NFL Notes

NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott drops appeal, will serve rest of suspension

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NFL Notes: Ezekiel Elliott drops appeal, will serve rest of suspension

FRISCO, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped his appeal with five games remaining on his six-game suspension over alleged domestic violence.

Elliott's agents said Wednesday the decision by last year's NFL rushing leader "is in no way an admission of wrongdoing." They said Elliott's decision came from "a practical assessment of the current legal landscape."

Elliott had a hearing set in a federal appeals court on Dec. 1, four games into the suspension.

He served the first game in Dallas' 27-7 loss to Atlanta last weekend. By accepting the six games, Elliott is eligible to return for the final two games: Dec. 24 at home against Seattle and Dec. 31 at Philadelphia.

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended in August 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 Ohio didn't pursue the case. Elliott denied the allegations under oath during his NFL appeal (see full story).

Bills: QB Taylor benched in favor of rookie
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Rather than continue watching a pedestrian offense muddle through a third consecutive game, Bills coach Sean McDermott sent his team a jolt by making an abrupt change at quarterback.

Tyrod Taylor was benched Wednesday and rookie fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman will make his first career start on Sunday, when Buffalo (5-4) plays at the Los Angeles Chargers (3-6).

McDermott acknowledged taking a "calculated risk" in making the switch at a time when the Bills have a winning record. They sit sixth in the AFC standings, and control their own destiny in a bid to end a 17-season playoff drought -- the longest active streak in North America's four major professional sports.

"This is about becoming better as a football team," he said. "As a decision maker, you have to be able to or willing to take calculated risks to get to where we're trying to go. And I'm comfortable doing that,” (see full story).

Browns: Team upset with comments by Gipson
BEREA, Ohio -- Several Cleveland players feel disrespected by Jacksonville safety Tashaun Gipson's harsh comments about the Browns.

Gipson was a Pro Bowler with the Browns before the team chose not to re-sign him as a free agent after the 2015 season.

Earlier this week, Gipson took some swipes at Cleveland's front office for letting him leave, predicted the Jaguars will score 40 points this Sunday against the NFL's only winless team and believes the Browns will "probably go 0-16."

Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey said Gipson is only trying to "rile up" his teammates, but that his words have provided some extra motivation. Kirksey and Gipson are close friends.

Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer said he's looking forward to "prove him wrong with those comments."

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said he addressed Gipson's comments with his team and that the safety will not be disciplined (see full story).

Vikings: Sticking with Keenum at QB
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Case Keenum will start again at quarterback this week for the Minnesota Vikings.

This time he'll face his former team, the Los Angeles Rams.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer announced Wednesday that Keenum will keep his place running an offense that produced a season-high 38 points in the previous game at Washington. The Vikings host the Rams Sunday.

With Teddy Bridgewater back on the active roster, he's widely expected to take over sooner than later. The Vikings have won five straight games with some strong performances by Keenum, though, so a change now would be strange.

Keenum has started five and finished six of the team's seven victories this season, relieving Sam Bradford because of knee trouble. Bridgewater has not played in a non-preseason game in more than 22 months.

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).