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NFL roundup: Jags’ Marks questions motives in female official hire

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Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks of the Jacksonville Jaguars said the hiring of the NFL’s first female official is a publicity stunt.

The NFL has hired Sarah Thomas in a ground-breaking move, the Baltimore Sun reported Friday.

According to the celebrity website TMZ, Marks compared the hiring of a female official to the drafting of Michael Sam a year ago, when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted.

“For women, it’s great,” Marks told TMZ. “Ain’t nothing wrong with it, especially as long as she knows what she’s doing.

“It’s just like the Michael Sam situation — if he wasn’t gay, he would have gone undrafted. Instead, the league drafts him because I think they are trying to monopolize every aspect of the world … the same thing with a female ref.

“For the league, it’s great publicity. The NFL is all about monopolizing every opportunity. I hope it works for her.”

An NFL spokesman on Friday would not confirm Thomas’ hiring, stating the roster of officials is not yet complete, but the Los Angeles Times reported Thomas would be among eight new officials for the 2015 season.

Marks, 27, has spent two years with the Jaguars and is currently recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in the final game last season. He led the Jaguars with 8.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hurries.

—St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher expects wide receiver Kenny Britt to play an expanded role on offense in 2015.

In his first season with St. Louis, Britt started 13 of 16 games in 2014, catching 48 passes for 748 yards and three touchdowns. He had played his previous five seasons with Tennessee, which drafted him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft when Fisher was coaching the Titans.

“I can kind of share the same issue Kenny does and that’s we think he can be better,” Fisher said, according to ESPN.com. “I think he can do better. He thinks he can be better. He thinks he can be more productive. He’s looking forward to the offensive changes. I think, yeah, we should see a lot more out of Kenny this year.”

Britt re-signed with the Rams to a two-year deal reportedly worth $9.15 million with incentives that could drive it up to about $14 million, according to ESPN.com. Britt reportedly receives $4.3 million guaranteed.

—New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl guard Jahri Evans, who reworked his contract this week, is now scheduled to count $7 million against the salary cap instead of $11 million, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

The newspaper reported Evans received a $5.4 million signing bonus, and he will get a guaranteed base salary of $1 million in 2015. Another $500,000 comes from a roster bonus and $100,000 from a workout bonus.

Evans was selected to the Pro Bowl for the sixth straight season in 2014. He had surgery on his wrist to repair torn ligaments after the Saints’ disappointing 7-9 season.


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