NFL-National Football League roundup

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Jan 19 (The Sports Xchange) - The Miami Dolphins knew wide receiver Davone Bess had emotional troubles, but did not disclose that information when they traded him to the Cleveland Browns last year, according to the Miami Herald. Miami traded Bess in April, shortly after he was arrested and committed to a treatment facility against his will. According to the Herald's report, the Dolphins took a "don't-ask-don't-tell" approach when they shopped Bess for a trade, knowing of his issues. Further, it is reportedly the reason why owner Stephen Ross emphasized the word "integrity" in a recent press release that explained what he is looking for in a new general manager. Former GM Jeff Ireland agreed to step down earlier this month. Bess has been in the news recently for legal troubles and other controversies. He was arrested for assaulting an officer/firefighter on Friday morning at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The arrest came a day after he posted an image on Twitter of what appeared to be marijuana, indicating he was watching "Cocaine Cowboys," a program about illegal drug use in the 1980s, and wrote the message "We da real dons!" The photo was later deleted. After the Browns acquired Bess, he was given a contract extension, including $5.75 million in guaranteed money. Bess made 42 catches for 362 yards with two touchdowns in 14 games this season. - - - Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown does not plan to retire, ESPN reported Sunday. McCown led the Bears to a 3-2 record while filling in for injured starter Jay Cutler for part of the 2013 season. Some believed McCown may retire but he reportedly plans to file for free agency in the offseason and is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks available. McCown, 34, and Michael Vick are expected to lead a thin crop of free agent quarterbacks. The Bears reportedly want to bring back McCown, but other teams more needy for a quarterback may have a better chance of signing him. The Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans are among the teams in search of a starting quarterback. McCown threw for 1,829 yards with 13 touchdowns and one interception in eight games this season. - - - The NFL announced that a record 98 underclassmen made themselves eligible for this year's draft. The league released the list of early entrants Sunday, and said the number has increased six straight seasons. The deadline for underclassmen to apply for the draft was Jan. 15. The list includes Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins is also on the list. The 98 underclassmen shatters last year's record of 73. In 2012, 65 underclassmen entered the draft, and in 2011 the number was 56. Four players who graduated but still have college playing eligibility remaining also joined the draft class. That includes Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The draft is May 8-10 in New York. - - - President Barack Obama told the New Yorker that if he had a son, he would not allow him to play professional football. The comments came a year after Obama said he was not sure if he would let his hypothetical son play youth football. "I would not let my son play pro football," Obama said. "I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you, if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football." The topic came up in the latest issue of the New Yorker, given the research that connects the physical demands of playing football to concussions, early onset dementia and degenerative brain disease. Obama also compared NFL players to smokers, in terms of the health risks involved. He said those involved understand those dangers. "At this point, there's a little bit of caveat emptor," Obama said. "These guys, they know what they're doing. They know what they're buying into. It is no longer a secret. It's sort of the feeling I have about smokers, you know?" - - - NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's seats for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., are outside in the stands, ESPN reported Sunday. Instead of a nice, warm luxury suite, Goodell's seats are among the tens of thousands attending the game on Feb. 2. Goodell has sat in the stands during several cold-weather games in the past and has said he enjoys it. Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle sat outside at Tulane University in New Orleans in the coldest Super Bowl to date. The recorded temperature was 39 degrees. This year's Super Bowl is expected to be even colder. AccuWeather forecasts a high of 37 degrees and a low of 25, with a chance of rain and snow showers. - - - The NFL told officials to take control early of Sunday's NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, according to NFL Network. Because the game is expected to be more physical than usual, officials were informed to set the tone. The NFC West rivals tend to get chippy when they meet. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino used footage from the first half of last Sunday's NFC divisional playoff involving the 49ers and Carolina Panthers as evidence of how physical the game could get and the league wants officials to take control. (Editing by Gene Cherry)