Clearing the air on Goodell’s jet request

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A recent report from ESPN claimed that Commissioner Roger Goodell has asked for the use of a private jet for life, as part of his new contract. That’s generally accurate, but it’s missing one key fact: Goodell is willing to pay for it.

Per a league source, Goodell has asked for access to the NFL’s private plane arrangements through NetJets, with an understanding that he would reimburse the league in full for all costs incurred.

The benefit for Goodell comes from the reduced rate that the league pays, due to its extended use of the service. So Goodell basically would continue to utilize the service, and he’d pay whatever his flights cost the NFL. Which would be less than what it would cost him directly.

It’s unclear why ESPN has omitted this fairly important fact from it’s reporting. The practical impact is that it tends to make Goodell look unreasonably greedy. Which is likely what those opposing Goodell’s extension want to accomplish.

Sheldon Richardson calls fine for low hit on Drew Stanton “extortion”

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Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson is adamant his hit on Drew Stanton was not illegal, calling the NFL fine he received for it “extortion.”

He has appealed the $18,231 fine for what the league deemed a low hit on the Cardinals quarterback. Richardson said he lost his balance when he was pushed by Arizona left tackle Jared Veldheer.

“It’s kind of just extortion really,’’ Richardson said Friday, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “Guy pushes you in the back and trips you on the play and you are catching your balance the whole time and then you just happen, I don’t know. They said ‘avoid him,’ but he still has the ball. It’s like what do you do?’’

Officials penalized Richardson for roughing the passer. Stanton sprained a knee on the play but stayed in the game. He will miss Sunday’s game because of the injury.

“There is no way you should be taking any of my money because it wasn’t a dirty hit,’’ Richardson said. “I didn’t try to hit him in the legs or nothing, and once again, people fail to realize it’s still football. Pretty sure they are just fining guys for every personal foul and not even looking at the film and not even making the consideration of did I try to avoid the guy.’’

Jerry Jones: “I have the NFL’s best interest in mind”

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Even at a time when the NFL seems to be embroiled in its most contentious and public bout of dysfunction in decades, the guy at the center of it continues to be willingly to speak publicly about it.

In the second of his two-per-week appearances on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received a blank check to add anything he wants to share about the issue of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s proposed contract extension. And despite allegations from some of his colleagues that he is engaged in conduct detrimental to the league, Jones said he’s acting in the best interests of the NFL.

“[J]ust assure that everything I’m doing, it would be madness to think that everything I’m doing isn’t in the best short- and long-term interest of the NFL,” Jones said. “I love this league and I love this game. And the men that are involved, the [Compensation] Committee and the owners, really are good men. And they’ve been in it almost as long as I have. But I’ve been knowing some of these people for going on 30 years. And they know I have the NFL’s best interest in mind. And so goes the NFL, so go the Cowboys.”

Jones’ mindset makes talk of the other owners kicking him out of the club even more confounding.

“It’s really amusing to me when I hear someone say that Jerry may not — they may do something to make him not have the Cowboys,” Jones said. “That is absolutely ridiculous.”

Jones continues to insist he’s simply providing a check against the power of the Commissioner, regardless of who it is.

“The one great time, because we give our Commissioner such power, the one great time the owners have their biggest input is when you are either first-time hiring him or extending him,” Jones said. “And when you do it in such a way as you don’t have any input over the issues, you disenfranchised them from what you want them to do. Now, I was put there. There were things of concern. I saw it. And that’s why we’re having this conversation right now.”

There’s no clear idea as to when the conversation end, or what the outcome will be. Regardless, a league that so desperately wants to get back to football currently can’t get out of its own way on the path back to football.

Daryl Worley fined for unnecessary roughness

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The NFL fined Panthers cornerback Daryl Worley for unnecessary roughness in Monday night’s 45-21 victory over the Dolphins. Worley saw his paycheck docked $9,115.

Officials flagged Worley in the second quarter, with the half-the-distance penalty costing his team 2 yards. The Dolphins scored a touchdown two plays later on Julius Thomas‘ 2-yard catch from Jay Cutler.

Worley played 36 defensive snaps and made one tackle as the Panthers limited the Dolphins to 213 passing yards and 313 total yards.

Giants S Darian Thompson fined for late hit on first play against 49ers

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The tone for last Sunday’s game between the 49ers and Giants was set on the first play from scrimmage.

49ers running back Carlos Hyde ran through and around the listless Giants defense for a 28-yard gain that marked the first of several big plays by the Niners on their way to a 31-21 win that forced Giants ownership to issue a vote of confidence in coach Ben McAdoo during the week.

Hyde’s run turned into a 43-yard gain when safety Darian Thompson hit him after he was out of bounds and earned a flag from the officials. On Friday, PFT confirmed with the league that Thompson has been fined $9,115 as a result of the play.

The Giants avoided other finable offenses over the remaining 59-plus minutes, but their reluctance to tackle legally or illegally didn’t work out for them on the scoreboard.

Buster Skrine fined $48,620 for unnecessary roughness

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Jets cornerback Buster Skrine has been penalized more often than any other defensive player in the league this season and a penalty he picked up against the Buccaneers will be a costly one.

Skrine was flagged for unnecessary roughness for a hit on Bucs wide receiver DeSean Jackson on an eight-yard catch in the third quarter of last Sunday’s 15-10 Tampa victory. PFT confirmed with the league on Friday that Skrine has been fined $48,260 as a result of the hit.

That’s the minimum fine for a second violation of rules barring hits on defenseless receivers over the course of the 2017 season. He was previously fined for a hit on Raiders running back DeAndre Washington in the second week of the season.

Skrine has been flagged 11 times overall this season, putting him behind only Seahawks tackle Germain Ifedi among the most penalized players in the league.

Marqise Lee, Ben Koyack fined for actions in Chargers game

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Marqise Lee received a fine for taunting, a penalty that could have proved more costly than money. The NFL docked the Jaguars wide receiver $9,115 for his ill-timed “celebration” directed at Chargers safety Tre Boston.

The Jaguars trailed 17-14 with 1:38 remaining and faced a second-and-10 from the Chargers 22. Blake Bortles threw incomplete to Lee in the end zone, and after contact between Lee and Boston, Lee began dancing after seeing a flag. Obviously believing officials had thrown a flag on Boston, Lee turned and directed his dance at Boston.

Officials picked up the initial flag and penalized the Jaguars 15 yards for Lee’s taunt. Bortles threw an interception to Boston on the next play. Lee was saved from feeling worse about the penalty, though, when Josh Lambo kicked a field goal with three seconds left in regulation to tie it before winning it in overtime.

The NFL also fined Jaguars tight end Ben Koyack. He lost $9,115 for an illegal crackback block in the second quarter on a Leonard Fournette run.

Although the teams combined for 16 penalties, none of the other actions warranted fines.


Karlos Dansby fined $18,231 for roughing Russell Wilson

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The NFL hasn’t announced the results of their look into whether the Seahawks failed to follow proper procedures for quarterback Russell Wilson‘s concussion evaluation during last Thursday’s game against the Cardinals, but they have decided on discipline for the hit that led referee Walt Anderson to send Wilson to the sideline in the first place.

PFT has confirmed with the league that Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby has been fined $18,231 for the hit, which occurred in the third quarter of Seattle’s 22-16 win. Dansby was penalized for roughing the passer at the time.

Wilson said that he was fine in terms of a brain injury, but revealed on Friday that he spent a few days living on a liquid diet because his jaw was injured by the hit.

Seahawks defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was also fined $18,231 for a roughing the passer penalty during the game.

Dez Bryant will play; Tyron Smith officially questionable

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Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will play Sunday, as he said he would, despite a knee injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. Bryant practiced in full both Thursday and Friday, and the Cowboys did not list him on the status report, meaning they expect him to play.

Officially, Dallas lists starting left tackle Tyron Smith (groin) and starting safety Jeff Heath (concussion) as questionable, but neither is expected to play.

Byron Bell is expected to start in Smith’s spot, and rookie Xavier Woods will make his first career start at safety.

The Cowboys will see the return of defensive back Chidobe Awuzie, who has played only three games this season because of a hamstring injury. Awuzie can play safety as well as corner.

Linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) and kicker Dan Bailey (right groin) were ruled out even before Friday. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins (foot) and tight end Geoff Swaim (knee) were limited in practice all week, and both are questionable.

Russell Wilson was on liquid diet for a few days due to jaw injury

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The handling of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson‘s concussion evaluation during last Thursday’s game against the Cardinals has come up for scrutiny from the league and Wilson said on Friday that “the league’s gotta do what the league’s gotta do” while reiterating that he was fine when it came to a brain injury.

The hit that caused referee Walt Anderson to send Wilson to the sideline did have a lasting impact on Wilson, however. Wilson said that he was on a liquid diet for two or three days after the game because his jaw was knocked out of alignment.

“I had to wear this splint almost,” Wilson said. “Basically a hard mouthguard which would reset my jaw a little bit and make me feel good again.” 

Wilson said scans showed he avoided a fracture that would have required him to have his jaw wired shut and, barring some other development over the weekend, he’ll be in the lineup against the Falcons on Monday night.

Vontaze Burfict not fined for contact with official

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We knew earlier in the week Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was not going to be suspended for making contact with an official last week.

But according to Katherine Terrell of, he wasn’t even fined for the move.

The contact in question didn’t reach the level of the Marshawn Lynch pushing an official, which drew a one-game ban, and since Burfict was ejected last week, he already missed some time for his actions.

The minimum fine for contact with an official is $30,387, so it’s interesting that Burfict was not penalized. 

He contends that officials are disrespectful to him, though he knows he’s wearing a target because of his reputuation (which has been hard-earned over the years).

Stefon Diggs fined for hugging goal post

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The NFL has lightened up on touchdown celebrations this season, but touching the goal post remains a no-no.

Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs found that out the hard way: He hugged the goal post to celebrate a touchdown on Sunday. That cost the Vikings a 15-yard penalty, and now it cost Diggs some money as well.

The NFL has fined Diggs $12,154 for the move. That’s a typical fine for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

The league still doesn’t allow players to use props in celebrations, and that includes the goal post. And the league also doesn’t allow contact with the goal post because it can knock the post off-kilter, as Jimmy Graham once did on a touchdown celebration, causing a long delay.

So Diggs should probably avoid the goal post on any future celebrations.

Bucs promote Freddie Martino, waive Bernard Reedy

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Wide receiver Freddie Martino rejoined the Buccaneers’ 53-player roster four days after they cut him to activate Mike Evans from the suspended list. Tampa Bay waived wide receiver Bernard Reedy in a corresponding move.

Martino has spent every week of the past two seasons on the Bucs’ active roster or practice squad. They first promoted Martino on Nov. 8, and he made two special teams tackles last week.

Tampa Bay waived him Nov. 13 and re-signed him Nov. 15.

Martino played in 13 games last season, making eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown.

Reedy played in all nine games for the Bucs, catching two passes for 21 yards, rushing three times for 17 yards and returning 14 punts for 143 yards and seven kickoffs for 145 yards.

Tamba Hali, Dee Ford out for Chiefs

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Linebacker Tamba Hali made his first appearance of the 2017 season when the Chiefs faced the Cowboys in Week Nine, but he’ll have to wait at least one more week before making appearance No. 2.

Hali was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Giants because of the knee issues that kept him on the physically unable to perform list through the first half of the season. Coach Andy Reid said his knee “swelled up a little bit” when asked about Hali’s absence from practice earlier this week.

Hali won’t be the only outside linebacker out of the lineup for Kansas City. Dee Ford was ruled out with a back injury for the second game in a row and the fourth time overall this season.

Wide receiver Albert Wilson and defensive lineman Alvin Bailey were also ruled out by the Chiefs, who will be trying to improve coach Andy Reid’s already strong record in games following a bye week.

Chargers crop Army soldier from photo to eliminate “San Diego”

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The Chargers are taking criticism for editing a photo of Army soldiers holding a San Diego Chargers’ flag in 2014. The team tweeted the photo during the league’s “Salute to Service” week, but not until after cropping the bottom of the flag that read “San Diego.” It also cut out one solider — Minh Tran — who was laying down in front of the flag.

Army Sgt. First Class Johnny Case arranged the photo while the soldiers were in Afghanistan.

Case grew up in the San Diego area as a die-hard San Diego Chargers fan. He has tattoos of the letters SD and a lightning bolt.

“For them to do that to my picture, and not even ask, to crop out one of our guys . . . it was like, ‘Wow, of course they’re going to do that,’” Case said, via Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “They have this spite for San Diego, but it’s not about San Diego. It’s a soldier. It’s Veterans Day. You cropped out a veteran.

“I was [mad], but I guess social media had my back and took it over for me.”

A Chargers spokesman told the Union-Tribune that the team should not have cropped the photo and noted that the Chargers “have a long history of supporting service members and their families.”