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PFT’s Week 17 picks

Charles Tillman, Eddie Lacy AP

After a pathetic, season-worst 6-10 showing by yours truly and a four-game sweep by MDS, I was tempted to try to guess which team he’d pick for each of the 16 games to end the regular season, and then hope for the best.

But the spirit of this game is to try to get as many games right as possible, even if my outcome from last week would suggest that the better approach for me would be to select a winner — and then to do the opposite.

This week, we disagree on three games, which means MDS will win the regular-season competition by at least nine games.

For the year, MDS has generated a record of 157-83.  I’m 145-95.

The only good news is that it all resets to 0-0 for the postseason picks competition.

Panthers at Falcons

MDS’s take: Give the Falcons credit for playing competitive football against good teams, as they did on Monday night against the 49ers. This Atlanta team hasn’t quit. But the Panthers’ defense should shut down the Falcons’ offense as the Panthers clinch the NFC South.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Falcons 10.

Florio’s take:  The Panthers need a win to nail down the No. 2 seed.  An immature, undisciplined team would stumble in this spot.  If nothing else, the 2013 Panthers have proven that they are both mature and disciplined.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Falcons 20.

Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: As of the time I’m making this pick I don’t know if Aaron Rodgers is playing, so this is a tough one. But I’ll go with the Bears to clinch the NFC North in a high-scoring affair.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Packers 27.

Florio’s take:  If Aaron Rodgers can play, the Packers have a chance to peak in January.  If they can get to January.  If Rodgers plays on Sunday, the Packers will get to January.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Bears 30.

Ravens at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Ravens suffered a huge letdown last week against the Patriots, and I see the defending champions’ season ending on Sunday in Cincinnati.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals need a win and some help in order to secure the No. 2 seed.  The Ravens need a win and some help to extend their streak of playoff appearances to six.  While the Bengals are unbeaten at home, the Ravens have the greater incentive and enough talent to capitalize.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 20, Bengals 17.

Jaguars at Colts

MDS’s take: The Jaguars aren’t going down without a fight, but the Colts showed last week against the Chiefs that they’re real contenders. Indianapolis will win this one and head into the playoffs with a full head of steam for a likely rematch with Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Colts 34, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  Indy is building some momentum in the hopes of advancing beyond the wild-card round.  The Jaguars have shown enough progress to create plausible hope for 2014 — if they can find a decent quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 30, Jaguars 20.

Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Last week the Dolphins laid an egg, while the Jets kept fighting despite having no shot at the playoffs. This week, however, I think the Dolphins’ pass rush will get to Geno Smith and Miami will win a low-scoring game and the right to play in the first round of the playoffs, probably at Cincinnati.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  After his first season as Jets coach, Rex Ryan gave the finger to a Miami MMA crowd.  On Sunday, in perhaps his final act as Jets coach, he can give a figurative finger to Fins fans by knocking the home team out of the playoffs.  Rex will pull out all the stops, and the Dolphins will follow two wins in games they should have lost with two losses in games they should have won.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 23, Dolphins 20.

Lions at Vikings

MDS’s take: After appearing to be in control of the NFC North for much of the season, the Lions have gone into free fall. The fall will continue in Minnesota.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The final game at the Metrodome coincides with what likely will be the final game of Jim Schwartz’s tenure and Lions coach.  Adrian Peterson won’t let his team exit its 31-year home with anything other than a victory to cap a lost season.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 31, Lions 23.

Bills at Patriots

MDS’s take: Buffalo isn’t going anywhere, but the Bills’ defense is a lot better than most people realize, as the Dolphins found out the hard way last week. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Bills pull off the upset, but I expect the Patriots’ defense to shut down the Bills’ offense to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 14, Bills 10.

Florio’s take:  The Pats still have a shot at securing the No. 1 seed — and also at having to play in the wild-card round.  Either way, a home loss wouldn’t be the best way to embark on a playoff run in a wide-open AFC.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 38, Bills 20.

Buccaneers at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints are a bad road team but a good home team. That’s a bad thing to be if you’re going to the playoffs as a wild card, but in New Orleans on Sunday, the Saints will clinch a playoff berth.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Saints could end the day as the No. 2 seed.  The Saints also could end the day out of the playoffs.  If Carolina wins earlier, forcing the Saints to leave the Superdome in the wild-card round, they may be tempted to not delay the inevitable.  Coach Sean Payton won’t let that happen.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Buccaneers 13.

Redskins at Giants

MDS’s take: Both of these teams stink, but Washington is a much lower level of stink. This game will be ugly, and the Giants will win.

MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Redskins 16.

Florio’s take:  The Giants hoped to finish their season with a win at MetLife Stadium in February.  They’ll have to settle for finishing their season with a win at MetLife Stadium in late December.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 28, Redskins 17.

Browns at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers dug a deep hole for themselves with their lousy start to the season, but they’re playing good football now. They probably won’t get all the help they need to make the playoffs, but the Steelers will take care of business against the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 34, Browns 13.

Florio’s take:  If the Steelers get to the playoffs, they’ll be tough to beat.  But not as tough as they’ll be to beat in the game that can help get them to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 34, Browns 17.

Texans at Titans

MDS’s take: The Texans will clinch the first overall pick in the draft by losing to the Titans. And draft order is the only reason to pay any attention to this game.

MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Texans 13.

Florio’s take:  New Houston meets old Houston at a time when both Houstons have a problem too big for one meaningless game to fix.  If Mike Munchak is leaving after more than 30 years with the Oilers/Titans franchise, he’s going out with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 24, Texans 17.

49ers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals have had an impressive season, and there’s a good team being assembled in Arizona. I think the Cardinals will make a big statement by defeating the playoff-bound 49ers, although Arizona won’t get the help it needs to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  Arizona finishes laying the foundation for a run at the top of the division in 2014.  The 49ers will be happy to get out of Arizona healthy enough to function the following weekend.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 20, 49ers 17.

Broncos at Raiders

MDS’s take: With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, Denver will cruise to an easy win in Oakland.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 38, Raiders 14.

Florio’s take:  With 265 yards passing on Sunday, Peyton Manning emerges from the 2013 season with the record for passing touchdowns and passing yards.  With more points than the Raiders on Sunday, the Broncos emerge from the 2013 season with the No. 1 seed, again.  What they do with it remains to be seen.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Raiders 20.

Chiefs at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC and are therefore the only playoff team with nothing to play for. As a result, I think they’ll take it easy on Sunday and the Chargers will cruise to a win.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 30, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take:  By the time this one starts, the Chargers will know whether a win gets them in the playoffs.  Chances are they’ll be done.  But with the Chiefs likely resting starters, the Chargers will finish on the right side of .500.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 31, Chiefs 21.

Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Rams are playing competitively and this won’t be easy for the Seahawks, but Seattle will be highly motivated to win this one and clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, Rams 20.

Florio’s take:  Last Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals gave the Seahawks a much-needed wake-up call.  They’ll answer the bell by roughing up the Rams and locking up the No. 1 seed.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 27, Rams 10.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Even with Tony Romo I’d lean toward the Eagles to take this one, but with Romo’s back injury this looks to me like a game the Eagles take to clinch the NFC East.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  With or without Tony Romo, the Cowboys don’t have the defense to once again hold Philly to three points — especially without Sean Lee available.  Another year, another 8-8 finish, another loss in the de facto NFC East championship game.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Cowboys 23.

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Cowboys could see Ezekiel Elliott get 300 carries

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott during the team's rookie camp at Happy Valley in Irving, Texas, on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS) Getty Images

The Cowboys plan to make rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott a workhorse.

That’s the word from David Helman of DallasCowboys.com, who writes that Elliott will have somewhere in the range of 280 to 300 carries, or around 18 a game, in 2016.

That would suggest that the Cowboys plan to use Elliott about as much as any NFL team uses any running back. Last year Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 327 carries, while Doug Martin was second with 288 carries. If Elliott really carries the ball 18 times a game, he could compete for the league lead in carries.

Of course, that’s nothing compared to the way Cowboys coach Jason Garrett used running back DeMarco Murray in 2014, when Murray had 392 carries, the most for anyone in any season in the NFL in the last 10 years. Garrett has proven he won’t hesitate to give a running back a heavy workload.

Elliott won’t have that heavy a workload. But he’s going to get the ball a lot this year.

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Seahawks rookie QB facing one assault charge from bowl game incident

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 29:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs carries the ball against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 29, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Seahawks rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin faces one count of misdemeanor assault for his role in a Dec. 31 fight in San Antonio that resulted in Boykin being sent home before his final college game, TMZ reported Tuesday.

Boykin was initially charged with a felony count of assualting a public servant, public intoxication and resisting arrest. Court documents say Boykin struck an officer trying to take him into custody after he was removed by staff members from a bar. He didn’t play in the Alamo Bowl for TCU after the charges.

The report said Boykin faces up to a year in a jail on the assault charge he’s facing and is due to be arraigned in August.

Boykin signed with the Seahawks after the draft. The Seahawks went through the spring with only Boykin and Jake Heaps in their quarterback room behind Tarvaris Jackson, and with Jackson still unsigned and now facing gun charges after an incident last weekend, Boykin could end up being the team’s No. 2 quarterback.

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Cordarrelle Patterson: Sometimes I didn’t work hard enough

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 03:  Cordarrelle Patterson #84 of the Minnesota Vikings fumbles the football as he returns a kick during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 3, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Vikings didn’t pick up their fifth-year option on wide receiver/kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson’s contract this offseason, leaving the 2013 first-round pick on track for free agency after the season.

If Patterson is going to generate a robust market for his services, he’ll need to be more than the kick return specialist he was in 2015. Patterson returned two kicks for touchdowns, but caught just two passes while playing 64 snaps on offense. One way that Patterson can improve his chances of seeing the field as a wideout is by boosting his work ethic. It’s an area that Patterson admits has been lacking at times.

“Sometimes you can be here and you feel like you’ve got to be on the team,” Patterson said, via the Pioneer Press. “You feel like, ‘Yeah, I’m a first-round pick, I’m on the team.’ Things like that, sometimes they make you not work hard, they make you don’t want to do things, make you be lazy.”

Patterson’s work this offseason drew notice from coach Mike Zimmer for being short on the mental errors that have plagued him in the past, although the addition of Laquon Treadwell in the first round leaves little room at the top of the depth chart. Patterson says he feels thing “will work out well” for him if he shows the coaches that he can “do what I’m supposed to.” Anything less and there won’t be much offensive film for Patterson to show suitors on the open market next year.

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Plain language of PED policy cuts against NFL’s attempt to interview players

al_jazeera_america Getty Images

With the NFL and the NFL Players Association squaring off over whether and to what extent five players implicated by an Al Jazeera documentary featuring since-recanted allegations of PED use, it makes sense to retreat to square one and determine when and how an investigation regarding PED use based on media reports can even happen.

Arguably, it can’t happen at all, in the absence of “credible evidence” that would justify discipline of Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, and/or James Harrison. (Peyton Manning was implicated, but he has retired and is apparently not subject to discipline.)

Most PED violations occur when a player submits a urine sample that reveals a banned substance. Under the PED policy, discipline also may be imposed for (as the title of Section 5 of the policy states) “violations of law and other documented evidence-based violations.”

With no alleged violation of the law happening in the case of the players implicated by the Al Jazeera report, the question becomes whether the Al Jazeera report and any ensuing investigation by the league permits discipline based on “other documented evidence-based violations.”

Under the policy, that clause specifically is triggered when players “are found through sufficient credible documented evidence (see footnote 4) to have used, possessed or distributed performance-enhancing substances.” At footnote 4, the policy defines “credible documented evidence” as “criminal convictions or plea arrangements; admissions, declarations, affidavits, authenticated witness statements, corroborated law enforcement reports or testimony in legal proceedings; authenticated banking, telephone, medical or pharmacy records; or credible information obtained from Players who provide assistance pursuant to Section 10 of the Policy.”

Footnote 4 at no point includes “media reports” or anything remotely close to it, making the Al Jazeera report an insufficient basis for imposing discipline. At most, it can be the starting point for an investigation.

But what is the ending point? According to the policy, a violation can be based only on “criminal convictions or plea arrangements; admissions, declarations, affidavits, authenticated witness statements, corroborated law enforcement reports or testimony in legal proceedings; authenticated banking, telephone, medical or pharmacy records; or credible information obtained from Players who provide assistance pursuant to Section 10 of the Policy.”

Setting aside for now the question of what that laundry list of potential pieces of evidence does and doesn’t include, the structure of the policy indicates that the league must determine that a violation has occurred based on “credible evidence,” impose discipline, and allow the appeal process to unfold.

As crafted, the policy doesn’t contemplate a “probable cause”-type determination of a potential violation that then justifies interrogating players under a proverbial or actual hot light. Instead, the policy requires the league to first find “credible evidence” of a violation, impose discipline for the violation, share the “credible evidence” with the players, and then hear from the players as part of the appeal process.

In other words, there’s no language in the policy requiring the players to provide any information before the NFL concludes based on the information it already has developed that a violation occurred.

The league is blurring the lines in this case, possibly for fear of creating the impression that it regards the Al Jazeera report to be “credible evidence” without having a chance to directly assess the credibility of the players who were implicated. Still, the policy as negotiated by the NFL and the NFLPA requires the league to make an assessment based on “credible evidence,” impose discipline, and then allow the players to defend themselves against the allegedly “credible evidence.”

If the NFL is sufficiently concerned that the players in this case would be able to successfully defend themselves in front of a neutral arbitrator, then maybe the “credible evidence” isn’t.

Critics of the NFLPA routinely blame the union for not doing enough at the bargaining table to, for example, compel the Commissioner to surrender final say over matters like the Personal Conduct Policy or threats to the integrity of the game. In this case, it’s fair to point out that the league signed off on a procedure that requires it to develop and identify “credible evidence” of a violation before the player must potentially implicate himself by answering questions at a hearing.

That seems to be the crux of the problem. Given the relevant language of the policy, the NFLPA’s best approach could be to say, “Impose discipline if you believe you have ‘credible evidence’ of a violation. Until that happens, the players have no obligation to do anything.”

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Johnny Manziel turns up in Mexico, taunts his dad

PALM SPRINGS, CA - APRIL 17:  Johnny Manziel attends REVOLVE Desert House on April 17, 2016  at  on April 17, 2016 in Palm Springs, California.  (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/FilmMagic) Getty Images

In case Johnny Manziel’s father is wondering if his tough love message last week got through, the answer seems to be a resounding “No.”

The former Browns quarterback just posted a photo on Instagram of himself at a resort in Mexico, wearing a Josh Gordon jersey and celebrating how good he thinks he has it.

The message includes the oh-so-rebellious hashtag #hiDad, which doesn’t suggest that the son was very receptive to his father calling him a “druggie” and saying he hoped he went to jail.

Of course, Manziel also made it clear Gordon wasn’t with him. Though the two are friends, Gordon’s probably relieved he pointed that out.

After all, Gordon’s trying to get reinstated, and apparently taking the steps needed to achieve that goal.

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Seahawks add another long snapper

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 8: Khairi Fortt #54 of the New Orleans Saints warms up prior to a pre-season game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on August 8, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Seahawks signed rookie long snapper Nolan Frese Tuesday and released linebacker Khairi Fortt.

Frese tried out for the Seahawks Monday and becomes the third long snapper the team has signed this offseason. Andrew East was signed and later released and is now with the Raiders, and now the signing of Frese means he’ll compete with Drew Ferris for the team’s long snapping job when training camp opens in late July.

The Seahawks released Clint Gresham earlier this offseason. Gresham had been the team’s long snapper for the last six seasons.

Ferris signed with the Seahawks in March. He was briefly with the Jets last season.

Fortt has bounced around the league the last two seasons. He had signed with the Seahawks last month.

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Former Colts RB Zurlon Tipton dead after accidental shooting

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 07: Running back Zurlon Tipton #37 of the Indianapolis Colts carries the ball against the New York Jets during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office has announced that former Colts running back Zurlon Tipton died in Michigan on Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself at the age of 26.

FOX2 in Detroit reports, via Roseville police, that Tipton pulled into a car dealership on Tuesday morning and removed a duffel bag from his trunk. The bag had two guns inside of it and police say that one of them went off with the bullet striking Tipton in the stomach.

Tipton was reportedly speaking to people on the scene before being transported to the hospital. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

Tipton, who was arrested on a gun charge last December, played 16 games for the Colts over the last two years after making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Central Michigan in 2014. Tipton was waived near the end of last season and was not on any NFL roster this offseason.

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Jaelen Strong not threatened by new arrivals at receiver

NEW ORLEANS, LA - AUGUST 30:   Jaelen Strong #11 of the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 30, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Just as receiver Jaelen Strong, a third-round pick in 2015, was ready to emerge as the primary complement to star Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans added two more in the draft — first-rounder Will Fuller and third-rounder Braxton Miller. So how did Strong react to the development?

“I felt like it was a great addition,” Strong told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “I feel like we’re going have some fun out there this year and I’m very excited for Braxton and Will. Two young guys ready to come to work every day. Every day they’re excited, they ask questions and that’s the stuff we need.”

How do you keep everyone happy when there’s that many talented receivers and only one football?

“Well, we all just want to win,” Strong said. “That’s all there is to it. We stay on top of each other. When the opportunities come you have to make the best of your opportunities. With those guys around us, around everybody and the teammates that we got, Brock [Osweiler] and Coach [Bill] O’Brien it’s all business, all fun. We’re just ready to go out there and do whatever we can to help our team win.”

Having four quality wideouts will help the team win plenty of games this year, assuming Osweiler and O’Brien can figure out hot to get the ball into their hands as often as possible.

The full interview with Jaelen Strong appears below. Or you can get the podcast for the full show at iTunes or audioBoom

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EA to pay Jim Brown $600K for unauthorized use of his likeness in Madden game

Orlando Magic v Cleveland Cavaliers, Game 1 Getty Images

The long legal battle between Hall of Famer Jim Brown and video game maker Electronic Arts over the use of Brown’s likeness in an edition of Madden NFL has come to an end.

Brown’s law firm Hagens Berman announced that their client has accepted $600,000 from the company to settle Brown’s claim that his likeness was used without his authorization. Brown claimed EA approached him about using his likeness as part of the roster of old Browns teams in the game and then used an avatar with the height, weight, skin color, experience, team, position and ability level after Brown, who originally filed suit in 2008, refused their request.

“I took a stand for all athletes and laid a framework for future plaintiffs with my great legal team,” Brown said in a statement. “Hopefully, this is a step forward in getting companies like Electronic Arts to recognize the value that athletes have in selling their products.”

Brown’s attorney Robert Carey said companies like EA “should think twice before it turns players’ hard-won identities and achievements into merchandise without permission or compensation.” EA had argued that the use of the likeness was “incidental,” which did not sway a Los Angeles court to grant their motion to dismiss the case in 2015.

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Eugene Monroe: I don’t feel I have to jump on first opportunities that come up

Baltimore Ravens v Chicago Bears Getty Images

It’s been a couple of weeks since tackle Eugene Monroe was released by the Ravens and it doesn’t sound like an announcement of his next team is imminent.

Monroe had conversations with the Giants right after being dispatched by Baltimore that were reportedly centered around Monroe making the move to right tackle after playing on the left side throughout his time with the Jaguars and Ravens. During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn, Monroe said he’s “very respectful” of the early interest but that he doesn’t feel pressure to sign with a team right away.

“After the Ravens released me, some interest sprung up,” Monroe said. “We’ve been in discussions with a few teams, but this is very new. I’ve been released and it’s been just a short amount of time since that happened. I’m weighing my options right now. I don’t feel like I have to jump on one of the first opportunities that come up.”

Monroe didn’t say anything concrete about whether he’s willing to move to the right side when asked on Tuesday, saying only that “time will tell” what’s best for him. He did say that he hoped that his outspoken support for the NFL to OK the use of medical marijuana would not impact his playing future. Giants coach Ben McAdoo said that the team isn’t put off by that advocacy, which may leave his willingness to take on a new position as the biggest thing standing in the way of a new job.

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Rex Ryan: We take comfort knowing Buddy lives through us

RexandBuddy Getty Images

Hours after the death of Buddy Ryan, Bills coach Rex Ryan has released a statement remembering his legendary father.

“On behalf of the entire Ryan family, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their sympathies, prayers and warm thoughts with the passing of my dad,” Rex Ryan said. “He was many things to many people–outstanding coach, mentor, fierce competitor, father figure, faithful friend and the list goes on. But to me and my brothers Rob and Jim, he was so much more. He was everything you want in a dad–tough when he had to be, compassionate when you didn’t necessarily expect it, and a loving teacher and confidant who cherished his family. He truly was our hero.”

Rex, who hired his twin brother Rob as an assistant this year, said he takes pride in following in his father’s footsteps in the coaching profession.

“For Rob and me, we’ve had the great fortune of sharing the coaching profession that he was so proud of and cherished so much. There is no way we can possibly begin to measure how much football we have learned from him over the years and we are forever thankful to him for instilling within us his unwavering love for the game of football,” Rex said. “While today is a tough day for all of us in the Ryan family, we are consoled in knowing how much dad was loved by so many and the love he gave back in return. Though we will miss him dearly, we take comfort in knowing that his memory will live on through all of us.”

Rex and Rob got their first NFL job coaching on Buddy’s staff in his final stint as a head coach, with the Cardinals in 1994 and 1995.

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Danny Amendola feeling “really good” after surgeries

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 16: Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots reacts after a play in the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s a quiet time around the league right now, which leaves players coming off of injuries with little to do other than make sure that they’re feeling well when it comes time for training camp.

Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola is in that group. Amendola had knee and ankle surgeries earlier this offseason that kept him off the field during OTAs and minicamp, but he didn’t sound like he expects the procedures to have much impact on the regular season during an appearance on ESPN Tuesday.

“I feel really good,” Amendola said. “I had a couple minor procedures done after the season. Everybody knows how long the season can be. I wanted to go into next season feeling as fresh and ready as I can.”

Amendola will likely be eased back into work once camp gets underway and he’ll join Chris Hogan, Nate Washington, Keshawn Martin, rookie Marvin Mitchell and others in a competition for snaps along with Julian Edelman at receiver. Taking a pay cut for the second straight year probably doesn’t hurt a healthy Amendola’s chances of emerging with a similar role to the one he played while catching 65 passes for 648 yards.

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Raiders survey sent to Las Vegas residents

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 23:  The famous neon "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign located at the south entrance to town is viewed on December 23, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Las Vegas, the popular Southwest desert tourist getaway, appears to be making a slow economic recovery following a tough global recession.  (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Raiders and Las Vegas continue a money-fueled mating dance, the team that may move to Nevada has officially commenced the process of getting to know more about its potential new neighbors.

Via Richard N. Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, an 83-question survey has been sent to more than 10,000 addresses in the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce’s database.

The Chamber of Commerce sent the survey as a community service, at no cost to the Raiders.

The survey addresses issues like potential interest in a move and seating preferences at a new stadium. It steers clear of the potentially controversial question of public vs. private financing.

And for good reason. Lawyers shouldn’t ask questions to which they don’t already know the answer, and pollsters shouldn’t ask questions that could lead to answers they don’t want to know.

A potential tug-of-war looms regarding the existing plan to use roughly $750 million in taxpayer dollars and a recent suggestion from a top economic consultant to the governor that the amount should be reduced by $200 million.

 

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Preston Parker gets three years probation for drug charges

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 14:  Josh Shaw #26 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass intended for Preston Parker #15 of the  New York Giants during an preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium on August 14, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Former NFL wide receiver Preston Parker hopes to get back into the league.

But for now, staying out of jail will suffice.

According to Hannah Winston of the Palm Beach Post, the former Buccaneers, Saints and Giants wideout got three years of probation after pleading guilty to drug charges.

The 29-year-old Parker pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and paraphernalia. Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer told him if he violated his probation he could serve up to 16 years in prison, but he said he hoped to return to football.

“You’ve been given a lot of opportunities, this is your last chance,” the judge said. “I do hope you go back to NFL, but you need to do well on probation first.”

Parker was arrested in March after he ran a stop sign, and cops found drugs and a legally registered gun in his possession. He was later arrested for possession of marijuana, charges which are still pending.

The Giants cut him last September after a rough stretch of dropped passes. He entered the league with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent from Florida State.

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Miko Grimes say Brent wanted out of Miami

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 20:  Cornerback  Brent Grimes #21 of the Miami Dolphins warms up before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 20, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Many have blamed Miko Grimes for getting her husband, Brent, cut by the Dolphins. Miko Grimes recently suggested in an interview with Sarah Spain, Jane McManus, and Kate Fagan of ESPN Radio’s The Trifecta that perhaps Brent wanted out. She nevertheless contends it happened regardless of anything she said or did.

It had nothing to do with me,” Miko Grimes said, via JoeBucsFan.com. “It had everything to do with my husband wanting to leave the Miami Dolphins and them not wanting him to leave. You guys don’t know that, though. You’re listening to what [Dolphins owner Stephen Ross] is saying. That’s why I was able to say whatever I wanted to say because my husband wanted to leave.”

But even after the Dolphins cut Brent Grimes, they still wanted to bring him back at a reduced rate — which undercuts the idea that they no longer wanted him because of the things his wife was saying (attacking Ryan Tannehill, e.g.) and doing (getting arrested before a game, e.g.).

“When we signed with the Bucs, the Dolphins asked to match the offer,” Miko Grimes said. “So was Miko really the problem? Why would you want to match it? See what I mean. You guys don’t know what’s really happening.”

She added that 17 total teams called about Brent Grimes once he became available. Ultimately, Miko had significant say in the final outcome.

“My husband does not negotiate his contract. I do,” Miko Grimes said.

Ultimately, the Buccaneers had no qualms about Miko Grimes because they’d rather have the distraction that comes from a good player with an outspoken wife than the distraction that comes from having a crappy defense. While it appears that Brent Grimes inevitably would be let go by Miami due to his contract, the Buccaneers are happy to have him, and they apparently have no problem with anything his wife may say or do.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m. ET:  A prior version of this item failed to identify the hosts of the ESPN Radio program or its name. That oversight has been pointed out to us, so we have updated the story to include the information, the omission of which was not deliberate. Besides, it’s important for us to provide that courtesy at all times because ESPN and ESPN.com always take great pains to make sure that the full show name and host is mentioned whenever using quotes from radio shows on a rival network. Wait, did I say always? I meant rarely-to-never.

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