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NFL roundup: NFLPA reportedly balks at Tagliabue as arbiter

The SportsXchange

The NFL Players Association might have considered it a victory when commissioner Roger Goodell agreed to recuse himself from the appeals process in the New Orleans' Saints' bounty case last week, but the players aren't cheering the appointment of Paul Tagliabue.

ProFootballTalk.com reported Tuesday the NFLPA will ask Tagliabue to step aside, too, considering the Goodell mentor unfit for the role of objective arbitrator in bounty punishment appeal hearings for Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent Anthony Hargrove.

The basis for the objection includes Taglibue's employment at Covington and Burling, a law firm that represents the NFL in the bounty litigation. Tagliabue is also considered a potential witness based on the NFL condoning programs that toed the line of "pay for performance" in the 1990s when he was the league's commissioner.

The NFLPA has not formally made the request to have Tagliabue removed, but a letter has been sent to the former commissioner and the NFL, PFT reported.

The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30.

--Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh claimed there was no intent to injure Jay Cutler when he slung the Chicago Bears quarterback to the ground Monday night. The NFL has agreed with him.

The hit was legal in the league's eyes, NFL.com and the NFL Network reported Tuesday. Suh wasn't penalized during the game and he won't be fined.

Cutler injured his ribs during the second-quarter sack when Suh fell on top of him, but he returned to the game and helped lead the Bears to a 13-7 victory.

"There were no harsh words between us," Suh told the Chicago Tribune. "I wanted to make sure he was good. I'm never a person to injure anybody and take anybody out of the game."

Cutler's teammate, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, had a different view.

Marshall said via Twitter: "A Suh. What u did to Jay wasn't cool. Great players don't have to do that." ... "A Suh. Something I've learned and now passing down to you. Succeed with character."

--The Jacksonville Jaguars, who will be without running back Maurice Jones-Drew for Sunday's game against the Packers in Green Bay, might also be missing starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Gabbert has a torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, ESPN.com's Ed Werder reported Tuesday.

ProFootballTalk.com indicated through its sources that Gabbert plans to play Sunday despite the injury.

To fill the vacancy left by Jones-Drew, who has a foot injury, the Jaguars signed second-year running back Keith Toston.

Toston, 25, was waived by Jacksonville just before the season began after playing for the team through the preseason. He had 22 carries for 171 yards during exhibition play.

--Troy Polamalu has played just two games for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season, and he won't be on the field for a third this week against the Washington Redskins.

Polamalu is hobbled by a calf injury he aggravated Oct. 7 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) won't play against the Redskins this week. But coach Mike Tomlin said center Maurkice Pouncey and running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman will likely practice this week and be available Sunday.

--NFL owners have approved a $58 million loan to help the Green Bay Packers renovate Lambeau Field.

Packers president Mark Murphy said the team now has the financing in place to complete a $143 million expansion, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

The team is adding more than 6,500 seats in the south end zone. A new sound system, video board and entrance already are in place as part of the project.

The league assistance comes from a program in the collective bargaining agreement that offers clubs a maximum $150 million in loans. The San Francisco 49ers were the first team to take advantage of the loans to help construct a new stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

The Packers already had raised $64 million from a stock sale last winter.

--Outgoing Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren isn't sure whether he'll remain with the team for the rest of the season and says he hasn't closed the door on coaching again in the NFL.

Holmgren, 64, addressed reporters at a news conference Tuesday at Browns headquarters in Berea, Ohio, and said his involvement with the team will hinge on whether new owner Jimmy Haslam III and incoming CEO Joe Banner seek out his advice and input.

"We'll take it one day at a time and see how it goes," Holmgren said. "I'll focus on the football side now. I want to feel like I'm contributing. I think I can help a little."

--Goodell wants a more competitive Pro Bowl in February.

After coaches and players publicly blasted the effort put forth in last year's game, Goodell and NFL owners considered pulling the plug. Players lobbied to keep the all-star game and not just voting to designate Pro Bowl picks, but Goodell said the game itself remains in jeopardy.

"If we cannot accomplish that kind of standard (of top effort), I am inclined to not play it," Goodell said on SiriusXM Radio on Monday. "It is really tough to force competition, and after a long season, to ask those guys to go out and play at the same level they played is really tough."

--The Redskins signed running back Keiland Williams and released running back Ryan Grant.

Grant spent four weeks on the Redskins roster and had just one carry for five yards.

Williams was released by the Lions on Oct. 18. He played for the Redskins as a rookie in 2010.
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