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Is Frank Gore a Hall of Famer?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Frank Gore #23 of the Indianapolis Colts runs the ball against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

With Colts running back Frank Gore climbing even higher on the all-time rushing list, it’s becoming more and more clear that he’ll eventually have a bust in Canton.

With 749 rushing yards in 2016, Gore has leapfrogged seven players, moving from No. 15 all the way to No. 8.

With 470 yards to go until he passes Eric Dickerson, Gore likely will remain in his current spot until next year, if he plays another season. With 891 more yards, he’ll pass Dickerson, Jerome Bettis, and LaDainian Tomlinson for No. 5 on the list.

Even if Gore doesn’t gain another yard, he likely has done enough to get to the Hall of Fame, especially since there isn’t a long list of running backs with Canton-worthy credentials waiting to get in. (Tomlinson is the only retired running back with a real shot.) Beyond Gore and Adrian Peterson (who has 11,725 career yards), no active player has 10,000 yards. (Chris Johnson has 9,537, and Matt Forte has 9,386.)

If the voters will be looking for running backs to add to the Hall of Fame, Gore and Peterson are the primary two whose names will come up over the next decade. And it may be only those two for the next two decades, unless DeMarco Murray (6,231) can continue to churn out big yards over the next few years and Ezekiel Elliott does for another 10 years or so what he’s doing as a rookie.

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D’Qwell Jackson suspended four games for violating PED policy

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Blake Bortles of Jacksonville runs at D'Qwell Jackson of Indianapolis during the NFL International Series match between Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 2, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL announced Tuesday that Colts inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has been suspended for four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy.

Jackson, 33, leads the Colts in tackles. He’s in his third year with the team after spending his first eight NFL seasons with the Browns.

Jackson previously has never missed a start with the Colts.

The four-game suspension means Jackson is done for the regular season and can return to the team should the Colts qualify for the playoffs. At 6-6, the Colts are in a three-way tie atop the AFC South the with the Texans and Titans.

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Randy Gregory expected at Cowboys practice Wednesday

Randy Gregory AP

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory is serving the second of the two suspensions the league enacted this year and may have a third coming his way after reportedly failing a drug test, but that hasn’t caused the team to wash their hands of him once and for all.

As a result, it appears that they’ll have him at Wednesday’s practice. Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported on Tuesday that Gregory is eligible to return to practice this week, which is two weeks ahead of when he’d be eligible to play at the end of his combined 14-game suspension, and the Cowboys have confirmed that they expect to have him at the team’s facility.

Gregory would be eligible to play in Week 16, although that date may shift if the aforementioned failed drug test results in a suspension that would keep Gregory off the field for at least another year. Breer reports that it’s under appeal, so, for now, Gregory is able to move forward with the team.

In ideal circumstances, Gregory would return to give the Cowboys another piece to use on defense. With so little about Gregory’s NFL career qualifying as ideal, it’s unlikely anyone is planning on that actually happening.

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Colin Kaepernick will start for 49ers in Week 14

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04:  Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers runs for a first down against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the 49ers 26-6.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are plenty of games on the Week 14 schedule that will help decide who makes the playoffs and which teams will match up once the postseason gets underway.

There are also games that will matter only to those involved and the draft prospects who will be going at the top of the first round. The Jets-49ers clash in Santa Clara falls into that category and we now know that only one of those two teams will be changing their starting quarterback from Week 13.

49ers coach Chip Kelly wasn’t ready to name a starter after benching Colin Kaepernick in favor of Blaine Gabbert during last Sunday’s loss to the Bears, but offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins spilled the beans on Tuesday. Modkins met with the media in Kelly’s place as the head coach is away from the team following the death of his father and announced that Kaepernick will make another start.

Kaepernick completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards while being sacked five times against the Bears on a snowy day in Chicago. It will be Kaepernick’s eighth start and the four starts before the Bears debacle featured far better performances than he turned in during Week 13.

The Jets will be going with a new starter for the game. Bryce Petty, who relieved Ryan Fitzpatrick in Monday night’s blowout loss, has been installed as the starter for the rest of the season for the 3-9 Jets.

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Sheriff explains Joe McKnight shooting with another bizarre press conference

newell-normand-e1456281828654-680x365 Getty Images

The authorities in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana initially did not arrest Ronald Gasser, the 54-year-old man who shot and killed former NFL running back Joe McKnight last week. Gasser has since been arrested for manslaughter.

Sheriff Newell Normand, whose press conference from Friday seemed unreasonably defensive and unnecessarily combative, took it to the next level on Tuesday, complaining about the criticism his department has absorbed by pounding on the podium on multiple occasions and quoting from profanity-laden messages directed to elected officials who supported law enforcement’s desire to take a deliberate approach to the investigation of the shooting.

MSNBC quickly cut away from the press conference once Normand began reading the comments, which contained a variety of words not appropriate for broadcast.

Later in the press conference, when Normand finally stepped down from his soapbox and addressed the case, he said that Gasser became irritated when McKnight cut Gasser off in traffic. Gasser then pursued McKnight. McKnight eventually parked and went to Gasser’s car. At that point, Gasser fired three shots.

Gasser, according to Normand, became fearful of McKnight based on things McKnight said to Gasser.

Normand explained that the decision to arrest Gasser for manslaughter came after the authorities located multiple key witnesses. As to the witness who initially claimed that Gasser got out of his car and stood over McKnight before shooting him a final time, Normand said that the witness told three different stories in the course of an hour.

“Shame on that individual,” Normand said.

Normand then said the comments started the process down a path “that we collectively should be ashamed of.”

Normand perhaps should be ashamed of himself for being so thin-skinned about the situation. When a white man shoots a black man and the shooter initially goes free without explanation, there will definitely be a reaction from members of the public. But a sheriff should aspire to be above the fray, not to roll around in the middle of it.

The reaction from Normand suggests that neither he nor his department are fit to run the investigation or handle the case. Hopefully, the matter eventually will be pursued and prosecuted by responsible adults who realize that a certain amount of inaccurate and ill-informed scrutiny goes with the territory.

Without the involvement of professionals who are committed to doing the right thing without reacting to the noise, it becomes impossible for true and complete justice to be done. And that’s all anyone should want in the case of the death of Joe McKnight: True and complete justice.

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Ron Rivera concerned about the Panthers’ mental health

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Ron Rivera of the Carolina Panthers looks on before their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

During Sunday night’s blowout loss to the Seahawks, the Panthers looked like a team that wasn’t in the game mentally. Coach Ron Rivera acknowledges that’s a concern.

“You are concerned about that, the mental health of the team,” Rivera said. “We’re disappointed. Our expectations were so high. But this is the situation we’re in and there’s no turning around. We’ve got to go out and do what we’re capable of and make the best of it.”

Rivera said a 4-8 season, especially a 4-8 season that began with Super Bowl aspirations, takes its toll.

“I’m concerned about the team more than anything – the players and coaches in the locker room,” Rivera said. “I thought we had the makings of a good team. We had a good camp and we all had grand expectations. I really wanted to get back to the Super Bowl. But we haven’t capitalized.”

Last year the Panthers were in the Super Bowl, and this year they’re going to be at home when the playoffs start. That can drag a team down, and Rivera is aware of that. Unfortunately, the cure for the Panthers’ mental health — getting back to the playoffs — will have to wait for next year.

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Jerry Jones: We don’t plan to rest starters

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02:   Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is seen on the field prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys have secured a spot in the playoffs and a win over the Giants this weekend will assure them a division title with the possibility of clinching home field throughout the NFC playoffs on the table as well.

Even if things remain up in the air on those fronts into Week 15, the Cowboys are heavy favorites to wind up with both of those notches on their belts. That’s led to some discussion about how the team would handle the final week or weeks of the season in terms of resting starters.

During an appearance on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday, owner Jerry Jones said it would be business as usual. Jones said, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the team is not planning to rest healthy starters, which fits with earlier proclamations about running back Ezekiel Elliott’s workload.

In addition to Elliott, there’s been some question about whether the Cowboys would try to get Tony Romo some playing time in order to help him be ready should starting quarterback Dak Prescott get knocked out of a game. Jones said they want Romo to be ready, so there may be some rest for at least one starter for at least some of what’s left in the regular season even if all is fine physically.

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Report: Man who shot Joe McKnight jailed on manslaughter charges

Joe McKnight AP

54-year-old Ronald Gasser initially wasn’t charged after killing former NFL running back Joe McKnight. That apparently has changed.

Via the New Orleans Advocate, Gasser has been jailed on one count of manslaughter.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand will hold a press conference at 11:00 a.m. ET regarding the situation. A Normand press conference from four days ago created a strong impression that Gasser may not be charged, given Louisiana laws that recognize justifiable homicide in certain specific situations.

Newell also disclosed a clear conflict of interest for his department: The man who raised McKnight previously worked as a deputy in Normand’s department. It’s unclear what, if anything, Newell or his department did to ensure that the potential bias has not been a factor, one way or the other, in decisions made about Gasser.

It’s also unclear whether prosecutors will choose to take the case to trial. In most situations, the decision hinges on whether prosecutors believe they will win. In this case, given strong criticism of “stand your ground” laws, maybe the prosecution will be required to roll the dice with a jury.

If nothing else, the message to anyone else who may be inclined to shoot first and ask questions later will be that avoiding criminal liability won’t be easy or automatic, and that a shooter will still have to spend thousands of dollars defending against the charges and weeks if not months of worrying about a possible conviction.

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Ugly loss raises calls for Jets regime change

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Todd Bowles of the New York Jets watches from the sidelines during the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Jets 28-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets, flexed out of prime time a week earlier, got a stand-alone close-up on Monday night. And it wasn’t pretty.

“For the first time this year, we got our ass handed to us,” coach Todd Bowles told reporters after the 41-10 loss to the Colts, the biggest win by the Colts over the Jets since a 52-19 victory in 1975 . . . in Baltimore. “That’s very disappointing from a physical standpoint. . . .

“I thought they kicked our ass. I don’t think we had a lot of effort. I’ll see the film. I’m sure there are some people who showed up, but for the most part, we got our ass kicked. . . . It’s very troubling when you get your ass kicked.”

To his credit, Bowles made no excuses nor deflected blame: “All of it falls on me. I’m the head coach.”

So is Bowles concerned that his second year with the Jets will be his last?

“No,” Bowles said. “You know your job is in jeopardy when you take one of these jobs.”

That matter-of-fact calm demeanor has been one of Bowles’ strengths. With the season, and perhaps his job, crumbling, it could quickly becomes a liability — because it may send a message he doesn’t really care as much as he should.

And he should seem to care more than he does. The calls for Bowles to be fired have begun; Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, for example, writes that it’s time for Bowles to go.

Why give him a third year when 28 games into his head coaching career he has proven he’s not the right man to end the Jets nearly half-century Super Bowl drought?” Myers writes. “No need to make a bad situation even worse. This is a multi-billion dollar business and you can’t give away seasons.”

Of course, that same argument could be made in the direction of Bowles’ boss. And the question becomes whether owner Woody Johnson would blow out G.M. Mike Maccagnan along with Bowles, or whether Maccagnan — the man who has assembled the quarterback clusterfudge that has delivered nothing this year — should get a chance to both hire a coach and find a competent signal-caller.

One major factor in the final analysis surely will be the instant success the Giants have realized by making big changes after the 2015 season.

That same season brought so much hope for the Jets after they nearly qualified for the playoffs. This year, they’ve been eliminated with four games to play.

One of those games will be played in 11 days on NFL Network, at home against the Dolphins. The Just End the Season season then ends in Week 17 with a visit from Rex Ryan and the Bills.

At this point, the question may not be whether Bowles is fired at the end of the season, but whether he even makes it through the final 25 percent of it.

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Bryce Petty to start final four games for Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets looks to pass in the second half against the Indianapolis Colts during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets head coach Todd Bowles said that Bryce Petty will start the final four games of the season after another dismal showing for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets’ offense Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

Bowles claimed that the decision to start Petty for the final four games of the season had already been decided prior to Monday night’s outing.

“Well the plan was for us to start him the last four games anyway so we just started a half early,” Bowles said. “We could have won 45-0, he was going to start the last four games.”

If there was any doubt about making a change, Fitzpatrick did little to make a case for himself. Fitzpatrick completed just 5 of 12 passes for 81 yards with an interception as the Colts smacked the Jets 41-10.  The Jets have now lost four straight games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Monday night.

“We weren’t doing much in the first half so put the kid in and try to get a spark,” Bowles said.

The Jets were already trailing 31-3 before Petty entered the game in the third quarter. He completed 11 of 25 passes for 135 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

“I didn’t get it done,” Fitzpatrick said.

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Luck throws four touchdown passes as Colts embarrass Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Dwayne Allen #83 celebrates his second touchdown in the first quarter against the New York Jets with teammate  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes, two on the game’s first two drives, and there was never a doubt about Monday night’s result.

The Colts cruised to a 41-10 victory. Tight end Dwayne Allen caught those first two touchdown passes and a third later in the first half.

The Jets had three personal foul penalties in the first 20 minutes — and it really didn’t get much better from there. Down 31-3 by the time they got the ball in the third quarter, Jets coach Todd Bowles inserted young quarterback Bryce Petty and removed Ryan Fitzpatrick, probably for the last time.

The Colts improve to 6-6 and are in a three-way tie atop the AFC South with the Texans and Titans.

It was a night of milestones for the Colts. Frank Gore passed Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett for eighth on the NFL’s all-time rushing list, T.Y. Hilton passed Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison for the most 100-yard receiving games (22) in the first five years of a career, and Allen became just the third tight end in franchise history to post a three-touchdown game.

It was Luck’s eighth career game with at least four touchdown passes.

The Colts thought they had another touchdown late in the first half but tight end Jack Doyle was ruled to have fumbled into the end zone for a touchback. That was about the only thing that went wrong for the Colts until veteran linebacker D’Qwell Jackson walked to the locker room after suffering a neck injury in the fourth quarter.

In addition being generally defenseless — the Colts rolled up more than 400 yards of offense — the Jets turned the ball over three times and didn’t get into the end zone until Petty threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to rookie Robby Anderson in the fourth quarter. They managed 116 yards and five first downs in the first half.

The Jets fall to 3-9 and figure to stick with Petty the rest of the way as they point towards 2017.

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Jets bench Fitzpatrick, go to Petty

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 13:  Quarterback  Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets looks on in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium on November 13, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets’ season is over, and coach Todd Bowles acted accordingly in the third quarter Monday night when he replaced quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with second-year quarterback Bryce Petty.

Fitzpatrick is on a one-year deal, and his career with the Jets is probably over, too. The Jets will be 3-9 when this game is over. They trailed the Colts, 31-3, when the change was made.

What was left of the crowd at MetLife Stadium cheered when Petty was inserted into the game. Petty completed his first pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and also had a third-down completion to Brandon Marshall, but the Jets punted soon after.

Petty made his first career start last month when Fitzpatrick was injured. The Jets lost that game, 9-6.

The Jets managed just 116 total yards and five first downs in the first half Monday night with Fitzpatrick at quarterback.

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Luck, Allen post big numbers; Colts overwhelming Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:  Dwayne Allen #83 celebrates his second touchdown in the first quarter against the New York Jets with teammate  Phillip Dorsett #15 of the Indianapolis Colts during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets were no match for Colts in the first half Monday night.

Andrew Luck threw three touchdown passes to tight end Dwayne Allen — yes, three — and the Colts have a 24-3 halftime lead.

Luck and Allen connected for touchdowns on the Colts’ first two drives. The Colts thought they had another touchdown late in the half but tight end Jack Doyle was ruled to have fumbled into and through the end zone for a touchback.

That is about all that went right for the Jets, who had three personal foul penalties in the first 20 minutes.

At halftime, Luck has 179 yards passing. Allen has three catches for 51 yards and T.Y. Hilton has six catches for 98 yards. The Jets have managed just 116 total yards and five first downs.

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Frank Gore becomes NFL’s 8th all-time leading rusher

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 04:  Frank Gore #23 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colts running back Frank Gore has passed Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett for eighth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.

Dorsett posted 12,739 rushing yards in his career. Gore surpassed that in the second quarter Monday night vs. the Jets when he got loose into the Jets’ secondary for a 19-yard run that led to a field goal.

Gore, 33, has played in 176 games over his 12-year career. He’s in his second year with the Colts.

Gore went over 1,000 yards rushing in seven of his 10 seasons with the 49ers, who drafted him in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He has 74 career rushing touchdowns, which ties him for 24th in league history.

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One day later, Earl Thomas still unsure about his football future

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 04:  Teammates help free safety Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks off the field after getting injured against the Carolina Panthers at CenturyLink Field on December 4, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

After Sunday night’s 40-7 win over the Panthers, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson learned that safety Earl Thomas had broken his leg during the game. Wilson also learned that Thomas already had mused on Twitter about retiring.

Wilson brushed off the retirement talk as Thomas reacting in the heat of the moment. A day later, however, Thomas is singing the same tune.

“I’m taking it one day at a time,” Thomas told Ed Werder of ESPN. “I still feel the same way I felt last night.”

Thomas also said that he doesn’t plan to have surgery, and that he doesn’t want to take away from what his team is trying to do.

“You have to remember my team is still fighting I don’t want to become a distraction,” Thomas said.

Thomas may feel differently as days become weeks and weeks become months. By the time the offseason program begins, he may be itching for more action.

If Thomas retires, he’d owe the Seahawks $3.8 million in bonus money previously paid, if they’d be inclined to pursue it.

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