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Reports: Mariota and Winston to Throw at NFL Combine

Reports: Mariota and Winston to Throw at NFL Combine

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- With the NFL's annual "Underwear Olympics" approaching this weekend, the two most high profile quarterback prospects will participate in passing drills.

Oregon's Marcus Mariota informed teams that he will throw at the NFL combine, reports ESPN's Chris Mortensen.  Florida State's Jameis Winston will also toss passes at Lucas Oil Stadium, according to NFL Network's Ian Rappaport.

A shoulder injury had caused Mariota's hesitation to throw at the combine. After being informed that it would not cause further damage, the Oregon Ducks quarterback decided to participate.

Last season, Teddy Bridgewater decided to skip the combine passing drills and only throw at his pro day. Bridgewater was considered a top 10 prospect before his pro day, but was drafted No. 32 by the Minnesota Vikings.

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Ed Sabol, Founder of NFL Films, Passes Away

Ed Sabol, Founder of NFL Films, Passes Away

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films, passed away at 98 years old.

Sabol died in his home Monday in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to the NFL.

NFL Films was created by Sabol in 1962 originally under the name Blair Motion Pictures, named for his daughter Blair. Sabol won the rights to film the 1962 NFL championship game between the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants.

Then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was so impressed by Sabol's film that he asked the owners to buy the motion picture company. After initial hesitation, the owners agreed to buy the company after rebranding it NFL Films.

Sabol was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. In his speech he said, "I dreamt a dream, the impossible dream. I dreamt the impossible dream and I'm living it right this minute."

Football fans were introduced to John Facenda, often referred to as "The Voice of God," through Sabol's work. NFL Films provided an innovative look at pro football, through unique narration, an underscore and alternate camera angles. 

Sabol and his son Steve, who later became president of NFL films in 1985, created many of the popular programs such as Football Follies, Hard Knocks and The Lost Treasures.

Steve Sabol passed away in 2012 from brain cancer at the age of 69.

Ed Sabol is survived by his wife of 74 years, Audrey, his daughter, Blair, and grandson, Casey.

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Goodell Declines Interview With NBC

Goodell Declines Interview With NBC

Christian Petersen/Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Just days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell committed his latest gaffe in the pre-Super Bowl press conference, he tops it with another.

NBC requested to conduct an interview with Goodell during Sunday's pregame show.

During Friday's press conference Goodell addressed his accessibility with the media.

"I understand the obligation and my job to meet with the media," Goodell said. "I don't know whether I meet with them at a press conference every week, but I'm available to the media almost every day of my job, professionally. We try to make ourselves available on a very regular basis. It is my responsibility, it is my job, and I will do that."

Media members have been taking the opportunity to showcase their declined interview requests since Goodell's statement. 

"I'm available to the media almost every day of my job professionally." Goodell has rejected every interview request I've made since 2012," ESPN's Don Van Natta tweeted Friday after the press conference.

While there are certain logistical details missing from the story, the perception from this isn't good for the NFL commissioner.

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Report: Atlanta Falcons Investigated For “Fake” Crowd Noise

Report: Atlanta Falcons Investigated For “Fake” Crowd Noise

Leon Halip/Getty Images(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- While national attention has been drawn to the New England Patriots and underinflated footballs, another NFL team is being investigated for cheating.

The Atlanta Falcons are accused of projecting artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome over the past two seasons, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"We were informed during the season that the league office is looking into crowd noise during our games," a Falcons team spokesman said. "We have cooperated fully with them, and we're awaiting the outcome."

The Falcons are alleged to have played phony crowd noise while the opposing team huddled to call its play. 

In a similar fashion to deflated footballs, some question how much of an advantage was gained. Many teams now utilize a silent count by which the offense begins their play based on when the center snaps the ball, rather than the quarterback starting the play with an audible sound.

The Falcons are 6-10 the past two seasons at home. 

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Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron Carter

Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron CarterTom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) -- The Indianapolis Colts are in the final stages of signing wide receiver Duron Carter, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 6'5" Carter is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter,...

Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell

Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Critical of Goodell

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue provided a candid view of the NFL under the leadership of current Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL ownership.

Tagliabue expressed concern for the league and of Goodell in a GQ article that profiles the current commissioner. Among the chief concerns Tagliabue noted was Goodell's obsession with the NFL gaining profit and finding larger revenue streams; even at the expense of the game itself. Goodell has stated that he would like the NFL to be a $25 billion industry by 2027.

There has been an increasingly hostile relationship between Goodell and NFL players. Goodell has handed out uneven punishment to players for on-field and off-field infractions, depending on his attitude towards the offending party. 

Where Goodell handed out Draconian punishments to the New Orleans Saints in the wake of the Bountygate scandal, he seemingly did a favor to the Baltimore Ravens organization by suspending Ray Rice after a domestic violence incident with his now wife, Janay Palmer.  

Tagliabue, who was appointed by Goodell to hear appeals for Bountygate, sees this as a major flaw.

"If they see you making decisions only in economic terms, they start to understand that and question what you're all about," he said. "There's a huge intangible value in peace. There's a huge intangible value in having allies."

Tagliabue served as commissioner from 1989, succeeding Pete Rozelle, through 2006, when Goodell took over.

"We haven't talked much since I left. It's been his decision," said Tagliabue. "Bountygate didn't help."

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Raiders Bring Back Woodson

Raiders Bring Back Woodson

Jeff Gross/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Ca.) -- The Oakland Raiders are bringing one of the most recognizable names in franchise history back for another season.

The Silver and Black announced via Twitter Monday that Charles Woodson had signed a one-year deal that will see him play his 11th season in Oakland. 

Woodson, 38, left the Raiders in 2006 to spend seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers.  He earned his first Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 2010.

Last season, Woodson led the Raiders with four interceptions.

Woodson was drafted fourth overall in 1998 by the Raiders after winning the Heisman Trophy at the University of Michigan.

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Report: Dan Quinn to Be Named Falcons Head Coach

Report: Dan Quinn to Be Named Falcons Head Coach

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- Once the Super Bowl has concluded, the Atlanta Falcons are expected to name Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as their head coach, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Quinn, 44, has served as defensive coordinator of the Seahawks defense for the past two seasons after replacing Gus Bradley, who took the head job with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Falcons have already named Kyle Shanahan as the team’s offensive coordinator, though it has been rumored that his hiring is contingent on Quinn being hired.

Raheem Morris, a former player of Quinn at Hofstra in 1990, will likely join the Falcons as defensive coordinator.  Morris was previously head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011.

Quinn has been in a bit of a tricky situation because of NFL rules. As a member of a coaching staff that is actively in the postseason, Quinn was only available to interview during the Seahawks bye weeks -- the wild card round and this week leading up to the Super Bowl.  No team was able to hire him until the Seahawks season concluded.

He will replace Mike Smith, who served as Falcons head coach for the past seven seasons. 

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Team Irvin Wins Pro Bowl

Team Irvin Wins Pro Bowl

NFL Shield (NFL)(GLENDALE, Az.) -- The NFL's annual All-Star competition concluded with Team Irvin defeating Team Carter 32-28.

Under the leadership of Hall of Fame wide receivers, Michael Irvin and Cris Carter, the NFL's most popular players put on a show for the fans.

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford took home MVP honors for their respective side of the ball.

"I just tried to enjoy it," Watt said, who intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in the game. "That's what the Pro Bowl is all about, giving the fans a good show. Everybody worked so hard to get here, you want to enjoy yourself and play some good ball. Guys are dancing around and having a good time, that's what it's all about."

Stafford, who tossed two touchdowns and threw for 316 yards in the game, said: "It was a blast. To able to play with the best in the world is a whole lot of fun, and everybody is such good people, too. I am out here having a good time."

This year, the Pro Bowl was held in the host city of the Super Bowl, Glendale, Arizona, taking a one year break from its usual destination of Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Patriots Wilfork Rescues Motorist After Sunday’s Game

Patriots Wilfork Rescues Motorist After Sunday’s Game

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Ma.) -- New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has had a few moments this season that have been defined as heroic.

After Sunday's win over the Indianapolis Colts, Wilfork had a truly heroic moment when he helped pull a woman out of her car after it overturned on Route 1 outside of Gillete Stadium.

"Some good times and I was just lucky to help, that was it," Wilfork said. "I don't want anything from it. If I saw it a million times, I'd do it a million times."

The accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. Monday morning when Wilfork and his wife noticed the overturned car.  After calling for police assistance, Wilfork climbed onto the car and pulled the woman out with one arm.

Police then arrested the woman for driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a vehicle.

Teammates of Wilfork found out about the story through news reports Monday afternoon.

“You’re not really surprised with a guy like Vince,” wide receiver Matthew Slater said. “He’s been a pillar here in this franchise and a character guy, and really when you get to know the man, he’s all about giving back. He has such a big heart, and he cares about the people in this community.”

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Dick LeBeau Resigns as Steelers Defensive Coordinator

Dick LeBeau Resigns as Steelers Defensive Coordinator

Pittsburgh Steelers/NFL(PITTSBURGH, Pa.) -- Dick LeBeau and the Pittsburgh Steelers are going thier separate ways. 

The longtime Steelers defensive coordinator told the Urbana Daily Citizen:

“I’m resigning this position, not retiring,” LeBeau said. “I had a great run in Pittsburgh. I’m grateful for all the things that have happened to me and thankful for all the support I had in Pittsburgh.”

The Steelers hired LeBeau as a defensive backs coach in 1992 and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1995.  He would leave the Steelers in 1996 to join Cincinnati for the next six seasons, including leading the Bengals as head coach from 2000-2002.  

LeBeau rejoined the Steelers in 2004 as their defensive coordinator. In that span Pittsburgh has had three Super Bowl appearances, including two victories over the Seahawks and Cardinals. 

In 1959, The Cleveland Browns drafted LeBeau in the fifth round.  He was cut in training camp, but caught on with the Detroit Lions.  For the next 14 years, LeBeau was a part of a secondary that included Dick "Night Train" Lane, Yale Lary and Lem Barney. 

LeBeau is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Former Giants Coach Sherman Passes Away at 91

Former Giants Coach Sherman Passes Away at 91

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Allie Sherman, one of the most successful coaches in New York Giants franchise history, has passed away at 91 years of age.

Sherman, who led New York to three championship games, died Saturday in his home in Manhattan.

Before becoming a head coach, Sherman played four seasons;  in 1943 with the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Steagles, a two-team merger as a result of World War II, then the remaining three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was a two-way player, at both quarterback and defensive back.

Upon taking the advice of Hall of Fame coach Earl Neale, Sherman entered into coaching, getting his start with New Jersey's Paterson Panthers. The next season he joined the Giants as a defensive backs coach and then spent several seasons as head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.  

Sherman would gain the top job for the Giants in 1961 and led the team to the title game three straight years, losing to the Green Bay Packers in '61 and '62, then to the Bears in 1963. 

After his coaching career, Sherman worked alongside Chris Berman at ESPN as an analyst in 1987.

Sherman was born in Brooklyn in 1923.

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Doug Marrone “Stormed Out” over Watkins Trade

Doug Marrone “Stormed Out” over Watkins Trade

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone was reportedly so upset about the Bills trading up for Sammy Watkins in last April's NFL draft that he stormed out of the team's war room.

Multiple accounts surfaced Sunday revealing more of the discord that went on behind the scenes in Orchard Park between Marrone and the Bills front office.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Marrone was unhappy about a trade that involved such high draft picks for a non-quarterback.

Marrone opted out of his contract with the Bills last week, after a contractual clause allowed him to leave in the event of a change of ownership.  The founder of the team, Ralph Wilson Jr. passed away in March and the team was sold to former Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula in October.

In a September practice, Marrone had a loud verbal altercation with Buffalo player personnel director Jim Monos in front of players and media. The two had to be separated by General Manager Doug Whaley and team president Russ Brandon.

The Bills traded the ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft -- as well as a 2015 first-round pick and 2015 fourth-round pick -- to the Cleveland Browns in order to select Sammy Watkins with the No. 4 pick.

 

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Redskins and DC Haslett Part Ways

Redskins and DC Haslett Part Ways

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(ASHBURN, Va) -- The Washington Redskins have agreed to mutually part ways with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.

The team announced Tuesday that Haslett, who was held over by current head coach Jay Gruden from the previous regime, would not return next season.

The Redskins, 4-12, tied for third worst, allowing 27.4 points per game and ranked 20th allowing 357 yards per game. 

"Jim and I have had discussions over the last few days and have decided that it's best for everyone that we have a new defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins," Gruden said in a team statement. "I wish him nothing but the best in the future."

Haslett had been with the team since 2010 before previously serving in the same role with the St. Louis Rams.

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Suh Wins Appeal, Will Play Against Dallas

Suh Wins Appeal, Will Play Against Dallas

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A day after being suspended for Detroit's upcoming wild card game against Dallas, Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh won his appeal and will play in the teams playoff game on Sunday.

The decision, handed down by appeals officer Ted Cottrell, came on Tuesday but also carried with it some bad news.

Suh was fined $70,000 for stepping on the injured leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday's regular season finale. Cottrell agreed with league official Merton Hanks that Suh violated the player-safety policy but opted to reduce the penalty instead of uphold it.

"The only thing I can say is if you step on something in your everyday life or if you step on somebody on the field, the first reaction seems to be looking back and maybe apologizing with your hands or maybe pulling your foot back right away, and I'm just not sure that's what happened on Sunday," Rodgers said Tuesday.

The four-time Pro Bowler may also have a new guideline to thank for his ability to compete in the postseason. Due to a modified repeat offender policy, players are taken off the "repeat offender" list 32 weeks after their previous violation. For Suh, that came in Week 1 of 2013 when he was fined $100,000 for an illegal chop block on Minnesota Vikings player John Sullivan. The 32-week reprieve game after Week 16, and included two preseason games.

In his five seasons, Suh has been penalized 38 times, more than any other player in the NFL since 2010, and has also been fined in excess of $200,000.

The Lions visit the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in the NFC's wild card round. It is the first postseason appearance by Detroit since 2011.

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Stanford Rolls to Bowl Win over Maryland

Stanford Rolls to Bowl Win over Maryland

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SANTA CLARA, Calif.) -- Devon Cajuste caught two touchdown passes while Remound Wright rushed for three more, helping Stanford roll to a 45-21 win in the Fosters Farm Bowl on Tuesday night against Maryland.

The Cardinal (8-5) scored 21 points in the second quarter to deny Maryland (7-6) their first postseason win since 2010.

"We just played better. There's no magic to it," Cardinal coach David Shaw said.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan played much better in fact. The senior threw for 189 yards and two scores while also rushing for 50 yards in the win. Both touchdown passes came in the second as Stanford scored 35 straight points to turn a 7-7 deadlock into a 42-7 blowout. 

"We finished the season strong. Just the season as a whole, we know how good we are," Hogan said. "It stinks that sometimes people look at the record and judge a team off that."

Wright finished the day with only 49 yards on the ground, but his three first half touchdowns helped ignite the offensive onslaught. Cajuste was one of ten different receivers to catch a pass, while freshman Christian McCaffrey added 138 all-purpose yards.

Maryland struggled to get anything going on offense against one of the top defense in the country, mustering only 222 total yards, including just 17 on the ground. The Terrapins did get two scores late in the game to try and close the gap. William Likely returned a kickoff 100 yards to snap Stanford's 35 consecutive points, and C.J. Brown added a 2-yard run in the final minutes.

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Georgia Trounces Louisville in Belk Bowl

Georgia Trounces Louisville in Belk Bowl

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The Georgia Bulldogs scored 20 unanswered points en route to a 37-14 blowout over Louisville in the Belk Bowl on Tuesday night. Freshman Nick Chubb led the way with a career-high 266 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the win.

"He showed everybody in the country that he's a pretty talented kid, a tough kid," Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said.

Chubb's workload increased in the second quarter when quarterback Hutson Mason went down with an injury. The freshman then went to work against the nation's second-best rush defense, averaging 8 yards per carry. His 266 yards were the second most in a bowl game by a Georgia running back, trailing only Herschel Walker's 283 yards in 1980.

"That's a blessing being in the same sentence with him," Chubb said. "He's a great running back. But I had an awesome line up front making everything possible for me. I'm thankful for everyone around me and it's been a great season."

Going into the second quarter tied at 7-7, Georgia (10-3) got a pair of Marshall Morgan field goals, sandwiched around Chubb's first touchdown run of the day. The lead ballooned in the third when Sony Michel barrelled into the end zone from two yards out. Louisville (9-4) finally got back on the board with a 6-yard run from Brandon Radcliff.

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Notre Dame Wins Music City Bowl

Notre Dame Wins Music City Bowl

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- Notre Dame dropped five of its last six regular season games, but ended the season with a bowl win. Senior kicker Kyle Brindza's 32-yard field goal as time expired gave the Fighting Irish (8-5) a 31-28 win over Louisiana State University in the Music City Bowl on Tuesday night.

"To leave a program so historic like this in this kind of fashion is great," Brindza said. "It's a blessing for me, but also to be able to help win a game for all my teammates is a bigger blessing."

Brindza had missed six of his last nine field goal attempts as Notre Dame lost its final four games of the regular season. Their rebound in the postseason was due to a strong performance from quarterback Malik Zaire, who was making his debut for the Irish. Zaire threw for the game's opening touchdown and scored again on a 7-yard run in the second quarter.

LSU (8-5) rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit to take a 28-21 lead on Leonard Fournette's 98-yard touchdown run. However, the Irish quickly knotted the score again thanks to C.J. Prosise's 50-yard scamper. After blocking a Tigers field goal attempt early in the fourth, Notre Dame controlled possession to help set up the game-winning kick.

The game did have some controversy at the end of the first half. LSU's holder, Brad Kragthorpe, took the snap on a field goal attempt and headed for the end zone but was ruled short. Video review upheld the call, a decision that coach Les Miles was not happy about.

"The guy that carried the ball, forcing it, said he absolutely scored," Miles said. "Kids will be kids, but this guy's going to tell the truth."

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NFL Suspends Lions Center Dominic Raiola for Final Game of Season

NFL Suspends Lions Center Dominic Raiola for Final Game of Season

Scott Boehm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The Detroit Lions will be without one of their most vital veteran lineman Sunday when the team takes on the Green Bay Packers in their most important game of the season.

After stomping on Chicago Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle in the team's Week 16 game, the NFL suspended Dominic Raiola for the regular season finale. 

Raiola was suspended as much for the stomp, supported by visual evidence, as he was for being a repeat offender.

Merton Hanks, the NFL's vice president of football operations was the one who handed down the suspension.  According to the league, this is Raiola's sixth "safety-related rules violation since 2010."

Rookie Travis Swanson will likely get the nod to start in Raiola's absence.

The Lions (11-4) and Packers (11-4) will face off in Green Bay for the NFC North title this week.  The Lions could potentially lock up the No.1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win and a Seattle loss.

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Manning Throws Four Picks As Bengals Win Monday Night Clash

Manning Throws Four Picks As Bengals Win Monday Night Clash

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(DENVER, Co.) -- The Cincinnati Bengals locked up a playoff spot for the fourth straight season with a 37-28 victory over the Denver Broncos Monday night.

With four interceptions off Peyton Manning, including a back-breaking pick-six by Cincinnati cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, the Bengals (10-4-1) defense also set up an opportunity to win the AFC North title next week when the team will trade blows with the Pittsburg Steelers.

Manning was clearly rattled during the game, as the normally mechanical quarterback looked uncomfortable in the pocket and did not set his feet on his throws. 

"Find a way to learn from this and correct the mistakes," Manning said, clearly bothered by his performance. "Find a way to get better next week and try to get a win against a division team."

The Bengals offense would have seemingly suffered a major setback when superstar wide out, A.J. Green, took a blow to the arm after an Andy Dalton interception and was ineffective the rest of the game. That was not the case as rookie running back Jeremy Hill pounded the rock 22 times for 147 yards, highlighted by an 85 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Dalton utilized his other weapons, as he connected with tight end Jermaine Gresham for a score in the second and later found running back Giovani Bernard for a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter that would give the Bengals a 27-14 lead.

The loss for the Broncos (11-4) enabled the Patriots to lock up the top spot in the AFC and guaranteed New England home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Denver faces Oakland in the regular season finale with the opportunity to lock up the No. 2 seed.

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