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Costas elaborates on his position regarding Redskins name

Costas Getty Images

The polarizing debate regarding the Redskins name has caused many on either side of the issue to dig in, to ignore any reasonable explanations of the contrary view, and to throw rocks at those who try to reasonably explain the contrary view.

Bob Costas of NBC continues to have rocks thrown at him by those who disagree with his belief that the Redskins name reasonably can be viewed as offensive.  On Thursday, Costas appeared with Andy Pollin and Jon Saraceno on SportsTalk 570’s The Sports Reporters, and Costas explained the reaction to his October 13 essay.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post has transcribed some of the quotes; we encourage reading the whole thing and/or listening to the interview.

For now, here are some of the key points.

First, Costas addressed the timing of the issue, since one of the primary arguments raised by supporters of the name is “why now?”

“Well, the Oneida Nation has registered some protests,” Costas said.  “They’ve asked to meet with league officials. Somebody asked President Obama about it.  He didn’t mention it gratuitously — he answered the question, he didn’t bring the subject up himself. When the President addresses it, then it brings additional attention to it.  There have been some columns written of late.  So as I said, the issue bubbled to the surface.”

Second, Costas addressed the commonly raised question regarding the failure of those raising questions about the term now to be offended about it in the past.

“I’ve actually tried — without saying anything to anybody — over the last several years, I’ve tried to avoid saying Redskins, because I just felt uncomfortable with it.  I know that I’ve slipped a few times,” Costas.  “But by and large, I’ve tried to avoid it.”

He’s telling the truth (and we’re compelled to point that out because some supporters of the name would simply say he’s not and ignore him).  Earlier this year, we explored the possibility of dropping the name altogether at PFT, and through the process of kicking the matter around internally, we learned that Costas has been avoiding the name without announcement or fanfare over the last several years.

Third, Costas lamented the fact that anyone who questions the name is dubbed a left-leaning political ideologue.

“[A] good portion of people who have commented on this think I’m some sort of doctrinaire liberal left-wing guy, which people who know me would be very surprised to hear,” Costas said.  “So that sort of thing is discouraging.  Not to me personally, but the way the discourse in the country is now, there’s less of a chance to have a nuanced conversation about the issues.”

Fourth, Costas summarized the crux of his concerns.

“I refer you to the dictionary,” Costas said.  “I consulted five.  All five dictionaries I consulted define Redskins as pejorative, derogatory, insulting, offensive.  Those were the four words used.  None of those words — NONE — are part of any definition of Braves or Chiefs or any other team name associated with Native Americans.  Now, sometimes, inappropriate symbols or inappropriate rituals can offend people when a team is known as Braves, Chiefs, Chippewas, whatever.  But by definition, those names alone are not offensive.  There’s no reason to change those names.  You might want to reconsider some of the logos or some of the other things, but the names themselves are not offensive.  The name Redskins, by definition, is.”

Still, anyone who points that out is a left-wing nut job who wants to systematically eradicate all Native American names and logos from American sports — and then move on to other human-based nicknames, followed by animals.  Then plants.  Then minerals.  Then weather patterns.  Then days of the week.  Then months of the year.

That’s one of the go-to tactics for those who prefer to cover their ears and cry “la-la-la-not-listening” when someone like Costas is making cogent, reasonable, persuasive arguments against the ongoing use of the name “Redskins.”  They oppose reasonable efforts to make changes by citing unreasonable fears regarding where change will lead.

Perhaps those who support the name realize that acknowledging the existence of cogent, reasonable, and persuasive arguments against the use of the name necessarily becomes a major step on the path toward admitting that the name should be changed.  Other than mental illness, that can be the only reason for a strategy that consists of stubbornly sticking to a position and shouting down anyone who would even try to explain the other side of it.

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Ziggy Ansah on possible extension: You’ve got to see how this season goes

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Wide receiver Steve Johnson #11 of the San Diego Chargers is pursued by defensive end Ezekiel Ansah #94 of the Detroit Lions at Qualcomm Stadium on September 13, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah’s option for the 2017 season was exercised this week, leaving him set to make $12.7 million in the final year of the deal he signed as a first-round pick in 2013.

The Lions could use the franchise tag in 2018 to ensure Ansah sticks around, which might explain why Ansah says he’s “not really paying attention” to things like the $85 million deal that Olivier Vernon signed with the Giants as a free agent at the moment. Ansah, who has 30 sacks in his first three seasons, said there will be time for that down the road.

“As of right now, I think you’ve got to take it step by step,” Ansah said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You’ve got to see how this season goes, and I’m just looking forward as far as having a great season for the team.”

Pass rushers aren’t going to stop getting paid at a high level in the next two years, so Ansah will be in line for a major payday from the Lions or someone else as long as he remains healthy and productive.

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Jordan Reed: I’m going to be a good investment

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Getty Images

Tight end Jordan Reed signed an extension that vaults him to the top of the pay scale at his position, a deal that came a few months after the end of a season that saw him play like one of the best at the position.

Reed had 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Redskins in the regular season before posting a big game in their playoff loss to the Packers. Production like that will be well worth the $46.5 million that he’s scheduled to make over the life of the five-year deal.

Reed’s injury history — he’s missed 14 games in three seasons — didn’t get in the way of the team’s desire to make the deal and Reed said it wouldn’t stop him from making it pay off.

“It means a lot that the Redskins invested that kind of money in me,” Reed said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “I’ll show them that they made a good investment and I’ll prove them right in making me one of the highest paid [tight ends] in the league.”

With Reed signed for the long-term and wide receiver Josh Doctson arriving as a first-round pick, the Redskins have figured out two pieces of their passing game for the future. The 2016 season will sort out Kirk Cousins‘ place in that future and having Reed should help his bid for a long-term contract as well.

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Browns announce 11 UDFA signings

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 19:  Linebacker Dominique Alexander #1 of the Oklahoma Sooners waves to fans after the game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane September 19, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Tulsa 52-38.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Browns announced 11 undrafted rookie signings on Thursday.

The list is headlined by former Oklahoma linebacker Dominique Alexander, an All-Big 12 pick who went undrafted after giving up his senior season, and former Texas A&M center Mike Matthews, the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. It was previously reported that the Browns gave Matthews a partial guarantee in 2016 as part of a three-year deal.

The Browns also signed former Maryland kicker Brad Craddock, who won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker in 2014.

The other signings announced by the Browns were former Missouri defensive back Kenya Dennis, former Georgia Tech fullback Patrick Skov, former Pitt tight end J.P. Holtz, former Miami (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard, former Sam Houston State defensive back Mikell Everette, former Florida State defensive lineman Nile Lawrence-Stample, former West Virginia defensive lineman Kyle Rose and former Kentucky defensive back A.J. Stamps.

With 11 undrafted free agent signings and 14 draft picks, the Browns will have a crowded rookie minicamp next weekend.

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Patriots third-rounder Jacoby Brissett to skip agent for rookie deal

RALEIGH, NC - OCTOBER 31:  Jacoby Brissett #12 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack warms up before their game against the Clemson Tigers at Carter-Finley Stadium on October 31, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the new rookie salary scale, negotiating contracts has become easier than ever.

And at least one draft pick is choosing to save the 3 percent commission by doing it himself.

According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, Patriots third-rounder Jacoby Brissett has chosen to not hire an agent.

Unlike Broncos tackle Russell Okung, Brissett doesn’t have to worry about marketing himself to multiple suitors.

And while contracts have become increasingly boilerplate, the third round falls in the strange middle ground where it’s not always just league minimum base salaries and a signing bonus like late-rounders, or the slotted maximums like first-rounders, so there’s some wiggle room.

But Brissett has navigated changing colleges, so figuring out his own worth shouldn’t be that difficult. And the structure in place should prevent him from selling himself short, as Okung did when he decided to represent himself this spring.

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Seahawks finish contract with third-round pick

FORT COLLINS, CO - OCTOBER 10:  Rees Odhiambo #71 of the Boise State Broncos defends the line of scrimmage against the Colorado State Rams at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Rams 41-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks have agreed to terms with third-round pick Rees Odhiambo, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reported Thursday.

A tackle at Boise State, the Seahawks believe Odhiambo will compete for a starting job at left guard this season.

A native Kenyan, Odhiambo didn’t start playing football until he was a sophomore in high school. He was a first-team All-Mountain West pick last fall despite missing time with a broken ankle.

The Seahawks are one of a few teams moving quickly to get their draft picks under contract.

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Falcons sign 22 undrafted rookies

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 10: Linebacker Ivan McLennan #3 of the Washington State Cougars celebrates after the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Eugene, Oregon. The Cougars won the game 45-38 in overtime.(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons became the first team to sign a first-round pick this week when they agreed to terms with safety Keanu Neal.

Barring something out of left field, Neal will definitely make the move from the 90-man offseason roster to the 53-man roster for the regular season. The same can’t be said of the team’s group of undrafted free agent signings.

The Falcons announced those signings Thursday and most of the 22 players they signed will be hitting the waiver wire at some point in the coming months.

The players vying for jobs in Atlanta will be Georgia defensive end Josh Dawson, South Carolina defensive tackle Gerald Dixon Jr., Lamar offensive lineman Cody Elenz, Fresno State offensive lineman Alex Fifita, Utah State linebacker Torrey Green, Kentucky defensive tackle Cory Johnson, Texas wide receiver Daje Johnson, Weber State cornerback Devonte Johnson, Appalachian State wide receiver Malachi Jones, Georgia nose tackle Chris Mayes, Arkansas State wide receiver J.D. McKissic, Washington State linebacker Ivan McLennan (pictured), Texas State cornerback David Mims II, Florida Atlantic defensive back Sharrod Neasman, Washington tight end Joshua Perkins, Florida defensive back Brian Poole, North Dakota fullback Will Ratelle, Indiana offensive lineman Jake Reed, Arizona wide receiver David Richards, Texas kicker Nick Rose, St. Cloud State cornerback Jordan Sefon, and South Carolina running back Brandon Wilds.

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Chiefs get Chris Jones under contract

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The Chiefs traded out of round one last Thursday night, landing instead at the sixth spot in round two. And with that pick, the Chiefs selected Mississippi State defensive tackle Chris Jones.

Six days later, Jones has a contract.

Per a league source, Jones has agreed to terms. He becomes the highest non-first-round pick to date to agree to terms, and he steps into a situation where defensive tackle Dontari Poe is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

The development provides even more proof that all rookies can be (and should be) quickly signed, before they are expected to show up for offseason workouts.

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T.O. takes issue with Sam Bradford’s trade demand

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A decade ago, receiver Terrell Owens wanted out of Philly. He eventually got his way, after an acrimonious year of shirtless driveway situps, “next question” press conferences, and a full-blown arbitration challenging both a four-game suspension without pay and a rest-of-season suspension with pay.

Now, quarterback Sam Bradford wants out of Philadelphia. To date, Bradford has only demanded a trade. And Owens has chimed in regarding Bradford’s view that he doesn’t want to play for a team that doesn’t view him as “the guy.” Owens views Bradford a far different way.

“I think it was not a great move for Sam to want to request a trade being that they were getting [quarterback Carson Wentz],” Owens told TMZ. “That’s kind of a sign of a coward, to be honest.”

Owens claims that Bradford should have more confidence regarding his ability to hold off any other challengers for the starting job.

“It shouldn’t matter who they’re drafting or who’s coming in,” Owens said.

Obviously, it does. And with the Eagles trading up from No. 13 to No. 8 to No. 2, they have plenty invested in Wentz being successful. Which likely will give Wentz the edge, if it’s a close call between Bradford and the rookie.

That doesn’t mean Bradford has many/any viable alternatives to showing up for work, playing as well as he can, cashing his paychecks, and waiting for his next NFL alternative. With no one else clamoring for his contract, making the most of a bad situation is better than having no situation.

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Maccagnan mum on whether he talked to O’Brien about Hackenberg

Jets Maccagnan Football AP

The Jets surprised many by making quarterback Christian Hackenberg a second-round draft pick and, in turn, the presumptive eventual starter. Hackenberg became attractive to NFL teams from the moment he showed as a true freshman at Penn State that he could run coach Bill O’Brien’s complex, pro-style offense.

Of course, regression during 2014 and 2015 made Hackenberg less attractive in the draft. But he still did enough in one year with O’Brien to become a second-round draft pick.

Making New York’s decision to draft Hackenberg more intriguing is the connection between O’Brien and Jets G.M. Mike Maccagnan. The two men spent a season together in Houston. So how much did Maccagnan rely on O’Brien in formulating an opinion on Hackenberg?

During a Thursday visit to PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Maccagnan declined to delve into those details regarding the homework performed on Hackenberg. (And, perhaps, all that that implies.)

As one league insider said regarding the Maccagnan-Hackenberg connection, “A good scout like Maccagnan would have talked with O’Brien a lot [about Hackenberg] when they actually worked together, not after leaving Houston.”

It’s a great point. And if that’s what Maccagnan did, he already knew what O’Brien thought of Hackenberg long before the player landed on the Jets’ radar screen.

Of course, if O’Brien regarded Hackenberg as a potential franchise quarterback, the Texans could have drafted him instead of paying $18 million per year to Brock Osweiler. That assumes, however, that it was O’Brien’s decision to pay Osweiler instead of hoping to land Hackenberg.

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Jarran Reed agrees to contract with Seahawks

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 11:  Jarran Reed #90 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a play against the Clemson Tigers during the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks have started signing members of their 2016 draft class.

Defensive tackle Jarran Reed’s agents announced that their client has agreed to his four-year rookie deal with Seattle. Reed was the 49th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Reed excelled as a run stopper at Alabama in his two seasons at the school after spending time in junior college. He was less effective as a pass rusher, but the Seahawks are looking for someone to help fill in for the departed Brandon Mebane and Reed’s skills against the ground game should help his chances of being part of that solution.

The Seahawks drafted nine other players, some or all of whom will likely join Reed under contract before this week’s rookie minicamp comes to a conclusion.

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Stephen Jones on Greg Hardy: We gave it a year, it didn’t work

05-greg-hardy.w529.h352 Getty Images

There was some initial hedging on their part, and they still haven’t filled the vacancy, but enough time has apparently passed that they’re comfortable saying it out loud.

The Cowboys are done with Greg Hardy, and have been since the end of the regular season. Owner Jerry Jones said as much after the draft, but his son said the decision was made long ago.

“I think one of the most important things is when you take a chance with a player, if you see it’s not working, it’s time to move on,” vice president Stephen Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We gave it its due in terms of a year here, and we just felt like at the end of the day, it wasn’t the right fit.”

The Cowboys paid Hardy nearly $9 million to be an impact pass-rusher, he wasn’t one, and created more distractions for them than he was worth. So when coach Jason Garrett mic-dropped a question about Hardy at the Scouting Combine by saying “he’s a free agent,” you could tell there was little interest in extending the experiment.

“Greg had a great start here and then he went through a lot, I do know that,” Stephen Jones said. “He’s been through a lot and you just never know how that is going to affect somebody. We wish him nothing but the best, getting his hands around everything in his life and hopefully getting in a place where he can be successful in whatever he chooses to do.”

Hardy’s “exclusive” interview with ESPN a month ago failed to create any interest in the 27-year-old defensive end, and now that teams have filled out their rosters with draft picks and undrafted rookies, it’s hard to imagine who might be interested in taking on the headache.

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Secretary of the Navy confident Keenan Reynolds can play and serve

ANNAPOLIS, MD - DECEMBER 28:  Keenan Reynolds #19 of the Navy Midshipmen rushes the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers in the third quarter of their 44-28 win during the Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on December 28, 2015 in Annapolis, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

After the Patriots drafted long snapper Joe Cardona from the Naval Academy in the fifth round last year, he was able to work out an arrangement that allowed him to both play for New England and satisfy his commitment to serve in the Navy.

That may provide a framework for the Ravens to have Keenan Reynolds on the field this season. The Ravens drafted Reynolds in the sixth round last week and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said on The Dan Patrick Show Thursday said he would do whatever he can to make sure Reynolds can both play football and serve the United States.

“I’m confident we can work something out for Keenan to do both … play football and serve our country,” Mabus, who also said that a sequel to Top Gun is in the works, said.

Reynolds played quarterback in Navy’s triple option offense and set the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns and touchdowns from scrimmage in a career. The Ravens are listing him as a wide receiver and may also be in the mix to return kicks.

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Giants waive Jerome Cunningham, G.J. Kinne

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Tight end Jerome Cunningham #86 of the New York Giants carries the ball against strong safety Kyshoen Jarrett #30 of the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants made space on their roster for incoming rookies on Thursday by waiving a pair of players from their 90-man roster.

Tight end Jerome Cunningham was let go after playing nine games and making three starts for the Giants last season. Cunningham had eight catches for 59 yards in those appearances.

He saw playing time in the second half of the year with Larry Donnell was out of the lineup with a neck injury, but Donnell has been cleared to return to action this year. The Giants also drafted Jerell Adams in the sixth round to go with Donnell and Will Tye.

The Giants also parted ways with G.J. Kinne. Kinne was listed as a safety by the Giants, but has also spent time as a quarterback and wide receiver while spending time with the Jets and Eagles.

Safety Darian Thompson was drafted in the third round by the Giants, who will be holding a competition for Landon Collins‘ partner that includes the rookie.

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Cowboys expect Kellen Moore to be Tony Romo’s backup

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Kellen Moore #17 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Washington Redskins during the first half at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

This offseason has featured a lot of talk about the Cowboys trying to find a quarterback who would give them better play behind Tony Romo in the event Romo has to miss time again during the 2016 season, but it looks like they’ll head into the season with a No. 2 who was on the roster all along.

Dallas took Dak Prescott in the fourth round of the draft, but owner Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan Thursday that the team sees Kellen Moore as the backup for Romo when the season gets underway. Moore joined the Cowboys last season, played three times and started the final two games of the season, finishing the year 61-of-104 for 779 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.

“Yes,” Jones said when asked if Moore is the backup, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think Kellen Moore has shown the ‘it.’ He has the instincts. He has the anticipation. He knows what’s going on. He gives me and us a great feeling about basically improving. Obviously those interceptions were not something you can live with, but some of the stuff he was doing was pretty obvious that the team was responding. He was able to move the team.”

Romo didn’t rule out Prescott getting snaps, although the best case scenario for the Cowboys would obviously be one that sees any snaps taken by backup quarterbacks coming late in games that they lead by a wide margin.

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Manziel follows smirking mugshot with deleted tweet

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On Wednesday afternoon, unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel turned himself in on charges of assaulting his ex-girlfriend. He posed for a mugshot. With a smirk.

And if the smirk didn’t say enough about Manziel’s current mindset, Manziel said more.

Via the Dallas Morning News, Manziel took to Twitter after his mugshot was posted and said, “Just thankful I had a shirt this time.”

Tha’s a reference to a 2012 arrest of Manziel for carrying fake ID and fighting. In his mugshot, Manziel had no shirt. And no smirk.

Hopefully, his next mugshot will have a shirt and no smirk.

Hopefully, he won’t have another mugshot.

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