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INDIANAPOLIS — Dez caught it.

The NFL competition committee has reached a “unanimous” agreement that some of the league’s most-debated catch controversies should have been ruled complete, according to committee member and New York Giants owner John Mara.

They include plays involving Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant in the 2014 playoffs and Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in 2010, Mara said, and have prompted a discussion during meetings here at the scouting combine geared toward rewriting the rule for the 2018 season.

“I think where we are unanimous,” Mara said Tuesday, “[are] plays like the Dez Bryant play in Green Bay, going to the ground, the Calvin Johnson play from a couple of years ago. I think all of us agree that those should be completions. So let’s write the language to make them completions.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has directed the committee to study the issue, prompted by yet another controversial incompletion ruling against Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Jesse James late in the 2017 season. Mara said the committee is not in complete agreement on the James play, and acknowledged that past efforts to tweak the rule have failed.

What is different in 2018, in addition to Goodell’s insistence on change, is the consensus to find a way to avoid inorganic rulings caused by the requirement to maintain control throughout the process of going to the ground.

“The Jesse James play, I think should be a completion,” Mara said, “but I’m not sure we’re unanimous on that. But plays where guys seem to make the catch and then make a football move with it, I think most of us agree those should be completions. Now it’s just a question of coming up with the right language.”

Typically, the competition committee continues rule change discussions through the spring and makes proposals to owners at league meetings, scheduled this year for March 25-28. Mara said he couldn’t be sure that a new catch rule would be ready by then, but said, “We’re going to try.”

He added: “It’s easy to say the rule has got to be changed, but coming up with the right language is a challenge.”

Meanwhile, Mara said the committee has discussed the possibility of adding a targeting rule to enhance player safety. But Mara downplayed the possibility of proposing a rule that mirrors the college version, which mandates ejection for a player who hits a defenseless opponent in the head or neck area.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion about it,” Mara said. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the college rule. But there’s been a lot of discussion about it and we’ll have some more.”

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Son of former Green Bay Packers DT Ron Kostelnik loses dad’s Super Bowl II ring

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — The son of a former Green Bay Packer says he is heartbroken after losing his father’s Super Bowl II ring, and he is offering a $5,000 reward for its return.

Mike Kostelnik told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that he believes he lost the ring that belonged to his dad, former Packers defensive tackle Ron Kostelnik, last weekend when he and his family went to visit his daughter at Indiana University and take another daughter to tour Miami University in Ohio.

He said he had been wearing the ring but took it off and stored it in the car’s console.

Kostelnik said he made only one stop along the way, at a BP gas station in Greensburg, Indiana. When he was at Miami and discovered the ring was no longer in the console, the family went back to the gas station to look for it and to report it missing to police. It’s possible the ring ended up on the floor of the car and was kicked outside the vehicle, he said.

“All I can do now is sit back and wait,” Kostelnik said. “Maybe another idea will pop up, and I will follow all pursuits. Right now, I’m just waiting.”

Ron Kostelnik played for the Packers for eight seasons from 1961 to 1968 and helped the team win five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. He finished his career playing one season for the Baltimore Colts in 1969 and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1989. He died of a heart attack in 1993 at age 53.

“It’s the ring my father wore,” he said. “A lot of things he went through in life after football were in that ring. It’s a ring that I wore during the times I was building my business. So, it’s all of the energy and the issues that appear that are in that ring. I felt like it gave me a lot of strength in some very trying times.”

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Troubled receiver Josh Gordon joins Johnny Manziel on team in Atlanta-based startup league, owner says

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Former NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon will return to the sport in the startup Fan Controlled Football league, as a member of the Zappers, team owner Bob Menery told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

Gordon will join former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel on that team’s roster.

The league, which began play this month, features 7-on-7 games where fans set rosters, call plays and interact in a blend of traditional and esports environments.

Gordon’s on-again, off-again NFL career ran into another roadblock last month as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, when he was suspended indefinitely after the league rescinded his conditional reinstatement.

An NFL spokesperson told ESPN at the time that the decision stemmed from Gordon, 29, violating terms of his conditional reinstatement under the league’s substance-abuse policy. No other details were provided from the league.

The league suspended Gordon indefinitely in December 2019 for violations of its policies on substances of abuse and performance-enhancing substances. That was Gordon’s sixth suspension since the 2013 season and his fifth for some form of substance abuse, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Gordon was conditionally reinstated by the NFL in December and was set to practice with the Seahawks in the final two weeks of the regular season. Coach Pete Carroll said at the time that he had a chance to play Week 16 against the Los Angeles Rams. But that same week, the NFL placed him on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Seahawks before last season began. In 63 NFL games, he has 247 receptions, 4.252 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2012 NFL supplemental draft, after playing at Utah and Baylor.

FCF teams are playing a six-week schedule, with games live-streamed on Twitch from a league-leased facility in Atlanta. The games last about an hour, and the field is 50-by-35 yards with 10-yard end zones.

Players have backgrounds from the FBS and FCS college levels, along with the CFL, XFL and the Indoor Football League, Manziel among them.

Before FCF, Manziel, 28, last played football in April 2019 for the Alliance of American Football and also has played in The Spring League and the CFL since the Browns released him in 2015. Manziel and Gordon were teammates in Cleveland.

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Jake Fromm, Matt Barkley or both? Bills have decision to make at backup QB – Buffalo Bills Blog

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — Among myriad difficult decisions the Buffalo Bills must make this offseason, their situation at quarterback flies under the radar.

Backup quarterback, that is.

Since arriving in Buffalo as a free agent in October 2018, veteran Matt Barkley has served as Josh Allen‘s backup. In those three seasons, Barkley has completed 53 of 97 passes for 788 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions, making one spot start in 2018. He is a free agent once again in 2021, and the decision to bring him back is complicated, thanks to the presence of 2020 fifth-round pick Jake Fromm.

The Georgia product, like every other rookie in last year’s class, did not have a normal offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic. Fromm’s year was even more unique, considering he dealt with an offseason controversy and the Bills made him the team’s emergency quarterback, which involved him practicing separately from the rest of the team throughout the week and remaining socially distant inside the Bills’ facility.

“Jake Fromm had the most un-normal year a player could ever have, to have to come in here and be the COVID quarantine quarterback,” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said. “I thought he handled it greatly. In his exit meeting we just praised him for staying true. He would literally be back there hearing the call in his helmet, and while Josh [Allen] or Barkley are going back [in the pocket], he’s going back just like he’s making the throw from 20 yards back. He stays after and throws with the practice squad.

“Really tough year for him, but … it will help him going into next offseason. He’ll be excited to be able to sit in the quarterback room within six or seven feet of the other guys.”

Based on Beane’s explanation, Fromm will return to the team in 2021, which is obvious for a player at a prime position in the second year of a rookie contract. The real question is whether Buffalo believes Fromm is ready to be Allen’s primary backup, or if he needs another year learning alongside Barkley.

Without any game action — even in the preseason — to evaluate, it’s difficult to gauge Fromm’s progress. His coaches and teammates have praised his work ethic in practice, particularly Allen, who was asked about the rookie late in the 2020 season.

“It’s not an easy ask, to put a guy who’s played his entire career and just kind of say, ‘Go over there and stay away from everybody,'” Allen said. “He’s handled it with a lot of pride. He takes pride in his work, and it’s good to see a guy like that go in there and do his job. He’s been a pleasure to be around, he’s grown a lot since he first got here, and he’s been awesome in the quarterback room.”

Buffalo kept only two quarterbacks on its roster in 2019, Allen and Barkley, before drafting Fromm. The Bills will have to clear some salary-cap space to improve their roster this offseason, but will need a stabilizing presence behind Allen.

On Jan. 26, the Bills signed journeyman Davis Webb, who has spent time on their practice squad, to a futures contract, but it might be worth it to bring Barkley back on a one-year deal. It would provide insurance as they evaluate Fromm throughout training camp. Assuming there’s a normal preseason, if Fromm plays well enough to instill confidence in him, the Bills could cut Barkley before the season.

If not, Barkley would spend his fourth straight season with the Bills; or, Buffalo can go in a different direction.

Fromm will obviously return, but Beane can opt for a “high-end two,” as ESPN analyst Matt Bowen puts it — a player like A.J. McCarron, C.J. Beathard or Nick Mullens.

“Knowing where they are right now, as one of the top Super Bowl contenders … do you need to bring in a veteran quarterback to be a high-end two until you believe Jake Fromm is ready?” Bowen said. “If you don’t think he is right now, then you’re going to have to go out and get someone, in my opinion.”

Either way, any decision that involves not bringing Barkley back will weigh heavily on Beane; Barkley and his wife are beloved within the organization.

“What a selfless guy. Some guys are the backup and they’re itching to play,” Beane said. “Matt’s a competitor, he wants to play, but his first thing every day he walks in this door is to help Josh Allen be the best version of himself. And that’s why it’s been so great to have him.

“Without getting into contracts, we’ll see, but very appreciative of Matt, even his wife, Brittany, does a great job of helping wives connect. It’s big for our team culture. So the Barkleys have been a big blessing to the Buffalo Bills. We’ll see [on] the business side where that ends up.”

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