NFL doesn’t fine Tyreek Hill for camera celebration

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Placing a cell phone under the padding of the goal post for celebratory purposes: $30,000.

Commandeering a TV camera for celebratory purposes: $0.00.

The headache that comes from trying to reconcile the two situations: Priceless.

Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill received no fine for his prolonged touchdown celebration that included leaping into the stands and taking over the CBS camera positioned in the end zone, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

Hill drew a penalty on the play (the flag could be seen in the air during Hill’s temporary assignment as a camera operator), and he fully anticipated a fine. As did everyone else.

This isn’t about the No Fun League or the Some Fun League. It’s about figuring out what is and isn’t allowed, so that players will know whether that celebration they’re contemplating will come with the forfeiture of 15 yards of field position and a significant bill from 345 Park Avenue.

Hill’s celebration came only seven days after Saints receiver Michael Thomas produced after a touchdown a flip phone that he’d hidden before the game, sparking a $30,000 fine. The NFL’s official rulebook prohibits both “prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player or multiple players” and “[u]sing any object as a prop, or possessing any foreign or extraneous object(s) that are not part of the uniform on the field or the sideline during the game, other than the football after a scoring play or change of possession.”

In 2017, the NFL modified the rules to allow the football to be used as a prop. No other props are permitted. Hill clearly used the TV camera as a prop.

No response has been received to an email to the league office seeking an explanation regarding the decision not to fine Hill. Whatever the reasoning, Hill is likely feeling pretty good about not having his game check reduced by whatever the amount of the fine could have been. Thomas also could be feeling good about the outcome, because he how has an argument that could be raised on appeal in an effort to reduce his fine.

League imposes more than $43,000 in fines on Aaron Donald, Justin Britt

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Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Seahawks center Justin Britt will be making significant involuntary contributions to the league’s favorite charities as a result of their interactions during, and after, last Sunday’s game.

Between them, Donald and Britt will fork over more than $43,000.

It started after Donald returned what would have been a turnover, if it wasn’t an incomplete pass. Britt shoved Donald hard when Donald was clearly out of bounds. The league fined Britt $20,054.

Donald retaliated, drawing a $10,026 for grabbing Britt’s facemask during the exchange.

After the game, Donald was still miffed at Britt. So, after Donald removed his jersey and shoulder pads, he put his helmet back on and confronted Britt again. The league fined Donald another $13,369 for his actions.

That was last week,” Donald told reporters on Friday, via Cameron DaSilva of USA Today. “We’re trying to get ready for the Chiefs. Coach talked to us and that’s the past so we’re moving on and we’ve gotta be better. I just gotta control my temper. I just gotta be better. . . . You’ve gotta be smarter with the game. Can’t hurt your team.”

Donald was asked whether he’s worried that the Chiefs will try to push his buttons.

“They ain’t going to get under my skin because that’s the past and I learned from it,” Donald said. “I think everybody learned. We all saw it, we all were involved with it so we understand what we need to do to be better.”

It’s always easier said than done. No matter what Donald tells himself before the game, playing in the game makes blood pressure spike, quickly. And plenty of coaches will deal with a periodic penalty if it means having a guy on the field who plays with an attitude.

Eric Reid fined for hit to Ben Roethlisberger’s head

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The NFL has docked the pay of Panthers safety Eric Reid for his hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger last week.

Reid was fined $10,026 for the hit, which also got him ejected.

If anything, Reid may have gotten off easy from the league’s lords of discipline. Roethlisberger went into a feet-first slide, and Reid drilled him in the head after Roethlisberger’s knee had already hit the ground. It was severe enough that the officials decided to eject Reid, a move that was supported by the league’s officiating command center.

Reid said after the game that he wasn’t aware players could get ejected in the NFL. He now knows, and he is also all too aware that players can get fined as well.

Lions give Nathan Peterman a workout

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The worst quarterback in recent NFL history has recently gotten a chance to find another NFL job.

According to Field Yates of ESPN.com, the Lions gave Nathan Peterman a workout on Saturday.

Peterman, a fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2017, was released this week. He went through waivers unclaimed.

The former Pitt starter has 12 career interceptions on 130 career passes.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden raved about Peterman prior to the 2017 draft, calling him the most pro-ready quarterback in the pool.

Cardinals release David Amerson, Kendall Wright

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Necessity has ended the Arizona experiment with a couple of players whose best days are behind them.

The Cardinals have released cornerback David Amerson and receiver Kendall Wright. The Cardinals needed the roster spots for kicker Matt McCrane, who was signed on Saturday to possibly replace Phil Dawson (hip), and defensive end Vontarrius Dora, given that Robert Nkemdiche could miss the game with a calf injury, as could Rodney Gunter, who has had a death in the family.

Via Darren Urban of the team’s official website, Amerson could return next week.

Wright, a first round pick of the Titans in 2012, already had been signed twice and cut once by the Cardinals. He has no catches this season.

Sammy Watkins is questionable for Monday night

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The Chiefs may, or may not, have receiver Sammy Watkins for Sunday night’s showdown against the Rams.

Watkins is officially listed as questionable for the game, with the foot injury that knocked him out of last Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.

Limited in practice on Thursday, Watkins didn’t practice on Friday or Saturday.

“We are taking that day-by-day,” coach Andy Reid told reporters on Saturday. “We will just see how he does as we go here. He’s making progress.”

Reid was asked whether Watkins suffered a setback during Thursday’s practice.

“Well, he tested it out,” Reid said. “He was testing it out and we just kind of felt like we needed to back off and just let it rest here a little bit. We will see. Every day has gotten a little bit better, so that’s a plus.”

Center Mitch Morse is out with a concussion and safety Eric Berry, who hasn’t played since Week One of the 2017 season, remains doubtful with a lingering injury in his heel.

The Chiefs disclosed a foot injury for quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but he fully participated in practice all week.

“He’s been fine,” Reid said of Mahomes.

The Chiefs will be looking fine on Monday night, wearing white jerseys and white pants.

“That’s not my thing,” Reid said of the decision to wear white on white. “The players normally ask about that. I don’t. That’s how I roll. The players asked about it. . . . Most of the chubby guys weren’t voting on all white.”

Bears activate 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen

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The Bears used the 45th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft on tight end Adam Shaheen, but so far he hasn’t done a lot in his NFL career. Chicago can see if that changes starting on Sunday night.

Shaheen has been activated from injured reserve, making him eligible to play tomorrow night against the Vikings.

Fellow tight end Dion Sims is now going on injured reserve with a concussion, which keeps the Bears’ roster at 53 players.

‏The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Shaheen caught 12 passes for 127 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie last year. This year he was injured in the preseason and hasn’t played since.

Keke Coutee travels with Texans to Washington

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As the Texans make the trip to Washington on Saturday, a key member of the receiving corps will be on the plane.

Receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) has not been downgraded from questionable to out, which means that there’s still a chance he’ll play.

Linebackers Zach Cunningham (knee) and Duke Ejiofor (shoulder) have been downgraded to out, and won’t travel.

Cornerbacks Aaron Colvin (ankle) and Johnahan Jospeh (ankle/knee) also have made the trip; they were listed on Friday as questionable.

Coutee, a rookie, last played on October 21. In Houston’s first win of the season, Coutee had 11 catches for 109 yards. His status for Sunday previously has been characterized as a “game-time decision.”

Peyton Manning talks up Eli, says Giants’ offensive line is struggling

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At least one person who knows the quarterback position thinks Eli Manning can still play.

In a video produced by ESPN, Peyton Manning offered a detailed analysis of his little brother’s performance in Monday night’s win over the 49ers. And Peyton says Eli played that game at a very high level.

Peyton noted that on the first play of the game, Eli made a good read and found Odell Beckham open, but Beckham dropped what could have been a touchdown pass. Peyton also said the changes on the Giants’ offensive line, where two Week One starters are no longer on the team, have been a challenge for Eli. Peyton joked that Eli hadn’t even met all of his offensive linemen until the game started.

“The Giants have had some different offensive linemen playing,” Peyton said. “I think Eli and his right guard met for the first time in the huddle on the first play of the game: ‘How you doing, nice to meet you, I’m gonna be blocking for you.’ ‘OK, I’m gonna be quarterback.’ It’s not ideal when you’re meeting your right guard for the first time in the game.”

So what is Eli doing well? Peyton says Eli is still able to use his feet to avoid the pass rush and hit his targets.

“Eli’s not known for his speed, but he does throw well on the run, and the reason being, watch how his shoulders and feet get lined up toward the target,” he said.

Peyton acknowledged that people will say he’s biased in analyzing Eli, but Peyton said that on a short pass to Saquon Barkley, Eli showed good awareness of Barkley’s ability to beat linebackers in coverage, and Peyton said he’d praise that from any quarterback.

“I know it’s a short throw and you’re going to say, ‘He’s kissing his butt because he’s his brother and related to him.’ I don’t care,” Manning said. “This is a good throw.”

Peyton’s analysis, which is available only on the ESPN+ subscription service, was detailed and thoughtful. It’s easy to see why multiple networks were said to offer Peyton a job in the booth. He’s good, even if, in this case, he’s biased.

Report: Lions tried to get Rashaad Penny from Seahawks

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The Seahawks made running back Rashaad Penny a first-round pick in late April. And then the Lions made a run at trying to get him.

Via Mlive.com, Jay Glazer of FOX reported during the Thursday Night Football pregame show that the Lions tried to trade for Penny after the Seahawks drafted him.

As noted by Nate Atkins of Mlive.com, Seahawks G.M. John Schneider previously said that a team tried to trade for Penny, but Schneider didn’t disclose the team.

The Lions settled for Kerryon Johnson in round two, and Johnson has been solid for Detroit.

Penny, meanwhile, recently has begun to come into his own. After getting his first 100-yard performance on Sunday, he contributed 46 yards on eight carries during Thursday night’s win over the Seahawks, as part of the three-headed backfield in Seattle. Previously, Penny had been a forgotten man in Seattle.

Canadians are watching a lot more American football

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The CFL season still hasn’t ended, but Canadians have taken to American football this year.

John Kryk of the Toronto Sun reports that the overall Canadian TV audience grew by 19 percent over the first two months of the season.

The biggest increase has come in the Sunday night window, where viewership has increased by a whopping 33 percent.

Those numbers take into account only the first eight weeks of the season. The numbers, especially on Sunday nights, likely will be similar if not bigger moving forward, given that Week Nine featured the Packers against the Patriots and Week 10 had the Cowboys facing the Eagles. The NFL has made three flex decisions from Week 11 through Week 14, resulting in the next four Sunday nights featuring Vikings-Bears, Packers-Vikings, Chargers-Steelers, and Rams-Bears.

Trumaine Johnson has been an expensive disappointment for the Jets

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When the Jets signed cornerback Trumaine Johnson to a five-year, $72 million contract this offseason, the thought was he should come in and immediately improve the Jets’ defense. In a sense, he did, as he intercepted a pass in Week One. But since then, the results have not been pretty.

Johnson has been profoundly disappointing to people inside the organization, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who quotes one source as saying, “Thought he’d be better.”

In fact, since that solid performance in Week One, the Jets’ defense has actually played better during the five games Johnson missed when he was injured. Many league observers believe Darryl Roberts, the minimum-salary backup who was starting while Johnson was hurt, has actually played better than Johnson this season. That’s despite the fact that Johnson will pocket $26 million in salary and bonuses in his first year with the Jets, while Roberts makes less than $1 million.

Johnson returned to the lineup on Sunday, moving Roberts to the bench, and the Jets promptly turned in their worst defensive performance of the season.

The 28-year-old Johnson looks like he’s not as good a fit in coach Todd Bowles’ defense as he was with what the Rams were asking him to do. That’s always a risk with a free-agent signing, that a player earns a big contract because he plays well in one situation, but doesn’t play well in the next situation.

Bowles is likely to be fired after this season, which means it’s going to be some other coach trying to get the most out of Johnson next year. Whoever that coach is, they’d better get the most out of Johnson. He’s set to cost $12 million against the Jets’ salary cap in 2019 and $15 million in 2020, and the way his contract is structured makes it virtually impossible for the Jets to move on from him until then. He still has time to get things turned around, but through his first half season with the Jets, he’s looking like an expensive mistake.

Todd Gurley doesn’t know what the over/under is

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Three weeks ago, at the end of a 29-27 win over the Packers, Rams running back Todd Gurley went down the instead of scoring a touchdown, angering fantasy owners with Gurley on the roster and bettors who took the Rams to cover and the total points to be over. Gurley said he doesn’t care about those things.

As it turns out, he also doesn’t know about at least one of those things.

Asked by reporters on Friday about an over/under for the Chiefs showdown which at 64 is the highest line of demarcation for total points since 1986, Gurley was confused.

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about right now,” Gurley said. “I don’t even gamble, so I don’t even know what that means.”

While plenty of gambling concepts and terms are confusing, anyone who has ever paid any attention to betting knows that the over/under refers to the total points scored in the game by both teams. It’s entirely possible that Gurley truly is clueless about those matters; it’s also possible that he has decided that the best approach when it comes to anything related to wagering is to feign ignorance.

Either way, bet the over.

Sean McVay: Cooper Kupp ACL surgery went “really well”

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You know the drill by now. When it comes to a pro athlete with an injury that must be repaired by a doctor, the surgery is always a success, and the rehab is always ahead of schedule. Even when it’s not.

Rams coach Sean McVay explained to reporters on Friday night that receiver Cooper Kupp‘s ACL surgery has happened, and that it was a success.

“It went really well,” McVay said. “He called right afterwards and he was in great spirits. I know if anybody is going to attack the rehab process the right way, it’s going to be Cooper Kupp. Fortunately, some of the things when you do get in there, none of the other things that sometimes can delay that rehab process were affected. It was a clean surgery, did a good job repairing that and we expect him to be able to make a good recovery. Looking forward to getting him back.”

McVay seems to be as honest, authentic, and candid as any coach can ever be. Still, no one really knows how an ACL recovery and rehab will unfold. Some go incredibly well; some simply don’t.

In many cases, it takes a full year to get back to 100 percent. Plenty of players are able to return to football activities sooner than that.

For Kupp, the goal undoubtedly will be to have him ready by the start of training camp. The offseason program begins in five months, with the bulk of the OTAs due to commence in roughly six months.

Rams’ pass rush is doing its job as the rest of the defense struggles

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Given that the Rams are 9-1 and favored to beat the 9-1 Chiefs on Monday night in a matchup of the two teams with the best records in the league, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Rams’ defense has not been particularly good this year.

The Rams are allowing opposing runners to average 5.2 yards a carry, worst in the NFL. And the improvements the Rams made in the secondary during the offseason have turned out not to be improvements at all, with cornerback Marcus Peters struggling all season and cornerback Aqib Talib on injured reserve.

But there is one thing the Rams are doing well: Pressuring opposing passers.

According to Chris Trapasso of the Buffalo News, using data compiled by Pro Football Focus, the Rams are getting pressure on 41.6 percent of the passes they face this season, the best in the NFL. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Rams are getting a lot of sacks — they’re tied for 10th in the league with 26 sacks — but they are consistently hurrying opposing quarterbacks.

And that underscores just how disappointing the secondary has been. If the defensive front is hurrying the opposing quarterback, and the opposing quarterback is completing passes anyway, that doesn’t reflect well on the secondary.

Getting to Patrick Mahomes on Monday night will be important, but the rest of the defense has to do its job as well. Given the way both teams’ offenses and defenses have played this season, expect a shootout.