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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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Bucs work out Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor AP

The Bucs may be without quarterback Josh McCown for the next few weeks after he suffered a thumb injury in the team’s blowout loss to the Falcons last Thursday and that may have them in the market for some help at the position.

Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that the team worked out former Raiders and Steelers quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Monday. Pryor was let go by the Seahawks at the end of the preseason after Seattle gave the backup job to Tarvaris Jackson. He started nine games for the Raiders last season, throwing seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions while also running for 576 yards.

Pryor isn’t up to speed on the Buccaneers offense, obviously, so he wouldn’t be an ideal choice if they needed to turn to someone in a pinch behind Mike Glennon. Mike Kafka is on the practice squad, which likely leaves him better suited to role.

Pryor’s athleticism could intrigue the Bucs from a longer term perspective, however, so we’ll see if anything develops for him in Tampa.

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Jarvis Jones placed on injured reserve/designated for return

Jarvis Jones, Jerry Olsavsky AP

The Steelers are losing one of their starting linebackers until at least late November.

The club placed Jarvis Jones on injured reserve/designated for return on Monday, according to the NFL’s transactions.

The Steelers’ starting right outside linebacker, Jones suffered a wrist injury in Sunday’s 37-19 victory at Carolina. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Jones has undergone wrist surgery.

Jones, 24, has notched 14 tackles and two sacks in three starts this season for Pittsburgh. He was the Steelers’ No. 1 pick in 2013. Arthur Moats is the top reserve behind Jones on the Steelers’ depth chart.

Jones will miss at least the Steelers’ next eight games. The earliest he can return to game action is Sunday, November 30 vs. New Orleans.

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Duke Ihenacho joins DeAngelo Hall on IR

Duke Ihenacho AP

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall isn’t the only member of the Redskins secondary that saw his season come to an end during Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.

The team announced that they have placed safety Duke Ihenacho on injured reserve while also officially ending Hall’s season. Ihenacho injured his heel in Philadelphia.

Ihenacho was claimed off of waivers by Washington after he was cut by Denver at the end of the summer. He was a starter in Denver last season, but was playing in a reserve role and on special teams for the Redskins. The Redskins have Akeem Davis and Trenton Robinson as backup safeties now and 2013 fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas is on the practice squad.

There’s an open spot on the roster with cornerback Chase Minniefield coming up from the practice squad, although the team could opt to go with 52 players this week since they face the Giants on Thursday night and then round out their roster at a later date.

The Redskins also announced that they have released linebacker Darryl Sharpton from injured reserve.

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Ravens confirm Dennis Pitta will miss the rest of the season

pittacart AP

Dennis Pitta’s season is over.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed today that Pitta, the tight end who suffered a dislocated right hip on Sunday, had surgery today and will miss the rest of the season.

This is the second time in the last 14 months that Pitta has suffered a dislocated right hip. He suffered the injury last year in training camp and missed the first 12 games of the season.

Heading into this season, the Ravens thought Pitta was going to be healthy and ready for a big year, and he caught 10 passes in Week One. Now his season is over after Week Three, and he’s left to wonder if his hip is ever going to be healthy enough to withstand an NFL season.

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Antonio Cromartie has bone bruise, day-to-day heading into bye week

Cincinnati Bengals v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Cardinals have some extra time off before they will put their undefeated record to the test against the Broncos and that should bode well for cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s chances of playing.

Cromartie left Sunday’s win over the 49ers with a knee injury, but the team isn’t worried about an extended absence. Darren Urban of the team’s website reports that Cromartie suffered a bone bruise and that he’s day-to-day as the team heads into their bye week. Coach Bruce Arians said he thinks Cromartie will be fine by the time Week Five rolls around.

There’s less certainty when it comes to Carson Palmer. The quarterback has missed the last two games with a nerve issue in his shoulder and hasn’t been able to throw in practice as a result.

Arians said that he’s hopeful Palmer can resume throwing this week, although there’s no real timetable for his return as his efforts to wake up the nerve have not been successful to this point.

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Whisenhunt: Jake Locker has right wrist injury

Tennessee Titans v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Titans’ starting quarterback has an injury to his throwing arm.

Quarterback Jake Locker has an injured right wrist, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday, according to the club’s official Twitter feed.

Locker had an MRI on the wrist on Monday morning, Whisenhunt said, according to the club. The Titans’ head coach indicated it was not yet known whether Locker would be able to play Sunday at Indianapolis, Jim Wyatt of the Nashville Tennessean reported.

Charlie Whitehurst is the Titans’ backup quarterback.

Locker completed just 17-of-34 passes for 185 yards with no TDs and two interceptions in Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati. He also rushed six times for 50 yards. According to Whisenhunt, Locker was having trouble getting a grip on the ball at game’s end because of the injury, the Tennessean reported.

The Titans (1-2) are one game out of the AFC South lead.

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Danny Woodhead out for the season with broken leg

Chargers Bills Football AP

The Chargers can’t keep running backs on the field.

Coach Mike McCoy told reporters that Danny Woodhead suffered a broken fibula in yesterday’s game, and would be placed on season-ending injured reserve.

That’s a huge blow for a Chargers offense that was already without Ryan Mathews.

They’ll have to make do with Donald Brown now, and after he touched the ball 36 times yesterday, he’s clearly ready for a heavy workload.

The only hope for the Chargers is that he holds up until Mathews returns.

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Bisciotti says no one at Ravens will lose job

Bisciotti Getty Images

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti met with the media on Monday, roughly 15 minutes after the Ravens disseminated a thorough, detailed response to the ESPN report accusing the Ravens of mishandling the Ray Rice case.

The press conference would have been a lot more efficient if the release had come earlier.  At one point, Bisciotti reminded someone off camera that Bisciotti had suggested sending it out sooner.

As to the Rice situation, Bisciotti said plenty of things.  Most importantly, he said that no members of the organization will lose their jobs as a result of the Rice investigation.

He also attributed much of the ESPN report to sources with ties to Rice, and the agendas that naturally flow from it.

“The majority of the sources are people who work for Ray,” Bisciotti said.  “It’s Ray’s attorney, it’s Ray’s agents, and Ray’s friends.”

Bisciotti attributed the comments to a simple motivation.

“They are building a case for reinstatement,” Bisciotti said.  “The best way to build a case for reinstatement is to make everyone else make look like they were lying.”

Bisciotti also pointed out that ESPN worked on the report for 11 days, but gave the Ravens only a couple of hours to respond to ESPN’s questions before publication.  He questioned whether ESPN was even concerned about the team’s position, claiming that co-author Kevin Van Valkenburg teased a “bombshell” report on Twitter before the report was published.

Bisciotti also disputed the notion that he offered future employment to Rice as “hush money” aimed at getting Rice to go along with the notion that Rice had lied to the team about what he did.

Bisciotti vowed that changes will be made if/when future situations like this arise in the future, and that he harbors no animosity toward the league for its handling of this situation.  But he said that, if the league handles a similar case in the same way in the future, he’d lose faith in the league’s ability to address such issues.

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Ravens dispute the key allegations in the ESPN report

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

Friday’s report from ESPN says many things about the manner in which the Ravens handled the Ray Rice investigation. The Ravens have now responded to it, with a detailed, written statement addressing numerous contentions contained in the story.

The most important allegations related to Ravens director of security Darren Sanders and Ravens president Dick Cass. The statement contains responses from both men.

As to Sanders, he reportedly had the contents of the elevator video described by an Atlantic City police officer within the hours after the incident occurred.

“I did not receive an account of what happened in the elevator ‘within hours’ of the incident,” Sanders said. “Within a couple of days, I asked the casino and the Atlantic City Police Department for a copy of any videotape of the incident. They said they could not release a copy of the videotape to me. Some days later — I believe it was on February 25 — I spoke to an Atlantic City police official again, asking again whether I could get a copy of the tape or, if not, whether I could come to his New Jersey office and view it. He said I could not, but he did offer to view the tape and describe what he saw. (As I understand it, he was describing a raw video, not the ‘cleaned up,’ ‘smoothed . . . out’ version that appeared on TMZ.) He said that Ray and Janay both appeared to be intoxicated, and that they were involved in a heated argument that began outside the elevator and continued inside. As he described it, Janay appeared to initiate the altercation, but they both spit at and struck each other, resulting in Janay falling and hitting her head against the wall railing. The officer could not tell from the video whether Ray slapped or punched her, but Ray told me very clearly that he did not punch her. It was not clear from the officer’s account whether it was being intoxicated, being hit, or hitting her head against the railing that caused Janay’s apparent unconsciousness.”

Cass reportedly was told by Rice’s criminal defense lawyer that the elevator video is “f–king horrible” and that he “knocker her the f–k out.” Cass also reportedly lobbied for the placement of Rice in a pretrial intervention program, partially in order to keep the video from public view.

“I believe Ray’s criminal defense attorney mentioned the video to me in late May around the time that the court granted Ray’s application for pretrial intervention,” Cass said. “I don’t recall his precise words, but he did say the video looked terrible. I did not ask Ray’s attorney for a copy of the video. I assumed the video would be terrible, because it would show a man striking a woman. But I also thought the video would show a physical altercation where Ray was defending himself with an open hand. My view about the video was also influenced by the fact that the prosecutor and the judge agreed to the ultimate dismissal of all charges against Ray after seeing the video. We had decided several months before to leave fact finding to the court system and the League. As we have said, that was a mistake, and I regret it.

“I did not urge Ray’s defense attorney to follow any particular course of action. I told his attorney that he should do what he felt was in the best interest of his client. I had never even heard of ‘pretrial intervention’ until Ray’s attorney explained it to me. So yes, I agreed with him that pretrial intervention was in Ray’s best interest. Who wouldn’t? It meant the ultimate dismissal of all criminal claims without a trial and the risk of a guilty verdict. Of course, I did not want a criminal trial because of all the adverse publicity associated with a celebrity trial. But I did not think that pretrial intervention would prevent the video from becoming public. I assumed that would eventually occur in any event.”

So while it took three days for the Ravens to respond, Sanders and Cass have provided a potent and pointed response to the ESPN report.

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Bruce Arians called hit on his QB a “cheap shot”

Drew Stanton, Michael Wilhoite AP

The Cardinals were already on their backup quarterback.

But they almost lost Drew Stanton, on a vicious hit from 49ers linebacker Dan Skuta.

Monday, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians made no bones about it, calling it a “cheap shot.”

“No doubt he was sliding,” Arians said, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “That could have ended his career.”

Arians said the fact Stanton was wearing a mouth guard helped lessen the seriousness of the injury.

But he clearly thinks Stanton wasn’t at fault.

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Niners hopeful Vernon Davis will return next Sunday

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

The 49ers are hopeful tight end Vernon Davis‘ absence will span just one game.

According to the club’s Twitter feed, head coach John Harbaugh said he was “optimistic” Davis would be able to suit up for Sunday’s matchup against 3-0 Philadelphia.

Davis exited the Week Two loss to Chicago with knee and ankle injuries. He was inactive for Sunday’s defeat at Arizona, as was second-string tight end Vance McDonald (knee).

The 30-year-old Davis is a key part of the 49ers’ offense. Long one of the game’s fastest tight ends, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Davis can give safeties, linebackers and cornerbacks fits.

The Niners (1-2) are two games back of the Cardinals and one game behind the Seahawks in the NFC West.

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DeAngelo Hall confirms his season is over

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

All indications on Sunday were that cornerback DeAngelo Hall was done for the season with a torn Achilles tendon and the veteran confirmed it on Monday.

Hall isn’t wasting any time when it comes to getting his rehab organized. He said that he’s already started reaching out to others, including Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who have suffered the injury to get their advice on the best way to progress.

“I’ve spoke to a couple other athletes, who have had this similar injury. I’m just trying to do my homework, my due diligence make sure I pick the right place [to have surgery],” Hall said, via the Washington Post. “I’m not a spring chicken, so I’ve got to make sure I get it done it the right way. I’ve got to be as patient as possible, attack this rehab and get back out on the field.”

He’ll turn 31 in November and it’s no sure thing that rehab will be a smooth one. Hall signed a four-year deal with the Redskins this offseason, which should afford him every chance to show he’s back to form in 2015.

The Redskins will promote Chase Minniefield from the practice squad to take Hall’s spot on the roster.

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Chip Kelly doesn’t think his practices are a problem

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams raised a few eyebrows Sunday when he followed up an Eagles win by going public with his feelings that the Eagles practiced too hard during the week and that “you can’t continue to run your team into the ground and expect great results.”

Williams said that other members of the Eagles felt the same way, which all but guaranteed that coach Chip Kelly would be asked about it on Monday. Kelly was asked about Williams’s comments and if he thought the team felt they were being worked too hard in practice.

“No,” Kelly said, via the Philadelphia Daily News. “I know we ask our guys to run a lot during practice. I met with Cary just a little while ago, he came in on his own today … I think he was frustrated. I understand that. Cary’s a competitor. I got no issues with Cary.”

Kelly added that he wasn’t bothered by Williams airing his feelings to the media, which should put a pin in this story as long as the Eagles don’t lose a game in which they look exhausted at the opening kickoff.

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Ravens schedule press conference for 4 p.m. ET

Steve Bisciotti AP

The Ravens are ready to talk about the “numerous errors, inaccuracies, false assumptions and, perhaps, misunderstandings” that they believe were included in the ESPN report about their handling of the Ray Rice case.

The team announced Monday afternoon that owner Steve Bisciotti will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. ET in Baltimore. The above quote was included in the Ravens’ statement about the report on Friday, but the team said they would not address what any of them were until after the team played the Browns on Sunday.

Predictably, coach John Harbaugh was asked about the report following that game and said that the team was united in their decision-making in response to a question about the report’s claim that he wanted to cut Rice after the running back was arrested in February. The Ravens parted ways with Rice two weeks ago after the video of him punching Janay Palmer Rice was released by TMZ.

The team took a page out of the NFL’s playbook for Friday’s Roger Goodell press conference by scheduling the press conference for a short time after they made the announcement. We’ll see if the strategy works out any better for them than it did for the Commissioner.

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Report: Kyle Rudolph needs sports hernia surgery

Kyle Rudolph, Jerraud Powers AP

It doesn’t look like Teddy Bridgewater will have tight end Kyle Rudolph to lean on when he makes his first start at quarterback for the Vikings.

Rudolph left Sunday’s loss to the Saints with a groin injury and was expected to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that Rudolph will need to have sports hernia surgery and is expected to miss about six weeks while he recovers.

If that’s the case and the timeline is in the neighborhood that Breer reported, he could be a candidate for injured reserve with the designation to return as the Vikings haven’t used it yet this season.

The Vikings have targeted Rudolph 17 times this season, just behind Greg Jennings for the most of anyone on the team. That would make for a significant absence that the Vikings will try to fill with Rhett Ellison and MarQueis Gray.

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