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Report: Rodgers concerned about perceived toughness

Rodgers AP

On Friday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy repeatedly said called Sunday’s unavailability of quarterback Aaron Rodgers an “organizational decision.”

McCarthy could have used a couple of more forceful terms:  “Extraordinary risk.”

According to Chris Mortensen and Rob Demovsky of ESPN, a recent scan of Rodgers’ fractured collarbone showed “extraordinary risk” to the quarterback, if he were to play.  (It’s still unclear what the worst-case scenario would be, if Rodgers were to suffer another injury to the collarbone.)

So why did McCarthy say “organizational decision” nine times?   Per the report, Rodgers specifically wanted it to be explained that way, so that his perceived toughness wouldn’t suffer in comparison to legendary iron man Brett Favre.

It’s not clear how “organizational decision” versus “extraordinary risk” makes Rodgers seem less tough, unless he fears that the inability of his collarbone to heal six weeks and six days after it first broke somehow is a sign of congenital weakness.

It is clear that the report meshes with Rodgers’ reputation for being sensitive — so sensitive that he’s sensitive about being called sensitive.  And he’s likely sufficiently sensitive to be sensitive about a report regarding his sensitivity regarding why he’s not playing nearly seven weeks after suffering the injury.

Which means that Rodgers may now want to try to find out who privately called him out for being sensitive about being perceived as not tough.

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Eagles don’t expect to release Nigel Bradham after arrest

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 30:   Nigel Bradham #53 of the Buffalo Bills,  Brandon Spikes #51 of the Buffalo Bills, and  Preston Brown #52 of the Buffalo Bills celebrate a fumble recovery for a touchdown by  Jerry Hughes #55 of the Buffalo Bills (not pictured) during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 30, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested in Miami on Miami for allegedly punching a hotel employee in the face during a dispute over the speed of the service the employee was providing to Bradham’s group and coach Doug Pederson faced questions about potential impact on his spot with the team on Wednesday.

Pederson said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that he doesn’t foresee the Eagles releasing Bradham as a result of the arrest. Bradham is expected to be part of the team’s starting defense as he reunites with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Bradham when both men were in Buffalo in 2014.

Pederson also said that he had a “great conversation” with Bradham, but said that he otherwise wouldn’t discuss what remains an ongoing legal process.

McLane reports that sources told him Bradham hit the worker, who was a beach attendant at a hotel, three times after the worker swung at Bradham and hit Bradham’s girlfriend when the swing went awry.

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Jets bringing in running back Bernard Pierce

Bernard Pierce AP

As they prepare to open camp, the Jets are finally adding the veteran piece to their offense.

No, not that one.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Jets are signing former Ravens and Jaguars running back Bernard Pierce.

Pierce has been suspended the first two games of the regular season, after cutting a plea deal to avoid a DUI conviction. But he’s eligible to participate in training camp and the preseason.

The Jets brought in Matt Forte this offseason to go along with Bilal Powell and Khiry Robinson, so it’s not as if they’re looking for a front-line player, but can now kick the tires on a player with experience.

Pierce only got six carries last year with the Jaguars, but was a solid contributor for the Ravens prior to that.

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Aaron Rodgers reluctantly addresses his brother’s comments

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers gestures during the first half of the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared recently on HBO’s Bill Simmons venture, Rodgers faced no questions about comments made by his brother, Jordan, on ABC’s  The Bachelorette. More recently, Aaron Rodgers addressed such questions in an interview with a local ABC affiliate.

“As far as those kinds of things go, I’ve always found that it’s a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I’m just — I’m not going to speak on those things, but I wish him well in the competition,” Rodgers said of his younger brother, via WISN-TV.

Jordan Rodgers feels differently about airing out family laundry.

“I have a great relationship with my brother Luke,” Jordan Rodgers said on the show. “Me and Aaron don’t really have that much of a relationship. It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life. I choose to stay close with my family and my parents and my brother. It’s not ideal. I love him and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes and the pressure he has, the demands from people that he has. Don’t have hard feelings against him, it’s just how things go right now.”

None of it matters to Aaron Rodgers’ ability to play quarterback, but the profile of Aaron as an NFL quarterback and Jordan as a failed-NFL-quarterback-turned-reality-star makes these matters relevant. At least a little bit. To someone. Possibly.

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Report: Antonio Brown confident contract will be addressed before season

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 09:  Wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers attends Game Five of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the San Jose Sharks at Consol Energy Center on June 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a base salary of $6.25 million for the 2016 season, which puts him below receivers like Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd and others who have been less productive over recent years.

Brown’s desire for a bump in pay led to a brief absence from Steelers offseason work in 2015, but there was no replay this year as Brown worked with the team following his time on “Dancing With the Stars.” That fits with the Steelers’ expectation that he’ll honor his contract without issue, but doesn’t mean Brown has given up hope of a sweetened deal.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Brown is “hopeful and confident” that the team will address his contract before the start of the regular season. That could come by way of an extension, although Brown’s deal won’t be up until after the 2017 season, or it could come by some other arrangement that boosts Brown’s pay in 2016. That’s something the Steelers did last year by taking $2 million of his 2016 salary and moving it forward, so they could take a similar approach while leaving full extension talks for the future.

With his deal running another season, that may be the likeliest outcome but the good news for the Steelers is that Brown will be on the field while things work themselves out on the contract front.

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Michael Floyd: “Ball’s in my court” to get Cardinals extension

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 26:  Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after scoring a three-yard touchdown against linebacker Zach Orr #54 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 26, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Nils Nilsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about the possibility of a contract extension for Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, but he isn’t the only member of the club entering the final year of his rookie deal.

Wide receiver Michael Floyd is in the same boat as he prepares for the fifth year of the contract he signed with the Cardinals as a first-round pick in 2012. Floyd is coming off a year that saw him make 52 catches for 849 yards and six touchdowns, but closed the year with five 100-yard outings in his final eight games after a preseason hand injury healed.

Floyd put up similar numbers in 2014 and the Cardinals exercised their option on his contract for this season, but Floyd knows that doesn’t mean they’ll definitely be looking to extend the relationship.

“You still got to go out there and perform,” Floyd said, via ESPN.com. “That’s what I expect myself to do — just going out there and doing the best that I can to put myself in a position to stay here in Arizona, which I want to. I love this place and the organization treats me well. Basically the ball’s in my court. How I perform is all up to me.”

Larry Fitzgerald is also in the final year of his pact and, assuming Fitzgerald keeps playing, that will leave the Cardinals with some decisions to make about the future of a receiving corps that also includes John Brown, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson. A big year from Floyd might not make those decisions any easier, but it will leave Floyd in a good position for a nice payday somewhere.

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Report: NFL set to announce Philadelphia as 2017 draft host

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Carson Wentz of the North Dakota State Bison holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Philadelphia will reportedly host the 2017 NFL draft.

The NFL has already chosen Philadelphia and is set to make the announcement soon, NJ.com reports. The only issue remaining is when and where the announcement will be made, according to the report. The league wouldn’t want to make the announcement this week because all of the attention in Philadelphia is on the Democratic National Convention.

Three weeks ago a Philadelphia congressman said the city had been chosen, but city officials said no final decision had been made.

After having the draft in New York City for decades, the league has decided to move it around from city to city. Chicago hosted the last two drafts, and several other NFL cities have expressed interest.

Philly fans have always been vocal about expressing their opinions of the Eagles’ first-round picks, but that won’t be the case next year: The Eagles sent their first-round pick to Cleveland in the trade that allowed Philadelphia to move up in this year’s draft to select Carson Wentz.

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Kawann Short says he’s happy to be in Panthers camp, as he waits for money

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 13:   Kawann Short #99 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates after a sack against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short didn’t get a new contract this offseason, but he’s not unhappy with the old one.

When Short reported to training camp today (#asexpected), he told reporters he thought negotiations with the team were in a good place.

I’m in the right place right now, here at Spartanburg for training camp,” he said, via Max Henson of the team’s official website.

Of course, Short wasn’t going to stay away from camp, not when those $40,000 a day fines would quickly carve into the $1.036 million he’s due to make this year. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to what he’s hoping for on the next deal, as contracts for Fletcher Cox and Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason have raised the bar for what he’ll eventually sign, and he knows that.

Big guys, we need love too,” Short said Wednesday morning, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

Now, whether that $17 million-a-year love comes from the Panthers in the form of a franchise tag or a long-term deal or from someone else remains to be seen. But after logging his benign protest by taking a few days off during voluntary OTAs, Short is in place and back to work.

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Odell Beckham tells football campers Giants are going to the Super Bowl

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants reacts after a scuffle in the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants have missed the playoffs for four straight years, but their quarterback Eli Manning believes that they have the team in place to end that streak.

His top target is setting the bar even higher. Wide receiver Odell Beckham closed out his football camp in New Jersey on Tuesday by telling the campers to “chase your dreams” before telling them that he expects to be chasing his in Houston come February.

“Most importantly, go Giants this year! Super Bowl 51 in Houston. We will be there,” Beckham said, via the New York Post.

Such talk is to be expected from confident athletes, but Beckham is trying to do some due diligence on getting to the top of the mountain as well. A recent post on Instagram shows Beckham and LeBron James posing post-workout with Beckham writing that he “wanted to see what it takes” to be next.

Beckham said he got the answers he’s looking for from James. We don’t know what those answers were, but a significantly better performance from the Giants defense was likely among them if James was breaking things down from an on-field perspective.

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Jets, Fitzpatrick still not close

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets looks to throw a pass to Brandon Marshall (not shown) which resulted in a touchdown during the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on October 18, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Jets swooped in at the eleventh hour and signed franchise-tagged defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term deal just before the deadline for doing so, many interpreted the move as a sign that, eventually, the Jets would do the same thing with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The only problem? There’s no clear, obvious, pinch-or-get-off-the-pot deadline when it comes to Fitzpatrick.

And so the two sides remain hunkered down, not disengaging completely but not attempting in earnest to bridge the gap between their differences. Via Ed Werder of ESPN.com, the two sides haven’t talked recently, they remain far apart, and no resolution is expected soon.

Clearly, the Jets remain interested in signing Fitzpatrick. They recently leaked to the media the notion that several different options have been presented to Fitzpatrick, in an obvious effort to make the Jets look reasonable and Fitzpatrick to look unreasonable. Still, it’s extremely unreasonable for the Jets to continue to let the situation linger; either they want him or they don’t. If they want him, they need to sign him. If they don’t want him, they need to cut the cord.

Having Fitzpatrick’s situation unresolved as camp opens is good for no one. It will be a distraction for the team, an annoyance for those who are repeatedly asked about it, and a constant source of uncertainty for Geno Smith, who will be the starter unless and until Fitzpatrick returns.

Could Fitzpatrick return and not be the starter? In theory, yes. But if they pay him the kind of money they’ve offered him, it would be ludicrous to not play him.

It’s even more ludicrous to allow this situation to hover over the franchise. Unless the Jets think a thickly-bearded cloud will help it in some way when the regular season begin (if they do, I’d love to know why), they should get the deal done or tell Fitzpatrick that they’re moving on without him. Whatever money they’re trying to save by waiting him out simply isn’t worth it.

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Andrew Luck finds pressure on him a “privilege”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 08:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts throws the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

After an injury-ravaged 2015, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is excited to be back on the field for training camp.

Luck said camp is like a second Christmas because it is “ball all day” without much concern for anything other than putting together this year’s team. Luck will again be the central member of that squad and he’ll come into this year with a freshly minted six-year, $140 million contract that better reflects the realities of the world of the NFL than the allusions to playing a kid’s game that Luck made about the start of camp.

Among those realities is that a player being paid like Luck will be expected to put up big individual numbers while leading his team to playoff success. Luck says that is pressure he’s happy to have on his shoulders.

“I’ve always thought this about pressure and expectation — I’ve always had very high expectations for myself,” Luck said, via the team’s website. “Probably higher than what other people expect. As far as pressure, I think pressure is a privilege and pressure from a coach, from your teammates, from your close friends and family is what’s important to me. You can’t control what folks are going say good or bad, so I’ve never got too caught up in that.”

Luck may not have much control over what everyone might say about him, but the majority of opinions will be formed by his play. Anything like last year’s mix of injuries and poor performance will raise doubts about the Colts’ direction while something more like 2014 will reaffirm Luck’s place among the top quarterbacks in the league.

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Eagles cut oft-injured linebacker Travis Long

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 08: James Brown #78 of the Chicago Bears knocks down Travis Long #57 of the Philadelphia Eagles during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 8, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Eagles 34-28. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are players who have come back from multiple torn ACLs to play, and even play at a high level.

But if Travis Long is doing it, it won’t be in Philadelphia.

The Eagles announced they had released the fourth-year linebacker this morning, leaving an open roster spot.

Long had torn his right ACL in college and his left one twice in the NFL, making his chances slim anyway. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has pulled it off, but for most players, that’s too much to overcome.

The Eagles may have just needed another linebacker at camp, since Nigel Bradham was just arrested for allegedly breaking a bottle over a cabana boy’s head, though Bradham is expected to report to camp today.

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Jaguars tackle Luke Joeckel has chip on shoulder after trying offseason

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 28:  Luke Joeckel #76 of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action during the preseason NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons at EverBank Field on August 28, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not only did the Jaguars not pick up the option on left tackle Luke Joeckel’s contract this offseason, they also went out and signed a potential replacement and tried the former No. 2 overall pick at a new position.

So yeah, he’s walking into camp this week with a little something to prove.

“I feel the healthiest, strongest and fastest I’ve ever felt,” Joeckel said, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. “I have a lot of confidence going into this training camp.

“And then there’s a little bit of a chip on my shoulder, and that makes a difference, too.”

Of course, the fiscal and personnel moves the Jaguars made were partly because of his own play, as Joeckel struggled at times last year. So any lack of confidence in their left tackle would be justified, even if the numbers weren’t so high.

But by not picking up his 2017 option (for $11.9 million) and by signing former Steelers left tackle Kelvin Beachum in free agency, Joeckel was immediately put on notice. The snaps they gave him at left guard should have then made it clear nothing was going to be handed to him.

“You always try to play with some kind of chip,” Joeckel said. “But this one is different. Going from high school and right into college as a true freshman, there was definitely competition, but I’ve started every game I’ve played in football. I want to keep that going.”

He said he’s not thinking about moving to guard, that he wants to compete for the job he’s held. And with Beachum recovered from last year’s ACL tear, he’s expected to be there to compete from the start of camp as well.

That will give Joeckel a chance to re-establish himself, as well as his market as he enters a contract year.

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Adam Gase interested in how Arian Foster can “grow the running back position”

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes against the Indianapolis Colts in the second quarter on October 8, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins have added veteran Arian Foster to their offensive backfield in a move that sets up a competition for playing time at running back with Jay Ajayi.

Foster is coming off a torn Achilles and will need to pass a conditioning test to be on the field when training camp kicks off on Friday, something coach Adam Gase didn’t seem overly concerned about on Tuesday. Gase said they spent a lot of time with Foster before signing him and has faith in the training and conditioning staffs to have Foster in good form.

Assuming he is, the team will begin figuring out how to deploy him and Ajayi. Ajayi was the subject of much optimistic chatter from Gase this offseason and the coach says now that playing time will sort itself out, although he seems intrigued about what Foster can bring to the offense as both a runner and receiver.

“He’s the type of guy that he can run his route tree similar to what a wide receiver’s is,” Gase said, via the Miami Herald. “He runs about as smooth as any running back that I’ve ever seen. I’ll be interested to see how far we can grow the running back position with him.”

Foster’s readiness to play is the first big question that has to be answered in Miami. If the answer is that he’s good to go, it appears he’ll be given every chance to grab the No. 1 spot.

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Wednesday morning one-liners

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 03:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills acknowledges the crowd after the Bills beat the New York Jets 22-17 at Ralph Wilson Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

Can the Bills count on Tyrod Taylor to play like a franchise QB?

Can the Dolphins count on LB Kiko Alonso to stay healthy?

Don’t expect Bill Belichick to change the game plans much during Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

There’s more talk in New York that the Jets may be Geno Smith’s team, not Ryan Fitzpatrick’s.

Bengals RB Gio Bernard did a good deed.

The Steelers’ defense is trying to catch up to the offense.

Ravens OT Stephane Nembot grew up trapping antelope and giraffes in Cameroon.

Former Browns WR Reggie Rucker, who admits he stole from nonprofit organizations, says he’ll use money from a concussion lawsuit settlement to pay back his theft.

The Texans gave undrafted rookie Ra’Zahn Howard a $5,000 signing bonus.

Colts QB Andrew Luck says he’s ready to go.

Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel has a chip on his shoulder.

The promise of a better run game should be good news for the Titans’ offense.

The Broncos want the rookies in their secondary to know that they can’t get away with playing like typical rookies.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is showing his admiration for the late Dennis Green.

Here’s a look at the tight end position heading into Raiders camp.

Says Chargers RB Danny Woodhead, “I’m as healthy as I’ve been in a long time.”

The Cowboys are expecting LB Rolando McClain at camp, despite his looming 10-game suspension.

Giants WR Odell Beckham worked out with LeBron James.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson is getting credit for hiring Jim Schwartz as his defensive coordinator.

An anonymous donor is paying for the funeral of the famous Washington fan who went by the name Chief Zee.

Devin Hester will be remembered as a Bear, even though he spent the last two years in Atlanta.

Anquan Boldin and TJ Jones may compete to be the Lions’ No. 3 receiver.

Packers RB Eddie Lacy still has work to do.

The NFL may say it opposes gambling, but it’s not stopping the the Minnesota Lottery from starting a new Vikings scratch game.

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman will get the first shot to be the team’s kick returner.

Panthers training camp will be in the mid-90s and humid.

The Saints already had a young receiving corps, and it got younger when the oldest receiver on the team, Vincent Brown, was placed on injured reserve.

Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy says QB Jameis Winston is growing as a leader.

The Rams’ rookies are going back to school.

The 49ers may not be convinced that OT Anthony Davis is fully committed to football.

Cardinals DB Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t expect to be on the PUP list for long.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider are continuing their strong working relationship.

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NFL, NFLPA establish a Field Surface and Performance Committee

501238444 Getty Images

Buried at the bottom of Monday’s joint league-union press release announcing a new procedure for enforcing the concussion protocol was a list of other agreements reached by the NFL and NFL Players Association.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com noticed one that otherwise has gone unnoticed. Here’s the key language from the release: “This offseason the NFL and NFLPA established the Field Surface & Performance Committee, a joint committee to provide advice and guidance regarding the safety, performance and testing of non-NFL game day and practice surfaces. The new committee will perform research and advise the parties on injury prevention, improved testing methods, and the adoption of tools and techniques to evaluate and improve field surface performance and playability.”

King notes that, as part of the agreement, the NFLPA’s designated field consultant “will be granted equal access to all NFL playing fields and field test results,” which expressly includes “non-traditional venues (e.g., London, Mexico City, Hall of Fame Game).”

The union has been concerned for several years about the quality of the playing surfaces, but the union hasn’t had an equal seat at the table. It now does.

The agreement extends beyond the actual playing surface, which as Reggie Bush learned the hard way in St. Louis last year can create separate problems. By the eighth game of the 2016 season (and ideally sooner), all stadiums hosting NFL games must have “standard safety wall padding and a surface surrounding the field that is safe for players.”

It’s unclear why Monday’s press release didn’t make a bigger deal of this agreement, which arguably is as significant as the development of a joint procedure for enforcing the concussion protocol. At a time when a perception exists that the league and the union can’t get along, any evidence that they are putting their differences aside and working together for the best interest of players should be trumpeted loudly, so that the media, fans, and especially the players know what’s happening.

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