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    NFL teams will be allowed to play an emergency quarterback from the inactive list if the first two are injured during a game. The rule change was approved by league owners and stemmed from San Francisco's depth-chart challenge in the NFC championship game. The emergency activation can only occur after injury or disqualification, not for a performance-related decision or other conduct. The 49ers had to send Brock Purdy back into the NFC title game with an injured elbow after fourth-stringer Josh Johnson suffered a concussion.

      In many ways, Jim Brown used his platform as one of the greatest football players of all time to fight for people very much like him. They were people who were unsatisfied with the status quo and tired of the withering degradation of racial inequality. Brown, who died this week, was an activist on par with Olympic fist-raisers John Carlos and Tommie Smith, or with Bill Russell or Muhammad Ali. One of his good friends, longtime civil rights activist Harry Edwards, says Brown will go down as one of the great social warriors due to his unwavering commitment to finding solutions for the problems that wracked inner-city youth.

        Congratulations are in order for the good people of Tempe, Arizona. They might've cost themselves an NHL team, but that was a small price to pay to hang on to their wallets. In a rare setback for billionaire owners and their endless scams to get the public to build them new places to play, the Phoenix suburb decisively turned back a $2.3 billion proposal that included a new arena for the Arizona Coyotes. This one was a stunner for the NHL and the Coyotes, who are likely headed to a new city in their endless quest for a new arena.

        Matt Ryan has joined CBS as an analyst, though he’s not giving up on landing with another team as a quarterback. The four-time Pro Bowler and the 2016 NFL MVP joins CBS to serve as a studio and game analyst across multiple platforms for the upcoming season. He also wrote on his Twitter account that "this is not a retirement post.” The 37-year-old Ryan is coming off a disappointing season with the Indianapolis Colts, who acquired him in a trade last year after he spent 14 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Now, he's ready to give broadcasting a try.

        A group led by Josh Harris has agreed to buy the NFL's Washington Commanders from longtime owner Dan Snyder and his family. The sides announced the deal in a joint statement Friday, roughly a month after they reached an agreement in principle on the sale for a record $6.05 billion.

        Aaron Rodgers nearly upended the NFL schedule two years ago when he told some within the Green Bay Packers organization that he didn't want to return to the team. For the sake and sanity of those in the league's scheduling department, cooler heads prevailed. Rodgers was on the move during this offseason with his trade to the New York Jets, but it was planned well enough in advance that the league and its network partners could get in their requests. The Jets will make six prime-time appearances and have four games in the Sunday afternoon late window.

        Only the NFL can turn a schedule release into a two-day event that dominates sports headlines in the middle of the NBA and NHL playoffs. Social media crews for the league's 32 teams outdid themselves with clever, hilarious ways to reveal the full slate of dates and opponents after the NFL released many of the spotlight games through their network partners Wednesday and early Thursday. It's probably only a matter of time before the league releases the schedule over a week-long stretch. Captivated football fans eat it up. It works.


        The Indianapolis Colts want other NFL teams to know they consider contacting former quarterback Andrew Luck to be tampering. Team owner Jim Irsay made that clear late Sunday night in a Twitter post. Luck abruptly retired in August 2019 at age 29 with three years left on his contract. He's shown no indication he wants to return and appears to have slimmed down significantly from his listed playing weight of 240 pounds.

        Americans have bet over $220 billion on sports with legal gambling outlets in the five years since the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for all 50 states to offer it. The industry shows few signs of slowing despite some recent scandals that have put a spotlight on wagering safeguards. When Sunday’s anniversary of the court ruling in a case brought by New Jersey arrives, two-thirds of the country will offer legal sports betting, with additional states likely to join in coming months or years.

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