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Reports — Emails from Washington Football Team investigation show NFL’s Jeff Pash, ex-WFT prez Bruce Allen had close relationship



NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen had a close relationship, according to emails collected during the NFL’s workplace misconduct investigation of the Washington franchise, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night.

The correspondence is among 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation.

That trove of emails helped lead to Jon Gruden’s resignation as Las Vegas Raiders coach earlier this week after reports from the Times and Journal showed he used misogynistic and anti-gay language and also used a racist comment to refer to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. Gruden was employed by ESPN at the time as the lead analyst for Monday Night Football when he sent the emails over a seven-year period.

Earlier this week, the NFLPA said it planned to request that the NFL release the remainder of the 650,000 emails reviewed as part of the investigation.

The emails between Pash and Allen show Pash reassuring Allen on controversies involving the Washington franchise and discussing league issues and other topics, including politics.

Pash, in one email exchange in 2013, told Allen that his franchise would not have to pay a $15,000 fine for manipulating their injury report, according to the New York Times. Allen’s appeal was initial denied only to be overruled by Pash, who wrote to Allen that the franchise did not have to pay the fine “or any other amount with respect to this matter and you should consider the fine to be rescinded in its entirety.”

In another exchange, according to the Times, Allen contacted Pash after the Washington franchise was entangled in sexual harassment allegations involving its cheerleaders. Pash responded to Allen that, “I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward.”

Emails between Gruden and Allen and other men, however, included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.

In another exchange from 2016, according to the reports, Allen complained to Pash when Jocelyn Moore, who is Black, was hired as the NFL’s top lobbyist after she had worked for several Democratic senators.

“Curious — is there a rule against hiring Libertarians, Independents or even a Republican?” Allen wrote in the email, to which Pash replied: No, but it can sometimes look that way!

Allen referred to the NFL’s rule that requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and general manager candidates in his response: “We have the Rooney rule …. So I’m going to propose a Lincoln Rule at the next meeting.”

The NFL, via NFL executive vice president of communications Jeff Miller, on Thursday denied their was any wrongdoing in the emails between Pash and Allen, who was fired as team president by the Washington franchise in 2019.

“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis. Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character NFL executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false,” Miller said in a statement issued to both the Times and Journal.

The NFL completed its investigation into Washington’s workplace culture in July, fining the franchise $10 million. In addition, Tanya Snyder, who was named the team’s co-CEO in June, took over the day-to-day duties of the franchise from her husband, Dan. All senior executives, including the Snyders, were ordered to take part in workplace conduct training.

That investigation, which began in 2020, was conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson. Pash’s counsel was sought in the investigation, league officials told the Journal.

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NFL Playoffs – Top moments from the San Francisco 49ers-Green Bay Packers rivalry



The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers are set to meet again in the NFC divisional round.

It’s the latest game in a postseason rivalry that rose to center stage in the 1990s, with both teams led by legendary quarterbacks in Steve Young and Brett Favre. The rivalry has been renewed multiple times in the 21st century.

Saturday will be the ninth playoff meeting between these teams, tied with the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams as the most common playoff matchup in NFL history. The squads have split the previous eight meetings, with the 49ers riding a three-game postseason win streak that dates back to 2012.

Here are some defining moments between the familiar foes, selected by NFL Nation reporters Rob Demovsky and Nick Wagoner.

1995 NFC divisional round

The team’s first postseason meeting was also the first time Green Bay head coach Mike Holmgren coached against San Francisco, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 1986 to 1991 and won two Super Bowls.

This game was all Green Bay.

The Packers’ defense tallied four turnovers. The party began when LB Wayne Simmons forced a fumble on San Francisco’s first offensive snap that CB Craig Newsome returned for a touchdown. The Packers used their hot start to build a 21-0 lead in the first half. San Francisco QB Steve Young attempted a playoff-record 65 passes, but it still wasn’t enough to come out on top as the defending Super Bowl champions lost 27-17.

1996 NFC divisional round

Nicknamed the Mud Bowl because of sloppy conditions at Lambeau Field, this was the Packers’ first postseason win on the way to winning Super Bowl XXXI. Similar to their last divisional-round meeting, Favre & Co. jumped out to a three-touchdown lead in the first half. But this time around, two Green Bay turnovers aided San Francisco’s efforts at a comeback and the lead shrunk to 21-14.

Once again, the Packers’ defense helped the scoring efforts by recording five takeaways against a Niners offense that was without Steve Young for most of the game because of cracked ribs.

Green Bay scored the final 14 points and won 35-14.

1997 NFC Championship Game

Green Bay was the reigning Super Bowl champion but had to travel to Candlestick Park in the postseason.

The visiting team held a 13-3 lead at the half, but a scoreless third quarter kept the game within reach for San Francisco.

The Packers added 10 points in the fourth quarter before their opponent found the end zone for the first time via RB Chuck Levy’s 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

It was too little, too late, as Green Bay cruised to its third consecutive playoff win over San Francisco 23-10.

Packers safety LeRoy Butler, creator of the Lambeau Leap, grew fond of meeting a familiar face in the postseason.

“I probably liked playing San Francisco more than anybody else,” Butler told Forbes in 2020. Beating them was so satisfying, because I knew all those guys would be in the Hall of Fame. The quarterback, the receivers, the linebackers, the coach, the owner.”

1998 NFC wild-card round

Unlike their previous postseason matchups, the fourth meeting was a back-and-forth battle. It all came down to the final drive.

Jerry Rice’s first and only reception of the game came with less than 40 seconds remaining. Despite clearly losing possession of the ball, the officials missed the call and instant replay was not in use at the time, so the drive continued.

Young found Terrell Owens for a 25-yard game-winning toss that was nicknamed “The Catch II” as an ode to Joe Montana and Dallas Clark’s connection known as “The Catch” in the 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

San Francisco ended its three-year postseason skid against Green Bay with a 30-27 victory, and it was a moment that helped make Owens a superstar.

2012 NFC divisional round

This game was the playoff debut of Colin Kaepernick.

In just his eighth NFL start, Kaepernick rushed for a quarterback-record 181 yards and two touchdowns and threw two more TDs to pair with his 263 yards through the air.

San Francisco came out on top 45-31.

2013 NFC wild-card round

The 49ers and Packers faced a frigid kickoff temperature of 5 degrees at Lambeau Field. It turned into a duel between Aaron Rodgers and Kaepernick as well as the teams’ kickers.

Rodgers led the offense downfield for a tying field goal by Mason Crosby in the final quarter, but it left over five minutes on the clock for Kaepernick’s squad. San Francisco’s ensuing drive included four consecutive carries by Frank Gore that forced Green Bay to exhaust all three timeouts.

Phil Dawson’s 33-yard, go-ahead field goal was the difference-maker that lifted the Niners over the Packers 23-20.

2019 NFC Championship Game

This matchup was decided early as the 49ers led 27-0 at halftime.

Raheem Mostert ran all over Green Bay, gaining 220 rushing yards with four scores. As a result of the dominant run game, Jimmy Garoppolo threw only eight passes, tied for the second-fewest passes thrown in a playoff game. He even went 24 minutes of game time between his sixth and seventh passes.

San Francisco’s 37-20 win sent the 49ers to the Super Bowl, where they eventually lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Jimmy Graham, Andrew Beck, Jarret Johnson finalists for Salute to Service Award



Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham, Denver Broncos tight end/fullback Andrew Beck, and former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson are finalists for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award.

The award recognizes people who demonstrated exceptional effort to honor and support members of the military community. It will be recognized on Feb. 10 at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press reveals its individual award winners for the 2021 season.

“From advocacy and support to our currently serving military to ensuring our veterans successfully transition with employment after their service as well as supporting military children, all three finalists for the 11th annual ‘Salute to Service Award presented by USAA’ should be recognized for their commitment to America’s military community,” said Vice Admiral (Retired) John Bird, USAA’s senior vice president of military affairs. “We thank and deeply appreciate Jarret, Jimmy, and Andrew for joining USAA in always honoring and serving our military, veterans, and their families, and encourage all Americans to follow their lead in participating in acts of service and support for our military.”

This season, NFL clubs nominated coaches, active and retired players, team executives and personnel who best demonstrated support for the military community.

USAA will contribute $25,000 in the award recipient’s honor to the official aid societies representing each of the military branches. The NFL will match that donation, which will be donated to the award recipient’s military charity of choice.

Last year’s award recipient was Atlanta Falcons executive Steve Cannon.

The mission of The Jimmy Graham Foundation is to provide life changing and impactful experiences through the freedom of flight. To recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of veterans, Graham takes veterans airborne in his two US Army aircraft restorations, a 1957 de Havilland Beaver and 1967 UH1 Iroquois “Huey” helicopter. He also provides flights for underprivileged youth as an introduction to aviation.

With the goal to employ veterans, Johnson recently partnered with a service-disabled Air Force veteran to start a Black Rifle Coffee franchise in Niceville, Florida. The franchise employs more than 40 veterans, active-duty servicemen and women, veterans’ spouses and children of military members from all around the world. He is an annual sponsor of SOF Missions, a non-profit that provides care to veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) with the goal of ending veteran suicide.

Over the past three years, Beck has partnered with a variety of military service organizations. In total, he’s reached more than 425 military families through his outreach. In November of 2020, he assembled care packages for military bases across Colorado and helped host a virtual visit with Wounded Warrior Project veterans. He hosted a barbecue for Fort Carson military families in partnership with USO Colorado, and helped host a pizza party and game night for kids at the Buckley Space Force Base Youth Center.

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Will the Browns stick with Baker Mayfield at QB? Biggest questions facing Cleveland this offseason – Cleveland Browns Blog



BEREA, Ohio — The Cleveland Browns were among the NFL’s biggest disappointments in 2021. Can they bounce back in 2022?

That figures to hinge heavily on the upcoming offseason.

The Browns still boast a talented roster, highlighted by several star players who remain under contract, including Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, guard Joel Bitonio and defensive end Myles Garrett.

But clearly, as this past season underscored, Cleveland has more roster building and revamping ahead to become a true contender.

Here are the three burning questions the Browns face this offseason:

Will the Browns stick with Baker Mayfield at quarterback?

Both general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski declared last week that they “fully expect” Baker Mayfield to be their starter and “bounce back” in 2022.

“It’s easy to forget. … what we’ve seen with Baker over the past several years,” Berry said. “Obviously he had his most productive season in this offense under Kevin [in 2020].

“We’ve been with Baker for a long period of time. We know his work ethic, we know his drive and we [see] him as a talented passer in this league.”

On Wednesday, Mayfield underwent surgery in California to have the torn labrum in his non-throwing left shoulder repaired. The hope is Mayfield will be cleared in time to participate in OTAs in May, or at least by June for minicamp, according to sources.

Whatever they might be saying publicly, the Browns will have to determine internally how much they believe the injury affected Mayfield’s performance this season, and whether, with a healthy shoulder, he can return to being the quarterback that both propelled the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 and finished in the top 10 in QBR.

Off that, they’ll have three options: 1. Bring back Mayfield as the starter; 2. Acquire another quarterback to compete with him; 3. Jettison him to another team while trading for another starter.

The Browns might not have the draft capital (unless they included one of their own stars in a deal) to trade for Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, who, by the way, would both have to waive their no-trade clauses to come to Cleveland. Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo, coming off playoff runs, might not be so readily available anymore. Deshaun Watson has 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and inappropriate behavior pending against him. And Kirk Cousins is set to make $35 million next season, almost $17 million more than what Mayfield’s fifth-year option will pay him in 2022.

That’s why bringing Mayfield back as the starter seems to be the most likely outcome. But what the Browns ultimately decide will be one of the dominant storylines of this NFL offseason.

Whoever the QB, can Browns upgrade their pass-catching weapons?

Cleveland did not have a pass-catcher top 600 receiving yards this season. And after Jarvis Landry, no Browns player had more than 38 catches. Mayfield’s struggles had much to do with that. But it was hardly all on him.

The Browns ranked 25th in yards after the catch, coupled with the seventh-highest drop rate (4.4%) in the league. Only the Patriots and Falcons had fewer 40-yard receptions than Cleveland, which had five such passing plays all season.

Landry has no guaranteed money left on his deal to go with a $15.1 million cap hit. It feels like he has played his last snap with the Browns.

“Everybody knows how much respect we have for Jarvis Landry and really what he’s meant for our team and organization over the past several years,” Berry said last week, when asked directly about Landry coming back. “He’s been a productive player for us since the day that we traded for him, and he has been a key piece in terms of how the team and organization has evolved over the last several years.”

Assuming that Landry and free agent Rashard Higgins (who made three starts even after Odell Beckham Jr. was released midseason) end up elsewhere, Cleveland’s top four returning receivers would be Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz, Demetric Felton and Ja’Marcus Bradley. That’s why the Browns are sure to target a receiver with the No. 13 overall pick (Mel Kiper Jr. has them taking Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson in his first mock draft, which dropped this week). Signing a veteran to help replace Landry would help, as well, although convincing any receiver to come play in Stefanski’s run-heavy scheme might not prove easy.

The Browns also have decisions at tight end, a position that hasn’t produced enough explosive plays. David Njoku has expressed an interest in coming back, though he’ll need to be re-signed. Cleveland could get out from under Austin Hooper’s contract (he has no guaranteed money left) if it wanted to, but that would leave a sizable hole.

On the whole, Browns pass-catchers have to put more pressure on opposing defenses than they did in 2021.

Will the Browns have to rebuild the DL?

The Browns feature one of the top overall defensive players in the league in Garrett. But after him, Cleveland’s entire defensive line seems to be in flux.

Defensive tackle Malik McDowell almost certainly won’t be back in the wake of his arrest in Florida this week on charges of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence and public exposure. Malik Jackson, Cleveland’s other starting defensive tackle this season, is 32 and a free agent. Though the Browns have a couple of promising prospects in Tommy Togiai and Jordan Elliott, defensive tackle suddenly looks like a major concern.

The same would go for edge rusher if the Browns are unable to bring back Jadeveon Clowney, who is coming off a banner season playing opposite Garrett. Clowney has said he’d like to return to Cleveland, but also suggested money would be the biggest factor in where he ends up next.

Defensively, re-signing Clowney figures to be priority No. 1 for the Browns in what is shaping up to be a critical offseason for their future.

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