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Steelers, WR Sanders fined for faking injury

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Steelers, WR Sanders fined for faking injury

PITTSBURGH (AP) The NFL has levied $50,000 in fines to the Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for faking an injury during an Oct. 21 game in Cincinnati.

Sanders was fined $15,000 and the organization $35,000. Sanders grabbed the back of his leg and collapsed to the ground during the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's 24-17 win.

NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson handed out the discipline after meeting with Sanders last week.

Sanders initially played coy in public comments about the incident, but in recent weeks has said the matter was being handled internally.

Also fined on Friday by the league were Panthers safety Haruki Nakamura and Packers tight end Ryan Taylor, $21,000 each; Titans safety Michael Griffin, $20,000; Raiders cornerback Tyvon Branch, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, and Cardinals linebacker Quentin Groves, $15,750 each; Ravens LB Dannell Ellerbe, $10,000; Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn, and Steelers safety Will Allen, $7,875 apiece.

During the Steelers-Bengals game, NBC announcers openly discussed their belief Sanders apparently was deliberately feigning an injury for the purpose of saving a timeout.

Anderson said it found no evidence the Steelers, on an organization-wide basis, were instructing or condoning the faking of injuries for competitive purposes.

``If I believed that to be the case, the discipline would be substantially more,'' Anderson said. ``Instead, it reflects the commissioner's strong view that it is the responsibility of the club to insure that its players are familiar with and in compliance with the league's competitive rules.''

In an open letter to Sanders and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, Anderson cited video evidence to the contrary of Sanders' contention that he was in severe pain while lying on the ground, before or after the play.

Sanders sat out one play - a team trainer attended to him - and then returned to the game for the next play, a Pittsburgh punt. Anderson noted that Sanders outran his teammates and downed the ball.

``The video of the play shows Sanders running swiftly and effortlessly toward the punted ball, and then leaving the field with no sign of discomfort,'' Anderson wrote. ``Sanders also played the rest of the game without difficulty.''

The NFL sent out a memo to team general managers and coaches in September that said, ``The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries.'' The league reiterated it had the power to fine players, coaches or teams or even take away draft picks.

This is the first punishment the league has handed out for faking an injury.

When asked two days before his meeting with the league if he thought the NFL had a problem with faking, Sanders said ``Not that I know of.''

The NFL pointed out the idea of faking injuries has been ``frequently discussed'' by the league's competition committee but acknowledged the difficulties in enforcement. With player safety a hot-button issue, the NFL does not want to encourage legitimately injured players to leave the field unnecessarily.

Taylor blindsided Arizona safety Rashad Johnson to draw his fine. Nakamura hit Redskins receiver Josh Morgan in the neck and head area when Morgan was defenseless.

Griffin made a horse-collar tackle of Chicago RB Matt Forte. Branch made a horse-collar tackle of Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin.

Hardy was docked for roughing Robert Griffin III and hitting him in the head. Groves made a horse-collar tackle of Packers RB James Starks.

Ellerbe hit Browns running back Trent Richardson in the head and neck area when the rookie was defenseless.

Vick threw a low block at Saints safety Roman Harper during an interception return for a touchdown by Patrick Robinson. Allen made a late hit on Giants receiver Victor Cruz. Vaughn struck Miami RB Reggie Bush late.

After saying ``I can't talk about that,'' last week when asked about Sanders' meeting with the league, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, ``People get hurt. That's the way it is. You can't control injuries in this league.''

An injury to another Pittsburgh receiver is giving Sanders an opportunity to shine for something other than his acting skills. The team leader in receptions, Antonio Brown, has not practiced this week and almost assuredly will not play Monday night against Kansas City (1-7).

``As a third wide receiver, you've got to know multiple positions. You've got to know almost every position on the field,'' Sanders said. ``So that's my job. If someone goes down, I've got to go in and fill that void.''

A foot injury last season contributed to Sanders being limited to more of a complementary role while Mike Wallace and Brown ascended to stardom. This week, Sanders gets his turn for the Steelers (5-3).

``He's a great player; he's always been ready,'' Wallace said. ``There's never been a doubt in my mind that if anybody goes down he can step in here and not miss a beat.''

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NOTES: RT Marcus Gilbert (ankle) did not practice and will likely miss his fourth consecutive game Monday. ... RB Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) was limited in practice and it is not considered likely to play against the Chiefs. ... RB Chris Rainey (bruised ribs) said he will play. ... RB Jonathan Dwyer (quadriceps) also is on track to return to game action after sitting out last week.

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Online:http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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