ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB to discuss NFL news and the Patriots’ Week 2 game against the Vikings. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Schefter reported Friday that the league and the players association are close on finalizing a new drug policy, and it could have a major affect on players currently under suspension, including standout wide receivers Josh Gordon and Wes Welker.
“Here’s the deal, basically: They’re going to vote this afternoon at some point, by early evening, on a new drug policy,” Schefter said. “The feeling is it’s going to pass. I think there’s a basic, tentative agreement. But each of the player reps will have to vote on it. And once that happens, they can coordinate the vote later today, they get the results, assuming it passes, there’ll be a new drug policy. And part of that agreement will be to have many of the suspensions under the performance-enhancing device policy, the PED policy and the substance-abuse policy, they will wind up being reduced or going away.
“So, everyone will be different, but a case like Wes Welker, I think he’ll be allowed to play. Now, it’s Friday, not in the game plan, tough to imagine he’s going to play this week, but maybe he does. A case like Josh Gordon, facing a yearlong suspension, my understanding is it’s going to be an eight-game suspension. So, there’ll be different circumstances in each player. We’ll have to find out how it affects each one.”
Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner is sitting out the first four games of the season, and Schefter isn’t sure how he’ll be affected.
“I think the violation may have occurred prior to the agreement, so I don’t know how he’s impacted,” Schefter said. “My guess — just a guess, and I haven’t asked anybody this — is that he won’t be impacted by it. But I don’t know it.”
The Ray Rice saga continues, with most of the attention now focused on commissioner Roger Goodell and if he saw or had knowledge of the videotape that shows Rice knocking out his now-wife before suspending him for just two games. A recent report indicated a law enforcement official sent the tape to the NFL offices and an unidentified woman there indicated she viewed it.
Schefter said he has a pretty good idea of who the woman is, but he was hesitant to draw conclusions about a possible link to Goodell because he could not say for sure.
Said Schefter: “I think the point here is the people that I’ve spoken to and people I trust, I’m talking about enemies of Roger Goodell, people that work with Roger Goodell — I don’t want to make it like we’re being spoon-fed this, but I don’t believe he saw that videotape. I do not believe he saw that videotape. … If I’m proven wrong, I’m proven wrong and he’s going to be fired as the commissioner. But how could anybody who saw that video think it was enough to suspend Ray Rice two games?”
Schefter said Goodell still has the support of those who matter most: the team owners.
“I believe there’s a ton of noise on the outside, a ton of criticism,” Schefter said. “The public doesn’t believe Roger Goodell. His credibility has taken a hit. It’s been a PR nightmare. And the men that hire Roger Goodell, who he works for right now, prior to the investigation, are behind him.”
Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was allowed to play in his team’s game Sunday despite his conviction for domestic abuse. Because Hardy is appealing, the league is letting the legal process continue before punishing him.
“The NFL can’t do anything, there’s due process,” Schefter said. “And ESPN ‘Outside the Lines’ ran a piece this morning that if anybody saw it would be tremendously disturbed and sickened. It’s highly disturbing, it’s highly sickening. Now again, in this country, with this CBA, you’re entitled to your due process whether you like it or not.
“Now, the Carolina Panthers can go and deactivate him if they want. They can deactivate him, that is their right. They didn’t do that last week. I haven’t heard anything about them doing it this week.”
Added Schefter: “I think it’s going to go on and on until the case goes to trial. I think he’s going to be allowed to play and collect his $13.1 million. I also think that the events of the last few weeks, the last few months, whatever timeline you want to say, I think it’s opened up everybody’s eyes, and I think everybody — now we’re having a discussion about domestic violence.
“It didn’t sound as mean and nasty and brutal as it did when we saw a picture of it in the elevator in Atlantic City. It’s just like, so this is what domestic violence looks like. Wow. Wow. I mean, you know it and you hear it, but to see it I think changes everything.”
The Patriots, coming off an upset loss to the Dolphins last weekend, head to Minnesota to play the Vikings this Sunday. Schefter is predicting a Patriots win, but he said he wouldn’t be shocked if they lose this “tough matchup.”
“I thought the Vikings were one of the biggest surprises of the first weekend — the biggest, the way that they came in and decimated the [Cardinals] was to me very surprising and eye-opening and very impressive, and they did a great job. … It’s hard for me to imagine New England going 0-2. [But] there’s a chance. The Vikings are a pretty good team.”
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