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Minnesota Vikings DE Everson Griffen says he is bipolar, wants to be mental health advocate

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Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen announced that he is bipolar in an Instagram post on Friday night and said he will be an advocate for mental health after an incident last week in which he called police to his home and then refused to leave.

“It’s true I am bipolar. I will embrace it and I will be an advocate for mental health,” Everson’s post read. “I been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore. It all started when my mother passed away. Went into a dark place, thought I was great for many years.

“I promise this time I will do everything the experts say and my wife. I love my family and I miss my friends. Thank you for all the love and support, but most of all thank you for all the prayers.”

Griffen, 33, was transported to a mental health facility Wednesday after he refused to come out of his home following a disturbing series of posts he made on Instagram, including one in which he held a gun and said people were trying to kill him.

Griffen called 911 shortly after 3 a.m. local time Wednesday and said someone was inside his home and that he needed help from the police. He told the 911 dispatcher that he fired a weapon but that nobody was injured.

Local law enforcement and Vikings team psychologists were on site and in communication with Griffen beginning around 7 a.m. Wednesday before the defensive end finally came out of his residence without incident around 1:30 p.m.

“We got him the necessary help that he needs and [he’s] in the care of medical professionals,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said at the time.

The Vikings placed Griffen on the reserve/non-football illness list on Friday, meaning he will miss at least three games.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this story.



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Los Angeles Rams’ Matthew Stafford says toe feeling fine ahead of playoff game vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn’t expect his injured toe to be a factor in Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Buccaneers in Tampa, Florida.

Stafford suffered the injury in the Rams’ regular-season finale against the San Francisco 49ers, a 27-24 overtime loss.

“I’m feeling OK,” Stafford said Wednesday. “The toe kind of happened in that game and that was kind of a real thing, but I got a bunch of treatment on it. I’m feeling a lot better. So I don’t see anything limiting me in this game.”

Coach Sean McVay said one of the reasons he tried to put the 49ers away with their run game near the end of regulation was because Stafford was hobbled. He said Stafford had “no limitations” Monday night against the Arizona Cardinals as the Rams leaned on their run game for much of their 34-11 wild-card victory.

Stafford was 13-of-17 passing, both easily season lows, for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the first playoff victory of his 13-year NFL career.

“He felt good,” McVay said. “Everything was up and available to be called. He was feeling great.”

The Rams are uncertain about the statuses of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and safety Taylor Rapp for Sunday’s game.

Whitworth, 40, got his right knee rolled up on during the Rams’ opening play against Arizona. He played 30 of the team’s 60 offensive snaps before Joe Noteboom replaced him for the remainder of the game.

McVay said tests results haven’t indicated that the Rams need to rule Whitworth out yet. He’d be a nonparticipant if the Rams were practicing Wednesday, per McVay.

“He’s got some swelling in that knee and that ankle,” McVay said. “It’s a miracle. He’s like Gumby with the way that he got rolled up on. It was not a good looking play when you watch it on the replay. But he’s a resilient guy. He responds quickly. He’s been a quick healer. For him to be able to play and start at tackle at the age of 40 tells you everything you need to know about how blessed he is with his genetics and the way he takes care of himself.

“But we’ll see how quickly he can turn around. Not sure whether he’ll be able to go or not this week. We’ll take it a day at a time. Fortunately his scans gave us some information where we didn’t have to rule him out.”

Whitworth ranked third during the regular season in ESPN’s Pass Block Win Rate among offensive tackles.

Rapp, who missed the Cardinals game, remains in concussion protocol. His absence and Jordan Fuller‘s season-ending ankle injury prompted the Rams to bring 37-year-old Eric Weddle out of his two-year retirement last week to pad their safety depth. He played 19 of 56 defensive snaps while Nick Scott and Terrell Burgess started.

“With Rapp, we’re just taking that a day at a time,” McVay said. “The concussion protocol and kind of going through those strategic steps and making sure that when you are active, you’re not having any symptoms. Those are the things we’re working through right now and I know Taylor’s going to do everything in his power to be ready if he can.”

Cornerback David Long Jr. (knee) is “doing good,” per McVay. He returned one of the Rams’ two interceptions of Kyler Murray for a touchdown Monday night. McVay said backup running back Buddy Howell (hamstring) also would have been a nonparticipant Wednesday and that “everybody else would be in good shape” if the team was practicing.

McVay expects the Rams to designate linebacker Ernest Jones to return to practice from injured reserve on Thursday, thereby starting his 21-day window to be activated to the 53-man roster.

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Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has shoulder surgery, eyes return to ‘my true self’

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield says he is on track to getting “back to my true self” after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, the orthopedic surgeon for the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, performed the surgery on Mayfield’s left shoulder in California.

“Surgery went great. Was a complete success,” Mayfield said in a video posted to social media. “Now it’s on to the road to recovery. It’s one of those steps to get back to my true self. … This is not the end of my story.”

The Browns said the likely time period for Mayfield’s recovery is four to six months. He will start physical therapy on his shoulder next week and is expected to be cleared by training camp, if not sooner, a source told ESPN.

Mayfield, who suffered the shoulder injury in Week 2 and played through it for the rest of the season, will begin light throwing in April and should be able to participate in the off-season program on a limited basis, the team said.

After the Browns’ Week 17 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mayfield admitted that he was “pretty damn beat up.”

With Cleveland already eliminated from playoff contention, Mayfield sat out the team’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Jan. 9.

Even though Mayfield finished 27th in the league in QBR (35.3) this season, Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry declared last week that the Browns “fully expect” the 2018 No. 1 draft pick to be their starting quarterback in 2022 and “bounce back” from his injury-plagued season.

Mayfield will be entering the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him close to $19 million in 2022 after the Browns exercised his fifth-year option last offseason.



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Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy says he does not see his future with team as an issue

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is operating under business-as-usual conditions after meeting twice with owner and general manager Jerry Jones following Sunday’s wild-card loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

McCarthy met with Jones immediately after the game and again on Monday and does not see his future as an issue.

“We had very positive conversations and, just, the focus is on the evaluation process,” McCarthy said.

Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Monday, executive vice president Stephen Jones said, “absolutely,” and “very confident,” when asked whether McCarthy would return for a third season.

McCarthy has an 18-15 regular-season record in two seasons, including a 12-5 mark in 2021 that saw the Cowboys win the NFC East; however, they were the only home team to lose in the first round of the playoffs.

After a 13-year run in Green Bay, McCarthy, who has a 143-92-2 regular-season record and 10-9 playoff mark, understands the speculation.

“I think for people in this profession, it’s accepted,” he said. “It’s part of the job. I get that. I understand why you’re asking the question. It’s part of the job. You have a job to do, and I have a job to do here today in answering your questions appropriately and respectfully. But, yeah, I don’t put a lot into it because I know personally what I put into this.

“I understand what goes on here every day. I know how to win. I know how to win in this league. I know how to win playoff games. I know how to win a championship. So I have great confidence in that. What we’ve built here in two seasons, I feel very good about, and I think with that you just stay true to that. The hard part is the personal. We all have kids, so that’s the part that I don’t like. I would hope people are respectful to that.”

McCarthy, who signed a five-year contract with the Cowboys in 2020, acknowledged that the 2022 Cowboys will look a lot different from the 2021 Cowboys. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore have multiple interviews set up for open head-coaching jobs.

McCarthy did not rule out potential changes on the coaching staff whether or not Quinn and Moore stay with the team. The Cowboys have 21 players, including many key contributors, set to become unrestricted free agents, and the team also faces a challenging salary-cap situation.

Yet McCarthy said he has faith things will be better next season.

“No. 1, I trust our personnel process,” McCarthy said. “I think the collaboration [with the personnel department], just what we did last year to this year, I mean, my goodness. The change we had on defense, from a personnel and coaching staff standpoint, that was the biggest change I’ve ever been part of, both the player and coaching side. So to pull all of that together, there was a lot of hard work and a lot of credit that goes to a number of people. I have the same confidence that we’ll do that moving forward. Now, it’s going to be a challenge; I know you can’t keep everybody, but [for] every team, that’s the era that we’re in.

“We’ll go through that and count on another really excellent draft class to go with the two that we have. No, you got to remember, I’ve coached the youngest team in the league for a number of years. I have great belief in that draft and develop. This will probably hopefully be the first year that we can have a normal offseason program, so I think with that, the combination of veteran and young players we have, I think we definitely can take a step forward.”

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