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Kraft says Belichick is the best coach ever, Brady is the best QB ever

Dallas Cowboys v New England Patriots Getty Images

Everyone would agree that Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches in the NFL and Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. But Patriots owner Robert Kraft would go a lot further than that.

Kraft told Mike Florio on Pro Football Talk on NBC Sports Network that Belichick is the best coach in the history of the game, and Brady is the best quarterback in the history of the game. And Kraft said he feels privileged to own a team with those two men holding down the two most important jobs for the franchise.

“I don’t think there’s been one in the history of the NFL — I think we’re privileged to have, probably, the finest coach and the finest quarterback, and we happen to have them at the same time,” Kraft said. “It’s going to be hard to win continuously without a good coach and a good quarterback. Next season, please God, will be our 20th season. And we’ve hired two coaches in that time — two head coaches — and we’ve had two quarterbacks start for our team in those 20 seasons.”

With Brady saying he wants to play until he’s 40 and Belichick showing no interest in trading his hoodies for golf clubs, Kraft may have his quarterback and his coach for another five years. Or more.

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Bill Polian: Peyton Manning could be a G.M. “immediately”

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with his son Marshall Manning and Bill Polian after defeating the Carolina Panthers during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Peyton Manning hasn’t shared his plans for the future, but if he wants to one day become a General Manager, one of the best to ever do that job thinks he’s ready now.

Hall of Famer Bill Polian said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Manning was a “football nerd” who used to have in-depth conversations about personnel with him when they were both with the Colts.

“During our 14 years together in Indianapolis, he would often discuss with me prospects coming out in the draft, SEC players he’d seen, players he’d seen in other parts of the country,” Polian said, via the Indianapolis Star. “He pays close attention to the rosters of the other players in the league, with specific attention to the AFC.

He knew the strengths and weaknesses of every player on every defense in the AFC and many on offense, because he met them and got to know them at the Pro Bowl and soaked up information. He is a football nerd, as am I. He’s more than prepared to do that job.”

Many have wondered what path Manning will pursue — once he stops drinking beer — but Polian said he could start soon, and not need much time to get up to speed.

“All he would need would be a brief tutorial on the league rules and things like the general terms of trades and contract language — of which he’s also very familiar, because of his own contract,” Polian said. “He’s well-prepared to do that. He could step right from the playing field into a role like that, because he’s ready. I don’t know that he will, but if someone wanted him to do it, he would be ready immediately to do it.”

The teams most closely linked with Manning as an executive — the Titans and Browns — have each made hires on that side of the ball recently.

But if Manning indicated he was interested in pursuing such an option, there would likely be even more teams interested in giving him that chance.

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Dungy would take Harrison over Owens “every day of the week”

during the game between the Tennessee Titans and the Indianapolis Colts on December 28, 2008 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images

Former coach Tony Dungy will be entering the Hall of Fame with one of his former players in Indianapolis, receiver Marvin Harrison. Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Dungy was asked whether his teams game planned to stop Owens, given the recent comments from former linebacker Jonathan Vilma that his team’s didn’t.

“It depends on where he was,” Dungy said. “There were some places where you knew he was gonna be a big factor.”

Dungy then offered a comparison of Owens and Harrison: “Terrell Owens was a great receiver but I’ll say this, if I’m going for Marvin Harrison or Terrell Owens I’m taking Marvin Harrison every day of the week. Just as productive, just as hard to defend and made his teams better. There still is to me a characteristic that goes into that. I’m not taking anything away from Terrell Owens’ ability but when you get traded or released five times in your prime and you’re a great player but teams are not re-signing you, that says something.”

Dungy’s comments mesh with the widespread belief that Owens didn’t make it over Harrison due to Owens’ disruptiveness. Presumably, Owens eventually will make it. But if the concerns about T.O. are significant, it could take a while.

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Texans hire female head of communications

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  A referee is seen standing on a Houston Texans logo while the Texans host the Cincinnati Bengals during their 2012 AFC Wild Card Playoff game at Reliant Stadium on January 7, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans have promoted Amy Palcic to senior director of communications, making her the only woman in charge of an NFL media relations department.

“We don’t discriminate or give preferential treatment,” Texans owner Bob McNair said, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “Amy was the best person for the job.

“We promoted Amy because she was the most qualified. She’s done a great job for us. She comes from a football family.”

Palcic’s father, Bob, is a longtime college football assistant coach who also coached 12 years in the NFL. Her brother, Joe, is an assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) University. She takes over for Kevin Cooper, who left the Texans to work for the Houston Super Bowl committee.

Amy Palcic had been the director of corporate communications for the Texans. She previously worked in media relations and communications with the Browns.

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Report: Police recommend criminal charges for LeSean McCoy

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy ponders a question while speaking to the media during NFL football minicamp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Wednesday, June 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert) AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy is moving closer to returning to Philadelphia for reasons unrelated to football.

According to 6abc.com, police have recommended that McCoy be charged with, among other things, aggravated assault following a weekend fight in a Philadelphia nightclub.

Per the report, a group of off-duty police officers had ordered multiple bottles of champagne. One of the men with McCoy took one of the bottles from an officer’s hands. A fight ensued, and one of the officers was “punched, kicked and stomped on his body and head multiple times” by McCoy and three other suspects.

The final decision on charges for McCoy and anyone else will come from prosecutors. If, however, the police are recommending charges, prosecutors will be more likely to proceed, given the symbiotic relationship between police departments and those who use the work of police departments to obtain convictions of those who break the law.

The NFL began investigating the incident immediately after news of it emerged. The league also said that placement of McCoy on paid leave is not imminent because players currently are not with their teams.

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Malik Jackson: I’d love to stay, but it’s a business

during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Getty Images

Broncos defensive end Malik Jackson scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl 50 when he fell on a fumble forced by Von Miller in the end zone to give Denver a 10-0 lead over the Panthers that they’d never relinquish on the way to a 24-10 win.

The Broncos celebrated that win in Denver on Tuesday, but the NFL doesn’t leave much time to linger in the moment. Free agency will be upon us before too much longer and Jackson is set to be one of the most productive players to hit the open market this offseason.

Broncos General Manager John Elway called holding onto Jackson a priority for the offseason, although the need to sign Miller and possibly quarterback Brock Osweiler may not leave much space for Jackson. During a Wednesday appearance on PFT Live, Jackson said he’d like to be back while acknowledging the business side of things may make that impossible.

“Oh yeah, I love it here man. I think I’m accustomed to living here,” Jackson said. “I’ve tried my past four years to get better and prove to Mr. Elway that I like it here with my play. You know it’s one thing about this this thing is it’s a business you know it doesn’t matter what you like or where you like it. It’s where you can feed your family and make enough money to feed your family. So for me it’s one of those things I would love to stay here and just kinda continue to start here with my boys. Continue this run with them and try to get another one with this defense but you know it is a business and I gotta feed my family so we’ll see what happens.”

Jackson said he’d be happy to get the franchise tag — “I would be making what fourteen or fifteen million in a year?” — in the event the Broncos are able to lock up Miller before the deadline to use the tag, which may be a long shot but it’s one that will remain in play for a few more weeks. If they can’t, Jackson should be the object of desire for several teams looking to fortify their defensive line this offseason.

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Mayock calls Carson Wentz the draft’s best quarterback

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 30: North team's quarterback Carson Wentz #11 with North Dakota State looks to throw a pass during their game against the South Team on January 30, 2016 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s primary season in the NFL draft campaign, and North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz just picked up a big endorsement.

Mike Mayock of NFL Network came out with his first draft rankings of the year, and Wentz is atop Mayock’s quarterback list.

Jared Goff of Cal and Paxton Lynch of Memphis are, as expected, ranked second and third. Michigan State’s Connor Cook and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott round out the Top 5.

The Titans, owners of the first overall pick, won’t draft a quarterback this year after drafting Marcus Mariota last year. But they could be looking to deal their pick to a team that falls in love with Wentz, Goff or Lynch.

Among teams that may consider a first-round quarterback are the Browns at No. 2, the Cowboys at No. 4, the 49ers at No. 7, the Bears at No. 11, the Eagles at No. 13 and the Rams at No. 15. The Titans would love it if one quarterback emerges as the clear-cut top prospect, and some of those teams start a bidding war for the top pick. Mayock thinks that top quarterback will be Wentz.

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Jon Beason announces his retirement after nine seasons

Taye Diggs, Jon Beason AP

Jon Beason was caught up in the Giants’ house-cleaning today, and he has chosen to not pursue work elsewhere.

The Giants announced that the veteran linebacker was announcing his retirement, ending a career that was brilliant when he was well.

“I was able to have some success and set the pace and break records – things I never even really paid attention to until after the fact,” Beason said. “I couldn’t have scripted a better story, coming in as a first-round pick and starting in my first NFL game and setting the club high in tackles, and then breaking it every other year that I played, the Pro Bowls, the All-Pro’s, pinching myself, getting the big contract based on what I had already done; being rewarded for all that was a great feeling. I know that I’m very, very fortunate to have that moment, to have those memories of a certain period of time where I was a big deal.

“The only thing I wish I could have done — I dreamt often of being on the first team to win a championship for the Carolina Panthers. To date, it hasn’t happened. To do something first, I thought was really special and for me to play for the last expansion team, instead of following a legacy of greatness with some of the storied franchises, to do it first was something that was always on my mind. I would say that with everything, even the injuries, the ups and downs of an NFL career, that’s my biggest regret. That’s the thing that looms darkest for me moving forward, knowing that the opportunity has passed me by. It’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Chosen in the first round of the 2007 draft, Beason helped the Panthers bridge the gap between the injury-shortened career of Dan Morgan and the drafting of Luke Kuechly.

Beason started every game his first four seasons, but since then, has had a hard time staying on the field. He played in more than five games just once since 2010. He thought about continuing, but a knee injury which landed him on IR this season was deemed too much to come back from again.

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Browns OLB Bryant indicted on felony drug charges

Cleveland Browns v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

Browns outside linebacker Armonty Bryant has been indicted on felony drug charges stemming from his Christmas morning arrest after a traffic stop near Cleveland.

Bryant and then-practice squad defensive back De’Ante Saunders were arrested early on Christmas morning. Per court documents, Bryant was found in possession of adderall and oxycodone during the traffic stop. Saunders was indicted for improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

The Browns cut Saunders and made Bryant inactive for the season’s final two games.

Bryant’s indictment on two counts of felony drug possession came Wednesday. Bryant was previously arrested on a DUI charge the week after he was drafted in 2013. He had a career-best 5.5 sacks in 2015 after missing most of 2014 due to a knee injury.

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Aaron Rodgers appears to be recovering well from knee scope

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 05:  NFL player Aaron Rodgers hits a tee shot during Aria Resort & Casino's 13th Annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at Shadow Creek on April 5, 2014 in North Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational) Getty Images

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after the team’s season-ending loss to the Cardinals in the playoffs.

The operation was described as a minor clean-up procedure that isn’t expected to have much, if any, impact on Rodgers’ preparation for the 2016 season. Rodgers’ schedule for this week suggests that’s an accurate assessment.

Rodgers looked fine while making the rounds at Super Bowl 50 and is scheduled to take part in the PGA Tour’s ATT Pro-Am event in Pebble Beach, California starting on Thursday. While there’s obviously a big difference between hitting balls in a golf tournament and playing quarterback in the NFL, you’d imagine that Rodgers would find another way to spend the weekend if there was a risk of damaging the knee.

Rodgers will pair with PGA Tour pro Jerry Kelly in the tournament and his foursome will have further football flavor with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and partner Kevin Streelman joining them for 18 holes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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Exclusive tag for Von Miller may be no more than the non-exclusive tag

Zz1mODkxNTNiMGQ1MTIxOWU3NTdiZGU2NDQxZmUxZDMwNw== AP

As the Broncos close in on the possibility of applying the franchise tag to linebacker Von Miller, the question becomes whether they should use the non-exclusive version or the exclusive version. The non-exclusive version, which permits another team to potentially swipe the player in exchange for two first-round picks, typically costs less than the exclusive version, which prevents another team from signing the franchise player.

The answer for the Broncos could be made easier if the exclusive tag ends up being lower than the non-exclusive number.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the exclusive tender for linebackers — determined by the average of the five highest-paid players at the position in 2016 as determined after the restricted free agent signing period — is currently on track to be $14.04 million.

Last year, the non-exclusivefranchise tender cost $13.195 million. At least one estimate has the linebacker tender increasing to $14.1 million.

So how can the non-exclusive number be higher? The non-exclusive number comes from a five-year rolling average based on the cap numbers for the five highest paid players at the position and the percentage of the cap consumed by that amount. And the CBA ensures that a player given the exclusive tag will get the non-exclusive tender, if the non-exclusive tender is greater.

While the calculation of the exclusive tender won’t be finalized until April, the likelihood that it won’t be significantly more than the non-exclusive number points to the Broncos taking no chances with Miller and applying the exclusive version of the tag.

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If you see Andy Dalton’s luggage, please let us know

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 09:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts prior to the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

We’re going to have to get a ruling on this one since it’s the week after the Super Bowl, but it appears Andy Dalton just committed another postseason turnover.

The Bengals quarterback tweeted out a plea for help earlier today, explaining his luggage fell out the back of his truck on his way to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

The two black suitcases may or may not be somewhere alongside the highway, and he appreciates the people of Twitter spreading the word about his plight.

The poor guy has suffered enough lately, with a thumb injury keeping him out of what might have been his best chance to break his personal playoff schneid. And now, he’s headed someplace without a change of clothes.

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QBs should protect themselves, but Cam picked the wrong time

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers stands on the field during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton may have cost his team a chance at the Super Bowl by getting too aggressive on a turnover. After Dalton threw an interception in Week 14 against the Steelers, he injured his throwing hand trying to make the tackle and was lost for the season. The Bengals were 10-2 at the time of Dalton’s injury, but they went 2-3 without Dalton the rest of the way, including a loss to the Steelers in the wild card round of the playoffs. Some quarterbacks don’t try to make the tackle after an interception, and in hindsight, the Bengals surely wish Dalton hadn’t made an effort after that Week 14 interception.

It was that kind of play Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was thinking about when he explained why he didn’t jump on his fumble in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

“I’ve seen numerous quarterbacks throw interceptions and their effort afterwards, they don’t go,” Newton said. “I don’t dive on one fumble and because the way my leg was, it could’ve been contorted in a way. OK, you say my effort, I didn’t dive down. I fumbled, that’s fine, but . . . we didn’t lose that game ’cause of that fumble, I’ll tell you that. You can condemn and say, ‘Well, he gave up’ and this that and the third. But hey, as long as my teammates know, as long as my coaches know. It’s easy for a person to nitpick and say, ‘Aw man, Cam this, he gave up.’ That’s cool, that’s fine. I’m a grown man, I can understand that. But to say some things along the lines of that, and to say it to my face, that’s extremely different.”

Newton’s explanation makes sense. Every quarterback in football is told to protect himself. Run out of bounds. Slide feet first. Throw the ball away instead of taking a sack. Avoid contact. Save your body. Coaches tell quarterbacks that. Fans and members of the media criticize quarterbacks who fail to do that. Even the oldest of the old-school football people, the guys who pine for the days when men were men, players played both ways and you shook it off when you got your bell rung, will admit that a starting quarterback sometimes has to shy away from taking a hit.

Except for one thing: This was the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, with four minutes left and the Panthers down by one score. There are certain times when we expect our great athletes to lay it all on the line, and four minutes left in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl is one of those times.

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy said on today’s PFT Live that he used to instruct Peyton Manning to avoid contact after a turnover. But not in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

“My first thought was, ‘What are you doing?’ And you don’t know what’s going through his mind,” Dungy said of watching Newton’s fumble live. “Did he think it was gonna bounce and didn’t? But when I heard his explanation about not wanting to get hurt. . . . I’ve had Peyton Manning throw interceptions in the regular season and even in the playoffs, the first series of the game. Get out of the way, don’t get hurt, we’ve all seen quarterbacks get hurt. You can’t help your team if you’re injured. But the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, when if they pick that ball up the game’s over? You can’t worry about getting hurt at that point. You’re trying to win the Super Bowl.”

Newton has been ripped by some fans as a wimp or a coward for failing to fall on the football, and that’s unfair. Newton is probably the most physical quarterback in the NFL, a guy who doesn’t hesitate to lower his shoulders and run through a defender to pick up an extra yard. Last season, Newton broke two vertebra in a car accident on December 9, and on December 21 he was back on the field, running the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a touchdown while leading the Panthers to a victory that helped them reach the playoffs. Does that sound like a wimp or a coward to you?

But while Newton’s toughness shouldn’t be questioned, his decision-making on that one play should be. Newton screwed up. With four minutes left in the Super Bowl, he should have fought for the ball.

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Eagles re-sign Najee Goode

at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images

The Eagles have been busy extending the contracts of several players since the end of the regular season and that effort has now extended to re-signing one of their impending free agents.

Linebacker Najee Goode was set to become a restricted free agent next month, but the Eagles avoided the whole tender offer exercise and signed Goode to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“It feels great just to have another opportunity to come for the Eagles,” Goode said, via the team. “I’ve been here for three years going on four, and there’s been a lot of new changes and it’s a fresh start for everybody, and after signing the new deal, it’s definitely a fresh start [for me].”

Goode was released by the Eagles at final cuts last September, but returned a couple of weeks later and played 14 games for the team. Most of his work came on special teams, including recovering a blocked punt for a touchdown in the team’s victory over the Patriots in December.

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Dannell Ellerbe restructures with Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 15:  Jacob Tamme #83 of the Atlanta Falcons is pushed out of bounds by Dannell Ellerbe #59 of the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Saints said goodbye to a couple of veteran linebackers earlier this week when they released David Hawthorne and Ramon Humber, but another one has adjusted his contract to remain on the roster.

According to multiple reports, Dannell Ellerbe has agreed to restructure his deal a year after the Saints acquired him in a trade with the Dolphins. Details about the change aren’t known. Ellerbe was set to make $4.1 million in salary that was set to become guaranteed on Wednesday if he remained on the roster and also had a $1 million roster bonus coming his way.

Ellerbe, who also took a pay cut after the trade, only played six games for the Saints in his first year in New Orleans as a variety of injuries kept him off the field for much of the season. He was also limited to one game for the Dolphins in 2014 and hasn’t played all 16 games in a season at any point during his career.

The Saints likely will do more in the coming days and weeks to create cap space. Quarterback Drew Brees is a candidate to have his contract extended in order to lessen the $30 million cap burden he carries in 2016.

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T.O. externalizes blame, again

Unknown Getty Images

For the past few years, receiver Terrell Owens has attributed negative stories and attitude about him to a bias against him in the media. When confronted with concrete examples of misbehavior that helped shape his reputation, Owens always has an excuse unrelated to the notion that he engaged in misbehavior.

That attitude has been on display during a Wednesday ESPN car wash with fellow former receiver Chad Johnson. The appearance comes days after Owens was snubbed by the Hall of Fame, with signs pointing to Owens being overlooked due to his interpersonal skills, or lack thereof.

Before going any farther, I firmly believe that Owens should have made it in on the first ballot, and that he deserved the spot over Marvin Harrison. I also believe that, for a guy who claims to not care about not getting in, he seems to be a lot more bothered about the situation than someone who couldn’t care less should be.

Referring to the voters as “pencil pushers,” Owens expressed disdain for a process that eventually will get him in the Hall of Fame after knocking on the door once or twice or three times. (If he keeps openly complaining about the process and the voters, bet the over.)

Regardless, he should have gotten in. Yes, he was a pain in the butt. Yes, there was an element at times of malice and chronic discontent. But, yes, he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Rice, Owens, Moss or Rice, Moss, Owens are the top three wideouts in NFL history.

Whatever the stated reason for letting Harrison get in before Owens, the notion of disruption becomes a convenient excuse for the de facto waiting list. And whatever Owens says about whatever it is that he did or didn’t do, it’s clear that he’s getting in — it’s just a question of when.

Meanwhile, both Owens and Johnson repeatedly lamented the absence of social media during their careers, explaining that if they had access to Twitter while playing they could have shaped the narrative and explained themselves without the filter of the media.

But here’s the thing. Owens and Johnson presume that they would have used social media in a way that would have resulted in the fans automatically seeing their side of things and in turn viewing them more favorably. The truth more likely is that they would have used social media in a way that would have made a pair of polarizing players even more polarizing, simultaneously preaching to the choir while further alienating their enemies.

Despite Owens’ effort (intentionally or not) to alienate the voters, Owens eventually will get in to the Hall of Fame. And despite his incessant, tiring “it’s not me, it’s you” routine, I still think he already should be on track for a bronze bust, a gold jacket, and a Ring of Excellence.

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