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SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks’ bad luck with injuries continues.

Starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin left two plays into Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons to be evaluated for a possible concussion. He has yet to return, which has pressed Byron Maxwell into action at right cornerback.
Seattle’s secondary was already missing Richard Sherman and strong safety Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks lost Sherman (Achilles) and likely Chancellor (neck) to season-ending injuries in Week 10 vs. Arizona.

Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin is attended to by team staff during the first quarter.

Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin is attended to by team staff during the first quarter.

The Seahawks brought back Maxwell, a former Seattle starter, after losing Sherman. Neiko Thorpe, mainly a special-teams player for Seattle, has played in some sub-packages against Atlanta.
The Seahawks also have lost running back Mike Davis for the remainder of the game to a groin injury. He was making his Seahawks debut after being promoted from the practice squad last week and had given Seattle’s offense a spark before leaving after the first possession of the third quarter. Davis had two receptions for 41 yards and six carries for 18 yards while serving as Seattle’s lead running back before he went down at the start of the third quarter.

Eddie Lacy and J.D. McKissic are Seattle’s other available running backs with Thomas Rawls inactive as a healthy scratch.

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When the NFL convenes for its Dec. 13 meeting in Irving, Texas, there will be an owners-only session that will deal with the impending extension for commissioner Roger Goodell, sources said Thursday.

The session was scheduled after Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones requested a special meeting in front of the full ownership group on Nov. 28 in New York. The Wall Street Journal first reported Jones’ request. The request was denied, but owners will make time for a session in conjunction with the meeting in Irving, sources said.

Jones and the NFL have gone back and forth about the extension talks that have had both sides threatening legal action. He has said he has issues with compensation in the Goodell deal, along with concerns about the escalation of player protests involving the national anthem and how the league has handled them, and he has denied that his objections are tied to Goodell’s decision to suspend Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games over alleged domestic violence.

On Wednesday, The Associated Press obtained a letter sent to Jones from the compensation committee that accused him of “conduct detrimental to the league’s best interest.”

Jones set the table for the special session when, on Wednesday, he distributed the original contract negotiation document with all 32 teams. He acted on his own after his request of the committee to share the information was rejected Tuesday, sources told ESPN.
The document, which the NFL has characterized as outdated, shows the compensation committee on July 25 first proposed a five-year extension for Goodell that included a pay cut of roughly $2.5 million in his average compensation package of $42 million over the past five years.

Goodell’s lawyer countered in early August with a request for an annual package of salary and bonuses totaling $49.05 million, almost $10 million more than the $39.5 million in salary and bonuses that was proposed by the compensation committee. The request drew the lines for the ongoing negotiations that have been unexpectedly contentious and thus far without an agreement, according to a 26-page analysis of the proposals by the committee’s legal and accounting advisers on Aug. 16 and obtained by ESPN.

There have been no additional formal written offers made by either side, sources told ESPN, but the two sides have had numerous discussions in an attempt to complete negotiations on a contract extension for Goodell that would run through March 2023.

Prior to this document being obtained by ESPN, it was believed Goodell currently makes about $30 million per year. An NFL owner told ESPN earlier this week that there are “several owners in this league who don’t make $40 million a year.”

Some owners have said the new pay package being sought by Goodell is “unseemly” and “offensive.” Goodell’s base salary is $3.5 million — and would remain the same under the new contract — but with bonuses from performance incentives, his total compensation package far exceeds the annual salary of the NFL’s highest-paid player.

According to the document, one of the negotiations’ sticking points is the amount of severance that would be paid to Goodell, who intends to retire early after a new collective bargaining agreement is met and new contracts are signed with the NFL’s TV network partners, the document shows. The committee proposes paying Goodell $40 million upon his resignation as commissioner, while he is seeking $62.5 million, according to the document.

The commissioner also has an agreement to serve as a consultant for five years after leaving the NFL for a lump-sum payment of $19 million, the document shows.

In a story Sunday by Peter King of MMQB.com, Goodell was said to be open to a contract with as much as 88 percent in bonuses, saying, “I’m willing to bet on myself.” But in the analysis of both sides’ initial proposals by Daniel J. Ryterband, the chief executive officer of F.W. Cook, Goodell’s counteroffer “includes language that could be interpreted to mitigate the ability of the committee to adjust pay downward (even if performance is poor).”

Chaired by Falcons owner Arthur Blank, members of the compensation committee met Monday via conference call to discuss the latest developments in their negotiations with Goodell. Sources say the contract is moving toward completion despite protestations from Jones, who has threatened to sue several owners and the NFL if Goodell’s contract is approved without the input and final approval of all 32 owners. At the league’s spring meetings in Chicago in May, all 32 owners voted to give the compensation committee the authority to extend Goodell’s deal beyond its expiration date of March 2019.

Under Goodell’s current contract, there is no provision for a non-disparagement clause. But under Goodell’s proposed contract, he asks for a mutual non-disparagement clause. In an analysis of Goodell’s request, the compensation committee’s lawyers wrote, “Is the NFL … willing to provide a mutual non-disparagement which would include owners and executives? Difficult to ‘police’ owners and executives, but could consider limiting it as a requirement to instruct owners and certain executives not to disparage” Goodell.

Goodell has also asked for an “early expiration” of his contract, after the completion of the CBA and media contract negotiations, which he would not exercise until sometime after March 31, 2022, but before the new contract’s expiration two years later. Goodell has asked for a full year’s bonus in the year he leaves early, which could cost the NFL an additional $21.5 million in bonuses, the documents show.
Among other bonuses that Goodell is seeking is a $25 million “performance bonus” for a new CBA with the players’ union and a new round of contracts with the league’s business partners.

Both Jones and the committee’s outside counsel have accused each side of misleading other owners. Sources say Jones believes Blank has not been entirely transparent in communicating the finite details of negotiations when it comes to the incentives and discretionary bonuses. Jones also has complained to other owners that Goodell’s advantage is that he reappointed Blank as the committee chairman to negotiate a contract that was already “one-sided” in favor of the commissioner. Blank has taken affront to the attack, sources said.

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Dallas Cowboys executive Stephen Jones confirmed Monday that Ezekiel Elliott will be training outside the United States during his suspension.

Jones, who made his comments in an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, didn’t disclose the exact location where the running back is training.

NFL Network first reported the news of Elliott’s plans.
“Actually, I give Zeke credit. This was his idea. He’s wanting to really go to work and not have distractions while he’s not able to play the game. He felt the best way to do that was to get away from this environment … and really work to get himself in the best possible shape,” Jones said.

Jones said Elliott went over his plans with the team’s coaches and strength and conditioning staff, who were comfortable with what they heard.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, Stephen’s father, said Sunday night that he also believed Elliott had a good plan for his time away from the team.

Stephen Jones noted that the Cowboys aren’t permitted to have contact with Elliott during his suspension but was hopeful that the running back will be able to stay in playing shape.

“Certainly it’s not easy when you’re not in a competitive environment, but it sounds like he has a good plan and hopefully one he’ll pull off,” he said.

Elliott, 22, was suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 in Ohio with his girlfriend at the time. The NFL players’ union sued on Elliott’s behalf.

He was able to play in the first eight games through a number of legal decisions, but he lost a temporary administrative stay that kept him on the field in last week’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Cowboys missed Elliott in Sunday’s 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, as the team rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries. Alfred Morris led the Cowboys with 53 yards on 11 carries but had just 8 yards on six first-half carries. Elliott had 783 rushing yards in the first eight games of the season, with four straight games of more than 90 yards on the ground.

He will miss at least the next four games, pending a Dec. 1 hearing, and he is likely to miss the next six.

“He’ll be a better person from this and a better player for us when this is all said and done. It will be a life lesson for him and hopefully he’ll come back and take the next chapter,” Stephen Jones said.

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BOSTON — Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez suffered severe damage to parts of the brain that play an important role in memory, impulse control and behavior, a researcher who studied his brain said Thursday.

Dr. Ann McKee, director of Boston University’s CTE Center, stressed that she could not “connect the dots” between the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the behavior of the 27-year-old who hanged himself in April while serving life in prison for murder.

But McKee said CTE had significantly impacted key parts of Hernandez’s brain, including the hippocampus — which is associated with memory — and the frontal lobe, which is involved in impulse control, judgment and behavior.
“We can say collectively, in our collective experience, that individuals with CTE — and CTE of this severity — have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, inhibition of impulses or aggression, often emotional volatility and rage behaviors,” said McKee, who has studied hundreds of brains from football players, college athletes and even younger players, donated after their deaths.

Hernandez hanged himself in prison days after he was acquitted in the 2012 drive-by shootings of two men in Boston and just hours before his former teammates visited the White House to celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory.

Prosecutors contended he gunned the two men down after one accidentally spilled a drink on him in a nightclub — and then got a tattoo of a handgun and the words “God Forgives” to commemorate the crime.

He had been serving a life sentence without parole in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd when he killed himself.

Hernandez, who said he was innocent, did not raise CTE in his defense at either trial.

CTE, which can only be diagnosed in an autopsy, has been found in former members of the military, football players and boxers and others who suffered repeated head trauma.

BU researchers confirmed in September that Hernandez was diagnosed with Stage 3, out of 4, of the disease. But McKee had not publicly discussed her findings until a conference at the university on Thursday.

After Hernandez’s CTE diagnosis, his attorneys filed a lawsuit against the NFL and football helmet maker Riddell, accusing them of failing to warn Hernandez about the dangers of football. The lawsuit, which seeks damages for Hernandez’s young daughter, said he experienced a “chaotic and horrendous existence” because of his disease.
While the outside of Hernandez’s brain appeared normal, the inside was riddled with CTE, she said. There was evidence of previous small hemorrhages, which experts associate with head impacts, she said. Other parts, like the hippocampus, had begun to shrink and large holes were found in his brain’s membrane, McKee said.

The next youngest person whose brain they’ve examined that showed such serious CTE damage was 46 years old, McKee said.

“These are very unusual findings to see in an individual of this age,” McKee said. “We’ve never seen this in our 468 brains, except in individuals some 20 years older,” she said.

Hernandez inherited a genetic profile that may have made him more susceptible to the disease, McKee said.

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BEREA, Ohio — Josh Gordon used drugs or alcohol before every NFL game he played, Gordon told the magazine GQ in an interview released Monday.

The Browns wide receiver told GQ that he made taking some substance “a ritual … before every game.”

“We would stay at the team hotel, and then players are allowed to go back home, get what they need and then go to the game,” Gordon said. “So I’d leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol and then go to the game. And then, I’d definitely be partying after every game, win or lose. Every game.”
Gordon said he started taking drugs in seventh grade, continued through college and even did something before every game he played in 2013, when he led the league in receiving yards while playing 14 games.

"I'd leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol and then go to the game," Josh Gordon said in an interview with GQ released Monday.

“I’d leave the hotel early morning, go home, eat breakfast, do my little ritual, whatever it may be, some weed, some alcohol and then go to the game,” Josh Gordon said in an interview with GQ released Monday.

“When I got to the league, I think they had their doubts from the very beginning,” Gordon said. “From the day they drafted me, they had to know there was some type of risk involved. I don’t think that they specifically knew. But I’m sure they had their doubts. [I] missed a lot of meetings, showed up late a lot of times, eyes were probably bloodshot on many occasions. But I guess you couldn’t really draw a definitive conclusion because I thought I was evasive enough. And because nobody told me anything.”
Gordon said he’s different now because he went to a lengthy rehab for himself, not for someone else.

“At this point, I thought, ‘If I want any type of a life, if I wanted to live, [I'll stop],’” he said. “It was like: You’re never going back to f—ing work ever if you can’t figure out how to live. Because at this point in time, the trajectory, you’re going to die. You’re going to kill yourself.”

He also said he moved to Gainesville, Florida, because he could not take what he called harassment from Browns fans in Cleveland.

“Living in Cleveland, sometimes it could be a nightmare,” Gordon said. “I’ve been harassed, had drinks thrown at me. I’ve been [followed] in the grocery store, heckled everywhere. At the games, people harassed and heckled my brothers and my mom. [My] brothers got into fights in the stands. Cars [have] been jumped on. Somebody dented the hood of the car. Had to sue a guy and get the money back ’cause he damaged the car. People are throwing money, pennies, to break the windows. So Cleveland was rough, man.”

Browns coach Hue Jackson said the interview would not affect his thinking on Gordon’s rejoining the team.

“I think he was letting things out, if that’s what was said,” Jackson said. “I think he was cleansing himself of his past, and I get that, a little bit. But again, I think he said what he felt he needed to say.”
At his first scouting combine after being hired, Jackson said he would not put up with nonsense. On Monday, he said, “that’s not going to change.”

“I think we need to let him get out what he feels like he needs to get out,” Jackson said. “I’m sure this is part of his rehabilitation as well. To say certain things that you’ve done, I think that’s kind of good. Because you got to put it behind you as fast as you can.”

Jackson said he will need to know that Gordon is not trying to talk his way into being released with this interview.

“I don’t think he is trying to do that,” he said. “I do need to feel comfortable that he’s not. If he’s coming back to play football, I think he knows he needs to play football here.”

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METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints released a statement Thursday saying it is “unfortunate and disappointing” that a retired Navy commander who declined an honor at Sunday’s game has been telling media outlets he no longer supports NFL football because of player protests throughout the league before and during the national anthem.

“We will not allow Mr. [John] Wells’ decision and subsequent media appearances to distract our players and organization from continuing to honor and support our military and veterans,” the Saints said in their statement, which stressed the organization’s “unwavering 50-plus year commitment to honor, support and recognize our servicemen and women and veterans.”

In the statement, the Saints also emphasized their players have stood for the anthem in every game since the franchise’s inception in 1967, with the exception of “the Week Three game at Carolina when a few of our players did sit.”
Since then, Saints players have chosen to kneel before the anthem in a display of unity, then stand during the anthem. Still, many fans have booed the kneeling players inside the Superdome even though the booing has not taken place during the anthem.

Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Cameron Jordan touched upon this on their Twitter accounts Thursday, with Vaccaro writing, “Our crowd boos us before the anthem, therefore it’s not about the flag, it’s about the fact we are bringing awareness to a cause that makes people uncomfortable.”

Jordan tweeted about how fans have “ignored” the reason behind the player protests.
Wells, who is the executive director of the national Military Veterans Advocacy in Slidell, Louisiana, was selected as a Peoples Health Champion, an award given at Saints home games to recognize “the exceptional achievements of Louisiana residents age 65 and older.”

Since Week 4, Saints players have chosen to kneel before the national anthem in a display of unity and then stand during the anthem.

Since Week 4, Saints players have chosen to kneel before the national anthem in a display of unity and then stand during the anthem.

However, Wells declined the honor, calling the protests during the anthem a “slap in the face to veterans” in a news release and saying he could not “in good conscience” enter an NFL stadium.

“Although I am touched and honored to be selected for such an award, the ongoing controversy with NFL players’ disrespect for the national flag forces me to decline to participate in the presentation,” Wells said according to the release. “Since this award is tainted with the dishonorable actions of the NFL and its players, I cannot accept it.”

The Saints released their lengthy statement in response on Thursday afternoon:
“Respectfully and honorably, we chose Mr. Wells for the Peoples Health Champion Award purposefully for this game to bring to light the exact issues that he and his organization represent — the health and well-being of our military, veterans and their families. Unfortunately, he has chosen very publicly not to accept this honor and refused the opportunity to promote the very cause for which he was being honored and distract from awareness we hoped to build throughout our community. We respect his decision, he has that right, and we thank him for his service to our country and his past efforts on behalf of the military and veterans.”

The Saints went on to list the community appearances and financial commitments the team has made to military and related organizations, and to stress that owner Tom Benson — a former Naval officer — has been honored and recognized as a longtime supporter of the military. They said they would use the time at Sunday’s game that had been allotted for Wells’ award to “highlight non-political military advocacy programs and encourage our fans and community to join us in contributing to these groups who directly support our military and veterans.”