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Tyrann Mathieu suffers torn ACL and LCL

Tyrann Mathieu AP

You didn’t need to see Cardinals rookie Tyrann Mathieu go down to know it was bad.

Tests have confirmed it’s perhaps worse than it looked.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Mathieu tore both the ACL and the LCL in yesterday’s ugly collision.

Tearing multiple ligaments complicates any recovery, so it might not be as simple as assuming he’ll be well when the Cardinals start back next summer.

Mathieu was blossoming into a playmaker for the Cardinals, justifying the third-round draft pick, as be could play safety and cover slot receivers.

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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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PFT Live: Saints talk with Jeff Duncan, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Drew Brees AP

The Saints will host the Packers on Sunday Night Football in a game that the 2-4 Saints could really use if they are going to return to the playoffs this season.

Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune will join Mike Florio on Friday’s edition of PFT Live to preview the contest. They’ll discuss what the Saints defense needs to do to have a chance at knocking quarterback Aaron Rodgers out of the relaxed groove he’s been in this month and whether the team’s offense remains potent enough to overcome a shaky defense if they can’t get it together on that side of the ball.

There are plenty of other games to talk about and we’re curious to hear what’s on the minds of PFT Planet heading into the weekend. You can send in questions for Florio on Twitter — @ProFootballTalk — or give a call to 888-237-5269 during the show to share what you’re thinking about this Friday.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can watch it all live by clicking right here.

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Ryan Mallett: I’ll be ready to start if I’m called on

mallett AP

Texans backup quarterback Ryan Mallett isn’t exactly campaigning to unseat starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. But he says he’ll be ready if that’s what happens.

After coach Bill O’Brien said this week that Mallett is putting in work in practice and getting better, Mallett said he’ll be ready to go if O’Brien hands him the ball.

“If it happens, it happens,” Mallett said, via the Houston Chronicle. “I’ll be ready. I’ll be prepared. I prepare like I’m the starter. I have since I’ve been in the NFL. I’ve just got to continue to do that and be ready when my number’s called.”

Mallett has never started an NFL game and has barely played, getting just a bit of mop-up duty during his three seasons as Tom Brady’s backup in New England. But O’Brien, who coached in New England during Mallett’s rookie year, has praised his work in the film room, and seems to agree with Mallett’s self-assessment that he’ll be ready. There’s a very good chance that at some point soon, O’Brien will call on Mallett and we’ll all see just how ready he is.

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Reggie Bush doubtful, Calvin Johnson questionable

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Running back Reggie Bush missed practice for the second straight day on Friday, but said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, that he will play against the Falcons at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

The team isn’t quite as confident. Bush has been listed as doubtful on the team’s final injury report of the week because of his ankle injury, leaving him unlikely to play when the two teams kick off Sunday’s action with a game for the American audience to watch while they eat their breakfast.

There’s more hope for wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who has missed the last two games with a high ankle sprain. He was a limited participant in practice all week and his ability to go each day is a good sign for how the ankle might hold up in a return to action this weekend. Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle is also questionable after suffering a concussion last week, but his chances of playing look better after he got in a full practice on Friday.

Tight ends Joseph Fauria and Eric Ebron were both ruled out and Brandon Pettigrew is doubtful, which should mean a lot of work for Kellen Davis and Jordan Thompson when the team needs a tight end this weekend.

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Free tickets to 49ers games create problems for San Jose police

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A troubling picture has been painted in recent weeks regarding the relationship between the 49ers and San Jose police.  In addition to the team routinely hiring San Jose police officers to provide security services (a practice that has been suspended due to the handling of the Ray McDonald case), the 49ers also have given free tickets to multiple San Jose police officers, in violation of the applicable rules.

According to ABC7, the team gave free tickets to two members of the department for at least two 49ers games.  The San Jose gift ordinance prohibits police officers from receiving items worth more than $50.

“Tickets to an athletic event like a Sharks game, an A’s game, a Giants game, a 49ers game,” San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle told ABC7, “if the face value of those tickets are more than $50 dollars, which is probably the case most of the time.”

In this case, the team told ABC7 that the tickets had a face value of $187.

Accepting the tickets also violates the police department’s internal guidelines, according to Judge Ladoris Cordell, who serves as San Jose’s independent police auditor.

“Things like that, those are deemed to be gifts,” Judge Cordell told ABC7.  “So a discount, a gratuity, a favor, if they’re not offered to everybody, you can’t take them.  We don’t want officers, our police officers in San Jose, to be getting special favors from certain people because it might compromise them at some point.  And it doesn’t look good.”

The two officers in question — Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia and Deputy Chief Jeff Marozick — have since reimbursed the 49ers for the tickets.  But that doesn’t satisfy Judge Cordell’s concerns.

“The fact is the duty manual, the rule itself says you may not accept these,” Judge Cordell told ABC7. “It doesn’t say, you get around it by accepting it, and later paying money back.”

She’s right; the money was reimbursed only because the issue was discovered.  If no one ever raised a question or a concern about it, nothing would have happened.

Moving forward, the question is whether San Jose and other Bay Area municipalities will establish the kind of arm’s-length relationship with the 49ers that will insulate any investigations of players or team employees from scrutiny or suspicion.  The bigger question for the NFL is whether steps will be taken to ensure that neither the 49ers nor any other teams are attempting to short-circuit the personal conduct policy by maintaining relationships that can undermine the willingness of police officers to aggressively pursue potential violations of the law.

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