League rules hits on Newton legal
The NFL’s preliminary review of two questionable hits by Rams defenders on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton determined that neither was clearly a violation of league rules, ESPN reported Tuesday.
The hit by linebacker Mark Barron appeared closer to a foul than another delivered by defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Both plays involved Newton being hit in the helmet.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera had submitted one of the plays to NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino for review. Rivera would not say which play he contested.
The hits came in the Panthers’ first game since Newton spoke to Commissioner Roger Goodell about feeling unsafe because officials were not penalizing defenders who, in his opinion, illegally made contact with him while he was in the pocket. Vikings keeping Walsh: The Vikings worked out multiple kickers but are now planning to stick with Blair Walsh, ESPN reported.
Walsh, 26, missed an extra point and had a 46yard field goal blocked in the Vikings’ overtime loss to the Lions on Sunday, ushering in a fresh round of unrest after he went three games without a missed kick. Walsh has now missed more extra points (three) than any other kicker in the league this season, and his 75 percent success rate on field goals is tied for 25th in the league. Bills’ Ryan angered: As if losing wasn’t frustrating enough, Bills coach Rex Ryan has a bone to pick with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and a Seattle fan who taunted Buffalo assistant Kathryn Smith.
Ryan rallied to the defense of Smith, the NFL’s first full-time female assistant, who was the target of a sexist taunt Monday night. Rochester’s WROC-TV filmed a male fan yelling “Waitress!” at Smith and asking her to get him a soda.
Ryan called what the fan yelled “ridiculous” and “classless.”
Ryan also responded sarcastically when informed Carroll was unhappy the Bills coach called Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman “an ass” after Sherman made a play along the Bills sideline and then exchanged words with Ryan. Speaking on a conference call, Ryan joked he forgot to check with Carroll first about what his appropriate response should have been. Extra points: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin indicated the thumb injury to All-Pro C Maurkice Pouncey is not serious, saying he could have a chance to practice later in the week and possibly play Sunday against the Cowboys. Pouncey dislocated his thumb last weekend in Baltimore and played only 19 snaps, taking himself out of the game on two separate occasions. He saw a hand specialist Monday and had surgery. ... DE Wallace Gilberry re-signed with Bengals, whom he left after last season to become a free agent. Gilberry played four games with the Lions before suffering an abdominal injury and getting released with a settlement. ... The Dolphins released CBBene Benwikere nearly a month after claiming him off the NFL’s waiver wire.