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Eric Reid remains a free agent due to his activism, New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty says

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Devin McCourty, a member of the NFL’s Players Coalition, said Thursday that he thinks fellow safety Eric Reid hasn’t signed a contract for next season because of his social activism.

“I think so,” McCourty said on ESPN’s Outside the Lines when asked if he thinks Reid’s activism is affecting his marketability. “It’s hard to imagine that anything we do that’s out in front or could be controversial to different people won’t stay with us no matter what it is, so I think we’re all aware.”

Reid was the first player to kneel alongside then-San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick during the protests of racial inequality and systematic oppression. Reid is a free agent and remains unsigned.

“I think we all have deemed that help the people … need in these different communities is more important than that,” McCourty said. “I think each player, whether it’s Reid, Kaepernick, Malcolm Jenkins, myself — have all decided that the work we’re doing is very important to us, and we’re willing to put our voices out there.”

McCourty, who plays for the New England Patriots, was scheduled to meet with Massachusetts legislators on Thursday in Boston, along with former Pats linebacker Willie McGinest.

McCourty’s feelings are similar to those expressed by fellow defensive back Richard Sherman, who recently signed to play in San Francisco.

“[Reid] played at a high level just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. … I would think he’s [among the] top five, top 10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. Great teams are still looking, and people are still looking for players, and I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there would be a conversation between the league office and the union on potential legal action.”

Two days into free agency, Reid took to Twitter to say that he thinks team owners are to blame for him remaining on the market.

“People who know football know who can play,” he said. “People who know me know my character.”

At their meetings next week in Orlando, Florida, NFL owners are expected to approve an $89 million deal to fund social justice causes over the next seven years.

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Chiefs can’t wait to add Le’Veon Bell to a loaded offensive lineup – Kansas City Chiefs Blog

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COVID-19 protocols forced new Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell to watch his new team from afar Monday.

But Bell provided support over social media during the Chiefs’ 26-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills. At one point he simply tweeted “I can’t wait” and added a smiling face emoji with heart-shaped eyes.

The Chiefs feel much the same way about adding Bell to an already loaded offensive lineup that includes quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and others.

“He’s going to be another weapon,” Mahomes said. “He’s somebody who’s had tremendous success in this league for a long time now and he’s still in the prime of his career. He’s 28 years old, so he’s going to come in and make plays happen.

“Having him, Clyde, Darrel [Williams], Darwin [Thompson], all these guys that can come in and run the football and keep just going at the defense over and over again, it’ll open up the passing game and it’ll help me out a little bit, too.”

The Chiefs didn’t need Bell against the Bills. They ran 46 times for 245 yards, both being bests in their 7 1/2 seasons under coach Andy Reid. Edwards-Helaire ran for 161 yards.

Edwards-Helaire stands to lose some playing time to Bell, but if the Chiefs run anywhere near as much as they did against the Bills, there will be more than enough for both players.

Edwards-Helaire sounded ready to share.

“Another guy coming in, another piece to the puzzle,” he said of Bell. “I just feel like we can only go up. Le’Veon, the guy’s older than me. I’m still in my rookie year. So ultimately, anything I can do to pick his brain and gain any knowledge from him, I’m there for it.”

It will ultimately be the job of Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and running backs coach Deland McCullough to decide how the playing time will be split. Reid indicated he didn’t consider the job to be a problem.

“We don’t turn away good players, and he’s a good one,” Reid said. “It’s exciting to have him around, and we’ll see how he does. He’s got to get in and get in the playbook and learn everything, but he’s a pretty smart kid and been doing it a long time, so I don’t think he’ll have a problem with that.

“I think if you talk to Clyde, Clyde will sleep well tonight, as I think the other backs will. To add one more guy, I don’t think any of them will complain there.”



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Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory removed from Commissioner’s Exempt list, eligible to play Sunday

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FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory will be available to play Sunday against the Washington Football Team now that he has been removed from the Commissioner’s Exempt list.

Gregory, who had been on the list since being reinstated by the NFL in September, has not played in a game since the 2018 divisional-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams because of an indefinite suspension. He has been able to work out and take part in meetings since reinstatement and he began practicing two weeks ago.

His return comes at a good time for a pass rush that has struggled for most of the season, and last week teammates and coaches said Gregory performed exceptionally well in practice. Gregory, the Cowboys’ 2015 second-round pick, had six sacks in 2018, which was second-best on the defense.

A number of violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy led to multiple suspensions for Gregory, who has played in just 28 of a potential 86 career games. Upon his reinstatement, the Cowboys signed him to a one-year extension through 2021 that included a $200,000 signing bonus.

The Cowboys waived defensive back Saivion Smith and intend to re-sign him to the practice squad if he clears waivers. Wide receiver Ventell Bryant, who had been dealing with a knee injury, was waived off injured reserve.

Gregory’s return could help a defense that is on pace to allow a record 581 points. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returned in Monday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals from a four-game absence because of a broken collarbone. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring) and linebacker Sean Lee (pelvis) are also eligible to return from injured reserve but with a short work week to get ready to play Washington, they could be held out at least one more week.

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New Orleans Saints approved to have 3,000 fans for Sunday’s Carolina Panthers game

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Fans will be back at New Orleans Saints home games beginning this weekend.

The Saints and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell announced an agreement Tuesday of a phased approach to allowing fans to attend games in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, with 3,000 tickets be distributed to season-ticket holders for Sunday’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers.

In a statement, the sides said that if local health and safety guidelines remain in place and COVID-19 cases remain stable, attendance will increase to 6,000 fans for November games against the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, before growing to 15,000 fans for December contests against the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings.

Up until the week, the Saints had not been permitted to have fans, even in a limited capacity, at the Superdome due to coronavirus restrictions in the city.

But the team had what it called a “productive meeting” with Cantrell, Ochsner Health president Warner Thomas and other medical advisors on Monday, paving the way to Tuesday’s joint announcement.

The Saints and the NFL previously had talked with officials in Baton Rouge about the idea of moving games to LSU’s Tiger Stadium so fans could be in attendance.

With the Saints given the OK to have fans, the NFL now has 19 teams approved to host spectators from the general public at varying percentages of stadium capacity: Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee and Washington.

Information from ESPN’s Mike Triplett was used in this report.

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