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Jets announce they’re going back to camp this summer

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While the trend league-wide has been to stay closer to home, the Jets are going camping again this summer.

The Jets announced they were returning to SUNY Cortland for training camp this summer, the fifth time in six years they’ve gone to the central New York school to get away from it all.

“I love the fact that we are going back to Cortland,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said in a release from the team. “Everyone knows how I feel about going away. I think it is a big part of building our team camaraderie. The community, the school and the people of Cortland have been outstanding and we are all excited to be going back this summer.“

Many teams elect the familiarity of their own facilities for training camp, along with not having to pack up and move.

But there’s something to be said for eliminating the distractions that go along with being at home, although the Jets never really seem to avoid them wherever they go.

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Wade Phillips lands award for top assistant coach

Denver Broncos introduce new coaches Getty Images

The biggest reason why the Broncos will be playing for a Super Bowl title on Sunday is their defense.

On Saturday night, the man responsible for overseeing that defense was named the NFL’s top assistant coach of the year. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was honored for putting together a unit that allowed the fewest overall yards, yards per passing attempt and yards per rushing attempt during the 2015 season.

Phillips was out of the NFL in 2014 and his work with the Broncos likely has some teams wondering if they should have brought him onboard before Denver snapped him up for a second stint with the organization.

The man running the offense that Phillips will be tasked with stopping, Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula, finished third in the voting behind former Bengals offensive coordinator and current Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

It’s the second year that an award for an assistant coach has been part of the NFL’s pre-Super Bowl awards show. Todd Bowles won the inaugural award for his work as the Cardinals defensive coordinator and also parleyed those efforts into the Jets’ head coaching gig. Barring something very unexpected, Phillips won’t be a head coach in 2016 and that likely makes Broncos fans pretty happy.

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J.J. Watt named defensive player of the year for third time

J.J. Watt AP

The Associated Press defensive player of the year award won’t be going to a new home this year.

Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was the winner of the prize at the 2015 NFL Honors show and he has been named the winner again in 2016. It’s the third time Watt has been so honored in his five-year NFL career.

Former Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor is the only other three-time winner of the award. Given how much time is left in Watt’s career and how dominant he has been to this point, that tie for the most in league history may not last for long.

Watt led the NFL in sacks with 17.5 during a regular season that ended with the Texans winning the AFC South title. He now has 74.5 sacks for his career. Watt added 50 quarterback hits, 29 tackles for losses, eight passes defensed, 76 overall tackles and three forced fumbles during the season.

Watt got 37-of-50 votes for the award. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was second with seven and Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman finished in third and fourth places.

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Hall of Fame class features DeBartolo, Stabler, Favre, Greene, Dungy

File photo of Brett Favre in New Orleans Reuters

With the NFL celebrating its golden anniversary Super Bowl in the Golden State, the Pro Football Hall of Fame elected an eight-man class with a distinctly California vibe.

Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler and Rams-Steelers-Panthers-49ers outside linebacker Kevin Greene were among the class that included first-ballot quarterback Brett Favre.

The other inductees included former Colts and Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, Rams tackle Orlando Pace (who played his career in St. Louis), and Detroit and Washington guard Dick Stanfel.

That class came after a nearly nine-hour meeting, which featured both debates long and short. A committee of 46 selectors discussed DeBartolo’s merits for more than 50 minutes, while it took less than 10 seconds to discuss the election of Favre, so obvious was his Hall case.

Linking Dungy and Harrison also lends a special touch to this weekend’s festivities, considering the success they had with the Colts alongside quarterback Peyton Manning, who has a game to play tomorrow.

Candidates who made it to the final 10 but fell just short of induction included coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, tackle Joe Jacoby, safety John Lynch and quarterback Kurt Warner.

One of the most-debated players in this year’s group of 15 modern-era semifinalists was well-traveled wide receiver Terrell Owens, but he was part of the group reduced in the first cuts to 10. Kicker Morten Andersen, safety Steve Atwater, guard Alan Faneca and running back Edgerrin James were also in that group.

They’ll go back into the pool next year, along with an interesting group of potential first-time eligibles including running back LaDainian Tomlinson, defensive end Jason Taylor, quarterback Donovan McNabb, safety Brian Dawkins and wide receiver Hines Ward.

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Peters the easy pick as AP Defensive Rookie of the Year

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 3:  Marcus Peters #22 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after defending against a pass at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game agains the Oakland Raiders on January 3, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters was named the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Saturday night.

The honor going to Peters is not a surprise. He tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions and returned two of them for touchdowns for a Chiefs team that won 10 straight games to finish the regular season.

The Chiefs had just six interceptions as a team in 2014. Peters was available at No. 18 in last year’s draft because he’d been in trouble at the University of Washington, but he looks like he has staying power in the NFL.

Peters also had 26 pass breakups, 60 tackles and a forced fumble.

Rams running back Todd Gurley was voted the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

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Eric Berry named comeback player of the year

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After a journey that took him from chemotherapy to the Pro Bowl, Chiefs safety Eric Berry has been named the NFL’s comeback player of the year.

Berry, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 but made the Pro Bowl in 2015, received the comeback player award at tonight’s NFL Honors event in San Francisco.

The comeback player of the year honor, which was first awarded in 1963, has usually gone to a player coming back from an injury suffered on the field the previous season. But Berry is an even more inspirational choice than most, having come back from a Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosis that ended his 2014 season. Despite undergoing chemotherapy in the offseason, Berry played all 16 games for the Chiefs in 2015, and played very well.

Upon receiving the award tonight, Berry thanked the medical professionals who helped nurse him back to health, and encouraged his fans to follow their dreams, as he’s continuing to follow his.

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Cam Newton snags offensive player of the year

Cam Newton AP

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton isn’t at the NFL Honors show in San Francisco on Saturday because he’s trying to win the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, but he’s going to be going home with some hardware whether or not the Panthers can win the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.

Newton has been named the Associated Press offensive player of the year for his efforts during the 2015 season. His father is accepting the award on his behalf.

Newton turned in his best professional season while leading the Panthers to an NFL-best 15-1 record during the regular season. He completed 296-of-495 passes for 3,837 yards and added 636 rushing yards. He threw for 35 touchdowns and ran for 10 more as the centerpiece of the league’s highest-scoring offense.

The MVP award will be handed out later on Saturday evening and it will be a pretty big surprise if Newton’s father isn’t picking up another trophy for his son when the winner is announced.

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Gurley named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year

Todd Gurley, Eric Reid AP

The NFL Honors show is Saturday night, and lots of guys in tuxedos and fancy suits will be honored for what they did in helmets and shoulder pads through the fall.

One of the first big awards went to Rams running back Todd Gurley, who was named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Gurley played in 13 games last fall and rushed for 1,106 yards, the NFL’s third-highest total.

He had 566 yards in his first four games, the most by any rookie in the Super Bowl era, and that’s made more impressive by the fact his debut was delayed because his final college season ended with Gurley suffering a torn ACL in Nov. 2014.

Gurley is just 21. He went to the Pro Bowl to cap his rookie year and figures to be back, assuming the Pro Bowl still exists.

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was honored as the Pepsi Offensive Rookie of the Year, an award voted by fans. The No. 1 pick in last year’s draft, Winston went to the Pro Bowl as an alternate after throwing for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns.

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Jim Irsay says Marvin Harrison in HOF, believes Tony Dungy is too

Marvin Harrison AP

Terrell Owens let us know that one wide receiver among the finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame fell short of the votes needed for election on Saturday.

On his way into the NFL Honors show, Colts owner Jim Irsay let us know that another one did get the nod from electors. Irsay said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, that Marvin Harrison has been elected to the Hall in his third year of eligibility.

Harrison ranks third all-time in catches with 1,102, seventh all-time in receiving yards with 15,580 and fifth all-time in touchdowns with 128.

This summer’s induction ceremony may have even more Colts flavor as Irsay also said that he believes the team’s former coach Tony Dungy also got the votes needed to receive a yellow blazer and bust in Canton. Harrison and Dungy both earned Super Bowl rings with the Colts along with Peyton Manning, who will be trying for his second on Sunday in Super Bowl 50.

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Terrell Owens announces he didn’t get into Hall of Fame

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The official announcement about this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class is coming shortly, but reports about who is in and who didn’t make the cut are starting to surface.

Among those that didn’t make the cut is Terrell Owens. The former 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, Bills and Bengals wide receiver announced on Twitter that he was not elected after making the cut to 15 finalists under consideration by electors on Saturday.

“Unfortunately I did not make it. CONGRATS to the 2016 HOF CLASS. Thanks to ALL MY FANS for ur unwavering love & support. #ONLYGODCANJUDGEME,” Owens wrote on Twitter.

Owens was in his first year of eligibility in 2016. It’s hard to argue that Owens’ on-field production isn’t worth a slot in Canton, but Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News reports that his candidacy was discussed for more than 43 minutes during Saturday’s meeting and that suggests his habit of making waves in the locker room worked against him in this year’s final reckoning.

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Report: Eddie DeBartolo elected to HOF

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Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a contributor, CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco reported Saturday.

The committee voted Saturday, and the full list of 2016 Hall of Fame inductees will be announced later Saturday evening.

DeBartolo took over ownership of the 49ers in 1977, and under his ownership the 49ers won five Super Bowls, 13 NFC West championships, advanced to the NFC Championship game 10 times and made 16 playoff appearances. The 49ers had the NFL’s highest winning percentage in the 1980s and 1990s.

He owned the team until 2000, when he reached an agreement with his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, to split their financial interests. In 1999, then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced a one-year suspension for DeBartolo for his role in a gambling scandal that resulted in DeBartolo pleading guilty to a felony for failure to report an extortion attempt from former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.

DeBartolo was the only person in the contributor category among this year’s Hall of Fame finalists. He’s from Youngstown, Ohio, which is about 60 miles from the Hall of Fame in Canton.

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Ron Rivera not worried that people were watching Saturday’s practice from rooftop

Ron Rivera AP

In an interview this week, former Panthers fullback Brad Hoover became the latest member of Carolina’s previous Super Bowl team to say he thinks the Patriots used skullduggery to obtain information about the Panthers’ game plan before Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area filed a pool report from Saturday’s final practice at San Jose State before Super Bowl 50 and reported that five men and a child watched the session from a nearby rooftop. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that he wasn’t concerned that any of them might have had motives beyond taking in the practice from a cool vantage point on a sunny day, however.

“No, that doesn’t concern me,” Rivera said. “The truth of the matter is that we still have to play the game. I know there are certain things that people worry about, but there are some things that are out of your hands. Shoot, who knows how it’s going to end up. I don’t worry about those things. I really don’t.”

Maiocco reports that the Panthers worked on “down-and-distance possibilities” and their opening drive before closing with a two minute drill. Should the Broncos look overly prepared for any of those things come Sunday, some may wonder if Rivera was too easygoing about the eyes in the sky on Saturday.

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Titans confident ownership structure will satisfy NFL requirements

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

During his Friday press conference, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about league concerns about the Titans’ ownership structure.

Amy Adams Strunk is the controlling owner of the Titans and controls 33 percent of the team. Another daughter of the late Bud Adams also owns 33 percent and other heirs own smaller shares. Goodell said that the league would have to work with the Titans to “see how [their structure is] going to conform with our policies” about a single owner representing the team locally and at the team level.

In response to Goodell’s comments, Titans president Steve Underwood released a statement saying the team believes they will show the league they are in compliance with those policies.

“Commissioner Goodell’s remarks very ably set out the standard our club and the Adams family have been working with the league staff to satisfy,” Underwood said, via the Tennessean. “We are confident that the next time we meet with the Commissioner, he will be satisfied that Amy Adams Strunk has exactly what he said she needs — local operating control and full authority to represent the Titans in league decisions.”

Giants co-owner John Mara said Friday that he doesn’t think there’s a major issue about the way the Titans are being run, which may suggest that the team is on its way to solving the issue.

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Goodell open to changing league discipline procedures

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Press Conference Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he’s open to change on the way the league handles player discipline.

Goodell noted on Friday that the owners and the players’ union negotiated for the current rules that give the commissioner wide latitude on discipline, and that any changes would have to be renegotiated. But Goodell said he’d at least consider that.

“We’re open to changes in the way we do discipline, but we negotiated for a system in 2011,” Goodell said. “It was a system that was quite similar for decades prior to that in collective bargaining agreements prior to that. It is almost exactly the same when it comes to protecting the integrity of the game and the Commissioner’s authority. I am certainly open to that.”

Still, Goodell believes the current personal conduct policy is working, as evidenced by a reduction in player arrests.

“We’ve had a tremendous focus in recent months on the Personal Conduct Policy, but it is working,” Goodell said. “We’ve had a 40 percent reduction in player arrests just through the 2015 calendar year. Forty percent. Our arrest rates for our players are far below the average for males of that age, and it reflects for me on the quality of our players off the field. They’re great young men. There’s a lot of attention when people violate the rules. You don’t put as much attention on the finalists for the Walter Payton Man of the Year. That’s what we’re trying to do, but if we can find a better system, I’m all for it.”

Ultimately, Goodell and the owners may be open to change only if they get something from the NFLPA in return. And that won’t be an easy negotiation.

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Saturday one-liners

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Patriots CB Malcom Butler said Friday that he missed the Pro Bowl due to a sprained knee.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christenson, who worked with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, isn’t buying the idea that Sunday will be the Sheriff’s last rodeo.

Bills coach Rex Ryan said he’s open to drafting a quarterback, but that he’s not “done with” EJ Manuel, the backup to Tyrod Taylor.

Patriots-hater Bill Polian thinks the Jets have a great G.M.

The grass to be planted at the Ravens stadium is coming from Carolina.

Bengals WR Marvin Jones, soon to be a free agent, says there will be no hometown discount.

Former Browns QB Derek Anderson, now a backup in Carolina, regrets not leading Cleveland to the playoffs in 2007.

Snoop Dogg weighs in with his thoughts on the Steelers, and people actually listen to him.

Texans DE J.J. Watt could end up winning his third defensive player of the year award in only five NFL seasons.

Colts K Pat McAfee made a 40-yard field goal while blindfolded.

The Jaguars, who once drafted a punter over Russell Wilson, also cut Denver LB Brandon Marshall.

Three former Titans will be playing in the Super Bowl.

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt says the team will do everything it can to keep S Eric Berry.

Raiders WR Amari Cooper thinks QB Derek Carr will be an “elite” quarterback.

Four former Chargers coaches and four former Chargers players are in the Super Bowl.

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak benefited greatly from spending 2014 on the staff of John Harbaugh.

The Cowboys were reportedly never interested in Johnny Manziel.

Giants OL Geoff Schwartz doesn’t seem to be interested in seeing his brother, Mitchell, join the team in free agency.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson is an offshoot of the Mike Holmgren coaching tree.

Washington QB Kirk Cousins wants guaranteed contracts for all players.

Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliot calls the possibility of being drafted by the Bears a “dream situation.”

The Lions likely will keep raising ticket prices.

Packers WR Randall Cobb thinks his punctured lung may have been caused by a microphone battery.

Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf buried the loss in the wild-card round by declaring, “We’re on to next season.”

Falcons owner Arthur Blank saw value in continuity with the decision to keep G.M. Thomas Dimitroff.

A 2-14 disaster in 2010 laid the foundation for the Panthers’ Super Bowl team.

CB Brandon Browner is the “eternal punch line” for bad personnel moves by the Saints.

Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson won the NFL’s Salute to Service Award.

Carolina backup QB Derek Anderson finally thinks that bizarre Monday night with the Cardinals was funny.

Rams RB Todd Gurley is ready to become the team’s next L.A. superstar.

49ers OT Joe Staley gave his two Super Bowl tickets to strangers.

Newly-released documents contain troubling details about the car wreck involving Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman.

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Beckham, Norman both would have been ejected under proposed rule

A referee, left, separates New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) and Carolina Panthers' Josh Norman (24) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) AP

If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets his way, a situation like the one that arose in this season’s Panthers-Giants game would result in multiple ejections.

Goodell wants the NFL owners to adopt a rule that would result in an automatic ejection for any player who gets two personal fouls in a game. If that had been the case this season, Giants receiver Odell Beckham and Panthers cornerback Josh Norman both would have been ejected. Beckham had three personal fouls in the game, while Norman had two.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that if such a rule had been in place, the two players wouldn’t have been called for multiple personal fouls. Perhaps if the rule is adopted, a player will toe the line after getting one personal foul — that’s the intent of the rule. Or perhaps if the rule is adopted, officials will be hesitant to throw a second personal foul flag for the same reason that officials are currently hesitant to eject players.

Beckham should have been ejected under the current rules. Perhaps what the NFL really needs is not an automatic ejection rule, but officials who feel more empowered to throw a player out of a game when necessary.

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