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Preseason Power Rankings No. 12: Chicago Bears

Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall AP

The 2013 Bears scored the second-most points in franchise history (445). Only the 1985 Bears tallied more in regular season play, putting up 456 in their bulldozing of all non-Dan Marino-led competition in a 15-1 season.

But for all of their skill on offense, the 2013 Bears were overmatched on defense, surrendering 478 points, 57 points more than any previous Chicago club had given up.

Long before the Packers’ Randall Cobb sprinted through the Chicago secondary en route to the division-clinching touchdown in the regular season finale, the Bears’ defense was broken. Chicago surrendered at least 28 points in half of its games, including 54 to Philadelphia, 45 to Washington, 42 to St. Louis and 40 to Detroit. No team allowed more yards per play than the Bears, and no team was worse against the run.

In the offseason, the Bears set out to bolster that “D,” signing two of the best available defensive ends (Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen) and drafting defensive players with four of their first five picks. On offense, the Bears tried to build continuity. They re-committed to quarterback Jay Cutler, signing him to a seven-year contract worth up to $126.7 million in January. In May, they signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall to a four-year deal worth as much as $40 million.

These were logical moves for Chicago. For once, it was the offense didn’t need much work. Now, the focus turns to whether the defense can provide more resistance in head coach Marc Trestman’s second season on the job.

Strengths.

The Bears’ 2014 offense could be one of the best the franchise has ever fielded. Marshall (100 catches, 1,295 yards, 12 TDs in 2013) and fellow starting wideout Alshon Jeffery (89-1,421-7) were Pro Bowlers a season ago, as were tailback Matt Forte (1,933 combined rushing-receiving yards) and right guard Kyle Long.

Cutler — now in sixth season in Chicago — appears to have taken well to Trestman’s scheme. The strong-armed Cutler connected on 63.1 percent of his throws a season ago, his best completion percentage in six years. He’s quite capable of being the first Bears quarterback to make a Pro Bowl since Jim McMahon 29 years ago.

If Cutler gets an all-star nod, he’ll be aided by strength of his pass catching corps. Marshall and Jeffery form an outstanding tandem. Forte is one of the game’s best receivers out of the backfield. Tight end Martellus Bennett is solid, too.

In Trestman’s inaugural campaign, the Bears’ passing attempts rose nearly 20 percent, but total sacks were down more than 30 percent. Moreover, the club’s completion percentage was up more than five percent. In short, the 2013 Bears threw it more and threw it better — and their quarterbacks hit the ground less. That’s testament to Trestman’s scheme, but it also reflects well on the offensive line, which the club overhauled last year, drafting Long and right tackle Jordan Mills and signing left tackle Jermon Bushrod and left guard Matt Slauson.

The Bears can only hope their offseason D-line investment will pay similar dividends. And Allen, Houston and ex-Lions end Willie Young should strengthen a defense that got just 20 sacks from its front four a season ago.

Finally, in Robbie Gould, the Bears have one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers. He hit 26-of-29 field goals in 2013, including 9-of-11 from 40 yards and beyond.

Weaknesses.

Even with an upgraded defensive line, the Bears’ defense looms a major concern. The top player in the LB corps, Lance Briggs, will be 34 in November. Shea McClellin, the Bears’ 2012 first-round pick, could get reps at strong-side and middle linebacker in an attempt to jump-start his career. More is also needed from second-year pro Jon Bostic, whether at middle or outside linebacker.

The Bears’ secondary also looks shaky. Per Pro Football Focus grades, the club had two of the four worst starting safeties in 2013 (SS Major Wright, FS Chris Conte). Wright departed in free agency, and Conte comes off shoulder surgery. The Bears added four veterans and a draft pick at safety, which at least gives them some options as they try to craft a workable solution on the back end.

The Bears’ cornerback play should also be monitored. The club added some much-needed youth and depth in the draft, taking Kyle Fuller in Round One. Fuller, veterans Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman figure as the top three corners. If the 33-year-old Tillman stays healthy and returns to form, and if Fuller is a quick study, the Bears should be just fine at this key position. But if Tillman misses time, and if Fuller isn’t quite ready for prime time, the Bears could have a problem.

The worries don’t stop there. The Bears’ special teams are quite unsettled entering training camp. The club will have a new punter, holder, long-snapper, punt returner and kickoff returner. And backup quarterback could be a trouble spot after the departure of Josh McCown. Veterans Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer and sixth-round rookie David Fales will vie to back up Cutler. Clausen and Palmer have generally struggled against NFL competition, but Trestman is masterful with quarterbacks.

Changes.

The defensive depth chart got a makeover. The Bears released defensive end Julius Peppers and didn’t bring back defensive tackle Henry Melton, defensive end Corey Wootton or linebacker James Anderson. The Bears’ most expensive free agent signings — Houston and Allen — are defensive ends, a nod to the premium that ready-made pass rushers command. To bolster the defensive tackle depth, the Bears turned to the draft, selecting Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the second and third rounds, respectively.

The Bears took a value shopping approach at safety. Free agent additions Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings, Danny McCray and Adrian Wilson are all slated to make less than $1 million in salary this season, per NFLPA records.

On offense, the changes were reserved to backup spots. McCown left to be the Buccaneers’ starter, while tailback Michael Bush and Earl Bennett were released. Rookie Ka’Deem Carey could help replace Bush, while former Washington wideout Josh Morgan was signed to bolster the WR depth.

The Bears underwent several major shakeups in the kicking game. Long-time star returner Devin Hester signed with Atlanta. Punter Adam Podlesh was released, and the club spent a draft pick on a potential replacement (Pat O’Donnell, Round Six). Then, late in the offseason, 16-year long-snapper Patrick Mannelly retired, adding another layer of uncertainty to the special teams.

Camp battles.

Here are the positions and players to watch:

— Safety: Ex-Giant Mundy might have the edge at strong safety, but Wilson is a wild card if he has something left after missing the 2013 season with an Achilles injury. Rookie Vereen is the biggest threat to the incumbent Conte at free safety.

— Cornerback: The progress of Fuller must be monitored. There are plenty of snaps to be had in this secondary if he’s up to it.

— Defensive tackle: Can Ferguson or Sutton push starters Jay Ratliff and Stephen Paea? If not, can the rookies at least prove capable rotation players?

— Linebacker: Will Bostic, McClellin and second-year outside linebacker Khaseem Greene step up their play? The Bears didn’t draft a linebacker and added only veteran backup Jordan Senn in free agency.

— Wide receiver: Morgan and second-year pro Marquess Wilson appear the favorites to replace Bennett as the third receiver.

— Running back: Carey and second-year pro Michael Ford will compete for the little work that won’t go to Forte, a true three-down back.

— Quarterback: Palmer, Clausen and Fales will compete for no more than two reserve roles. The question is, which of this trio most quickly applies Trestman’s lessons?

— Returner: Eric Weems is the most experienced option in the competition to return kickoffs and punts.

— Punter: O’Donnell will try to hold off veteran Tress Way.

— Long-snapper: First-year pro Brandon Hartson and CFL veteran Chad Rempel will battle it out.

Prospects.

The Bears must hang tough early. Six of their first nine games are on the road, including trips to visit the 49ers (Week Two), Falcons (Week Six), Patriots (Week Eight) and Packers (Week 10).

If Chicago can get through that nine-pack in decent order, there’s a real chance to close with gusto. From November 16 through December 21, the Bears play five home games and take just one road trip — Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. The Bears end their season at Minnesota — no picnic, yes, but not the worst draw ever.

It all looks fairly cut-and-dried with the Bears. If their defense is better, and if their offense hums along, they are serious contenders for a playoff spot. But if the defense remains a sieve, and if the offense regresses, they are vulnerable.

The Bears aren’t the youngest of teams. Tillman and Briggs don’t have many NFL years left. Cutler and Marshall aren’t kids, either, and Forte is approaching 2,000 career touches. There ought to be a real sense of urgency to get into the playoffs with an offense this talented. As Bears observers with any sense of history would tell you, scoring points traditionally hasn’t been a Chicago strength.

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Vikings place Adrian Peterson on Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, won’t be with team until legal matters are resolved

Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have reversed course on Adrian Peterson’s reinstatement to the team and have placed him on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list, which will require Peterson to remain away from all team activities until the resolution of his legal proceedings.

The Vikings released a statement early Wednesday morning that announced their decision regarding Peterson. The pressure was building on the organization after their decision to reinstate Peterson on Monday. Sponsors were beginning to speak up and politicians called for Peterson to remain suspended.

Owners Mark and Zigi Wilf finally elected to alter their decision and found a mechanism to keep Peterson away from the team indefinitely while his legal matters are addressed. The lengthy statement from the team is as follows:

“This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

“We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.

“While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.

“We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision.”

The Vikings did make an admirable move in getting ahead of the story when they deactivated Peterson for last week’s game against the New England Patriots. However, they made a misstep in bringing him back to the team so quickly while this matter hangs over Peterson.

They have now realized their error and corrected it. With Peterson’s first court hearing not schedule until Oct.8, it certainly doesn’t appear he’ll be playing for the Vikings again any time in the near future.

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Nike monitoring Adrian Peterson situation, still selling Peterson merchandise

Minnesota Vikings v St. Louis Rams Getty Images

While Nike outlets based in the Twin Cities have pulled Adrian Peterson merchandise from their shelves, the clothing and sporting goods retailer says Peterson currently remains a Nike athlete.

“Adrian Peterson remains a Nike athlete. His product continues to be available for purchase at Nike retail destinations,” the company said in a statement released to CNBC’s Jessica Golden.

“We are aware of the concerning allegations surrounding Adrian. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

Nike continues to sell Peterson’s jersey in their online store and, presumably, in other stores located outside the Twin Cities area. However, they are still clearly paying close attention to Peterson. They join Radisson hotels, governor Mark Dayton, senator Al Franken as entities addressing the handling of Peterson’s situation following the alleged beating of his son in a matter of attempted discipline.

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Report: Dolphins work out LaMichael James

San Francisco 49ers v Houston Texans Getty Images

With Knowshon Moreno being lost for the next month after suffering a dislocated elbow last week, the Miami Dolphins are still on the lookout for help at running back.

The Dolphins already re-signed Daniel Thomas to patch a hole in Moreno’s absence, but they are still evaluating additional options at the position.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Dolphins worked out former San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James on Tuesday.

With Lamar Miller also hobbled last week by an ankle injury, the Dolphins may need even more help beyond the addition of Thomas.

James was released by the 49ers last week after getting two carries in their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. The former second-round pick went unclaimed via waivers and has yet to find a new team.

James has carried 41 times for 184 yards in three seasons. He’s also returned 26 kickoffs and 23 punts in his career.

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Bruce Arians says John Abraham is “more than ready to roll” for Cardinals

John Abraham AP

After mulling retirement following a concussion suffered in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers, pass rusher John Abraham elected to return to the Arizona Cardinals this week and continue his football career.

Now that he’s back with the team, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said Abraham is committed and ready to get back to work.

“You know, when you get that first concussion, and he had a big one, I think it shakes you up sometimes and he thought real hard about it,” Arians said in an interview with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “He’s talked to a bunch of different folks, me included, and stepped back to rest. And just sitting back this weekend and staying at home he missed it a lot and he’s more than ready to roll for down the stretch.”

Arians had said Abraham was lacking the desire to play when he took his leave from the team last week. Abraham will still have to clear concussion protocol before returning to the lineup, a step Arians said he had not accomplished as of Monday.

“I had a long time with [Abraham] today and he’s more than ready. We just have to get him past the concussion protocol. He did not pass today,” Arians said. “We’ll have to wait and see when we can do it again. Hopefully we’ll have him for this week but he’s excited.”

Abraham, 36,  has posted 133.5 sacks in 15 NFL seasons with the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals. He’s had at least 9.5 sacks in 10 of his 15 seasons including each of the last four years.

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Lions sign CB Danny Gorrer, promote LB Julian Stanford

Danny Gorrer, Marques Colston AP

Low on healthy cornerbacks, the Lions signed one on Tuesday, striking a deal with fifth-year pro Danny Gorrer. The move was one of three made to Detroit’s 53-player roster on Tuesday, according to the NFL’s transactions.

The 28-year-old Gorrer has played in a combined 27 regular season games in stints with St. Louis, Baltimore, Seattle and Tampa Bay. In seven games for the Buccaneers in 2013, Gorrer (6-0, 180) made 10 tackles. Tampa Bay released him with an injury settlement this August.

Gorrer effectively replaces rookie corner Nevin Lawson, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with dislocated toes. Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis and Cassius Vaughn are the Lions’ other cornerbacks.

In addition to signing to Gorrer, the Lions worked out ex-Ravens cornerback Derek Cox on Tuesday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com.

FInally, the Lions made another signing Tuesday, promoting third-year linebacker Julian Stanford from the practice squad. Stanford, 24, appeared in four games for Detroit last season.

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NFL won’t reinstate Rice pending appeal

Rice Getty Images

In most cases, a player’s suspension doesn’t become final until he has exhausted his appeal rights.  In the case of indefinitely suspended running back Ray Rice, that’s not the case.

The NFL contends that Rice remains suspended until his appeal is resolved, or until his suspension ends.

“After the suspension was announced, we said:  Teams have been notified that any contract between a team and Ray Rice will not be approved or take effect until further direction is provided from the commissioner’s office,” the league advised PFT by email.

It means, as a practical matter, that Rice will remain suspended until the appeal ends.  Which means that it’s critical the appeal move forward, as soon as possible.

Of course, even if Rice were reinstated, he’d need to find a team interested in giving him a contract.  That video makes him radioactive, probably for the rest of the season and possibly beyond.  So while he’d potentially have a strong argument in court if he wanted to force the suspension to be lifted while his appeal is processed, that’s likely not the best way to continue his NFL career.

There’s a real chance that his NFL career is over.  But this appeal is about bigger issues than Rice’s career.  It’s about player rights, and it’s about creating a truly independent search for the truth about the league’s shoddy, bungled investigation into the Rice case.

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Preliminary 2015 Hall of Fame ballot announced

Kurt Warner of St. Louis Rams Getty Images

A high-profile rookie class including Chargers linebacker Junior Seau and Rams teammates Kurt Warner, Orlando Pace, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt are among the preliminary nominees for the 2015 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall announced the list of 99 players and 14 coaches who will be considered for induction among the modern-era candidates, from which no more than five will be picked.

They will be joined on the ballot by seniors nominee Mick Tingelhoff, and two contributors, for a maximum class of eight.

The list is headlined by the five who were in the final 10 of last year’s voting but not elected: Linebacker Kevin Greene, defensive end Charles Haley, running back Jerome Bettis, guard Will Shields and wide receiver Marvin Harrison.

The group will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November, and then to 15, which will be voted on the day before the Super Bowl.

Here’s a position-by-position look at the full ballot:

Quarterbacks: (4) – Randall Cunningham, Rich Gannon, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner.

Wide Receivers: (9) – Tim Brown (also KR), Isaac Bruce, Gary Clark, Henry Ellard (also PR), *Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith.

Tight End: (1) – Mark Bavaro.

Running Backs: (14) – Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig, Stephen Davis, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Jamal Lewis, Herschel Walker (also KR), Ricky Watters.

Offensive Linemen: (23) – Willie Anderson (T), Tony Boselli (T), Jeff Bostic (C), Lomas Brown (T), Jim Covert (T), Bill Fralic (G/T), Jay Hilgenberg (C), Chris Hinton (G/T), Kent Hull (C), Joe Jacoby (T), Jon Jansen (T), Mike Kenn (T), Jim Lachey (T), Kevin Mawae (C/G), Mark May (G/T/C),Tom Nalen (C), Nate Newton (G), Orlando Pace (T), Chris Samuels (T), Mark Schlereth (G), Will Shields (G), Tra Thomas (T), Steve Wisniewski (G).

Defensive Linemen: (12) – Al “Bubba” Baker (DE), Jerome Brown (DT), Carl Hairston (DE/DT), Charles Haley (also LB), Jevon Kearse (DE), Dexter Manley (DE), Charles Mann (DE), Steve McMichael (DT/NT), Fred Smerlas (NT), Greg Townsend (DE), Ted Washington (DT/NT), Bryant Young (DE).

Linebackers: (13) – Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Kevin Greene (also DE), Ken Harvey, Clay Matthews, Willie McGinest (also DE), Karl Mecklenburg, Matt Millen, Sam Mills, Junior Seau, Chris Spielman, Darryl Talley, Zach Thomas.

Defensive Backs: (16) – Eric Allen (CB), Steve Atwater (S), Joey Browner (S), LeRoy Butler (S), Thomas Everett (S), Rodney Harrison (S), Ty Law (CB), Albert Lewis (CB), John Lynch (S), Terry McDaniel (CB), Tim McDonald (S), Frank Minnifield (CB), Shawn Springs (CB), Troy Vincent (CB/S), Everson Walls (CB), Darren Woodson (S).

Kickers/Punters: (5) – Morten Andersen (K), Gary Anderson (K), Jason Elam (K), Sean Landeta (P), Nick Lowery (K).

Special Teams/Position Players: (2) – Brian Mitchell (RB/PR/KR), Steve Tasker (also WR).

Coaches: (14) –Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Lou Saban, Marty Schottenheimer, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil.

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John Abraham still has to pass concussion protocol

John Abraham AP

While Cardinals outside linebacker John Abraham has signaled he is ready to return to NFL play, he isn’t yet medically cleared to do so as recovers from a concussion suffered eight days ago.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “Late Hits” this evening that Abraham didn’t pass the league-mandated concussion examination on Tuesday, according to Alex Marvez, NFL reporter for FoxSports.com and a SiriusXM host.

According to Marvez, Arians said Abraham would again go through concussion protocol on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Abraham suffered a concussion in the Cardinals’ Week One victory vs. the Chargers. He then took a leave of absence from the club to weigh his future.

Abraham notched 11.5 sacks in 2013, his first season with Arizona. One of the most accomplished pass rushers of his time, Abraham has eight seasons of double-digit sacks to his credit.

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NFLPA files Ray Rice appeal

Goodell AP

As expected (but a day later than expected), the NFLPA has filed an appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Ray Rice.

“This action taken by our union is to protect the due process rights of all NFL players,” the NFLPA said in a statement.

“The NFLPA appeal is based on supporting facts that reveal a lack of a fair and impartial process, including the role of the office of the Commissioner of the NFL,” the union added.  “We have asked that a neutral and jointly selected arbitrator hear this case as the Commissioner and his staff will be essential witnesses in the proceeding and thus cannot serve as impartial arbitrators.”

The union is right, on both counts.  Regardless of Rice’s behavior, he has rights.  He has been suspended twice for the same conduct.  The NFL arguably knew or should have known all it needed to know about the details of Rice’s behavior when levying the initial two-game suspension.

The league contends Rice lied about what happened.  The hearing will sort out what he said about what he did, to the team and to the league.  Apart from the testimony from witnesses like Rice, Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome (who has said Rice didn’t lie), and others, the appeal will attack the league’s failure to secure the video of the incident.  If there was any doubt or ambiguity or inconsistency or perceived lie, all the league had to do was get the tape.

“Under governing labor law, an employee cannot be punished twice for the same action when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment,” the union said in its statement.  “The hearing will require a neutral arbitrator to determine what information was available to the NFL and when it was available.”

Amen to that.  At a time when the investigator hired by the NFL isn’t as independent as he could have been, this process will create another avenue for getting to the truth.  By rule, a hearing date must be set within 10 days.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get to the truth?  After eight days of no one from the NFL or a handful of its teams wanting to confront the truth in a variety of cases, this appeal could eventually get to The Truth about the Rice video — and it could end up being far more relevant and useful to determining the future of the league office than a not-so-independent investigation overseen by two of the NFL’s owners who necessarily support the status quo.

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Arian Foster fires back at Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch InBev Eyes Potential Purchase Of Rival Miller Getty Images

On Tuesday, billion-dollar beer company Anheuser-Busch fired a shot across the bow at the NFL for its current domestic violence problem.  One of the NFL’s employees has fired back.

“We are disappointed and increasingly concerned by the recent incidents that have overshadowed this NFL season,” Anheuser-Busch said in a statement. “We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league.”

Texans running back Arian Foster thinks Anheuser-Busch is being a tad hypocritical.

Selling poison on that high horse,” Foster said on Twitter.  “Domestic violence and alcohol damn near synonymous.”

While drinking doesn’t cause domestic violence, the impaired brain function from excessive alcohol consumption can lead to all sorts of problems.  Ray Rice, for example, was reportedly intoxicated on the night he knocked out his then-fiancée, now wife.  (She reportedly was, too.)

The broader point is that the companies that sell alcohol, which leads to a wide array of unfortunate behaviors, may not have the best standing to preach about a “moral code.”  Beer companies simply want to sell as much beer as they can, even if it means that too many people are drinking too much of it.

They tell you to drink responsibly in the fine print.  The overriding message is drink.  And if the drink contributes to a decision to do something you shouldn’t, well, you’re on your own, Sparky.

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Brandon Marshall angry about ESPN profile: “They lied to me”

brandonmarshall AP

ESPN profiled Bears receiver Brandon Marshall on E:60 today, and it was a complex profile worthy of the complex person Marshall is. But Marshall isn’t happy about the way ESPN went about putting his life on display.

Marshall took to Twitter shortly before the profile aired to say that ESPN and reporter Lisa Salters misled him about what the profile would entail.

E:60 is running a piece on me tonight that they lied to me about,” Marshall wrote. “It was suppose to be a story on a camp. They followed me around 2 years ago and at the end put a camera in my face to talk about it and asked nothing [about] the camp or the community weekend. I’m disappointed that ESPN and Lisa Salters continue to try and tell my story in ESPN’s words. Better yet I’m pissed off – beyond disappointed. This is the second time ESPN did this. I trust ESPN to tell my story & they lied to me once again to get my interview .Media exploits & tells thier own stories. Disappoints again. Well I guess I probably should use my coping skills now. Thanks ESPN.”

What’s surprising about the profile, given Marshall’s reaction, is that most people who watched it probably came away from it with a more favorable view of Marshall than they had before. The profile delved into Marshall’s history of domestic violence accusations, as any complete profile of Marshall should — that’s part of his history, part of who he is. But the profile also portrayed Marshall as a man who realized he had a problem, sought mental health treatment, turned his life around and developed a strong and healthy relationship with his wife.

If Ray Rice is the public face of a domestic violence problem in the NFL, then Marshall could be the public face of how a man like Rice could make himself a better man — through hard work, counseling and time. Marshall may not like the way ESPN reported his story, but it was an important story, well told.

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Cardinals sign OLB Victor Butler, release two

Victor Butler AP

The Cardinals made three moves to their 53-player roster on Tuesday, adding one player and parting ways with two others.

Arriving is ex-Saints outside linebacker Victor Butler, who signed with the club today, Darren Urban of AzCardinals.com reported. The 27-year-old Butler recorded 89 tackles and 11 sacks with Dallas from 2009-2012 before joining New Orleans last year. However, Butler missed the 2013 season after an ACL tear, and the Saints released him this August.

In the other roster moves, the Cardinals released outside linebacker Marcus Benard (first reported by Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports) and waived punter Drew Butler. The departure of Butler signals punter Dave Zastudil is ready to return to the lineup after forgoing kicking for two games because of a left groin injury.

The transactions leave the Cardinals with one open roster spot, which is expected to go to outside linebacker John Abraham, who’s rejoining the team after a week away because of a concussion.

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Mother of abuse victim in Peterson case asks for privacy

Adrian Peterson AP

The mother of Adrian Peterson’s 4-year-old son, who was bloodied and bruised when Peterson hit him with a stick in an incident that led to Peterson’s indictment, has asked for privacy for her child.

The woman, whose name is not being released, says she does not believe photos of her son’s injuries should have been published. In a statement released by her attorney, she requests that media outlets stop using the pictures.

“My client, on behalf of herself and their son, wishes to express her extreme outrage at the invasion of their privacy that has occurred through the publication of highly confidential and private data obtained regarding them by the press without their permission or consent. My client is hurt and outraged that the press would publish throughout the world pictures of their minor son and publish statements allegedly made as part of the private and confidential criminal investigative file,” the statement said.

The fact that those photos became public is now itself part of a criminal investigation. The Houston Chronicle reports that information from child abuse cases is supposed to remain confidential under Texas law, and that whoever leaked the pictures and other information to the media could face charges.

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Don’t be surprised if Vikings change course on Peterson

wrong-way-go-back

On Monday, the Vikings were unequivocal about the decision to let running back Adrian Peterson play in Week Three.  In the wake of that decision, the criticism has been unanimous, loud, and growing.

As a result, there’s already talk that the Vikings could change course and not let Peterson play on Sunday.  Don’t be surprised if that happens.

It would be a curious turn of events, an admission that the Vikings got it wrong and an example of an NFL bowing to overwhelming pressure from the media, fans, and sponsors.  But as the saying goes, wisdom often never makes an appearance.

It’s better that wisdom show up late than not at all.

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Titans place LB Zach Brown on IR, agree with LB James Anderson

Zach Brown, Geno Smith AP

A torn pectoral has officially brought Zach Brown’s season to a close.

The Titans have placed Brown, one of their starting inside linebackers, on injured reserve, the club announced Tuesday.

To fill the roster spot, the Titans are adding another linebacker, reaching a deal with ninth-year pro James Anderson, who started 16 games for Chicago in 2013. Anderson (6-2, 235) will provide depth behind Wesley Woodyard and Zaviar Gooden. Anderson, 30, has notched 556 tackles and 12 tackles in his regular season career.

The 24-year-old Brown suffered the injury in the Titans’ Week One win at Kansas City. The North Carolina product has been a starter since joining the Titans in 2012.

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