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Hall of Fame announces 94 modern-era nominees for 2017

Houston Texans v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has announced 94 former players and coaches as modern-era nominees for the Hall’s 2017 class.

Prominent first-year nominees include pass rusher Jason Taylor, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and wide receiver Hines Ward. 2016 finalists back on the ballot include quarterback Kurt Warner, running backs Edgerrin James and Terrell Davis, wide receiver Terrell Owens, offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Joe Jacoby, safeties Steve Atwater and John Lynch, kicker Morten Andersen and ex-coach Don Coryell.

The list will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January. Eighteen finalists — those 15 from this group, senior finalist Kenny Easley and contributor category finalists Jerry Jones and Paul Tagliabue — will be presented to the selection committee before the Super Bowl next February. Between four and eight new Hall of Famers will be selected.

The full list of 2017 nominees, by position, is below…

Quarterbacks (7)

Drew Bledsoe, Randall Cunningham, Doug Flutie, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair, Phil Simms, Kurt Warner

Running backs (13)

Shaun Alexander, Ottis Anderson, Tiki Barber, Larry Centers, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Eddie George, Edgerrin James, Daryl Johnston, Eric Metcalf, LaDainian Tomlinson, Herschel Walker Ricky Watters

Wide receivers (10)

Isaac Bruce, Henry Ellard, Torry Holt, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Terrell Owens, Sterling Sharpe, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Hines Ward

Tight end (1)

Mark Bavaro

Offensive linemen (14)

Tony Boselli, Ray Donaldson, Alan Faneca, Jay Hilgenberg, Chris Hinton, Kent Hull, Joe Jacoby, Mike Kenn, Olin Kreutz, Jim Lachey, Kevin Mawae, Tom Nalen, Nate Newton, Steve Wisniewski

Defensive linemen (5)

Leslie O’Neal, Simeon Rice, Fred Smerlas, Jason Taylor, Bryant Young

Linebackers (11)

Carl Banks, Cornelius Bennett, Tedy Bruschi, Seth Joyner, Levon Kirkland, Clay Matthews Jr., Willie McGinest, Karl Mecklenburg, Sam Mills, Joey Porter, Zach Thomas

Defensive backs (16)

Eric Allen, Steve Atwater, Joey Browner, LeRoy Butler, Brian Dawkins, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law, Albert Lewis, John Lynch, Frank Minnifield, Bob Sanders, Darren Sharper, Dennis Smith, Troy Vincent, Everson Walls, Darren Woodson

Kicker/punter (4)

Morten Andersen, Gary Anderson, Sean Landeta, Nick Lowery

Special teams (2)

Brian Mitchell, Steve Tasker

Coaches (11)

Don Coryell, Bill Cowher, Tom Flores, Mike Holmgren, Jimmy Johnson, Chuck Knox, Buddy Parker, Richie Petitbon, Dan Reeves, Clark Shaughnessy, Dick Vermeil

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Week Two Power Rankings

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 8:  Justin Simmons #31, Shaquil Barrett #48, Dekoda Watson #57, and Brandon Marshall #54 of the Denver Broncos celebrate a missed field goal at the end of the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

1. Broncos (1-0; last week No. 1): How many wins will it take for all of the fans to start spelling and/or pronouncing the quarterback’s name properly?

2. Patriots (1-0; No. 3): If Jimmy G. keeps playing like #Tommy, how long will it be until the head coach is taking J.C.’s name in vain at a press conference, again?

3. Panthers (0-1; No. 2): Based on last week, Cam Newton may not be able to play long enough to ever be old enough to get the calls he still isn’t getting.

4. Seahawks (1-0; No. 4): It sure looked like they missed Marshawn Lynch on Sunday, victory notwithstanding.

5. Steelers (1-0; No. 6): The Steel Curtain has been melted down and transformed into a Ginsu Knife.

6. Cardinals (0-1; No. 5): They could have won it late, but if the Cardinals are truly a Super Bowl contender it shouldn’t have been close.

7. Packers (1-0; No. 7): They should add the “Aaron Rodgers throws while being pulled down from behind” play to the Hail Mary as part of the standard offense.

8. Bengals (1-0; No. 8): Stealing a road win against a playoff-caliber team is the kind of thing that will help the Bengals get back to the playoffs a sixth straight time.

9. Chiefs (1-0; No. 10): Like last year, they won in Week One. The next challenge is to avoid five straight losses for the second straight season.

10. Vikings (1-0; No. 11): If the defense can score two touchdowns every week, the Vikings will be just fine without Teddy Bridgewater.

11. Raiders (1-0; No. 12): One-Eyed Jack Del Rio is the perfect coach for a team whose logo wears an eyepatch.

12. Texans (1-0; No. 13): They already have a one-game lead over the rest of the division, and they may never relinquish it.

13. Ravens (1-0; No. 16): With a 13-7 win, Baltimore remains largely off the radar. And that’s exactly how they like it.

14. Washington (0-1; No. 9): Maybe Josh Norman won’t have a pair of battles with Odell Beckham, Jr. this year, after all.

15. Buccaneers (1-0): The nationwide shrugs of the shoulders regarding the win over the Falcons in Atlanta will yield to another bodily activity starting with “sh” if the Bucs beat the Cardinals in Arizona.

16. Giants (1-0; No. 27): The Giants should just buy the naming rights to AT&T Stadium.

17. Cowboys (0-1; No. 14): The good news is that Dak Prescott won’t miss any film-room time this week because he’s sitting for a bronze bust.

18. Jaguars (0-1; No. 18): Opportunity lost is better than opportunity non-existent, I suppose.

19. Dolphins (0-1; No. 19): See No. 18.

20. Jets (0-1; No. 17): See No. 19.

21. Lions (1-0; No. 23): If Calvin Johnson hadn’t retired, he possibly would have generated 300 receiving yards against the Colts.

22. 49ers (1-0; No. 28): For the second straight year, the 49ers chalked up a big win at home in prime time over a playoff contender. Here’s hoping the rest of 2015 doesn’t get duplicated.

23. Saints (0-1; No. 22): Only four times has a team lost by giving up a two-point conversion in the final minute of a regular-season game. The Saints have done it twice, both times at home.

24. Colts (0-1; No. 15): If they couldn’t put a good team around Andrew Luck when he was playing under his rookie deal, how will they do it now that he’s the highest-paid player in the game?

25. Falcons (0-1; No. 24): So far, the Pete Carroll coaching tree is looking the twig under which Charlie Brown puts his Christmas presents.

26. Eagles (1-0; No. 31): A win is a win is a win, even when the win comes against a team that some think should be relegated to the CFL.

27. Bears (0-1; No. 25): With the Eagles coming back to town for a Monday night game, some fans may be hoping for a return of the fog, for reasons other than nostalgia.

28. Titans (0-1; No. 26): It’s hard to harmonize “exotic smash mouth” running with “close your eyes and hope for the best” quarterbacking.

29. Bills (0-1; No. 29): The Sammy-Watkins-foot-is-bothering-him-unless-it-isn’t routine sums up the current state of the franchise perfectly.

30. Chargers (0-1; No. 30): Somehow, this is all Joey Bosa’s fault, right?

31. Rams (0-1; No. 21): Jeff Fisher didn’t want to be 7-9 again. He likely won’t be, but not in the way he had hoped.

32. Browns (0-1; No. 32): If you had Week One in the RGIII injury sweepstakes, enjoy the fruits of your even-money wager.

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NFL morning after: Concerning concussions

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers is hit by defensive end Derek Wolfe #95 and defensive end Jared Crick #93 of the Denver Broncos in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

As football fans we seem to have an on-off switch about brain injuries. The top story in the NFL on Friday and into the weekend was that Cam Newton took several shots to the head on Thursday night, and the response to those shots to the head is now the subject of a league investigation. And yet as soon as the games kicked off on Sunday afternoon, we all stopped thinking about brain injuries.

I watched football all day on Sunday and was on Twitter reading what everyone was saying and I saw literally nothing about hits to the head or concussions or any of these other concerns. The game itself is so great that we simply turn off our concerns when we turn on our TVs and sit back and enjoy the games.

And yet the concerns about brain injuries are real. And so before I get to what a great Sunday of football it was, I want to present to you my thoughts on how the NFL can reduce the number of helmet-to-helmet hits and the brain injuries that go with them:

MAKE IT A PENALTY WITH REAL TEETH. Right now, helmet-to-helmet hits are penalized with 15 yards and an automatic first down. That’s not enough. It should be 25 yards and an automatic first down for hits to the head of a quarterback, and 25 yards or the spot of the foul — whichever is farther downfield — for hits to the head of a defenseless receiver. The NFL should also eliminate the half the distance to the goal line provision for hits to the head: Under current rules, if the offense is at the 24-yard line and a defender hits a quarterback in the helmet, they move the ball to the 12-yard line. I’d like to see the ball moved to the 1-yard line for any penalty where the line of scrimmage is inside the 25. If pass interference penalties can be more than 15 yards, and can give the offense the ball on the 1-yard line, why can’t penalties for the infraction that is threatening the future of the sport?

ALLOW COACHES TO CHALLENGE. If a coach thinks one of his players took an illegal hit to the head, he should be able to throw the challenge flag and ask the ref to review it — including in the last two minutes of a half, when other plays can’t be challenged. Ron Rivera surely would have thrown a challenge flag on when Brandon Marshall brutally hit Newton and the officials didn’t see it, except that the rules don’t allow Rivera to challenge that particular missed call.

HOLD THE OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR MISSED CALLS. The officials are already graded on whether or not they make the right calls, but they need to be instructed by the NFL that blows to the head will be the calls for which they are most closely scrutinized. An official who misses a blatant hit to the head like Marshall’s on Newton should have his chances of getting playoff assignments lowered. Miss calls like that too often, and an official should be out of a job. In college football, a crew of officials was suspended this weekend for mistakenly giving Central Michigan an extra play to beat Oklahoma State. The NFL should have that kind of accountability for officials who miss hits to the head.

MAKE TWO HITS TO THE HELMET IN A GAME AN AUTOMATIC EJECTION. It’s ridiculous that the NFL automatically ejects players for taunting twice in a game but not for hitting an opponent in the head twice in a game. If you were an NFL player, would you rather get taunted, or drilled in the head? I don’t recall the NFL spending around a billion dollars to settle any lawsuits brought by players who got taunted on the field.

MAKE THREE HITS TO THE HELMET IN A SEASON AN AUTOMATIC SUSPENSION. Simple: A player commits three illegal hits to an opponent’s head in a season, he’s suspended for a game. Repeat offenders will learn that way.

HAVE A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TAKE THE FIELD AFTER EVERY ILLEGAL HIT TO THE HEAD. The NFL has concussion spotters who are supposed to call for players to be pulled from games and checked if they fear that a player has a concussion, but those spotters clearly don’t feel empowered to use that authority very often. A better solution would be to have medical professionals on the sideline ready to run on the field and check a player immediately any time a flag is thrown for a helmet-to-helmet hit. This wouldn’t have to be particularly time-consuming: If the player appears to be fine and says he’s OK, the medical professional leaves him out there. If the player is glassy-eyed or has trouble answering if he’s OK, the medical professional takes him out for further evaluation.

Those solutions won’t eliminate all brain injuries in football. There’s no solution that will do that. But the NFL can, and must, do better.

Now on to my thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Dak Prescott is no Tony Romo. Prescott, the Cowboys’ rookie quarterback, is an impressive young talent. But he’s a long way from being as good as a healthy Romo, and any Cowboys fan who thought Dallas would be fine without Romo is kidding himself. In their last 37 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-14 without him.

Adam Vinatieri is ageless. Vinatieri, the 43-year-old Colts kicker, is the oldest player in the NFL. But he appears to be as good as ever. Vinatieri went 2-for-2 on field goals including a 50-yarder yesterday, which was the 28th field goal of 50 yards or longer in his career. What’s really amazing is that Vinatieri is making long field goals far more now than he used to: Of his 28 career 50-yard field goals, 20 have come during his 11 seasons with the Colts, while only eight were during his 10 seasons with the Patriots. In his 20s, Adam Vinatieri was 8-for-13 on 50-plus yard field goals. In his 30s he went 8-for-19. And in his 40s, through yesterday, he’s 12-for-15.

Kudos to Jack Del Rio. NFL coaches just don’t have enough guts when it comes to going for two. So I was glad to see Del Rio go for two when the Raiders scored a late touchdown in New Orleans, and glad to see it work, as the Raiders made the two-point conversion and won 35-34. (It’s also nice to see that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is developing into an excellent young quarterback.)

Shaun Hill is just fine. It was a huge blow to the Vikings when they lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for the season, but I will always maintain they panicked when they responded by trading a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Sam Bradford. The Vikings should have just stuck with Hill, who completed 18 of 33 passes for 236 yards, with no turnovers, in Sunday’s win over the Titans. Bradford will eventually take over for Hill, but I’m not so sure Bradford is any better. Certainly not so much better to make him worth a first-round pick and a fourth-round pick.

It’s a great time to be a football fan. Sitting there yesterday watching four TVs, with Red Zone Channel on one screen, DirecTV’s Game Mix on another screen, and the two games of my choosing on the two other screens, I thought back to how different being a fan was 20 years ago, when we were saddled with one NFL game at a time. There’s never been a better time to watch football. Now the NFL needs to take the steps to make the game safer, so that it lasts into the next generation.

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Week One injury report roundup

Baltimore Ravens v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The first Sunday of the 2016 season is just around the corner, which means that it is time to catch up on all of the injuries that could impact this weekend’s games.

The injury report roundup will look a bit different this season. The NFL has abolished the probable designation for players who appeared on the practice report during the week and are considered certain to play on Sunday, leaving only questionable, doubtful and out.

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.

Buccaneers at Falcons

Buccaneers LB Devante Bond (hamstring) is out. S Ryan Smith (hand) and TE Luke Stocker (back) are listed as questionable.

S Keanu Neal (knee) is out for the Falcons and S Dashon Goldson (hamstring) and RB Terron Ward (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bills at Ravens

Bills S Colt Anderson (foot) and CB Kevon Seymour (hamstring) are out. G Ryan Groy (ribs), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder) and RB Jonathan Williams (ribs) are all listed as questionable.

Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot) and CB Jerraud Powers (ankle) are all out. TE Dennis Pitta (finger), G John Urschel (shoulder), TE Maxx Williams (knee) and CB Shareece Wright (foot) are questionable

Bears at Texans

The Bears listed WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder), S Deon Bush (hamstring), CB Bryce Callahan (groin), CB Kyle Fuller (knee), RB Paul Lasike (wrist), G Kyle Long (shoulder), WR Deonte Thompson (knee, ankle), DE Cornelius Washington (ankle, knee) and WR Kevin White (hamstring) as questionable.

T Duane Brown (knee) is out for the Texans and is the only player on the injury report.

Packers at Jaguars

CB Josh Hawkins (hamstring) is out for the Packers. S Chris Banjo (hamstring), WR Trevor Davis (shoulder) and LB Jay Elliott (hamstring) were listed as doubtful. WR Jeff Janis (hand) and TE Justin Perillo (knee) got questionable tags.

Jaguars RB Chris Ivory (calf) and DE Jared Odrick (jaw, head) are questionable, although coach Gus Bradley said he expects them to play.

Chargers at Chiefs

In a welcome change from last season for the Chargers, they have no players on the injury report this week.

RB Jamaal Charles (knee) is doubtful for the Chiefs.

Raiders at Saints

Raiders T Austin Howard (ankle) has been ruled out.

LB Dannell Ellerbe (quadricep) won’t play for the Saints. T Terron Armstead (knee, quadricep), TE Chris Manhertz (head) and WR Michael Thomas (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals at Jets

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is out and CB Darqueze Dennard (ankle) is doubtful to play.

The Jets ruled out QB Bryce Petty (right shoulder) and CB Darryl Roberts (foot). LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) is doubtful while LB Bruce Carter (shoulder) and LB David Harris (shoulder) are questionable.

Browns at Eagles

CB Marcus Burley (groin) won’t play for the Browns and is the only player on the injury report.

Eagles WR Bryce Treggs (knee) is out. TE Trey Burton (calf) and DE Vinny Curry (knee) are questionable.

Vikings at Titans

Vikings C Nick Easton (ankle) and TE MyCole Pruitt (knee) are out. WR Charles Johnson (quadricep) and RB Jerick McKinnon (foot) are questionable.

WR Kendall Wright (hamstring) is the only Titan on the injury report. He won’t play this weekend.

Dolphins at Seahawks

The Dolphins ruled RB Jay Ajayi (not injury related) and C Mike Pouncey (hip) out for Sunday. Dolphins coach Adam Gase said it was a coach’s decision for Ajayi not to travel with the team. DE Terrence Fede (knee), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee), DT Earl Mitchell (calf), WR DeVante Parker (hamstring), RB Isaiah Pead (hamstring) and T Laremy Tunsil (knee) are all listed as questionable.

TE Nick Vannett (ankle) is out for the Seahawks. TE Jimmy Graham (knee) and G Germain Ifedi (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Giants at Cowboys

DT Robert Thomas (illness) is out for the Giants and is the only player on their injury report.

LB Mark Nzeocha (achilles), QB Tony Romo (back) and DE Charles Tapper (back) are all out for the Cowboys. G Ronald Leary (groin) is questionable.

Lions at Colts

Lions TE Eric Ebron (ankle), C Graham Glasgow (toe), T Corey Robinson (ankle) and WR Golden Tate (ankle) all drew questionable designations despite full practices on Thursday and Friday.

DT Henry Anderson (knee), CB Darius Butler (ankle), CB Vontae Davis (ankle) and S Clayton Geathers (foot) are out for the Colts. T Joe Haeg (ankle), G Jack Mewhort (knee) and LB Sio Moore (hamstring) are questionable.

Patriots at Cardinals

The Patriots listed G Jonathan Cooper (foot), DE Trey Flowers (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), WR Chris Hogan (shoulder), G Shaquille Mason (hand), LB Shea McClellin (shoulder), WR Malcolm Mitchell (elbow) and T Nate Solder (hamstring) as questionable. A report on Friday said Gronkowski, Cooper and Solder were not on the team plane to Arizona.

Cardinals LB Kareem Martin (knee) is out. CB Justin Bethel (foot), LB Lamar Louis (knee) and RB Stepfan Taylor (knee) are questionable.

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PFT’s 2016 season predictions

Super Bowl XLV Getty Images

The regular season is finally upon us, which means it’s time for PFT’s preseason predictions. Guaranteed to look dumb in 17 weeks.

Last year, none of us picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl, and only one of us picked the Broncos to get to the Super Bowl. Not only did none of us have the Panthers winning the NFC, none of us even had the Panthers making the playoffs.

This year we have to be better, right? Tell us in the comments what you think.

Josh Alper


1. Steelers, 2. Chiefs, 3. Patriots, 4. Texans, 5. Bengals, 6. Raiders

Wild card: Patriots over Raiders, Bengals over Texans

Divisional round: Steelers over Bengals, Patriots over Chiefs

Conference championship: Steelers over Patriots


1. Packers, 2. Seahawks, 3. Panthers, 4. Giants, 5. Cardinals, 6. Bucs

Wild card: Panthers over Bucs, Cardinals over Giants

Divisional round: Packers over Cardinals, Seahawks over Panthers

Conference championship: Packers over Seahawks

Super Bowl: Packers over Steelers

Curtis Crabtree


1. Patriots; 2. Chiefs; 3. Bengals; 4. Jaguars; 5. Steelers; 6. Raiders

Wild card: Bengals over Raiders, Steelers over Jaguars

Divisional round: Patriots over Steelers, Bengals over Chiefs

Conference championship: Patriots over Bengals


1. Seahawks; 2. Panthers; 3. Cowboys; 4. Lions; 5. Cardinals; 6. Packers

Wild card: Packers over Cowboys, Cardinals over Lions

Divisional round: Seahawks over Packers, Cardinals over Panthers

Conference championship: Seahawks over Cardinals

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Patriots

Mike Florio


1. Patriots, 2. Ravens, 3. Chiefs, 4. Texans, 5. Bengals, 6. Broncos

Wild card: Broncos over Chiefs, Texans over Bengals

Divisional: Patriots over Broncos, Ravens over Texans

Conference championship: Ravens over Patriots


1. Panthers, 2. Packers, 3. Seahawks, 4. Washington, 5. Cardinals, 6. Buccaneers

Wild card: Seahawks over Bucs, Cardinals over Washington

Divisional: Panthers over Cardinals, Packers over Seahawks

Conference championship: Packers over Panthers

Super Bowl: Packers over Ravens

Darin Gantt


1. Bengals; 2. Patriots; 3. Broncos; 4. Jaguars; 5. Steelers; 6. Raiders

Wild card: Broncos over Raiders, Steelers over Jaguars

Divisional round: Patriots over Broncos, Bengals over Steelers

Conference Championship: Bengals over Patriots


1. Packers; 2. Panthers; 3. Seahawks; 4. Giants; 5. Cardinals; 6. Vikings

Wild card: Seahawks over Vikings, Cardinals over Giants

Divisional round: Panthers over Seahawks, Packers over Cardinals

Conference championship: Packers over Panthers

Super Bowl: Packers over Bengals

Zac Jackson


1. Steelers; 2. Chiefs; 3. Patriots; 4. Titans; 5. Bengals 6. Ravens

Wild card: Patriots over Ravens; Bengals over Titans

Divisional round: Patriots over Chiefs; Steelers over Bengals

Conference championship: Steelers over Patriots


1. Panthers 2. Seahawks 3. Packers 4. Redskins 5. Cardinals 6. Vikings

Wild card: Packers over Vikings; Cardinals over Redskins

Divisional round: Seahawks over Packers; Panthers over Cardinals

Conference championship: Seahawks over Panthers

Super Bowl: Steelers over Seahawks

Michael David Smith


1. Bengals, 2. Patriots, 3. Broncos, 4. Colts, 5. Steelers, 6. Chiefs

Wild card: Steelers over Colts, Broncos over Chiefs

Divisional round: Bengals over Steelers, Patriots over Broncos

Conference championship: Bengals over Patriots


1. Seahawks, 2. Packers, 3. Panthers, 4. Giants, 5. Cardinals, 6. Saints

Wild card: Cardinals over Giants, Panthers over Saints

Divisional Round: Seahawks over Cardinals, Packers over Panthers

Conference championship: Seahawks over Packers

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Bengals

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PFT’s Week One picks

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s not a rematch.

Hey, if it works for the Panthers in advance of the Thursday night non-rematch rematch against the Broncos, it works for me in the latest installment of the picks competition with MDS, both in the regular season and postseason.

This year is a new year, and I intend to win both — unlike last year. And both MDS and I are the only two who care.

If you care about what we think about this week’s games, keep scrolling.

Panthers at Broncos

MDS’s take: In the Super Bowl, the Broncos’ great defense reined in Cam Newton and allowed Peyton Manning to retire with another ring. But this time around I think Newton will make some big plays, and Trevor Siemian will make some big mistakes in his first career start.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Broncos 10.

Florio’s take: Denver’s defense may still be able to slow down Carolina’s offense, but Carolina’s defense should be able to shut down a Denver offense led by a second-year seventh-round pick who will be wet behind the ears at kickoff and quite possibly wet elsewhere during the game.

Florio’s pick: Panthers 20, Broncos 13.

Packers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Some see this as a turnaround year for the Jaguars, but I’m not sold. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson will have a big game against Jacksonville’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take: Picking the upset here is tempting, but the up-and-coming Jaguars have a long way to go until they’ll be ready to come up with this kind of a signature win over a Super Bowl contender.

Florio’s pick: Packers 38, Jaguars 27.

Bills at Ravens

MDS’s take: Rex Ryan needs to get the Bills’ defense turned around or else he’s going to be looking for work in four months. I’m not convinced he has the personnel to make it happen.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 28, Bills 20.

Florio’s take: The Ravens will win a lot of games this year. The Bills will lose a lot of games this year. Ipso facto, I like the Ravens to set the right tone for what could be a big year.

Florio’s pick: Ravens 24, Bills 13.

Bears at Texans

MDS’s take: The Bears were not impressive in the preseason and look like a team that needs another year to turn things around. They’re going to have an ugly season.

MDS’s pick: Texans 16, Bears 10.

Florio’s take: The quarterback drafted four years ago by John Fox gets a chance to give Fox the first loss of his second season in Chicago. The decisions to give a bunch of money to Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller soon will be looking pretty good, and the decision not to give DeAndre Hopkins a raise soon won’t be.

Florio’s pick: Texans 27, Bears 19.

Browns at Eagles

MDS’s take: Robert Griffin III vs. Carson Wentz is an oddly fascinating quarterback matchup. I see Griffin making a few big plays and Wentz making a few big mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Browns 23, Eagles 13.

Florio’s take: The Browns didn’t see Carson Wentz as being a good fit for their offense. He’ll definitely be a good fit for their defense this weekend.

Florio’s pick: Browns 16, Eagles 7.

Buccaneers at Falcons

MDS’s take: The Bucs fired Lovie Smith, but will they be any better under Dirk Koetter? I’m not so sure. Look for the Falcons to hand the Bucs a Week One loss.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Buccaneers 14.

Florio’s take: If Jameis Winston is the real deal, this is the kind of game the Buccaneers need to start winning. And, yes, Winston is the real deal.

Florio’s pick: Buccaneers 20, Falcons 17.

Vikings at Titans

MDS’s take: Does the loss of Teddy Bridgewater make this game a loss for Minnesota? I don’t think so. I still believe the Vikings’ defense will make life tough for the Titans’ offense, and the Vikings’ offense will manage a couple of long scoring drives.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 14, Titans 10.

Florio’s take: The Titans are 2-0 in Week One over the past two years, 3-27 after it. The “after” tends to make the “before” less of a trend and more of a fluke. The Vikings are the better team across the board. It won’t be pretty, but Minnesota will score enough points to emerge with a win.

Florio’s pick: Vikings 13, Titans 9.

Bengals at Jets

MDS’s take: I’m not convinced that Ryan Fitzpatrick will have the same kind of season in 2016 that he had in 2015, while I think a healthy Andy Dalton is due for a big year in Cincinnati. The Bengals will set the tone for a strong season with an impressive win in New York.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Jets 14.

Florio’s take: It’s a good, early-season test for a Jets team that would love to be able to say that it has lost playoff games in each of the last five years. The Bengals hope to continue what they’ve done the past five years, and to get a win when January rolls around. Home field makes it tighter, but overall talent wins out.

Florio’s pick: Bengals 24, Jets 17.

Raiders at Saints

MDS’s take: The Raiders are getting better and have good young talent, but I think their secondary may struggle against Drew Brees. I like the Saints in a shootout.

MDS’s pick: Saints 35, Raiders 34.

Florio’s take: Expectations are high for the Raiders, a team that has depth and talent and an opportunity to make a playoff push for the first time in a long time. They’ll have to do it from an 0-1 hole, thanks to an off-the-radar Saints team that is good enough to hold serve at home with a potent offense and a defense that has to be better, because it couldn’t be any worse than it was a year ago.

Florio’s pick: Saints 31, Raiders 27.

Chargers at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Jamaal Charles isn’t back to health yet, but I still like the Chiefs’ running game with a three-headed attack of Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis. The Chiefs should control this game from start to finish.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 24, Chargers 16.

Florio’s take: The Chiefs have started slowly the past two seasons, before finishing strong. It’s premature to comment on how they’ll finish; for now, it’s pedal-to-the-metal against an overmatched division rival playing in a tough place to win.

Florio’s pick: Chiefs 30, Chargers 17.

Dolphins at Seahawks

MDS’s take: Despite the high-profile departure of Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks still have one of the best rosters in the NFL from top to bottom. The Dolphins have something far short of that.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 30, Dolphins 10.

Florio’s take: As potential upsets go, this would be the biggest of the weekend. I have a weird feeling about this one, but it’s way too early in the year to do anything but pick the home team in an intimidatingly loud stadium that every AFC visits only once every eight years.

Florio’s pick: Seahawks 24, Dolphins 17.

Lions at Colts

MDS’s take: Both of these teams are coming off disappointing seasons, and I’m not convinced that either team has done enough to turn things around in 2016. But in this game I’ll take the Colts, with a big game from Andrew Luck likely.

MDS’s pick: Colts 28, Lions 21.

Florio’s take: On the Manning scale, Andrew Luck started his career closer to Peyton. Now, Andrew is moving closer to Archie, thanks to a front office that has been unable to surround the quarterback with enough competent talent. Upset alert, sort of. Revenge of Jim Caldwell, absolutely.

Florio’s pick: Lions 24, Colts 17.

Giants at Cowboys

MDS’s take: In their last 36 games, the Cowboys are 17-5 with Tony Romo and 1-13 without him. I think it’s about to be 1-14 without Romo.

MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Cowboys 20.

Florio’s take: Dak Prescott may not become the next Roger Staubach, but for the first game of the season they’ll have him ready to be Clint Longley. The fact that the Giants haven’t improved nearly as much as they hope will be a factor, too.

Florio’s pick: Cowboys 27, Giants 20.

Patriots at Cardinals

MDS’s take: With Tom Brady suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo starting, the Patriots have a tall order. But I think the Cardinals are going to have another strong season, and I actually wouldn’t pick the Patriots to win at Arizona even with Brady.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 30, Patriots 17.

Florio’s take: Plenty of good teams have been made to look plenty bad in Arizona lately. It’s not clear how good the Patriots will be without Tom Brady, but they won’t be good enough to overcome the challenges of competing with the Cardinals on their home turf.

Florio’s pick: Cardinals 28, Patriots 20.

Steelers at Washington

MDS’s take: I see Antonio Brown running wild through Washington’s secondary, and Washington’s offense unable to keep up.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 31, Washington 21.

Florio’s take: Most aren’t buying Washington, a year after an unlikely playoff berth. I am. Besides, the Steelers tend to overachieve when expectations are low, and to underachieve when expectations are high.

Florio’s pick: Washington 24, Steelers 21.

Rams at 49ers

MDS’s take: The Rams have plenty of holes on the roster, but the 49ers look like they might just be the worst team in the league. Los Angeles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Rams 24, 49ers 14.

Florio’s take: Even if the Rams are once again going to be mired in “7-9 bullsh-t,” they need seven wins. Here’s one. Which is one game closer to the return of Colin Kaepernick.

Florio’s pick: Rams 17, 49ers 10.

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PFT’s Week One Power Rankings

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos runs onto the field before the preseaon NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 38-17 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

[Editor’s note: Every Tuesday during the season, PFT posts a top-to-bottom list of all teams in the league. This week’s opening effort comes a day early, with yet another money-back guarantee. To all of the fans of the teams in the second half of the rankings, keep two things in mind: (1) someone had to be there; and (2) this list and a dollar will buy you a newspaper, if they actually still sell newspapers.]

1. Broncos (0-0): The defending champion gets two things: A regular-season home opener on Thursday night (unless the local baseball team is in town) and the top spot in the initial PFT power rankings until they lose. Which could happen very, very soon.

2. Panthers (0-0): Three straight division titles, a 15-1 regular season in 2015, the reigning league MVP, and a general sense that the team isn’t getting nearly enough respect.

3. Patriots (0-0): Even without Tom Brady for four weeks and the Broncos clutching the latest Lombardi Trophy, the Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC.

4. Seahawks (0-0): They got better last year after Marshawn Lynch was injured. Now that he’s gone for good, they may be as good as they were in 2013.

5. Cardinals (0-0): “All or Nothing” ultimately ended up in “nothing” last year. Whether they get the “all” in 2016 depends on whether they get “anything” out of Carson Palmer when it counts.

6. Steelers (0-0): The defense quietly has improved to the point where not having Martavis Bryant for a year or Le’Veon Bell for three weeks doesn’t really matter.

7. Packers (0-0): Yes, they would have been higher if they hadn’t dumped Josh Sitton on Saturday.

8. Bengals (0-0): If Andy Dalton runs his ass to the sideline, the Bengals may be riding to their first playoff win since the week before they destroyed Bo Jackson’s hip.

9. Washington (0-0): Coach Jay Gruden used his team’s placement on this list at No. 32 last year as motivation. This year, he’ll have to find motivation somewhere else.

10. Chiefs (0-0): With all the talk about the Broncos fading and the Raiders rising, the Chiefs get lost in the shuffle. They won’t once the games begin.

11. Vikings (0-0): Whether the Sam Bradford trade becomes Herschel Walker Part II or the Second Coming of Randall Cunningham remains to be seen. The rest of the roster is good enough to keep the team on the fringes of the top 10, for now.

12. Raiders (0-0): Expectations for 2016 may be a bit high, but the Raiders are on the verge of bringing a much-needed Darth Vader vibe back to the NFL, allowing the league office to perhaps stop being the primary villain in the nation’s ultimate reality show.

13. Texans (0-0): The division is tightening up; as long as Brock Osweiler doesn’t, they should win the division.

14. Cowboys (0-0): Dak Prescott will soon learn the difference between preseason and regular-season games.

15. Colts (0-0): Andrew Luck currently is closer to Archie than Peyton on the Manning scale, and Luck can thank the organization for that.

16. Ravens (0-0): If they can stay healthy, they can get back to the playoffs and give the Patriots all they can handle, again.

17. Jets (0-0): The Jets surely hope that, when it’s time for Ryan Fitzpatrick to perform in the clutch, he’ll perform better than their offseason contract offers to him suggest.

18. Jaguars (0-0): How will the franchise respond to the sudden weight of outside expectations and not-so-subtle internal mandates? We’re about to find out when the Packers roll into town.

19. Dolphins (0-0): The Dolphins are on the right track. The question is how long it will take to get to the destination.

20. Buccaneers (0-0): Few teams in the 20s ever have a realistic chance to get all the way to the Super Bowl. This one does.

21. Rams (0-0): The Climb to 7-9 begins, with the latest evidence of the same-old outcome coming from the failure of the No. 1 overall pick to be higher than No. 3 on the depth chart.

22. Saints (0-0): The Saints love being off the radar this year. They definitely are, at least for now. It may not last long.

23. Lions (0-0): If Calvin Johnson truly is a Hall of Famer (he’s not), not having him will be anything but a good thing for the Lions.

24. Falcons (0-0): Someone has to be in the fourth spot in the most wide-open division in football. And the Falcons could still find a way to win the thing.

25. Bears (0-0): The defense will be better in Year Two of the John Fox regime, but it’s hard to think the offense will be as good with Adam Gase and Matt Forte gone.

26. Titans (0-0): To get respect, a team has to earn it. Lately, the Titans haven’t. They have a great chance to starting doing it with the Vikings coming to town to start the season.

27. Giants (0-0): Am I convinced that firing Tom Coughlin, keeping everyone else, and promoting Ben McAdoo will make the team better? The placement of the team says it all.

28. 49ers (0-0): The Colin Kaepernick situation has become a nice distraction from the rest-of-the-roster situation.

29. Bills (0-0): It’s always better to easily overcome a low bar set by someone else that to run under a high bar set by yourself.

30. Chargers (0-0): If you climb out of this hole by November and more people vote for the hotel tax, you can thank us.

31. Eagles (0-0): Fly, Eagles, fly. Right into a window, given the decision to start the season with a former FBS quarterback who already has bad ribs.

32. Browns (0-0): Someone has to be in this spot, even when everyone is 0-0. Some think the Browns secretly hope to be in this spot when the season ends, so that they can land DeShaun Watson.

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President Obama’s full statement on Colin Kaepernick

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Guests chat with Colin Kaepernick during a Hublot SF Celebration With Colin Kaepernick At Kokkari on November 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images for Haute Living) Getty Images

During a press conference on his visit to China, President Obama was asked about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem. This was his full answer:

“In terms of Mr. Kaepernick, I’ve got to confess that I haven’t been thinking about football while I’ve been over here and I haven’t been following this closely, but my understanding, at least, is that he’s exercising his Constitutional right to make a statement. I think there’s a long history of sports figures doing so. I think there are a lot of ways you can do it. As a general matter, when it comes to the flag, and the national anthem, and the meaning it holds for our men and women in uniform and those who fought for us, that is a tough thing for them to get past, to then hear what his deeper concerns are. But I don’t doubt his sincerity, based on what I’ve heard. I think he cares about some real, legitimate issues that have to be talked about. And if nothing else, what he’s done is he’s generated more conversation around some topics that need to be talked about.”

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2016 NFL draft picks who didn’t make the cut

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 18:  Running back Zac Brooks #30 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on August 18, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The vast majority of drafted players make their teams’ 53-man rosters, and most of those who don’t end up on injured reserve. Only a select few are disappointing enough in training camp and the preseason to get cut.

Here’s a look at the few, the not proud, the players who were drafted but didn’t make the team:

Round 4, Pick 121: Vikings G Willie Beavers (Western Michigan)

Round 5, Pick 141: Panthers CB Zack Sanchez (Oklahoma)

Round 5, Pick 152: Washington DT Matt Ioannidis (Temple)

Round 5, Pick 162: Chiefs QB Kevin Hogan (Stanford)

Round 6, Pick 180: Vikings WR Moritz Böhringer (Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns)

Round 6, Pick 181: Jaguars DE Tyrone Holmes (Montana)

Round 6, Pick 182: Ravens RB Keenan Reynolds (Navy)

Round 6, Pick 191: Lions QB Jake Rudock (Michigan)

Round 6, Pick 196: Eagles DB Blake Countess (Auburn)

Round 6, Pick 197: Buccaneers TE Dan Vitale (Northwestern)

Round 6, Pick 207: 49ers QB Jeff Driskel (Louisiana Tech)

Round 6, Pick 208: Patriots S Kamu Grugier-Hill (Eastern Illinois)

Round 6, Pick 211: 49ers RB Kelvin Taylor (Florida)

Round 6, Pick 217: Cowboys TE Rico Gathers (Baylor–basketball only)

Round 6, Pick 220: Steelers OLB Travis Feeney (Washington)

Round 7, Pick 225: Patriots WR Devin Lucien (Arizona State)

Round 7, Pick 227: Vikings OLB Stephen Weatherly (Vanderbilt)

Round 7, Pick 229: Steelers WR DeMarcus Ayers (Houston)

Round 7, Pick 230: Bears WR Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan)

Round 7, Pick 247: Seahawks RB Zac Brooks (Clemson)

Round 7, Pick 252: Panthers TE Beau Sandland (Montana State)

Round 7, Pick 253: Titans DB Kalan Reed (Southern Miss)

We’ll keep this list updated as more cuts come in.

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PFT’s 2016 NFC 53-man roster cuts tracker

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 06:  Najee Goode #53 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates with teammates after recovering a blocked punt and scoring touchdown during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 6, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

[Editor’s note: We’re keeping track of the moves as teams make them this weekend, as they have to get to their 53-man roster limit by Saturday at 4 p.m. Check back throughout the weekend, as we’ll update throughout.]


The Cowboys placed running back Darren McFadden on the reserve/non-football injury list, placed defensive end Demarcus Lawrence on the reserve/suspended list and waived-injured defensive end Mike McAdoo.

The Cowboys also parted ways with three former draft pick: Defensive end Ryan Russell, wide receiver Devin Street and tight end Rico Gathers, this year’s sixth-rounder. Gathers, a college basketball player, figures to end up on the practice squad.

Also released were linebacker Derek Akunne, center Jake Brendel, defensive tackle Rodney Coe, cornerback Isaiah Frey, linebacker Brandon Hepburn, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, wide receiver Andy Jones, linebacker Deon King, offensive tackle Ryan Mack, wide receiver Vince Mayle, cornerback Deji Olatoye, defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye, guard Boston Stiverson, tight end Austin Traylor, kicker Matt Wile and offensive tackle Bryan Witzmann.

New York Giants

The team’s last two moves were cutting running back Andre Williams and placing veteran tight end Will Johnson on injured reserve.

The Giants cut veteran offensive lineman Adam Gettis and defensive tackle Jermelle Cudjo, and waived the following 15 players: Quarterback Logan Thomas; wide receivers Geremy Davis, Darius Powe and Anthony Dable; offensive linemen Dillon Farrell and Ryan Seymour; defensive tackle Louis Nix;, defensive end Stansly Maponga; linebackers Brad Bars and Ishaq Williams; cornerbacks Leon McFadden, Michael Hunter and Donte Deayon; and safeties Justin Currie and Andrew Adams. They also waived-injured offensive linemen Emmett Cleary and Jake Rodgers, and have accounted for another roster spot with kicker Josh Brown’s one-game suspension.


The Eagles traded quarterback Sam Bradford to the Vikings.

Waived later Saturday were sixth-round safety Blake Countess, linebacker Najee Goode, safety Ed Reynolds, cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, defensive tackle Bruce Gaston, kicker Cody Parkey, linebacker Don Cherry, guard Darrell Greene, quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, linebacker Quentin Gause, wide receiver Marcus Johnson, offensive lineman Barrett Jones, wide receiver Cayleb Jones, running back Byron Marshall, tight end M.J. McFarland, defensive end Jake Metz, running back Cedric O’Neal, linebacker Myke Tavarres, tight end Chris Pantale, defensive tackle Aziz Shittu and wide receiver David Watford.


Rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson has been activated from the physically unable to perform list.

Fifth-round pick Matt Ioannidis, a defensive end, was waived. The Redskins also released offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus, a 2012 third-round pick, and nose tackle Jerrell Powe. They waived cornerbacks Lloyd Carrington and Mariel Cooper; tackles Takoby Cofield and Isaiah Williams; linebackers Carlos Fields, Lynden Trail and Mike Wakefield; wide receivers Maurice Harris, Kendal Thompson and T.J. Thorpe; running back Mack Brown; defensive end Corey Crawford; tight end Marcel Jensen; guard Nila Kasitati; fullback Joe Kerridge and safety Geno Matias-Smith.

Per multiple reports, the Redskins released veteran defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and tight end Logan Paulsen. Jenkins had signed with the team earlier in the week. Offensive lineman Vinston Painter was also released, PFT has learned.


The Bears waived quarterback David Fales, wide receiver Daniel Braverman, nose tackle Terry Williams, cornerback De’Vaunte Bausby, tight end Ben Braunecker, cornerback Taveze Calhoun, wide receiver B.J. Daniels, center Khaled Holmes, cornerback Kevin Peterson, long snapper Patrick Scales, linebacker John Timu and offensive tackle Jason Weaver.

Released were tight end Rob Housler, wide receiver Marc Mariani, tight end Tony Moeaki, running back Jacquizz Rodgers, guard Shelley Smith and tackle Garry Williams.

Linebacker Pernell McPhee and wide receiver were placed on reserve/physically unable to perform. Defensive end Ego Ferguson and linebacker Danny Mason were waived-injured.


The Lions waived sixth-round quarterback Jake Rudock and three young wide receivers: Jace Billingsley, T.J. Jones and Jay Lee.

The Lions also waived cornerback Alex Carter, wide receiver Quinshad Davis, linebacker Jayson DiManche, tight end Adam Fuehne, linebacker Zaviar Gooden, linebacker Khaseem Greene, center Gabe Ikard, safety Isaiah Johnson, tackle Luke Marquardt, tackle Michael Ola, defensive tackle Caraun Reid, offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, defensive back Charles Washington, running back George Winn and defensive tackle Gabe Wright. Two vested veterans, center Lemuel Jeanpierre and cornerback Darrin Walls, were released.

Tight end Andrew Quarless was placed on the reserve/suspended list.

Green Bay

The Packers released veteran guard Josh Sitton Saturday.

Quarterback Marquise Williams was among the cuts, as were veteran linebackers Sam Barrington and Carl Bradford and long snapper Rick Lovato. They were joined by wide receivers Geronimo Allison and Herb Waters; linebackers Beniquez Brown and Reggie Gilbert; cornerbacks Robertson Daniel and Warren Gatewood; running backs Brandon Ross and Alstevis Squirewell; defensive tackle Brian Price; guard Lucas Patrick; tight end Casey Pierce; and safety Jermaine Whitehead.

Defensive tackle Tyler Kuder and center Kyle Steuck are headed to injured reserve and cornerback Demetri Goodson and defensive tackle Mike Pennell will serve supensions to start the year. Center Corey Linsley was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list due to a hamstring injury.


The Vikings acquired quarterback Sam Bradford in a trade with the Eagles.

The Vikings cut three 2016 draft picks: Fourth-round offensive tackle Willie Beavers, sixth-round German Moritz Bohringer and seventh-round defensive end Stephen Weatherly.

Veteran defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis was released. The team also waived tackle Carter Bykowski, tight end Kyle Carter, guard Isame Faciane, wide receiver Isaac Fruechte, linebacker Jake Ganus, running back C.J. Ham, defensive tackle Toby Johnson, defensive end Zach Moore, defensive end Denzell Perine, running back Jhurell Pressley, defensive tackle Travis Raciti, fullback Blake Renaud, cornerback Tre Roberson, quarterback Brad Sorensen, quarterback Joel Stave and linebacker Brandon Watts.

Veteran safety Michael Griffin and cornerback Jabari Price were placed on injured reserve, and quarterback Taylor Heinicke was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.

The Vikings waived quarterback Brad Sorensen again Friday.


The Falcons finalized their 53-man roster Saturday with a series of moves. The Falcons waived/injured 2014 seventh-round linebacker Tyler Starr and waived defensive tackle Joey Mbu, wide receiver J.D. McKissic, safety Sharrod Neasman, quarterback Matt Simms and tight end D.J. Tialavea.

Cornerback Akeem King, a 2015 seventh-round pick, was placed on injured reserve, as was former Raiders corner Demarcus Van Dyke. The team reached injury settlements with running back Brandon Wilds and fullback Will Ratelle and placed safety Jalen Collins on the reserve-suspended list.

The Falcons did half of their work Friday, cutting kicker Shayne Graham and tackle Bryce Harris and waiving defensive end Nordly Capi, tackle Laurence Gibson, defensive end Malliciah Goodman, defensive tackle Cory Johnson, cornerback Devonte Johnson, safety Damian Parms, offensive lineman Collin Rahrig, wide receiver Corey Washington, and linebacker Matt Wells.


Guard Chris Scott was placed on the reserve-suspended list as he begins a four-game suspension.

The Panthers parted ways with veteran safety Stevie Brown Friday. In a bit of a surprise, they waived rookie cornerback Zack Sanchez, this year’s fifth-round pick.

Also cut were seventh-round tight end Beau Sandland, defensive tackle Kyle Love, safety Marcus Ball, linebacker Brian Blechen, defensive tackle Eric Crume, safety Travell Dixon, wide receiver Keyarris Garrett, defensive end Arthur Miley, running back Jalen Simmons, defensive tackle Robert Thomas, tight end Eric Wallace, defensive end Larry Webster, running back Brandon Wegher, guard David Yankey and cornerback Lou Young.

Placed on injured reserve were wide receiver Kevin Norwood, linebacker Ben Jacobs and tackle Jordan Rigsbee.

New Orleans

The Saints terminated the contracts of veteran offensive tackle Khalif Barnes, kicker Connor Barth, running back Travaris Cadet, tackle Tony Hills and defensive ends Darryl Tapp and C.J. Wilson.

They placed tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on injured reserve and waived the following players: Center Jack Allen, guard Joseph Cheek, defensive back Brian Dixon, defensive back Trae Elston, guard John Fullington, tight end Garrett Griffin, center Marcus Henry, running back Austin Johnson, wide receiver Jake Lampman, defensive end Chris McCain, defensive end Bobby Richardson, linebacker Jeff Schoettmer (injured), tackle Tyrus Thompson (injured), defensive end Davis Tull and wide receiver Jordan Williams.

Tampa Bay

The Buccaneers did their business Friday, cutting running backs Peyton Barber and Russell Hansbrough, wide receivers Bernard Reedy, Kenny Bell, Freddie Martino and Jonathan Krause, tight end Danny Vitale, offensive linemen Josh Allen, Ben Gottschalk, Kelvin Palmer and Kyler Kerbyson, defensive end Kourtnei Brown, defensive tackles Cliff Matthews and A.J. Francis, linebackers Luke Rhodes, Josh Keyes, Jeremiah George and Micah Awe and defensive backs Javien Elliott and Isaiah Johnson. Wide receiver Louis Murphy and guard J.R. Sweezy remain on the physically unable to perform list.


The Cardinals cut quarterback Matt Barkley, defensive tackle Red Bryant and safety Chris Clemons.

Waived were center Taylor Boggs, cornerback Cariel Brooks, wide receiver Marquis Bundy, linebacker Donald Butler, tackle Rob Crisp, safety Matthias Farley, wide receiver Brittan Golden, cornerback Trevon Hartfield, wide receiver Chris Hubert, guard Antoine McClain, cornerback Harlan Miller, tight end Ifeanyi Momah, running back Elijhaa Penny, tackle Given Price, linebacker Shaq Riddick, wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, tight end Hakeem Valles, running back Kerwynn Williams and cornerback Ronald Zamort. They also waived-injured linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo.

The Cardinals began Friday with the cuts of veteran safety Chris Clemons and linebacker Donald Butler, along with waiving running back Kerwynn Williams, offensive lineman Taylor Boggs, defensive back Cariel Brooks, wide receiver Marquis Bundy, tackle Rob Crisp and guard Antoine McClain

Los Angeles

Two veterans, linebacker Akeem Ayers and defensive tackle Cam Thomas, were released.

The other players waived by the Rams were defensive end Ian Seau, offensive tackle Isaiah Battle, safety Christian Bryant, linebacker Brandon Chubb, tight end Justice Cunningham, defensive end Morgan Fox, safety Rohan Gaines, running back Aaron Green, wide receiver Austin Hill, cornerback Michael Jordan, safety Jordan Kovacs, center Eric Kush, linebacker Cameron Lynch, running back Terrence Magee, wide receiver Paul McRoberts, cornerback Marcus Roberson, cornerback Jabriel Washington and wide receiver Duke Williams.

The Rams also put offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds and offensive lineman Darrell Williams on injured reserve.

San Francisco

The 49ers made two trades: They sent an undisclosed draft pick to the Chiefs for veteran Rod Streater, who joins Jeremy Kerley as recent trade acquisitions at the position. They also sent safety L.J. McCray to the Seahawks for an undisclosed pick.

The rest of the players dropped from the roster are wide receivers Dres Anderson, Devon Cajuste, Ryan Whalen and DeAndre White; offensive linemen Alex Balducci, Fahn Cooper, Colin Kelly and Norman Price; defensive linemen Demetrius Cherry, B.J. McBryde and Garrison Smith; tight end Je’Ron Hamm; running backs DuJuan Harris and 2016 sixth-round pick Kelvin Taylor; cornerback Prince Charles Iworah; and linebackers Corey Lemonier and Shayne Skov.

In addition, wide receiver DeAndre Smelter was waived/injured and linebacker Aaron Lynch was placed on the reserve/suspended list.


The contracts of guard Jahri Evans and fullback Will Tukuafu were terminated. Waived were quarterback Jake Heaps, defensive tackle Brandin Bryant, tight end Clayton Echard, linebacker Steve Longo, running back Troymaine Pope, defensive tackle Jordan Hill (injured), linebacker Eric Pinkins (injured), tackle Terry Poole (injured), offensive lineman Will Pericak, defensive end Tylor Harris, cornerback Marcus Burley, safety Keenan Lambert, defensive end Ryan Robinson, cornerback Tye Smith, defensive tackle Tani Tupuo, tight end Joe Sommers (injured), linebacker Kache Palacio and wide receivers Kenny Lawler, Uzoma Nwachukwu, Douglas McNeil III, Kasen Williams and Antwan Goodley.

The team also acquired safeties L.J. McCray (from the 49ers) and Dewey McDonald (from the Raiders) in separate trades.

The Seahawks also cut four players from injured reserve with settlements: Running back George Farmer, defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, wide receiver Kevin Smith and defensive back Trovon Reed.

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PFT’s 2016 AFC 53-man roster cuts tracker

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Outside linebacker Ramik Wilson #53 of the Kansas City Chiefs intercepts a pass during the third quarter of the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Chiefs defeated the Cardinals 34-19.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

[Editor’s note: We’re keeping track of the moves as teams make them this weekend, as they have to get to their 53-man roster limit by Saturday at 4 p.m. Check back throughout the weekend, as we’ll update throughout.]


The Bills announced their moves Friday, topped by cutting veteran linebacker Manny Lawson. They also released: Tight end Blake Annen, linebacker Kroy Biermann, wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, cornerback Mario Butler, wide receiver Kain Colter, defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick, defensive end LaVar Edwards, fullback Jerome Felton, running back Boom Herron, linebacker Randell Johnson, Lawson, wide receiver Dez Lewis, tackle Marquis Lucas, tackle Chris Martin, cornerback Sterling Moore, guard Cyril Richardson, cornerback Sammy Seamster, defensive end Max Valles, center Fernando Velasco, defensive tackle Casey Walker and running back James Wilder Jr.


Cornerback Chris Culliver will remain on the physically unable to perform list as he continues to recover from a knee injury. He can be activated after six weeks of the regular season.

Offensive linemen Jamil Douglas; 2016 seventh-round tight end Thomas Duarte; linebackers James Burgess and Tyler Gray; defensive linemen Deandre Coleman, Chris Jones, Cleyon Laing, Cedric Reed and Jordan Williams; quarterback Zac Dysert; defensive backs Shamiel Gary, A.J. Hendy, Rashaan Melvin and Lafayette Pitts; tackle Ulrick John; and wide receiver Rashawn Scott were all waived

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, linebacker James-Michael Johnson, tight end Dominique Jones, running back Daniel Thomas and tackle Sam Young were released.

New England

The Patriots dropped a bunch of wide receivers: Aaron Dobson, DeAndre Carter, Keshawn Martin, Chris Harper and 2016 seventh-round pick Devin Lucien. Also cut were 2016 sixth-round linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, 2015 third-round defensive lineman Geneo Grissom and 2015 seventh-round defensive back Darryl Roberts.

The Patriots also parted ways with running back Tyler Gaffney, defensive lineman Markus Kuhn, offensive lineman Chris Barker, linebacker Rufus Johnson, defensive back Vinnie Sunseri, defensive lineman Joe Vellano, offensive lineman Jon Halapio, running back Joey Iosefa, linebacker Kevin Snyder, defensive lineman Woodrow Hamilton, cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc and tight end Bryce Williams.

New York Jets

Cornerback Dee Milliner, a former first-round pick, was released. So was former second-round pick Jace Amaro.

The Jets also released tight ends Zach Sudfeld and Wes Saxton, wide receiver/kick returner Jeremy Ross and running back Antone Smith and waived/injured linebacker Trevor Reilly, a 2014 seventh-round pick. They waived wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, 2013 seventh-round fullback Tommy Bohanon, defensive lineman Tarow Barney, linebacker Freddie Bishop, linebacker Taiwan Jones, cornerback Bryson Keeton, guard Mike Liedtke, safety Doug Middleton, cornerback Darryl Morris, defensive lineman Claude Pelon, cornerback Kevin Short, guard Craig Watts and wide receiver Chandler Worthy.

Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was placed on the reserved/suspended list. He’ll be activated following the team’s season opener. Right tackle Breno Giacomini was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.


In one of the most surprising moves of the day, the Ravens released running back Justin Forsett.

The Ravens placed wideouts Michael Campanaro and Chris Matthews on injured reserve. Tackle De’Ondre Wesley was also placed on injured reserve while cornerback Carrington Byndom was waived/injured.

Guard Vladimir Ducasse and quarterback Josh Johnson were released. Linebacker Arthur Brown, a 2013 second-round pick, and safety Terrence Brooks, a 2014 third-round pick, were waived along with wide receivers Jeremy Butler and Keenan Reynolds, linebacker Brennen Beyer, tight end Daniel Brown, tackle Blaine Clausell, defensive tackle Kapron Lewis-Moore, running back Stephen Houston, linebacker Victor Ochi, linebacker Patrick Onwausor, center Matt Skura and defensive back Julian Wilson.


The Bengals got to 53 Saturday by waiving fullback Andrew Bonnet, defensive end Ryan Brown; quarterback Keith Wenning; running backs Bronson Hill and Tra Carson; wide receivers Jake Kumerow, Rashon Simonise and Alonzo Russell; center Alex Cooper; defensive tackle David Dean; guards Trey Hopkins, Alex Redmond and Trip Thurman; tackles John Weidenaar and Aaron Epps, tight end Matt Lengel and cornerbacks Darius Hillary and Tony McRae.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was placed on the reserve-suspended list. He’s suspended the first three games for repeated violations of on-field rules. The Bengals also waived wide receiver Mario Alford from injured reserve with an injury settlement, cut cornerback Chykie Brown and placed defensive end Marcus Hardison on inured reserve.

The Bengals released safety Jimmy Wilson Friday.


The Browns agreed to a one-year deal with punter Britton Colquitt, a move that foreshadowed the release of punters Kasey Redfern and Michael Palady later in the day.

Waived were defensive linemen Kenton Adeyemi and Chigbo Anunoby; defensive backs Pierre Desir, Mikell Everette, Charles Gaines and Eric Patterson; running back Jahwan Edwards; offensive linemen Dan France, Garth Gerhart, Kaleb Johnson and Mike Matthews; tight ends Connor Hamlett and J.P. Holtz; wide receiver Darius Jennings; linebackers Jason Neill and Justin Tuggle; and punter Kasey Redfern.

Wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Marlon Moore were also cut. Wide receiver Josh Gordon and defensive lineman Armonty Bryant were placed on the reserve/suspended list. Both are suspended for the first four games of the season. Cornerback Justin Gilbert was traded to the Steelers.

The Browns began Friday by cutting defensive backs Pierre Desir and Charles Gaines.


The Steelers acquired former first-round cornerback in a trade with the Browns. That led to the release of cornerback Doran Grant, a fourth-round pick in 2015.

The Steelers also waived a member of this year’s draft class, seventh-round wide receiver DeMarcus Ayers. Their other cuts were linebackers Travis Feeney, Steven Johnson and Jermauria Rasco; quarterback Bryn Renner; safety Ray Vinopal; cornerbacks Montell Garner, Al-Hajj Shabazz and Donald Washington; offensive linemen Shahbaz Ahmed, Antoine Everett, Matt Feiler and Wade Hansen; defensive linemen Lavon Hooks, Caushaud Lyons and Johnny Maxey; wide receivers Cobi Hamilton and Marcus Tucker and running backs Brandon Brown-Dukes and Cameron Stingily.

Running back Le’Veon Bell is headed to the reserve/suspended list and tight end Paul Lang was waived/injured.


Offensive tackle Duane Brown and defensive lineman J.J. Watt were activated from PUP.

Most notably, the Texans released veteran wide receiver Cecil Shorts, safety Antonio Allen and running back Akeem Hunt.
They also waived tackle Jeff Adams, guard Karim Barton, wide receiver Quenton Bundrage, inside linebacker Reshard Cliett, tight end Anthony Denham, defensive tackle Brandon Dunn, running back Kenny Hilliard, defensive end Ufomba Kamalu, outside linebacker Eric Lee, tackle Andrew McDonald, cornerback Terrance Mitchell, cornerback Robert Nelson, defensive end Dan Pettinato, inside linebacker Shakeel Rashad, guard Chad Slade, tight end Eric Tomlinson and wide receiver Wendall Williams.

They also waived-injured center Dalton Freeman and outside linebacker Tony Washington Jr.


The Colts will release veteran running back Stevan Ridley, NFL Network reported.

Waived were defensive end Sterling Bailey, inside linebacker Trevor Bates, safety Alden Darby, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright, safety Lee Hightower, safety Stefan McClure, wide receiver MeKale McKay, cornerback Christopher Milton, guard Kitt O’Brien, outside linebacker Earl Okine, defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles, guard Adam Redmond, wide receiver Tevaun Smith, tackle Mitchell Van Dyk and tackle Jeremy Vujnovich.

Three players were placed on injured reserve: Cornerback Tevin Mitchel, outside linebacker Ron Thompson and guard Hugh Thornton, who might have been a starter if he’d been healthy. Linebacker Nate Irving was released.

On Friday, the Colts waived-injured 2015 third-rounder D’Joun Smith.


Among the Jaguars cuts were linebacker Ryan Davis, offensive lineman Mackenzy Bernadeau, wide receiver Arrelious Benn and offensive lineman Jacques McClendon. The team also waived safety Josh Evans, defensive end Tyrone Holmes, linebacker Thurston Armbrister, defensive lineman Richard Ash, defensive lineman T.J. Barnes, cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, tight end Braedon Bowman, offensive lineman Kadeem Edwards, wide receiver Shaq Evans, offensive lineman Rashod Hill, wide receiver Rashad Lawrence, cornerback Nick Marshall, linebacker Sean Porter, offensive lineman Pearce Slater, linebacker Jordan Tripp and wide receiver Shane Wynn.

Defensive tackle Michael Bennett was placed on injured reserve. Cornerback Aaron Colvin was placed on reserve/suspended.

Pass-rusher Ryan Davis was among the Jaguars’ first wave of cuts Friday, along with defensive end Tyrone Holmes and tackle Rashod Hill.


The Titans finished their cuts Friday, releasing: Running back Bishop Sankey, wide receiver Justin Hunter, running back Dexter McCluster, fullback Sam Bergen, offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi, offensive lineman Will Poehls, wide receiver Andrew Turzilli, linebacker J.R. Tavai, linebacker Curtis Grant, cornerback B.W. Webb, defensive back Marqueston Huff, kicker Aldrick Rosas, running back David Fluellen, offensive lineman Tyler Marz, offensive lineman Ronald Patrick, wide receiver Ben Roberts, tight end Jerome Cunningham, tight end Alex Ellis, linebacker Justin Staples, nose tackle Antwaun Woods, cornerback Kalan Reed and defensive back Curtis Riley.


Quarterback Mark Sanchez was released. Later in the day, journeyman quarterback Austin Davis was signed.

In getting to 53 the Broncos cut running back Ronnie Hillman, center Dillon Day, outside linebacker Vontarrius Dora, wide receiver Mose Frazier, tackle Lars Hanson, defensive end Lars Koht, inside linebacker Kyle Kragen, tight end Henry Krieger-Coble, defensive back B.J. Lowery, safety Ryan Murphy, tackle Justin Murray, guard Robert Myers Jr., offensive lineman Aaron Neary, cornerback Taurean Nixon, inside linebacker Dwayne Norman, wide receiver Kalif Raymond, outside linebacker Sadat Sulleyman, cornerback John Tidwell and outside linebacker Eddie Yarbrough.

Safety Shiloh Keo was placed on the reserve/suspended list for the next two weeks.

The Broncos cut veteran defensive tackle Henry Melton Friday, along with running back Juwan Thompson.

Kansas City

The Chiefs released rookie quarterback Kevin Hogan Saturday and traded wide receiver Rod Streater to the 49ers for an undisclosed pick.

Also cut Saturday were linebacker Tyrell Adams, wide receiver Da’Ron Brown, cornerback Deveron Carr, defensive back Jamell Fleming, offensive lineman Reid Fragel, wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr., defensive lineman David King, linebacker Andy Mulumba, center Daniel Munyer, tight end Brian Parker, offensive lineman Jarrod Pughsley, safety Shak Randolph, running back Darrin Reaves, linebacker Terrance Smith, defensive lineman Jimmy Staten, tackle Zach Sterup and defensive back Brock Vereen.

The Chiefs parted ways with quarterback Aaron Murray and cut veteran safety Jeron Johnson Friday, and traded cornerback Marcus Cooper to the Cardinals.


The Raiders waived running back George Atkinson, lineacker Neiron Ball, guard Mitchell Bell, wide recevier K.J. Brent, defensive end James Cowser, defensive back Kenneth Durden, wide receiver Marvin Hall, defensive end Drew Iddings, defensive end Branden Jackson, guard Denver Kirkland, nose tackle Derrick Lott, linebacker John Lotulelei, tight end Jake McGee, wide receiver Jayden Mickens, tight end Ryan O’Malley, guard Oni Omoile, defensive back Neiko Thorpe, linebacker Korey Toomer, defensive Greg Townsend Jr. and linebacker Kyrie Wilson.

The Raiders also traded defensive back Dewey McDonald to Seattle for a conditional 2017 seventh-round pick. Running back Marcel Reece was moved to the reserve/suspended list, where he will remain for the first three games of the season.

San Diego

The Chargers got a roster exemption for recently signed rookie defensive tackle Joey Bosa and placed defensive tackle Damion Square on the reserve-suspended list.

The players released by the Chargers included wide receiver Rasheed Bailey (injured), quarterback Mike Bercovici, tackle Brett Boyko, cornerback Richard Crawford, outside linebacker Ben Gardner, running back Gus Johnson, defensive tackle Kamal Johnson, guard Marcel Jones, safety Adrian McDonald, defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue, inside linebacker Shaq Petteway (injured), wide receiver DeAndre Reaves, inside linebacker James Ross, cornerback Larry Scott, tight end Tim Semisch, fullback Chris Swain, guard Vi Teofilo, outside linebacker James Vaughters, tight end Matt Weiser, wide reciever Dom Williams and cornerback Trevor Williams.

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Cuts provide “Hard Knocks” some much-needed juice, drama

OXNARD, CA - MAY 06:  Head coach Jeff Fisher of the Los Angeles Rams takes to the field during a Los Angeles Rams rookie camp on May 06, 2016 in Oxnard, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

In a “Hard Knocks” series that’s provided little in the way of drama or must-see characters, it was almost like the show needed the always compelling and sometimes numbing roster cut scene that closed Tuesday’s fourth episode.

Spice things up by showing guys get their dreams crushed? Hey, whatever it takes.

If you’ve been watching — this year or in prior, more entertaining years — you could see it coming at the beginning of the fourth episode when the show’s producers introduced Rams strength coach Rock Gullickson, who serves as the team’s turk.

When cut day comes, Gullickson is the guy who tracks down the players and takes them for a walk to see head coach Jeff Fisher. The show’s narrator even pointed out that in 2016, “cuts are high tech” as Gullickson checked his phone for a text message informing him which players he needed to escort out of the weight room.

Across the league, teams had to cut their preseason rosters from 90 to 75 by Tuesday afternoon. By Saturday, every team has to be down to 53 players. “Hard Knocks” showed Fisher cutting a handful of players, and the producers also caught candid shots of journeyman wide receiver Austin Hill believing that Gullickson was coming for him.

“Hard Knocks” promises full access and raw stuff fans normally don’t see, and the cut scenes provide both. Fisher told the cameras he’s personally released every player his team has cut since he’s been a head coach in the NFL, and in his conversation with recently released tight end Benson Browne he told the story of a player trying to get the team to pay for his flight to Hawaii.

“But he wasn’t from Hawaii,” Fisher said.

One player told Fisher he didn’t know his next move. Another asked for a candid opinion from Fisher on whether he should continue to pursue football. Fisher told center Brian Folkerts that the good news was that a lot of teams are looking for interior linemen right now.

“Anytime you release any player, it’s not easy,” Fisher said. “Some will come to the realization that their childhood goal is over and I need to go on with my life.”

Said Gullickson: “You do feel it deep inside that these kids have dreamed about this since they were small kids and all of a sudden it may be over.”

Overall, Hard Knocks is limping to the finish. But Austin Hill is still around — “he survives another week,” cameras caught Fisher saying at the end of this episode — and so are the HBO cameras.

At least for a few more days.

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John Mara’s arguments confirm the NFL has returned to the pre-Ray Rice mindset

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 photo, New York Giants co-owner John Mara walks across the field before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. A visibly shaken Giants owner John Mara said Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016 he was fine with the NFL's suspension of placekicker Josh Brown for one game, despite allegations Brown abused his ex-wife as many as 20 times prior to the Giants signing Brown to a two-year extension last spring. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) AP

After the Ray Rice video rocked the NFL to its foundation and nearly toppled a Commissioner, the NFL reacted to immense public pressure by making big changes. And now that the PSI has reduced (yeah, I went there), the NFL has retreated to it pre-Ray Rice reality.

That’s exactly what happened in the Josh Brown case. Arrested in May 2015 for a domestic violence incident that the NFL saw fit to discipline with a one-game suspension, the NFL still has provided no explanation as to why the league deviated from the six-game baseline that was adopted in an effort to put out the post-Ray Rice firestorm.

Mitigating factors are required to reduce the six-game suspension. So what were they?

The NFL has made no effort to identify the mitigating factors or to even say that there were any. The only real explanation provided in support of the action taken came from the inability of the NFL’s investigators to fully investigate the case, blaming their failure to get to the truth (under the low standard of “more probable than not”) by pointing out that Brown’s former wife refused to cooperate and that law enforcement officials likewise wouldn’t talk, outcomes that scream out “red flag” more than they say “dead end.”

Good investigators figure out ways to get people to tell the truth. Good investigators don’t shrug and say “oh well” and create a blueprint for all other players who are accused of domestic violence: If you can convince the witnesses not to talk, the league will have no choice but to go easy on you.

The bigger problem in this case is that the Giants also went easy on Brown. Although it wouldn’t be right for the team to look the other way if a key player on offense or defense were involved in a similar situation, at least it would make sense. Why are the Giants opening themselves up to criticism and scrutiny for a kicker? As one G.M. told me earlier this year, there are three great kickers, three bad kickers, and the other 26 are all the same. Brown is one of the other 26, and the Giants easily could have found another one of those 26.

“These are not easy decisions,” Giants co-owner John Mara said Wednesday, finally breaking the organization’s silence on the subject. “Very easy to say, ‘Guy’s been accused, get rid of him. Terminate him.’ But when you’re sitting at the top of an organization and you’re responsible for a lot of people, you’d better make more informed decisions than that.”

That’s fine, but in this case the Giants didn’t have to fire Brown. His contract had expired, they knew about the allegations, and instead of finding another kicker they hired Brown again.

Some may say that the Giants were being merciful or giving the player a second chance or whatever, but it’s impossible to reconcile the Giants’ actions with these words from Mara, uttered at a time when the league was under heavy siege: “Everyone in our league, players, coaches, front-office people, need to understand there is no excuse for domestic violence ever and there is going to be severe consequences.”

The fact that the NFL imposed a one-game suspension on Brown shows that some degree of domestic violence occurred. His ex-wife claimed, before clamming up, that there had been up to 20 prior incidents of violence.

“There is no excuse for domestic violence,” Mara said in 2014. In 2016, Mara sounds like a guy making multiple excuses for Brown.

“There’s a big difference between allegations and convictions or indictments,” Mara said Wednesday. “And a lot of times there’s a tendency to try to make these cases black and white. They’re very rarely black and white. You very rarely have a Ray Rice video.”

Those are all excuses for Brown’s domestic violence, for which the consequences were minimal — and which the Giants decided to ignore when re-hiring a player with whom the organization technically had no employment relationship.

The inescapable message is this: With the Ray Rice incident nearly two years old, the NFL and its teams have assumed the pre-Ray Rice posture. Unless, of course, there’s any chance a video exists that TMZ may eventually buy.

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Statement from Joey Bosa’s representatives

San Diego Chargers rookie defensive end Joey Bosa trains during an NFL football rookie training camp Friday, May 13, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) AP

[Editor’s note: CAA, the firm that represents Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, issued a statement on Wednesday night in response to a statement issued and comments made by the team on Wednesday.]

It is unfortunate the San Diego Chargers have decided to manipulate facts and negotiate in the media.  The team surely is not strengthening its relationship with Joey Bosa by taking this stance and making their position public.

We have decided that we will not engage in public negotiations or discuss numbers and/or terms in this negotiation.

We will say, that it is ironic that the team now takes issue with the timing of Joey’s arrival, since the Chargers unilaterally decided to remain silent for the first 14 days of training camp instead of replying in a timely fashion to the proposal we made on the eve of training camp on July 28th.

At this point, all we can do is continue to fight for a fair contract on behalf of our client, as we do for all of our clients.  The Chargers can focus on trying to sway public opinion, but our focus will remain on our client and securing a contract for him that is fair and consistent with his draft position.

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Chargers statement on Joey Bosa

[Editor’s note: The Chargers have issued a statement regarding the stalled contract talks with defensive end Joey Bosa. The full text of it appears below.]

The San Diego Chargers issued the following statement regarding the contract negotiations with 2016 first-round selection Joey Bosa:

Our contract discussions and offers to the representatives of Joey Bosa have been both fair and structurally consistent with the contracts of every other Chargers player.

Our offer included:

1. An initial signing bonus payment that is larger than any player in the League has received in the last two drafts.

2. More money in this calendar year than every player in this year’s draft except one (QB Carson Wentz).

3. The largest payment and the highest percentage of signing bonus received in the first calendar year of any Chargers’ first-round selection since the inception of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (2011).

We gave Joey’s representatives our best offer last night, which was rejected today.  The offer that we extended was for Joey to contribute during all 16 games and beyond.  Joey’s ability to contribute for an entire rookie season has now been jeopardized by the valuable time he has missed with his coaches and his teammates. Since Joey will not report at this time, his ability to produce not just early in the season, but throughout the entire season, has been negatively impacted.

As a result, we will restructure our offer since Joey will be unable to contribute for the full 16 game season without the adequate time on the practice field, in the classroom, and in preseason games.

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