NFL to players: “We hear you”

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The National Football League has responded to the demands articulated in the video posted by several prominent players on Thursday night.

The league, at its Twitter account, has retweeted the full video, with this message: “Players, we hear you.”

Although the league does not specifically say that the gesture amounts to an acceptance of the request that the league declare the following: “We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

More could be coming. To fully understand this gesture, more may be needed.

The end result quite possibly could be an unequivocal statement that the league actively supports any players who chose to peacefully protest during the national anthem in 2020, and beyond.

Malcolm Jenkins has been silent, for the most part

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Since posting a pair of passionate, emotional videos on Wednesday reacting to Drew Brees‘ controversial comments reiterating his belief that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins has posted nothing new on social media.

Beyond former NBA star and current NBA analyst Shaquille O’Neal explaining that Jenkins accepted Brees’ apology during a virtual team meeting in which O’Neal participated, Jenkins has said or done nothing to indicate whether he believes the matter has been resolved by Brees’ public and private apologies.

But Jenkins has provided one clue as to where he possibly stands. This afternoon, Jenkins “liked” a clip tweeted by ESPN’s Maria Taylor from her Friday appearance on First Take. 

“Let me be clear,” Taylor said regarding the second apology from Drew Brees. “I don’t know about his heart either, but I know what should reside in your heart is empathy. And I don’t believe that you have to be trolled and dragged through Twitter and Instagram in order to change your mind and realize that what you said was intolerant and/or could be considered insensitive later. If you had been educated and forced to confront the issues and, like I said, had empathy in your heart, then you would have known the black experience is not easy, especially when 70 percent of your league is African-American and these are the conversations that you should have had. So maybe it’s not, not his whole heart is bad but something about empathy was off if the first thing — the first thing — out of his mouth was . . . ‘I will not tolerate anything that’s disrespectful to the nation and the flag.’ That was the first thing. . . . 

“I’m exhausted and I’m tired of having to listen to someone say something like that and then have to sit back and [say], ‘Well maybe he didn’t, maybe it’s not his heart, and it’s this and it’s that.’ When you reveal yourself to me and you say something like that and you say it out of an intolerant mind and/or heart or a non-empathic heart and for the last five years all we’ve done is see countless deaths in the street. My patience left my body when I watched George Floyd take his last breath, so if that didn’t affect you and make you want to reassess the way that you’re going to answer a question that includes racial injustice in our country after you watched that man die in the middle of the street, something’s off. I don’t know if it’s your heart. I don’t know if it’s your mind. But I don’t accept either of them anymore. I will not tolerate it anymore.

“And Drew Brees, I will accept your apology. But I don’t have to sit here and wonder what is wrong or what is right and guess if you are a good or bad person. I am not the judge and/or the jury. All I can do is let you reveal yourself, and countless people are doing that right now. And for the first time ever, they are reaping some kind of consequence that does not have any retaliation for me or the people that are calling them out. For the first time, I feel like I can go on TV and say certain things. For the first time, people feel that they can tweet certain things. And people can be held accountable for the things that they are putting on display. And I’m not going to apologize for that. Drew Brees and everyone else can keep apologizing, over and over and over.”

The Brees apologies continue to omit one key point: Whether Brees still believes that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag,” whether he has abandoned that position, or whether he is actively in the process of reconsidering his viewpoint. If Brees still believes on Friday what he said on Wednesday, the best comparison crafted on the fly during Friday’s PFT Live is this: Brees wore a T-shirt in his neighborhood with an offensive phrase written on it, his neighbors complained loudly about it, he apologized profusely and sincerely for it, and then he showed up the next day wearing the same T-shirt.

As applied to the “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag” opinion directed to potentially renewed protests during the anthem in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, where is the T-shirt? Is it still being worn? Has it been thrown in the trash? Is it a layer or two beneath a Saints jersey? Or is it hanging in the closet, possibly to be worn again in the future?

Maybe Brees answered these questions during the team meeting. If he did, his teammates should want him to answer these questions publicly, too. If someone like Brees were willing and able to say to other white Americans who share his Wednesday viewpoint that he has seen the light and that he understands the true intent of a peaceful protest during the national anthem aimed at bringing attention to police brutality against minorities, that would send a powerful and persuasive message to millions who need to hear the message right now.

At some point, Jenkins presumably will address the situation again. For now, all we have from Jenkins is silence, which when coupled with his decision to “like” Maria Taylor’s candid, well-reasoned remarks quite possibly speaks volumes.

The Simms top 40 quarterback countdown, No. 27: Andy Dalton

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The Red Rifle will wear a blue star this season, and he has landed higher than expected in the annual Chris Simms top 40 quarterback countdown.

Andy Dalton comes in at No. 27 on Simms’ list.

Yes, No. 27. And for good reason. Just because the team hasn’t been very good in recent years, Dalton has the skills to perform at a high level. With the right cast around him, he still can.

Most likely, Dalton won’t play this year. Dak Prescott most likely will show up before Week One, with or without a new contract, and Prescott doesn’t miss games. But the Cowboys are in good shape at the position, since they have behind Prescott a guy who, in Simms’ opinion, is better than plenty of guys who have starting jobs.

Bill Belichick’s silence becomes conspicuous

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In this historic moment, there is no middle ground. The choices are to support the notion of equality, liberty, and justice for all, or not to.

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the 2019 NFL defensive player of the year, left no doubt regarding his position on the matter, given his involvement in the powerful and moving video produced by several prominent NFL players. So where does his boss stand?

The question of Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s silence has been raised by Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. At a time when more and more coaches are speaking out in compelling fashion (including a pair of former Belichick lieutenants, Brian Flores and Bill O’Brien), Belichick remains quiet.

On one hand, he’s always quiet. On the other hand, a past instance of Belichick breaking character become relevant in this moment. Most prominently for present purposes, Belichick wrote a letter to the current president just before the election. And when the then-candidate contacted Belichick for permission to read the letter publicly, Belichick (per the then-candidate) wrote a different letter that was actually stronger.

Belichick later admitted writing the letter, explaining that it wasn’t politics that motivated him by “friendship and loyalty” to the candidate. And so it’s now fair to ask what will Belichick do out of “friendship and loyalty” to his players, who currently are screaming out for the full promise of America that has been denied for them for far too long?

Again, there is no middle ground. There should be nothing political about this. Either you support equality, liberty, and justice for all, or you don’t. For NFL coaches, they either support the men in their locker room who are simply trying to get the things that America claims to freely provide to all people, or they don’t.

Belichick turned 68 in April. He has seen a lot of things, he has worked with a lot of people, and he has had a lot of experiences. And while his decisions regarding who deserves to have a job on the team or a spot in the starting lineup are driven only by a blind passion to win regardless of any of the players’ characteristics, the world has shifted on its axis in the last 11 days.

In this climate, silence sends a message perhaps even more powerful than speaking up. Especially when, in this case, Belichick supported a candidate who, most recently, used tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a crowd of peaceful protestors in advance of a photo op at a church near the White House. At this specific moment in history, and given Belichick’s public support for the candidate, silence amounts to ratification. And ratification of that behavior is antithetical to everything that Gilmore and other NFL players are trying to accomplish.

“He told the players not to get into the election or debate with the media because it would become a distraction,” a former Patriots player told Curran this week. “So we listened but when we he endorsed [Donald] Trump, a lot of people were upset. He tried to say he didn’t endorse him and that he was just writing a friend a letter but we all knew what that letter meant.”

Another former Patriots player doesn’t expect Belichick to say anything at all now.

“I think the minority of coaches actually give a sh-t enough to step off the ledge,” the former player told Curran. “I think he cares about players but not enough to speak out on this. Is anyone surprised?”

Belichick could surprise all of us — pleasantly — by putting pen to paper or vocal cords to microphone and saying the things that Gilmore and the other players want to hear: “I condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. I admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. I believe black lives matter.”

As to Belichick, given his choice to pick a side in November 2016, he may have to go even a little farther to persuade his players that he fully and completely supports the effort to secure racial equality and justice.

Alexander Mattison: “The time is now for change”

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The group of Vikings players who attended Thursday’s memorial for George Floyd included running back Alexander Mattison. After the event, Mattison explained the experience to

That was definitely one powerful atmosphere,” Mattison told Eric Smith. “It was like no other that I’ve felt in my life, the power that I felt in that room. His family was able to give their testimony for how great of a man he was, and it’s sad to see how a life was taken.

“Al Sharpton really hit home with me about how our time is now. The time is now for change. We’re going to continue to talk about it and figure out ways to make that change as a team and people of this community.”

Mattison addressed the decision to join teammates like Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph, Mike Hughes, Garrett Bradbury, Aviante Collins, Dakota Dozier, Tajaé Sharpe, Tyler Conklin, Chad Beebe, Cameron Smith, and Jake Browning at the memorial service.

“We’re fortunate to play there, so we wanted to make a statement that we’re behind this, and also show our love and support,” Mattison said. “We were all out there because we know it’s a tough time in this world, and we wanted to show our love and support as a team.”

Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer happened blocks from the Vikings’ home stadium. The incident, which happened only 11 days ago, has triggered a worldwide movement for racial justice.

Bruce Arians would start Tua Tagovailoa, if he’s healthy

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The Dolphins have three competent quarterbacks, including rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Coach Brian Flores showed in 2019 a willingness to play the best guy, period. It’s unclear whether he’ll do that in 2020, or whether he’ll get the rookie on the field in order to get him the reps needed for his future development.

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians recently was asked whether he’d go with Tua or a veteran. Arians was, as he always is, direct and clear.

“I think it all depends on his health; if he’s healthy I’m playing him,” Arians told 100.9 FM in Alabama, via

Tagovailoa suffered a fractured hip last year at Alabama. Doctors have expressed confidence that he’s ready to go for his rookie season.

“I don’t think you learn anything holding a clipboard,” Arians added. “You know, I had Peyton Manning his first year, Andrew Luck his first year, Ben [Roethlisberger] was one of those guys that went in by accident because Tommy Maddox got hurt. You miss all the practice reps, you miss the game reps. I don’t know what you learn holding a clipboard watching.”

He’s right, but the balance becomes whether the Dolphins are more likely to win with Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua. If Flores believes the team is better off with Fitzpatrick, what should Flores do?

Last year, as the Dolphins were trying to determine the ceiling of Josh Rosen, the 10th pick in 2018, Flores decided to go with the older player, because Flores gave them a better chance to win.

Here’s one key point to remember in this regard: It’s much easier to start with Fitz and switch to Tua than to start with Tua and switch to Fitz. Once the hand-picked franchise quarterback is in the fray, benching him won’t help his development or confidence.

Raiders open stadium doors to reveal 85-foot Al Davis torch

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For now, Raiders owner Mark Davis is sweating the looming deadlines for the opening of his team’s new stadium. Eventually, the beads of perspiration on his forehead may be due to the heat from the giant torch that will serve as a permanent tribute to his late father, Al.

The lanai doors to Allegiant Stadium opened for the first time this week, exposing the 85-foot structure that the team will light before every game.

Via the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the torch is made from carbon fiber and aluminum, and it is the largest structure in the world created by a 3D printer.

Actually, the flame from the torch won’t be an actual fire-based flame, and it won’t be projection or a hologram.

“You haven’t seen anything like it anyplace else,” Allegiant Stadium COO Don Webb said.

We haven’t seen anything like the Raiders’ new stadium, which looks like it should have this tune playing in the background.

Jaguars lead march for racial justice in Jacksonville

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In cities throughout America, peaceful protests continue regarding the chronic mistreatment of African-American citizens who are, under this nation’s founding documents, are supposed to possess the same fundamental, inalienable rights as everyone else. In Jacksonville, members of the Jaguars have organized a march for racial justice.

This is just the first step forward,” the Jaguars declare at their Twitter account.

Earlier this week, Jaguars owner Shad Khan — the league’s only minority owner — posted a passionate and moving column regarding the evils of racism.

“Racism, in all its forms, will kill,” Khan wrote. “It kills people, it kills communities, it kills dreams, it kills hope. For many Americans, now is the moment. Never has that been clearer. I don’t want to waste this moment.”

The Jaguars aren’t wasting this moment. The rest of us shouldn’t waste it, either.

Players produce powerful video demanding clear messages from NFL

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As monumental societal changes descends on our nation, words are becoming action. And a group of NFL players has put together a powerful 70-second video that sends a powerful message to America — and specifically to the National Football League.

“It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered,” Saints receiver Michael Thomas says at the outset of the video.

“How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players?” asks Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu.

“What will it take?” says Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

“For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?” asks Browns receiver Jarvis Landry.

“What if I was George Floyd?” says Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

“If I was George Floyd,” echoes Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

“What if I was George Floyd?” asks Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

And then the players, a who’s who list that also includes men like Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot, make these declarations, one at a time: “I am George Floyd. . . . I am Breonna Taylor. . . . I am Ahmaud Arbery. . . . I am Eric Garner. . . . I am Laquan McDonald. . . . I am Tamir Rice. . . . I am Trayvon Martin. . . . I am Walter Scott. . . . I am Michael Brown Jr. . . . I am Samuel DuBose. . . . I am Frank Smart. . . . I am Phillip White. . . . I am Jordan Baker.”

Then comes the clear and unmistakable message to the NFL.

“We will not be silenced. We assert our right to peacefully protest. It shouldn’t take this long to admit.

“So on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state: We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

And so the ball is now in the NFL’s court. Will a clear statement be issued condemning racism, declaring that black lives matter, and most importantly affirming the right of peaceful protest — even if it happens during the national anthem?

The clock is ticking.

Kyle Shanahan sounds off on lack of minority coaches

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The NFL has admitted that it has a “broken system” of minority hiring. One of the league’s 28 white coaches sounded off on the subject on Thursday.

“I think they’re trying to address it,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said regarding the league’s minority hiring issues. “I think they’re talking about it. I saw what [Broncos coach] Vic [Fangio] said and I saw him apologize for it. It’s tough, because white people don’t feel it. You’re not going to think that person’s racist, but you know what, how the heck are there only four [minority] coaches out of 32 head coaches? How are there only two [minority] GMs?

“I mean, we’re in a predominantly, the majority of our players are black. So, the fact that there’s that few, that’s not debatable. I don’t know if people are openly thinking they’re doing it, which I think that people resort to that, but that’s what the problem is. That number is not debatable and that is an issue. I think we talk about it a lot and it is something that has to get better. I know they’ve thrown out a bunch of stuff. I only speak for myself, I try to hire people that I’ve worked with that are prepared for it and fortunately, that’s worked out well for me. I’ve got a Muslim coordinator, we’ve got a black coordinator. We have a lesbian on our staff. We have everything and it’s not just to show people that we’re trying to be diverse. It’s just because I’ve been around these people and they are really good at what they do. We can’t win without these people and that’s just how it works out.

“I don’t know why the numbers aren’t like that, but the numbers are wrong. That’s stuff that, hell yeah, we want to fix, but it’s not an easy answer. It’s continuing to talk, continuing to, the whole thing with society, everything. It’s all very similar on different levels and that’s why those numbers don’t lie. That’s what makes it a fact. That’s what white people have to admit.”

Amen to all of that. And, as Shanahan said, the NFL is indeed trying to improve the situation. The urgency to do so has only increased in recent days.

Alvin Kamara: “Until you are black in America, you won’t truly understand what it is to be black in America”

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Recent events have created an unprecedented level of awareness and sensitivity by white Americans to the issues confronting black Americans. On Thursday, Saints running back Alvin Kamara posted a long thread on Twitter that provides specific details about his own experiences.

I’m a 24 year old black man from Atlanta,” Kamara said. “Mother from Africa and an illegal alien for almost [30-some] years until 15 months ago. I’ve seen racism and experienced social injustice personally. Maybe even on a deeper level because my mother had a foreign accent. My license has been valid for as long as i can remember, but for some reason I still peep the rear view a couple times when a cop get behind me… why? Because that’s what I was taught to do.

“I’ve literally been in a bank and had the cops called on me. Not because i was robbing it.. but because i looked like i could have been robbing it. Oh… the teller was the one that called. I only needed like 200 dollars but i pulled out 10k just to play her ass. I’ve been in nice restaurants and been asked to leave because I can’t wear a hat, or because I was dressed ‘inappropriately’ for the dining room. But, y’all know that mean I was just too black to eat in there that day lol.

“I’m saying all of this to say… until you are black in America, you won’t truly understand what it is to be black in America and that’s fine. But don’t act like this doesn’t exist or isn’t real. Black boys go from ‘cute little kids’ to ‘threatening’ within the same breath even if all they were doing was walking home. And a man walking in the wrong neighborhood becomes a casualty simply because he looks like he doesn’t belong.

“I’ve been in enough situations where the color of my skin was seen as a big enough threat to cost me my life. And I know there are countless others that that fit my description that could say the same.

“I can kneel confidently because I know that with just that small gesture, a much bigger message is being conveyed. And also within that gesture the voices of those who no longer have a voice can be heard.”

That last message from Kamara seems to be an indication that he plans to kneel during the national anthem in 2020, a dynamic that could become more prevalent than ever before given the murder of George Floyd and the movement it has created.

Kyle Shanahan: White people are more passionate now about change

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The murder of George Floyd was a tipping point for African-Americans who have lived in justified and all too often realized fear of American law enforcement for generations. For many in white America, it has caused something like scales to fall from our eyes as to the depth and breadth of the problem.

“What’s different now, it’s embarrassing to say, probably, but I think white people are more passionate about it now than then,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Thursday in reference to the anthem protests led by Colin Kaepernick in 2016, via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. “And that’s our ignorance. And that’s what upsets black people, and they have every right to be upset because they haven’t just been telling us this the last few weeks. They’ve been telling us this since our grandparents. And I’ve been hearing it from every one of my friends since I was 14.”

Shanahan’s comments were made within the context of the connection between recent unjustified murders of African-American citizens and the reason for Kaepernick’s protests.

“It’s three years later, and [there are] still some people not understanding what his message was,” Shanahan said. “And, regardless, that’s too many people not understanding the message that everyone’s been giving for a long time. And Colin did it the strongest out of anyone, and people should respect him a ton for that and admire that. . . .

“Regardless of whether you agree with how he did it or not, that doesn’t matter. What Colin was protesting was something that should be respected by all humans. That did take a lot of courage. That is something that is 1,000-percent wrong and what he was trying to fix and bring light to.

“And, gosh, it was hard to bring light to the whole country because people didn’t want to totally hear it and it got diluted with so much different stuff.”

It didn’t get diluted as much as if got deflected. People who didn’t want to face the hard truths of a system that targets minorities for more aggressive and hostile and in too many cases (one is too many) lethal treatment changed the subject from the reason for Kaepernick’s protest to his chosen method of protesting, presuming that their own reverence of the flag and the military and America itself is fully shared by people who have had a far different American experience.

“These were the guys who started it and it was very clear when they would articulate it, why they were doing it,” Shanahan said of the protests. “And so the whole debate on all the other stuff, the flag, everything like, people don’t want to hear that. What he was doing was a big deal. Whether you disagree with how he did it or not doesn’t matter. . . .

“And I’m all for protest. I’m all for change. I hope the protest cause change. Whatever we have to do to get the change, I’m for it. I know our organization is. I know Jed is. I know our players are. We always have been.

He’s right, but it can’t be conditional or equivocal. It can’t come with, “Yes, but you shall stand for the anthem and respect the flag.” Those who want to make this moment the catalyst for change that may not come overnight will need the support — not passive tolerance but active support — to take a knee and/or raise a fist and remind the majority that the minority is still not enjoying the liberty and justice for all promised by a pledge of allegiance recited every day by school children throughout the nation.

NFL’s chief medical officer remains “very optimistic” about 2020 season

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The NFL continues to plan for a full 2020 season, and it continues to have confidence that it will happen.

Dr. Allen Sills has told Mark Maske of the Washington Post that he believes the league will be able to start and finish the season as planned.

“I think that I personally remain very optimistic that we’re going to be able to have a 2020 season and have it along the schedule that we’ve planned,” Sills said.

The league is determined to play the 256 regular-season games and 13 postseason games in 2020. Whether it can will depend on the ability to repeatedly test players and coaches and anyone in the vicinity of the practice field or game sites, and to immediately quarantine anyone who is positive and to have a plan for dealing with an outbreak.

With 32 teams and five months of practices and games, an outbreak could be inevitable. The league needs to catch any spread of the virus quickly and to have a plan for deal promptly with five or 10 or 20 or more positive cases in a given team, or the season will be shut down not long after it gets started.

The Simms QB countdown, No. 28: Ryan Fitzpatrick

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On Thursday, we paused the Chris Simms Top 40 quarterback countdown on PFT Live in order to devote the full show to the ongoing conversation regarding a moment of profound change in America. On Wednesday, we unveiled two more.

Quarterback No. 28 is a quarterback who seemingly has played for 28 teams.

Ryan Fitzpatrick actually has played for only eight teams, and he’s 12 spots higher on the list than teammate Tua Tagovailoa. In 2020, if coach Brian Flores decides that Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins a better chance to win this year, Fitzpatrick will play some more.

And if he plays, he’ll add to a career that has seen him throw 210 touchdown passes. That’s good for No. 38 on the all-time list. More than Kurt Warner. More than Randall Cunningham. More than Phil Simms. More than Ken Anderson. More than Bobby Layne, Ken Stabler, Bob Griese, Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, Joe Namath, Norm Van Brocklin, Troy Aikman, and Roger Staubach.

During Wednesday’s show, we had highlights of Fitzpatrick’s touchdown passes from each of his eight teams. It quickly became clear that he has thrown touchdown passes to a wide variety of players, including more than a few current and future Hall of Famers.

Here’s the full list, working from 2018 back to 2005: Preston Williams, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Albert Wilson, Allen Hurns, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, O.J. Howard, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries, Cameron Brate, Luke Stocker, Charles Sims, Eric Decker, Quincy Enunwa, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Jalin Marshall, Bilal Powell, Devin Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Chris Ivory, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, Damaris Johnson, Andre Johnson, Alfred Blue, Arian Foster, Ryan Griffin, Nate Washington, Chris Johnson, Taylor Thompson, Delanie Walker, Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright, Michael Preston, Scott Chandler, Donald Jones, Lee Smith, Steve Johnson, T.J. Graham, Brad Smith, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, David Nelson, Derek Hagan, Naaman Roosevelt, David Martin, Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Glenn Holt, Chris Henry, Kevin Curtis, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt.

More names could be added to the 58 players who have caught touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick.

Brian Flores keeps the spotlight on the murder of George Floyd

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Dolphins coach Brian Flores, the first coach to speak out about the murder of George Floyd with a written statement, met with reporters via videoconference on Thursday. Flores was asked about an important related topic: Kneeling during the national anthem to bring more attention to the problem of police brutality against African-Americans and persons of color.

“For me the spotlight needs to be on George Floyd, justice for George Floyd,” Flores said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Condolences for his family. We’re in agreement. It’s not often that everyone is in agreement on a topic.”

Flores added that he supports the ability of players to participate in the ongoing protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd.

“They have a right to protest and I support their right to protest,” Flores said. “Even more than that, it’s about being careful. I want my players [to] be careful.”

As the protests continue away from the field, it remains to be seen whether the protests will linger into September — and whether players and others will exercise their right to protest during the anthem. If games were played this weekend, the kneeling would be inevitable and widespread. Three months from now, things could be better.

Of course, they also could be worse. Or possibly unchanged. Absent real steps toward change by Labor Day, the anthem protests of 2016-17 seem destined to return to the forefront for the NFL. And that likely won’t be a topic on which everyone will be in agreement, even though it should be.