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Bruce Arians: We ‘Desperately’ Want Larry Fitzgerald Back

Bruce Arians: We ‘Desperately’ Want Larry Fitzgerald Back

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians made his case for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to stay put.

Fitzgerald is due $15 million base salary in 2015 and holds $23.6 million of the Cardinals' salary, but the organization is hoping he'll restructure his deal.

"We definitely, desperately want him to stay," coach Bruce Arians said Friday, via the team's official website. "He knows that. It's really his decision."

Fitzgerald pulled in 63 passes for 784 yards and two touchdowns in 2014, which was the lowest in his career.

Fitzgerald also had to deal with four different quarterbacks throwing to him this season, because of Carson Palmer going down mid-way through the year with a torn ACL.

Arizona finished 11-5, but were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.

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Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor Listed as Probable for Super Bowl

Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor Listed as Probable for Super Bowl

NFL Media(PHOENIX) -- Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor looks like he'll be ready to go on Sunday for Super Bowl 49 after he participated in the team's walk-through practice without favoring his leg, according to the pool report.

Chancellor is listed as probable for their game against the New England Patriots.

Chancellor left Friday's practice with his left knee wrapped, but all signs point towards him making it on the field in Arizona.

"He looked pretty good today," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Emily Kaplan, the Super Bowl pool reporter for the Pro Football Writers of America. "We will make sure we test him in pregame, but he remarkably looked great today and so that's all we have to go on."

Chancellor was drafted by Seattle in 2010 and was a member of last year's Super Bowl team.

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NFL Puts Cap On Tone-Deaf Season

NFL Puts Cap On Tone-Deaf Season Christian Petersen/Getty Images (PHOENIX, Az.)-- The NFL has come full circle on an embarrassing 2014-2015 season. In the annual pre-Super Bowl press conference, held Friday, commissioner Roger Goodell was asked by CNN's Rachel Nichols if the league c...

Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning still Evaluating his Future

Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning still Evaluating his Future

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Even at age 38, Peyton Manning is still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but the Denver Broncos don't know if he'll be lining up behind center next season. Manning says he's still deciding if he wants to come back and play in 2015 or not.

Even though Manning was rated among one of the best at his position in 2014, he is not the same player he once was, and even dealt with injuries throughout the season.

"I haven't made a decision yet," Manning said. "I still want to take some time to evaluate some things, to talk to some people. Obviously the Broncos have been quite busy hiring a staff, I have had some dialogue with Coach (Gary) Kubiak and did have a chance (to) see him in person.

"I'm not interested in making this a lingering thing, I'd like to make a decision soon. But at the same time, you know, both Coach (Kubiak), (Broncos CEO) Joe (Ellis) and John (Elway) have instructed me to take some time, so I'm kind of following their orders."

This past season, Manning threw for 4,727 yards and threw 39 touchdowns.

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NFL: Fewer Concussions Suffered in 2014 Season

NFL: Fewer Concussions Suffered in 2014 Season

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- The NFL announced that concussions were down during the 2014 season as well as other injury findings.

According to the league, the number of recorded concussions dropped 25 percent during the regular season.

"Players are changing the way they're tackling," NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy Jeff Miller said. "They're changing the way they play the game."

There were 111 concussions in games during the 2014 regular season. That number was down from 148 in 2013 and 173 in 2012. That equates to a 36 percent drop over that three-year span.

"It would have been nice if we had started this in 1930, but we didn't," said San Francisco 49ers chairman John York, who leads the owners' health and safety committee. "And as things came to our attention, we took more interest in looking at these questions."

Miller also went on to say that the drop in concussions has not resulted in more knee injuries.

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Browns WR Josh Gordon Speaks Out About Off-The-Field Issues

Browns WR Josh Gordon Speaks Out About Off-The-Field Issues

American Football Field Yard Lines IStockPhoto/ Thinkstock(CLEVELAND) -- After another failed drug test, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon wrote a first-person letter posted on Medium.com, telling his own story of his most recent incidents with the law. 

Gordon directs the letter to his critics, including Charles Barkley, and ESPN analysts Stephen A. Smith, and Cris Carter, all who have expressed concern for Gordon’s future in professional football, and his well-being off-the-field.

In the letter, Gordon explained his failed alcohol test, which came after a flight he took with teammates and former receivers coach, Mike McDaniel on Jan. 2.  He also discussed his 10-game suspension this past NFL season and his reduced four-game suspension for a DWI charge last year. 

Gordon says he just made a bad decision at the wrong time. However, after discussing his current instances, Gordon took full accountability for his actions, saying, “the only person to blame is me.”

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Patriots Owner Wants Apology if No Findings in Deflate-Gate

Patriots Owner Wants Apology if No Findings in Deflate-Gate

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says the NFL will owe the team an apology if its investigation into deflated footballs doesn't find any wrongdoing on his team's part.

"If the Wells investigation is not able to definitively determine that our organization tampered with the air pressure on the footballs, I would expect and hope that the league would apologize to our entire team and, in particular, coach [Bill] Belichick and Tom Brady for what they have had to endure this past week," Kraft said during an news conference on Monday.

Attorney Ted Wells, along with NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash, are heading up the investigation.

The league found that 11 of the 12 footballs used during the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game were not inflated by the minimum level of 12.5 pounds per square inch, according to ESPN. In that game, Brady passed for 226 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.

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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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Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict Recovering from Microfracture Surgery

Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict Recovering from Microfracture Surgery

David Lee/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It is unknown when one of the NFL's top linebackers will see the field again as Vontaze Burfict of the Cincinnati Bengals is recovering from microfracture surgery.

Microfracture surgery is a procedure performed on knees that have suffered cartilage damage. It is viewed as a serious surgery that has derailed the careers of various athletes in other sports, including football.

Still, the surgeon who performed the procedure, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, is hopeful Burfict will be ready to go by training camp.

"I don't see any reason, if this thing heals like we want and we think it will, why he won't be back like he was," ElAttrache told the NFL Network. "Microfracture has a bad connotation, but there are plenty of guys who have come back and been able to play like before. But it's not really news when it works out."

Burfict was limited to just five games in 2014, but in 2013 he recorded an NFL-high 171 tackles.

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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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Browns W.R. Josh Gordon Facing One-Year Ban

Browns W.R. Josh Gordon Facing One-Year Ban

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon failed another drug test and will now face a one-year suspension, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports.

Gordon tested positive for alcohol, a source said, confirming a report by Pro Football Talk. 

Gordon was suspended at the end of the season for violating team rules after missing the first 10 games of the season, to go along with being arrested for driving while impaired after speeding down a street in Raleigh, North Carolina during the summer.

Prior to that arrest, he was suspended the first two games of the 2013 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

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NFL Hands out Warning to Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch

NFL Hands out Warning to Seahawks Running Back Marshawn Lynch

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The NFL is tired of Seattle Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch's celebrations after he celebrates touchdowns.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio is reporting that if Lynch makes an obscene after scoring or at any other time during Super Bowl XLIX, the team will be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

If he does it after scoring a touchdown, the team will have to kickoff from the 20-yard line.

Lynch has been fined twice this season for grabbing his crotch, and was fined $20,000 by the NFL for making the gesture during the NFC Championship Game. He's also clashed with the league at times this season for his unwillingness to talk to the media.

ESPN also reports that that league will continue to consider fining Lynch "significantly more" than the $50,000 they have fined him in each of the past two seasons for not speaking to the media.

Lynch was fourth in the NFL in rushing this past season.

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ESPN: 49ers Name Mangini Defensive Coordinator

ESPN: 49ers Name Mangini Defensive Coordinator

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The San Francisco 49ers signed Eric Mangini to a three-year contract as their new defensive coordinator, according to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.Mangini served as the 49ers tight ends coach last season, but has experience coaching defenses. He served as the New England Patriots' defensive backs coach from 2000 to 2004 before becoming their defensive coordinator in 2005.Mangini takes over for Vic Fangio, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears.Mangini also has five years' experience as a NFL head coach. He spent three seasons with the New York Jets and two with the Cleveland Browns, compiling a 33-47 record while making one playoff appearance.

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Seahawks’ Lane Doesn’t Think Gronkowski’s “That Good”

Seahawks’ Lane Doesn’t Think Gronkowski’s “That Good”

Elsa/Getty Images(RENTON, Wash.) -- Many people would probably tell you that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is one of the main reasons the Patriots have been so successful this season, but Seattle Seahawks starting nickleback Jeremy Lane isn't one of them."I actually don't think he's that good," Lane said. "He's OK. He does have a big body. But from what I've seen on tape, he doesn't like you putting your hands on him. So if we put our hands on him and shake him up a little bit, he won't catch that many balls."Gronkowski finished this season with 82 catches, 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, but Lane believes if he hits Gronkowski at the line of scrimmage, the 6-foot-6, 265 pound All-Pro will have problems being productive."It's definitely an issue with him from watching tape," said Lane.The 24-year-old Lane has played in seven games for the Seahawks this season, compiling 23 tackles, three passes defended and one forced fumble.

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Deflate-gate: Patriots Coach Says He Has ‘No Explanation’ for Under-Inflated Balls

Deflate-gate: Patriots Coach Says He Has ‘No Explanation’ for Under-Inflated Balls

Leon Halip/Getty Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) -- Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said on Thursday that he was "shocked" when he heard that the NFL found 11 of 12 footballs deflated that were used in their 45-7 AFC Championship game win over the Colts on Sunday.

Belichick said that the organization is still cooperating with the NFL as the investigation continues.

"When I came in Monday morning I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs," Belichick said.  "I had no knowledge whatsoever of the situation until Monday morning."

"I would say I've learned a lot more about this process than I knew or talked about it in the last 40 years," Belichick continued.  

Belichick said that when the team practices, he makes sure that they play with the worst footballs.

"We never use the condition of the footballs as an excuse," Belichick said.  "We play with whatever or kick with whatever we have to use and that's the way it is."

Belichick said that the team would take the steps to avoid footballs being below the NFL standard.

Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch.

"The National Football league is investigating the situation," Belichick said.  "We have cooperated fully, quickly, and completely with every request they have made."

The Patriots are preparing for a Super Bowl showdown with the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. 

Chicago Bears equipment manager Tony Medlin will organize the football process for the Super Bowl.

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Adam Gase Takes Over as Bears’ Offensive Coordinator

Adam Gase Takes Over as Bears’ Offensive Coordinator

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Adam Gase will take the job as the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator, the team announced Wednesday.ESPN reports Gase signed a three-year contract.The 36-year-old Gase is reunited with Bears head coach John Fox, with whom he spent the past four seasons in Denver -- the last two as Fox's offensive coordinator.Over the past two regular seasons, Gase commandeered a Broncos offense that led the NFL in scoring offense (34 points per game) and total offense (430.1 yards per game). He was also in charge when the Broncos set an NFL record by scoring 606 points in 2013.Gase now takes over a Bears offense that, despite having weapons such as Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte, ranked 23rd in scoring offense last season.

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Jets Introduce Todd Bowles

Jets Introduce Todd Bowles

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Todd Bowles era in New York has begun.

Bowles was introduced on Wednesday by the Jets, and he understands that in the end it comes down to winning.

"We're going to be a tough team, intelligent team, do things the right way," Bowles said.  "Going forward we're going to everything we can to use all our resources, we're going to try and build a championship team here and that's my only job."

Bowles comes over from the Arizona Cardinals, where he served as defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. Previously, he served in the same position with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012 and was the assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-2011. Bowles was also the interim head coach of the Dolphins for the final three games of the 2011 season.

"I'm just going to be myself," Bowles said when asked of how he'll handle the New York media.  "I'll deal with the media as they talk to me I'll talk to them."

"I'm open, honest, upfront," Bowles continued.  "I grew up here, I understand the media."

Bowles, 51, is New Jersey native who grew up in Elizabeth and attended Temple University. He played 8 seasons in the NFL: seven with the Washington Redskins (1986-1990, 1992-93) and one with the San Francisco 49ers (1991).

Bowles understands that there will have to be a culture change in the locker room coming off the Rex Ryan era.

"We have to get to some of the players and we got to teach them our culture," Bowles said.  "Not that the other culture was bad, but it didn't win.  Our culture is going to try and instill different things in them from a winning organization."

Bowles said he'd also evaluate all the players on the staff, including quarterback Geno Smith, once all the coaches are in place.

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Report: Eleven of 12 New England Patriots Game Balls Were Under-Inflated

Report: Eleven of 12 New England Patriots Game Balls Were Under-Inflated

Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- The New England Patriots had 11 of their 12 allotted game footballs during Sunday’s AFC Championship game under-inflated, ESPN reports, citing league sources.

The NFL's spokesman declined to address the report.“We are not commenting at this time,” said Greg Aiello, the NFL’s senior vice president of communications.According to ESPN’s report, the footballs used by the Patriots were reportedly under-inflated by two pounds per square inch. Footballs, which are weighed before the game, must be inflated to no less than 12.5 pounds per square inch.A deflated ball could be easier for the quarterback to grip in bad weather, like in Sunday's rain at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. New England won the game 45-7.Each team provides 12 new Wilson Official NFL footballs for referees to check before games, with additional balls available for backup or at the away team’s discretion. The minimum disciplinary action for tampering of a football is a fine of $25,000, according to the NFL’s game operations manual.The controversy around “deflate-gate” has taken attention away from the Super Bowl, which features the Patriots playing against the Seattle Seahawks.

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New York Jets Hire Chan Gailey to Run Offense

New York Jets Hire Chan Gailey to Run Offense

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images

(FLORHAM PARK, N.J.) -- The New York Jets are overhauling their team. Tuesday, the Jets have officially hired Chan Gailey as offensive coordinator.

Gailey, 63, most recently served as head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 2010 through 2012.  The offensive-minded coach formerly led the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Dallas Cowboys.  He was also the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. 

"He understands football and is a very good communicator and teacher with players," said former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher to NewYorkJets.com. "He understands the strengths of players and puts players in positions where they will succeed."

Gailey joins newly hired head coach Todd Bowles as the Jets try to rebound from a 4-12 season.  Bowles took the head position after serving as the Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator for the past two seasons.

"Chan has been a head coach as well and the other thing I think he gives Todd is a voice of reason." Cowher said. "A guy that Todd can go to about the numerous amount of elements of being a head coach that are going to be new to Todd."

Former players have great respect for Gailey, both as a coach and a professional. Bills running back C.J. Spiller, an impending free agent, told the New York Daily News he believed it would be a "perfect match" to re-join Gailey and that "he’s going to treat you like you’re a grown man. He’s going to give you respect."

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