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Chiefs add insurance policy to QB Patrick Mahomes’ record extension, source says



The Kansas City Chiefs have added an insurance policy to the record-setting, 10-year extension signed by quarterback Patrick Mahomes in July, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

The move protects the Chiefs, who begin their Super Bowl title defense Thursday night against the Houston Texans, in the event that an injury prevents Mahomes from being available to play. It also has salary-cap implications, as Kansas City would receive a corresponding salary-cap credit.

Insurance policies are not overwhelmingly common in football contracts, but given the $140 million in guaranteed money that Mahomes received, both sides knew the decision would be executed prior to the start of the regular season.

The contract was finalized in July and is the largest in NFL history — it’s worth $450 million over the 10-year period and could grow to $503 million. Mahomes’ extension includes a $140 million injury guarantee as well as a no-trade clause.

The Chiefs picked up Mahomes’ fifth-year option for the 2021 season in April, putting him under contract for the next two seasons. Mahomes had two years and $27.6 million left on his deal — $2.8 million this year and $24.8 million in 2021. The 10-year extension puts him under contract with the Chiefs for the next 12 seasons.

Mahomes will receive $83 million-plus in signing bonuses from 2021 to ’23 ($21.7 million in ’21, $27.4 million in ’22, $34 million-plus in ’23). Those first three years are fully guaranteed, ESPN reported previously.

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San Francisco 49ers place WR Deebo Samuel (foot) on injured reserve



SANTA CLARA, Calif. — As recently as Friday morning, the San Francisco 49ers held out hope that wide receiver Deebo Samuel would be able to practice before Sunday’s season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

As it turns out, the Niners won’t have Samuel for at least the first three games. San Francisco placed Samuel, who is working his way back from a Jones fracture in his left foot, on injured reserve on Saturday afternoon.

In a normal season, that would mean Samuel would have to miss at least six weeks before he could return to practice and eight weeks before he could return to games and the Niners would only be able to designate two players to return.

This year, the rules have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules allow a player going on injured reserve to return after missing three games and teams can bring back an unlimited number of players from injured reserve throughout the season.

If Samuel is back in the shortest window, he would be eligible to play for the first time this season on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

On Friday, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan was asked why the team hadn’t decided to put Samuel on injured reserve at the outset of the week since he was unable to practice all week. Shanahan indicated there had been some confusion about what the changed roster rules would and would not allow.

“Because we believed he had a good chance to play this week,” Shanahan said. “It didn’t go the way we hoped… We felt there was a chance, so to make a decision that would be three weeks when we thought he did have a chance…Also, it’s something with the rules that because it happened before training camp started, which is considered a non-football injury, there was some reason we couldn’t do that, either.”

That initial confusion came about because it was unclear whether Samuel could start the season on injured reserve after he was on the non-football injury list during training camp. But the NFL clarified and adjusted the rule Thursday night, allowing Samuel to land on injured reserve now with the opportunity to return after missing three games.

Samuel sustained the injury at a workout in Nashville in June. He will miss Sunday’s game against Arizona and then back-to-back contests in New York against the Jets and Giants, both of which will take place on an artificial surface.

Without Samuel, the Niners have an open roster spot. Against the Cardinals, they are likely to turn to a group that includes Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis to pick up the slack. Rookie Brandon Aiyuk could also figure into the mix, presuming he plays after being listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Aiyuk practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday.

San Francisco did not immediately use its open roster spot to promote a practice squad wideout (Kevin White, Jauan Jennings or River Cracraft) from the practice squad or make an outside addition.

The 49ers did, however, promote center Hroniss Grasu and cornerback Dontae Johnson to fill their two additional roster spots that the new roster rules allow.

With center Ben Garland questionable with an ankle injury, Grasu could be asked to play or even start against the Cardinals. Johnson offers additional depth with cornerback Jason Verrett (hamstring) already ruled out. Grasu and Johnson can return to the practice squad after Sunday’s game without having to clear waivers under the league’s new roster rules.

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Colin Kaepernick’s absence should haunt Roger Goodell and the NFL



We want our fantasy football and we want our fantasy, period. We need the fun-and-games escape from all of America’s problems. And our blessed medicine, our respite from months of sea-to-shining-sea sickness, arrives this weekend in an avalanche of wonderful football, God bless America.

But as our country’s history records the victims and the complicit in real time, in a way that can’t be whitewashed like the school textbooks we’ve always given our children, it should be forever recorded and remembered that it was a United States Army Green Beret who first suggested to Colin Kaepernick that kneeling was the most respectful way to request that police stop being so brutal to Black people — a long time before protesters would take to the streets, a lot less quietly and a lot less politely.

Nate Boyer, who did multiple tours of duty for the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan in six years, was so bothered that Kaepernick was sitting on the bench during the national anthem that he wrote Kaepernick an open letter in the Army Times newspaper, and Kaepernick was moved enough to reach out and meet him for guidance. Boyer explained to Kaepernick that a man kneels to propose to his wife … kneels to be knighted … kneels to pray before God … and, when he or she is a soldier, kneels at the grave of brothers and sisters who have died in combat. Kneeling can convey a lot of things ranging from love to humility to grief, Boyer explained, but it does not ever seem to convey disrespect.

So Kaepernick did what too many people, but especially the NFL’s owners, wouldn’t do for him — he listened. And then he kneeled.

Regardless, once the kneeling was weaponized and all the angry noise started, Kaepernick somehow made the journey from requesting decency and humanity and respect for Black people to … disrespecting our military.

This notion ignores a lot of things, including the “God Bless Our Troops!” written on a football that Kaepernick signed for one of Boyer’s charities, but it is always easier to look somewhere else, anywhere else, than it is for our country to stare in the mirror at the racism that represents its original sin. You see that now from all the loud people eviscerating the NBA’s wokeness by suddenly pretending to care about the league’s social justice inconsistency regarding human rights violations in China … only and exclusively so they don’t have to care at all about the Black human rights violations so much closer to home.

You heard it Thursday night, too, just before the Chiefs-Texans game, during a benign moment of unity, when the players locked arms on the field to show that we’re all in this together, and the fans of football’s champions booed to show that we are most decidedly not … and then resumed their tomahawk chop. The hissing people in that stadium couldn’t for one second summon respect for the idea of humanity, of decency, in the middle of their fun and games. So, to kick off this football season, they booed unity.

All of this is relevant beyond those sidelines because so many credible news outlets are now reporting that our country’s president, the commander in chief of the world’s biggest military, calls fallen soldiers losers and suckers. Now that, if true, is indisputably disrespecting our military … a disrespect so profound and insulting that there isn’t enough fabric in the universe to camouflage it in any kind of flag.

Maybe you quibble with the reporting or the news media in general. Maybe you think this is fake news. As someone who cares about journalism, I’m cut to the core that this particular president, allergic to subtlety or grace, has taken such a hatchet to journalism’s credibility the past four years, and it makes me fear what a more sophisticated leader could do to finish the job. But you should know exactly how much care and vetting — from reporters, editors, lawyers and publishers — must have gone into getting the allegations of anonymous sources printed in places as credible as The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the news division of Fox News — all of which have confirmed the original reporting from The Atlantic that President Donald Trump does indeed call fallen soldiers losers and suckers.

But it is so much easier to tell the simple lie than it is to untangle the complicated truth, which is why Trump told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that attacking the disrespect of Kaepernick and the NFL and kneelers was an easy, winning issue for him. Now that it is harder in today’s climate, Trump has pivoted from paid professionals to using the unpaid labor of college football as his political propaganda tool of choice, urging kids to collide amid the sickness for dollars in swing states because football has always demanded vastly more toughness from its labor than from the skybox owners lording over the gladiator spectacle.

As the excitement and enthusiasm for football finally returns, now we’re supposed to just forget about the past four years of historic cowardice from the power in this sport and resume our cheering because the NFL painted some new slogans in the end zones that make the big, bold, brazen statement that racism is bad? The Miami Dolphins clearly haven’t forgotten. Via a slick video released Thursday, one punctuated by their Black coach, they announced their disgust and distrust with the league’s owners — and that they’d be staying in the locker room during the anthem Sunday — because they are tired of superficial symbols and gestures, and they demand real and substantive action against racism. They did this because they know how good the owners are at hiding behind their pillars of money in shadowy silence, rarely pressed to answer any difficult questions about how they can at once support their players with sanitized statements and support their president with unsanitary dollars.

When Kaepernick kneeled, we all saw where and how the NFL stood, and that can’t be unseen. It echoes and haunts four years later, the unprecedented way Kaepernick suffered the strangest of career-ending knee injuries. No amount of jellyfish flip-flopping from the league changes the following: Kaepernick is back in Madden, raising a Black fist, no less, but him being a part of “EAsportsit’sinthegame” isn’t the same as being in the actual game-game, no matter how realistic we can make the virtual.

The NFL’s owners not only refused to be on Kaepernick’s side regarding protests but exercised an obvious institutional pressure upon him and his peers … choosing en masse, really, to kneel before Trump instead. These owners, with all their power and F-you money, either didn’t have the stomach for any kind of public fight or chose the wrong side, and they did so for almost four damn years, while Trump was at the height of his powers but they were also at the height of theirs. That the NFL has totally about-faced on this is not an act of nobility; it is the spineless swaying blown in by the day’s wind because of all the unrest in their huddles, in their banks, in their streets. Even as piñata Roger Goodell goes on an apology tour on their behalf, Kaepernick remains unemployed. The Dolphins are wondering: How can these owners be trusted to exert their power over anything in America when they can’t even get Kaepernick a job in their own sport?

Because it is so much easier now, and because their young star quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is Black, the Baltimore Ravens can now send out a remarkable team statement on company letterhead detailing bullet points on action to fight racism that included “arresting the officers responsible for Breonna Taylor’s killing and the shooting of Jacob Blake, demanding that Senator Mitch McConnell bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 to the Senate floor for vote and fair and equitable prison-sentence reform.” But the owner of the Ravens, Steve Bisciotti, is the same guy who said “pray for us” when considering signing Kaepernick as a backup … and then didn’t do it.

Ah, regardless, turn on the big TV lights and get ready for action because here comes our beloved King Sport without a martyred Kaepernick again, grunting to push an apocalyptic 2020 like a blocking sled one note closer to normal, trying to give our sick, coughing country that escape elixir it needs, like a junkie.

Goodell is probably relieved he can stop apologizing and get back to the escape of counting money, but some things require more than an “I’m sorry,” even in the land of second chances.

We all saw who you didn’t kneel beside. And we all saw whom you kneeled before.

Some things are so wrong that they can’t ever be forgotten.

Or forgiven.

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Buffalo Bills put CB Josh Norman on injured reserve with hamstring injury



The Buffalo Bills have placed cornerback Josh Norman on injured reserve, keeping him out of at least the team’s next three games.

Norman suffered a hamstring injury during the first week of training camp, but returned to practice in a limited fashion on Sept. 3. However, he suffered a setback and missed three straight practices in Week 1 before the team officially ruled him out for Sunday’s season opener against the New York Jets.

Buffalo announced Norman’s move to injured reserve Saturday and also announced it had called up cornerback Cam Lewis and defensive tackle Justin Zimmer from its practice squad.

The Bills signed the former first-team All-Pro Norman to a one-year deal this offseason to compete with Levi Wallace for their starting cornerback job opposite Tre’Davious White. The team has had precious little time to evaluate both players, however, as both Norman and Wallace battled hamstring injuries throughout training camp.

Wallace will presumably start Sunday’s game, his 24th career start — all with the Bills.

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