Knighton fined $25,000 for hit on Luck

Knighton fined $25,000 for hit on Luck

NEW YORK (AP) Jacksonville defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Kansas City linebacker Tamba Hali and New England LB Brandon Spikes were fined $25,000 each by the NFL on Friday for hits in recent games.

Knighton was fined for making helmet-to-helmet contact with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was defenseless at the time. The hit came in Indianapolis' victory Nov. 8 at Jacksonville and negated an interception by Aaron Ross.

Hali was docked for striking Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich with his helmet.

Spikes got a roughing-the-passer penalty on Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that drew the fine. He hit Fitzpatrick with his helmet. The players later jawed at each other and after the Patriots' win, Fitzpatrick called Spikes ``a punk.''

In all, 17 players drew fines Friday for their actions in Week 10 games.

Oakland linebacker Aaron Curry was given two fines: $15,750 for striking Baltimore RB Ray Rice late, and $7,875 for unnecessary roughness on a special teams play. Raiders LB Phillip Wheeler was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness when he grabbed Rice by the facemask.

Fined $21,000 were 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford last Sunday, and Minnesota linebacker Jasper Brinkley for a helmet hit on a defenseless Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

AFC players fined that amount were Broncos LB Von Miller for striking Carolina QB Cam Newton below the knee; and Colts defensive end Jerry Hughes for a late hit on Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert.

Docked $15,750 were Cincinnati LB Rey Maulaluga for striking defenseless Giants WR Dominek Hixon in the head and neck area; and Denver DT Kevin Vickerson for a horse-collar tackle on Newton.

Jaguars safety Dawan Landry was fined $10,000 for a fourth-quarter hit on Luck that made contact to the head and neck area after Luck declared himself down by sliding feet first. Lions receiver Ryan Broyles was fined $10,000 for an illegal crackback block on Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield.

Others docked $10,000 were Patriots LB Jerod Mayo for a late hit on Bills RB C.J. Spiller when he was out of bounds; and Dolphins guard Richie Incognito for striking Tennessee LB Colin McCarthy late. Incognito was benched for a few plays by Dolphins coach Joe Philbin after the incident.

Justin Houston of Kansas City was fined $7,875 for unsportsmanlike conduct when he began a group celebration in the end zone. Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard lost the same amount for hitting Fitzpatrick out of bounds.

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AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

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AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

Here’s a key AFC North question. Will Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stay healthy?

Bell is without question one of the league’s most talented backs. However, knee injuries have ended his season the past two years, leaving the Steelers without him when they were eliminated from the playoffs.

De’Angelo Williams did a superb job in place of Bell last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. But Bell is a better pass receiver and more elusive – capable of turning almost any play in to a big play. In 2014, Bell had over 2,000 yards combined from scrimmage – 1,316 yards rushing and 854 yards receiving.

Bell doesn’t want to be labeled as injury-prone, yet some people already view him that way. But at Steelers OTA’s, Bell showed up looking healthy, while vowing not to run cautiously next season.

“I’m going to be physical,” Bell told ESPN.com. “I’m out here with no knee brace or anything, didn’t wear a sleeve or anything. I’ve been training my knee for everything I’m about to go through, so when September gets here I’ll be even better than I am now. That’s even crazy to think about. But I’m excited.”

When Bell has been healthy, putting up numbers has not been a problem. The more Bell plays next season, the better the Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs.

Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

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Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

If the NFL had an All-Academic team, Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel would be on it.

In February, Urschel began the Ph.D program in mathematics at MIT. How’s he doing so far? Here’s a hint. When it comes to grades, Urschel is only familiar with one letter in the alphabet.

“My first semester in school in nearly three years,” Urschel wroter on Twitter. “Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A’s. The streak continues!!!”

Entering his third season with the Ravens, Urschel has found a way to juggle his love for football with his love for mathematics. He posted an interesting article on The Players Tribune this week in which he described training with the football team at MIT this spring.

“I probably had about 50 or 60 pounds on the biggest guy on MIT’s O-line,” Urschel wrote. “But when we ran, they put me to shame. They could outsprint me.

“What I found is that the team at MIT is no joke. It is a football team – in some ways, more of a football team than any I’d ever seen. These guys love football. They are playing the game because they want to. No one is making them come to practice, no one is checking up on them. They know as well as anyone about head injuries; they know that football is dangerous; they know the feeling of exhaustion and pain. They still play. They don’t do it for money, and they don’t do it for status.

“We talk about dedication and passion in the pros, but the truth is, sometimes the game feels like a job. You start to think of the paycheck. You feel the grind. But training with the team at MIT, I started thinking about what had drawn me to football as a kid. It felt like a game again. I had thought I might have something to teach the team. I never imagined they’d have so much to teach me.”

That guy in the Dos Equis beer commercials might be the most interesting man in the world. But Urschel has built a strong resume as the most interesting player on the Ravens.

RELATED: NFL ANNOUNCES LOCATIONS FOR 2019, 2020 AND 2021 SUPER BOWLS

NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

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NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls. The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021. 

The cities chosen each included new or upgraded stadiums in their pitches to the league. 

Atlanta will be home to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opening in 2017. 

Miami's stadium (Sun Life Stadium from 2010-2016) is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will include an open-air canopy to provide shade for 92 percent of seats, according to Sports Illustrated. Construction should be complete before the 2017 season. 

And Los Angeles will boast a new 300-acre, campus-style stadium housing the Rams and potentially a second team. The $2.6 billion project will be the most expensive sports arena in the world, reports CNN, and should be ready before the 2019 NFL season.