NFL Notes

NFL Notes: Cowboys must find fast fix with 4 missing stars

NFL Notes: Cowboys must find fast fix with 4 missing stars

FRISCO, Texas -- Ezekiel Elliott will miss at least the next three games depending on the next legal round in the Dallas Cowboys running back's fight over his six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence.

It's likely the same for kicker Dan Bailey because of a groin injury, and could be another game or two for Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith (groin, back) and 2016 All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee after he tweaked a hamstring in the 27-7 loss at Atlanta on Sunday. Per a report by NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Lee is unlikely to play in Week 11.

The absence of four of the most important Cowboys showed up in various ways against the Falcons, and raises questions about the defending NFC East champions staying in contention with the division-leading Eagles visiting Sunday night.

"When you have really good players, some of the best in the league and they're not out there, certainly that makes a difference," tight end Jason Witten said. "We believe in our system of football offensively and defensively. It's harder when your key players aren't out there."

The most glaring absence was Smith: Replacement Chaz Green gave up five of Adrian Clayborn's franchise-record six sacks for Atlanta. Green was benched for Byron Bell, who gave up the last one. The Cowboys, who allowed eight sacks of Dak Prescott, had never given up more than four to one player in a game.

Giants: McAdoo staying as coach until season's end
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ben McAdoo is staying as coach of the New York Giants, at least until the end of the season.

Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch issued a statement Monday saying while they are frustrated and disappointed with the Giants' 1-8 record, they won't evaluate the team and make any moves until the end of the season.

McAdoo's future has been a major topic the past two weeks in the wake of a 34-point home loss to the Los Angeles Rams a little more than a week ago, then an embarrassing loss to a San Francisco 49ers team that was winless until Sunday.

The owners said the 40-year-old McAdoo, who led their Giants to their first playoff berth since 2011 in his first season last year, has their support. The Giants have not fired a coach in the middle of the season since 1976 (see full story).

Bengals: Burfict avoids suspension for contact with official
CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict won't be suspended for the contact with an official that got him ejected from a 24-20 loss at Tennessee.

A league spokesman said Monday that Burfict faces a fine only. He pushed an official's arm out of the way on the sideline in the second quarter after quarterback Marcus Mariota ran out of bounds. Two plays earlier, Burfict drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Mariota out of bounds.

"I've been saying it: He's going to be held to a different set of standards because of his past," defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said Monday. "So he's got to understand that. He does us no good when he's sitting in the locker room for half a ballgame."

It was the second game in a row that the Bengals (3-6) had a star player ejected before halftime. Receiver A.J. Green was kicked out of a loss at Jacksonville after grabbing cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the neck, tackling him and punching him (see full story).

NBC Sports Philadelphia contributed to this story.

NFL Notes: Jerry Jones reportedly threatens to sue NFL

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NFL Notes: Jerry Jones reportedly threatens to sue NFL

NEW YORK -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has threatened to sue the NFL over a proposed contract extension for Commissioner Roger Goodell, a dispute apparently sparked by star running back Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Jones told the six owners on the compensation committee he had hired high-profile attorney David Boies and was prepared to sue if the group voted to extend Goodell's deal, the person told the AP. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no one has been authorized to reveal details.

Jones also has expressed disapproval with the structure and compensation in the contract extension, another person familiar with the proposed lawsuit says. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason.

The actions of Jones were first reported by The New York Times.

All 32 owners voted in May to extend Goodell's contract and authorized the compensation committee to work out the details. Goodell suspended Elliott in August after a yearlong NFL investigation. Prosecutors in Ohio declined to pursue the domestic violence case.

Jones, who is not on the compensation committee but is one of the most powerful owners in the league, has expressed frustration over the NFL's pursuit of criminal matters with its own investigators.

Asked on his radio show last week if he wanted Goodell to remain commissioner, Jones avoided a direct answer and said Elliott was a "victim of an overcorrection" because of the NFL's mishandling of former Baltimore running back Ray Rice's domestic case involving his then-fiancee (see full story).

Cowboys: Elliott mum amid more legal limbo
FRISCO, Texas -- Ezekiel Elliott skipped his weekly media session Wednesday because of more legal limbo in the star Dallas Cowboys running back's fight over the NFL's six-game suspension on alleged domestic violence.

The difference this week is that Elliott, the NFL's second-leading rusher, was with his teammates. That wasn't the case early last week when the 22-year-old was suspended until Friday after a judge rejected his request for a second injunction.

The third legal reprieve came in an emergency stay two days before the Cowboys beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Now Elliott seeks a longer-lasting injunction from a three-judge panel that will hear his case Thursday in New York.

A ruling could come before Sunday, when Dallas (5-3), on a three-game winning streak with significant contributions from Elliott, visits defending NFC champion Atlanta (4-4).

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on his radio show Wednesday he believed Elliott was planning to attend the hearing. If so, it will be with the blessing of coach Jason Garrett (see full story).

Giants: McAdoo trying to stay positive amid criticism 
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With many calling for wholesale changes on the New York Giants in the wake of a dismal half a season, a relaxed coach Ben McAdoo took a very positive approach with his team heading into this week, telling the players he still believes in them.

McAdoo, who has been curt with the media in recent weeks as his team slipped to 1-7. He opened up a little and showed some personality in discussing this weekend's game against the winless 49ers in San Francisco.

That was surprising with the Giants coming off a 51-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the team's worst margin of defeat at home since a 37-3 defeat to Green Bay in 1998. It led many to label the players as quitters; others called for the firing of general manager Jerry Reese and McAdoo, who last year led the Giants to the playoffs in his first season.

"Talked about let's begin again," McAdoo said after practice Wednesday. "That was really the message for them. Don't buy into the lies, the lies that your feelings are telling you. This thing is not about feelings. It's a decision and let's make the decision to begin again. We talked about, you know, you may think I'm a little bit out there, but I believe we have a run in us. I believe to the core we have a run in us."

Vikings: Bridgewater activated, Bradford put on IR
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Vikings' seemingly constant search for long-term success and stability at quarterback took another turn on Wednesday.

Sam Bradford's future was cast in further doubt because of another knee surgery.

And Teddy Bridgewater finally made his way back to the active roster from his devastating knee injury.

Meanwhile, coach Mike Zimmer announced Case Keenum will make his seventh start of the season for the game at Washington on Sunday.

"Case has done great," Zimmer said. "So we just keep going from there and see how this thing plays out."

The Vikings (6-2) activated Bridgewater from the physically unable to perform list, adding him to the active roster for the first time in more than 14 months since his left knee was dislocated during practice. The freak injury resulted in ligament tears and an ambulance ride to the emergency room to save his leg.

The Vikings faced a deadline on Wednesday at the end of the three-week window that opened when Bridgewater resumed practice with the team.

To make room on the 53-man roster, Bradford was placed on injured reserve after having arthroscopic surgery the day before on his left knee, which had ACL tears in 2013 and 2014 (see full story).

Packers: Tight end Martellus Bennett waived
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have waived Martellus Bennett, bringing the tight end's short tenure at Lambeau Field to a surprising end.

General manager Ted Thompson announced the move on Wednesday after practice.

The Packers cited a "failure to disclose a physical condition" for making the move. Bennett practiced on Tuesday after the bye last week before going on the injury report with a shoulder injury.

He did not play in the 30-17 loss on Monday to the Detroit Lions after being listed as doubtful for the game.

Bennett also posted on Instagram during the bye week a message that indicated he was thinking about retirement.

"After conversations with my family I'm pretty sure these next eight games will be the conclusion of my NFL career," he wrote. "To everyone who has poured themselves and time into my life and career. These next games are for you. Thank you" (see full story).

NFL Notes: Another hearing set over Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

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NFL Notes: Another hearing set over Ezekiel Elliott's suspension

NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court has set a Thursday hearing as attorneys for Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott seek a longer-lasting injunction to stop his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday issued an emergency stay of the NFL's punishment, the third legal reprieve for Elliott. It cleared last year's league rushing leader to play in Sunday's game against Kansas City. Elliott scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Cowboy's 28-17 win over the Chiefs.

It is possible, if not likely, that the three-judge panel in New York will rule as early as Thursday, after oral arguments, on whether Elliott can play Sunday at Atlanta.

None of the judges assigned to Elliott's case presided over the NFL's winning appeal in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's four-game suspension in the Deflategate case.

Elliott's suspension has been weaving through the courts since he was ordered in August to serve the ban for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Texans: O'Brien says team has discussed signing Kaepernick
HOUSTON -- Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien says he and general manager Rick Smith have discussed signing Colin Kaepernick in the wake of last week's season-ending injury to Deshaun Watson.

When asked about Kaepernick on Monday, a day after Tom Savage struggled in a loss to the Colts, O'Brien said: "We talk about the roster and what's out there every day Rick and I."

When pressed on whether they have specifically discussed adding Kaepernick he said: "Oh yeah, everybody gets discussed."

Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, began the national anthem protest movement by kneeling last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that team owners colluded against him because of the protests, which are aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other social justice issues.

The Texans have not been very active in anthem protests, but the majority of the team kneeled during the anthem before a game on Oct. 29 at Seattle after a report revealed that team owner Bob McNair said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison," during a meeting of NFL owners about players who protest by kneeling. No member of the team kneeled this week before Houston's annual salute to service game to honor members of the military (see full story).

Jets: Jeremy Kerley suspended 4 games for PED violation
NEW YORK -- New York Jets wide receiver-punt returner Jeremy Kerley has been suspended four games without pay by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.

The NFL says in a statement Monday that Kerley's suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to return to the Jets' active roster on Dec. 11, the day after New York plays at Denver. The next game in which Kerley will be able to play will be at New Orleans on Dec. 17.

In a statement released by his representatives, Kerley says he was "shocked" to test positive for Turinabol. He adds that he has never used steroids and fully intends to investigate what caused the positive test.

Kerley, who has 22 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown, says he has always been and will continue to be "a clean player."

Buccaneers: Mike Evans suspended 1 game
TAMPA, Fla. -- The NFL suspended Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans for one game Monday for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness in the Buccaneers' loss at New Orleans.

Evans ran up from behind and knocked over Saints rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore after a confrontation between Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, who was on the sideline because of a sore shoulder, and Lattimore.

"During the third quarter, after a play had ended, you struck an unsuspecting opponent in the back, knocking him to the ground," Jon Runyan, the league's vice president of football operations, wrote to Evans. "Your conduct clearly did not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional."

Evans was penalized but not ejected from the Saints' 30-10 victory. He will miss the Bucs' home game against the Jets on Sunday and can return to the active roster next Monday. But he can appeal the suspension within three days.