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NFL roundup: Peterson’s suspension appeal denied

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Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s season-long suspension has been upheld by NFL-appointed arbitrator Harold Henderson, the league announced Friday.

Peterson was suspended for the rest of the season by commissioner Roger Goodell on Nov. 18, after Peterson failed to attend a disciplinary hearing regarding his alleged violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

In the appeal heard by Henderson last week, the NFL Players Association argued that Goodell punished Peterson unduly under a revised personal conduct policy.

In his ruling Friday, Henderson said, “I conclude that the player has not demonstrated that the process and procedures surrounding his discipline were not fair and consistent. He was afforded all the protections and rights to which he is entitled, and I find no basis to vacate or reduce the discipline.”

In a statement Friday, the union said, “The NFLPA expected this outcome, given the hearing officer’s relationship and financial ties to the NFL. The decision itself ignores the facts, the evidence and the collective bargaining agreement. This decision also represents the NFL’s repeated failure to adhere to due process and confirms its inconsistent treatment of players. Our union is considering immediate legal remedies.”

—President Obama said Friday during a radio interview that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to be making up policy as he went along in handling player discipline such as the Ray Rice case.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio, Obama said the Rice case troubled him as it shined a spotlight on domestic violence in America.

“I think the most prominent example, obviously, was the Ray Rice situation,” he said. “I’m so glad we got more awareness about domestic violence. Obviously, the situation that happened in the Rice family was important, but it did lift up awareness that this is a real problem that we have to root out and men have to change their attitudes and their behavior.”

—Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said he would be surprised if quarterback Drew Stanton played against the Seattle Seahawks next week and that he has not decided who will start the Sunday night game that could decide the NFC West.

Stanton was on crutches Friday after suffering a sprained knee Thursday night in the Cardinals’ 12-6 win over the St. Louis Rams. He won’t need surgery, Arians said Friday after Stanton underwent an MRI.

“Drew has a chance to return this season,” Arians said. “It’s a day-to-day thing.”

—Quarterback Colt McCoy is expected to start for the Washington Redskins on Sunday despite a sprained neck.

McCoy practiced with the starters Friday, and coach Jay Gruden said the quarterback was slated to see a specialist Friday afternoon to get final clearance for the game in New York against the Giants. McCoy reportedly was cleared after that appointment.

—Johnny Manziel realizes there will be plenty of scrutiny Sunday when he makes his first start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, but he has dealt with that before and isn’t worried.

“I think I welcome it. I think I accept that,” the rookie said Friday. “I’ve been a guy that has had a lot of hate spewed towards me. Obviously, we saw that at (Texas) A&M, but that’s part of it and I just move on from that and do what I need to do.”

Coach Mike Pettine, who named Manziel the starter earlier this week, is eager to see how he performs against the Cincinnati Bengals. Pettine said Manziel brought energy to the offense during practices this week.

“And I think it was contagious,” Pettine said. “You could tell that he’s rejuvenated and just much more assertive in the huddle and just how he’s carrying himself around the other guys. Hopefully, that energy can carry over to Sunday.”

—Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer made a tearful apology in front of the team this week for criticizing Jay Cutler to a reporter.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Kromer made the apology during a Monday team meeting, admitting he criticized Cutler to an NFL Network reporter on Dec. 4 after the Bears’ fifth loss in seven games.

Those comments led to a report Sunday that the organization is feeling “buyer’s remorse” after signing the quarterback to a seven-year, $126.7 million contract that includes $54 million guaranteed.

On Friday, Cutler was magnanimous, saying, “We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve said things out of character and things I wish I could take back, and that’s what happened here. He apologized to us … it’s a dead issue.”

—Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith will be a game-time decision on Sunday when the Ravens play the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

Smith, who is dealing with a sprained right knee suffered in Week 13, did not catch a pass in limited playing time against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday.

Smith returned to practice Friday after missing the first two days.

—Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is expected to play Sunday in Buffalo.

Lacy, who suffered a hip injury against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday, worked out with the strength staff Friday and will try to practice Saturday. He is listed as probable.

Cornerback Davon House is out due to a shoulder injury suffered in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. He was scheduled to undergo additional tests Friday.

—San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews missed practice for a third straight day Friday and is questionable for the Chargers’ game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Mathews, who missed seven games with a knee injury earlier this season, suffered an ankle injury against the New England Patriots on Sunday night.

If Mathews cannot play, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown would see increased time.

—Former All-Pro safety Darren Sharper now faces six rape charges in three states after he was indicted Friday by a New Orleans grand jury on two counts of aggravated rape.

Sharper previously was charged with two rapes each in Los Angeles County and Tempe, Ariz. He has been in Los Angeles County jail since Feb. 27.

On Friday, Sharper was indicted along with two other men for alleged rapes in New Orleans in 2013. Erik Nunez and Brandon Licciardi, a former New Orleans law enforcement officer, also were indicted by the grand jury.

Sharper and Nunez are both accused of sexually assaulting two women in September 2013, and Sharper faces another rape count stemming from an alleged incident in August 2013.

Sharper also was indicted on federal drug charges related to accusations that he drugged the women before assaulting them.

—Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark was fined $22,050 for striking an opponent too high, and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali and Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Tommy Kelly were fined $16,537 for illegal hits on quarterbacks.

Among other fines reported Friday: Atlanta Falcons defensive end Tyson Jackson was fined $12,500 for a late hit on Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers; New York Giants defensive end Damontre Moore was fined $10,000 for hitting Tennessee QB Zach Mettenberger during an interception; Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews was fined $10,000 for a uniform violation (wearing white cleats); Carolina’s Brandon Williams and Kelvin Benjamin and New Orleans linebacker Curtis Lofton each were fined $8,268 for their part in the brawl in their game; Benjamin was assessed another $8,268 for unnecessary roughness unrelated to the fight; Redskins defensive lineman Frank Kearse was fined $8,268 for a facemask on Rams quarterback Shaun Hill.


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