NFL AM: League Doles Out Punishment to Browns, Falcons


League announces penalties for Falcons, Browns

On Monday the NFL informed the Cleveland Browns that there will be no more texting while playing, and told the Atlanta Falcons to get that noise out of here.

Cleveland will be fined $250,000 and general manager Ray Farmer will be suspended for the first four games of next season for violating the league’s rules on electronic communication with members of the coaching staff during games.

Farmer will not be permitted at Browns offices, practices or games for the first month of the regular season. Given the nature of the GM position – the heaviest work is done as the season progresses and throughout the offseason – it amounts to an expensive slap on the wrist.

The Falcons will feel more of a sting.

Atlanta will forfeit its highest fifth-round pick in the 2016 Draft in addition to paying a $350,000 fine after league officials determined the team illegally piped artificial crowd noise into games at the Georgia Dome in 2013 and 2014.

“What took place was wrong and nowhere near the standards by which we run our business,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a team release. “Anytime there are actions that compromise the integrity of the NFL or threaten the culture of our franchise, as this issue did, they will be dealt with swiftly and strongly.”

The team’s director of event marketing, Roddy White – no relation to the wide receiver – is the one who paid the price. The brainchild of the piped-in crowd noise was fired by the team.

Demariyus Thomas to skip offseason workouts

Peyton Manning will have to wait until training camp to throw to his favorite target.

On Monday, Broncos wideout Demariyus Thomas announced that he does not have any intention of attending Manning’s offseason minicamp at Duke University or Denver’s organized team activities.

Thomas, who was designated as a franchise player by Denver, is trying to work out a long-term deal with the team.

“I’ll be back in Georgia, trying to get the body right, get the ankle right,” Thomas said. “Then when it’s time to go, make sure I’m 100 percent ready to go.

“It’s three years now that I’ve been with Peyton, so I feel like we can pick up where we left off. It’s about getting on the field and being on the same page. I’m sure we can get that done as quickly as possible. And I will be in contact with Peyton when it’s the right time. We’ll handle that between me and him because we know what we’ve got to do.”

Miles Austin signs with Eagles

Miles Austin is still a thing. And Chip Kelly is hoping he’s even more.

The 30-year-old veteran signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Eagles, who are hoping the injury-plagued receiver can recapture some of his old form.

Austin has been an invisible man the last two years of his career, catching 24 passes for 244 yards in his final year in Dallas before catching 47 balls for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games with Cleveland last season.

When he’s actually able to clock in a full season of work, Austin is a more than serviceable target. He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, and was just 17 yards shy of eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in 2012.

Philadelphia had needed a piece to add to its receiving corps since Jeremy Maclin left for Kansas City.

About Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey

Alex Hickey can vividly recall most significant NFL events going back to Walter Payton's final game in 1987, including the ones that didn't make him cry. Since 2008, his full-time job has been covering college football, specifically McNeese State, for the Lake Charles (La.) American Press. Free time is spent informing, amusing or annoying you for Football Insiders.