Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Sports

LB says Goodell abuses his power

BEREA, Ohio — Angered by Roger Goodell's handling of the Saints' bounty scandal, Scott Fujita accused the commissioner of misusing his power, questioned his record on player safety, and the Browns linebacker vowed to keep fighting to clear his name.

"The commissioner says he is disappointed in me," Fujita said Wednesday. "The truth is, I'm disappointed in him."

One day after Goodell reduced Fujita's three-game suspension to one for alleged involvement in the pay-for-hits program, Fujita took on the commissioner in a strongly worded statement.

On Tuesday, Goodell sent Fujita a letter in which he chastised the 10-year veteran and member of the players association's executive committee. Goodell wrote that "… If you had spoken up, perhaps other players would have refused to participate and the consequences with which we are now dealing could have been avoided."

Fujita was angered by the "condescending tone." He said he will appeal his one-game suspension and intends to play Sunday.

"For him to speak to me as if I'm cavalier about player health and safety, that's when I said enough is enough," Fujita said.

"It's just a power-run-amok situation," he added. "Obviously, the scope of the conduct-detrimental powers that have been afforded him are broad, but there has been clear abuse of power that has been afforded to him."

Goodell upheld the suspensions of Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, and reduced penalties for Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.

Ruud joins Texans: In the wake of Brian Cushing's season-ending knee injury, Houston signed former Bucs linebacker Barrett Ruud. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Ruud, who started 68 games for the Bucs from 2005-10, was cut Monday by New Orleans.

RG3 returns: Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III practiced and showed no effects from a mild concussion. Barring setbacks he will start against the Vikings.

Jets QB saga: Coach Rex Ryan said Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback "this week" and no switch to Tim Tebow is coming. When pressed about his qualifier, Ryan got testy: "What do you want me to say? … He's our starter this week." The comments came hours after owner Woody Johnson said Tebow, the former Florida star and Broncos starter, will "be with us for three years."

Packers: Running back Cedric Benson was put on injured reserve (sprained left foot) but is designated to return. He must sit out eight games before returning.

Panthers: Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil will have season-ending surgery after suffering a tear to a ligament that supports the middle of his foot and continuing to play on it last week.

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