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Lincoln Kennedy disagrees with Tim Brown, too

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We’re still waiting for one or more teammates of former Raiders receiver Tim Brown to corroborate his non-suggestion suggestion that former Raiders coach Bill Callahan “sabotaged” the team in Super Bowl XXXVII by changing the game plan two days before the game.

So far, at least three have not.

Joining quarterback Rich Gannon and linebacker Bill Romanowski is offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy.

“I was trying to play over the scenario over and over in my head guys, I just can’t wrap my arms around it,” Kennedy told 95.7 The Game in San Francisco.  “I can see why he felt that way, but I just can’t get behind it and say that I agree with it.”

Kennedy instead focuses on the fact that Callahan failed to change things, despite facing a team coached by the guy who had just coached the Raiders, Jon Gruden.

“Gruden gave them our complete playbook, our checks, they knew what we were doing,” Kennedy said.  “They knew where we were going.  That’s how they were able to have so many interceptions for touchdowns.  Because honestly that was the difference in the football game.”

Brown also appeared on 95.7 The Game to elaborate on his beliefs. “The facts are what they are,” Brown said.  “That the Friday before the Super Bowl, we changed our game plan. And I know that [Barret Robbins] talked to Callahan and asked Callahan not to do this because he did not have time to make his changes and you know get the calls right, but I can’t put that on Callahan’s back and I’m not trying to do that.”

But Brown is putting something much more significant on Callahan’s back.

“After that game, were the guys talking about sabotage?  Absolutely,” Brown added. “We knew how much he loved Gruden. We knew how much he hated the Raiders. We knew the fact that he had walked off the field on us a couple times. So we knew that there was no love with him and the Raider organization. I never want to say that I thought it was sabotage because I’m having to say that I believe I know exactly what this man was thinking, and I can’t say that so I won’t say that. I just know that he is smart enough to know the outcome of the decision especially when you are dealing with football players and football plays.”

Brown will appear on Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk, at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.  The topic possibly will come up.

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Joe Flacco Has a Cold

Joe Flacco AP

A starting quarterback who’s never missed a regular season game has missed his team’s first practice of the week.

Ravens starter Joe Flacco didn’t participate in the club’s workout on Wednesday, according to the team’s official Twitter feed. The Ravens (1-1) play at Cleveland on Sunday.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh did not elaborate on Flacco’s absence, the club said.

However, it appears that Flacco may just be a little under the weather. According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, Flacco has a cold. Also, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reported that “word is” Flacco isn’t feeling well.

This sounds like a story right in Gay Talese’s wheelhouse.

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Scandrick and Spencer at practice in Dallas, Romo out

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There was good news for the Cowboys’ defense and bad news for the offense at practice today.

Dallas got back cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who was on the field thanks to the NFL ending his suspension. Although Scandrick had been suspended for the first four games of the season under the old drug-testing policy, when the league and the players formally agreed to a new drug policy today, one of the byproducts was that Scandrick’s suspension was reduced to time served. Scandrick is back and from all accounts ready to go.

Also back, though perhaps not ready to go, is defensive end Anthony Spencer. Today was Spencer’s first time on the practice field since microfracture surgery a year ago, which is a positive step in his recovery. But Spencer isn’t ready to go through a full practice just yet, which probably means it’s going to be a while longer before he’s ready to play in a game.

Tony Romo, whose 2013 season was cut short because of back surgery, had to miss practice today to rest his back.

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant was at practice but not doing much as he continues to rest the shoulder he injured on Sunday. Bryant returned to Sunday’s game after the injury and is expected to play this week, but the Cowboys are taking it easy on him on the practice field.

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Gloria Allred blasts NFL for handling of Brandon Marshall case

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Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred started the press conference ripping into the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, with charges that he ignored complaints filed regarding Brandon Marshall.

Allred appeared with Kristeena Spivey, who accused the now-Bears wide receiver of abusing her friend Rasheedah Watley.

Marshall denied ever abusing Watley in 2009, but Spivey recalled an incident when Marshall rammed into her car, and threw a chunk of cement at a window to try to get Watley out.

Spivey said she called and emailed Roger Goodell, but never heard back from him. Marshall was suspended three games, but that was reduced to one.

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Rusty Hardin: No plea discussions in Adrian Peterson case at this point

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Adrian Peterson is on the exempt list until his legal proceedings have reached their conclusion and his lawyer said Tuesday that there’s no quick resolution in the works.

Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Rusty Hardin said that there have been no plea discussions with prosecutors regarding the charges of reckless or negligent injury to a charges that Peterson faces in Texas. Hardin said that he still expects there to be a trial next year.

Hardin also released a statement.

“Adrian wants to continue his work in the NFL and contribute to his team and community,” the statement reads. “In order to do so, he is prepared to resolve this matter in the appropriate legal forum rather than the court of public opinion. I have spent my entire career asking people to wait until all the facts are in, and I’m doing so again today. Ultimately, it will be up to a judge and jury to decide this case, which is the way it should be. Ours is the greatest legal system in the world, and Adrian is confident that a just result will emerge once all the facts are presented.”

There’s a lot of time between now and next year for talks about a plea to pick up and Hardin would be showing too much of his hand to say that he’s looking to plead out as soon as possible, but there may be motivation to come to a quicker resolution with Peterson’s return to the NFL contingent on the case coming to an end.

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DeSean Jackson doesn’t practice, but doesn’t plan on missing date with Eagles

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The Redskins are going to Philadelphia on Sunday, a trip that’s been circled on wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s calendar since the day the schedule was announced.

It’s Jackson’s first chance to play against the team that released him in the spring and he didn’t make any attempt to downplay the importance of the game on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be a huge game for myself and I’ve looked forward to ever since everything went down the way it went down,” Jackson said, via the Washington Post.

Complicating matters for Jackson is a shoulder injury suffered in last Sunday’s victory over the Jaguars. Jackson wasn’t a participant in practice on Wednesday and coach Jay Gruden wasn’t ruling him in or out, but Jackson sounded confident that he’d get the green light medically in time to face his former team.

“I’m a very confident person, regardless of an injury and I pride myself on not missing any games and prepare myself any and every way I can to help my team. So when it comes time for game, I’m going to do everything I can to get myself prepared and ready. Being cleared through my trainers is more of ‘we’re waiting’ more than anything. But I should be good come Sunday.”

Assuming he’s right, Jackson’s return to Philly in a different uniform will be one of the top storylines in Week Three.

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Greg Hardy hasn’t agreed to paid suspension, yet

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When it comes to players accused of domestic violence whose cases are still pending, the NFL has discovered plutonium by accident.

Either way, the emerging trend is to suspend the player with pay, via the little-known Exemption/Commissioner’s Permission designation.  It’s catch-all that allows a team to park a player on the sidelines for an indefinite period of time.  And it’s the modern equivalent of the Bucs and Eagles sending Keyshawn Johnson and Terrell Owens, respectively, home with pay.

Because the labor deal no longer allows guys to be sent home with pay, the player has to agree to this approach.  In the case of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the player agreed.  In the case of Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the player hasn’t, yet.

While there’s a good chance he will, keep in mind that Hardy faces evidence that is less clear than the charges pending against Peterson, who essentially admits spanking his son to the point of broken skin.  Hardy, found guilty via a preliminary trial so informal that the state doesn’t even generate a transcript of the proceedings, still has a chance to go to court and to pull out a win before a jury, especially since the standard for a criminal conviction is so high.

Apart from the fact that Hardy may be exonerated is the reality that he’s due to become a free agent in 2015.  If he’s not playing, it becomes harder for Hardy to position himself for a major payday in free agency.  And if he’s ultimately acquitted, that major payday could still come.

Regardless of Hardy’s circumstances, this seat-of-the-pants procedure gives the NFL too easy of a way out of the maze the league has created by caring about what players do when not at work.  Instead of suspending the player with pay before his case ends and then presumably suspending him without pay after he is found legally responsible, the league should mobilize an NTSB-style team of investigators to explore the circumstances and make a quick decision as to whether the player is or isn’t guilty.

If the NFL believes he’s clean, he plays.  If the NFL thinks he did something wrong, he receives punishment.  Either way, the cloud of uncertainty won’t linger over the player, his team, and the league.

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Report: Goodell wants to “be a leader in the domestic violence space”

Roger Goodell AP

So far, we’ve heard more from Zygi Wilf and Jerry Richardson and Steve Bisciotti than we’ve heard from Roger Goodell.

There are indications that could be changing, soon.

A source close to Goodell told Peter King of TheMMQB that “Roger has determined that he will be a leader in the domestic-violence space.”

Any time he wants to start would likely be relief to those in Minnesota and Carolina and Baltimore, and around the league where the off-field abuse allegations against stars has overshadowed the start of the season.

And that fact that King’s article is titled “It’s Past Time, Commissioner” should tell you which way the winds are blowing.

Goodell has hired four women in the last week, one to head his Washington office and three to help him drive the league’s new programs surrounding domestic violence.

But while putting out fires by placing players on the equivalent of double secret probation, we haven’t heard from Goodell since a pair of handpicked interviews with female journalists (neither of whom operate within the NFL sphere) last week.

You’d think that would change sometime soon.

But until it does, the sounds of silence coming from 345 Park Avenue are deafening.

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Doug Martin, Gerald McCoy questionable for Thursday night

Gerald McCoy AP

Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy broke his hand last Sunday and hasn’t practiced at all this week, but the Bucs aren’t ruling him out of Thursday night’s game against the Falcons.

McCoy has been listed as questionable on the team’s Wednesday injury report, which should mean he has a 50/50 chance of being on the field. Coach Lovie Smith said, via the team, that McCoy has been feeling better since being fitted for a cast, but no decision will be made until Thursday about his status. If he can’t play, Akeem Spence, Clinton McDonald and Da’Quan Bowers will be the options inside for the Bucs.

Running back Doug Martin missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury, but he’s been practicing this week and also drew a questionable tag for the NFC South matchup. The same goes for defensive end Michael Johnson, who was held out of the loss to the Rams because of an ankle injury.

The Bucs ruled out linebacker Mason Foster and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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