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NFL notebook: Steelers Tomlin confirms Browns Monday absence

Sports Xchange
19 Sep 2018, 09:30 GMT+10

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that star wide receiver Antonio Brown did not show up at the team facility on Monday.

The Steelers did not practice on Monday, but the players -- outside of Brown -- were at the facility in team meetings. Brown's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, came to his defense on Tuesday by saying that the wideout had to deal with a personal matter.

On Tuesday, Tomlin acknowledged Brown's absence, but he did not provide additional details and opted against saying whether the six-time Pro Bowl selection was excused from activities.

"He was not (in attendance)," Tomlin said. "I'm looking forward to visiting with him today and discussing that and other things."

Perhaps the topics in question involve Brown's venting with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner on the sideline during Pittsburgh's 42-37 setback to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday as well as his handling of criticism he received from a former Steelers employee on social media.

Tomlin chuckled on Tuesday when asked if Brown had asked to be traded.

"No," Tomlin said.

--Twenty Hall of Famers are threating to boycott future induction ceremonies unless their demands are met.

The group said in a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker that they would not visit Canton, Ohio, anymore until other Hall of Famers receive health insurance and an annual salary that includes a share of league revenue.

The letter, which was obtained by ESPN, was sent by Eric Dickerson, the chairman of the Hall of Fame Board. It was signed by board members Marcus Allen, Mel Blount, Derrick Brooks, Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Richard Dent, Carl Eller, Marshall Faulk, Mike Haynes, Rickey Jackson, Ronnie Lott, Curtis Martin, Joe Namath, John Randle, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Jackie Smith, Lawrence Taylor, Kurt Warner and Sarah White, Reggie White's widow.

However, Warner released a statement saying he never agreed to have his name attached to the letter.

--The Cincinnati Bengals announced they have signed kicker Randy Bullock to a two-year extension.

Bullock was in the final year of a two-year deal in which he was scheduled to make $790,000 this season, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The extension now takes his contract through the 2020 season.

The 28-year-old Bullock is in his third season with the Bengals, who are the fifth NFL team for which Bullock has played.

He is 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts and 8-for-8 extra points this season after making 90 percent of his field goals last season in his first full season with the Bengals.

--Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson said he would keep Ryan Fitzpatrick under center when fellow quarterback Jameis Winston returns from suspension.

"(Fitzpatrick has) been on fire right now," the 31-year-old Jackson told NFL Network's Scott Hanson and Willie McGinest on Monday. "With the way the team is rallying behind him and just playing lights-out football, you have to kind of honor it. You can't take the hot man out. You got the hot fire right now. It's like NBA Jam. We used to play NBA Jam -- whoever's got that hot fire shot, you got to keep shooting, man.

"It's not my decision but I'm sure (coach) Dirk (Koetter) and (offensive coordinator Todd) Monken and the guys that make those calls, they'll make sure they stay on fire until that fire is out."

Fitzpatrick has thrown for a league-best 819 yards to go along with eight touchdown passes. He has a completion percentage of 78.7 to boot.

--Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley will miss at least the next eight weeks after being placed on injured reserve.

Kelley suffered a toe injury that might require surgery.

He had just eight yards on four carries in two games this season, after starting all seven games in which he played last season, when he rushed for 194 yards.

The Redskins also announced what had been reported Monday, the signings of wide receivers Michael Floyd and Breshad Perriman.

--Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget is suing a company for actions a company member allegedly took that led to Liuget's four-game suspension, Pro Football Talk reported.

Liuget filed a lawsuit in a California federal court against Ian Danney and Performance Enhancement Professionals, seeking at least $15 million.

The lawsuit claims Danney injected into Liuget's feet last November what Danney claimed to be "a high dose of an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory."

Liuget provided a urine sample two days later for testing under the NFL's PED policy, and it was found to contain an illegal performance-enhancing substance. Liuget alleges Danney injected Liuget with a performance-enhancing drug.

--Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay jokingly contemplated turning to another sport in a bid to add a new wrinkle to his high-octane offense.

Enter two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant, who was openly impressed with the Rams' 34-0 romp over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

"Aaron Donald is one of the most impressive athletes in all of sports. I would join the rams right now lol," Durant wrote on Instagram.

When asked about Durant's comment, McVay creatively said he had a role in mind for the 6-foot-9, 240-pound star forward of the Golden State Warriors.

"I bet he'd be pretty dangerous in the red zone on some of those jump balls," McVay said with a smile.

--Steelers guard David DeCastro isn't certain when he'll be cleared to return from a broken right hand.

DeCastro saw his streak of 72 straight starts end after he sustained the injury in the team's season-opening tie against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 9. The former Pro Bowl selection was able to finish the game but did not practice last week while wearing a wrap on his hand.

"I think it's one of those things where they don't tell you (the timetable) on purpose so I can just keep hoping that I'm going to play and trick myself into (thinking I'm) playing," the 28-year-old DeCastro said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "They never told me it's going to be three weeks, it's going to be one week, it's going to be 10 weeks."

--The NFL plans to use Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews' controversial roughing-the-passer penalty as a teaching tool, multiple media outlets reported.

Matthews was flagged in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 29-29 tie with the Minnesota Vikings after referee Tony Corrente said the six-time Pro Bowl selection "lifted (quarterback Kirk Cousins) and drove him into the ground."

The penalty denied a potential game-clinching interception by Jaire Alexander with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

NFL's Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron plans to "reiterate that this tactic is a foul," ESPN reported of Matthews' hit on Cousins.

According to Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9, the NFL rulebook reads in part that: "A rushing defender is prohibited from committing such intimidating and punishing acts as 'stuffing' a passer into the ground or unnecessarily wrestling or driving him down after the passer has thrown the ball."

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