April 16 (Reuters) - The NFL's 2017 regular-season schedule is set to be announced later this week with the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots hosting the opening game on Sept. 7.
Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reported Sunday that the Patriots will "almost certainly" play the Kansas City Chiefs in the "Thursday Night Football" season opener at Gillette Stadium.
The Atlanta Falcons are on New England's home schedule this season and could have been an option for a Super Bowl rematch in Week One. But the Falcons are likely to open the season at home on "Sunday Night Football" to debut their new stadium, according to the report.
The Falcons' possible home opponent could be the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Bills, Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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The head of NFL referees wants to see penalties eliminated for touchdown celebrations.
Players and fans have been calling for these rules to either be tweaked or eliminated, but the league does not appear to be on board with making any changes.
Scott Green of the NFL Referees Association said on-field officials think the league office is putting them in a difficult situation and would prefer the celebration issues be handled with fines.
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Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said he expects to retire after the 2018 season to complete a dozen years with the team.
Robison agreed to restructure his contract last month, giving him two more years before retiring following his 12th NFL season, all with Minnesota.
Robison, who turns 34 on April 27, originally had one year left on his contract, a nonguaranteed $5.6 million for 2017. He agreed to drop his base salary to a guaranteed $3.9 million while also getting a $100,000 workout bonus, according to the Pioneer Press. Robison also got 2018 added to his new deal for a base salary of $3.2 million.
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The Chicago Bears re-signed linebacker Sam Acho to a one-year contract.
Acho recorded 40 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble in 16 games last season. (Editing by Gene Cherry)