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Looking ahead at future Hall of Fame classes

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The seven members of the 2014 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame have received their busts in Canton, Ohio, and now that enshrinement weekend is behind us, let’s look ahead at the players, coaches and contributors who could comprise the next five Hall of Fame classes.

2015

Junior Seau will be eligible for the first time next year, and he’s the one man who looks like a lock for the class of 2015. Seau’s enshrinement will bring up stories about his suicide and questions about whether brain damage on the football field could have led to his depression, but his enshrinement should also be a celebration of one of the greatest linebackers ever to play the game.

Paul Tagliabue, the former commissioner, may be the biggest beneficiary of the Hall of Fame’s new policy of voting on contributors separately from players and coaches. In past Hall of Fame votes, Tagliabue has lost out, but now that he’s no longer competing with players and coaches, there’s a good chance that he’ll be enshrined next year.

Steve Sabol would also be a good choice in 2015, when there will be two Hall of Fame finalists from the separate contributors category. Sabol’s father Ed is already in the Hall of Fame, but both Sabols deserve busts in Canton for building NFL Films.

Kurt Warner is, after Seau, the player with the best chance of being enshrined in his first year of eligibility next year. Some may say Warner’s greatness was too short-lived to merit Hall of Fame induction, but a player with two regular-season MVP awards and a Super Bowl MVP award is probably going to end up in Canton.

Orlando Pace protected Warner’s blind side in St. Louis and was one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL for a decade, and he’ll also be eligible for the first time next year.

Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce were the top two receivers on the Greatest Show on Turf, and they both retired after the 2009 season, making them eligible in 2015. (You can be forgiven if you’ve forgotten that Holt was in Jacksonville and Bruce was in San Francisco in 2009.) It would really be something if they were both inducted along with Warner and Pace. That, however, is awfully unlikely. Wide receivers have had a hard time getting into Canton in recent years, and Holt and Bruce may end up competing against each other and therefore hurting each other’s chances in much the same way that Steelers greats John Stallworth and Lynn Swann did for many years.

Jerry Kramer, the great Packers offensive lineman, would be a strong choice as a senior candidate. Next year will be a harder year for seniors to get in, as only one senior finalist will be nominated. But Kramer may be the most deserving senior candidate eligible.

2016

Brett Favre is a sure thing to be inducted in 2016, and the Packers have already begun the process of turning the year before his induction into a long ceremony honoring Favre, who will have his number retired in 2015.

Terrell Owens also becomes eligible in 2016, but he’s a long shot. Owens is second only to Jerry Rice on the all-time receiving yards list and third behind Rice and Randy Moss in receiving touchdowns, but Owens acted like such a jerk, so often, that he’s remembered as much for becoming a disruptive force in the locker room as he is for being a dominant force on the field.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former 49ers owner, may benefit from the new contributors category and be enshrined soon. The question is whether Hall of Fame voters will reward DeBartolo for his role in building the great 49ers teams of the 1980s and 1990s, and overlook the circumstances that led DeBartolo to be forced out of the NFL.

Jerome Bettis may finally get his bust in Canton in 2016, as a relatively weak crop of first-year eligible players will make room for those who have previously been passed over.

Will Shields, the great guard for the Chiefs, would also seem likely to benefit from a lack of first-year eligible players, although there have been so many great offensive linemen enshrined in Canton in recent years that it’s hard for any one to gain recognition over all the others.

Marvin Harrison was voted down this year, but he had so many great seasons as a receiver for the Colts that it seems like just a matter of time before he gets in, and 2016 may be the year.

Randy Gradishar and Ken Stabler are a couple of good senior candidates who may be enshrined in 2016, when two seniors will be eligible. (Only one senior is eligible in 2015, 2017 and 2019.)

2017

LaDainian Tomlinson becomes eligible for the first time in 2017, and with 13,684 career rushing yards, Tomlinson looks like a good bet to make it. Only four players have more yards than Tomlinson (Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders and Curtis Martin) and all four are already in the Hall.

Jason Taylor becomes eligible in 2017 as well, and he has a good case, although he may be joining a crowded field of pass rushers, as we’ll detail momentarily.

Kevin Greene was voted down as a Hall of Fame finalist last year, but with 160 sacks in his career, he seems sure to get in eventually: The only players with more career sacks than Greene were Bruce Smith and Reggie White, two of the greatest players in NFL history. The 2017 class may be the one that finally makes room for Greene.

Charles Haley also might finally get his Hall call in 2017. He’s been voted down five times already, but his contributions to Super Bowl winners in both San Francisco and Dallas should be enough to earn him a bust at some point.

Hines Ward was a great wide receiver and a Super Bowl MVP winner, and he’ll be eligible for the first time in 2017. But Ward’s career numbers (1,000 catches for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns) are dwarfed by those of some other recent receivers, and Ward may suffer by comparison.

Brian Dawkins was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety who also becomes eligible in 2017, but he seems unlikely to be selected in his first year of eligibility. Dawkins was a beloved player both on and off the field, and at some point the voters may put him in Canton, but that point probably won’t be until he’s on the ballot for at least a few years.

George Young, the former Giants general manager, is just the kind of person that the new “contributors” category is designed to recognize, and the 2017 class may be the year that the late Young gets his due.

Don Coryell would appear to be a likely choice as a senior candidate some day, and 2017 may be when that day comes. Coryell never won a championship as a coach, but he was such an innovator of the passing game that he’s a significant figure in the history of football.

2018

Ray Lewis will be an easy choice as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. There’s no room for debate on that.

Randy Moss may leave some room for debate, as his numbers are comparable to those of Terrell Owens, who looks like a long shot. But Moss at his best was such a game-changer that he just feels like exactly the kind of player who belongs in Canton.

Brian Urlacher, who like Lewis and Moss becomes eligible in 2018, has a very good case for enshrinement as well. Although he’ll suffer in comparison to Lewis, there will probably be enough support for Urlacher to get him enshrined in his first year of eligibility.

Steve Hutchinson was a great guard and also becomes eligible in 2018, but he won’t get in on his first year of eligibility. Hutchinson may be a finalist many times, but getting the necessary 80 percent of the vote will be tough.

Tim Brown is a longtime finalist who feels like he accomplished enough in the NFL (usually while serving as the only decent threat in his teams’ passing games) that he should be recognized eventually. The 2018 class may be the year.

Art Modell has been voted down several times, and the opposition to his candidacy is strong from some who say that taking the Browns out of Cleveland was an unforgivable sin. But the new contributors category gives Modell a much better chance, and 2018 could be his year.

Bob Kuechenberg and Cliff Harris are among the best senior candidates who haven’t been selected yet.

2019

Tony Gonzalez becomes eligible for the first time in 2019, and he’s just about a sure thing as one of the greatest tight ends ever to play the game.

Ed Reed also becomes eligible for the first time in 2019, and he also looks like a sure thing as one of the greatest safeties ever to play the game.

Tony Dungy was voted down in his first year of eligibility last year and may be voted down a few more times, but he’s likely to get in eventually, and 2019 could be the year.

Morten Andersen was also voted down this year in his first year as a Hall of Fame finalist, but he also has a good case to make it eventually. Andersen, the NFL’s all-time leader in points scored, would join Jan Stenerud and Ray Guy as the only kicking specialists in the Hall of Fame.

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Tom Coughlin met with Bills “several months ago”

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated the Patriots by a score of 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

As it turns out, former Jaguars and Giants coach Tom Coughlin met with the Bills. However, the meeting happened, according to his agent, “several months ago.”

Sandy Montag, who told PFT earlier this week that a report of a recent meeting between Coughlin and the Bills was incorrect, subsequently told Chris Mortensen of ESPN that a meeting happened in the more distant past.

Mortensen explains that Coughlin met with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, team president Russ Brandon, and coach Rex Ryan “around March or early April” to discuss a consultant-style role with the team. (It’s possible that the meeting happened in connection with the annual league meetings at Boca Raton, which occurred in late March.) The meeting lasted, according to Mortensen, “about an hour.”

“I can confirm that the meeting you’re talking about did take place, but it was several months ago and there have been no calls from any team about Tom’s availability to coach,” Montag told Mortensen. “He is fully engaged in his job with the NFL.”

Coughlin seemingly hopes to keep coaching; he interviewed with the Eagles for their vacancy before the team hired Doug Pederson. The Bills would make plenty of sense, for various reasons. Coughlin would arrive with a long track record of winning, he has twice beaten the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and he would be in many ways the exact opposite of Ryan. Given that NFL teams tend to hire someone completely unlike their most recent head coach, that could make Coughlin even more attractive.

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Dez Bryant makes the trip to San Francisco

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys is assisted by team personel after taking a hit from the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant isn’t expected to play tomorrow, but he’s not ruled out yet.

Bryant made the trip to San Francisco for tomorrow’s game against the 49ers, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

It still seems extremely unlikely that Bryant will play after suffering a hairline fracture near his knee last week against the Bears. Reports have indicated Bryant will probably have to miss at least a couple games.

But the Cowboys aren’t ready to make that official just yet. He’ll at least be in the stadium, and we’ll have to wait until 90 minutes before kickoff to see whether the Cowboys make him active.

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Irsay: Luck needs to protect himself like Peyton did

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18:  Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos strips the ball from quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 18, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Andrew Luck will always be compared to the man he succeeded as the Colts’ franchise quarterback, Peyton Manning. And in one respect, Colts owner Jim Irsay says Luck still has some work to do.

Irsay said today that Luck is fully healthy, contrary to some concerns that he had suffered a shoulder injury while trying to make a tackle after an interception. But Irsay acknowledged that he’d prefer not to see Luck making tackles at all.

“He can throw it 70 yards. He’s ready to play,” Irsay said, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “I’m more concerned about him – and him and I have talked – about he has to protect the football and protect himself. Look, he throws the interception, it’s tough, he’s mad. I know. But no Ray Lewis tackles. Do what Peyton did. You do a little foxtrot, you don’t embarrass yourself, you push a few guys but you stay out of the fray. You don’t see Aaron Rodgers [and] you didn’t see Peyton get involved in those type of frays. That’s when tough things happen.”

Irsay wants to see Luck change his approach.

“He has to change the way he plays only because he is not a 22-year old kid at Stanford who could play tight end or quarterback,” Irsay said. “He has to understand – and he learned from the Denver game – the importance of what it means to stay on the field. Honing his game is the key. There isn’t some kind of chronic shoulder injury or anything like that. I promise you. There are no surgeries planned. He is fine and the shoulder is something that just disappears into the woodwork when he wins his next MVP or when we win a Super Bowl.”

Those are comments you’d usually expect to hear from a coach, not an owner. But Irsay never hesitates to give his opinions, and in his opinion Luck has to get better at avoiding hits.

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NFL fines Willie Young for roughing Dak Prescott

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Bears defensive end Willie Young has been hit by the league office for his hit on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott on Sunday.

Young, who was flagged for roughing the passer, was fined $18,231.

It was a costly penalty on the field: The Cowboys would have been facing third down outside field goal range after Prescott threw incomplete, but with help from Young’s penalty the Cowboys would end up scoring a touchdown on the drive.

Young is a longtime critic of the league’s roughing the passer rules, saying they’re unfair to defensive players. But those rules aren’t going away, and as long as Young keeps doing it, he’ll keep getting fined.

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Saturday one-liners

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Jets coach Todd Bowles provided a Micheal Ray Richardson-style assessment of the team and its quarterback, with far less pizazz: “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] can’t play any worse, and we can’t coach it any worse. There’s nowhere to go but up.”

Bills fans are concerned that efforts by coach Rex Ryan to tweak Bill Belichick and company will backfire.

Dolphins CB Tony Lippett will continue to be a starter, despite a rough night against A.J. Green.

Patriots WR Chris Hogan doesn’t view Sunday’s game against his former team from Buffalo as a matter of revenge.

Ravens LB C.J. Mosley is improving in pass coverage.

The latest sign of the apocalypse: An assessment of the Bengals’ Thursday night win not in grades or numbers but in emojis.

Browns RT Austin Pasztor is trying to put a bad game in Miami behind him.

The Steelers’ defense is on track to shatter a record set a year ago, and it’s not a good record.

Texans WR Will Fuller keeps a detailed notebook of every tip and piece of advice he gets.

Colts RB Robert Turbin says he’d be a pro basketball player if he wasn’t a pro football player. (Pro basketball is always the better career choice, if a guy truly has that option.)

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles on the team’s urgency to win: “Guys are kind of taking it upon themselves. Not in the sense of pressing and, ‘We need to win now,’ but just in a sense of, ‘What we’ve done hasn’t worked or been successful so let’s figure it out rather than point fingers — let’s try and come up with different ideas and solve what’s going on.'”

Titans RB DeMarco Murray has re-established himself as one of the best tailbacks in football.

Broncos RB C.J. Anderson isn’t sweating the fact that an ineffective running game forced the team to win in Cincinnati through the air; “We can win either way,” Anderson said. “Run, pass, fullback dive — we can win. It’s just wonderful.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid calls retiring Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully “a tribute to all the redheads out there.”

S Karl Joseph picked up positive reviews in his first start with the Raiders.

Chargers DE Joey Bosa says he’s “getting close” to making his NFL debut.

Cowboys LT Chaz Green is ready to go, again, if Tyron Smith can’t, again.

Giants WR Victor Cruz believes the offense is close to having a “game where we all click and everything is good on all cylinders.”

Eagles QB Carson Wentz could be the team’s first AP offensive rookie of the year, ever.

Washington players are happy that the team ditched gold pants for burgundy.

Bears rookie RB Jordan Howard knows he has a big opportunity on Sunday.

Former Lions RB Joique Bell, now with Chicago, has no ill will toward his former team.

For the Packers, the special teams have avoided a run of bad luck.

Vikings P Jeff Locke had a great game at Carolina, thanks in large part to the efforts of gunners Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman returned to practice on Friday after missing Thursday’s session due to illness.

With LT Michael Oher (concussion) out on Sunday, the Panthers are expected to move Mike Remmers to the left side.

Good news/bad news for the Buccaneers: The Denver defense isn’t hard to figure out.

The 0-3 Saints know their margin for error is slim, and shrinking.

When the Cardinals spent a week in West Virginia last season, coach Bruce Arians dined with Arnold Palmer.

Sergio Galvez is the man responsible for keeping the Rams loose at practice with music.

With four of the next five games at home, the 49ers have a chance to build some momentum. (Or to thoroughly depress their paying customers.)

Seahawks rookie OL Germain Ifedi is “real excited” for his first NFL game.

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Doug Baldwin says he’s received death threats

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers talks with wide receiver Doug Baldwin #89 of the Seattle Seahawks after the game at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The efforts to use the national anthem as a vehicle for shedding light on serious societal issues entails various types of risk. One specific type of risk is fairly significant.

In an interview with 60 Minutes Sports, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin says that he has gotten “a few” death threats based on his involvement in the matter.

“A couple of people told me to watch my back,” Baldwin tells Jon Wertheim in a partial transcript circulated by Showtime.

“How do you respond to that?” Wertheim asks.

“The same way Colin [Kaepernick] did,” Baldwin said. “You know, there’s issues going on in our society that people feel compelled to talk about and I’m not going to be quiet about. And if something was to happen to me, I think that would just further prove my point that there are issues in our culture, in our society that need to be changed.”

Regardless of whether the threats are real and credible (and the vast majority of death threats aren’t), death threats always should be taken seriously by the authorities — regardless of whether they’re made on (anti)social media, by phone, or in person.

The transcript of the interview doesn’t contain many/any specifics beyond Baldwin saying he’s been told to “watch his back,” which may not have even been an actual death threat. Whatever the details may be, if Baldwin truly feels threatened, he should report the threats, the threats should be investigated, and action should be taken against those who made them.

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What did you miss this week on PFT Live?

PFTLive

The week is over, which means that 15 more hours of PFT Live have been created. It also means that, if you missed any of it live, you can download the podcasts.

If you do, you’ll be informed, entertained, and hopefully from time to time amused. Sometimes by design, sometimes perhaps not.

Guests for the week included Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Broncos safety T.J. Ward, Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, Dolphins safety Reshad Jones, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, and more.

The podcasts are available at iTunes and audioBoom. The live show returns on Monday at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio (Sirius 213/XM 202), with a two-hour daily simulcast at NBCSN.

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NFL rules prevent effort by Tom Benson to resolve ownership fight

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 28:  New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson walks on the field before a game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 28, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Saints 34-14. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

A new front has emerged in the Benson Family Feud.

As Saints owner Tom Benson tries to resolve a fight with estranged heirs arising from his decision to prevent them from acquiring ownership of his NFL and NBA teams, the NFL will not allow Benson to follow through on a proposal to swap non-voting shares of the Saints with personally-guaranteed promissory notes in trust funds previously created for his daughter and her children.

Via Katherine Sayre of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, recent court filings in a lawsuit sparked by the issue “show that the NFL’s finance rules won’t allow Benson to use his personal wealth . . . to back the proposed promissory notes.” The league’s position derailed a settlement that had previously been reached between Benson and trustees regarding his desire to strip Saints equity from the family members’ trust funds.

The problem comes from the possibility that, if Benson defaults on the 30-year promissory notes, the estranged heirs could attempt to seize his personal assets — including the controlling shares of the Saints franchise.

Per the report, Benson recently made a revised offer in the aftermath of the NFL’s ruling. The trustees have argued that the proposal, based on a January 2015 valuation of the team, should be based on the value of the team as of September 8, 2016, which would result in an even greater dollar value.

That’s the biggest problem Benson faces as he tries to fix this; as NFL franchise values continue to climb, the 60-percent chunk of the team held in trust continues to climb, too, making it costlier for Benson to replace those shares with comparable assets.

Until these issues are fully and finally resolved, it’s unclear whether the estranged family members will be frozen out completely of an ownership stake in the Saints. Even though they wouldn’t have power over the affairs of the team, they’d own the majority of it — which would be a very awkward outcome to an already messy situation.

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Jim Irsay wants to find the right owner for a team in London

Jim Irsay AP

If there are any London-based billionaires with an interest in American football reading this, please give Jim Irsay a call.

Irsay, the Colts owner whose team plays in London tomorrow, said at an appearance there today that he’s hoping the NFL will have a franchise in London. And Irsay thinks the key is getting the right owner in place, someone who understands both American football and the European market.

“That’s my goal as an owner, to find the right owner and the right team to come here,” Irsay said, via George Bremer of the Herald Bulletin.

The NFL is serious about building the sport in London, with many owners believing the league is as popular as it’s going to get in the United States and will need to grow overseas if it’s going to keep growing. But there are many logistical challenges to putting a team in London permanently, as opposed to just playing a few games a year there. The right owner will have to work through those challenges to make it work.

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Report: Jimmy Garoppolo will start Sunday

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) Getty Images

As Tom Brady concludes his four-game suspension on Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the helm of the Patriots’ offense.

Garoppolo will start Sunday against the Bills, WEEI reports.

After playing very well in the first game and a half of the season, Garoppolo suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder during the Week Two game against the Dolphins and sat out Week Three against the Texans. Jacoby Brissett started against Houston but suffered an injury of his own, to his throwing thumb.

Both Garoppolo and Brissett are officially listed as questionable for the game. Brady will return to the team when his suspension ends on Monday.

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Donte Whitner to work out for the Giants

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

Donte Whitner has rapidly fallen from perennial Pro Bowl safety to a guy looking for a job. He’s hoping to find that job with the Giants.

Whitner will work out for the Giants this weekend, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

The Giants are ailing at safety, with Mykkele Thompson on injured reserve and Nat Berhe and Darian Thompson both expected to miss Monday night’s game against the Vikings with injuries.

The Bills made Whitner the No. 8 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft and he played five years in Buffalo. He then played three years for the 49ers and two for the Browns. Cleveland cut him in April and he hasn’t signed anywhere since.

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Eli Harold was flagged, fined for tackle that injured Russell Wilson

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, top, is pulled down by San Francisco 49ers' Eli Harold in the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

The sack that resulted in an MCL sprain for Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t amount to a classic horse-collar tackle. But it fell within the scope of the recently-expanded definition of the rule.

As a result, 49ers linebacker Eli Harold was flagged for the hit — and fined $18,231.

NFL senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino explained in his weekly media officiating video that a violation occurred even though Harold didn’t have his hand inside Wilson’s jersey, and even though Harold didn’t pull Wilson to the ground from behind.

“The left hand will be in the front of the jersey but the right hand will be on the back at the nameplate,” Blandino said. “He’s gonna pull the runner toward the ground. The key is where does he grab the runner? He’s gonna grab on the nameplate. And remember the new rule this year is nameplate or above. . . . And if he pulls the runner toward the ground in any direction it’s a foul.”

The league expanded the protection earlier this year to limit injuries, and Wilson was indeed injured on the play.

Horse-collar tackles remain legal as to quarterbacks in the pocket. When the quarterback exits the pocket, the back of his jersey can’t be grabbed and pulled to the ground at the nameplate or above.

Which probably means that the term “horse-collar tackle” should be revised into something that better reflects what is prohibited, if for no reason other than to limit fan and media confusion.

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Week Four injury report roundup

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on before a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Week Four kicked off on Thursday night with a Bengals win and it continues with 13 more games on Sunday, which means that the 26 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Colts vs. Jaguars (in London)

The Colts ruled out WR Donte Moncrief (shoulder), CB Darius Butler (hamstring) and C Jonotthan Harrison (illness). Tackles Denzelle Good and Joe Reitz are both questionable due to back injuries.

Jaguars DE Jared Odrick (tricep) and TE Ben Koyack (knee) will not play in the United Kingdom. TE Julius Thomas (elbow) and LB Dan Skuta (hip) are listed as questionable.

Seahawks at Jets

RB Thomas Rawls (fibula) remains out for the Seahawks. TE Jimmy Graham (knee/back), TE Nick Vannett (ankle), LB Mike Morgan (hip), DT Jarran Reed (hip) and RB C.J. Prosise (wrist) are all questionable. QB Russell Wilson (knee/ankle) has no injury designation at all.

The Jets won’t have WR Eric Decker (shoulder), WR Jalin Marshall (shoulder) or QB Bryce Petty (shoulder) in the lineup this Sunday. LT Ryan Clady also has a shoulder injury, but is listed as questionable.

Panthers at Falcons

The Panthers will play without RB Jonathan Stewart (hamstring) and DT Vernon Butler (knee) again this weekend. DE Charles Johnson (quad) drew a questionable tag.

Falcons linebackers Paul Worrilow (groin) and De’Vondre Campbell are both out for Sunday.

Raiders at Ravens

The Raiders have ruled out S Nate Allen (quad), T Austin Howard (ankle) and T Menelik Watson (calf). C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee) and T Matt McCants (knee) are all questionable.

RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), LT Ronnie Stanley (foot) and CB Sheldon Price (thigh) are all doubtful for the Ravens. WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), KR Devin Hester (thigh), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), G Alex Lewis (concussion) and OL John Urschel (shoulder) all drew questionable tags.

Lions at Bears

The Lions are without DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle) and LB DeAndre Levy (quad) again this week. DE Wallace Gilberry (abdomen), LB Antwione Williams (hamstring), WR Marvin Jones (hamstring), TE Eric Ebron (ankle), S Tavon Wilson (neck), CB Adairius Barnes (ankle), T Riley Reiff (ankle) and DE Devin Taylor (ankle) are all questionable to play.

A long Bears injury report finds RB Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring), QB Jay Cutler (thumb), DT Eddie Goldman (ankle), RB Jeremy Langford (ankle) and LB Danny Trevathan (thumb) all doubtful to play. S Harold Jones-Quartey (concussion), DE Jonathan Bullard (toe), WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring), DB Sherrick McManis (hamstring), CB Tracy Porter (knee), G Josh Sitton (shoulder) and LB Willie Young (knee) drew questionable tags.

Titans at Texans

Titans CB Cody Riggs (hamstring) and S Da’Norris Searcy (ankle) have been ruled out for the AFC South clash. TE Delanie Walker (hamstring) is questionable.

The Texans ruled out LT Duane Brown (knee), TE Stephen Anderson (hamstring), RB Jonathan Grimes (ankle) and WR Braxton Miller (hamstring). LB Brian Cushing (knee) and S Quintin Demps (hamstring) are listed as questionable.

Bills at Patriots

The Bills initially ruled out WR Sammy Watkins (foot), but later placed him on injured reserve. T Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle), C Patrick Lewis (knee) and WR Greg Salas (groin) remain on the active roster, but won’t play this weekend. S Colt Anderson (foot), TE Charles Clay (knee), CB Ronald Darby (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder), S Jonathan Meeks (foot) and S Aaron Williams (ankle) are all questionable.

The question of the Patriots starting quarterback is up in the air with Jacoby Brissett (thumb) and Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) listed as questionable to play. T Marcus Cannon (calf), G Jonathan Cooper (foot), LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) and CB Eric Rowe (ankle) are also questionable.

Browns at Redskins

The Browns head to Washington without WR Corey Coleman (hand), TE Seth DeValve (knee), C Cameron Erving (chest, lung), QB Josh McCown (left shoulder), DE Carl Nassib (hand) and LB Nate Orchard (ankle) in the lineup. CB Tramon Williams (shoulder) is listed as doubtful, leaving him unlikely to play. S Ibraheim Campbell (hamstring) and CB Joe Haden (groin) are both listed as questionable.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle), WR Josh Doctson (achilles), G Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and CB Dashaun Phillips (hamstring) are all out for the Redskins. LB Trent Murphy (elbow, shoulder) and DE Kendall Reyes (groin) are both questionable.

Broncos at Buccaneers

TE Virgil Green (calf), T Donald Stephenson (calf) and LB DeMarcus Ware (forearm) remain out for the Broncos. Safeties Shiloh Keo (knee) and Justin Simmons (hand) both drew questionable designations.

The Buccaneers ruled out DE Robert Ayers (ankle), RB Doug Martin (hamstring), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and TE Luke Stocker (ankle). C Joe Hawley (ankle) is listed as questionable.

Rams at Cardinals

Cardinals P Drew Butler (calf) and DT Frostee Rucker (knee) will not play this weekend.

Rams DE William Hayes (ankle) is doubtful after missing practice all week. WR Tavon Austin (shoulder), WR Kenny Britt (thigh), DT Dominique Easley (illness) and CB Lamarcus Joyner (toe) are all listed as questionable.

Saints at Chargers

T Terron Armstead (knee), CB Delvin Breaux (fibula), TE Josh Hill (ankle) and G Senio Kelemete (hamstring) are out for the Saints. DT Tyeler Davison (shoulder, foot), LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep), LB James Laurinaitis (quadricep), WR Willie Snead (toe) and S Kenny Vaccaro (ankle) are all listed as questionable.

The Chargers will play without S Jahleel Addae (collarbone), DE Joey Bosa (hamstring) and CB Brandon Flowers (concussion). Doubtful tags leave T King Dunlap (illness) and TE Antonio Gates (hamstring) unlikely to play. T Joe Barksdale (foot), LB Jatavis Brown (hamstring) and G Orlando Franklin (back) are all questionable.

Cowboys at 49ers

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (knee) is questionable, but he didn’t practice all week and said the team will play it safe. LT Tyron Smith (back) is also questionable and also didn’t practice. CB Orlando Scandrick (hamstring), DE Jack Crawford (shoulder), RT Doug Free (quadriceps), LB Andrew Gachkar (neck), S Jeff Heath (knee), and LB Mark Nzeocha (Achilles) round out the list of questionable Cowboys. QB Tony Romo (back) is out.

The 49ers ruled out CB Jimmie Ward (quadricep). Tight ends Vance McDonald (hip) and Garrett Celek (back) are questionable.

Chiefs at Steelers

RB Jamaal Charles (knee) may play for the first time this season after being listed as questionable. The Chiefs definitely won’t have T Jah Reid (knee, ankle) and RB Charcandrick West (ankle), however. CB Phillip Gaines (knee) and LB Tamba Hali (knee, hand) are both questionable.

The Steelers will be missing G Ramon Foster (chest), S Robert Golden (hamstring), CB Senquez Golson (foot), RB Roosevelt Nix (back), WR Eli Rogers (toe), LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and C Cody Wallace (knee) on Sunday night.

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Sammy Watkins to IR, Bills claim Justin Hunter

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 13:  Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills makes the catch for a 16 yard gain in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 13, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Bills coach Rex Ryan spoke to the media on Friday, there was “major concern” about Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins‘ ability to return to the lineup in the near future because of continued problems with his surgically repaired foot.

Ryan may have a penchant for hyperbole, but this wasn’t one of those times. The concern about Watkins was great enough that the Bills placed him on injured reserve on Friday afternoon.

Watkins will be eligible to return to the team in eight weeks if his foot is feeling better and the Bills opt to use their one designated return spot for him, but there’s obviously some doubt about when Watkins might be well enough to return to the Bills lineup.

The Bills filled Watkins’ roster spot by claiming wide receiver Justin Hunter off of waivers from the Dolphins. A 2013 second-round pick of the Titans, Hunter has not made good on the potential he showed coming out of college. With Watkins out of the lineup, he should get plenty of chances to do so in Buffalo in the coming weeks.

Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, Greg Salas, Brandon Tate and Walter Powell are the other wideouts on Buffalo’s active roster.

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Marvin Jones, Eric Ebron questionable for Lions

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25: Marvin Jones #11 of the Detroit Lions catches a touchdown pass in the 4th quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 34-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the Lions try to move to 2-2 on the year, they’ll definitely not have two key players. They possibly won’t have two others.

As expected, defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy are out for Sunday’s game, with ankle and quad injuries, respectively.

Receiver Marvin Jones (hamstring) and tight end Eric Ebron (ankle) are questionable. Both fully participated in practice on Friday after being limited on Thursday.

Also questionable for the Lions are cornerback Adairius Barnes (ankle), defensive end Wallace Gilberry (abdomen), tackle Riley Reiff (ankle), defensive end Devin Taylor (ankle), linebacker Antwione Williams  (hamstring), and safety Tavon Wilson (neck).

Jones leads the league in receiving yards through three games, with 408 total yards.

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