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NFL notebook: Union files grievance against Patriots

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The NFL Players Association filed a complaint against the New England Patriots for preventing cornerback Malcolm Butler from participating in offseason workouts.

The complaint by the union was filed Wednesday and done without Butler’s approval after an initial review, according to ESPN and confirmed by the Boston Globe. Butler has been a focal point in New England since the final quarter of Super Bowl XLIX and his game-clinching interception that brought a fourth Lombardi Trophy to the Patriots.

According to ESPN, the union cited Article 21 of the collective bargaining agreement, alleging the Patriots disciplined a player for missing a voluntary workout, which indicated the workouts were not voluntary, and, as the CBA states, an absence from a voluntary activity cannot result in “adverse consequences affecting his working conditions.”

Butler was absent from the first six Patriots organized team activities after he was late for the first OTA on May 26. He missed a flight to Boston because of weather issues.

—Peyton Manning helped out a grieving family in Indiana with an inspirational gesture, sending them an autographed photo and a handwritten letter as they try to recover from losing a loved one killed by a drunk driver.

Logan Brown, 15, of Evansville, Ind., was killed in March in a head-on-collision with another car driven by a man whose blood alcohol content was four times the legal limit. Tuesday would have been Logan’s 16th birthday.

Gayle Ricketts wrote to Manning, the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback now with the Denver Broncos, to share her grandson’s story. A package came in the mail from Manning on what would have been the teenager’s birthday. Inside was a handwritten letter and an autographed photo of Manning with “In memory of Logan Allen Brown.”

—Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton visited with the families of the Charleston, S.C., shooting tragedy to show his respect.

In the aftermath of last week’s shootings when a gunman killed nine people during Bible study at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Panthers organization and its players continue to reach out in support of the victims and their families.

Newton visited the families of Tywanza Sanders and Sharonda Coleman-Singleton on Monday in Charleston. Sanders and Coleman-Singleton were two of the nine people killed.

Last Friday, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson donated $100,000 to the families of the nine victims killed, and to the church where the murders occurred. Richardson sent $10,000 per family of the victims for funeral costs and another $10,000 to the church as a memorial honoring the victims.

—For the first time since the Cleveland Browns invested a second-round pick in wide receiver Josh Gordon in 2012, a player will be selected in the NFL’s annual supplemental draft. At least, that’s the early opinion of one highly ranked NFL scout after 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle Isaiah Battle announced Thursday that he will be leaving Clemson early.

While the supplemental draft has become a catch-all of sorts for prospects with off-field issues that endangered their eligibility, Battle’s choice to leave school early for a shot at the NFL apparently came due to family obligations. But while Battle referenced “family matters,” a citation for marijuana possession on June 11 might have had something to do with his departure as well. According to The Clemson Insider, the pot ticket was the third strike for Battle, who was suspended in 2013 for punching an opposing player and again last season for disciplinary reasons.

Battle played in 27 games for the Tigers during the past three seasons, starting 11 of 12 games a year ago and 16 games overall.

—The Tennessee Titans announced that they have agreed to a 20-year naming-rights deal with Nissan North America and will change the name of their stadium from LP Field to Nissan Stadium.

The connection with Nissan is natural, as the automobile maker’s North American headquarters is in Franklin, Tenn., and the Nissan Smyrna Vehicle Assembly plant employs more than 8,400 workers.

The Titans’ 10-year deal with Louisiana-Pacific Corp. was set to expire soon.


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