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NFL Roundup: NFLPA seeks strict protocols; Griffin honored as top rookie

The SportsXchange

Robert Griffin III, and his knee, keep making news.

The Washington Redskins quarterback on Monday was named the NFL Rookie of the Year by Pro Football Weekly, which selects the winner in conjunction with the Pro Football Writers of America. Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association's medical adviser, Thom Mayer, pointed to Griffin's knee injury as an example why stricter protocol is needed when determining when a player can return to the game, USA Today reported.

Griffin, 22, completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 3,200 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, only five interceptions and a passer rating of 102.4.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson were runners-up in voting for the rookie honor. Griffin was also named offensive rookie of the year by the Pro Football Writers Association, while Green Bay Packers linebacker Luke Kuechly was named the PFWA's defensive rookie of the year.

The players' union absolved the Washington Redskins' medical personnel of any wrongdoing in the case of Griffin's injury, which led to extension knee surgery last week, but Mayer said the guidelines may need to be more precise.

"On concussions, we have a very clear process in place that dictates when a player can return," Mayer told USA Today. "On orthopedic injuries, the line isn't as fine yet. We need to have further discussion on this."

Mayer was satisfied with orthopedist James Andrews' involvement in the events that led to Griffin being put back into the Redskins' wild-card game against the Seahawks. But he thinks tighter regulations regarding a player's return to a game might have prevented Griffin from getting back on the field, reinjuring his knee and suffering significant ligament damage.

--New England tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent surgery Monday on the broken right forearm that he re-fractured Sunday in the Patriots' AFC playoff win over Houston, according to multiple media reports.

The injury occurred as Gronkowski braced himself on an out-of-bounds catch. He immediately left the game and then went to the locker room for X-rays. It's expected that he will be out for the remainder of the postseason.

Gronkowski missed five games after breaking the arm in November before returning for the regular-season finale against Miami.

In other Patriots news, injured running back Danny Woodhead should be able to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens despite suffering a thumb injury in Sunday's win over Houston, according to several reports.

Meanwhile, Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo apologized for inflammatory comments about the Patriots on his Twitter account on Sunday. Ayanbadejo said the Patriots' hurry-up offense was a "gimmick." He also referred to the SpyGate incident and jabbed the Patriots for cutting a player a day before last year's Super Bowl.

"I made selfish comments on twitter last night that reflected poorly upon myself, my teammates, and the organization. For that I apologize," Ayanbadejo said.

--Although he aggravated his sprained ankle in Sunday's win over Seattle, Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham said he would play in the NFC championship game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.

"You know me, you can't keep me out of that game," Abraham told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We're going to treat the (heck) out of (the injury)."

--There was plenty of offseason news on the NFL head coaching and front office front Monday:

--Former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt interviewed for the Philadelphia Eagles' head coaching job. Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was also scheduled to meet with the team later Monday. Philadelphia has now interviewed at least 11 candidates for the position, including Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, Oregon coach Chip Kelly, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, former Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick and former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. Still to be interviewed is Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

--The Colts hired Jimmy Raye as vice president of football operations. Raye, who had spent the last 17 years with the San Diego Chargers, most recently as the team's director of player personnel, will oversee the Colts' pro and college scouting and also will be involved in player personnel operations. In an ironic twist, Raye was passed over for the Chargers' general manager job that subsequently went to former Colts vice president of football operations, Tom Telesco, who was hired late last week. Now, Raye takes Telesco's old job.

--Former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was scheduled to interview for the New York Jets' offensive coordinator position, according to the New York Daily News. Cameron was dismissed as the Ravens' offensive coordinator on Dec. 10 and was replaced by quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. Jets head coach Rex Ryan and Cameron both were coordinators for Ravens in 2008. The Jets are also still looking for a new general manager, with a number of prospects having already turning them down.

--Minnesota Vikings assistant general manager George Paton is no longer a candidate for the Cleveland Browns' general manager vacancy, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Paton reportedly never interviewed with the Browns. It's unclear if he took himself out of the running or the Vikings refused to grant permission to the Browns to interview him.

--The autopsy report released by the Jackson County (Mo.) Medical Examiner showed Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Belcher was legally drunk when he died on Dec. 1 after committing suicide in front of Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.

Belcher's blood-alcohol level was .17, more than twice the legal limit, when he killed girlfriend Kasandra Perkins at their apartment before driving to the Kansas City Chiefs' training facility and committing suicide by shooting himself. Officials also said no trace of illegal drugs was found in either of their bodies.

According to the report, Belcher fired nine shots that hit Perkins in the neck, chest, abdomen, hip, back, leg and hand after a Saturday morning argument when he returned after being out all night. He then left in his car and drove to the Chiefs' facility, where he shot himself when he saw a police officer approaching. Belcher and Perkins had an infant daughter.

--The Miami Dolphins plan to make improvements to Sun Life Stadium with an eye on attracting major events including future Super Bowls and college football's national championship game.

Team owner Stephen Ross announced his intentions to pay for the majority of the proposed enhancements and upgrades to the stadium with private funds. He emphasized that there would be no tax increases for local residents.

The planned modernization would return the stadium to the original configurations before it was adapted for baseball, as well as include new seating closer to the field, new video screens and an open-air canopy to protect fans from the weather. The playing surface will remain grass.
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