Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

NFL news and notes

A few more join Kaepernick in protesting anthem

Opening day in the NFL saw Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters raise a black-gloved fist during the national anthem, a protest amplified later Sunday when four Dolphins players kneeled on the sideline with hands on their hearts as the Star Spangled Banner played in Seattle.

The protests were inspired by 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player who chose to sit and take a knee during the anthem in preseason games to call attention to what he termed the oppression of African-Americans and other minorities.

Peters' gesture was the only one visible throughout the early games Sunday, as the anthems took on more significance because of the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks.

"I come from a majority black community from Oakland, Calif. … so the struggle, I seen it," Peters said after the Chiefs beat San Diego 33-27 in overtime. "I still have some family in the struggle. All I'm saying is we want to educate those, the youth that's coming up."

The four Miami players — Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, Jelani Jenkins and Kenny Stills — registered their protest shortly before kickoff. All four stood at the conclusion of the anthem.

Foster had said in the immediate aftermath of Kaepernick's initial protest that he would not follow suit: "I don't necessarily see that as a solution to anything," the running back said then.

Several teams, including the Chiefs and Seahawks, saw their players link arms during the anthem. Peters, the 2015 defensive rookie of the year, was the last person in the Chiefs line and had his arm free to raise it.

Peters' gesture was also a tribute of sorts to U.S. sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who won the gold and bronze medals, respectively, in the 200-meter race at the 1968 Olympics. Both appeared on the medal stand with raised, black-gloved fists for the anthem.

Report: Cardinals WR Fitzgerald likely to retire after season

Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a 13th-year veteran and nine-time Pro Bowl selection, is likely to retire after the season, nfl.com reported. The site reported that Fitzgerald, is signed through 2017, has told close that he expects this to be his last season. Going into Sunday's late game he had 1,018 career receptions, 11th on the all-time list and six behind Isaac Bruce for 10th. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (1,029) overhauled Bruce and went into ninth place earlier Sunday.

Newton hits: The league will review how the Panthers' medical team handled a hit to Cam Newton's head during Carolina's loss to Denver in Thursday's opener. The NFL said Sunday that it wants to ensure the concussion protocol is being "uniformly applied across all 32 teams." Newton took several hard hits in Thursday night's game, including four helmet to helmet and one after which he appeared woozy. The union has questioned why Newton didn't undergo a cognitive exam on the sideline during the game. Newton was tested four times for a concussion — after the game in the locker room; on the bus; on the flight home; and Friday morning at the stadium — and all proved to be negative. He was never tested during the game. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he didn't see a need to sit Newton. "I'm not going to question the doctors, okay? There is a protocol," Rivera said.

Mariota struggles: Mariota had a perfect passer rating in his NFL debut as a rookie, last season against the Bucs, as he outdueled No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. On Sunday the second opener for Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, couldn't have started much differently. The Vikings pressured Mariota repeatedly, and he threw into coverage while being pressured on an interception. He also lost a fumble and had another turnover wiped out by a roughing the passer call. "The turnovers obviously were catastrophic," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said.

Chargers injured: Chargers receiver Keenan Allen was carted off the field in the second quarter of their game against the Chiefs with what appeared to be a serious right knee injury. The early diagnosis was a torn ACL, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Allen was making a cut toward the sideline when he went down.

Jaguars: Running back Chris Ivory was hospitalized with a "general medical issue" and missed the game, the team said. Ivory a former Jet limited in practice last week with a calf injury, signed a five-year, $32 million contract in free agency.

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