NFL notebook: 18-game sked under discussion

While the concept of a future 18-game NFL season is nothing new, with players objecting to the wear and tear of an added two games, the Wall Street Journal reported a potential compromise Friday.

May 28, 2019; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders guard Richie Incognito (64) talks with assistant offensive line coach Lemuel Jeanpierre during organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In early negotiations regarding the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2020 season, an addition to the schedule reportedly has been discussed with the owners proposing the players remain limited to 16 games in an 18-game schedule.

Teams would have to stagger two games off for each of their players on the roster.

NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith confirmed to ESPN that the possibility has been raised, but added that the players don’t have any incentive to support it.

“I don’t see an 18-game schedule — under any circumstance — being in the best interest of our players,” Smith told ESPN. “If somebody wants to make an 18-game proposal, we’ll look at it. I haven’t seen anything that makes me think that it would be good for the players.”

The longer season would require a shortening of the preseason schedule, which is typically four games for teams. The report cited an NFLPA analysis that an added two regular-season games for each team could increase revenue by $2.5 billion league-wide.

—New Oakland Raiders guard Richie Incognito will have to wait a few weeks to make his debut with his new team after he was suspended for the first two games of the 2019 season.

The discipline, for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, comes three months after he pleaded guilty in Arizona to three misdemeanors, two of which involved his 90-year-old grandmother.

Incognito, 36, pleaded guilty to a pair of Class 1 misdemeanors after he punched a hole in the wall of his grandmother’s Arizona home in August of last year and damaged the control box of a security system. Incognito was reportedly upset after the death of his father and blamed his grandmother.

Also in Arizona, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, stemming from an arrest in August of 2018, two days after the incident at his grandmother’s home.

Incognito is eligible to return to the Raiders on Sept. 16, the day following a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

—New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy and program on substances of abuse, the NFL announced.

The league stated that Herndon can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to return to the Jets’ active roster on Oct. 7, after their Oct. 6 game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Herndon pleaded guilty on Jan. 9 to a charge of driving while intoxicated, stemming from a multi-car accident in June 2018 in Rockaway Township, N.J.

According to a Rockaway Township court spokesperson, he paid a $639 fine and his license was revoked for 90 days in New Jersey.

Herndon was arrested June 2, 2018, after his SUV allegedly hit another car at 4:45 a.m. on Interstate 80 about 20 minutes from the Jets’ facility in Florham Park, N.J. Herndon’s vehicle flipped and slid about 700 feet, and the vehicle he hit — which was transporting a vintage car — was totaled, according to police.

—New England Patriots linebacker Elandon Roberts, who says he was harassed by police in the driveway of his Fort Bend County home in Texas during a traffic stop in March, wants a further investigation into the incident.

Jennine Hovell-Cox, Roberts’ attorney, told USA Today Sports that she made a request to the district attorney of Fort Bend County to further investigate the sheriff’s department over the March 10 incident, when the player was pulled over for speeding.

Roberts, who is heading into his fourth season with the Patriots after they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Houston, was stopped in Richmond, a Houston suburb, allegedly for driving 59 mph in a 35 mph zone. He also received a citation for not providing proof of insurance.

The dashcam video of the incident obtained by USA Today shows Roberts, 25, getting out of his sports car with his hands in the air after arriving at the driveway of his home.

“Get back in the car,” Fort Bend County Sheriff deputy Adam Watkins tells Roberts.

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“This is my house,” says Roberts, who does get back in his car.

Watkins, calling for backup about “the big black man,” also says, “I told him to get back in. He wouldn’t comply. I had to yell at him pretty hard.”

Watkins also told Roberts’ wife to return to their home after she checked to see what was happening. Charges were not officially filed.


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