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Lions president apologizes to Wisconsin band

Dominic Raiola, Rob Sims AP

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand apologized on behalf of the team to the University of Wisconsin Marching Band Monday after center Dominic Raiola was accused of verbally abusing members of the band before the Lions game with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

According to Rob Schultz and Dan Simmons of the Wisconsin State Journal, Lewand apologized to director Mike Leckrone after the team released a statement Monday saying they were investigating the incident.

Raiola was accused by members of the band for verbal abuse after he allegedly hurled insults at the band that contained profanities and even questioned the sexuality of some members of the group. The Lions are still investigating the altercation but Lewand felt the need to reach out to the band.

“He said that he hadn’t fully investigated but he knew enough that an apology was due,” Leckrone said. “I thought it was a heartfelt and welcomed gesture.”

Leckrone intended to relay the Lewand’s apology to the band on Tuesday.

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NFL to announce London games at 9:30 a.m. ET

during the NFL week 10 match between the Jackson Jaguars and the Dallas Cowboys at Wembley Stadium on November 9, 2014 in London, England. (Nicky Hayes/NFL UK - Pool /Getty Images) Getty Images

The full, 256-game NFL schedule won’t be announced until April. Some of those 256 games will be announced today.

The NFL has announced that the games to be played in London next season will be unveiled Wednesday, at 9:30 a.m. ET.

A PFT reader in England who tipped us off to the looming announcement has also suggested that the following four games will be announced: Packers at Washington; Colts at Jaguars; Jaguars at Chargers (at Twickenham); and Eagles at Bengals. (That’s not a firm report, but the guy was right that the announcement is coming today, so let’s see if he’s right about the four matchups.)

The window for playing the games is expected to be October 9 through November 6. If the Jaguars play twice in London, it will mean that they won’t have a bye week after one of the two games.

Over the past few years, there have been periodic rumors of the Jaguars playing a second game in London, via a road game to go along with the home game they play there every year. There’s a chance those rumors will finally come to fruition.

Either way, we’ll know within an hour.

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Aaron Rodgers excited about seeing Bart Starr, Brett Favre

Bart Starr, Aaron Rodgers AP

Aaron Rodgers is going to be busy with a game he’s trying to win, but the Packers quarterback also knows Thursday night’s going to be historic on a number of levels.

In addition to the retirement of Brett Favre’s jersey marking the healing of relationships at a personal and organizational level, there’s also the matter of Packers legend Bart Starr’s return, in what his wife has said will likely be their final trip to Green Bay because of the health issues he’s faced in recent years.

That makes it meaningful for Rodgers, who has developed a close relationship with Starr over the years.

You know Bart’s been such a great encouragement to me since I was drafted here, and I really have appreciated all of our conversations over the years with him and his lovely wife,” Rodgers said, via Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “He was kind of enough to do my charity event a few years ago and I was able to do another charity event with him. It’s tough to follow him speaking because he’s had such incredible stories, whether he’s talking about Super Bowls or NFL championships or the Ice Bowl. It’s always fun being around him but he’s such a positive, encouraging person. It’ll be great to see him.”

Of course, Rodgers has another role in the Packers history which will be made, as his appearance on stage with Favre at the 2013 NFL Honors show broke the ice on the relationship between Favre and the team, after their ugly separation in 2008.

“It does feel like a long time ago,” Rodgers said. “I think it’s been a good proper healing process for everybody. Kind of starting with us on stage at the honors, getting to share some laughs together, and just going from there. It’s the right thing to do and be exciting for him and Packer fans in a couple days, and great to see him into the Hall of Fame next offseason.”

And having three legendary quarterbacks in Lambeau Field together is going to make it a memorable night, particularly for the one who has a job to do.

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Report: D.J. Fluker back in concussion protocol

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Offensive tackle D.J. Fluker #76 of the San Diego Chargers waves to the fans after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 30-21 at Qualcomm Stadium on September 14, 2014 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chargers guard D.J. Fluker suffered a concussion during practice last Wednesday, but got cleared in time to play against the Chiefs on Sunday.

He did not emerge from his return to the field unscathed. Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports that Fluker reported feeling concussion symptoms, including headaches, after playing 60 snaps in the loss to Kansas City and that he has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol for the second time in two weeks.

As Fluker’s quick trip through the protocol last week illustrates, there is no preordained time a player must be out following a concussion although Fluker’s history may call for a different approach this time around. It’s the fourth time in three NFL seasons that Fluker has been concussed, which isn’t a number that you like to see for any player and especially not for one whose return to the field would include a return to the blows to the head that are unavoidable part of playing offensive line.

Nose tackle Sean Lissemore and safety Jahleel Addae were also diagnosed with concussions last Sunday, bringing the number of concussions suffered by Chargers players to 12 during a lost season in San Diego.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

Drew Brees AP

The Bills blew an opportunity on Monday night.

London-born Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi is getting a lot of attention overseas.

Said Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the inadvertent whistle on Monday night, “Well, we won the game. I am very happy about that. I think some of us were frustrated but that’s part of the game. They are humans. They’re not robots. I’m just glad we won the game.”

Will the Jets make a run at Drew Brees this offseason.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco wasn’t having a good season even before his torn ACL on Sunday.

Bengals DE Wallace Gilberry committed a random act of kindness.

Is Browns owner Jimmy Haslam ready to part ways with Johnny Manziel?

Steelers K Chris Boswell says a key to being a good kicker is not over-thinking it.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien thinks that by using the wildcat on Sunday, he’s made his offenses more difficult for opposing defenses to prepare to face.

The Colts’ special teams would like to be known for something other than SwingingGateGate.

Jaguars WR Allen Hurns wasn’t disappointed to snap his streak of seven consecutive games with a receiving touchdown.

Here’s a look at some of the players the Titans could draft.

Some Broncos players spent their day off helping the needy.

Patience is paying off for Chiefs RB Spencer Ware.

Raiders WR Amari Cooper is in a slump, but the team isn’t worried.

Being underdogs to the Jaguars is a new low for the Chargers.

The Cowboys had three fourth-quarter sacks on Sunday after not having any all season previously.

If the Giants go 4-2 the rest of the way and finish 9-7, they’ll almost certainly win the NFC East.

More talk that Chip Kelly won’t be back in Philadelphia in 2016.

In a good division, Washington might be out of it, but in the NFC East, Washington is in it.

Bears WR Kevin White still isn’t likely to play this season, even after returning to practice.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford may not have lived up to expectations, but that doesn’t mean Detroit would find anyone better in the draft.

How would history have changed if the Packers hadn’t traded for Brett Favre?

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer stresses the mental side of the game to his players.

The Falcons’ run defense ranks first in the league at 87.4 yards per game.

Panthers long snapper J.J. Jansen still had a headache on Tuesday after a hard hit on Sunday.

Saints QB Drew Brees says everyone loved departed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Bucs RB Doug Martin and QB Jameis Winston are getting recognition for their big games on Sunday.

Cardinals rookie LB Markus Golden is starting to turn it on.

The treasurer of St. Louis says the city has bigger problems than building a new stadium for an NFL team.

San Francisco QB Dylan Thompson has made a fast rise from the practice squad to being ready to play if Blaine Gabbert goes down.

The Seahawks feel like they’re back to playing their brand of football.

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Del Rio: Amari Cooper will work through whatever needs correcting

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Amari Cooper #89 of the Oakland Raiders greets his team during pregame against the Minnesota Vikings at Coliseum on November 15, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Raiders lost for the third straight week in Detroit last Sunday, dropping their record to 4-6 and dousing some of the good feelings generated during the first half of the season.

Among the things that took a turn for the worse from those better days was the production of rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper had one catch for four yards against Detroit and dropped two other throws in his direction in what was easily the worst outing of his brief NFL career. Raiders coach Jack Del Rio didn’t sound too concerned Tuesday about more of the same against the Titans this week.

“He’s a good player,” Del Rio said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “He’s been very consistent in his approach. We like the approach he has. We’ll work through whatever things need to be corrected.”

The Raiders offense has slowed down across the board over the last two weeks, scoring 27 total points after averaging over 30 a game in their three previous games. It’s a trend that will have to change if the Raiders are going to get back on the path to a winning record that they were traveling down in October.

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Greg Hardy told ex-teammate he wants to prove Panthers wrong

Greg Hardy AP

Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy has declared the Panthers “a nameless, faceless opponent” this week, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have their phone numbers.

Some of the old teammates he left behind in Carolina said they still keep in touch with the controversial defensive end, who they’ll see in person on Thursday.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, fullback Mike Tolbert said he talks to Hardy “all the time.”

“He’s very excited just to prove to everybody, especially the Panthers, that he still can play and it was a mistake letting him go,” Tolbert said of a recent text from Hardy.

Of course, if Hardy thinks his being shown the door was football related, then he’s as delusional as a guy who thinks he’s the victim regarding his domestic violence arrest and subsequent suspension.

Isolating his play on the field, Hardy was a beast his last few years in Carolina (26.0 sacks in his final two full seasons there), and was generally liked in the locker room such that he had a presence there. He was quirky, for sure, and got a wide berth. So when it was time to make a decision on his future, some players lobbied for him to return.

“Greg Hardy is a guy that you flat out want on your football team,” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. “He’s a guy that’s a game-changer. He can go out and totally wreck a game plan if you allow him to.

“So of course we went and spoke up for him trying to get him back. But a few details came out with his whole situation and unfortunately we weren’t able to get him back.”

Yes, a few details, a list of which the Cowboys are sorting through and receiving the backlash for now. And while Hardy is a rare pass-rush talent, the Panthers are doing pretty well without him at the moment, which is why they’re willing say nice things and move along.

“He did some good things for us as a football player,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said when asked to sum up his experience with Hardy.

And the things he didn’t say spoke volumes.

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Matt Forte says he’s playing on Thursday

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01: at Soldier Field on November 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bears have played the last three games without running back Matt Forte, but it sounds like they can add his return to their list of things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving night.

Forte has been practicing for a while and said Tuesday that he’s ready to take the next step by returning to the lineup at Lambeau Field to face the Packers. Forte said he could have played last Sunday, but the quick turnaround this week made waiting the more sensible choice.

“I’m excited just to get back out there,” Forte said, via “Not really a lot of fun watching the games and doing all that and not be able to help your team win, so I’m not really used to doing that. But it’s going to be fun to get back out there on the field and help us out. Just looking forward to being out there.”

Rookie Jeremy Langford has been filling in for Forte and put up strong numbers in the first two outings before finding rougher going against the Broncos last Sunday. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase said having both backs will give the offense a “really interesting one-two punch” and we’ll get a first chance to see it over a slice of pumpkin pie.

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Muhammad Wilkerson says Todd Bowles “went off” on Jets

Todd Bowles AP

After all the boasting and bluster of the Rex Ryan era, Todd Bowles appears to be a calming influence on the Jets.

But don’t let that stoic demeanor fool you, as he’s capable unleashing some fire and brimstone of his own.

Via Seth Walder of the New York Daily News, Jets defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson said Bowles “went off” on the team after last week’s loss to the Texans.

“Coach Todd, after the game, went off on us and told us, ‘Losing is not acceptable,’” Wilkerson said on WFAN. “He doesn’t like losing, as well. I’m pretty sure that everybody in the locker room definitely needs to have that spark lit under them this week, and we need to get these wins rolling quickly.”

Bowles was upset but restrained in his postgame press conference.

“I’m extremely upset today, but I’m not going to take it out here,” Bowles said to reporters. “We’ll discuss that in-house when I get back in the locker room and we get in the meeting.”

That discussion was apparently quite heated once the doors closed and the cameras were off.

“He’s an emotional guy,” Wilkerson said. “He yells at us when things are not going as they should on the field, and they’re not looking the way he expects it to be. He definitely gets on us.”

He should, as the Jets have slipped from 4-1 to 5-5 and the middle of a morass of teams fighting for AFC playoff spots. They’ve shown they can play well at times, but last week was not one of those times, and Bowles apparently let his guys know it in no uncertain terms.

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Jason Garrett doesn’t deny he cut players for their clothing

Joe Daniels, Jason Garrett AP

Sometimes a coach has to make a stand, to let his players know what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t, or his leadership will slowly erode.

So when former Cowboys cornerback Corey White and running back Christine Michael showed up for a flight to Tampa not wearing a suit, they were cut.

Via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, White has said his choice of clothing was the reason for his release in a TMZ Sports report, and Garrett didn’t deny it when asked yesterday.

We evaluate our players every minute of every day,” Garrett said. “We evaluate our players in meetings, in walk throughs, on the practice field, the opportunity to get in games, how they interact with their teammates. The body of work of each of those guys. We evaluate all of it. At some point you say we feel like we like we should give someone else the opportunity to have this privilege to be a Dallas Cowboy. That is what we did in both of those cases. The decisions were made in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.”

Asked a follow-up question specifically about the suits, Garrett replied: “We evaluate our players every minute of every day.”

It’s a fine stance, as getting dressed in a professional manner might in some way help create the “business trip” mindset coaches are looking for when going on the road. But making an example of bottom-of-the-roster players is also interesting considering their handling of Greg Hardy.

While the Cowboys have become skilled contortionists for their efforts to bend over backward for their talented defensive end, they’ve also had to explain away a number of infractions and bad choices from him, and he remains employed.

That’s what happens with stars.

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Rams hoping to get Case Keenum on the field today

Case Keenum AP

The Rams weren’t able to tell that quarterback Case Keenum was concussed in a timely fashion Sunday, but they’re paying close attention to his progress now.

Via the Associated Press, Keenum watched film and went to meetings but did not practice Tuesday while in the league’s concussion protocol, but coach Jeff Fisher was hopeful he’d be able to do some things today.

We’re hopeful tomorrow he’ll be ready to do some things outside,” Fisher said. “So he’s feeling pretty well, actually.”

If he isn’t cleared, Nick Foles would get his old starting job back.

Of course, the more important part will be the league fixing its concussion-spotting methodology so a concussed player isn’t able to stay on the field the way Keenum was.

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Rams statement: Stedman Bailey in “critical, but stable, condition”

Stedman Bailey Getty Images

St. Louis Rams wide receiver Stedman Bailey was shot Tuesday night in Miami and remains in the hospital following the incident.

The team released a statement just after midnight EST.

“We are aware Stedman Bailey was involved in an incident this evening,” the team said in a statement. “We have spoken with Stedman and he is in the hospital in critical, but stable, condition. We are gathering facts about the situation and will provide updates as we learn more.”

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Bailey was shot twice in the head while sitting in a car with several family members. The driver of the car was shot many times while shielding the children in the vehicle from the gunfire. His wounds are apparently life-threatening.

Bailey will have surgery tomorrow to tend to his injuries.

Bailey is currently in the middle of a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. He has 12 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown this season for St. Louis.

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Source: Stedman Bailey has been shot

Lance Kendricks, Stedman Bailey AP

Rams receiver Stedman Bailey was shot Tuesday evening in Miami. A league source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to PFT that rampant rumors of the incident are indeed true.

Per the source, a statement from the Rams is expected within the next hour or so. The source was unable to confirm at this point any specific details regarding Bailey’s condition.

Bailey played college football at West Virginia. He was a third-round pick of the Rams in 2013.

UPDATE 12:28 a.m. ET: Mike Silver of reports that Bailey suffered a head wound that is not considered to be life threatening. Per Silver, Bailey is scheduled to undergo surgery in the morning.

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Reports: Marshawn Lynch needs “a couple weeks” to determine status

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes with the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks expected to be without running back Marshawn Lynch this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They’ll need to get comfortable with him missing a few more weeks before learning what his status will be for the remainder of the season.

According to Adam Schefter of, Lynch needs “a couple weeks to see how he does” after meeting with a specialist – Dr. William Meyers – in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Lynch missed Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers due to an abdominal injury suffered late in practice on Nov.6. Head coach Pete Carroll was asked Monday if he could envision any scenario in which Lynch was able to play against Pittsburgh.

“I don’t know about that now. It’s legitimately bothering him. He would have played yesterday if he could have,” Carroll said. “That’s why they treat you. They’ll treat him back there. Maybe the docs have got something they can help him with. I don’t know.”

In Carroll-speak, any use of the word “legit” or its other iterations tends to imply an injury is of a significant severity.

“(Surgery) could happen. I don’t know that,” Carroll said. “That’s a possibility but the (intention) is to go back there for the evaluation to find out what’s next. There are a couple choices, possibly, depending on what the doc feels is necessary. Then we’ll just wait and see what that all means.”

By giving Lynch a few weeks to bounce back from the injury, it could also possibly jeopardize any chance of Lynch coming back this season. Per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, Lynch is expected to miss 4-5 weeks due to injury with the hope being he’ll be back in late December.

However, if he doesn’t bounce back as expected the delay in further treatment options could potentially leave Lynch out of time. In the interim, the Seahawks will get an extended look at the future with Thomas Rawls taking the reins during Lynch’s absence.

UPDATE 12:32 a.m. ET: Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Lynch will have surgery on Wednesday for a sports hernia and is expected to miss a month.

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Chip Kelly was a little testy on Monday

Chip Kelly AP

The Eagles have lost two straight games at home, punctuated by a 45-17 loss to a team that won a total of two games in 2014. And the strain of a season with as many losses (six) through 10 games as the team had through 16 in each of Chip Kelly’s first two seasons have increased the level of stress for the head coach.

That stress manifested itself on Monday, when Kelly got a little testy in two different settings.

First, during an appearance with Angelo Cataldi of 94WIP in Philadelphia, Cataldi asked Kelly if the coach gets mad at players during or after a blowout loss at home to a middle-of-the-pack team.

I don’t think you have to yell at grown men,” Kelly said, via CBS Philly. “I think every single play in that locker room is as disappointed, or more disappointed, than anybody in this city in terms of how we played and what the outcome of this game was. So for someone to have yell at them or raise their voice, they’re not two-year-olds. They’re grown men. They know exactly what’s going on. That’s Harry High School stuff. That doesn’t flow and that doesn’t work and that’s not what people talk about. If that’s what people want, if people want a screamer and yeller, then let’s hire you ’cause you’re really good at it.”

Said Cataldi in response: “I’m not sure I’d be worse than 4-6.”

Later, during a press conference, a reporter reminded Kelly that he doesn’t need to yell at players because they’re grown men, but then asked whether Kelly has considered making personnel changes. Here’s how the rest of the exchange went, from the transcript distributed by the team.

Kelly: “No, not at all.”

Q: “And why not?”

Kelly: “Because I feel confident in the guys we have right now.”

Q: “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and getting the same results –”

Kelly: “I’ve never heard that before. Thanks for sharing that with us.”

Q: “Well, it’s Einstein.”

Kelly: “Okay.”

Q: “But do you ever look –”

Kelly: “We lost two games. I think sometimes people panic and throw the baby out with the bath water. I think we have a really good football team, and I’m very confident in those football players.”

To use Kelly’s metaphor, he’s not willing to throw out the baby or the bath water. And it’s creating a nasty soup of water plus the stuff a baby will inevitably deposit in the water if the baby is left in the water long enough.

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Broncos tried to get Jimmy Clausen on waivers

Jimmy Clausen AP

Here’s how bad it has gotten for the Broncos: In the effort to fill up their depth chart with healthy quarterbacks, they tried to get Jimmy Clausen.

According to Mike Klis of, the Broncos made a waivers claim for Clausen, who was cut by the Bears on Monday. The Broncos, at 8-2, had lower priority on the waiver hierarchy than the Ravens, who secured Clausen with a 3-7 record.

The Broncos will work out Christian Ponder on Wednesday. The team has announced that Peyton Manning will miss at least two more weeks due to a lingering foot injury, and they only have Brock Osweiler and Trevor Siemian on the active roster, other than Manning.

There aren’t many options in free agency. Apart from, you know, a certain quarterback who led the Broncos to the final eight in 2011.

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