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NFL notebook: Elway, Namath disagree on Patriots’ punishment


The Sports Xchange

Two legendary quarterbacks have different viewpoints about the NFL’s punishments handed down for Deflategate this week.

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway clearly supports the league after it announced Monday the suspension of quarterback Tom Brady for four games in addition to fining the New England Patriots $1 million and docking the franchise a first-round draft pick in 2016 and a fourth-round pick in 2017 following the release of the Ted Wells investigative report.

Former New York Jets legend Joe Namath said he wasn’t sure the deflating of footballs was that big of a deal when compared to performance-enhancing drug use.

Elway, the former quarterbacks great for the Broncos, said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell got it right.

“The integrity of the game is No. 1,” Elway said Tuesday while attending a luncheon for former NFL safety John Lynch’s annual scholarship. “I support the commissioner 100 percent.

“There are other sports where rules have been breached,” Namath told the New York Daily News Tuesday at the United Way’s Gridiron Gala in Manhattan. “Performance-enhancing drugs, to me, is a far worse issue, than what we’re talking about with the ball being deflated a little bit.”

—Even with Brady suspended, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan has just one thing on his mind.

The goal is the same: Beat the Patriots, regardless of who the Patriots play at quarterback for the Week 2 game on Sept. 20 in Buffalo.

“No matter who’s there, we’re playing the Patriots Week 2, they’re playing us,” Ryan said Wednesday. “(Coach Bill) Belichick’s going to bring his team in and he’s going to have them prepared. And I’ll promise you, I’m going to have our team prepared, as well. So that’s really all I think about it. All the particulars and all that stuff, I really haven’t given any thought to it.”

—Broncos owner Pat Bowlen was elected as the 28th member of the team’s Ring of Fame on Wednesday.

The induction ceremony will take place on Nov. 1 at halftime of the Broncos’ “Sunday Night Football” game against the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Bowlen, who is entering his 32nd year as the owner of the Broncos, is the only owner in NFL history to record 300 victories during his first 30 seasons. He has recorded the most regular-season wins (301), overall wins (319), winning seasons (19) and playoff appearances (17) among owners since purchasing the team in 1984.

Bowlen’s six Super Bowl appearances rank second all-time among owners. The team’s back-to-back NFL championships with John Elway at quarterback — in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII for the1997 and 1998 seasons — made Bowlen as one of only 11 owners to have multiple titles.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers inducted former fullback Mike Alstott and quarterback Doug Williams into the team’s Ring of Honor on Wednesday and will celebrate them in ceremonies next season.

Alstott, a six-time Pro Bowl player, will be honored Oct. 4 when the Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium.

Williams, the Bucs’ first-round pick in 1978, will receive his public tribute Dec. 6 as the Bucs play the Atlanta Falcons.

The pair will join six others in the Ring of Honor: Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon, coach John McKay, tight end Jimmie Giles, offensive lineman Paul Gruber and Hall of Famers Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.

—After just one season in the NFL, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a cover boy. Beckham was selected in fan voting for the cover of EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 16” video game, it was announced Wednesday.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was the other finalist from a list of four candidates that included Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Beckham played in just 12 games during his first year in 2014 after suffering a hamstring injury. Still, he caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns and was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

—Legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden called former Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston “an embarrassment” to the university during an interview.

Winston, who was No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had numerous off-the-field issues while playing for Florida State, where he led the Seminoles to a national title.

“I think it’s a consensus among Florida State fans and boosters that he was an embarrassment in a lot of ways to the university,” Bowden said Tuesday on ESPN’s “The Paul Finebaum Show.” “He won a lot of ballgames, probably one of the best football players that ever attended Florida State, but he hurt himself off the field.

“The good news is he’s young enough to get over that. He just can’t make those junior high school decisions that he made when he was in college.”

—Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank released a letter to fans responding to recent reports that his team was paid for military tributes during games over the past few years.

The Falcons were one of 15 teams to receive payments totaling at least $6 million from the Department of Defense, according to a report last week by From 2011 to 2014, the Falcons received just over $1 million from the National Guard, according to

On Wednesday, Blank wrote an open letter to fans, saying, “Our marketing and sponsorship agreement with the National Guard is designed to fulfill their objectives of increasing awareness and aiding in recruiting efforts, which has become more important in an all-volunteer service environment. This is no different than any other sponsorship agreement in that it is structured to fit a business need.”

Blank also outlined all of the non-business support the Falcons provide to the military, including base visits by coaches and players, fishing trips with injured soldiers, joint appearances with military personnel at school assemblies and other locations and military holiday parties hosted by Falcons players.

—NFL owners will consider three tweaks to PATs at the league meetings next week in San Francisco.

The proposals submitted by the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and the league’s competition committee all involve moving the PAT kick to the 15-yard line, but they have variable suggestions beyond that, according to a report Wednesday by The Associated Press.

The Patriots suggest keeping two-point attempts at the 2-yard line. The Eagles propose two-point attempts begin at the 1-yard line, with the defense able to score two points if it returns a turnover to the other end zone.

The competition committee combines the two other ideas, with the two-point attempt coming from the 2-yard line and the defense able to score two points if it returns a turnover to the opposing end zone.

—Cornerback Kyle Arrington found a new home quickly, reaching agreement on a three-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens announced the addition of Arrington on Wednesday, two days after he was released by the New England Patriots. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team.

The 28-year-old Arrington is a six-year NFL veteran who has made 56 starts and played in 87 games, mostly for the Patriots. He has 292 tackles, nine interceptions, three sacks and three fumble recoveries.

—The Detroit Lions signed wide receiver Greg Salas and cornerback Chris Owens to one-year contracts and also secured second-round running back Ameer Abdullah to a contract.

The only rookie remaining unsigned is first-round guard Laken Tomlinson. The Lions also restructured the contract of veteran safety Glove Quin to give the team salary-cap room to finish signing its rookies, according to

Salas, 26, has 43 catches in four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets.

Owens, 28, has played in 83 games (17 starts) over the last six years for the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

—The Denver Broncos claimed wide receiver/returner Solomon Patton off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In addition, the Broncos claimed tight end Marcel Jensen off waivers.

In seven games last year as a rookie, Patton averaged 23.1 yards per kickoff return and 11.2 yards per punt return.

Jensen had one catch for eight yards in his rookie season last year while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

—The Buffalo Bills signed fullback John Conner, who spent last season with the New York Jets.

Conner, a five-year NFL veteran, has played in 62 games, carrying the ball 27 times for 108 yards and two scores in addition to catching 12 passes for 84 yards and a score.

The Buffalo Bills also released fullback Corey Knox.

—The Philadelphia Eagles hired Dwayne Joseph as director of pro personnel on Wednesday.

Joseph replaces Rick Mueller, who was let go after the draft. Joseph was hired by vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz, who worked with Joseph with the Miami Dolphins in 2007.

Joseph, 42, comes to Philadelphia from Chicago, where he had been the Bears’ associate director of pro personnel since 2012.

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