Bills reopened facility on Tuesday

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The Bills have reopened their team facility.

New York gave the go-ahead for Buffalo and the surrounding area to move into the next phase of the reopening of businesses that were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic last month and the team had employees back in the building on Tuesday.

A team spokesman said, via the Buffalo News, that a “very limited” number of people have returned to the facility in Orchard Park while most employees will continue to work remotely. Coaches and players who aren’t rehabbing from injuries will remain part of that group until further notice.

The Bills also learned Tuesday that they will be holding training camp at their facility as the NFL has barred teams from traveling to other locations for camp this year. The Bills had been set to go to St. John Fisher College again this summer.

Vic Fangio doesn’t see racism in NFL

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Vic Fangio acknowledged that there are societal problems which have to be fixed, but he thinks the NFL is doing OK on the racism front.

And no, it was not well-received.

After a day of meetings with Broncos players and team president Joe Ellis to have the ever-popular dialogue about issues of race and police brutality, Fangio said he didn’t think the league had a discrimination problem.

I think our problems in the NFL along those lines are minimal,” Fangio said, via Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. “We’re a league of meritocracy, you earn what you get, you get what you earn. I don’t see racism at all in the NFL, I don’t see discrimination in the NFL,” Fangio told reporters Tuesday when asked about his experiences in the league over the past four decades. “We all live together, joined as one, for one common goal, and we all intermingle and mix tremendously. If society reflected an NFL team, we’d all be great.”

The response was immediate, with Seahawks running back Chris Carson calling him “a joke,” and Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs asking: “Is he blind?

While those comments might have landed awkwardly — and the reality is many people in Fangio’s generation don’t see the problems because they literally don’t see it in their own day-to-day experience — the 61-year-old Fangio said he’s encouraged his players to protest, and noted the efforts of Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

“I thought it was great, Justin is a great person, a great leader, got his head screwed on correctly, he sees the problems and how they need to be solved,” Fangio said. “He’s searching for solutions and it’s easy for everybody to identify the problems . . . we need to search for solutions and I think Justin is one of those guys who will find solutions.”

Fangio also expressed the requisite emotions regarding George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis Police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while be begged for air.

“I was shocked, sad and angry when I saw what the policeman do to a handcuffed George Floyd on his stomach that led to his death,” Fangio said. “He should be punished to the full extent of the law of the crimes he was charged with in addition to being charged with treason for failing to uphold the badge and uniform he was entrusted with . . . It’s a societal issue that we all have to join in to correct.”

That’s true. And so is allowing ourselves to be blind to the challenges of others.

James Conner says people made too much of his shirtless workout pics

James Conner on Twitter

Steelers running back James Conner tweeted some pictures of himself working out shirtless, which created a stir — and even some concerns from fans that he might be making himself too muscular. Conner is laughing that off.

Conner told reporters that he benefited from a good camera angle, that his muscles come primarily from good genetics, and that no one needs to worry that he’s putting on so much upper-body mass that it could slow him down.

It’s just the angle,” he said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Nah, honestly, people comment on it, saying I’m going to be stiff and all this. I’m a professional. I know how to work out. It starts with genetics, but I’ve also been putting a lot of work in the weight room. It was the way I flexed it. A lot of people look like that.”

Conner may have a future as an Instagram influencer, but he says he’s focused entirely on preparing his body to play football, and muscles that look good on social media are only a side benefit.

Raiders commit to holding training camp in Nevada

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The Raiders have committed to holding their training camp in Nevada after an NFL mandate was handed down earlier on Tuesday for all training camps across the league to be held at team facilities.

“The Raiders are in receipt of the league’s memo dictating that all 2020 training camps must be held at each team’s home facility,” the team said in a statement, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We will follow the league’s protocol accordingly and begin preparations to host training camp at Raiders Headquarters in Henderson, Nevada. The Raiders would like to thank and acknowledge the city of Napa and the Napa Valley Marriott, which has been our summer home for 24 years. We will evaluate future training camp locations at a later date.”

Even with a team facility in Alameda, the Raiders had held their training camps in Napa instead. The plan for 2020 had been to continue with training camp in Napa before moving into their new headquarters in Henderson full time for the start of the season. However, the effects of the coronavirus and the NFL’s mandate for teams to stay in their home facilities have forced the team to change course.

Many teams travel to remote sites for training camp and the Raiders could still elect to return to their training camp home in Napa in future years. But the Raiders truly belong to Las Vegas now for the 2020 season.

Washington franchise should change its name now

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This won’t be a universally popular opinion, but the time for caring about making everyone happy and/or pissing off the fewest number of people has ended.

As the NFL and its teams look for a way to transform words into actions, a simple, easy, and clear path to change for professional football would come from an immediate change to the name of the Washington franchise.

The team that is named for the nation’s capital, at a time when the nation’s capital has become one of the flash points for protest, should acknowledge that the franchise’s nickname is a textbook racial slur, that it genuinely offends enough Native Americans to make the name unacceptable, and that it should change. If it wasn’t already obvious, it should be given the reaction to the franchise’s failed effort to embrace #BlackoutTuesday.

If not in this moment, when will the name ever change? When owner Daniel Snyder sells the team to someone else? When he can barter a new name for a new stadium? When the league inevitably tells Snyder or his successor to do the right thing, possibly in exchange for a draft or a Super Bowl?

In this critical time of turning mere language into meaningful action, this is the opportunity for Snyder to show strength, unity, and sensitivity by acknowledging that the word is outdated, that it is racist, and that it should be abandoned. While it applies to a different race than the race that currently is screaming for equality and justice, racism is racism. Unfair treatment is unfair treatment. Native Americans continue to be marginalized by a word that offends too many of them.

How many is too many? One Native American genuinely offended by the phrase is too many. And it’s far more than one Native American who objects to the term, despite the efforts of the franchise to mischaracterize inherently flawed polls and other devices aimed at creating an impression that it’s OK to use the name, that it’s only a problem if an overwhelming majority of Native Americans object, and that the opinions expressed by “woke” media members who are trying to give voice to the Native Americans who are offended by the word should be disregarded as “virtue signaling.”

Fans of the franchise, who have somehow found a way to convince themselves that “Redskins” means only a football team and nothing more, will continue to loudly object and deflect, clumsily arguing that a change to the team’s nickname will force other franchises to follow suit, given that “Giants” offends large people and “Saints” offends Catholics and whatever else they’ll argue in order to avoid the fundamental question of whether repeated and regular use of the term “Redskins” is acceptable, especially when America is being pushed (perhaps against its will) toward ending systemic racism against all minority classes.

Again, racism is racism — whether practiced against African-Americans or Native Americans or any group that isn’t part of the white majority. For far too long, Snyder and his predecessors have ignored the simply reality that “Redskins” isn’t a universal term of honor but, at the very best, a term on which Native Americans are conflicted. So as the NFL gropes for a way to turn its word salads of statements into something real and meaningful, nothing would be more real and more meaningful than finally admitting in a loud, clear , and unambiguous voice that the term “Redskins” is wrong, and that it will immediately be abandoned for another name.

If the organization does anything less than that, any of its word or actions aimed at ending racism should be regarded as hollow, incomplete, and insincere.

Timmy Jernigan says agreement with Texans is off, won’t be joining Houston

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When the Houston Texans determined they could no longer pursue a re-signing of defensive tackle D.J. Reader due to the price tag, they pivoted to add former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan instead.

Now it appears they’ll have neither Reader or Jernigan on the roster in 2020.

In a posting to his instagram account Tuesday night, Jernigan said he would not be joining the Texans after all.

“Guess I’m not goin to Houston..but the show not ova,” he wrote on his instagram stories.

Per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Jernigan never passed a physical with the team after agreeing to a one-year, $3.75 million deal on April 1. The Texans are now evaluating other veteran alternatives for the spot.

Houston added TCU defensive tackle Ross Blacklock with their first selection in the second round of this year’s NFL Draft. Blacklock will be relied upon that much more with Jernigan no longer set to join the team.

Jernigan played in 10 games for the Eagles last season with nine starts, recording two sacks and 10 total tackles. He has missed 19 games over the last two seasons due to injury.

DeSean Jackson praises white teammates, Jeffrie Lurie for “stepping up”

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DeSean Jackson spoke out at a team meeting Tuesday. He spoke publicly later in the day, praising white teammates who have “stepped up.”

Jason Kelce, Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz are among those who have decried social injustice in the wake of the senseless death of George Floyd on May 25. Kelce said he felt obligated to speak out after hearing from Jackson.

They stepped up,” Jackson told John Clark of NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com. “They made their voices heard. They used their platform. They used their resources. They used everything they can do to reach out and say, ‘I might not know what it feels like to be racial profiled. I might now know what it’s like to grow up in the inner community and these areas that you guys face on a daily basis,’ where we’re scrutinized for the color of our skin They might not understand that, but they are stepping up to the plate, saying, ‘Hey, fair is fair, and right is right and wrong is wrong, and the stuff we’ve been seeing is wrong,’ and they don’t support that. The biggest thing . . . the white culture can do is just stand up and making a statement. Make a stand for saying, ‘I know what’s supposed to be right,’ and I’m going to stand with what’s supposed to be right.”

Jackson also praised Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie for “speaking out and stepping up.” Lurie spoke to the team and then released a statement Tuesday.

The Eagles receiver also encouraged everyone to get out and vote, saying that was one way to elicit change.

Deshaun Watson among those who march in Houston

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George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, but he was from Houston. So members of the Floyd family joined Houston mayor Sylvester Turner in a downtown march Tuesday.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and linebackers Peter Kalambayi and Jacob Martin also attended the peaceful protest, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26. Watson appeared onstage.

“It means we’re all in this effort together,” Turner said, via Berman. “I’m just honored that our athletes have stepped up and say, ‘Count me in.'”

Martin said he hopes what’s happening across the nation will make a difference.

Drastic change, change the landscape of the world,” Martin said, via Berman. “How we think, how we proceed going forward, the days of yesterday, the days before this, the times we remember, after this, things won’t be the same. The reality is that this has been going on in the black community and to people of color for far too long. For generations, growing up as a young African-American man, you’ve been afraid of police officers because of what your parents tel you and how to proceed. For that to be the case with a public servant, it’s ridiculous. That shouldn’t be the case. You shouldn’t have to have that conversation with your children. I pray that I don’t have to have that conversation with my children one day in the future.”

Kraft family: “Our country needs deep healing”

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The family that owns the most successful NFL franchise of the past 20 years has issued a powerful statement regarding ongoing social unrest, which serves as both a message and a commitment to act in furtherance of change.

“Over the last several days, we have tried to listen, learn and reflect,” the Kraft family, which owns the New England Patriots, said in a statement. “We have been at a loss for the appropriate words, perhaps because there are none to adequately describe the horrific incidents of the last few weeks. It is impossible for us to comprehend what happened to George Floyd or the pain his family must be feeling, a pain that resonates with so many others who have lost loved ones in similar brutalities that were not captured on video for the rest of the world to see. We cannot begin to understand the frustration and fear members of our black community have faced for generations. Recent events have shined a light on a topic that demands much more attention.

“Our country needs deep healing. We don’t have the answers, but we do know that we want to be part of the change. As leaders in the New England community, we must speak up.

“Here is where out family, and our organization stands: We are horrified by the acts of racism we’ve witnessed. We are heartbroken for the families who have lost loved ones, and we are devastated for our communities of color, who are sad, who are exhausted, who are suffering. We know that none of the sadness, exhaustion or suffering is new. We know it is systemic. Our eyes, ears, and hearts are open.

“Our family has a long history of supporting vulnerable people in our communities and advocating for equality. But past efforts don’t mean anything until we all stand on equal footing in America, so we must act in the present, and not simply rely on what we’ve done in the past. There remains much work to be done. We will not rest on statements, because words without actions are void. Rather, we will work harder than ever before — through our philanthropy, community engagement, advocacy and support the work of our players — to build bridges, to promote equality, to stand up for what’s right and to value ALL people.”

Amen to all of that. We appreciate the clarity of the conviction, and we can’t wait to see what Robert Kraft (left), Jonathan Kraft, and the rest of the family will do moving forward, since it will inspire so many others (including us) to take action aimed at solving this problem once and for all.

Giants: George Floyd’s death is a tragedy “we have seen too often for far too long”

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The Giants issued a statement Tuesday after George Floyd’s death May 25.

The team stated that lasting change has to start at the community level, with the Giants committed to doing their part.

“George Floyd’s senseless death is the type of tragedy we have seen too often for far too long,” the statement read. “Over the past week, our players and coaches have talked about the hurt, the pain, the frustration and the anger. Each of us is feeling some or all of that. We continue to talk about what we can do to help unite and heal and, more importantly, create real opportunity and meaningful change. We have a responsibility as citizens to work in a constructive way. What we do to make a difference is what is most important. We have the ability to advocate for social justice and sustained change.

“We know that to make lasting change, it needs to start at the community level. That is why we are committed to continuing to strengthen the alliances we have with groups like the Vera Institute of Justice, the Newark Bronze Shields, The Bronx Defenders, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, RISE and our local law enforcement agencies to understand and support each group’s good work. We will continue to expand our relationships where we can have a meaningful, positive impact and make a difference.”

Broncos players hold a pair of meetings with CEO Joe Ellis

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The Broncos are not among the teams that has issued a statement about the killing of George Floyd or the unrest that has followed over the last week, but not because they were avoiding the issues.

The team held a pair of meetings on Tuesday so that players and coaches could share their thoughts directly with team CEO Joe Ellis. Head coach Vic Fangio and General Manager John Elway were also in attendance.

Meetings were split among offensive and defensive groups and linebacker Alexander Johnson shared some of what he said when the latter unit got together.

“One thing I wanted to get across was, yes, it’s a black-and-white issue. But once we get past the black-and-white issue, we have to realize it’s really an issue of evil,” Johnson said, via Mike Klis of KUSA. “It’s an evil that’s brought so much harm. We need to some-way, some-how get our leaders — professional leaders like chiefs, government, judges — leaders who can change the system. Yes, it’s good when a black person stands up and says the system needs change. But when a white man who’s a top leader in the country says something, more people will listen.”

Johnson said he appreciated Ellis’ willingness to listen and offer to “help us in any manner he could” in the future.

Mike Zimmer: Peaceful protests can help bring change, and we need change

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Vikings coach Mike Zimmer issued a statement Tuesday, addressing George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25 that set off racial unrest around the nation.

“I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd as well as the entire community for his senseless death,” Zimmer wrote. “Peaceful protests can help bring change, and we definitely need change, so we can all live in harmony. Everyone needs to respect each other’s ideas and work together to strengthen, not weaken, our community. I believe our football team is an example of how people from all different backgrounds and experiences can come together for a common goal.”

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins previously released a statement, and Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks said the team is discussing concrete steps it can take.

Kendricks also called out the NFL on Tuesday, saying, “Your statement said nothing.”

Seahawks sign Colby Parkinson

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The Seahawks have a member of their 2020 draft class under contract.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that the team has signed fourth-round pick Colby Parkinson. The tight end is the first of the team’s eight draft picks to agree to a four-year deal.

Parkinson had 48 receptions for 589 yards during his final season at Stanford, but saw his touchdown total drop from seven in 2018 to just one last season.

Parkinson was one of two tight ends the Seahawks drafted in April. They also picked up Stephen Sullivan in the seventh round. The two rookies join Greg Olsen, Will Dissly, Luke Willson and Jacob Hollister on the depth chart in Seattle.

Mike Vrabel: Common goal is inclusion, diversity, equality, opportunity

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The Titans’ statement didn’t say much earlier Tuesday. Coach Mike Vrabel said more later.

Vrabel started a Zoom session with beat reporters, making a statement before the defensive coaches talked.

He acknowledged a “social blind spot” after listening to Titans players the past two days.

“By listening and understanding those thoughts and feelings, how they feel, has helped me recognize I think what’s important, and what’s important is that we find ways to respect each other’s feelings, that we respect each other’s beliefs, that we respect each other’s efforts to make positive change in our community where we work, the communities where we live, the communities where we grew up,” Vrabel said. “Being an only child of a basketball coach, playing for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs afforded me a great luxury of seeing how successful locker rooms are built and managed. They’re built and managed on fair competition, love, loyalty, accountability, teamwork. What they’re not built on is race, creed, color or money. I would say that, in closing, leaders are prepared. Leaders take decisive action and inspire a group of people towards a common goal. That common goal is inclusion, diversity, equality, opportunity. So on behalf of the Tennessee Titans — our owner, our General Manager, the head football coach, our staff — we want to support and will help continue lead our players as we work toward that common goal.”

The Titans’ statement read simply: “We reject racism in every form and are committed to being part of the generation that ends it.”

Sean McVay: Rams team meeting “an amazing learning experience for me”

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Add the Rams to the list of teams that put football aside when they gathered for team meetings on Monday so that players had a space to share their feelings about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer last week.

Head coach Sean McVay said on a Tuesday conference call that they called off all football meetings in favor of an open forum fo discussion.

“It was really powerful, the amount of guys that had the strength to stand up to share their experiences,” McVay said, via Greg Beacham of the Associated Press. “You talk about an amazing learning experience for me.”

Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day agreed with McVay by calling it a “very powerful” experience from his perspective.

McVay added that he’d be supportive of players if they chose to make an on-field demonstration at any point this season.