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David Carr turned down two teams to stay with family

David Carr, Eli Manning AP

Most players, given a taste of the NFL, will drop everything for another chance.

But former No. 1 overall pick David Carr turned down a pair of chances to sign in recent weeks, after his 2-year-old daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, and he chose to stay home with his wife to help care for her.

“They were actually two teams I would’ve gone to. That’s the tough part,” Carr said, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “But when it comes down to it, [family] is what it’s all about. First of all, I wouldn’t be able to give 100 percent to the team I was with and I just wanted to be honest with them, so I called the general managers and told them personally. They were actually pretty cool about it and they were pleased with the honesty. I don’t think they get it that much.

“We’ll see what happens later. But for the time being, there are things that are more important.”

One of their five sons has also been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, so they have experience dealing with the condition. But since his daughter Grace is 2, the management requires more constant attention, so Carr skipped a pair of chance to collect a big payday, and perhaps play, to be a dad.

“Earlier in my career, I maybe would’ve made a different decision. It’s amazing what 12 years in the NFL can do to you,” Carr said. “You see a lot of things, you learn a lot, you grow as a father and husband and you learn some things are more important than going out and collecting a check, standing there and trying to be 100 percent into the deal. So in my heart, all along, I knew what I was supposed to do, just because it wasn’t something I felt like I could walk away from.

“The thing with diabetes is it’s constant, like every hour it’s something. ‘What did she eat for lunch?’ She’s 2, she can’t tell us, so we have to figure it out. While I was trying to make that decision for those couple of days, she was always there, always in need, always running up and giving me a hug. She didn’t know anything else, she just knew her dad was here. That stuff makes the decision easier.”

And on a week where families will gather to give thanks, the Carrs will be together thanks to dad’s decision to put them first.

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Raiders want to get Maurice Jones-Drew more work

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The Raiders signed several veteran free agents this offseason, but haven’t got much return from those investments so far this year.

Coach Tony Sparano would like that to change for one member of that crew. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has 18 carries for 48 yards so far this season and Sparano would like to see both numbers rise in the near future, although he also noted that the team needs the offense to be on the field longer if they are going to make that happen.

“We need to get Maurice more snaps,” Sparano said, via ESPN.com. “I think the plan is to try to get him involved a little bit more if we can do that now. One of the things we have to do is in order to get people more snaps, we have to play more snaps. In the ballgame the other day, really the ball was snapped 49 times and one of them was a kneel-down at the end of the half. So the ball was snapped 49 times, you’re not getting an awful lot of plays out there and that hurts you a little bit. But we need to get him involved more and try to do that, and that takes a little bit off of Darren in some of those situations. It keeps both of those guys fresher. We need to be able to do that.”

The Browns have allowed 155.5 yards per game on the ground, so this could be a good week for them to try to both extend drives and find more work for Jones-Drew. Of course, the Raiders are giving up 145.3 yards each week when they’re on defense so the Browns could be having similar thoughts about how to approach the contest.

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Harvin says he won’t be changing

Harvin AP

Jets receiver Percy Harvin has had rocky times at the University of Florida, at Minnesota, and ultimately at Seattle.  So will his experiences change his behavior/approach in New York?

No, not at all,” Harvin told Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post on Friday.

This meshes with Harvin’s prior explanation that the Jets have told him to be himself.  Although that’s what sort of created the mess that allowed him to be available to be traded.

Coach Rex Ryan made it clear that Harvin’s history won’t be held against him in New York.”What’s in the past is in the past,” Ryan said.

He’s right, but those who forget the past are damned to repeat it.  So Harvin won’t change and the Jets don’t care and, eventually, we’ll be hearing about all the things that happened with Harvin, and no one will be surprised.

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Sam Shields doubtful for Sunday night

Alshon Jeffery, Sam Shields AP

The Packers are expected to be without one of their starting cornerbacks for a second consecutive game.

Sam Shields (knee) is doubtful for Sunday’s matchup against the Saints in New Orleans, according to the Packers’ website.

If Shields is again out, Davon House will get the start at right cornerback for the Packers, who have won four games in a row.

The 26-year-old Shields played and started in each of the Packers’ first six games, intercepting two passes and notching 14 tackles.

House, Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward figure to play the bulk of the snaps at cornerback for Green Bay, with Jarrett Bush the fourth corner against the Saints’ strong passing game.

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A.J. Green unlikely to play this week

A.J. Green AP

Any lingering hopes that wide receiver A.J. Green would return to the Bengals lineup this Sunday are on life support at this point.

Green missed practice again on Friday, making it a clean sweep of the three workouts this week, and the team has listed him as doubtful. While coach Marvin Lewis wouldn’t rule Green out and said that players have played without practicing in the past, he also said that the team wanted to be sure that Green could hold up once he does dress for a game.

“We’re trying to get over the hump and find the solution other than totally shutting him down for the rest of the season. [A solution] that gets him as much of the season we can get him,” Green said, via the team’s website. “I don’t want him to be frustrated by it. I want him to feel good about it. When he tells me he’s ready to go. Guys deal all the time with different circumstances. In his mind, when he’s 100 percent ready to deal with that.”

One imagines that the ability to get through an entire practice would be a prerequisite to convincing the team that he’s fit enough to play all 60 minutes in a game, although it’s certainly understandable that the Bengals are hopeful of finding a way to get Green back in the lineup after going three weeks without a victory.

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Jay Gruden: Call on RG3 playing will be made on Monday

Tennessee Titans v Washington Redskins Getty Images

Earlier this week, Redskins coach Jay Gruden pointed to Week 11 as a likely date for quarterback Robert Griffin III to make his return from a dislocated ankle when he said that the team would have “a couple weeks to make sure it’s ready” thanks to the team’s bye in Week 10.

It’s not time to rule Griffin out of Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, though. Gruden said Friday that a decision about Griffin, who took some first-team reps on Friday, playing on Monday night would not be made until Monday.

For his part, Griffin said, via Mike Jones of the Washington Post, that they weren’t going to rush the ankle but followed Gruden’s lead by adding that there wasn’t a decision about what that meant for Monday night.

The two thoughts that come to mind are that Gruden would like to keep Dallas guessing about who will be the team’s quarterback or that Griffin is showing Gruden more as the week progresses than the coach thought he was capable of doing. When Colt McCoy is the other choice, the first option is likely to be of limited value but it still seems the likelier choice given all the other signals coming from Washington’s camp.

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Gilbert focuses on Goodell’s pay

Goodell Getty Images

As former NFL player Sean Gilbert tries to give his candidacy for NFLPA executive director some traction, Gilbert has opted to fire shots not at current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, but at current Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In an email to the media, Gilbert focuses on Goodell’s pay since getting the job in August 2006, comparing his earnings to date with the earnings of various players who entered the NFL in 2007.

Gilbert estimates that Goodell has earned $210 million from 2006 through 2014.  This number assumes that Goodell’s pay for 2013 and 2014 matches his 2012 pay of $44.2 million, a number that was inflated by the payment of deferred compensation.  Eventually, accurate numbers will be reported by the NFL, via the federal paperwork required to be filed by a non-profit entity.  Chances are the numbers won’t be small.

Gilbert compares Goodell’s estimated earnings since 2006 to the lifetime earnings of Lions receiver Calvin Johnson ($94 million), Browns tackle Joe Thomas ($79 million), Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ($69 million), 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis ($50 million), and Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis ($84 million).  (It’s not clear why Gilbert didn’t focus on players drafted in 2006, since that’s the year Goodell became the Commissioner.)

Either way, it’s a huge difference.  And that’s usually how it works in any company. The guy who runs the show makes a lot more money than the folks who do the day-in and day-out work.

For Goodell, the more accurate comparison would be other folks who perform similar jobs.
Former baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was making more than $22 million per year. The most recent numbers available for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman show annual earnings of $8.3 million. Former NBA Commissioner David Stern reportedly was making $23 million.  So, yes, as Commissioners go, Goodell is doing well.

It also makes some sense to compare Goodell to CEOs in private industry. Goodell’s $44.2 million puts him in the top 15 of this AFL-CIO list of CEO pay for 2013. But Goodell isn’t a CEO in the traditional sense, since the league consists of 32 businesses that are separately owned. Goodell is the guy who holds it all together, and presides over the sport.

Ultimately, Goodell is worth whatever the owners see fit to pay him. Gilbert’s broader point seems to be that the owners pay Goodell a lot of money — possibly because Goodell has made them a lot of money through a labor deal that, as Gilbert consistently contends, has shifted $2.5 billion from the players to the owners since 2011.

Setting aside the question of whether that’s accurate (and the NFLPA would say that it’s not), the question becomes whether Gilbert or anyone else can finagle a better deal than the one the players currently have.  And whether the players are willing to miss games via a work stoppage, if Gilbert is able to pull the plug on the current labor deal and provoke a lockout.

Comparing Goodell’s pay to that of players drafted in 2007 could persuade more players to have a negative view of Goodell, but that probably won’t persuade enough of them to overthrow DeMaurice Smith, who currently is making a lot less than $44 million.

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Owen Daniels undergoes knee surgery, out Sunday

Owen Daniels AP

The Ravens will be without starting tight end Owen Daniels for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati.

Daniels underwent knee surgery and won’t play in Week Eight, coach John Harbaugh told reporters Friday, according to the club’s website.

Daniels’ absence could be just one game, Harbaugh indicated, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.

The Ravens do not have their bye until Nov. 16. After playing at Cincinnati, the Ravens (5-2) play at Pittsburgh (Nov. 2) and host the Titans (Nov. 9) before their week of rest.

Rookie tight end Crockett Gillmore will have a bigger role in Daniels’ absence, with veteran Ryan Taylor potentially also getting more reps.

The 31-year-old Daniels hasn’t missed a game all season. He’s second on the Ravens in catches (27) and third in yards (275) and TD receptions (three).

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Darren Sproles, Jason Kelce questionable for Sunday

St. Louis Rams v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Eagles center Jason Kelce has been targeting Week 10 for his return from sports hernia surgery, but things appear to be progressing more quickly.

Kelce returned to practice this week and has been listed as questionable for the team’s trip to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Several Eagles beat writers have opined that it is unlikely that Kelce plays this weekend, but the fact that he hasn’t been ruled out yet is encouraging for a return in Week Nine if he doesn’t go this week. With guard Evan Mathis also back at practice, it also looks like the Eagles should have their starting offensive line on the field together for the first time this year once Mathis is eligible to play against the Panthers in Week 10.

Running back Darren Sproles and linebacker Mychal Kendricks have also been listed as questionable. Sproles hurt his knee in Week Six and there was some feeling that he’d miss at least one game, but Sproles has said all week that he’s feeling good so there would seem to be a good chance he’s in the lineup.

Kendricks has missed four games with a calf injury and there was hope heading into last week’s bye that he’d make it back for the Cardinals game. That optimism dimmed a bit this week, which will likely leave Kendricks as a game-time decision for Philly.

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Panthers missing both starting guards, and yet another RB

Cam Newton AP

It seems like it wouldn’t be a week in Carolina without another running back injury, but now that the backups to the backups are getting hurt, it’s getting ridiculous.

According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, replacement back Chris Ogbannaya left practice Friday with a groin injury and was listed as questionable. DeAngelo Williams is still out with a high ankle sprain, so if Ogbannaya can’t go, they’ll promote Tauren Poole from the practice squad.

Couple that with the fact that both starting guards (Amini Silatolu and Trai Turner) are out, and it will be another week of patchwork offense for the Panthers.

And the amazing part might be that’s the side of the ball they’re least worried about against the Seahawks.

Of course, the Panthers will also have an easy time turning in an inactive list this week.

Cornerback Bene Benwikere, linebacker Chase Blackburn, wide receiver Philly Brown, Silatolu, Turner, and running backs Fozzy Whittaker and Williams have already been ruled out, giving them their seven.

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Owen Daniels not practicing Friday

Owen Daniels AP

The Ravens’ top tight end appears to have sat out his third straight practice.

Owen Daniels, who missed the Wednesday and Thursday workouts with a knee ailment, was again not participating on Friday, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.

The 31-year-old Daniels has become Baltimore’s primary target at tight end after Dennis Pitta’s season-ending hip injury. In seven games, Daniels has hauled in 27 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns.

Ryan Taylor and Crockett Gilmore are the Ravens’ backup tight ends. Baltimore also has tight ends Phillip Supernaw and Emmanuel Ogbuehi on the practice squad. Were the Ravens to promote Supernaw or Ogbuehi, it would likely suggest Daniels’ availability for Sunday’s game at Cincinnati would be in doubt.

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Reggie Wayne out Sunday at Pittsburgh

Reggie Wayne AP

Colts receiver Reggie Wayne will miss his first game of the season on Sunday.

Wayne, who has an elbow injury, has been declared out for Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.

After his 2013 season was cut short by a torn ACL, Wayne has bounced back nicely this year and is second on the team with 38 catches and 434 yards. He will be missed against the Steelers.

The Colts may also be without running back Trent Richardson, who is listed as questionable.

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Shane Vereen not present at Friday practice

New York Jets v New England Patriots Getty Images

The Patriots’ top tailback looks to be a late-week addition to the club’s injury report.

Shane Vereen was not on the practice field for New England on Friday, multiple club beat writers reported, included Doug Kyed of NESN.com.

It’s unclear whether Vereen’s absence was because of injury or for another reason. All players who miss part or all of practice have to be declared on the injury report, per NFL rules.

Brandon Bolden, Jonas Gray and James White are the Patriots’ other backs on the roster. The club lost Stevan Ridley to season-ending ACL and MCL tears in Week Six.

The Patriots’ final injury report will be released later Friday, with players to be classified as “out,” “doubtful,” “questionable” or “probable.”

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Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett could miss extended time

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers Getty Images

Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett came back sooner than some expected from his shoulder injury.

And it may have been too soon.

According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, there’s a fear that Verrett may have aggravated the initial injury, and there’s a fear he “could miss significant time.”

That would be terrible news for a Chargers team that has lost two in a row after a solid start to the season.

The first-round pick was a surprise activation last night, but may have played in part because of fellow starter Brandon Flowers being out with a concussion.

But if he rushed back and made a short-term injury a long one just for the sake of suiting up against Peyton manning and the Broncos, then the Chargers may have lost both the battle and the war.

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A.J. Green sitting out practice Friday

A.J. Green, Darqueze Dennard AP

Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green’s status for Sunday’s game vs. Baltimore appears in serious doubt.

According to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Green (toe) wasn’t practicing on Friday. If Green doesn’t participate in Friday’s workout, it will mark the third consecutive practice he’s missed, and a week of no on-field work usually equates to a player being inactive on gameday.

Green has missed eight straight practices and two games in a row for Cincinnati, for whom he’s starred since entering the NFL in 2011. One of the game’s top receivers, Green is a premier vertical threat, as he showed in the season-opening win at Baltimore when he broke free for the game-winning 77-yard fourth-quarter TD.

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Larry Fitzgerald: Lack of touches is a “champagne problem”

Arizona Cardinals v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

Larry Fitzgerald has piled up a lot of stats for a lot of mediocre teams.

So now that he’s not getting as many stats for a good one, he’s not going to complain, at least out loud.

While it’s clear that the Cardinals wide receiver isn’t getting the ball as much as he might prefer, it’s also clear he’s not going to rock the boat for the 5-1 Cardinals.

“I always keep it in perspective how fortunate and blessed not only me but everyone in this locker room is,” Fitzgerald said, via Darren Urban of the team’s official website. “Not getting enough targets? Where I grew up we called those ‘champagne problems.’
“This is my job and I love it, but I also put it in its proper place.”

Fitzgerald has just 23 catches for 283 yards this season, a fairly pedestrian pace for someone who has topped 90 catches five times and 1,400 yards four times in his career.

But the Cardinals are playing to minimize mistakes more than pad your fantasy stats, and it’s not as if he’s ignored. Only running back Andre Ellington has more receptions, with 25.

“We all care about our touches and looks, don’t get me wrong,” Fitzgerald said. “We just don’t put our touches and looks in front of what we are trying to accomplish as a team. There is a distinct difference. You are playing ball your whole life, you are in the NFL, you’ve been ‘The Man’ your whole life, so you have to put that aside and focus on what is best for your team. I think everyone has a good grasp of that.”

The fact that he’s playing nice about it certainly won’t hurt when it’s time to address his contract this offseason, either.

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