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Goodell reiterates defense of Redskins name, willingness to listen to opponents of it

Goodell AP

Fred Davis wasn’t the only person talking about the Redskins name on Tuesday.

At the usual post-ownership meeting press conference, Commissioner Roger Goodell faced several questions on the topic.  And it’s getting harder, not easier, to understand his precise position on the issue.

“I have said since the Super Bowl that, by no means, growing up in Washington, D.C. as a Redskins fan, have I ever considered it derogatory,” Goodell said in response to the question of whether the name should be changed.  “That is how Redskins fans look at it.  The Redskins have always presented it as part of their tradition and history.  ‘Hail to the Redskins’ is part of that tradition.  Whenever you have a situation like this you have to listen and recognize that some other people will have different perspectives.  Clearly there are cases where that is true here.  That is what I have suggested.  I have been open about it, that we need to carefully listen and make sure we are doing what is right.”

In other words (possibly), Goodell personally sees no problem with the name.  Goodell believes Redskins fans see no problem with the name.  But Goodell believes those who see a problem with the name must be heard because maybe they’ll say something that makes Goodell and/or Redskins fans change their minds.

Asked about President Barack Obama’s recent suggestion that owner Daniel Snyder should think about changing the name, Goodell seemed to link his views to Obama’s.

“That is reflective of what I just said, which is that there are different views,” Goodell said.  “I do not speak for the President, and would not dare to do so.  He is acknowledging that there are different views, and people should listen and people should think clearly about what they do.”

But Obama was far more firm than that.  He said Snyder should think about changing the name.  If Goodell believes his opinion overlaps with the President’s, then perhaps Goodell believes Snyder should think about changing the name.

“I am confident the Redskins are listening [to outside opinions],” Goodell later added.  “I am confident that they are sensitive to their fans and to the views of people that are not their fans.  I am very confident they are listening.”

The Redskins may be listening, but perhaps only so they’ll know how to best frame any statements or responses from P.R. specialists and/or outside lawyers.  As Peter King reported during Football Night in America, Snyder is more determined than ever to keep the name.

So what’s the point of listening?  The positions are obvious.  The reasoning is known.  At some point, what’s the league and the Redskins listening to?  A chorus of “please Dad, please Dad, please Dad”?

It’s possible that the league is listening in order to gauge any changes in the strength of the opposition, and that changes will be made if/when enough voices are joining in the “please Dad” choir to make it in the league’s and the team’s financial interests to do so.

Through it all, the league will hope that Snyder comes to the conclusion on his own.  As expected, there was no discussion of the name during Tuesday’s meeting.  Eventually, Goodell and a small group of influential owners will approach Snyder, if/when the league concludes that the time has come to do more than listen.

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Koetter to Bucs fans: Don’t sell tickets to Raiders fans

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10:  Head coach Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on against the Carolina Panthers in the 1st quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Buccaneers launch on Sunday a three-game home stand that starts with a Super Bowl XXXVII rematch against the Raiders, with the Falcons coming to town four days later. Fans who hold season tickets may be tempted to peddle their seats to Sunday’s game on the open market, and Tampa’s first-year head coach wants them to resist that urge.

“We as a team have to do our part, making [Raymond James Stadium] a place that opposing teams don’t want to play,” Koetter told the Buccaneers Radio Network, via “So we need the crowd’s help on that. We do our part. We’ve got to play better at home. The other thing is, we got to keep the opposing fans out of the lower bowl. I mean, let’s keep those Raiders jerseys out.

“I keep beating that drum. I know I’m going to get criticized and [hear], ‘Hey, Dirk, your job is to coach the team.’ Yeah, it is. I promise you I’m going to do my part to the best of my ability. It’s just not a good sign for us to have that many opposing jerseys in the lower bowl. Hey all you fans out there, tell all your neighbors selling your tickets to Raiders fans, give’em away as Christmas gifts to somebody who’s a Bucs fan.”

Ultimately, the fans can decide what to do with the tickets. If they choose to sell them and make a profit, that’s their choice. The team’s job is to make the game sufficiently enticing that the fans would rather experience the game than pocket the extra cash.

To get to that point, the Bucs will have to bite the bullet and endure some home games that feel like road games. Which may not be a bad thing, given that the Bucs are 3-1 on the road, and 0-2 at home.

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Nate Washington works out for Bucs

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 27:  Nate Washington #85 of the Houston Texans celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on December 27, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Veteran wide receiver Nate Washington worked out for the Buccaneers Tuesday.

Washington, 33, was released by the Patriots in August. He caught 47 passes for the Texans last year and has caught at least 40 passes every season since 2008.

Last week, the Bucs placed wide receiver Vincent Jackson on injured reserve. The Bucs signed veteran Cecil Shorts last month after he was released by the Texans but Shorts only has one catch on the season.

The Bucs also worked out fullbacks Austin Johnson and Will Ratelle on Tuesday.

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Russell Wilson wants one final field goal to resolve tie games

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks knels on the field following the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks played to a tie with the Cardinals on Sunday night, and quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t happy about it.

Wilson said after thinking about the 6-6 tie in Arizona that the league needs to come up with a tiebreaking rule. Wilson’s idea is an interesting one: A final field goal to either win or lose.

“Let’s say we’re the away team. We win the coin toss, we get the ball on the 35-yard line going in. You kick one field goal,” Wilson said. “You can’t do anything else but a field goal. You make the field goal, the game’s over. If you miss the field goal, the game’s over and the other team wins. I just think that if you play that long, you’re putting your lives on the line. You should find a way to win. I don’t like ending in a tie.”

Wilson’s idea is wacky and has no hope of being implemented. But as long as we’re talking about wacky ideas that have no hope of being implemented, let’s think about some alternatives.

How about, instead of one field goal, each kicker attempting five field goals, and the team whose kicker makes more of them wins? That would make the ending like penalty kicks in soccer. Or they could have the kickers start with a chip-shot 20-yard field goal and then move back five yards until someone misses. Whenever they reach a distance where one kicker makes it and the other kicker misses it, the kicker who makes it wins the game for his team.

Or if you want to get really fun, how about having five 35-yard field goals attempted by five different players? Every team could have its kicker try one of those field goals, but then it would have to choose four other players who can try a field goal. It would be fascinating to find out which non-kickers are good at kicking field goals when the game is on the line. Ndamukong Suh and Odell Beckham are among the players who have been floated as fill-in kickers when their teams’ primary kickers have been injured. How fun would it be to see Suh and Beckham trying field goals with the pressure on at the end of a tied Dolphins-Giants game?

Or maybe kicking shouldn’t be involved in the tiebreaking procedure at all. How about a “shootout” with a one-on-one pass coverage format? The offense could have its quarterback and best receiver on the field, the defense could have its best cornerback on the field, and the quarterback would have one chance to throw a touchdown pass to his receiver with the cornerback in coverage.

Or the NFL could turn the Oklahoma drill into the tiebreaking procedure: The home team goes on offense with one player on the field as a ball carrier. The road team goes on defense with one player on the field as a tackler. If the offensive player gets into the end zone, his team wins. If the defensive player makes the tackle, his team wins.

The possibilities are endless. An XFL-style scramble for the ball? Each team picks its fastest player to race in a 100-yard dash? Each quarterback throws the ball as far as he can? Maybe you’ve got a better idea. Or maybe we should just accept that some games will end in a tie.

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Seahawks sign Malliciah Goodman

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29:   Malliciah Goodman #93 of the Atlanta Falcons pressures  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during the game at Georgia Dome on September 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks signed defensive end Malliciah Goodman on Tuesday.

Goodman played in 34 games over three seasons with the Falcons, starting 11. The Falcons released him in September when they trimmed their roster to the regular-season size of 53.

A fourth-round pick in 2013, he has two career forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Seahawks placed defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson on injured reserve. He was injured in practice last week. Also Tuesday, the Seahawks worked out free agent defensive end Wallace Gilberry.

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Dolphins to sign Bacarri Rambo

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Running back Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball past strong safety Bacarri Rambo #30 of the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins kicked the tires on veteran safeties James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Major Wright on Tuesday as they tried to fill out the position with Reshad Jones done for the season with a shoulder injury.

They’ll be adding a veteran safety to the roster, but it won’t be any of those three men. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Bacarri Rambo will be the new addition to the Dolphins secondary.

Rambo was a sixth-round pick by the Redskins in 2013 and played 13 games for them over his first two seasons before moving on to the Bills. Rambo played 15 games and started eight times for Buffalo last season. He had 62 tackles, a sack, an interception and two forced fumbles with the interception and both forced fumbles coming in a November win over the Jets. Rambo was named the AFC defensive player of the week for that effort.

Isa Abdul-Quddus, Walt Aikens and Michael Thomas round out the safety group in Miami.

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Cardinals take a look at Dobson, Krause

Aaron Dobson AP

The Cardinals worked out wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Jonathan Krause on Tuesday, PFT has learned.

The team is exploring options at the position after losing Jaron Brown for the season to a torn ACL Brown suffered in last week’s game vs. the Seahawks.

Dobson, a second-round pick in 2013, was cut by the Patriots in September and had two brief stints with the Lions this season. He visited the Colts last week.

Krause played in two games last year for the Eagles. He’s had brief stints with the Chargers and Buccaneers this season.

The Cardinals also worked out quarterback Mike Bercovici and linebacker Zaviar Gooden.

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Kubiak plans to keep using C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Devontae Booker #23 and running back C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos celebrate a score in the second half of the game against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Monday night, the Broncos finally rediscovered their running game, with C.J. Anderson gaining 107 yards on 16 carries and Devontae Booker gaining 83 yards on 17 attempts.

Will that approach continue for the 5-2 team?

“I sure hope so,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters on Tuesday. “Hopefully we can have that many touches in a course of a game, but I saw two guys competing. I saw fresh guys on the field and I think that was good for us, but we were also getting more room to run. Those things go hand-in-hand.”

The competition with Booker has sparked a positive response from Anderson, according to Kubiak.

“I think C.J. has been playing well,” Kubiak said. “I think last night we did a better job up front; we gave him some more room to run. I think when guys push each other, last year it was C.J. and Ronnie [Hillman] pushing each other and I think [Booker] . . . is becoming more comfortable with what we’re doing. We’re more comfortable with [Booker] on the field in pass protection right now. We’re just growing as a group. Here we go in Week Eight and hopeful those kids keep coming along. It’s going to make us better if they do.”

With a quarterback who is still finding his way in his second NFL season and first year as a starter, it’s critical to have a strong running game. With 190 yards on Monday night from the team’s top two tailbacks, it doesn’t get much stronger than that.

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Hall of Fame game lawyer takes aim at David Baker’s history

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 01: President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker presents a Hall of Fame ring to Jerome Bettis at Heinz Field on October 1, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The lawsuit arising from the cancellation of the Hall of Fame game is getting nearly as nasty as the ongoing presidential campaign.

The latest salvo comes not in the form of a court filing, but through comments from lawyer Michael Avenatti to Julia Marsh of the New York Post regarding the hiring of Hall of Fame president David Baker in 2014.

Under an article titled “How Roger Goodell let a check-forging politician run the Hall of Fame,” Marsh explains that Baker “once forged a signature on a check to himself for $48,000 from a health care nonprofit where he was the director.”  Although Baker stopped payment shortly after writing the check, he was sentenced in 1988 to a one-year suspended sentence, probation, and community service for attempting to use the money for a failed Congressional bid. He had faced up to three years in prison for the felony forgery charges.

“Either they did not know about it or they knew about it and blew it off,” Avenatti told the Post regarding the decision to make Baker, a former AFL Commissioner, the head of the Hall of Fame.

The article in the Post generally touts “strong ties” between Goodell and Baker, but specifically cites only that Goodell was Baker’s main NFL contact when Baker ran the Arena League, and that the pair “regularly dined together and discussed how to bolster the sport.”

The connection has little or no relevance to the pending litigation against the Hall of Fame and the league, but that’s what happens in litigation, which often can be every bit as nasty as a political race.

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Falcons sign Stevan Ridley, release A.J. Hawk

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 01:  Stevan Ridley #35 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the football upfield against Chykie Brown #23 of the Cincinnati Bengals during their game at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons spent Monday coming up with plans to deal with running back Tevin Coleman’s injury and they addressed the need for other options by adding a pair of runners to the roster on Tuesday.

The team announced that they have signed veteran Stevan Ridley and promoted Terron Ward from the practice squad.

Ridley spent the summer with the Lions and Colts, but failed to crack the backfield rotation in either spot. He played eight games for the Jets last season, running 36 times for 90 yards after wrapping up rehab for the torn ACL he suffered with the Patriots in 2014. Ward played in 13 games for the Falcons last season.

To make room on the roster, the Falcons released linebacker A.J. Hawk and offensive lineman Mike Person. Hawk signed with the team a few weeks ago when they needed some depth due to injuries, but never saw a defensive snap and may be at the end of the line after 11 years in the NFL.

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DeMarcus Ware’s home is burglarized during Monday Night Football


Crooks with the brainpower of the Wet Bandits decided to burglarize the home of an NFL player while he was at a game.

“After a great win, came home to find my house was robbed,” Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweeted after Monday night’s 27-9 victory over the Texans. “Never about the material things for me but my safety. Thank God for hidden cameras.”

That’s right, Ware had hidden cameras in his house. Which, via the Denver Post, obtained clear images of the faces of the perps.

They were at least smart enough to wear blue gloves to conceal their fingerprints. They should have opted for masks, too.

Police said that “valuables” were taken from the home, but they did not specify what was stolen. Meanwhile, perhaps one of them will be selling a Broncos Super Bowl ring on eBay soon.

Through an account that creates no electronic paper trail. But with a picture of the ring that has his face reflected in it.

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Patriots trade A.J. Derby to Broncos

FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 18:  A.J. Derby #86 of the New England Patriots smiles on the sideline during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears in the second half on August 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

For the second time today, the Patriots have made a trade.

New England has sent tight end A.J. Derby to Denver, ESPN reports. The Broncos gave up a draft pick for Derby, likely a conditional late-round pick next year.

The Patriots drafted Derby out of Arkansas with a sixth-round pick in 2015. He spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve. He has played in four games this year, but only sparingly.

In Denver, Derby will add some depth at tight end and contribute on special teams.

New England also acquired linebacker Kyle Van Noy in a trade with the Lions. Trading Derby and acquiring Van Noy keeps the Patriots at 53 players on the roster.

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Bills promote rookie wide receiver Eagan

Green Bay Packers v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

The Bills have promoted rookie wide receiver Ed Eagan from the practice squad.

Eagan had spent the last four weeks on the Bills’ practice squad. The Bills released offensive tackle Michael Ola to make room for Eagan, who could see immediate action in a receiving corps that’s been hit hard by injuries.

Eagan, an undrafted rookie, spent the offseason with the Cowboys and Browns.

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Bill O’Brien: No thought to benching Brock Osweiler

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 24:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans rushes for a first down before being tackled by cornerback Chris Harris #25 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans offense failed to produce a touchdown in Monday night’s loss to the Broncos and quarterback Brock Osweiler turned in the latest poor performance in a season that’s seen more of them than the Texans were hoping to see when they signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract as a free agent.

The Texans also weren’t hoping to hear any questions about whether they plan to stick with Osweiler as their starter, but coach Bill O’Brien got that query when he met with the media on Tuesday. O’Brien said that he has not considered turning to Tom Savage or Brandon Weeden while admitting that the quarterback and everyone else on the offense needs to do a better job.

“He’s a good player. I think he can play better, receivers can run routes better,” O’Brien said, via the Houston Chronicle. “It has to get better. I can’t really pinpoint one thing.”

Plenty of others have pinpointed Osweiler’s play as a major problem for the Houston offense and another bad outing against the Lions this weekend will send the Texans into a bye week where their quarterback’s struggles will continue to be a major issue.

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Anti-football crowd tries to wedge Arian Foster retirement into its #narrative

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Arian Foster #29 of the Miami Dolphins carries the ball during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Have you heard that plenty of football players are walking away from football before football walks away from them? It’s the latest #narrative of the anti-football crowd. You know, that very real contingent of Fainaru-Wada-inspired media types who either want to see football go away or would prefer to see other sports eclipse it in popularity and profitability.

The anti-football crowd has made an appearance in connection with the abrupt retirement of running back Arian Foster, and the sentiment is best captured by this tweet from the New York Times: “Arian Foster is the latest N.F.L. star to walk away near the top of his game.”

Foster isn’t near the top of his game; he’s not even close to being near the top of his game. And he knows it. To his credit, Foster became one of the first to admit it. Typically (spoiler alert), aging players pay unintentional homage to Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense by becoming the last to realize their careers been dead, for a while.

Arian Foster isn’t Chris Borland or Robert Smith or even Calvin Johnson (who has suggested that he would have kept playing if the Lions were true contenders). Arian Foster, due to ongoing injuries and the sudden and significant emergence of Jay Ajayi, has simply acknowledged the obvious. He wasn’t going to be the guy he was a couple of years ago, when he rushed for more than 1,200 yards for the Texans. And the guy who led the league in rushing six years ago is long gone.

Foster deserves praise for admitting that the time has come. Precious few players are willing to come to grips with the fact that, essentially, part of their lives has died.

That’s still a far cry from the handful of players who decide to call it quits while they still are in their prime, with a tank containing enough gas to carry them for at least several more years, if not longer. But the anti-football crowd would never let that fact get in the way of a good #narrative.

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After trading one linebacker, Lions bring back Josh Bynes

Josh Bynes, Martellus Bennett AP

The Lions were already thin at linebacker, so when they traded linebacker Kyle Van Noy to the Patriots today, it seemed certain that acquiring another linebacker must be in the works.

That’s just what happened, as Josh Bynes is re-signing with the Lions, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Bynes already knows Detroit’s defense, having played his entire five-year career for Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, first in Baltimore and then in Detroit. Last year Bynes played all 16 games for the Lions, with 11 starts. The Lions released him with an injury settlement in September, but now he’s healthy and ready to return. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bynes on the field Sunday against the Texans.

Van Noy was a former second-round pick and a starter this year, but he was a disappointing player and the Lions were ready to move on from him: According to multiple reports, Detroit gave Van Noy up for just a swap of late-round picks, with the Lions getting the Patriots’ 2017 sixth-round pick in exchange for Van Noy and the Lions’ 2017 seventh-round pick.

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