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Robert Kraft’s Saturday statement has NFL implications

Florida Football Insiders

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The latest chapter in the soap opera of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his legal problems with two solicitation of prostitution charges in South Florida doesn’t just involve his possible plea deal. Rather, this chapter involves the implications around his looming suspension from the National Football League for his behavior.

Kraft released a carefully worded statement Saturday afternoon that made no formal admission of guilt against the January criminal charges in Palm Beach County. However, the statement basically concedes Kraft was engaged in inappropriate and embarassing sexual behavior and contact with women inside the “Orchids of Asia” spa and massage parlor in Jupiter.

And in doing so, Kraft has basically put himself in position for the NFL to level discipline against him.

Consider that the NFL has previous precedent of Bucs QB Jameis Winston having been suspended the first three games of last season for inappropriate sexual contact with a female Uber driver in Arizona 3 years ago without being criminally charged. And, two years ago Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott received a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence, while also never having been charged.

So, it’s obvious the NFL can take action without the criminal justice system having played out in the 77 year-old Patriots owners favor.

Kraft’s lawyers may be successful in the short term in getting the charges reduced or dropped. The next scheduled date in the case is this Thursday the 28th, and we will probably know more then about a possible plea deal or not.

However, the video in the case will eventually be publicized either by release from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (or some other entity). Or, it being leaked somehow to the likes of a tabloid website like TMZ. That is almost inevitable and unavoidable for Kraft and the NFL.

And, at that point the league wouldn’t have any choice but to take action and discipline Kraft.

They also have the precedence of having suspended Colts owner Jim Irsay for six games and fining him $500,00 for his guilty plea to DUI charges in 2014. And, other franchises will be wanting action to be taken against Kraft, too.

So, the latest chapter is apology, but it’s not the end of league consequence in latest Patriots controversy.

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Antonio Brown agent Rosenhaus- “not sure we’ve exhausted all options”

Florida Football Insiders

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing off-field mess involving new Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his outdated helmet and his refusal currently to participate in their training camp, has ties to South Florida.

That’s where Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus resides and he gave an update Sunday night on the situation from Browns point of view to WSVN TV. Rosenhaus is a weekly guest on their Sunday night “Sports Xtra” show during the football season and obviously Brown and his helmet issues are one of the top off the old topics in the NFL right now:

“I’m not sure that we agree that we’ve exhausted all the options, as Mike Mayock said. But there’s no doubt it’s still an ongoing process. We are trying to work with the team and the league and the union to come up with a solution. We haven’t figured it out yet,” Rosenhaus told the show.

He continued, “To say that AB is upset about the decision to not let him wear his helmet is accurate, but we’re still processing it and figuring it out. I wouldn’t make too much about him not being there today, as much as we’re still trying to come up with a solution that works for everyone.” 

Brown is balking at having to switch to a new modernized helmet from the Schutt Air Advantage model helmet that he has been wearing throughout his nine-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The NFL contends that that helmet is outdated, too old and not safe. And, they denied Brown’s request to continue to use the helmet, when he filed a grievance with the league last week.

The only exception is: that if Brown can find a newer model of the helmet( less than 10 years old) and the NFL says that it will test it and potentially certify him to play with it. As of yet, Brown has not found a model that is within the guidelines and passes the test. So, Brown is back refusing to participate in workouts with his new team, the Raiders.

He is shown in the photo above, participating in pregame warmup last Thursday night with the Raiders in Arizona, while wearing the outlawed helmet. Brown did not play in the exhibition game.

On Sunday, Mayock, the Raiders new GM, who along with head coach Jon Gruden engineered the offseason trade for Brown from Pittsburgh to Oakland, publicly repeated frustration that Brown is refusing to come in practice with his team, that’s now in the fourth week of training camp.

Mayock told the Oakland media Sunday afternoon,

“You all know that A.B. is not here today. So here’s the bottom line. He’s pretty upset about the helmet issue,” Mayock said. “We have supported that. We appreciate that. But at this point, we’ve pretty much exhausted all avenues of relief. So from our perspective, it’s time for him to be all in or all out. So we’re hoping he’s back soon.”

Brown is from Miami Gardens and is a former star at Norland High School in Miami. He later went on to great success at Central Michigan and was picked in the sixth round by the Steelers in 2010. Brown is a seven time Pro Bowler and a four time first team All Pro and is regarded as one of the two or three best receivers in all of the NFL.

Almost all of the NFL players have switched over to the compliant newer football helmets and the league even created a special Sports Science Department that specifically to tests helmets and studies impact/head trauma.

Brown is part of a small group of players that have been “grandfathered in” during previous seasons to allow them wear the older helmets. That group includes, Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints QB Drew Brees. However, the helmets have had to continue to undergo testing, and the league has now decided if they’re more than 10 years old they cannot be used in games.

That’s the issue with Brown.

The league wants the players to use a more modernized and safer helmet and Brown will not agree to do that for, now. However, he went through the mandated arbitration system and lost his appeal last week.

A Monday morning update from Napa California is that Brown is back at Raiders training camp and was in their team meeting.

However, it’s unclear if he intends to practice with a different helmet, etc.

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NFL announced Wednesday Pro Bowl back in Orlando

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is obviously happy with Orlando as its location for its postseason Pro Bowl All-Star Game, and they demonstrated that again on Wednesday morning.

That’s when the league announced that for the fourth consecutive year the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl will be played at Camping World Stadium the weekend before the Super Bowl:

For the last three years, the All-Star game has called Orlando it’s home, and there’s no doubt that football fans in Central Florida (and all over the country) have enjoyed coming to Central Florida to be part of the festivities that week.

However, the game itself has come under increasing criticism, and rightfully so, as the players involved seem less and less interested in it actually being a football game.

In fact, we went so far as to say that the NFL should stop playing the game, as it has devolved into a mockery of what a “football game” should look like. Here’s part of what we wrote last January:

At the risk of being criticized for being reactionary or even like Clint Eastwood and “Get off my lawn,” no one can defend any longer what we’re seeing, as anything that resembles a football game.

No you can’t defend something that used to be at least an aggressive and fun All-Star Game featuring the NFL’s best players, but that has devolved into a farce.

A farce where no one wants to block, much less tackle anyone.

This was on full display from the beginning of the game on the dreary damp Sunday in Orlando. This as, handoffs would go to running backs, who would run into the massive bodies at the line where players were not blocking the players in front of them. And, the referees would eventually just blow the whistle with everyone standing around.

Quarterbacks would throw the ball down the field to receivers, who were running 3/4 speed against defensive backs who were running a 3/4 speed and both might, or might not, try to make the catch or play on the ball.

Yes, there was an occasional moment, where are you saw flashes with a significant throw or runner would break free, but make no mistake: what the Pro Bowl has become, gradually over the last few years, and now on full display Sunday, is not football.

It’s not even close.

Nonetheless, the Pro Bowl will continue and be televised again this season by ESPN on Sunday afternoon January 26th. The Super Bowl will be played the following week in Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.

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