ball.”

Sproles has actually produced more yards and touchdowns in the first two games than McCoy, something that few people probably predicted heading into the season. It’s unlikely that things will remain that way over the long haul, but that’s all the more reason for defenses to be at their sharpest when facing off with the Eagles this season.

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Gloria Allred calls presser to detail another NFL abuse case

Gloria Allred AP

With a decision on Greg Hardy’s playing status imminent, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might have thought he tied up all his domestic violence loose ends.

So naturally, another one is about to fray.

According to Mike Morris of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, attorney Gloria Allred has called a 3 p.m. press conference where she’ll discuss alleged incidents of abuse by another NFL player.

Allred said in a statement she would be joined by “two individuals who allege that they or a family member were victims of violence and abuse by an NFL player,” and that those two would “discuss how the NFL and Commissioner Goodell failed them.”

There was no information about the identity of the people who’d be talking, or who the player was.

You can practically hear the puckering in New York now.

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C.J. Spiller takes home AFC special teams player of the week

C.J. Spiller AP

The Bills improved to 2-0 last Sunday thanks in part to some big contributions from running back C.J. Spiller.

Spiller ran for 68 yards, including a 47-yard scamper to set up a score, and returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. That latter accomplishment helped Spiller nab AFC special teams player of the week honors for the second time in his career.

Spiller previously won the award as a rookie in 2010, which was the last time that Spiller was the team’s primary kickoff returner. The team put Spiller back in that position this year to give him more chances to make plays, something that worked out handsomely for them against the Dolphins.

It’s the second straight week that a Bills player has taken home special teams honors. Kicker Dan Carpenter was the Week One recipient after his field goal in overtime gave the Bills a win over the Bears.

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Rice appeal could hinge on private meeting with Goodell

Newsome Getty Images

The appeal of Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension will find out what the NFL knew and when the NFL knew it about what happened inside that Atlantic City elevator.  To get there, the hearing officer will have to assess the accuracy and credibility of a variety of witnesses who said things and/or heard things said when Rice explained the incident.

Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome said last week that Rice didn’t lie to Newsome.  Since Newsome was in the room when Rice met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in June, that sets up a potential dispute between Newsome’s recollection of Rice’s remarks and Goodell’s.

But Newsome said something else last week that will raise the stakes on the looming effort to figure out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t.

“We had a meeting but also Ray and Janay and Roger had a separate meeting and a story was told in that meeting,” Newsome said.  “So what was said during the meeting between the three could have been a lot different than what was said when the eight of us were in a room together.”

Ultimately, the question of whether Rice lied could come down to the credibility of the testimony from Rice, his wife, and Goodell regarding the statements made during that meeting.  Since the NFL makes no transcript of these meetings, there’s no way to know with certainty what was said.

Goodell’s decision to meet privately with Rice and his wife makes Goodell a central witness to the question of whether the NFL knew what was on the tape, and it makes it even more important that a truly independent party with no direct or indirect ties to Goodell be responsible for getting to the truth.

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Greg Hardy won’t be practicing today after all

Greg Hardy AP

It appears a decision on Greg Hardy is coming soon.

On his way into practice, Panthers coach Ron Rivera told multiple reporters that his controversial defensive end would not be practicing today, but didn’t respond to any questions about his status.

Hardy then left the stadium, accompanied by agent Drew Rosenhaus, who said a decision had been made.

Rivera was late coming out to practice, so he was likely inside the team’s facility in a meeting about his franchise-tagged defensive end, who is expected to be dealt with by the league soon for the domestic violence charges against him.

The Panthers have blown back and forth on this one so many times as to induce dizziness.

Hardy played in the opener at Tampa, but was deactivated from last week’s game. On Monday, Rivera said Hardy would practice this week, but no decision had been made about the game.

It appears that decision has been made, though no one expected them to put him out there in prime time against the Steelers anyway.

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Jameis Winston gives NFL teams another red flag

jameis AP

Based purely on his talent for playing the quarterback position, Florida State’s Jameis Winston should be a lock to be a first-round draft pick. On ability alone, Winston is probably a better prospect than Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater, the three first-round picks in this year’s NFL draft.

And yet Winston has shown himself so incapable of staying out of trouble that there are real questions about whether any NFL team would want him to be the face of its franchise.

The latest question came today, when Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher announced that Winston will be suspended for the first half of Saturday’s big game against Clemson. Winston’s latest offense is that he stood up in a crowded area of the Florida State campus and screamed, “F–k her right in the pu–y.” He apparently thought that was funny because that phrase has been spoken on some viral videos, and some pranksters have managed to say it on live television.

If this were Winston’s first offense, it might be written off as a sophomoric joke. But it’s far from the first offense for Winston, who was accused of raping a fellow Florida State student in a case that led to no criminal charges but a subsequent investigation into whether the school and the local police botched their handling of the matter. Winston was also previously suspended from the school’s baseball team for shoplifting. There’s a widespread belief that Winston just doesn’t get how a high-profile athlete is supposed to conduct himself.

Whenever Winston enters the NFL draft (he still has two more seasons of NCAA eligibility after this year), he’s going to face a great deal of scrutiny — less about what kind of player he is than about what kind of person he is. Winston’s personal conduct may end up costing him millions of dollars.

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Reggie Bush defends Adrian Peterson, spanking

Detroit Lions Training Camp Getty Images

As it turns out, there are people worse at talking about the Adrian Peterson situation than the Vikings front office, or at least one.

Lions running back Reggie Bush said he supported Peterson’s method of punishing children, if not the degree to which Peterson took it.

I was punished the same way,” Bush said on WFAN, via the New York Daily News. “And I know a lot of my friends and a lot of the guys I played with, they were punished the same way, too.”

“I got what we call whoopings.”

Bush said he’d “harshly” punish his 1-year-old daughter, if need be.

“I definitely will try to — will obviously not leave bruises or anything like that on her,” Bush said. “But I definitely will discipline her harshly depending on what the situation is.”

He initially said he’d “consider” using a switch like Peterson did, but then said he misspoke.

“I said spanking,” he said. “Spanking is different than a branch or a stick”

Bush probably realized he stepped in a big pile upon leaving the interview, so he took to Twitter to start the ritual scraping of the shoe.

“Let’s get one thing straight people, I believe in disciplining a child period!” he wrote. “I believe in spanking a child (IF NEEDED) NOT beating them!

I’m a big believer in the First Amendment, and love it when football players speak openly and honestly.

But this is probably not the week to advocate for corporal punishment, unless you just enjoy having to explain what you really mean.

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Vikings owner: “We made a mistake and we needed to get this right”

Wilf AP

Vikings owner Zygi Wilf admitted today that his team screwed up when it reinstated running back Adrian Peterson on Monday, saying today that he realizes now that a player who is under indictment on a child abuse charge should not be playing.

“We made a mistake and we needed to get this right,” Wilf said. “We embrace our role in the community and the responsibilities that go with it. It is important to always listen to our fans, the community and our sponsors. Our goal is to always make a decision we feel is right for the Minnesota Vikings. And to be clear, we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. Adrian will be away from the team and focused on his personal situation. We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe this is the right decision.”

After Wilf made that statement, his brother and co-owner Mark Wilf took questions from reporters, and he echoed his brother’s statements.

“Our focus is to get things right,” he said. “We support Adrian on the personal level. He has to get his personal life in order and get things right.”

The Vikings have been widely criticized for initially planning to play Peterson, who has admitted that he injured his son by beating him with a stick. But the Vikings say they take the welfare of children seriously.

“We have a longstanding record of being very supportive of children and youth and it’s something we take very seriously,” Mark Wilf said.

The Vikings only changed their minds after losing at least one sponsor and being strongly criticized by the governor of Minnesota, but the Vikings claim they made the decision to put Peterson on an exempt list and hold him out while his legal matter is ongoing simply because they concluded that it’s the right thing to do. They may never come up with a satisfactory answer for why they delayed in doing the right thing. But their message today is that they believe they’re doing the right thing now.

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Ted Ginn wins special teams player of the week for his third team

tedginn AP

No matter where he goes, Ted Ginn Jr. is a dangerous kick returner.

Ginn, the Cardinals’ punt and kickoff returner, was named the NFC special teams player of the week today. It’s the third time Ginn has been named special teams player of the week — with the third different team. Ginn won AFC special teams player of the week with the Dolphins in 2009, when he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns against the Jets, and won NFC special teams player of the week with the 49ers in 2011, when he returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown against the Seahawks.

This week Ginn got the award for a 71-yard touchdown that helped the Cardinals beat the Giants. The Cardinals were trailing with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Ginn raced through the Giants’ punt team and into the end zone to give Arizona a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“Once I get into the open field, it would be kind of bad if someone ran you down from the back,” Ginn said. “I’m supposed to have world class speed. I just get into the open field and let my legs do the rest.”

The 29-year-old Ginn has 7,920 career return yards, putting him 18th in NFL history.

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PFT Live: Brian Hoyer, Coaching hot seat

Brian Hoyer AP

Brian Hoyer quarterbacked the Browns to their first win of the season against the Saints last Sunday and he’ll tell us all about how he got the job done when he visits Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live.

Hoyer completed 24-of-40 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown during the victory, including two third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion on the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Mike Florio will talk to Florio about how it felt to lead that winning drive, getting Mike Pettine his first win as a head coach and coming off the field so Johnny Manziel could take a few snaps.

Florio will also fire up the coaching hot seat for our weekly look at which NFL teams may be looking for new coaches in the near future. Raiders coach Dennis Allen’s future has already been the subject of speculation in Oakland, so he’ll likely be part of the discussion.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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NFL, NFLPA announce PED deal, three suspensions lifted

AFC Championship - New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Getty Images

It only took them three years after initially “agreeing” to an hGH policy, but the NFL and the NFLPA have now put it in writing.

The league and the union just put out a joint statement announcing changes to the performance enhancing substance policy (which must mean they’re still hammering out the details of the substance abuse policy).

Accordingly, several players will be allowed to return to their teams this week, including Wes Welker, Orlando Scandrick and Stedman Bailey.

According to the release, positive tests are subject to third-party arbitration appeals, and testing for hGH will begin “within the next few weeks.”

Testing for hGH will be “fully implemented” this season, with procedures being sent to clubs and players this week. Testing will begin later this month.

First violations will result in a suspension without pay for up to six games. Masking agents or diuretics will draw a two-game suspension, while use of a “steroid, stimulant, HGH or other banned substance” will result in four-gamer. Manipulating a test can get you six.

Second violations will result in a 10-game suspension, and a third will be a minimum of two years.

As expected, offseason stimulant tests will be handled under the substance abuse policy.

The commissioner “will retain his current disciplinary authority” over discipline for violations other than positive tests (such as arrests). Players have a right to appeal to a member of the existing CBA appeals panel.

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Chandler Jones’s big day makes him AFC defensive player of the week

Chandler Jones, Matt Cassel AP

By blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown, Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones put himself in the running for consideration as the AFC special teams player of the week for Week Two of the 2014 season.

He didn’t wind up taking home that honor, but Jones got a pretty good prize all the same. The league announced on Wednesday that Jones is his conference’s defensive player of the week.

Jones practically took up residence in the Vikings’ backfield during a comfortable 30-7 Patriots victory. He finished the game with two sacks, three quarterback hits and four hurries as Minnesota failed to come up with any way to block him effectively over the course of the afternoon. Jones finished with eight tackles overall and was a leading part of the unit’s rebound from a rough second half against Miami in the opener.

It’s the first player of the week award for Jones, although he was named the defensive player of the month last November.

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New PED policy reinstates only three players (and not Dion Jordan)

Dion Jordan AP

Yes, the NFL and NFLPA finally have worked out a new drug policy.  Yes, players who tested positive in the offseason for stimulants banned under the PED policy will be reinstated.

But the joint announcement from the league and the union identifies only three players to return:  Broncos receiver Wes Welker, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Rams receiver Stedman Bailey.

So where are all the other players who supposedly were suspended for taking stimulants in the offseason?  Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan claimed that his four-game suspension came from taking a banned stimulant.  If so, he should be reinstated.

So maybe he didn’t really take a banned stimulant.  Unless he had prior violations of the substance-abuse policy that resulted in a four-game suspension based on the off-season reclassified stimulant violation or unless his positive test came before March 11, Jordan was lying.

UPDATE 11:19 a.m. ET:  Per a league source, Jordan’s positive test came before March 11, which means that his suspension won’t be listed.

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NFLPA signed off on Adrian Peterson outcome

Peterson Getty Images

By parking Adrian Peterson on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, the Vikings took action to which the NFLPA could have taken offense.  But the NFLPA didn’t oppose the move.

“Adrian Peterson made a decision to take a voluntary leave with pay to take care of his personal and legal issues,” the union said in a statement.  “The NFLPA and NFL worked with Adrian and the Minnesota Vikings to resolve this unique situation.  We support this decision and hope the best for him and his family.”

While the situation was called “unique,” it likely won’t be unprecedented.  At least in the short term, it could become downright common.

The broader point is that it can’t happen unless the player is on board with it.  It remains to be seen whether Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy or 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald would agree to a similar outcome.

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Hardy could land on same exempt list as Peterson

Greg Hardy AP

With the Panthers trying to balance getting the most for their $13.1 million with the ever-building public outcry against players accused of domestic violence, the Vikings may have given owner Jerry Richardson a path through the corn maze.

A league source tells PFT that it’s “possible” Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy will be placed on the same, little-known Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list until his pending case is resolved.

It would pay Hardy $770,588.23 per week until his case ends, but it would keep him from playing.  And he’d have to agree to it, like Adrian Peterson did, since doing so doesn’t necessarily comply with the terms of the labor deal.

It also would create an incentive for Hardy to resolve the case by striking a deal, even though that would set him up for a suspension without pay under the personal-conduct policy.

Meanwhile, the 49ers continue to show no inclination to do anything with defensive end Ray McDonald other than to let him keep playing.

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