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    • SEATTLE — During the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the majority of Houston Texans players kneeled and linked arms. Approximately 10 players stood.

      The display by the Texans players comes after team owner Bob McNair’s controversial “inmates running the prison” comment, which was said during an Oct. 18 meeting in which owners talked about business concerns related to player protests during the national anthem.

      “[There were] a lot of emotions running through our team,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “But just a huge sense of unity, I think we all felt, just coming out and playing for each other. And that was it. Forgetting everything else. Once kickoff started, we tried to block out any other distractions we may have had and try and go to work.”

      “I’m never going to force anybody to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable with. I think we all felt the same way on Friday. And as far as the demonstration went, some people didn’t feel quite comfortable doing it, some people did. But we all supported each other, and that was what was important. I don’t think anyone looks at anyone differently for what they stood for or didn’t stand for.”

      Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D’Onta Foreman missed Friday’s practice as a response to McNair’s controversial comments, which were reported in an ESPN The Magazine story on Friday morning.

      Hopkins chose not to answer questions about why he left practice on Friday, but said he came back and played on Sunday because he plays football for a living.

      “I don’t get into the political thing,” Hopkins said. “So what I did today on the field, that’s what I do for a living.”

      McNair met with the team on Saturday morning, but when asked how the meeting went, Brown said, “Not too well. But like I said, we blocked out all distractions and came out here ready to play.”

      McNair issued an apology Friday morning and further clarified his comments in a statement on Saturday, saying, “I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week.”

      “I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years,” McNair said in the statement. “I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community.”

      On Friday, Brown spoke out against McNair’s comments, saying he thought it was “disrespectful.” The Texans added Brown to the active roster on Saturday after his season-long holdout, and he took the field for the first time Sunday.

      “I think it was ignorant,” Brown said. “I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that’s disrespectful. That’s how I feel about it.”

      Before the Texans’ Week 3 game in New England in 2016, an injured Brown raised his fist during the national anthem, and expressed displeasure at the lack of support he received from the organization.

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    • Jeremy Lane If to tweets from Jeremy Lane are any indication the Seahawks may have made a permanent lineup change at cornerback.

      The Seahawks were officially off on Tuesday.

      But that doesn’t mean some decisions may not have been being made behind closed doors.

      And if two tweets from Jeremy Lane are any indication than the Seahawks appear to have made a permanent change at cornerback, apparently sticking with rookie Shaquill Griffin as the starting right cornerback in the team’s base defense.

      Lane Tweeted Tuesday afternoon that “How I get bench on a day off !!” and followed that up with “(expletive deleted) ridiculous.”

      Lane, who has been with the Seahawks since being taken in the sixth round of the draft in 2012, hasn’t played since injuring his groin on the first series of a week four win over the Colts on Oct. 1.

      Griffin, a third-round pick this year out of Central Florida, took his spot as the base cornerback and the Seahawks went on to win that game plus the next two against the Rams on Oct. 8 and Sunday in New York against the Giants when Seattle allowed just 131 passing yards. The Seahawks are second in the NFL this week in pass defense efficiency at 69.9 and have had opposing QB ratings against of 67.7, 48.9 and 65.5 the past three weeks, the past two games going against Jared Goff and Eli Manning.

      Lane had also been the starting nickelback, with Seattle moving him into the nickel and Griffin coming on to play right corner when the team went to its nickel package. Justin Coleman, acquired in a trade with the Patriots before the season, has filled the nickel role with Lane out.

      It’s unclear if Lane might mean he lost both roles or just the starting base job.

      Regardless, it’s a move that if Lane’s tweet accurately portray what has happened could have some significant potential long-term ramifications.

      Lane was signed to a four-year, $23 million contract in March, 2016 with the team hoping to solidify the other cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman, and desiring to do so with an in-house product after the disastrous signing of free agent Cary Williams going into the 2015 season (Williams was released in November).

      Lane played all 16 games last season as the team’s starting nickel with DeShawn Shead emerging as the other starter in the base defense. Lane got some mixed reviews at the end of the season from coach Pete Carroll who said that “he played a lot of football this year” when asked about Lane in his post-season wrapup press conference.

      Carroll, though, raved about Lane this offseason and how his approach had changed with Shead having suffered a knee injury in the playoff loss to Atlanta that opened up his starting spot, and Lane was named the starter heading into the season with Griffin the third cornerback.

      But Lane was ejected for throwing a punch on the first series of the opener at Green Bay, and has played only 134 snaps due to missing most of the Green Bay game and then all of the last two plus most of the Colts’ game due to injury.

      And if Lane is being eased out of the lineup now the team could be prepping to release him after the season (if not sooner) which could give the team some significant salary cap relief in 2018 and 2019. Lane is due for salary cap hits of $7.25 million each of the next two years but with dead money of $2.5 million and $1.25 million, meaning Seattle could save $4.75 million in 2018 and $6 million in 2019, numbers that already had many speculating he might not be back past the 2017 season regardless.

      There has also been speculation that the team could look to trade Lane, but his salary cap numbers may not make that real easy, though a team could obviously trade for Lane knowing it could release him after the season, as well. Lane has a base salary of $4 million for this season, but that has already been guaranteed, the team making that move per Lane’s contract in February.

      Interestingly, Lane’s Tweet came on a day when two former Seahawks were released — Byron Maxwell by Miami and Marcus Burley by Houston, Seattle’s opponent this week. So if the Seahawks needed some immediate cheap depth of players who know the system options are out there.

      Shead also could be back soon. He is now eligible to come off of the Physically Unable to Perform list and could practice for up to three weeks anytime between now and week 11, with the team then having to decide whether to put him on the 53-man roster or Injured Reserve (that decision can be made up to week 14).

      Carroll on Monday raved about the progress of Griffin saying:  “Yeah, I’m continually impressed with that he’s holding up such a consistent level of play and he’s getting checked out too (by opponents). He’s getting opportunities and all of that, and I think (defensive backs coach) Andre Curtis and (defensive coordinator) Kris (Richard) and our defensive coaches are doing a great job. For him to be playing at this level, he is aggressively playing; he’s not just out there surviving it, he’s going after it and taking on the challenges and he’s played very consistently. That’s what’s really impressive that he hasn’t wavered at all, and I think six games into it, I think he’s going to be okay. I think he can hang in there and maintain against whatever the matchups are. We’ll see; there will be another great one this weekend, and we should see how it goes. I’m really very confident in him at this point.”

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    • INDIANAPOLIS — The struggling Colts lost three defensive starters in the first half of their 27-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

      Rashaan Melvin, who has been the team’s best cornerback this season, left the game in the first half with a concussion. Chris Milton replaced Melvin at cornerback

      Rookie safety Malik Hooker, who has three interceptions this season, was injured while trying to make a tackle on a 50-yard completion to Allen Hurns. The Colts didn’t announce what Hooker’s injury was, but he was grabbing his right knee while on the ground before getting up and limping to the sideline and then to the locker room. Veteran Darius Butler moved into the lineup with Matthias Farley at safety.

      Linebacker John Simon, who returned an interception for a touchdown against Tennessee in Week 6, suffered a stinger late in the first half. Barkevious Mingo moved into the lineup for Simon with the Colts trailing 17-0.

      Starting center Ryan Kelly also was ruled out the rest of the game with a hamstring injury suffered in the first half. Mike Person is the new center.

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    • EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer does not understand the “scrutiny” surrounding linebacker Anthony Barr’s hit on Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, which resulted in the quarterback breaking his right collarbone.

      Barr knocked Rodgers out of the game on the sixth play of the Packers’ second drive. The quarterback rolled to his right and threw a pass to Martellus Bennett, which the tight end dropped. Barr followed through on his tackle as the throw went incomplete.

      Rodgers landed awkwardly on his right, throwing shoulder and laid on the field for several moments before shouting at Barr on his way to the sideline. He was treated briefly in the medical tent before heading to the locker room on a golf cart.

      “We’re playing football,” Zimmer said Monday. “It’s unfortunate that he got hurt but I think everything was above board. We’re not a dirty football team. We’ll never be a dirty football team as long as I’m here. We’re going to play within the rules and sometimes things happen.”

      NFL rules state the following about when a quarterback leaves the pocket, as Rodgers did on the play in question:

      “When the passer goes outside the pocket area and either continues moving without the ball (without attempting to advance the ball as a runner) or throws while on the run, he loses the protection of the one-step rule … and the protection against a low hit … but he remains covered by all the other special protections afforded to a passer in the pocket, as well as the regular unnecessary roughness rules applicable to all position players. If the passer stops behind the line and clearly establishes a passing posture, he will then be covered by all of the special protections for passers.”

      “We’re playing football. It’s unfortunate that he got hurt but I think everything was above board. We’re not a dirty football team. We’ll never be a dirty football team as long as I’m here. We’re going to play within the rules and sometimes things happen.”

      Rodgers will undergo surgery on his broken clavicle, and, according to Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, his season “potentially could be over.”

      McCarthy said he “didn’t like the hit” from Barr on Rodgers and took a different stance than Zimmer.

      “He’s out of the pocket, he’s clearly expecting to get hit, but to pin him to the ground like that, I think was an illegal act,” McCarthy said. “I didn’t like the hit. It was totally unnecessary in my opinion.”

      Barr missed the second half of Sunday’s 23-10 Vikings win with a concussion. He was present in the Minnesota locker room on Monday but cannot speak to the media while in the league’s concussion protocol.

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    • Colin Kaepernick Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance under the latest collective bargaining agreement against NFL owners for collusion, according to his attorney, Mark Geragos.

      Kaepernick is not going through the NFL Players Association but has instead hired Geragos, who has represented several high-profile clients, including Michael Jackson, former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield and musician Chris Brown.

      The filing, which demands an arbitration hearing on the matter, says the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

      Kaepernick’s attorney sent a copy of the complaint to the NFLPA, as well as the NFL and all 32 teams. He tweeted out a statement Sunday saying he filed the grievance “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

      “If the NFL (as well as all professional sports teams) is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government,” Geragos said in a statement. “Such a precedent threatens all patriotic Americans and harkens back to our darkest days as a nation. Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.

      “Colin Kaepernick’s goal has always been, and remains, to simply be treated fairly by the league he performed at the highest level for and to return to the football playing field,” the statement continued.

      The NFLPA responded with a statement later Sunday offering Kaepernick its support and reiterating its readiness to assist him, “as we do all players.”

      The NFLPA also revealed that it learned of the filing’s existence earlier in the day via news reports.

      “We first learned through media reports today that Mr. Kaepernick filed a grievance claiming collusion through our arbitration system and is represented by his own counsel,” the union statement said. “We learned that the NFL was informed of his intention to file this grievance before today.”

      Kaepernick’s grievance will be overseen by Stephen Burbank, the NFL’s special master, who will likely hold a conference call with both sides this week, a source who has seen the grievance and is familiar with the procedure told ESPN’s Jim Trotter.

      The filing was first reported by Bleacher Report.

      San Francisco safety Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate, has been kneeling during the anthem before games, including Sunday’s 26-24 loss at the Washington Redskins.

      “I’ll have to follow up with him,” Reid said after the game. “It sure does seem like he’s being blackballed. I think all the stats prove that he’s an NFL-worthy quarterback. So that’s his choice, and I support his decision. We’ll just have to see what comes of it.”

      Kaepernick drew national attention last season when he knelt during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice. His kneeling led to a movement that has spread through the league while also being vilified — including multiple comments from President Donald Trump.

      Kaepernick has not been with an NFL team since severing his contract with the 49ers in March. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter at the time that Kaepernick would stand during the anthem in 2017.

      Most recently, the Tennessee Titans were in the market for a backup quarterback, given Marcus Mariota’s hamstring injury, and coach Mike Mularkey said “I’m not aware if there was” interest in Kaepernick.

      Mularkey said familiarity was the biggest factor in the team’s decision to sign Brandon Weeden.

      In September, Ray Lewis said the Baltimore Ravens chose not to sign Kaepernick after his girlfriend posted a “racist” tweet featuring former All-Pro linebacker and owner Steve Bisciotti. Coach John Harbaugh did not directly address the assertion.

      Earlier this month, Kaepernick spoke with CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora for an off-camera interview and reportedly said he’d go anywhere to work out for an NFL team and was fine if that workout was kept private. Kaepernick said he was looking for an opportunity to play and wanted to be judged as a football player.

      Kaepernick said he has remained quiet about his desire to play to avoid causing a distraction. His agent has reportedly reached out to all 32 teams to note his availability.

      The NFL has not reached out to Kaepernick to discuss social issues. Trump’s comments last month drew a leaguewide response, as more players chose to kneel, link arms or otherwise react during the national anthem.

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    • Tom BradyFOXBOROUGH, Mass. — New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who underwent tests on his non-throwing left shoulder after taking some big hits in the team’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, did not participate in the team’s practice Tuesday.

      It was the first practice Brady has missed this season. Brady’s left shoulder isn’t expected to keep him out of Sunday’s road game against the New York Jets, according to a source.

      After Thursday’s win over the Buccaneers, Brady described the hits as “just football” before saying, “I’ll be there next Sunday.”

      The Patriots will submit their first injury report of the week on Wednesday.

      Brady has been hit 32 times through the first five games of the season, including 16 sacks. Players acknowledged Tuesday those numbers are too high.

      “We have to do a better job protecting him,” running back James White said. “We’re all accountable for that.”

      Added starting left tackle Nate Solder: “We hate to see him get hit. Keeping him clean, keeping him upright, that’s our goal every week.”

      In a radio interview on Westwood One on Monday night, Brady was asked how he can hold up taking those hits.

      “I think that’s part of the conditioning that you do in the offseason, to prepare yourself for taking hits,” he said. “Some of those sacks, I’ve been holding on to the ball too long and I have to get rid of it. I think that’s decision-making.”

      Prior to Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers, Brady had absorbed seven hits in a loss to the Panthers on Oct. 1. Two of those were sacks by Julius Peppers, and one of them seemed to affect Brady’s left shoulder, but he played through it and his level of participation in practice after the game wasn’t affected.

      Then in the win over the Buccaneers, Brady was sacked by nose tackle Clinton McDonald in the first quarter and was in obvious pain before rising to his feet.

      Brady recently talked about how he tries to land a certain way to protect his right throwing shoulder.

      “You do have to learn how to find the way down in a way that you’ll be able to get up and try to play the next play, especially with your right shoulder,” he said. “I think for me more than anything I try to land more on my left shoulder than my right shoulder because you’ve only got one right shoulder and I need this for a lot of throws, and the more hits you take on it then the harder it is to take.”

      Jimmy Garoppolo took all the practice reps on Tuesday, as he is the only other quarterback on the team’s roster. The team doesn’t have a quarterback on the practice squad after releasing Taylor Heinicke on Monday.

      The Patriots usually hold three practices in the days leading up to Sunday games, but after playing last Thursday, the schedule opened up for them to have an extra practice this week. They are scheduled to practice again Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

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    • The Miami Dolphins said Sunday night that they are aware of a video that appears to show offensive line coach Chris Foerster snorting a white powder off a table before a meeting.

      “We were just made aware of the video and will have no comment at this time,” the team said in a statement.

      The Miami Herald reported, citing league sources, that there will be an investigation into the video, and Foerster’s future with the team is expected to be determined as early as Monday.

      In the video, the man — whom multiple sources have identified as Foerster — is seen using a $20 bill to snort the powdery substance off a table while speaking into the camera, saying, “Hey, I miss you. … Thinking about you. … How about me going to a meeting and doing this before I go.”

      Dolphins coach Adam Gase told ESPN on Sunday night that he just found out about the video and is processing the situation. Foerster would not comment when ESPN reached out Sunday night.

      Foerster is in the second season of his second stint with the Dolphins. He was promoted to run game coordinator/offensive line coach in February. He has been an assistant coach with eight teams since starting with the Minnesota Vikings in 1992.

      Foerster is one of the highest-paid assistant coaches in the NFL, at a salary valued between $2.5 million and $3 million a year.

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    • Atlanta FalconsAtlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had to limp off the field with a hip flexor injury in the second quarter of their 23–17 loss to the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday, but he’s not going to be on the shelf for long. In fact, he might not even miss a single game.

      According to ESPN, the four-time Pro Bowler is not expected to miss any games at all with the hip injury because the Falcons don’t have to return to action until Oct. 15. The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time because it would give Jones the opportunity to recover from his injury.

      Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has also confirmed that the injury wasn’t serious and Jones should be back soon.

      “For those of you guys who have covered the team for a long time, you would know that Julio Jones is a faster healer than the average cat,” Quinn said, via ESPN. “What may take someone four [weeks] may take him two. What may take another person one, he may be ready way quicker,” he added.

      He also told reporters that Jones actually wanted to return to the game last Sunday, but they decided not to put him back in because his hip was clearly bothering him.

      “He had trouble just exploding, and if he can’t be him, that’s a unique thing for him. The speed, the explosiveness — so when he wasn’t able to do that, that’s when we had to pull him. He definitely wanted to go,” Quinn stated, according to ESPN.

      Meanwhile, wide receiver Mohamed Sanu suffered an injury as well last Sunday and the hamstring strain will likely keep him out of the Falcons’ game against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 15. However, he’s expected to make his return when they take on the New England Patriots on Oct. 22

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