NFL easing footwear restrictions, a little

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The No Fun League gradually is becoming the Some Fun League.

With players allowed to engage in a broader range of celebrations in 2017, they’ll also be permitted to wear a broader range of shoes. Sort of.

Via, players will have greater color flexibility for their in-game cleats, and they’ll be permitted to wear more personalized cleats in pre-game warmups.

The in-game limits are still fairly rigid. Instead of teams declaring a dominant color for their cleats before the game, players can simply choose solid black, solid white, or a secondary team color.

If players can wear shoes of varying color, why not let them go ahead and wear personalized designs on the shoes? Once the color uniformity goes away, designs or messages or other unique features that make the shoes different won’t make the shoes any more distracting than having 11 players wearing up to three different colors of cleats.

49ers place Donavin Newsom on injured reserve

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The 49ers announced Wednesday they placed linebacker Donavin Newsom on injured reserve and waived linebacker Jayson DiManche with an injury designation.

Newsom collided with safety Chanceller James on Aug. 9. The undrafted rookie from Missouri left in an ambulance. He spent two nights in the hospital with a concussion but had no cervical spine fractures.

“He’s doing better each day,” General Manager John Lynch said, via quotes distributed by the team. “. . . Talking with our doctors, he got great care up here at Stanford. It’s the best thing for the kid. Give him time to really get right. So, [I] had a good talk with him this morning.”

DiManche rejoined the 49ers on Aug. 5 after being released on May 2.

Tom Brady still not willing to give quarterbacks from other teams pointers


When the Patriots had joint practices two years with Washington, quarterback Robert Griffin III hoped to pick the brain of quarterback Tom Brady. Brady declined.

With the Texans and Patriots spending a couple of days this week practicing this week in West Virginia, Brady spent some time visiting with Houston rookie Deshaun Watson. So what advice did Brady share with the new guy?

Apparently, none.

“Yeah, most of the time it’s on your own team,” Brady said regarding whether he provided pointers to Watson. “You’re trying to help the guys you play with. As an older player you kind of pass along words of advice daily in every meeting. You meet other players in the league, younger players, and whether it’s joint practices or other opportunities in the offseason, it’s nice to meet a lot of guys. I’ve got a lot of respect for this team. We play them a lot. I feel like I know all of their players, so it was a good couple of days of work.”

In other words, Brady won’t be helping out any quarterback he may be facing this year, and Watson definitely fits that bill.

NFLPA “seething” over accusation of victim shaming

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The NFL took the Ezekiel Elliott case to the proverbial next level on Wednesday by accusing the NFL Players Association of “spreading derogatory information to the media” about Tiffany Thompson, who has accused Elliott of domestic violence. The NFLPA publicly denounced the accusation in no uncertain terms.

Privately, the NFLPA feels even more strongly about the situation. As one source with knowledge of the situation put it, union leadership is “seething” over the situation.

Part of the problem, as multiple other sources explained it to PFT, is that the information that has surfaced in recent days regarding Thompson comes directly from the 160-page investigation report created by the league. Someone in possession of the report has leaked portions of it to three different media outlets — the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Yahoo Sports, and the website owned and operated by the NFL.

Reporters will never disclose their sources; in this case, anyone with access to the 160-page report is a suspect. Including the entity that prepared it.

As to the NFLPA, the notion that the union would engage in victim shaming doesn’t fit with its handling of past cases. There was no allegation of victim shaming in, for example, the Josh Brown case, the Greg Hardy case, the Ray Rice case, or the Ben Roethlisberger case. There wasn’t even a hint that it was happening in those cases.

In this case, the league itself compiled 160 pages of information, including plenty of derogatory content about Tiffany Thompson. Regardless of whether the NFL has clear, unmistakable proof that the NFLPA has been spreading the information, it’s clear and unmistakable that the NFL gathered it, documented it, and made it part of the official record in the Elliott case. Blaming the union for the fact that some of it is now getting out seems odd at best, especially without a smoking gun to prove it.

Special edition PFT Live podcast breaks down the Elliott developments

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With multiple developments in the Ezekiel Elliott case after Wednesday’s PFT Live concluded, today was an appropriate day to tape a special edition of the PFT Live podcast.

So we did. And it’s available for late-evening/early-morning listening to get you up to speed on everything that has happened in the Elliott case.

You can download the podcast at  Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, or whoever podcasts are available. Subscribe, rate the show, and more importantly drop a comment indicating whether you’d like to have a regular afternoon edition of PFT Live.

Thursday morning’s PFT Live includes visits from Bills linebacker and NFLPA executive committee member Lorenzo Alexander, Rams G.M. Les Snead, and UCLA coach Jim Mora.

John Lynch respects players’ reasons for standing during anthem but says it’s “divisive”

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Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the face of the national anthem protests last season. Two of his teammates, Eli Harold and Eric Reid, later joined him.

While Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the anthem in games over the weekend, every 49ers player, including Harold and Reid, stood before their team’s preseason opener.

49ers General Manager John Lynch was asked his feelings on the anthem protests.

“We had a great deal the other day where we had four chairs up here, and there was Steve Young and Jerry Rice,” Lynch said in quotes distributed by the team. “And they talked about ‘The 49er Way.’ And I always thought that’s one of the great things about this league. As a matter of fact, I think it’s a great beacon for the rest of culture, in terms of the way it should be. You strive for a common goal, and you have unity.

“And I think this game brings people together. So I think personally, when I see that, I think that’s divisive. And I understand guys see things, and they’re not happy. They have that right, and I think we’ll always respect people’s rights. That doesn’t mean I believe that. I believe this game should be celebrated for what it is. I think [it’s] a tremendous unifier for our country and for the way things should be.”

Lynch said he would talk to any of his players who chose to protest during the anthem.

“I think we’ll always communicate,” Lynch said. “We think overcommunicating is a good thing. We haven’t faced that situation. If we do, we’ll communicate.”

Lynch cited his former coach at Stanford, Bill Walsh, who spoke often of football being a unifier.

“You take guys from all over the county, different socio-economic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, and you have friends for life,” Lynch said, mentioning his former teammate Warren Sapp was in town visiting the 49ers on Wednesday. “Those types of stories I think get lost in something like this. But they’ve got their reasons [for the protests], and we’ll always be respectful of those.”

Seahawks sign LB Rodney Butler

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In addition to adding cornerback Tramaine Brock, the Seahawks signed linebacker Rodney Butler on Wednesday. To make room, they waived receiver Jamel Johnson and waived safety Jordan Simone with an injury designation.

Butler, an undrafted rookie out of New Mexico State, led the nation in tackles as a senior with 165. He took part in Seattle’s rookie minicamp as a tryout player in May.

He was training in Las Cruces while waiting for a call.

Butler started for three seasons and earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors in 2016.

Johnson signed a futures contract with the Seahawks after the 2016 season. They waived him in May but re-signed him earlier this month.

Simone signed with the Seahawks this offseason after taking part in their rookie minicamp as a tryout player. He injured an anterior cruciate ligament in the Seahawks’ preseason opener. If Simone clears waivers, the Seahawks will place him on injured reserve.

Kenny Golladay earns promotion to first team


Kenny Golladay‘s two-touchdown performance against the Colts earned him a promotion. On Wednesday, the rookie receiver worked exclusively with the first team in practice for the first time in training camp.

Golladay was on the field with Marvin Jones and Golden Tate in three-receiver sets, playing primarily on the outside.

“He’s one of those guys that we’re just trying to make certain that we give him a little bit of experience at a little bit of everything to kind of see where he fits,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “We have an idea, but you really don’t know until you get him a chance to really kind of delve into one spot or the other, so we’re trying to cross-train him a little bit. But he has the speed and has the length and those kind of things you look for for good matchups on the outside.”

Golladay, a third-round pick out of Northern Illinois, has created a buzz around the NFL after catching three passes for 53 yards and two scores in his preseason debut. The performance was nothing the Lions hadn’t seen in practice.

The Lions expect to use the 6-foot-4 Golladay as a red-zone weapon. Both of his touchdowns against the Colts came on contested catches.

Jermichael Finley seeks education “on how to contribute to solving racial injustices”

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After taking criticism from, among others, Martellus Bennett a day earlier, former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley tweeted he will seek to become part of the solution for solving racial injustices.

“I’ve taken my own advice & reached out to someone, so I can educate myself on how to contribute to solving racial injustices in America,” Finely tweeted.

Earlier in the day, the outspoken Finley tweeted, “Stand 4 our COUNTRY.”

On Tuesday, Finley tweeted and then deleted criticism of athletes who sit for the national anthem. Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch both sat during the national anthem in separate games over the weekend.

“Athletes are looked up to & serve as roll [sic] models, leave personal opinions about race and politics alone. Do what you get paid to do & play!” Finley tweeted and then deleted.

Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, Michael’s brother, tweeted in response, “What role are you modeling?”

Finley tweeted twice more after deleting the initial tweet. “But is it for selfish reason (marketing). Or is it FOR REAL that they care,” Finley tweeted before making light of the “roll” in his initial tweet by adding, “‘Role Model’ for all u smart people.”

Julian Edelman credits Wes Welker for inventing his position

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Patriots receiver Julian Edelman does many of the same things in New England’s offense that Wes Welker did from 2007 to 2012. And Edelman says that if not for Welker, Edelman may never have gotten the chance.

Edelman, who played four seasons with Welker, spent time with Welker again this week because the Patriots and Texans had joint practices and Welker is now a Texans assistant coach. Edelman said he thinks the players in Houston are lucky to have a guy like Welker to learn from.

“Wes is such a smart, intelligent football player,” Edelman said. “He played a lot of years. He’s a grinder, meaning he earned everything he got. He didn’t start on third. He had have a long journey to being ultimately a revolutionary player who basically created a position.”

Edelman isn’t surprised that Welker went straight from the field to coaching.

“Being in the locker room with him for so many years and being able to pick his brains and to see how just from how he practiced and how he played, it doesn’t surprise me at all,” Edelman said. “He was such a student of the game. He knew just about everything so it was one of those things being a coach, you know it’s a grind, it’s a huge thing, but he’s a football guy. He loves the sport.”

With 903 career catches, Welker got far more out of his athletic talent than anyone could have expected. Those players often make great coaches.

Frank Clark apologizes to Germain Ifedi for punch

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Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark apologized to teammate Germain Ifedi for punching the offensive lineman in the face.

“It was a heat of the moment thing,” Clark said, via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. “I let my emotions overcome the situation. For a brief moment, I thought that myself, that I was bigger than the team in all regards. I thought about myself first before I thought about my defense as a whole and my defensive line, to be more specific. Because it was a one-on-one drill. And that was basically it. It was an overheated thing. We always get heated up. It’s O-Line, D-Line. It’s supposed to happen. But it just got taken too far.”

Clark, who hadn’t talked since the Aug. 3 practice fight, knocked the helmet-less Ifedi to the ground. Clark was ejected from practice and had sat out the following day after before spraining the MCL in a knee in his return.

He met with coach Pete Carroll and heard from General Manager John Schneider after the incident, and Clark told them — and Ifedi — he was sorry.

“The biggest message was just letting them know how remorseful I was,” Clark said. “I just wanted to let them know that I was actually sorry, and I wanted to let Germain know that I was sorry, besides the team. That was my biggest thing. I just wanted to let him know that it was my fault, and that it would never get to that point again. I’m sure things are going to get heated again. It’s football. It’s the offensive line and defensive line. But you’ve got to be aware of those situations and know how to take the actions out another kind of way.”

DeMarco Murray expected to play Saturday

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Titans running back DeMarco Murray expects to make his preseason debut Saturday. The Pro Bowler returned to practice Monday and worked against the Panthers in a joint practice with the Panthers on Wednesday.

“He’s still kind of testing it a little bit,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “I think he’s progressing pretty well. I’ll see how he is after getting in the cold tub and getting some treatment.”

Murray missed nearly two weeks while rehabbing from the Aug. 2 injury.

“I am better now, and it’s great to be back,” Murray said. “I’m working hard, and I’m ready to go.”

Murray, 29, rushed for 1,287 yards and nine touchdowns in his first season in Tennessee. Derrick Henry added another 490 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie season.

Lucky Whitehead to undergo surgery on foot


Jets receiver Lucky Whitehead probably should consider going by something other than “Lucky” after the training camp he has had. Whitehead will undergo surgery on his broken foot, coach Todd Bowles said Wednesday.

Whitehead was injured in Monday’s practice, and a 4-6 week timeline for his return already was expected. But a second opinion determined surgery was the best course of action.

It doesn’t appear to be a season-ending injury, which is the only good news for Whitehead.

The Jets claimed Whitehead off waivers from the Cowboys in late July. He had his dog kidnapped and held for ransom, and his identity stolen in the theft of a convenience store. Whitehead did get his dog returned and his name cleared but not before the Cowboys parted ways with him.

Thomas Davis happy new deal won’t limit other Panthers moves


Linebacker Thomas Davis got what he wanted this week.

The Panthers announced a one-year extension for Davis on Tuesday after an offseason that saw their decision to fire General Manager Dave Gettleman tied to the way contract talks with Davis and tight end Greg Olsen were playing out. Davis said it was unfair to paint that picture, but interim G.M. Marty Hurney was the guy in charge when the deal got done.

According to Davis, what Hurney didn’t do was throw too much money at Davis. The linebacker said Wednesday that he thinks he would have gotten a deal done either way because he was looking for some security next season without limiting anything the team wants to do.

“It’s fair for me as a player and it’s fair for the organization moving forward,” Davis said, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “It’s not going to be a situation where it’s going to limit us from being able to sign other guys in the future, and I’m happy about that.”

The dea is reportedly worth $6.75 million with Davis getting $1 million in guaranteed money next season and, per Person, is “incentive-laden.”

Ravens reportedly close to deal with Jeremy Zuttah

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The Ravens are “close” to a deal to reunite with center Jeremy Zuttah, according to Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun.

Per Preston, discussions have become “more intense” between the Ravens and Zuttah about a return. He cautioned, though, that the Colts remain in the picture. Zuttah visited Indianapolis this week.

Zuttah made the Pro Bowl in 2016, but the Ravens traded him to San Francisco in March in an exchange of sixth-round picks. The 49ers released him last week after Zuttah failed to push Daniel Kilgore for the starting job.

In nine seasons, Zuttah has played both guard positions and center. He made 41 starts at center for the Ravens over the past three seasons.