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The honeymoon ends abruptly for Jimmy Haslam and Cleveland

Jimmy Haslam AP

Jimmy is likely getting upset.

Earlier this week, when new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam disclosed that he’ll be heading back to Tennessee to resume his former job as CEO of the truck-stop company that kick-started his immense wealth, some Browns fans complained that Haslam is no different than former absentee Browns owner Randy Lerner.

And so when Haslam made it clear he’ll still be involved with free agency and the draft, some Browns fans complained that Haslam is no different than über-meddler Jerry Jones.

There’s a huge difference between an owner who is neither physically present nor engaged in the active ownership of the team (like Lerner was) and an owner who doesn’t live in the city where the team is located but nevertheless cares deeply about the football operation.  The problem for Haslam is that he unwittingly has camped out at two extremes:  (1) abandoning Cleveland for his “first love” of truck-stop management; and (2) rolling up the sleeves and nudging his football experts out of the way when it’s time to make decisions.

The fact that he otherwise won’t be around until periodically swooping in and telling the folks doing the heavy lifting what to do creates the worst possible perception for a sports owner.

The best owners fall in the middle.  They’re committed primarily to the team, but they know what they don’t know and when it comes to football they trust the folks who have been hired to take care of business.

For Haslam, the problem is that he’s following a guy who didn’t seem to care at all about the team he owned, and who kept the franchise for as long as he did simply because his late father wanted him to.  In this specific case, Browns fans may not have even realized that Haslam was tending to his truck-stop business in the offseason if Haslam hadn’t been so vocal about it — and if Haslam hadn’t justified the move by suggesting that he loves running truck stops more than he loves running a football team.

Either way, the honeymoon is officially over for Haslam and Cleveland.

At least he still has his truck stops.

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Lions sign CB Danny Gorrer, promote LB Julian Stanford

Danny Gorrer, Marques Colston AP

Low on healthy cornerbacks, the Lions signed one on Tuesday, striking a deal with fifth-year pro Danny Gorrer. The move was one of three made to Detroit’s 53-player roster on Tuesday, according to the NFL’s transactions.

The 28-year-old Gorrer has played in a combined 27 regular season games in stints with St. Louis, Baltimore, Seattle and Tampa Bay. In seven games for the Buccaneers in 2013, Gorrer (6-0, 180) made 10 tackles. Tampa Bay released him with an injury settlement this August.

Gorrer effectively replaces rookie corner Nevin Lawson, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with dislocated toes. Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis and Cassius Vaughn are the Lions’ other cornerbacks.

In addition to signing to Gorrer, the Lions worked out ex-Ravens cornerback Derek Cox on Tuesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com.

FInally, the Lions made another signing Tuesday, promoting third-year linebacker Julian Stanford from the practice squad. Stanford, 24, appeared in four games for Detroit last season.

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NFL won’t reinstate Rice pending appeal

Rice Getty Images

In most cases, a player’s suspension doesn’t become final until he has exhausted his appeal rights.  In the case of indefinitely suspended running back Ray Rice, that’s not the case.

The NFL contends that Rice remains suspended until his appeal is resolved, or until his suspension ends.

“After the suspension was announced, we said:  Teams have been notified that any contract between a team and Ray Rice will not be approved or take effect until further direction is provided from the commissioner’s office,” the league advised PFT by email.

It means, as a practical matter, that Rice will remain suspended until the appeal ends.  Which means that it’s critical the appeal move forward, as soon as possible.

Of course, even if Rice were reinstated, he’d need to find a team interested in giving him a contract.  That video makes him radioactive, probably for the rest of the season and possibly beyond.  So while he’d potentially have a strong argument in court if he wanted to force the suspension to be lifted while his appeal is processed, that’s likely not the best way to continue his NFL career.

There’s a real chance that his NFL career is over.  But this appeal is about bigger issues than Rice’s career.  It’s about player rights, and it’s about creating a truly independent search for the truth about the league’s shoddy, bungled investigation into the Rice case.

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Preliminary 2015 Hall of Fame ballot announced

Kurt Warner of St. Louis Rams Getty Images

A high-profile rookie class including Chargers linebacker Junior Seau and Rams teammates Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are among the preliminary nominees for the 2015 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall announced the list of 99 players and 14 coaches who will be considered for induction among the modern-era candidates, from which no more than five will be picked.

They will be joined on the ballot by seniors nominee Mick Tingelhoff, and two contributors, for a maximum class of eight.

The list is headlined by the five who were in the final 10 of last year’s voting but not elected: Linebacker Kevin Greene, defensive end Charles Haley, running back Jerome Bettis, guard Will Shields and wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

The group will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November, and then to 15, which will be voted on the day before the Super Bowl.

Here’s a position-by-position look at the full ballot:

Quarterbacks: (4) – Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner.

Wide Receivers: (9) – Tim Brown (also KR), Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith.

Tight End: (1) – Mark Bavaro.

Running Backs: (14) – Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters.

Offensive Linemen: (23) – Willie Anderson (T), Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C),Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), Will Shields (G), Tra Thomas (T), Steve Wisniewski (G).

Defensive Linemen: (12) – Al “Bubba” Baker (DE), Jerome Brown (DT), Carl Hairston (DE/DT), Charles Haley (also LB), Jevon Kearse (DE), Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Steve McMichael (DT/NT), Fred Smerlas (NT), Greg Townsend (DE), Ted Washington (DT/NT), Bryant Young (DE).

Linebackers: (13) – Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Junior Seau, Chris Spielman, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas.

Defensive Backs: (16) – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Thomas Everett (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), John Lynch (S), Terry McDaniel (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Frank Minnifield (CB), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S).

Kickers/Punters: (5) – Morten Andersen (K), Gary Anderson (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K).

Special Teams/Position Players: (2) – Brian Mitchell (RB/PR/KR), Steve Tasker (also WR).

Coaches: (14) –Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Lou Saban, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil.

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John Abraham still has to pass concussion protocol

John Abraham AP

While Cardinals outside linebacker John Abraham has signaled he is ready to return to NFL play, he isn’t yet medically cleared to do so as recovers from a concussion suffered eight days ago.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “Late Hits” this evening that Abraham didn’t pass the league-mandated concussion examination on Tuesday, according to Alex Marvez, NFL reporter for FoxSports.com and a SiriusXM host.

According to Marvez, Arians said Abraham would again go through concussion protocol on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Abraham suffered a concussion in the Cardinals’ Week One victory vs. the Chargers. He then took a leave of absence from the club to weigh his future.

Abraham notched 11.5 sacks in 2013, his first season with Arizona. One of the most accomplished pass rushers of his time, Abraham has eight seasons of double-digit sacks to his credit.

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NFLPA files Ray Rice appeal

Goodell AP

As expected (but a day later than expected), the NFLPA has filed an appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Ray Rice.

“This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players,” the NFLPA said in a statement.

“The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the Commissioner of the NFL,” the union added.  “We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the Commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators.”

The union is right, on both counts.  Regardless of Rice’s behavior, he has rights.  He has been suspended twice for the same conduct.  The NFL arguably knew or should have known all it needed to know about the details of Rice’s behavior when levying the initial two-game suspension.

The league contends Rice lied about what happened.  The hearing will sort out what he said about what he did, to the team and to the league.  Apart from the testimony from witnesses like Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome (who has said Rice didn’t lie), and others, the appeal will attack the league’s failure to secure the video of the incident.  If there was any doubt or ambiguity or inconsistency or perceived lie, all the league had to do was get the tape.

“Under governing labor law, an employee cannot be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment,” the union said in its statement.  “The hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.”

Amen to that.  At a time when the investigator hired by the NFL isn’t as independent as he could have been, this process will create another avenue for getting to the truth.  By rule, a hearing date must be set within 10 days.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get to the truth?  After eight days of no one from the NFL or a handful of its teams wanting to confront the truth in a variety of cases, this appeal could eventually get to The Truth about the Rice video — and it could end up being far more relevant and useful to determining the future of the league office than a not-so-independent investigation overseen by two of the NFL’s owners who necessarily support the status quo.

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Arian Foster fires back at Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch InBev Eyes Potential Purchase Of Rival Miller Getty Images

On Tuesday, billion-dollar beer company Anheuser-Busch fired a shot across the bow at the NFL for its current domestic violence problem.  One of the NFL’s employees has fired back.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Texans running back Arian Foster thinks Anheuser-Busch is being a tad hypocritical.

Selling poison on that high horse,” Foster said on Twitter.  “Domestic violence and alcohol damn near synonymous.”

While drinking doesn’t cause domestic violence, the impaired brain function from excessive alcohol consumption can lead to all sorts of problems.  Ray Rice, for example, was reportedly intoxicated on the night he knocked out his then-fiancée, now wife.  (She reportedly was, too.)

The broader point is that the companies that sell alcohol, which leads to a wide array of unfortunate behaviors, may not have the best standing to preach about a “moral code.”  Beer companies simply want to sell as much beer as they can, even if it means that too many people are drinking too much of it.

They tell you to drink responsibly in the fine print.  The overriding message is drink.  And if the drink contributes to a decision to do something you shouldn’t, well, you’re on your own, Sparky.

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Brandon Marshall angry about ESPN profile: “They lied to me”

brandonmarshall AP

ESPN profiled Bears receiver Brandon Marshall on E:60 today, and it was a complex profile worthy of the complex person Marshall is. But Marshall isn’t happy about the way ESPN went about putting his life on display.

Marshall took to Twitter shortly before the profile aired to say that ESPN and reporter Lisa Salters misled him about what the profile would entail.

E:60 is running a piece on me tonight that they lied to me about,” Marshall wrote. “It was suppose to be a story on a camp. They followed me around 2 years ago and at the end put a camera in my face to talk about it and asked nothing [about] the camp or the community weekend. I’m disappointed that ESPN and Lisa Salters continue to try and tell my story in ESPN’s words. Better yet I’m pissed off – beyond disappointed. This is the second time ESPN did this. I trust ESPN to tell my story & they lied to me once again to get my interview .Media exploits & tells thier own stories. Disappoints again. Well I guess I probably should use my coping skills now. Thanks ESPN.”

What’s surprising about the profile, given Marshall’s reaction, is that most people who watched it probably came away from it with a more favorable view of Marshall than they had before. The profile delved into Marshall’s history of domestic violence accusations, as any complete profile of Marshall should — that’s part of his history, part of who he is. But the profile also portrayed Marshall as a man who realized he had a problem, sought mental health treatment, turned his life around and developed a strong and healthy relationship with his wife.

If Ray Rice is the public face of a domestic violence problem in the NFL, then Marshall could be the public face of how a man like Rice could make himself a better man — through hard work, counseling and time. Marshall may not like the way ESPN reported his story, but it was an important story, well told.

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Cardinals sign OLB Victor Butler, release two

Victor Butler AP

The Cardinals made three moves to their 53-player roster on Tuesday, adding one player and parting ways with two others.

Arriving is ex-Saints outside linebacker Victor Butler, who signed with the club today, Darren Urban of AzCardinals.com reported. The 27-year-old Butler recorded 89 tackles and 11 sacks with Dallas from 2009-2012 before joining New Orleans last year. However, Butler missed the 2013 season after an ACL tear, and the Saints released him this August.

In the other roster moves, the Cardinals released outside linebacker Marcus Benard (first reported by Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports) and waived punter Drew Butler. The departure of Butler signals punter Dave Zastudil is ready to return to the lineup after forgoing kicking for two games because of a left groin injury.

The transactions leave the Cardinals with one open roster spot, which is expected to go to outside linebacker John Abraham, who’s rejoining the team after a week away because of a concussion.

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Mother of abuse victim in Peterson case asks for privacy

Adrian Peterson AP

The mother of Adrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son, who was bloodied and bruised when Peterson hit him with a stick in an incident that led to Peterson’s indictment, has asked for privacy for her child.

The woman, whose name is not being released, says she does not believe photos of her son’s injuries should have been published. In a statement released by her attorney, she requests that media outlets stop using the pictures.

“My client, on behalf of herself and their son, wishes to express her extreme outrage at the invasion of their privacy that has occurred through the publication of highly confidential and private data obtained regarding them by the press without their permission or consent. My client is hurt and outraged that the press would publish throughout the world pictures of their minor son and publish statements allegedly made as part of the private and confidential criminal investigative file,” the statement said.

The fact that those photos became public is now itself part of a criminal investigation. The Houston Chronicle reports that information from child abuse cases is supposed to remain confidential under Texas law, and that whoever leaked the pictures and other information to the media could face charges.

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Don’t be surprised if Vikings change course on Peterson

wrong-way-go-back

On Monday, the Vikings were unequivocal about the decision to let running back Adrian Peterson play in Week Three.  In the wake of that decision, the criticism has been unanimous, loud, and growing.

As a result, there’s already talk that the Vikings could change course and not let Peterson play on Sunday.  Don’t be surprised if that happens.

It would be a curious turn of events, an admission that the Vikings got it wrong and an example of an NFL bowing to overwhelming pressure from the media, fans, and sponsors.  But as the saying goes, wisdom often never makes an appearance.

It’s better that wisdom show up late than not at all.

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Titans place LB Zach Brown on IR, agree with LB James Anderson

Zach Brown, Geno Smith AP

A torn pectoral has officially brought Zach Brown’s season to a close.

The Titans have placed Brown, one of their starting inside linebackers, on injured reserve, the club announced Tuesday.

To fill the roster spot, the Titans are adding another linebacker, reaching a deal with ninth-year pro James Anderson, who started 16 games for Chicago in 2013. Anderson (6-2, 235) will provide depth behind Wesley Woodyard and Zaviar Gooden. Anderson, 30, has notched 556 tackles and 12 tackles in his regular season career.

The 24-year-old Brown suffered the injury in the Titans’ Week One win at Kansas City. The North Carolina product has been a starter since joining the Titans in 2012.

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Adrian Peterson’s foundation goes on hiatus

Peterson AP

As further proof that no one quite knows how the Adrian Peterson mess will unfold and ultimately resolve itself, Peterson’s “All Day Foundation” has landed on hiatus.

The message that the organization’s website says, “The Foundation will reengage after Adrian, his family, and staff have reflected on how the current situation impacts the direction for Adrian’s philanthropy.”

It’s a somewhat strange outcome, unless Peterson is in the process of shifting the goals of the foundation toward a cause relevant to his current predicament.

Given that Peterson apparently didn’t realize that striking a small child with a slender tree branch until the child’s flesh had become torn open in multiple locations was not an acceptable form of punishment, maybe the efforts should focus exclusively on making sure anyone else out there understands the limits of discipline.

That’s perhaps the only good news that comes out of this case.  Regardless of what Peterson’s foundation does in the future, more and more people now know what can and can’t be done when it comes to whipping a child.

Maybe there should be no whipping at all.  Whatever the degree, using violence of any degree against a child teaches the child that problems can be solved that way.

UPDATED 6:26 p.m. ET:  The All Day Foundation has posted a lengthier statement regarding the suspension of activities.  “We have taken the Adrian Peterson’s All Day Foundation website offline to protect our charity partners from the continued harassment they have received from the media,” the statement says.  “Unfortunately, over the past few years when there was positive news, the media paid little attention to our nonprofit partners. Now, the charities are being harassed, judged and placed in uncomfortable positions. They are being pushed to make statements and business decisions that are taking time away from the good work they are doing.”

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Giants announce no new injury for Beason, Jerrel Jernigan to injured reserve

Jerrel Jernigan AP

The Giants officially announced the promotion of linebacker Dan Fox from the practice squad on Tuesday afternoon, but they didn’t give any idea about how long Jon Beason may be out of the lineup.

The team said that Beason aggravated the foot injury that kept him out of training camp and preseason and that he may visit Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte for further examination, but didn’t add any timeline for Beason’s absence. Anderson examined Beason’s foot when it was initially injured in June and such a timeline may not be established until the doctor takes a closer look.

It was a busy day on the injury news front for the Giants beyond Beason as they placed cornerback Walter Thurmond and wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan on injured reserve. Thurmond tore his pectoral and Jernigan has a mid-foot sprain that will not require surgery. Both players are set to become free agents after the season so their time as active members of the organization may have come to an end.

In addition to Fox, the Giants promoted wide receiver Julian Talley from the practice squad to bring the roster to 53 players.

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Mike Smith: We’re just trying to get Roddy White ready for the game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

Wide receiver Roddy White didn’t practice on Tuesday because of a hamstring injury, but the Falcons say there’s no reason to expect him to miss Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Head coach Mike Smith said that White’s absence at practice so far this week has been about making sure that a veteran player is ready to go on a short week.

“It’s not important for Roddy to practice,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “We’d like for Roddy to practice, but it’s all about getting Roddy ready on a short week. And some of these guys across the league that have some age with them, on a short week, you’ve got to get them to Thursday. And that’s our intention. Right now, our goal is to have Roddy as healthy as he can be for the ball game on Thursday night.”

White also hurt his knee in Week One, so there’s all the more reason for the Falcons to ease off on his practice time if they want him fresh for game day. There could take a toll on White’s play as the mileage adds up, but that appears to be a risk the Falcons are willing to run.

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Chip Kelly downplays “spy movie” information on Darren Sproles

Sproles AP

Eagles coach Chip Kelly knew something the Saints and the rest of the league didn’t.  Otherwise, Kelly wouldn’t have gotten his hands on running back Darren Sproles for only a fifth-round draft pick.

Asked in the wake of Sproles’ career performance against the Colts to elaborate on the “intel” that Kelly had before making the trade, Kelly said the kind of thing that only Kelly does.

“Is this like a spy movie?” Kelly told reporters.   “I mean, we watched game film and just studied him.  Obviously.”

The reporter then clarified, asking about what Kelly knew regarding Sproles’ personality and work ethic.

“I knew about his work ethic,” Kelly said.  “When you talk to coaches that dealt with him, I know Norv Turner raved about him at the Chargers, so you knew the type of work ethic and person he was.  You listen to some of the reports about everybody loving him as a teammate and all of that.  So, you know, you go back to the background stuff that the scouts did when he was coming out of college at Kansas State and what they had to say about him and you read all of those reports.  It’s the same general kind of intel that we have for any free agent.  You’re trying to do your research and find out about them.”

The Eagles found out plenty last night about Sproles’ ability to play.  If the Saints knew Sproles had that much left in the tank, they could have gotten a lot more for him in trade.

Or maybe they wouldn’t have traded him at all.

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