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NFL roundup: Two Ravens speak out on gay players, Patriots

The SportsXchange

Two Baltimore Ravens linebackers have received their 15 minutes of fame not for their play, but for their off-season quotes on Thursday.

Brendon Ayanbadejo, who has been a supporter of gay rights, said that the NFL will have its first openly gay player by 2014.

"I think it's going to happen really soon ... In the next year or the following year," Ayanbadejo said on MSNBC's The Ed Show. "I feel like we're going to see our Jackie Robinson, our pioneer for gay rights and equality and we're going to be there to support that player and make sure he has a support group around him."

The subject of gay players in the NFL has arisen this after Colorado tight end Nick Kasa said his sexuality was questioned by a number of NFL teams. Such questions are illegal under federal labor laws.

Teammate Terrell Suggs said the New England Patriots are universally hated by the other 31 NFL teams.

While promoting "The Coalition," a movie he co-wrote, Suggs told WEEI-AM in Boston that everyone shared his opinion toward the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick.

"There are 32 teams in the NFL, I guarantee the other 31 hate the New England Patriots," Suggs said. "It ain't just me. Why did [free agent linebacker] Bart Scott say the same thing? You think it's just us?"

Suggs' main problem is he believes the Patriots don't respect their opponents.

"Behind closed doors, they don't think anybody can play on the field with them," Suggs said. "It's a respect level, and I don't think the New England Patriots respect anybody."

---USC football coach Lane Kiffin is eager to offer his glowing thoughts on quarterback Matt Barkley, in case any NFL general manager or coach wants to listen.

Kiffin, a former coach of the Oakland Raiders, told ESPNLosAngeles.com that Barkley has the skills needed to succeed in the NFL.

"I think he's going to be a great starting quarterback in the NFL, and the film shows it," Kiffin said. "The plays he makes, all the throws he's made here, the leadership qualities."

Barkley's NFL draft status appeared to have been affected by the Trojans' fall from top-ranked in the preseason to unranked at the end of the season, but Kiffin blamed the defense.

---The Dallas Cowboys have restructured the contracts of five players, including wide receiver Miles Austin and center Ryan Cook, the team announced.

The team also announced it had earlier restructured the contracts of cornerback Brandon Carr, linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten. The movers allowed the Cowboys to get under the NFL salary cap before the league year starts March 12.

---Green Bay tight end Jermichael Finley told ESPN that he's not willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Packers.

The tight end is due a $3 million roster bonus March 27 and rumors last season suggested that the team would release or trade him, saving $8.25 million. He said that he hasn't been contacted about restructuring the two-year deal he signed last offseason.

---Carolina Panthers top cornerback Chris Gamble remains likely to be released as new general manager Dave Gettleman's first major move, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Carolina must shed $10 million against the salary cap by March 12. Gamble's contract includes a $10.9 million cap hit, and Gettleman can free up $7.9 million by cutting him.
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