The NFL Players Association has challenged NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s sworn statement that he held off punishing players involved with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal until May as a courtesy to the union, according to multiple reports.
The players association filed documents in federal court Friday that disagree with Goodell’s claim that he was ready to discipline players in March.
Lawyers representing the four players suspended in the investigation want the suspensions Goodell handed out overturned, partly because the commissioner showed through public stated last spring that he improperly pre-judged the players.
Sworn declarations by disciplined linebacker Scott Fujita and union chief DeMaurice Smith are included in the documents, which were filed Friday.
—Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was fined $21,000 on Friday for his hit against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich during their Aug. 9 exhibition game.
The fine was for unnecessary roughness, according to NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk. The league felt that Rodgers-Cromartie unnecessarily struck Leftwich in the head and neck area while the quarterback was considered a defenseless player.
Rodgers-Cromartie, who said he did not think he did anything wrong, was penalized on the first-quarter play in which he launched himself into Leftwich as the quarterback scrambled out of the pocket and flipped the ball away.
Last year, the fine would have been 20,000 but the collective bargaining agreement stipulates a 5 percent yearly increase in fine amounts.
—Former Florida running back Jeff Demps agreed to a deal with the New England Patriots.
The Patriots hosted Demps for a workout Thursday and view him as the ultimate specialist because of his speed, hands and experience playing multiple roles. Coach Bill Belichick has leaned heavily on good friend Urban Meyer, who recruited and coached Demps at Florida until last season.
Demps reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds as a junior at Florida, where he was a teammate of Tim Tebow’s. He didn’t run in the 4×100 final in London, but received a medal for participating in the qualifying round.
Demps went undrafted in April and didn’t sign with an NFL team as he trained for the Olympics, but the Buccaneers came close to signing him when Demps originally didn’t make Team USA, according to PewterReport.com.
“There’s a lot of interest,” agent David Rose told the Tampa Bay Times. “We talked to some teams before the Olympics, but we wanted him to concentrate on the Olympics. Preparing for the Olympics is a very regimented process, and he needed to focus on that.
“At 22 years old, how could you tell a kid not to go to the Olympics?”
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum discussed Demps with Tebow, who played with him at Florida in 2008 and ’09.
“They asked me about him,” Tebow said Thursday. “Jeff is a great guy and a great player. He’s someone I was proud to play with in college and he did a great job for us. … Would we love to have him? Absolutely. I’d love to have him as a teammate because I know how hard he works and what he brings to the table.”
Demps could be used as a kickoff returner and third-down back. He had 2,470 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns for the Gators. He averaged 28.8 yards per kickoff return in four seasons at UF.
—Cowboys’ fan Jennelle Carillo is suing the Dallas Cowboys over third-degree burns she claims were a result of sitting on black marble benches at Cowboys Stadium before a team scrimmage.
The temperature on Aug. 10, 2010, was over 100 degrees but there was no warning about the hot seats, Carillo claims in a suit that names owner Jerral “Jerry” Jones.
Carillo’s attorney, Mike Wash, told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram that Carillo was burned through her clothing and required skin grafts and hospitalization to recover from her blistered buttocks.
She was initially diagnosed with first-degree burns before she became ill at her home and returned to the hospital.
—Ryan Tannehill will start for the Dolphins in Friday’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
TV commentator Dick Stockton broke the information on 790-AM in Miami on Friday morning.
There were indications earlier in the week from coach Joe Philbin that he could be leaning toward letting Tannehill start after his strong showing in the preseason opener, albeit working with the third team and against the Buccaneers’ backup defensive players. Matt Moore would relieve Tannehill with Pat Devlin serving as the third quarterback.
“It would give him a chance to work with the first group in a game situation against better competition, and I think that would be good,” Philbin said. “Our plan all along was at some point in time, whether it be this week, next week or the week after, our plan all along was to let all three of those guys have some opportunities. … He’s going to play a lot, Matt’s going to play a lot, and Pat (Devlin) will probably play some, we have three guys. We’ll take it from there.”
Philbin anticipated the first team would play at least 25 snaps.
—The Detroit Lions claimed offensive lineman Bill Nagy, who was waived/injured by the Cowboys.
Nagy was expected to compete for the starting center job but he suffered a high ankle sprain in the opening practice of training camp and had surgery on his left ankle for the second time in 10 months. He fractured the same ankle against the Patriots last October.
The Lions can place Nagy on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list, which gives him two months to get healthy enough to practice. If that doesn’t happen, he can be moved from PUP to injured reserve.
The Cowboys expected Nagy to revert to their own reserve/injured list after clearing waivers. But much like the Patriots did with tight end Jake Ballard — claimed from the Giants despite a knee injury that will keep him out this season — the Lions took a low-risk gamble on Nagy returning to good health.
Lions center Dominic Raiola is in the final year of his contract.
Nagy started at center for Wisconsin after a moped accident in July 2009 in which he suffered ligament damage in his foot, broke his right wrist and right heel.
—The injury count is on the rise for the Cincinnati Bengals, who lost tight end Jermaine Gresham and rookie backup linebacker Vontaze Burfict in Atlanta on Thursday.
Gresham injured his right his right knee on a 25-yard reception in the first quarter. He hyperextended his knee but was able to walk to the sidelines.
Burfict might have suffered a concussion on a collision with teammate Taylor Mays in the second quarter.
The Bengals lost three starters in the first five minutes of their preseason opener, including a season-ending knee injury to offensive guard Travelle Wharton. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (foot) did not play in Thursday’s game at Atlanta.