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Terrell Suggs: We’re at a state of emergency

Terrell Suggs AP

The Ravens have lost three of their last four games and stand at 3-4 heading into their bye week, a state of affairs that is not being met with a shrug of the shoulders by linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Suggs deemed himself “very concerned” with the team’s play over the last few weeks and called the bye week “time for all of us to take a good look at ourselves.” Suggs wouldn’t get into specifics beyond making it clear that every phase of the game needs work for Baltimore to get back on the winning side.

“That’s definitely something in-house,” Suggs said, via Clifton Brown of “I’m not going to give something out for my opponents to say, ‘Let’s see if they correct it.’ We know what we gotta fix — special teams, offense, defense. We’re at a state of emergency now.”

Sunday’s game was the fourth straight Ravens game decided by a field goal or less and many of the reasons the Ravens have lost three of those games were on display against Pittsburgh. The offense couldn’t make plays to keep drives alive, leading to punts or field goals instead of touchdowns. The defense didn’t give up touchdowns, but they weren’t able to stop the run or get off the field on third downs.

Those aren’t traits that lead to good things, which is why Suggs is sounding an alarm in Baltimore.

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James Harrison, Ladarius Green don’t practice Thursday

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 08:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is seen on the field after a play during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game at Heinz Field on January 8, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back Le’Veon Bell wasn’t the only player to miss practice for the Steelers on Thursday.

Steelers tight end Ladarius Green returned to the practice field as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice, the first time he’d been on the field in almost two weeks as he deals with a concussion that has kept him from playing in the team’s last four games.

Green didn’t run his streak to two straight days, although the team says the reason was illness rather than a setback with his head injury. The Steelers had four players out with a stomach bug during Wednesday’s practice and word from those around the team is that Green is dealing with the same issue.

The Steelers have grown accustomed to playing without Green this season, which likely makes linebacker James Harrison’s absence with shoulder and triceps injuries a bigger deal. Harrison practiced in full on Wednesday, a day after coach Mike Tomlin said the veteran would be limited, and Friday will bring an official designation for Sunday’s game.

Harrison has been productive in the first two rounds with 2.5 sacks and the team will be hoping he’s healthy enough to join Bud Dupree in creating pressure on Tom Brady that can keep the Patriots offense from getting in gear.

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Dolphins hire Frank Bush as linebackers coach/assistant head coach

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 02:  Defensive coordinator Frank Bush of the Houston Texans looks on during warm ups before playing the Jacksonville Jaguars at Reliant Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins have hired a longtime NFL assistant to fill the linebackers coach job left open when the team promoted Matt Burke to replace Vance Joseph as the team’s defensive coordinator.

The team announced that Frank Bush has been hired as the new position coach. Bush spent the last four seasons as the linebackers coach for the Rams and has been an NFL assistant since the Oilers named him to the same position in 1992. He returned to Houston after the Oilers left and spent time as the Texans’ defensive coordinator during a career that’s also featured stops with the Broncos, Cardinals and Titans.

Bush has also been named the assistant head coach, which necessitated a change in titles for Darren Rizzi. The special teams coordinator had the assistant head coach title and will now be the associate head coach under Adam Gase.

The Dolphins announced that Chris Kuper has been promoted from offensive quality control coach to assistant offensive line coach. Kuper made 79 starts at guard for the Broncos between 2006-13 and joined the Miami staff last year.

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Le’Veon Bell excused from practice for “personal reasons”

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers attempts to run through the tackle attempt cornerback Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers need running back Le’Veon Bell for Sunday. Presumably, they’ll have him.

On Thursday, they didn’t; Bell wasn’t at practice. Coach Mike Tomlin told reporters that Bell was excused from practice for “personal reasons.” Tomlin also said that Bell will be ready to go on Sunday at New England.

Bell has been more than ready to go in his first two career playoff games, setting franchise single-game postseason rushing records in both of them. He had 170 yards on Sunday night in Kansas City.

Due to become a free agent in March, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers letting Bell get a sniff of the open market, even if that means applying the franchise tag to keep him in place for at least one more year.

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Manziel admits he was “lost in the sauce,” vows to be better

johnny-manziel.vresize.1200.675.high.90 Getty Images

Ex-Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel fired off a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, writing that he hasn’t “been this happy in a long time” and apologizing for some of his past behavior.

Tagging one tweet #LostInTheSauce, Manziel wrote that he “truly appreciates all the people in my life who reached out during the truly rough patches in ’16” and that he is “just trying to be a good person again.”

His tweets started when he wrote that someone had brought to his attention that he would be charging $50 for selfies at the Super Bowl next month. Though Manziel denied it and called it “the dumbest thing [he’s] ever heard,” that’s exactly what a Houston area memorabilia store has been advertising since early January.

Manziel hasn’t been involved in any football related-discussions in 10 months and had kept a low profile on Twitter and Instagram. He posts frequently on Snapchat, often from beaches or nightclubs, but one of his tweets Thursday said that he’s working towards a comeback.

Late last year, Manziel and Dallas prosecutors reached a plea deal on charges stemming from an incident with his ex-girlfriend in which Manziel was accused of assault and voluntarily signed a restraining order to keep him away from her.

Manziel’s fame grew quickly in 2012, when he became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy. He flamed out of the NFL almost as fast after being selected in the first round of the 2014 draft. The Browns released him last March after he wouldn’t return the team’s calls and was involved in a series of off-field incidents.

Though he was on the injured-reserve list, he missed the final game of the 2015 season after reportedly flying to Las Vegas and wearing a disguise while partying the night before that game. He had been forced to watch the 2014 season finale from the locker room in Baltimore by then-Browns coach Mike Pettine.

Last summer, Manziel’s father said his son was “a druggie” who needed help, even if that meant going to jail.

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NFL says Cowboys unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was properly called

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys discusses a call with referee John Parry #132 during the second quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on October 25, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys were moving the ball in Packers territory in the first half of last Sunday afternoon’s game when their drive stalled thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Unlike other calls of that nature, there was no contact with an official or punch thrown that led to the call. The penalty was on wide receiver Brice Butler, who officials said entered the huddle and then returned to the sideline without participating in a play. The league’s rules bar that as an attempt to sow confusion for the defense about which players are in the game.

Former Raiders and Browns exec and Bill Belichick assistant Michael Lombardi wrote on Twitter that he’s spoken to people from other teams who called the league for clarification about the call and were told that the call shouldn’t have been made because “Dallas was not being deceptive.” The league says otherwise.

League spokesman Michael Signora said the call was the proper one, while noting that the rule has been on the books since 1955. Senior vice president of officiating Dean Blandino added that he has not spoken to any teams about the call and that it was last made in a 2014 game between the Redskins and the Cowboys, which contradicts Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s contention that he’d never seen it called before.

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Julio Jones out of practice again, says he’s fine

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Falcons 24-15. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones‘ absence from practice stretched to a second day on Thursday, but there’s no change in the way he feels about playing this weekend.

Jones aggravated a toe injury during last Saturday’s victory over the Seahawks, which led the Falcons to take him out of the game but didn’t generate any concern from coach Dan Quinn about the receiver’s chances of playing the NFC Championship Game. On Thursday, that lack of concern remained in place despite the lack of practice time.

“It’s fine,” Jones said, via the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I will be ready to go.”

Jones played 58 percent of the snaps against the Falcons and caught six passes for 67 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game for good. The Falcons would obviously like to get a full game from Jones, but something similar could work if Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman and the rest of the offense’s key players keep performing as well as they did last weekend.

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Trump confirms Woody Johnson will be UK ambassador

New York Jets Introduce General Manager Mike Maccagnan and Head Coach Todd Bowles Getty Images

President-elect Trump confirmed today that Jets owner Woody Johnson is his choice to be the next United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

In a speech today, Trump referenced that Johnson was “going to St. James.” The U.S. ambassador to the U.K. is sometimes referred to as the Ambassador of the United States to the Court of St James’s.

As we’ve previously reported, Johnson has been planning to accept the ambassadorship and hand over operations of the Jets to his younger brother, Christopher Wold Johnson.

Woody Johnson has recently been in the news with comments dismissing criticism of quarterback Christian Hackenberg and denying he’d fire coach Todd Bowles for missing the playoffs next year. But it appears that Johnson won’t be focusing on football decisions in the coming years.

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Adrian Peterson eyes Texans, Giants, Buccaneers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts on December 18, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Peterson returns to play after injuring his knee in week two of the season. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

So where will Adrian Peterson play in 2018? He’d like to stay with the Vikings, but he has declined to say whether he’ll take a pay cut.

If he won’t and if the Vikings will cut him if he doesn’t, Peterson has his eyes on three other teams. Via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Peterson said on ESPN that he’s interested in the Texans, Giants, and Buccaneers.

It’s unclear whether and to what extent any of those teams would be interested in him, and if so whether they’d offer more than the Vikings will pay. The Texans have Lamar Miller, the Giants have Paul Perkins and Rashad Jennings, and the Buccaneers have Charles Sims and Doug Martin.

But Martin’s status is uncertain, given his PED suspension and lackluster 2016 season. As the Bucs try to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007, adding Peterson to an offense that features Jameis Winston and Mike Evans could make them an instant postseason contender.

Peterson can’t negotiate with other teams while under contract with the Vikings, absent permission. As a practical matter, his agent can “gauge the market,” determining via hypothetical discussions the money that would be available to him if/when the Vikings release Peterson.

The question of whether Peterson will be with the Vikings for another season will be answered fairly soon. He has a $6 million roster bonus due on March 11. He’ll likely either sign a new deal or be released before then.

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Seahawks may lose 2nd-round pick for not disclosing Richard Sherman injury

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks runs out against the Atlanta Falcons prior to the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll admitted this week that the team failed to disclose a knee injury that cornerback Richard Sherman was dealing with throughout the regular season, saying “he never missed anything” as a way of explaining why the team didn’t share the information.

The Seahawks could be missing something as a result of not disclosing Sherman’s condition. PFT reported that the NFL is looking into the situation; Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the team may lose a second-round pick as a penalty.

The league has issued fines in the past when teams haven’t shared full injury information, but there can be additional discipline handed down if teams have multiple offenses of league policies. The Seahawks have run afoul of the league three times due to violations of the rules governing offseason work, which led the NFL to strip a week of organized team activities this offseason and a fifth-round pick from the team.

There’s no word on when the league might announce any penalties for the Seahawks as a result of Carroll’s admission that their injury reports were incomplete during the regular season.

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Raiders file paperwork for Las Vegas relocation

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 4:  Fans cheer on the Oakland Raiders against the Buffalo Bills on December 4, 2016 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Raiders won 38-24.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Getty Images

The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

OK, if they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

OK, when they get 24 owners to support the move, the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“Today, the Oakland Raiders submitted an application to relocate their franchise to Las Vegas, as is provided for under the NFL Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations,” the NFL said in a statement. “The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees. The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).”

It’s just a matter of time that owner Mark Davis and at least 23 of his colleagues provide the thumb’s up for the relocation to Sin City. The notion of a move to Las Vegas was laughable when it first emerged, especially since not long ago the NFL laughed off the prospect of even playing an exhibition game there.

But with public money harder and harder to come by and Nevada ready to fork over $750 million toward a new stadium, the league is able to look the other way on its longstanding obligation to gambling, even if there will be gambling every way the Raiders look once they move.

The Raiders are expected to stay in Oakland through at least 2018, since they have a lease that allows them to do so — and since they don’t have a suitable place to play in Las Vegas.

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Joe Flacco expects Marty Mornhinweg to put stamp on offense this year

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - MAY 16: Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg of the New York Jets makes a catch during the first day of rookie minicamp on May 16, 2014 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

The Ravens made an in-season change at offensive coordinator when they dismissed Marc Trestman and elevated Marty Mornhinweg from offensive coordinator.

It wasn’t always the smoothest transition and quarterback Joe Flacco lamented the offense getting too conservative during a late November game against the Bengals. Mornhinweg also said the offense had work to do to get where everyone wanted it in December and Flacco said Thursday that he believes one of the steps to get to that place will be Mornhinweg putting more of his own stamp on the unit this offseason.

“I think the other thing you have to realize is that a lot of what we’ve been doing isn’t necessarily his offense,” Flacco said on 98 Rock, via “So, I think this offseason will be a big point for him to get a lot of the stuff that he’s comfortable running. He and I can work through that stuff together. I think that’s the biggest thing.”

The Ravens brought in former 49ers and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman as a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach. Roman’s teams have a history of running the ball well, which is an area where the Ravens have room to improve after finishing 28th in rushing yards in 2016.

Growth in that area should help Mornhinweg’s chances of success in his first full year on the job in Baltimore. If not, Flacco might be heading into next season with another coordinator directing the offense.

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It’s time for the Packers to make Aaron Rodgers the highest-paid player again

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after the Packers scored a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

During a four-game losing streak that invited plenty of criticism from the outside and speculation about the status of key relationships and how the future could unfold for coach Mike McCarthy and G.M. Ted Thompson, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of PFT and me specifically, “Don’t waste your time reading crap like that.”

Here’s some crap he may want to read. And then forward to General Manager Ted Thompson, CEO Mark Murphy, and/or the full board of directors.

It’s time for Aaron Rodgers to once again be the highest paid player in football. A year ago, he was — based on the “new money” analysis used by agents to make contracts look better than they are, Rodgers was getting $22 million per year. Others have since leapfrogged him, including Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, whose annual average of more than $24 million is the current high-water mark.

Currently, Rodgers is due to earn an average of $18.55 million over the next three years. That needs to be torn up and thrown away.

Rodgers should be getting $25 million per year, or more. With only $6.65 million in cap dollars for 2017 arising from past money paid to Rodgers, the team should acknowledge the greatness they have witnessed in the past nine seasons (and, more specifically, the past eight weeks), reward it, and send a clear message that he’ll be the quarterback of the team as long as he wants to be.

Sure, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady routinely takes less than he’s worth. That’s his prerogative. Rodgers didn’t do a below-market deal the last time around, and he shouldn’t do one now. The publicly-owned team, which generated $408.7 million in total revenue and $49 million profit, can afford it, especially with the salary cap poised to spike to $170 million.

It’s clear that Rodgers is the biggest reason for the stunning reversal to a season that was teetering on being lost. No matter the players running the routes and catching the passes, Rodgers has made it work. The Packers now need to make the numbers work, as a matter of fairness to an underpaid player and as a sign of respect for a player whose talents have helped overcome plenty of organizational shortcomings in the six years since the last time the Packers made it to the Super Bowl.

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Eliot Wolf withdraws from 49ers G.M. search

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Ron Wolf and his son Eliot pose with Wolf's bust during the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 8, 2015 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

If the 49ers were down to four finalists for their General Manager position, they’re down to three now.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Packers executive Eliot Wolf has pulled out of the hunt for San Francisco’s General Manager position.

That usually means he wasn’t going to get it, and Wolf apparently got a new deal in Green Bay out of the deal.

He’s viewed a possible successor to Packers G.M. Ted Thompson, though he was reportedly upset by being blocked from interviewing with the Lions last offseason.

The 49ers have also identified Packers executive Brian Gutekunst and Minnesota assistant G.M. George Paton as finalists, with Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough still a possibility as well.

Those three could be part of the next round of meetings the 49ers have with incoming coach Kyle Shanahan.

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Ravens hire Joe D’Alessandris as offensive line coach

Ravens Helmet Getty Images

The Ravens have filled their vacant offensive line coach position, hiring veteran assistant Joe D’Alessandris.

He replaced Juan Castillo, who went to Buffalo to work on coach Sean McDermott’s staff.

D’Alessandris is entering his 40th year of coaching and ninth as a pro. He spent three seasons with the Chargers but was out of coaching last year.

He’s also worked in the CFL and the World League, as well as with the Chiefs and Bills.

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Marcus Mariota “should be back” when Titans get rolling this offseason

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 24: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans is carted off the field after fracturing his fibula during the second half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 24, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) Getty Images

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had a metal plate implanted to his fractured fibula in a surgical procedure three weeks ago and a Wednesday update on his condition from coach Mike Mularkey was a positive one.

Mariota was instructed to keep weight off the leg for two months after surgery and had a recovery timeline of 4-5 months before he’d be able to ramp up his football activity. That would fall around the time the Titans are going through organized team activities this offseason and Mularkey said that timeline remains in place during an appearance with Jared Stillman and former Titans General Manager Floyd Reese on 102.5 The Game.

“I spoke with Marcus this afternoon,” Mularkey said. “He actually had an appointment, and they did a good thorough checkup on him. He’s on track. He’s doing great. He should be back when we get this thing rolling. I can’t tell you exact times of when he’s going to practice, but he should be ready for the season, which is what we want him for. But he’s doing good. He’s going to be a very good patient, if I have anything to do with it.”

Whether it comes in OTAs or during training camp, the Titans will likely be cautious with their franchise quarterback when he first resumes on-field work as the goal will be to have him ready to roll come September.

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