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Judge Doty wonders whether Goodell “understands there is a CBA”

NFL Collusion Case AP

While Judge Richard M. Berman hasn’t been exactly friendly to the NFL’s position in the case the NFL filed to uphold the suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, it could have been worse for the league.

If the NFL hadn’t won the race to the courthouse (thanks to the head start that Arbitrator Roger Goodell provided to Commissioner Roger Goodell), the NFL Players Association may have filed the first lawsuit in Minnesota. And lawsuit could have landed on the docket of Judge David Doty. And whatever the outcome in New York before Judge Berman, it could have been worse before Judge Doty.

On Wednesday, Judge Doty heard oral arguments in the NFLPA’s request for a finding that the league and Goodell are in contempt of court by failing to act in response to Judge Doty’s order vacating the Adrian Peterson suspension. The union contends that the league merely waited for Peterson’s suspension to end under its original terms, taking no action to reconsider the punishment in the wake of the decision that the league applied the new Personal Conduct Policy retroactively to Peterson and deferring to the effort to appeal Judge Doty’s decision to a higher court.

I’m not sure the Commissioner understands there is a CBA,” Judge Doty said in open court, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today.

At one point, Judge Doty asked NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler whether the union wants a My Cousin Vinny-style punishment for Goodell.

“Jail time – is that what you want?” Doty asked Kessler. “Do you want us to put the Commissioner in jail?”

Kessler said he merely wants an order directing arbitrator Harold Henderson to issue a new ruling consistent with Judge Doty’s order, along with an award of attorney’s fees arising from the effort.

Judge Doty took the matter under advisement, directing the parties to attempt to work out their differences with the involvement of Magistrate Judge Jamie S. Mayeron.

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St. Louis stadium plan faces new political opposition

Jared Cook, Stan Kroenke AP

The effort to secure public funding to build a stadium for multibillionaire Stan Kroenke’s football team recently secured a significant victory in the judicial branch of government. The project also has clear support from the executive branch of government. But opposition exists in the legislative branch.

According to the Associated Press, Missouri budget leaders said Wednesday that they oppose spending taxpayer money on a new Rams stadium.

Specifically, House Budget Chairman Tom Flanigan has informed Governor Jay Nixon that Flanigan will block any effort to fund the stadium absent approval of the Legislature or the public. Likewise, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said he doesn’t believe legislative support exists for devoting taxpayer funds to the new facility.

Time is of the essence, given that Kroenke has made real strides in securing the ability to build a stadium in Inglewood, California, where the Rams and perhaps another team would play. If St. Louis and Missouri can’t get something together by the end of the year, the Rams could be back in L.A. by next football season.

The reluctance of the Missouri Legislature to cough up public money isn’t surprising; in recent years, the national pendulum has swung away from subsidizing sports owners. Which is why L.A. has gone from luxury to necessity for the NFL. If Kroenke is going to be writing the check for his own stadium, he needs to do it in a place where he believes he’ll receive maximum return on his investment.

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Ahmad Brooks charged, Ray McDonald indicted in sexual assault case

San Francisco 49ers v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks has been charged with a misdemeanor and former 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald have been indicted for a felony in a sexual assault case.

McDonald faces one count of rape and Brooks faces one count of misdemeanor sexual battery, the San Jose Mercury News reports. McDonald could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison if convicted, while Brooks could face up to six months in jail.

The men were both accused by the same woman in an incident that took place at McDonald’s house in December. She says that McDonald raped her and that Brooks groped her after she fell and hit her head near McDonald’s pool.

McDonald has also been indicted for violating a domestic violence restraining order, in a separate incident.

The 49ers, who had already faced criticism for allowing McDonald to play despite a previous domestic violence accusation, cut McDonald after the rape accusation in December. The Bears signed McDonald this offseason but then cut him amid another domestic violence investigation.

McDonald’s NFL career is almost certainly over, as no team would touch him at this point. It remains to be seen what the 49ers or the NFL will do with Brooks, who has been a starter for the 49ers for four years and started both preseason games this year.

The case is another black eye for the NFL and for the 49ers, who have dealt with a string of off-field issues and will now face another.

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Hamstring injury continues to plague Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders AP

Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders has not played yet this preseason, and it appears that he won’t play at all.

The Broncos will be without Sanders in Saturday’s preseason game against the 49ers, the Denver Post reports. That almost certainly means he’s being shut down for the entire preseason, as starters who aren’t 100 percent healthy hardly ever play in the fourth and final preseason game.

Sanders hasn’t practiced in almost three weeks, so he’s likely going to be rusty whenever he’s ready to go. The good news, however, is that reports out of Denver have indicated the team still thinks Sanders will be ready to go by the Broncos’ regular-season opener on September 13.

Sanders arrived in Denver last season and had by far the best statistical season of his five-year career, catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns.

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Russell Wilson doubles down on “Recovery Water” claims

Russell Wilson, Clay Matthews AP

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was roundly mocked online when it was revealed today that he credits a product called Recovery Water for preventing him from suffering a concussion in the NFC Championship Game. But Wilson is not backing down.

Wilson took to Twitter this afternoon to confirm that he credits Recovery Water, a product which he is an investor in, for keeping him healthy when he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.

“I believe Recovery Water helped prevent me from getting a concussion based on a bad hit,” Wilson wrote, adding the hashtag, “#NanoBubbles.”

Wilson, however, admits that he has no “real medical proof” that the Recovery Water actually prevents concussions — or that it heals knee injuries, although he claims a teammate with a knee injury was healed by Recovery Water. And it’s troubling that Wilson is making these claims without any scientific evidence to back them up.

Look, Wilson is entitled to believe what he wants about Recovery Water. But it’s irresponsible of him to use his celebrity to claim that Recovery Water can help treat concussions when he admits that he doesn’t have any medical proof.

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Jerry Rice declines to clarify his use (or not) of stickum

Jerry Rice AP

Earlier this year, Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice admitted to putting stickum on his gloves, a significant confession in the early days of #DeflateGate, when Patriots fans were searching for any and all evidence of other teams cheating. Rice later apologized for using stickum, but claimed that “[a]ll players did it!

Receivers like Michael Irvin and Cris Carter strongly disagreed, and the story surprisingly never gathered much steam. In May, however, Rice abruptly revisited the topic — and he seemed to change his tune dramatically.

Never been investigated for stickum!” Rice said via Twitter. “Mistakenly used that word and dealing with consequences! But I don’t have a problem taking a Polygraph!”

Rice, in a promotional appearance on behalf of Lysol, appeared on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, and I can him an opportunity to clear the air. Did Jerry Rice use stickum?

“You know the thing is, the way I worked and my work ethic and stuff like that it really speaks for itself,” Rice said. “I’m not even going to address that anymore. When people think about me they think about the time I put in on the field. And even with the situation with the New England Patriots. The Patriots, they really deserve what they got by winning the Super Bowl, you know, that’s fantastic. I look at the Patriots and I think about the San Fransisco 49ers and what they were able to accomplish. And I look at Tom Brady — you know what? — he was able to accomplish winning four Super Bowls. So you know those are the things I’m focusing on right now and you know my work ethic was everything during my entire career and I think it speaks for itself.”

It does, but he didn’t answer the question. Which probably answers the question.

Then again, it would be easy to pass a polygraph if the answer to the question is, “I’m not going to answer the question.” That, indeed, would be a truthful response.

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Packers, Rodgers can get by without Nelson

Super Bowl Football AP

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson may be the best NFL player to suffer an injury this preseason. But smart Packers fans are not freaking out about Nelson’s loss.

That’s because the Packers have proven themselves to be a well-built team with good depth, and the ability to withstand the loss of any player not named Aaron Rodgers.

Nelson is out for the season with a knee injury, and that certainly hurts: Nelson was the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, and he was fourth in the NFL in receiving yards and tied for second in receiving touchdowns last year. But the Packers have shown in the past that they can get by without Nelson.

The last time Nelson missed a game was in 2012, when he was out four games with hamstring injuries. During those four games, the Packers went 4-0 and Rodgers threw eight touchdown passes and zero interceptions. Add in the two additional games that year when Nelson played but was severely limited because of his injuries, and the Packers’ record jumps to 6-0, with Rodgers throwing 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions. (In the Packers’ 10 games with a healthy Nelson that season, they went 5-5 and Rodgers threw 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions.)

Nelson is the Packers’ top receiver, but Rodgers is the player who makes the offense go, and Green Bay has excellent depth. G.M. Ted Thompson alluded to that depth in describing how the team will move on without Nelson.

“You lose players in this game sometimes and you have to go on,” Thompson said. “When you have an extraordinary player, someone like Jordy, a really extraordinary player, you don’t expect to replace the player tit-for-tat, one-for-one, anything like that. I think it will command the work of the entire offense and the entire team to make up for that loss.”

The loss of Nelson is a big one, but not one the Packers can’t overcome.

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Johnny Manziel unlikely to play Saturday

Johnny Manziel AP

The right elbow soreness that’s been plaguing Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel this summer will likely leave him on the sideline when the team plays the Buccaneers on Saturday.

That was the word from coach Mike Pettine on Wednesday afternoon. Manziel had an MRI that didn’t show any structural damage, but he didn’t throw during Wednesday’s practice and Pettine said the team was leaning toward leaving him out of the lineup.

“Could he play [Saturday] if he had to?” Pettine said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal. “More than likely he could. But why do that in the preseason?”

Pettine said the Browns could add another quarterback to the roster in order to keep from taxing Manziel’s arm in future practices, but that Josh McCown and Thad Lewis would be the only quarterbacks to play against Tampa. Pettine also said that moving Terrelle Pryor back to quarterback isn’t under consideration.

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Russell Wilson claims “Recovery Water” healed his head injury

New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson took a brutal hit to the head from Packers linebacker Clay Matthews after throwing an interception in the NFC Championship Game, and he looked like he might have suffered a concussion. But Wilson stayed in the game, and wasn’t limited in practice leading up to the Super Bowl.

Now Wilson says credit for healed his head goes to a product he invests in: Recovery Water.

In a lengthy profile in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Wilson claims the water, which the company he’s working with sells for $3 a bottle, caused his brain to recover from what could have been a serious injury.

“I banged my head during the Packers game in the playoffs, and the next day I was fine,” Wilson said. “It was the water.”

Wilson insists that the Recovery Water “works well,” and that a teammate used the water to heal a knee injury. And if that makes Recovery Water sound more like a scam than a miracle cure, well, Wilson admits he can’t prove that it works.

“Well, we’re not saying we have real medical proof,” Wilson said.

Questions were raised about the Seahawks’ medical staff after Wilson was cleared to return following the hit from Matthews, especially considering that FOX sideline reporter Erin Andrews observed during the game that team doctors let him go back in the game after “They talked to him for all of two seconds.” That’s an alarming accusation of a medical staff failing to do its job, one that probably would have been a major story during Super Bowl week if not for the fact that the Deflategate story broke later the same day.

Wilson’s “Recovery Water” claims may now generate some attention, but likely not for the reasons Wilson would hope. Although Wilson is portraying himself as a big believer in the ability of his product to help people, the Rolling Stone article makes him sound more like a snake oil salesman.

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Jonathan Martin shares personal pain, admits multiple suicide attempts

Jonathan Martin AP

Jonathan Martin hadn’t said anything about his departure from the Panthers and the NFL, and little about his days with the Dolphins since he was in the middle of the Richie Incognito bullying scandal.

But the former Dolphins and 49ers tackle wrote a heartfelt message this morning on social media this morning, expressing the pain he felt from his high school days to his NFL career.

Your job leads you to attempt to kill yourself multiple times,” he wrote.

The message traces his unhappiness to his early days, when he never felt like he fit in at private schools in California, saying he never felt “black enough” and wasn’t accepted by either white or black classmates.

He said that led to to drinking too much, smoking marijuana “constantly” and other bad behavior, but clearly he wasn’t comfortable with the persona he created to tried to fit into the football culture.

But he also ended the note with gratitude, and an offering to others who might feel similarly.

“You realize who truly has had your back,” he wrote. “Who the people are who you need to embrace. And cherish every moment you have with them. You let your demons go, knowing that, perhaps, sharing your story can help some other chubby, goofy, socially isolated sensitive kid getting bullied in America who feels like no one in the world cares about them.

“And let them know you’re not alone.”

While Incognito’s busy working for the Bills, Martin continued to work in silence, which was his right. But Wednesday, he chose to break his silence with a powerful message.

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Odell Beckham knows defenses will target him in 2015

Odell Beckham AP

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who took the league by storm in 2014 as a rookie, is now facing the consequences of his sudden success. Within his own team, he’s having to learn how to deal with ribbing. When playing other teams, he may have to learn how to deal with hits to the ribs.

Giants receiver Victor Cruz’s believes that Jaguars defensive backs targeted Beckham during a Week Two preseason game. Beckham was asked whether he agrees with Cruz during a Tuesday visit to ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show.

In a way, yeah, I did,” Beckham said. “I agree with it. It’s like the ball’s in the air, it’s a 50-50 ball and you have a chance at the ball. And you’re just throwing your body in. You almost hit the ball with your back if you’re throwing the body in at me. Then you know it kind of takes away from the game of football. It’s not making great plays, now you’re just out there, you’re going after a person. So I understand that could be what it’s gonna be like this year, deserved or  not deserved. That’s just what the case is gonna be. So protect yourself. And I know that by the time the season comes, those plays — I’m gonna just have to sit there and take the hits. Because I wanna catch the ball, and I want Eli to keep throwing those balls and him giving me opportunities, you’ve just gotta come down with those plays.”

Beckham later said he’d prefer that players make plays on the ball, not plays on the player trying to catch the ball.

“Guys have an opportunity to make a play on the ball, they’re not making a play on the ball, and it’s kinda going more towards me,” Beckham said. “But, like I said, it’s part of the game. I’m not gonna sit there and be the one to complain about it. It’s just like, man to man, if you have a chance to make a play, like make a play. Don’t make the play on me or feel like you’re trying to blow me up.”

There’s no blanket rule against hitting a receiver who is trying to catch a pass. If you hit him too early, it’s interference. If you hit him in the head or neck area or with the helmet anywhere before he has a chance to protect himself, it’s unnecessary roughness. But defensive backs have always had the ability to choose trying to hit the player in order to keep him from holding the football over trying to catch the football.

Receivers, whose ball skills are usually better than those possessed by defensive backs (which is one of the reasons why they are defensive backs), will always prefer reducing the act of trying to catch passes to the simple proposition of which guy can go get it. Defensive backs may prefer using a tactic that could make the receiver’s arms a lot shorter the next time he’s trying to make a three-fingered catch in the end zone.

In football, the defensive back has every right to make that choice. And the more that choice frustrates the receiver, the more that choice will be the one that defensive backs make.

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PFT Live: Luke Kuechly, Jerry Rice, Simeon Rice

Miami Dolphins v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

Wednesday’s PFT Live will bring visits from one current NFL star and three stars from the past.

The current star is Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is preparing for the fourth season of a career that’s gotten off to a tremendous start. Kuechly has already won rookie of the year and defensive player of the year honors in his brief career, which has made his next contract a focal point this offseason. We’ll hear what Kuechly has to say on that front and what he thinks about the Panthers defense during his visit.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice will lead off the blasts from the past when he joins Mike Florio to discuss several topics around the league and former Redskins star and current CSN Mid Atlantic analyst Brian Mitchell will be on the show to talk about his recent comments regarding Robert Griffin III. Longtime Buccaneers pass rusher Simeon Rice rounds out the visitors from days gone by.

As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour by clicking right here.

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Martellus Bennett: Why does everyone assume the QB is the leader?

Martellus Bennett, Jay Cutler AP

The Bears are heading into another season with Jay Cutler at quarterback and that means we’re hearing all the familiar discussions about Cutler’s shortcomings as a player and leader.

Tight end Martellus Bennett thinks the leadership questions about Cutler are misplaced. In an interview done earlier this offseason with Chicago Magazine as part of a lengthy profile of Bennett’s on- and off-field lives, Bennett took issue with the entire notion that a quarterback has to be the team leader.

“Why does everyone always assume the quarterback is the leader?” Bennett said. “Leading the offense and leading the team are two different things. Sometimes I like Cutty, and sometimes I don’t. When I think of a leader, I think, ‘If he started a company, would guys come to work for him?’ There’s a lot of guys on our team who, if they started a business, it’d be, ‘F— you, I’m gonna go work at McDonald’s.”

And if Cutler did open a business?

“There are veterans that people follow and then you’ve got guys that lead the offense, get everyone lined up, get to your spot, do what you need to do, let’s do our plays,” Bennett said.

He doesn’t specify which one is Cutler, but putting the two answers together does make it seem that Bennett would be flipping burgers and working the drive-thru if his other option was a job at a Cutler-run corporation. So if Cutler isn’t a leader, someone on the Bears will have to be and Bennett said that it wasn’t present last season on a team that wasn’t concerned with “having each other’s back.” It didn’t help that coach Marc Trestman “tried to play both sides of the fence” with players during a season that hasn’t reflected all that well on anyone associated with the Bears.

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Evan Mathis: I just couldn’t turn down Broncos opportunity

Evan Mathis AP

Guard Evan Mathis finally found a team for the 2015 season on Tuesday when he signed a one-year deal with the Broncos that can be worth as much as $4 million if Mathis earns all his incentives.

PFT reported Tuesday night that Mathis had a more lucrative offer from another team and Mathis said the same during an interview with Mike Klis of 9News in Denver. Mathis said that offer was equal to the $5.5 million he was set to make in Philly before being released, but said “you can’t put a price on peace of mind” or on the chance to play for a team that can make a playoff run.

“The No. 1 priority in finding a new place to play was playing for a contender,” Mathis said. “The Broncos weren’t in the mix early on. They were kind of the darkhorse in the race. They emerged here late and I just couldn’t turn down that opportunityr.”

Mathis says he’s in shape, although he’ll “have to get used to the altitude” in Denver. Assuming that doesn’t present too many problems, Mathis should assume the starting left guard job in time for Week One and provide experience to a line that was set to start three inexperienced players before his arrival. If he also provides the level of performance from the last couple of years in Philly, he’ll help the Broncos chances of being the contender he expects them to be.

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Scandrick out for season with torn ACL

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick was carted off the practice field Tuesday, and Pro Football Talk has confirmed that one of Cowboys’ top defenders is done for the season with a torn ACL.

Mike Garofolo of FOX Sports was first to report it. Tuesday night, Cowboys secondary coach Jerome Henderson told reporters that Scandrick told him he knew he had torn his ACL.

The non-contact injury came after Scandrick had two interceptions in practice.

Scandrick has been with the Cowboys since he was a fifth-round pick in 2008 and signed a contract extension last spring after tying his career-high with two interceptions last season. Scandrick also forced two fumbles and recorded a sack in 2014.

The only other cornerbacks on the Cowboys roster with real NFL experience are Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Either Claiborne or 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones will replace him in the starting lineup.

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