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Lawyer: HOF told Seau family that Sydney could speak

No.55 jersey seen on display at Qualcomm Stadium as part of "Celebration of Life" memorial, held in memory of Seau in San Dieg Reuters

The Seau family members are OK with the Hall of Fame’s policy on posthumously-inducted players. Unless they aren’t.

Seau family lawyer Steve Strauss has issued a statement to Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal in which Strauss says Seau’s family still objects to the decision to prevent Seau’s daughter from speaking at the upcoming induction ceremony.

“The Seau family appreciates the overwhelming support for Sydney Seau to be able to accept Junior’s induction into the Hall of Fame live and in her own words,” Strauss said. “Unfortunately, the Hall of Fame is unwilling to reverse its decision despite communicating to the family earlier this year that Sydney would be able to speak at the ceremony. Contrary to the most recent statement by the Hall of Fame, the family does not support the current policy that prevents family members from delivering live remarks on behalf of deceased inductees. However, the Seau family does not want this issue to become a distraction to Junior’s accomplishments and legacy or those of the other inductees. The Seau family never intended to use the Hall of Fame as a platform to discuss the serious mental health issues facing the NFL today which are most appropriately addressed in a legal forum. The Seau family looks forward to celebrating Junior’s extraordinary accomplishments at the Hall of Fame.”

Although the end result is still the same — the Seau family is accepting the policy — the suggestion from Strauss that the Hall of Fame previously told the Seau family that his daughter, Sydney, would be able to speak is news. And it conflicts directly with the five-year-old policy that the Hall of Fame adopted in 2010.

It’s no surprise that Strauss released the statement. Eventually, he may be trying to persuade a jury as to the merits of Seau’s wrongful-death case. Everyone in the jurisdiction where the case would be tried is a potential juror, and if they feel better about the Seau family and/or worse about the NFL now, that could come in handy later.

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Irsay: I have not talked to Goodell about Deflategate since January

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpty4mtu1mwnmmtu0ytc1njk3zjljnjrindjmmzq5ogy22 AP

Colts owner Jim Irsay says he isn’t trying to get NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to deny Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s appeal of his Deflategate suspension.

Shortly after Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti denied lobbying Goodell to uphold Brady’s four-game suspension, Irsay offered a similar denial.

“That’s not true at all,” Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. “I haven’t talked to Roger Goodell about DeflateGate since late January. Not true. That’s not the way things work involving someone else’s business and someone else’s team. It’s not something I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around ownership [in the NFL] for half a century.”

Despite the denials from Irsay and Bisciotti, Goodell finds himself in a difficult position. If he upholds Brady’s suspension, he’s putting a black mark on the legacy of one of the league’s best and most popular players, while risking a lawsuit from Brady. But if he sets the suspension aside, there’s little doubt that other teams — particularly other AFC playoff contenders like the Ravens and Colts — will be upset.

No matter how Goodell rules, he’s going to have people angry at him. Maybe that’s why it’s taking him so long to make up his mind.

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CFL teams are converting two-point attempts at a high rate

kick Getty Images

The upcoming NFL season has a wild-card in the form of a new rule pushing the one-point post-touchdown try to the 15 from the two. It’s unclear how it will unfold, but a preview is playing out north of the border, up Canada way.

The CFL has moved the one-point attempt to the 25, which makes the kick the same length as in the NFL, since the CFL goal post is at the front of the 25-yard end zone. The early results suggest that it could make more sense to go for two more often.

Via Yahoo! Sports Canada, CFL teams have gone for two 29 out of 101 times this season, converting 22 of them. That’s a 28.7-percent utilization rate of the two-point try, with a 72.4-percent success rate.

Conversely, teams have converted only 58 of 72 one-point attempts, an 80.6-percent rate.

That 25-yard end zone may have something to do with the two-point success rate, since it give receivers more room to maneuver. With only a 10-yard window, NFL teams may be better off running than throwing, especially after way the Super Bowl ended.

From the NFL’s perspective, the more relevant stat comes from the reduced conversion rate on a one-point try. Previously, the extra-point attempts in Canada came from the five yard line, and kickers made 99.4 percent of the 13-yard kicks. If the one-point try becomes a four-out-of-five proposition for the NFL, coaches could decide to go for two more often.

Still, football coaches like to do what is conventional, because when the conventional fails, there’s no criticism. When the unconventional fails, that’s when the pitchforks and torches come out.

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NFL releases list of fines for 2015 season

Miami Dolphins OTA's Getty Images

NFL players who want to budget for fines during the 2015 season now know how much money they need to set aside.

The league has released the list of fines for offenses committed on the field this season.

The most expensive fines are for fighting and physical contact with officials. Those fines are $28,940 for a first offense and $57,881 for a second offense.

Some of the fines are a little hard to understand. For instance, the fine for taunting is the same as the fine for late hits and chop blocks: $8,681. At a time when the NFL says player safety is its top priority, you’d think that taking a cheap shot at an opponent would be treated more harshly than taunting an opponent, but in reality the fine is the same for both.

The full list of fines is here.

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Browns not “guaranteeing” Josh McCown will start Week One

Josh McCown AP

The Browns gave Josh McCown starter reps at quarterback throughout the offseason and there hasn’t been much indication from the team that the team’s starter in the regular season will be anyone other than McCown.

Despite that, coach Mike Pettine isn’t ready to etch anything in stone at this point. On the same day that he left the door open to Terrelle Pryor making a return to quarterback, Pettine also opted not to shut the door completely on the possibility that Johnny Manziel would be the team’s starter when they meet the Jets in Week One.

“I don’t think anything’s changed,” Pettine said, via ESPN.com. “The repetitions will be handled that way with Josh as the [No. 1]. I wouldn’t say I’m guaranteeing today that Josh McCown is going to be the starter against the Jets. A lot can happen in preseason.”

Pettine said McCown’s experience gave him a pronounced edge on Manziel, whose recent work with Jon Gruden was seen as “nothing but a positive” by his head coach. Unless it led to a profound change from the Manziel that the Browns have seen for the last year-plus and McCown flops once the preseason gets underway, it’s hard to see the Browns turning away from McCown. Then again, it’s been hard to forecast many of the twists and turns that the Browns have taken since re-entering the NFL so it’s probably best not to be surprised by anything that might happen in Cleveland.

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Adrian Peterson knew the Vikings weren’t letting him go

Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon is reflected in Adrian Peterson's visor during practice at an NFL football training camp on the campus of Minnesota State University Sunday, July 26, 2015, in Mankato, Minn. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) AP

There was plenty of huffing and puffing in the offseason from people close to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Ultimately, however, Peterson realized no one was going to be blowing down any houses.

“The reality, and just to be straightforward with you,” Peterson told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “I knew I really wasn’t going anywhere. I am the type of person that likes to look at things from different views, so I put myself in the Vikings situation — the owners, the head coach.  We’re not gonna let you go. I revert back to the Percy Harvin situation. Me, if I was the owner of the Vikings, there’s no way I would have let him go. But unfortunately for us, he ended up leaving — but that’s the way I would have looked at it.”

With Harvin, the Vikings had a chance to secure a sizable haul of draft picks (including a first-rounder) and to remove a cancerous presence from the locker room. With Peterson, the trade offers weren’t there, and there were no lingering concerns about Peterson’s behavior, if they could get him to show up.

The Vikings were determined to get him to show up.

“I think Adrian felt a little bit abandoned at first,” coach Mike Zimmer told King. “But we felt we had to go play without him, and we didn’t have much choice in the matter, obviously. I made one mistake in the process. I said it’s a two-way street, and we want him to be here. People took it like, If he doesn’t want to be here, maybe we’d let him go. That was never the case. We never wavered in wanting him here. He’s done a lot for this city, for this state, for these fans.”

That “mistake” was made during a visit to PFT Live, and the reaction to the two-way street comment was logical. But Zimmer privately made it clear to Peterson that: (1) they wanted him; and (2) they’re not letting him go.

In a subsequent visit to PFT Live, Zimmer said that he had been in difficult employment situations in the past, but that he had a contract so he worked through it. For Peterson, that’s the way it ultimately worked out.

And now he has a better contract, along with a fresh determination (and financial incentive) to lead the Vikings deep into the postseason.

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Junior Galette denies going on anti-Saints Twitter rant

Junior Galette, Mike Glennon AP

Shortly after Junior Galette was cut by the Saints, someone took to Twitter and blasted the team, some players and coaches. Some websites published the Twitter rant and said that it was written by Galette, using his girlfriend’s Twitter account.

But Galette says that’s not the case.

“I don’t even have a Twitter. I haven’t used it since January. Neither does my girlfriend,” Galette told Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate.

Galette has had plenty to say about the Saints since they cut him, calling the move the worst decision the Saints have ever made. Some Saints players have indicated that they’re glad he’s gone, while others have said they wish him well elsewhere.

If Galette really were behind that anti-Saints rant, he wasn’t just burning bridges, he was nuking them. But Galette insists that he hasn’t said anything about the Saints on Twitter at all.

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Galette passes physical, heads to free agency

Junior Galette AP

Former Saints linebacker Junior Galette soon will have a chance to sign with any team he wants. The question is whether any team will want to sign him.

Galette tells Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate that the former Saint passed a physical over the weekend, paving the way for his official release.

Once officially released, Galette’s four-plus years of service will make him eligible for instant free agency.

So who will sign him? The NFL is still considering how to handle the aftermath of an arrest from earlier this year (the charges were dropped, possibly after a civil settlement was reached with the alleged victim) and a 2013 video showing Galette hitting a woman in the face with a belt during a beach brawl.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the Saints waited as long as possible to cut Galette, in the hopes that the NFL would take action that would allow the Saints to possibly collect some of the signing bonus money previously paid to him. While the Saints realize they made a mistake in signing Galette to a new contract last year (and in converting a $12.5 million roster bonus to a signing bonus in March), they chose not to compound the mistake by keeping him around to justify the money already spent.

Galette was no locker-room darling in New Orleans; other players on other teams may not be thrilled about the possibility of bringing Galette to town. Beyond whatever opinions have made their way through the NFL grapevine from New Orleans to other cities, an apparent social media rant from Galette that emerged over the weekend could make a prospective employer less inclined to employ Galette.

Galette’s agent, Alvin Keels, has not confirmed that Galette made the statements, which some think were posed onto a social-media account belonging to his girlfriend. Keels may need to have a thorough explanation, if he’s going to convince someone else to take a chance on being the next team that becomes the potential target of Galette’s online ire.

Considering how Galette has treated a team that paid him $18 million since September, how would he treat a team that pays him a lot less than that?

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Owner influence could make Brady’s lawsuit stronger

Goodell AP

Any effort by owners to pressure, influence, or lobby Commissioner Roger Goodell on the Tom Brady appeal undermines Goodell’s independence. Which in turn strengthens Brady’s case in court.

The looming lawsuit (absent a zero-game suspension for Brady) will entail an argument that Goodell wasn’t truly impartial. What better way to prove his “evident partiality” (lawyers) than to demonstrate the true contours of the mine field through which Goodell has been tiptoeing?

And what better way to do that than to march all 32 owners into court for sworn testimony regarding their communications with Goodell and the league office regarding the Brady suspension and appeal?

Before billionaires who routinely resisting submitting to any authority other than their own would submit to the authority of a judge, they’ll fight that requirement. Aggressively.

They’ll also aggressively fight any efforts to get their phone records, emails, and texts messages (irony), which will demonstrate the extent to which they communicated with Goodell or other key league employees about the Brady case.

The fact that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti issued a strong statement on Sunday insisting that he has not “pressured” Goodell suggests that Bisciotti realizes how this could unfold for him and his partners. The fact that Bisciotti’s statement didn’t flatly deny any and all communications with Goodell or efforts to influence him without exerting pressure suggests that delving thoroughly into the efforts of all owners to make their views known to Goodell, with or without “pressure,” will prove that Goodell’s decision was based at least in part on keeping his primary constituents happy.

The possibility that owners may have to testify also could result in a new wave of pressure, influence, lobbying, etc. on Goodell. The new message won’t be, “Throw the book at Brady.” It may instead be, “Make this all go away. Now.”

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Adrian Peterson: I can play at a high level until I’m 36 or 37

Adrian Peterson’s newly renegotiated contract runs through the 2017 season, when he’ll be 32 years old. Very few running backs are able to play well at that age.

But Peterson thinks he’ll still be in his prime at 32. And for a few years after that.

“I don’t see the end,” Peterson told Peter King of TheMMQB.com. “Straight up and honest with you, I feel like, and I don’t know if I’ll do this, because I feel like once my mind tells me, You know what—I’m not loving this game anymore, I’ll walk away whenever that time is. But I honestly feel I can play this game until I am 36 or 37 years old. And at a high level.”

Realistically, that’s almost impossible. No 36 or 37-year-old in NFL history has had a 1,000-yard rushing season. Marcus Allen is the only player to even top 500 rushing yards at the age of 37. Even at age 33 it’s very, very rare for a running back to remain at a high level; Hall of Famers John Henry Johnson, Jon Riggins and Franco Harris are the only players to rush for 1,000 yards after their 33rd birthdays.

Peterson is suggesting, at age 30, that he still has eight more high-level seasons left in him. Peterson is 8,165 yards behind Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record, so if he’s right, he’s going to retire as the top rusher in NFL history.

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Sammy Watkins: It’s a problem if we don’t make playoffs

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Getty Images

Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins has spent the offseason recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, something that allowed him to slow down after a whirlwind first year in the NFL.

Watkins thinks that’s a positive, saying that his body “feels great” heading into training camp and that he was able to spend time focusing on the coaching he was getting from new receivers coach Sanjay Lal over the last few months. Watkins says the wideouts were “kind of limited” by the coaching last season, but that Lal’s coaching has given him a greater understanding about how to succeed in the NFL.

Watkins’s individual success is going to be tied to quarterback play and that may not work out well for him statistically unless someone wildly overperforms the meager expectations for the Bills signal callers. Watkins isn’t letting it limit his expectations for the team, though.

“Winning, playoffs, championship,” Watkins said, via the Buffalo News. “We’ve got a great team and great coaches. I mean, there’s just no way we shouldn’t be in the playoffs or win a championship. I mean, with the team and coaches and staff that we have, and what they’re doing to bring us together, I think that there’s no doubt that we should win our division and be in the playoffs. It’s a problem if we don’t.”

The defense and collection of skill position players definitely look ready to make a run at a playoff spot in Buffalo. It’s tough to win with the offensive line and quarterback play playing at a low level, however, and the Bills have to get more from those spots before they can mount a serious playoff push.

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LeSean McCoy changes his party from ladies only

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Getty Images

Bills running back LeSean McCoy has indeed proceeded with his pre-camp party. But he has made some changes to his plans.

In an Instagram post issued Sunday evening McCoy announced his plans. The full text appears below, without edit or correction.

“Since the media and Internet took my before camp party outta context, I had to switch up my party strategy,” McCoy said. “So tonight I’ll be inviting everyone to my back to business party . Featuring DJ @DonaldTrump on the 1’s and 2’s . Special invited guests @RexRyan , @chipKelly ,@Rogergodell , my man Barack .oprah, Carli Llyod , and even that terrible waiter with the awful service from the burger joint is invited. Don’t bring your Id because there won’t be any alcohol anyway. Open smoothie bar all night tho . Don’t worry bout the confidentiality agreement. No only are ladies invited but everyone is invited , except hulk hogan he can’t come . Maybe even @meekmill and @drake will hit the stage together . Turn up time party time !!!!”

It’s unclear how “the media and Internet” took the original party plan “outta context,” given the contents of the original ladies-only invitation and the bizarre information provided to anyone who expressed an interest in attending.

Regardless of what McCoy previously intended, the revised plan is a smart move, even if it came at the urging of the Bills or the league office.

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Jameis Winston quickly realizes NFL has no offseason

Winston AP

In past years, Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston spent the time that wasn’t football season playing baseball. This year, he devoted his offseason exclusively to football. And he has learned something.

“The thing about the offseason is you really don’t get an offseason,” Winston told WTSP-TV, via JoeBucsFan.com. “You got to continue to work, continue to prepare. I feel like I’ve got better.”

One of the narratives that point to Winston being more Peyton Manning than Ryan Leaf comes from the reality that he has yet to go all in on football — and that when he does he’ll be even better at football.

Soon, we’ll all find out whether there’s any merit to that concept, starting with Winston starting his regular-season career against the quarterback taken one spot after Winston in the draft, Marcus Mariota of the Titans.

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Darius Slay: Not much difference between Detroit’s D and Seattle’s

Alshon Jeffery, Darius Slay AP

The Seahawks are widely regarded as having the best defense in the NFL over the last few years, but Lions cornerback Darius Slay says the defense in Detroit is as good as the defense in Seattle.

We’ve got the same kind of talent they got,” Slay told the Detroit Free Press. “They ain’t too much different. They got a pass rush, they’ve got DBs, we’ve got DBs. They’ve got ‘backers, we’ve got ‘backers.”

Slay said the Lions’ defense deserves comparisons with Seattle’s.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “We were one of the best defenses in the league. I mean, we were the No. 1 defense for like, I don’t how long, until the last few weeks of the season.”

Those last few weeks of the season, however, are significant — as are the playoffs, where the Seahawks have had a lot more success than the Lions. Throw in the fact that the Lions lost their best defensive player in Ndamukong Suh, and it’s hard to see much of a comparison between Detroit’s defense and Seattle’s, no matter what the players in Detroit may think.

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Jamaal Charles leads athlete oath at Special Olympics World Games

Opening Ceremony Of The Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 Getty Images

Anyone who has watched NFL football in recent years knows Jamaal Charles can move.

But watching him move the crowd at the opening ceremony at last night’s Special Olympics World Games last night might be the biggest highlight of his career.

Charles took the stage at the Los Angeles event last night to lead the participants in the Special Olympics athlete oath — “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

And before he did, he took a moment to recount his own boyhood, when was diagnosed with a learning disability and competed in the Special Olympics himself.

“I was afraid. I was lost,” Charles said. ” When I was a boy, I had trouble reading. I found out I had a learning disability. People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I can fly. When I was 10 years old, I had the chance to compete in the Special Olympics. That’s right — the Special Olympics gave me my first chance to discover a talent I did not know I had.”

Charles has many talents, on the field and off, as the video linked above confirms.

It’s something every fan of Charles should see, and one that will create many more fans for the Chiefs running back.

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