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Gary Kubiak was “impressed” by Manti Te’o meeting

Manti Te'o Workout at IMG Academy Getty Images

During his Saturday press conference, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o said that every team he’s spoken to has asked him to explain his part in the girlfriend hoax that has become synonymous with his name.

That includes the Texans, who, along with the Packers, were named as two of the 20 teams that have set up formal interviews with Te’o. The meeting with the Texans has already gone down and coach Gary Kubiak confirmed that the team came at him with questions about the incident. Kubiak said that Te’o handled them and the rest of the conversation well enough to leave the coach impressed.

“Everybody wants to check his sincerity and see if you can trust him,” Kubiak said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “He just said, ‘Here’s my story’ and told us. He answered our questions. He wasn’t defensive. He stood his ground, wasn’t gunshy. Lot of poise. He had it under control. He’s ready to move forward. I was impressed with the young man.”

Te’o seems to have come up with a handle on how to approach questions about his foray into the world of virtual romance. Teams may still find something to dislike about his behavior or decision making or the potential distractions that Te’o now brings to the table, but he’s quieted some concerns on that front. Now he’s just got to iron out any lingering concerns about his play after he and the rest of the Irish got steamrolled by Alabama in the National Championship game.

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Michael Oher out again, three cornerbacks questionable for Panthers

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 05:  Offensive Tackle Michael Oher #73 of the Carolina Panthers looks on while taking a drink of water during practice prior to Super Bowl 50 at San Jose State University on February 5, 2016 in San Jose, California. The Carolina Panthers face the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on February 7. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers activated Leonard Johnson from the non-football injury list on Friday, putting him on track to make his 2016 debut after recovering from a torn Achilles.

It’s unclear who will be joining him at cornerback against the Cardinals. The Panthers have listed James Bradberry, Robert McClain and Daryl Worley as questionable to play. Bradberry has missed the last two games with a toe injury, but practiced this week and coach Ron Rivera said he saw more reps on Friday.

Defensive end Kony Ealy and defensive tackle Paul Soliai are also listed as questionable while defensive tackle Vernon Butler will miss another game with an ankle injury.

That makes four straight games on the sideline for Butler and it will be the same situation for left tackle Michael Oher, who has been ruled out again with a concussion. Mike Remmers will remain on that side while Daryl Williams fills his customary spot at right tackle.

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Jets list Mangold, Skrine as doubtful

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 12:  IK Enemkpali #75 of the Buffalo Bills and Nick Mangold #74 of the New York Jets shake hands during the coin toss prior to the game at MetLife Stadium on November 12, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets will list center Nick Mangold, cornerback Buster Skrine and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins as doubtful for Sunday’s game at Cleveland, Jets coach Todd Bowles said Friday.

Mangold has not practiced this week due to an ankle injury. Bowles told reporters Thursday “it [didn’t] look good” for Mangold’s chances of playing Sunday.

Mangold has only missed four games in his 11-year career. The Jets list Wesley Johnson as their backup center on their unofficial depth chart.

Skrine has a knee injury. Seferian-Jenkins is battling an ankle injury.

Bowles had already ruled out rookie linebacker Darron Lee, right tackle Brent Qvalue and linebacker Bruce Carter. After missing last week’s game, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will be listed as questionable, as will offensive tackle Ryan Clady.

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Tevin Coleman ruled out for Week Eight

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 9:  Running back Tevin Coleman #26 of the Atlanta Falcons catches a pass and runs for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons have enjoyed good play from running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman this season, but they’ll need to come up with a different approach out of the backfield against the Packers this weekend.

Coleman has been ruled out due to the hamstring injury that’s kept him from practicing this week. His absence has left things pointed in that direction for several days and the Falcons have added Stevan Ridley and Terron Ward to the roster to go with Freeman this weekend.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn also said that defensive end Dwight Freeney is going to be a game-time decision due to the quad injury that kept him from practicing on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Vaughn McClure of reports that Freeney was on the field with his helmet at the end of practice after being absent during the earlier portion of the workout that was open to the media.

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NFL suspends free agent wide receiver J.J. Worton

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Wide receiver J.J. Worton #9 of the UCF Knights celebrates on the field after defeating the Baylor Bears 52-42 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL has shown its personal conduct policy has teeth, suspending a convicted assaulter six games.

Of course, the assaulter is a former Rams and Patriots practice-squader who hasn’t been employed in the league since the Rams cut him in June.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, the league suspended free agent wide receiver J.J. Worton for six games effective Oct. 10, which would make him eligible to return on Nov. 22.

Of course, to do so, someone would have to be interested in the former Central Florida wideout.

Worton received probation after being convicted of three assault and battery charges. He was accused of touching two women indecently at a bar and then punching a man who confronted him about it.

The Patriots cut him shortly after the arrest, though the Rams brought him back to camp this offseason.

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Bengals short on injury concerns this week

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Teammates Andy Dalton #14 and Andrew Whitworth #77 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrate after a 23-22 victory over the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bengals won’t have any game-time decisions to make before their game against the Redskins kicks off on Sunday.

The biggest injury concern on the roster this week has been left tackle Andrew Whitworth, who suffered a concussion against the Browns last Sunday and opened the week in the concussion protocol. Whitworth steadily progressed in his practice participation as the days passed, however, and got in a full session on Friday.

Whitworth doesn’t have an injury designation for the game, which means he’s on track to play. Whitworth has plenty of company in that regard.

Every player on the Bengals’ 53-man roster was a full participant on Friday and no one has been listed as questionable, doubtful or out for the game. That’s unusual for this point in the season and the good health is something the Bengals surely hope will help them move to 4-4 heading into their bye week.

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LeSean McCoy doubtful for Sunday

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Running back LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills walks off of the field in the third quarter after being injured against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. The Washington Redskins won, 35-25. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Last week, the Bills allowed running back LeSean McCoy to play through a hamstring injury. That turned out to be a bad idea, as McCoy aggravated the injury during the loss to the Dolphins.

This week, the Bills will have McCoy rest his hamstring.

McCoy is officially listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Players who are listed as doubtful almost never end up playing, and it seems extremely unlikely that the Bills would risk yet another setback to one of their most important players.

In McCoy’s absence, the Bills will give Mike Gillislee plenty of carries. Gillislee has looked good in limited action this year, averaging 6.2 yards a carry.

The Bills have also ruled out safety Aaron Williams, who was injured on a brutal hit from Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry last week. Also out is wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.

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Doug Pederson isn’t complaining about facing teams after their byes

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles walks on the field prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Eagles are smack dab in the middle of a three-game stretch against opponents with extra time to prepare to face them. And their head coach isn’t griping about it.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Doug Pederson told reporters on Friday regarding the prospect of playing the Vikings, Cowboys, and Giants after their bye weeks. “You know, I don’t make the schedule.”

Those who did make the schedule have added an extra layer of difficulty for the Eagles.

Then again, they beat the Vikings, whose 5-0 momentum may have been disrupted by the emerging from the bye a week ago. The Eagles, who had their break after three straight wins to start the season, may have lost a little of their sparkle, too.

“I would rather have continued to play 3-0 and not have a bye, either, so it kind of works the other way for us,” Pederson said. “But it is what it is at this point, and we just got to handle them one game at a time. For us, it’s about just maintaining the momentum and just keep building off of last week and keep playing and fighting. You know, it’s challenging because, again, three of these teams are coming off their break. But we don’t put a lot of emphasis in that.”

It’s the right approach. There’s nothing the Eagles can do other than get ready for each game, hopeful that the same disruption to their three-game streak and the Vikings’ five-game streak will apply to the Cowboys’ five-game streak and, next weekend, the Giants’ two-game streak.

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Obama picks Patriots to win Super Bowl, doesn’t “see any real strong teams”

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) holds a jersey while posing for a picture with head coach Bill Belichick (L), owner Robert Kraft (R) and members of the National Football League Super Bowl champions New England Patriots during an event at the White House April 23, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama honored the Super bowl XLIX champion Patriots who defeated the Seattle Seahawks 33-27 in overtime.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Getty Images

At a time when the NFL’s trying to figure out why fewer households are watching their product, the White House pointed out one of the problems — the product may not be as good as it has been.

President Barack Obama did an interview on SiriusXM Shade 45’s “Sway in the Morning” show, and when asked for a Super Bowl pick, underscored something others have noticed.

“At this point, you’d have to put your money on [Tom] Brady again,” Obama said of the Patriots quarterback, via Mike Reiss of “I don’t see any real strong teams. Seattle and Patriots have a rematch [from the 2014 season]. That’s my call.”

Of course, when the Patriots won that Super Bowl, Brady skipped a chance to visit Obama at the White House.

It will be interesting to see if Brady makes the next trip in case Obama’s prediction is correct, particularly if his “good friend” doesn’t win the upcoming election.

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Browns name McCown Sunday’s starting quarterback

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Josh McCown #13 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Browns Coach Hue Jackson had hinted at it throughout the week, and Friday he made it official that Josh McCown will be the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game vs. the Jets.

McCown started in Week Two vs. the Ravens. He suffered a broken left collarbone in that game.

He’s been practicing the last two weeks but hasn’t been cleared to play until now. Six different players have taken snaps at quarterback for the Browns in their seven games.

Rookie Cody Kessler, who suffered a concussion last week, has not been cleared for this week. Rookie Kevin Hogan, who saw his first game action last week, will be the No. 2 quarterback this week. Rookie Joe Callahan, just claimed via waivers on Monday, will likely be a gameday inactive.

Callahan should get himself ready, though. The Browns don’t have a bye until Week 13.

McCown started eight games last season for the Browns and put up some big numbers. He entered this season as the No. 2 quarterback behind Robert Griffin III, who suffered a shoulder injury in the season opener and remains on the team’s injured-reserve list.

McCown, 37, is in his 14th NFL season. He’s started 58 career games and played in 78.

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Goodell on ratings: “We don’t dismiss any theory”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during a press conference prior to Super Bowl 50 at the Moscone Center West on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) Getty Images

Little is clear about the 2016 NFL season, including the reason(s) for the dramatic drop in TV viewership.

Asked by Gary Myers on WFAN’s Chalk Talk if the league has reached any conclusions regarding the reduction in ratings, Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “No, and I don’t think anybody can do that.”

Goodell added, after Myers rattled off various possible explanations for the decline (election year, quality of games, fans fed up with off-field misconduct, too many penalties, and the national anthem protests), “We don’t dismiss any theory, if you want to call it that.”

That’s a stake contrast from nine days ago, when Goodell insisted that the anthem protests are not impacting ratings.

The Commissioner then added another potential explanation for the phenomenon: “The media landscape is going through some very fundamental changes.”

Goodell generally attributed the drop to a “confluence of events,” and he reiterated that “we don’t dismiss any of them.”

He also focused on the positive; at a time when prime-time ratings have dropped by 36 percent over the last several years, the NFL’s ratings are up by 27 percent.

“It’s not always a straight line,” Goodell said. “You know there are bumps. . . . What we want to do is figure out how to engage our fans in the platforms they want to engage on and how do we engage them longer.”

Before doing that, it makes sense to come up with a reliable assessment of the factors. From polling to focus groups to surveys to any of the other ways of obtaining feedback as to why viewing habits have dramatically changed, the NFL has the resources and the incentives to get the answers.

The biggest problem for the league is that, if the anthem protests are a factor, there’s nothing the NFL can do about it — and any acknowledgement of the connection would underscore the power the players have. Which possibly would invite them to find more ways to wield their power.

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Matt Jones out on Sunday, Jordan Reed/Josh Norman expect to play

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 2: Cornerback Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins reacts after a play against the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 2, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) Getty Images

There’s some good news and some bad news on the Redskins’ final injury report for Sunday’s game against the Bengals.

Tight end Jordan Reed and cornerback Josh Norman both said, via John Keim of, that they expect to be in the lineup in London this weekend. Reed and Norman have both been in the concussion protocol this week, but got the green light to travel with the team and will go through a walkthrough practice Saturday to make sure all remains on track for Sunday.

Reed missed the last two games while Norman had to leave last Sunday’s loss to the Lions after getting hurt.

The bad news comes in the backfield as running back Matt Jones has been ruled out due to the knee injury that kept him from practicing all week. The Redskins have already promoted running back Mack Brown from the practice squad to join Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson on the depth chart against Cincinnati.

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Carson Palmer: I’ve been trying to work on deep passes

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals throws a pass during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

During the 2015 season, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer connected on just over 50 percent of his passes that traveled more than 15 yards through the air.

That number has dipped to 40.7 percent through his first six games of this season with just one of those passes going for a touchdown, leaving him well off the pace he set while throwing 13 touchdowns in such situations last year.

“I missed a couple,” Palmer said, via “I had J.J. [Nelson] on a couple the other night. I’ve taken shots that I shouldn’t have in certain situations. I think one thing I need to do is be a little bit more picky: when to take them, when not to take them. That’s something I’ve been trying to work on.”

Being pickier doesn’t seem to be coach Bruce Arians’ approach to the issue. He said that the team should “keep throwing them and we’ll hit them,” something that could pay off for the Cardinals against a Panthers secondary that’s been susceptible to the pass all season.

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Nate Allen sues Florida city, cops over his unlawful detention

Nate Allen, Nick Foles AP

Raiders safety Nate Allen has sued the city of Fort Myers, Fla., after he was unlawfully detained by police there in 2015.

According to NBC2, Allen is also suing former Fort Myers Police Chief Douglas Baker as well as a detective and a police officer involved in the case.

Allen, who was then playing for the Eagles, was detained by police as the investigated a report of indecent exposure. But he was later cleared by video evidence, phone records and social media postings which made it clear he wasn’t who the cops were looking for.

Allen told NBC2 after he was cleared of the charges that he “wanted to show people with hard evidence that this is literally impossible and it 300 percent did not happen. . . .

“There still needs to be a lot brought to the table. . . . Because of how my civil rights were violated.”

Police officers involved in the case have already been punished and the department has apologized, which seemingly strengthens Allen’s case.

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Marty Schottenheimer battles Alzheimer’s disease

SAN DIEGO - DECEMBER 10:  Head coach Marty Schottenheimer of the San Diego Chargers walks back to the locker room after defeating the Denver Broncos, 48-20, December 10, 2006 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) Getty Images

Former NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer, whose career reached nearly 350 games with four different teams, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for five years, according to Tony Grossi of

“He’s in the best of health, [but] sometimes he just doesn’t remember everything,” said Pat Schottenheimer, Marty’s wife of 48 years. “He functions extremely well, plays golf several times a week. He’s got that memory lag where he’ll ask you the same question three or four times. . . . He remembers people and faces, and he pulls out strange things that I’ve never heard, but he’s doing well. It’s going be a long road. We both know that.”

The 73-year-old Schottenheimer, who will be in Cleveland for the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Browns team that came within “The Drive” of getting to the Super Bowl, is upbeat about the situation.

“I’m sitting here looking at a lake and it’s a spectacular setting,” Schottenheimer told Grossi. “Pat and I, the Lord’s blessed us. I mean, there’s no other way I can identify it. We’re doing really good.”

Schottenheimer coached the Browns from 1984 through 1988. He then coached the Chiefs from 1989 through 1998, Washington for the 2001 season, and the Chargers from 2002 through 2006, with his NFL career ending after a 14-2 season and a divisional-round exit from the playoffs.

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Blake Bortles is the king of garbage time stat padding

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 27:  Quarterback Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium on October 27, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

If you skipped last night’s game and just looked at the box score this morning, you might think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played well. You’d be wrong.

Yes, Bortles’ stat line looks good: He completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards, with three touchdowns. But Bortles padded those stats with a second-half performance against a Titans defense that was happy to let the Jaguars march down the field with time-consuming drives.

Take a look at the first half stats and you see the truth about Bortles’ game: In the first half, Bortles was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, and the Jaguars trailed 27-0 at halftime. Yes, in the second half, Bortles completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards, but so what? With a four-touchdown second-half lead, the Titans’ defense was happy to let Bortles complete lots of short passes, and that’s exactly what Bortles did.

And it wasn’t just last night. It’s been that way for Bortles throughout his career. Check out Bortles’ career stats by quarter:

First quarter: 1,598 yards, 4 touchdowns
Second quarter: 2,356 yards, 15 touchdowns
Third quarter: 1,912 yards, 13 touchdowns
Fourth quarter: 3,364 yards 26 touchdowns

Bortles puts up huge stats in the fourth quarters of games. Now, if Bortles were doing that while leading fourth-quarter comeback wins, it would be one thing. But the Jaguars are 10-26 in Bortles’ 36 career starts, and Bortles has engineered just five game-winning drives in his three NFL seasons.

Put it all together, and it’s clear that Bortles is not as good a quarterback as his statistics suggest. The Jaguars are going to have a big decision to make this offseason when they choose whether to pick up his fifth-year option and give him a vote of confidence as their franchise quarterback, or decline that option and make clear that they don’t think Bortles is the man to lead their team going forward.

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