Winslow calls suspension a “huge surprise”


And the streak of NFL players suspended for use of PEDs but who didn’t intend to use PEDs continues, unbroken.

Jets tight end Kellen Winslow says he didn’t know he had ingested a banned substance.

“It came as a huge surprise to me when I learned that I tested positive for a banned substance,” Winslow said in a statement, via Rich Cimini of  “I have investigated all possible sources since learning of the positive test, including possible medical causes but frustratingly, I do not know the source.  I do not take supplements that list any banned ingredients, but NFL policy is very strict so I am accountable for the results.  I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches and Jets fans for this situation I will work extremely hard during this time away from the field and look forward to contributing as soon as the suspension end.”

So instead of claiming that he took a supplement that had been spiked or that he took Adderall (which had become the non-stigmatizing PED), Winslow has basically played the “I tested positive but didn’t cheat” card.

NFLPA tells agents to report any hint of collusion

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NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has told agents that the union has “heard reports of a concern that teams are working in concert” to “set” player compensation, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported Wednesday.

Smith expressed this view in a letter to agents in which he asked them to share any evidence gathered of collusion among teams in free agency should they have it, Breer reported.

The news of Smith’s letter comes three weeks into free agency. Though the start of the 2013 league year brought some lucrative longer-term deals, such as the one the Dolphins gave wideout Mike Wallace, the free-agent market has been far from overheated.

New Jersey to offer fantasy sports games at casinos

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Next month, Atlantic City casino patrons could begin to get the chance to play fantasy sports for prizes.

Beginning April 22, New Jersey will allow Atlantic City casinos to conduct fantasy sports contests. In short, you will be able to put together a fantasy team and play for casino winnings.

Participants in the fantasy games, according to the proposed regulations crafted by the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, will “(compete) against other against other patrons or a target score for a predetermined prize.”

“The casinos’ vast customer base and the ability to have contest winners utilize the casino cage to accept entry fees for fantasy sports tournaments and pay out winnings resulting from those tournaments provides an exciting opportunity to bring fantasy sports tournaments to Atlantic City,” said David Rebuck, the division’s director. “We see this as an added amenity and beneficial to the casinos and their customers.”

With New Jersey’s bid to offer sports betting suffering a big setback recently in federal court (the state is appealing), a move into the fantasy games realm for Atlantic City is rather intriguing.

One issue to watch is whether the state draws any sort of legal challenge to these plans.

Generally speaking, fantasy sports are viewed more kindly by the law than sports betting, with the federal Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act of 2006 drawing a legal distinction between wagering on a game and participating in fantasy sports. A reading of the 2006 betting law and New Jersey’s proposed regulations shows some clear similarities – which is likely no accident. Also, the proposed regulations for the fantasy games make it clear that the games are not considered to be gambling in the division of gaming enforcement’s eyes.

Overall, professional sports leagues seem to view fantasy sports in a favorable light. The NFL, in fact, offers its own fantasy football game. On, one of the first words to the right of the NFL shield is “FANTASY” in block letters.

Federal judge rules for NFL, other leagues in N.J. sports betting case

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The NFL, other major sports leagues and the federal government scored a legal victory Thursday when a federal judge ruled in favor of their efforts to block New Jersey’s plans to offer sports wagering.

In a written opinion granting a permanent injunction blocking New Jersey from enacting sports betting, U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp ruled that existing federal gaming law, which limits sports betting to just four states, is constitutional.

State Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak, a supporter of expanding gaming in New Jersey, told multiple media outlets Friday that the state plans to appeal the ruling.

In an email to PFT, NFL vice president of corporate communications Brian McCarthy said that the “ruling speaks for itself.”

In addition to the NFL, the NCAA, NBA, NHL and MLB are plaintiffs in the suit against New Jersey, which ramped up its efforts to offer sports betting last year.

This isn’t the first time sports leagues have fought expanded efforts to wager upon their games. The NFL and other leagues previously fought Delaware’s plans to offer a wide array of sports wagering. The state is allowed to take parlay, or multi-game bets, on pro football games.

The ruling is also a victory for Nevada, the only state that can offer single-game sports betting.

49er Demarcus Dobbs arrested after single-car accident


You can fill in one inactive for the 49ers’ game against the Rams right now.

Defensive tackle/tight end Demarcus Dobbs will not travel with the team to St. Louis after he was arrested early Friday following a single-car accident. Matt Maiocco of reports that Dobbs has been charged with a pair of misdemeanors for the accident, which occured around 3:45 a.m. in Santa Clara.

“He was involved in a crash and we suspect he was under the influence of alcohol,” California Highway Patrol Officer D.J. Sarabia said. “He was not injured and he was also arrested for possession of marijuana.”

Dobbs has been a key part of the teams’ special teams units in all 11 games this season. He turned 26 on Friday, which may explain the late night. The 49ers released a statement on Friday about their response to the arrest.

“The 49ers are aware of the recent matter involving Demarcus Dobbs. We are gathering the relevant facts as it pertains to this situation,” the statement reads. “We have been in contact with both Demarcus and the League office. He will not be making the trip to St. Louis, and we will reserve further comment at this time.”

The 49ers promoted linebacker Michael Wilhoite from the practice squad. Per Maiocco, he should be active and playing on special teams Sunday.

Leroy Hill arrested for marijuana possession


Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is in trouble with the law again.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune reports via the Atlanta police department that Hill was arrested for marijuana possession.

According to the police reports, cops were called to an apartment after a complaint regarding the “strong odor” of marijuana. The police investigated and found a few “blunts.” Hill and his girlfriend were arrested. He had less than an ounce of marijuana on him.

As NFL arrests go, this one is pretty benign.  But it could spell trouble for Hill, who has been arrested three times in the last three years. Two of those arrests were related to marijuana, so Hill was in the league’s substance abuse program.

The timing couldn’t be much worse for Hill. He’s about to be a free agent, and it’s hard to imagine him getting a job anytime soon with a possible suspension hanging over his head.

Bears linebacker J.T. Thomas arrested

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Bears linebacker J.T. Thomas was arrested early Monday morning in Morgantown, West Virginia and charged with a misdemeanor for possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana.

The West Virginia MetroNews Network reports Thomas was pulled over going the wrong way down a one-way street. When the former Mountaineer was asked for his registration, he opened his glove compartment and pulled out a bundle that contained two bags of what appeared to be marijuana.

(Always keep the weed and the registration separate!)

The sixth-round pick in 2011 spent last year on injured reserve. He was back in his college town raising money for his foundation. Thomas was the subject of a great profile during Super Bowl week. His foundation deals with children with epilepsy and he surprised one boy he met at team holiday event by bringing the boy to the Super Bowl.

It’s uncertain if Thomas was already in the league’s substance abuse program, but he will be part of it now.

David Boston faces battery charge after alleged assault of woman

Former Cardinals receiver David Boston is just about the least surprising former player to show up back in the news after an arrest.

ABC 25 in West Palm Beach cites a police report that Boston was charged with aggravated battery on Wednesday. Boston allegedly punched a woman twice in the head, leaving a gash that required 10 stitches.

One woman who lived with Boston (but was not the one beaten) said she witnessed Boston drink a bottle of vodka, a bottle of wine, and take some pills on Wednesday. Boston was supposedly set to move out into a nearby hotel.

PFT Live: Collinsworth doesn’t see players or owners budging soon

SNF’s Cris Collinsworth discusses broadcasters who inspired him, talks about the competing strategies being utilized by the players and owners in the work stoppage, shares his hopes for when football will return and more in the second segment of Monday’s PFT Live.

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PFT Live: When will the players make a proposal?

Mike Florio breaks down the latest in the NFL on PFT Live and starts out with comments from New York Jet Bart Scott about the NFL. He also takes a look at the NFLPA needing to make a proposal and the 50-50 issues between the NFL and NFLPA.

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PFT Live: Lockout stay granted

In part one of Tuesday’s PFT Live, Mike Florio breaks down the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to grant the NFL’s motion for a stay of the the lockout. Florio explains what the decision means for the rest of the appeal process, how each of the judges have ruled on the lockout and the progress being made in negotiations.

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Sergio Kindle expected to plead guilty Tuesday

Ravens linebacker Sergio Kindle is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a drunk driving charge from a December 26 arrest, according to Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.

The Ravens have publicly expressed optimism about Kindle’s ability to play football again, despite his legal troubles and brain injury suffered last year after he said he fell down a flight of stairs.

Kindle’s blood-alcohol level was measured by police at .17, more than twice the legal limit in Maryland.  Kindle also had a DUI in college, and another time where he crashed his car and left the scene of the crime.

Even if Kindle is cleared to play again, he could face punishment from the NFL for the DUI before he ever plays a regular season game.

Jon Beason’s civil trial starts Monday


Panthers linebacker Jon Beason will be in court Monday for an incident in 2009 in which he is accused of punching a man in the face.

Gary Wright of the Charlotte Observer writes that Beason is accused in a civil trial of attacking Gregory Frye at a club after Frye told Beason’s teammate Donte Rosario that he saw Beason “up at the lake doing coke with some girl.”  That remark reportedly enraged Beason.

“I think Mr. Frye is living in fantasyland if he thinks Jon Beason ever snorted cocaine,” said Beason’s attorney, George Laughrun.

Beason was arrested in 2009, but a criminal assault charge against him was quickly dismissed for lack of evidence.   No witnesses came forward to corroborate Frye’s story.

(No word on whether any charges will be brought against NFL Network for their criminal underrating of Beason in their top 100 player series.)

Chris Cook cleared on gun charge

Vikings cornerback Chris Cook was cleared on a charge of brandishing a firearm Friday.

Cook was accused of taking out a gun during a verbal alertercation with a neighbor.  He admitted getting into an argument, but denied taking a gun out.

“I was never concerned.  I had good witnesses. All of our stories matched each other,” Cook told Chip Scoggins of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  “They decided they were basically trying to string this story together and just make me look bad. The judge ruled in my favor. . . .  The verdict was not guilty and he just dismissed it. I’m just happy to get it over with.”

Cook promises to be more “cautious” when dealing with others in the future.   He was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor in March. Getting the case solved so quickly should help Cook’s chances of avoiding major punishment from the league.

Everson Griffen’s arrest his second since Friday

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Mike Florio brought you the news late Monday of Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen’s arrest for felony battery of a police officer. As it turns out, that’s not the only trouble he’s been in recently.

Griffen’s on a law-breaking binge.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has confirmed a report that Griffen was also arrested last Friday night in Hollywood for public drunkenness.

During the course of his second arrest in four days, Griffen told police he “did not want to go back to jail.”

Griffen was released from custody at around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities wrote this terrific profile of Griffen last June. It includes one NFL executive explaining why his team removed Griffen from its draft board last April.