Patriots

Vrabel: NFLPA would have issue with Harrison fine

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Vrabel: NFLPA would have issue with Harrison fine

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
Mike Vrabel doesn't believe James Harrison should be fined for his verbal strafing of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The recently retired Vrabel, who's been deeply involved in talks to end the lockout, said on WEEI's Big Show on Friday that the NFLPA (though dissolved, we all know it never left and will soon return) "would have an issue if (Harrison) were suspended or fined.""I think there are things that you should be able to do and say - more importantly say," explained Vrabel. "(Harrison's comments are) not conduct detrimental to any team other than if (Steelers coach) Mike Tomlin had an issue with the way (Harrison) was referring to the Pittsburgh Steelers. "Roger's got big shoulders," Vrabel observed. "Roger understands. I would say to Roger or anybody else that had a problem with it, I would say what Bill (Belichick) said to us: To (those who) much is given, much is expected. And Roger is given a lot in form of compensation and being in the situation that he's in so there's a lot expected of him. And if that means taking the higher road and calling James and trying to figure out how to get this thing settled between them or whatever issue they have going on."Harrison will probably skate onusing the words "crook," "puppet" and "stupid" to describe Goodell. And you can't fine a man forproclaiming he would refuse to urinate onthe NFL commissionereven if said commissioner was engulfed in flames. But Harrison will probably get whacked for usingan anti-gay slur.The reason?Harrison doesn't work for the commissioner and should be able to express his beliefs, simplistic as they may be, but usinga word in a derogatory manner that offends a group is wrong. Unless you are a member of that group. Then nobody minds. Vrabel attempted to put some context into Harrison's words saying, "Do you think that Roger Goodell is a crook? I don't think that anyone would read that and think that he's somehow taking the money that James Harrison is fined and putting it in his pocket. I don't think anyone believes that. I think it was said as, 'Man, this guy is taking money from me fining me and my teammates and players around the league.' ...You just need to take it at 30,000 feet and move on."I know James Harrison is a heckuva player and one the Pittsbugh Steelers and their fans and coaches really enjoy and are glad he's on their team," added Vrabel. "As long as his teammates are fine with it, we support him as an association." Once this lockout ends, it will be interesting to see whether Goodell and the Steelers decide that, "What happens during the lockout, stays in the lockout."Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Belichick: Patriots preparing for everything from slumping Julio Jones

Belichick: Patriots preparing for everything from slumping Julio Jones

FOXBORO -- Julio Jones: He’s the best, right? No? No touchdowns this season? He stinks? He’s going to score against the Patriots because their defense stinks? Real breakout game for ol’ No. 11 in red? Who knows?! Lmao. 

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I’ll tell you what Bill Belichick knows: That Jones is not a one-dimensional player. While “deep threat” might be the first thing that comes to mind with ol’ No. 11 in red, Belichick said the Patriots are preparing for anything and everything from ol’ No. 11 in red. 

“Yeah, I wouldn’t say [he’s just a deep threat],” Belichick said. “I mean, he catches a lot of in-cuts, a lot of over routes, out routes, the one he caught against us last year. He’s good on catch-and-run plays, he’s hard to tackle, he’s strong, slants, so he’s pretty good on everything. You know, same thing, but I mean, they screened everybody. They screened the backs and the receivers and Gabriel, Jones. I mean, they all can get the ball. They’re not just going to screen to one guy and just key on that guy. They mix it up.”

The Patriots will mix it up with the Falcons Sunday night at Gillette Stadium. Jones has 25 catches for 367 yards on the season.  

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Raiders score on final play for 31-30 win over Chiefs

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Wins have been so hard to come by for the Oakland Raiders that it took three tries at the final play for them finally to pull this one out and possibly save their season.

Derek Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on the final play after the game was extended by two straight defensive holding calls and the Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak with a 31-30 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"We didn't give up," Crabtree said. "We got a team full of fighters. We believe. ... No matter how hard the game was, we believed. We came out with the W and I'm excited. It's a good way to win, a great way to win."

With their season on the line following the recent slump, Carr led an 85-yard touchdown drive in the final 2:25 to give the Raiders (3-4) the thrilling comeback in a game they trailed by nine points heading into the fourth quarter.

Carr finished 29 for 52 for 417 yards and three touchdowns, with Amari Cooper catching 11 passes for 210 yards and two of the scores. The Raiders had struggled to get the ball downfield while being held to 17 or fewer points in four straight games but Carr repeatedly beat the Chiefs with deep passes.

"No. 4 kept making plays," coach Jack Del Rio said. "This is a special, special win."

Alex Smith threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns but it wasn't enough for the Chiefs (5-2). They lost consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 11-18, 2015, and had their 12-game winning streak in the AFC West snapped in a thrilling finish.

"I've never been part of a game that came down so dramatic," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "But, still had a chance to win. Period. Just have to make a play. One play. One play."

The Raiders had an apparent go-ahead touchdown pass to Jared Cook with 18 seconds left overturned when replay ruled he was down at the 1. An offensive pass interference on Crabtree wiped out another touchdown on the next play.

But holding calls on Ron Parker and Eric Murray set the stage for the final play. Carr hit Crabtree in the front corner of the end zone to tie it at 30. Giorgio Tavecchio won it with the extra point , setting off a celebration on a wild night that included Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch getting ejected in the second quarter for shoving an official.

HOT TEMPERS: The game took an odd turn midway through the second quarter after Kansas City's Marcus Peters hit Carr late, angering the Raiders. Offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn confronted Peters and Lynch sprinted off the Oakland sideline to join the fray. Lynch, a close friend of Peters, ended up shoving line judge Julian Mapp and getting ejected . Peters also was called for a personal foul on the play. Lynch congratulated his teammates in the locker room after the game but didn't speak to reporters.

"I was disappointed he ran out because I knew we had a 15-yard penalty and we'd be in good shape," Del Rio said.

LONG DRIVE: After Marquette King pinned the Chiefs at their own 1 with a perfect punt early in the second quarter, Kansas City needed little time to turn the momentum. Smith hit Demarcus Robinson on a 33-yard pass on the first play of the drive. After a short run, Tyreek Hill beat David Amerson for a 64-yard touchdown pass that gave the Chiefs their first 99-yard drive since doing it Dec. 3, 2006, against Cleveland.

DEEP CONNECTION: Carr had not connected on a single deep ball to Amari Cooper all season before the two teamed twice for long TDs in the opening quarter. On the first, Cooper appeared to push Terrance Mitchell but the officials picked up the flag and gave Cooper the 38-yard TD . Later in the quarter Carr and Cooper connected on a 45-yard score, making Cooper the first Raiders receiver with two TD catches in the first quarter since Mervyn Fernandez in 1989.

KICKING WOES: The Raiders were hurt last week when a bad snap by Jon Condo led to a missed extra point by Giorgio Tavecchio in a 17-16 loss to the Chargers. That was Tavecchio's first missed kick of any kind this season but he then had a 53-yarder blocked and missed a 45-yarder wide left in the second quarter. Tavecchio also had a false start on an extra point in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Host Denver on Oct. 30.

Raiders: Visit Buffalo on Oct. 29.