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Trade chatter at a minimum, for now

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Robert Griffin III #10 and Joe Thomas #73 of the Cleveland Browns wait in the tunnel prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Browns 29-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Getty Images

The trade deadline is only nine days away. And while plenty of transactions could still happen between now and 4:00 p.m. ET on November 1, it’s hard to currently identify any real chatter regarding specific players.

It’s still a little early for teams to engage in full-blown fire sales. With two more games to be played for most teams between now and the trade deadline, that 1-5 record could be 3-5 by the Tuesday after Week Eight. Or 1-7.

Or, in the case of the Browns, 0-8.

The Browns will be at the center of the speculation, regarding a potential trade of veteran left tackle Joe Thomas. Last year, the Broncos reportedly were talking to the Browns about a trade for Thomas, and this year’s contending teams are only one injury to a starting tackle away from becoming quickly interested.

Other non-contending teams should be looking at players who could be swapped for 2017 draft picks. The 1-6 Bears could be tempted to move receiver Alshon Jeffery; however, his contract status could make it hard to get much value, given that his new team wouldn’t be able to sign him to a new contract until after the regular season ends. The 1-5 Jets could be thinking about a fire sale aimed at stockpiling picks; if there’s any lingering issue between receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, why not consider moving one or both of them?

The 49ers also could be/should be looking at ways to unload some veterans in exchange for draft picks, if they keep sliding into irrelevance.

Then there are the Patriots, who seem to find ways to bring in contract-year players who either will be re-signed after the season or allowed to leave via free agency, giving the Patriots a better haul of compensatory picks in 2017.

Regardless, it’s still a little early for the trade talk to heat up. Based on what happens with some of the league’s bad teams over the next nine days, plenty could still happen.

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Odell Beckham active after pregame meeting with trainers

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 03:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants in action against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on January 3, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants didn’t give wide receiver Odell Beckham an injury designation on their final injury report of the week, which means they had no doubt that he would be in the lineup on Sunday.

It seems there are still some concerns about how his hip is feeling, however. Beckham hurt his hip against the Ravens last weekend and missed the opening practice of the week before returning to work on Thursday and Friday. Jordan Raanan of reports that Beckham spent an extended period of time with trainers while the rest of the team’s wide receivers were going through warmups ahead of the Giants’ matchup with the Rams in London.

That hasn’t caused a change in Beckham’s game status as he’s in the lineup for the game. Whether he’s limited by the injury at any point during the game will be something to keep an eye on, especially after Beckham’s big game helped the Giants snap their three-game losing streak last week.

Quarterback Josh Johnson, wide receiver Tavarres King, safety Darian Thompson, safety Nat Berhe, linebacker Deontae Skinner, offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse and defensive tackle Robert Thomas are inactive for the Giants.

Defensive tackle Michael Brockers and cornerback Trumaine Johnson were ruled out by the Rams during the week. They’re joined on the inactive list by guard Jamon Brown, wide receiver Nelson Spruce, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, offensive lineman Pace Murphy and quarterback Sean Mannion.

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Report: LeSean McCoy to play 25-35 snaps

LeSean McCoy, Marcus Peters AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy appears ready to contribute today, if not quite as much as usual.

McCoy is expected to play and get about 25-35 snaps against the Dolphins, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

That would represent a reduction in the normal workload for McCoy, who has averaged 47.5 snaps a game so far this season. But it would still allow him to contribute to the Bills’ offense.

McCoy left practice Wednesday with hamstring tightness, and initial reports had him out for Sunday. But McCoy made the trip to Miami and now appears good to go, if not for quite his usual role in the offense.

McCoy leads the Bills with 104 carries for 587 yards and six touchdowns this season and is also third on the team with 20 catches. If he sees a reduction in playing time today, Mike Gillislee should be expected to get more carries, and that could be a good thing for the Bills: Gillislee is averaging 6.9 yards a carry in limited work so far this season.

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LeSean McCoy travels with Bills to Miami

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bills running back LeSean McCoy still may not play in Sunday’s game at Miami with a hamstring injury, but he still hasn’t been ruled out.

McCoy has made the trip to South Florida, PFT confirms. The news was first reported by Jeff Darlington of ESPN.

While it’s possible a ruse aimed at making the Dolphins think they’ll be facing McCoy, if his hamstring injury is bad enough to keep him from playing, it wouldn’t be a good idea to take him to Miami.

This doesn’t mean McCoy will definitely play. But it means that he still could.

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Jeff Fisher says Rams won’t bait Odell Beckham

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 21:  New York Giants receivers celebrate after a third quarter touchdown against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 21, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

Fans at a London rugby stadium could be treated to a different kind of scrum on Sunday, when the Rams and Giants play there.

With the often-chippy Odell Beckham Jr. squaring off against the usually-chippy L.A. defense, Nigel and his mates may learn a lot more about American football than they previously had known. After all, a game in December 2014 between the two teams featured a late hit on Beckham, a brawl that led to three ejections, and thousands in fines.

Beckham emerged from the melee with a $10,000 penalty for kicking at linebacker Alec Ogletree.

That happened a year before Beckham’s outburst against the Panthers resulted in a suspension. Now, only a few weeks after Beckham once again proved that he has skin thinner than a late-night-tweeting politician, the Rams get another chance to light his stubby fuse.

Surprisingly, coach Jeff Fisher says that won’t happen.

“We’re going to play between the snap and the whistle, and that’s it,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters, via “No, we’re not going there. Our guys are going to play hard and play fast, tackle, and have been instructed not to hurt the football team.”

It’s one thing to not do anything that would draw a flag. It’s quite another to constantly try to rattle and harass Beckham. The players are smart enough to know there’s a benefit to doing that — and Fisher is smart to stake out his “I ordered them not to touch Private William Santiago” territory before kickoff.

In other words, bollocks.

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Jim Irsay: Colts could be 6-0 if the ball bounced our way

Ryan Grigson, Jim Irsay AP

Why is Colts owner Jim Irsay standing by G.M. Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano despite the team’s 2-4 record? Because he doesn’t think they’re as bad as 2-4 suggests.

According to Irsay, the Colts could easily have won every game this season if only they had caught a few breaks.

We could be 6-0 right now if the ball bounced our way,” Irsay told USA Today.

It’s true that the Colts have lost some close games: Three of their four losses were one-score games, and even their 34-20 loss to the Broncos was a one-score game until the final minute. Of course, the Colts’ two wins were one-score games as well. By Irsay’s logic, they’re only a couple good bounces from being 0-6.

The reality is that basically every bad team in the NFL can say it’s a few good bounces away from having a good season. The good teams are the ones that find a way to win even when the bounces don’t go their way.

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Lions great Gail Cogdill dies at 79

Football: Detroit Lions Gail Cogdill (89) in action, making catch vs Green Bay Packers Herb Adderley (26) at Tiger Stadium.
Detroit, MI 11/22/1962
CREDIT: John G. Zimmerman (Photo by John G. Zimmerman /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
(Set Number: X8872 ) Getty Images

Gail Cogdill, a Detroit Lion who retired as the team’s all-time leading receiver, has died at the age of 79.

As the Lions’ sixth-round draft pick out of Washington State in 1960, Cogdill made an instant impact, being chosen to the Pro Bowl and winning the Rookie of the Year award. That was the first of three Pro Bowl seasons for Cogdill.

“Gail was simply a great football player, an outstanding receiver and teammate,” Hall of Fame teammate and coach Joe Schmidt told the Detroit Free Press. “Frankly, we didn’t take advantage of his ability.”

Cogdill, who also played briefly for the Colts and Falcons, finished his career with 356 catches for 5,696 yards and 34 touchdowns.

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Cox, Beckham fines show NFL’s discipline makes no sense

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 26: Fletcher Cox #91 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during the closing moments of a game against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Redskins defeated the Eagles 38-24. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL fines so many players so much money each week that it’s hard sometimes to keep the numbers straight. But two players recently fined show how little logic there is to the league’s schedule of fines.

Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox has been fined $9,115 after each of his last two games, for illegal hits on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. Meanwhile, Giants receiver Odell Beckham was fined this week $24,309 for taking his helmet off after scoring a touchdown.

Let’s think about that for a moment: Player safety is supposedly the NFL’s highest priority, with excessive hits on quarterbacks among the plays the league most desperately wants to eliminate. And yet when Cox excessively hit two different quarterbacks in back-to-back games, he was fined a total of $18,230. Taking a helmet off after scoring a touchdown harms no one. And yet when Beckham did it once, he was fined $24,309.

If a judge fined one person $500 for jaywalking and fined another person $200 for assault, we’d say that judge’s priorities were seriously skewed. That’s what we should say about the NFL’s approach to player fines as well. These fines are collectively bargained, and so the players themselves bear some of the blame for allowing the NFL’s discipline structure to reach this point, but regardless of who’s to blame, the fines in the NFL are seriously out of whack.

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Antonio Cromartie takes issue with Jim Irsay’s anthem comments

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25:  Antonio Cromartie #31 of the Indianapolis Colts kneels and raises his fist during the National Anthem before the start of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

Antonio Cromartie was the only player on the Colts kneeling during the national anthem — until he got cut, not long before Colts owner Jim Irsay said an NFL game is “the wrong venue” for such a protest. Cromartie’s wife thinks that’s why he got cut.

Cromartie himself hasn’t gone that far, but he did write on Instagram that he disagrees with any suggestion that he shouldn’t have made such a protest.

They say it’s not the right place or venue to do what is right and stand for what is right,” Cromartie wrote. “I guarantee that most of the people that’s sending me hate messages don’t even know the top 2 members that are leading in this country in homelessness. Well let me educate you. #1 Veterans #2 Children. But you guys care so much about the people that fought for this country. It’s crazy while I was Indiana I had a chance to talk to some veterans that didn’t have a problem with me taking a knee. Because they understood my reason behind it. I thank them my grandfather and my friends for their support who also served this country.”

Cromartie’s anthem protest surely won’t help him find another job, but it probably doesn’t hurt, either. NFL teams will gladly sign a good player regardless of his political leanings or expressions. Cromartie’s problem is that, at age 32, he’s no longer a good player. We have probably heard the last of him in the NFL, even if he still has important things to say off the field.

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Tackling a player by the hair is legal, not a horse-collar tackle

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Running back Rob Kelley #32 of the Washington Redskins carries the ball against free safety Jalen Mills #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the second quarter at FedExField on October 16, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Sunday Washington running back Rob Kelley ran for 45 yards before he was caught from behind by Philadelphia defensive back Rodney McLeod, who grabbed Kelley’s long dreadlocks and yanked him down by the hair. An official threw a flag for a horse-collar tackle.

But after a conference, the referee announced that there was no foul on the play. And NFL V.P. of Officiating Dean Blandino said in a video distributed to the media today that the officials made the right decision by not calling a penalty.

“The issue is whether he grabs inside the collar or the shoulder pad, grabs the jersey at the name plate or above, or grabs the hair,” Blandino said. “You could see the player actually grabs the hair, not the back of the jersey at the nameplate and not inside the collar. Grabbing the hair and pulling the runner toward the ground is legal.”

Players who choose to wear their hair long enough that it hangs out the backs of their helmets need to beware: That hair is fair game for any opponent who wants to pull it.

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NFLPA issues statement on NFL placing Josh Brown on exempt list

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 22:  Robert Malone #8 of the New York Giants congratulates  Josh Brown #3 after Brown kicked a field goal in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars during preseason action at MetLife Stadium on August 22, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL announced on Friday that Giants kicker Josh Brown has been placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list “to permit the league fully to review” documents from the King County (WA) Sheriff’s Office that it says it did not have access to before they were released this week.

In their letter to Brown, the NFL points out his right to appeal that decision. The NFL Players Association, which passed on an opportunity to comment earlier this week, has done the same in a statement about the league’s decision.

“The NFL has the ability to place a player on the exempt list and the player has the right to appeal that decision, if he chooses. The League office wanted unilateral control of this process and accordingly, their system lacks transparency.”

The league has cited “other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which” Brown was suspended one game under the Personal Conduct Policy earlier this year. That phrasing suggests the league is trying to find a way to penalize Brown again, which would likely lead to a further response from the union given the way things played out in the Ray Rice case.

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On Thursday, prosecutors decided not to file charges against Josh Brown

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 21:  Kicker Josh Brown #3 of the New York Giants looks on after an extra point against the Minnesota Vikings during a game at MetLife Stadium on October 21, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s biggest flaw in the handling of Josh Brown arose from its decision to impose discipline before the authorities had concluded their investigation. The conclusion of the investigation has allowed the prosecutor to conclude that no formal charges should be filed.

At the very end of the better-late-than-never-but-still-way-too-late report filed last month, Detective Robin Ostrum of the King County Sheriff’s Department explains that “[t]his case file will be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office for their review of filing charges of [two] counts of DV-Assault 4 Degree.”

Via, the King County Prosecutor determined on Thursday, October 20, to not file charges. The memo cites the reluctance of Molly Brown to cooperate with the case as the primary reason for the decision not to proceed.

The two counts mentioned by Detective Ostrum relate to the May 22, 2015 incident for which Brown was arrested, and a May 2014 incident that occurred after Josh Brown “had come home intoxicated after being at a bachelor party.” Molly Brown confronted Josh Brown for driving drunk, and she claimed that he responded by slamming her “into a large mirror with a very large frame around it,” and that she struck her head and left arm on the frame.

The impact caused a crack in the mirror, and she then fell and landed on a marble floor.

“Molly was face down on the floor and Josh held her down by putting his forearm across the back of her neck and laying on her with his full body weight,” Detective Ostrum wrote. “Molly’s face was pushed into the carpet and she stated that she could not move her heard or her body, and it made it very hard for her to breathe.”

Detective Ostrum personally inspected the crack in the mirror, and Josh and Molly Brown’s young daughter witnessed Josh holding Molly down on the floor.

The memo from the prosecutor also points out that the investigation was left open for a year in the event Molly Brown changed her mind. Still, the authorities seemed to move quickly to resolve the matter after the NFL imposed a one-game suspension on Josh Brown — and after media inquiries undoubtedly snowballed regarding the status of a case that quickly was growing stale.

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NFL plans to investigate Josh Brown based on “other incidents of abuse”

18giants-web-master768 AP

The NFL officially has placed Giants kicker Josh Brown on the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt list based on information that came to light earlier this week. The text of the letter from senior V.P. of labor policy and league affairs Adolpho Birch to Brown makes it clear that Brown is now being investigated for “other incidents of abuse separate from the May 22, 2015 incident for which you were disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy.”

The move, which essentially suspends Brown with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, is a precursor to an eventual, inevitable suspension of Brown without pay for Personal Conduct Policy violation(s) arising from the conduct explained in the materials released by the King County (Washington) Sheriff following the official conclusion of the investigation of the May 2015 incident.

And so Brown will be prevented from working indefinitely (while getting paid) before eventually absorbing another suspension for, as he possibly will argue, conduct about which the league knew or should have known. Brown’s case could be bolstered by Thursday’s comments from Giants co-owner John Mara, who said a day after the release of materials reflecting other potential incidents of abuse that Brown had been honest with the team and that the Giants knew Brown had engaged in domestic violence. Thus, Brown can — and should — argue that he already has been punished once for the conduct for which he is now on the Commissioner-Exempt list.

Whether that argument has any success remains to be seen. Armed with recent federal appeals court rulings from cases against Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson, the league has the blueprint for doing whatever it wants to do to Brown. As long as Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t delegate the internal appeals process to a truly neutral arbitrator (like he did when the league tried to suspend Ray Rice a second time for allegedly lying to the league during his original internal appeals process), the league likely will prevail in its effort to suspend Josh Brown a second time — absent any smoking-gun admissions from the league or the team that Brown’s initial suspension was intended to be comprehensive. (Mara’s comments already could be that smoking gun, frankly.)

No matter how wrong and despicable his conduct may have been, Brown has rights. By bungling the case in the first instance via the failure to acquire information needed to reach an informed decision and/or an inexplicable refusal to wait for the investigation to end before imposing discipline, the league has put the union and anyone interested in the fair treatment of all players in the unenviable task of having to defend Brown.

Maybe that’s how the league decided to handle the case if/when the truth ever came out. Instead of admitting that they should have known more before suspending Brown for only one game, the league can now deflect criticism by pivoting back toward the man many will agree is the real culprit for more discipline.

Regardless of whether it’s supposed to work that way (and it’s not), the league and the Giants will now try to avoid any and all scrutiny or criticism of its flawed investigation by doing to Brown now what should have been done months ago.

Specifically, Brown should have been placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list pending the outcome of the investigation in King’s County, which would have ensured that the investigation didn’t fall into a black hole for more than a year, and which in turn would have resulted in the information that was released Wednesday coming to light many months ago.

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Another big fine for Odell Beckham

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants looks on in the fourth Quarter against the Washington Redskins during their game at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Another week, another instance of Giants receiver Odell Beckham getting fined by the NFL.

This time Beckham was fined $24,309 for unsportsmanlike conduct. Beckham was flagged 15 yards after scoring the game-winning touchdown on Sunday because he took his helmet off in celebration.

The NFL is taking things too far when it comes to cracking down on celebrations, and it seems rather silly that Beckham is fined more for taking his helmet off than players are often fined for serious penalties that could injure an opponent.

On the other hand, every NFL player knows the rules say you can’t take your helmet off during a celebration, and Beckham still hasn’t learned his lesson. Beckham has also been fined this year for a touchdown dance, for taunting an opponent, and for a blindside hit. Eventually, he’s going to have to learn to tone it down. But he hasn’t learned yet.

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Josh Brown headed to Commissioner’s-Exempt list

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 13:  NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell talks on tthe sidelines before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum during preseason on August 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Rams won 28-24.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants said they weren’t going to turn their back on Josh Brown, but it appears they’re not going to let him kick for them again either.

The NFL has announced that Giants kicker will be placed on the Commissioner’s-Exempt list. According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, Brown has “kicked his last kick” for the Giants.

Banishing him to the exempt list — as was done with Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson — means he’s on paid leave, while the Giants try to find a way to divorce themselves from an ugly situation.

In documents released this week, Brown admitted years of phsyical and emotional abuse of his then-wife.

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