49ers

Doom settles in over Rams as season winds down

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Doom settles in over Rams as season winds down

Whos better than the Rams? Just about everyone, right now.St. Louis, picked by many asthe preseason favorites in the NFC West, are struggling at 2-9 as they preparefor their game this weekend at Candlestick Park. Even worse, with aloss, the Rams would have to endure some celebrating as a 49ers win would put San Francisco in theplayoffs for the first time since 2002.Heres a sampling of the dismay in St. Louis from Jim Thomas of the PostTelegram. First, on the Rams woes since their last playoff appearance since2004:Since that last playoff season, 2004,the Rams are 29-78, for a .271 winning percentage. Only one Rams player is leftfrom that last playoff season, running back Steven Jackson. He was a rookie in'04 and since then has seen it all at Rams Park.He has been through coaching staffchanges, front office shakeups, new coordinators, dozens of new teammates, aswell as those 78 losses in the last 107 games. And in the midst of thisinjury-plagued 2-9 campaign, he's tired of the losing. Tired of it all. "We're tired ofgiving the same excuses," Jacksonsaid. "We're tired of having the same results. I think we as a teampractice really hard and I think we prepare week in and week out. We positionourselves a lot of times in these games especially the last four or fiveweeks to win the game.So, things are bad in St. Louis,and it looks like theyre likely to get worse. Thomas looks at theRams upcoming schedule:It wasn't exactly a November toremember for the Rams, not when you lose three of four games to teams with acombined record of 12-21. And now that the Rams have completed the supposedlysoft portion of their schedule, it's time for the closing stretch from hell.Starting with Sunday's game in San Francisco, the Rams'final five foes have a combined record of 37-18. That's a .673 winningpercentage and matches the toughest closing schedule of any team in the NFL.As if 2-9 and a hideous schedule ahead isnt bad enough, theres talk in St. Louis that the Ramsare a leading candidate to move (back) to L.A. after Millionaire Shahid Khan bought the Jaguars and pledged to keep them in Jacksonville, thereby vaulting the Rams as a primary candidate to relocate to So. Cal.
From ChadGarrison of the Riverfront Times:Call it The Return of Khan. Shahid Khan, the Illinois businessmagnate who attemptedto purchase the St. Louis Rams last year before StanKroenke foiled his plans, is reportedly the newowner of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But here is where Khan's ascent to the NFL's ownership table could still have abig impact on the St. Louis Rams: Khan, who made millions as president of aChampaign-based auto parts manufacturer, will reportedly keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Khan made asimilar pledge when pursuing the Rams, saying he would keep the team in St. Louis. (Rams owner) Stan Kroenke has made no similar promise.More from Garrison -- Five Reasons the Rams will LEAVE St. Louis:1. Kroenke Won't Commit to Keeping Club Here
2. Kroenke Serves on a Committee to Bring an NFL Team to Los Angeles
3. Favorable Lease Agreement Allows Rams to Leave
It looks like a downhill slide for the 49ers' longtime rivals -- a terrible November, a brutal final stretch and a potential move out of town, but we have to ask -- how in the world did this team beat New Orleans in Week 8?The Rams, it appears, have nothing to lose headed into this weekend's clash against the 49ers. Could that be a danger to San Francisco?

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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AP

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers

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USATSI

Ezekiel Elliott's suspension again on hold, now expected to play vs 49ers

NEW YORK — Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was granted another legal reprieve Tuesday night in the running back's fight to avoid a six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

A New York federal judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking the league's suspension, clearing Elliott to play Sunday at San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty's ruling came five days after a federal appeals court overturned a Texas court's injunction that had kept Elliott on the field.

Crotty granted the request for the restraining order pending a hearing before the presiding judge, Katherine Polk Failla, who is on vacation.

The NFL was ordered to appear before Failla on or before Oct. 30 to argue why the suspension should not be blocked by a preliminary injunction — the next step in the legal process — until the court can rule on challenges the players' union brought against the suspension.

"We are confident our arguments will prevail in court when they are taken up again later this month," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, was barred from the team's facility Tuesday as players returned from their off week. The NFL placed him on the suspended list Friday, a day after the league's favorable ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.

Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence, but the NFL did its own investigation. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal.

The suspension's announcement in August led to weeks of court filings, with NFLPA lawyers contending that league investigators withheld key evidence from Goodell and that the appeal hearing was unfair because arbitrator Harold Henderson refused to call Goodell and Thompson as witnesses.

In an opinion accompanying the ruling, Crotty agreed with the Texas judge who had backed the claims of Elliott's attorneys. Crotty wrote that Henderson's denial of testimony from Goodell and Thompson was significant because of credibility issues related to Thompson.

"In effect, (Elliott) was deprived of opportunities to explore pertinent and material evidence, which raises sufficiently serious questions," Crotty wrote.

Attorney Daniel Nash, arguing for the NFL, accused Elliott's legal team of seeking relief from courts in Texas to evade courts in New York and the effect of the April 2016 ruling that reinstated a four-game suspension of New England quarterback Tom Brady in the "Deflategate" scandal.

Nash warned Crotty that allowing the union to continue to delay the suspension would invite "every player who's suspended" to go to court for relief.

"They know under the Brady decision they have no chance of success. None," Nash said.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler, representing the players' union, said the harm to a player's short career was serious when a suspension is served.

"He can never get that back," Kessler said, arguing that the irreparable harm — among issues of law considered before a temporary restraining order is granted — faced by a player is much greater than harm claimed by the league when a suspension is delayed. In his opinion, Crotty agreed.

Nash suggested during the hearing that the union was overstating its claims of irreparable harm.

"In their view, an NFL player missing six games is the end of the world," he said.

Brady managed to delay his suspension for a year through the union's court challenges. He served it to start last season, when the Patriots went 3-1 without him and later won the Super Bowl.

Elliott's case shifted to New York after the appeals court ordered the Texas court to dismiss Elliott's lawsuit, which Judge Amos Mazzant did earlier Tuesday.

A three-judge panel of the New Orleans court ruled 2-1 last week that Elliott's attorneys filed the Texas lawsuit prematurely because Henderson had yet to decide on the running back's NFL appeal.

Elliott's legal team indicated it intended to pursue rehearing before a larger panel of the appeals court while also filing for the restraining order in the Southern District of New York.

The NFL filed in the New York court after Elliott's NFL appeal was denied because the league considers it the proper venue as the home of its headquarters and the site of the hearings before Henderson. It's also where the NFL won the Brady case in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.