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Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott suspended by NFL for 6 games

The NFL announced on Friday that it is suspending Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

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A yearlong investigation into allegations that Elliott assaulted a former girlfriend in 2016 led to the decision, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. During that time, Elliott was involved in a number of incidents that also contributed to the suspension.

Elliott was videotaped pulling down a woman’s top at a bar in Dallas during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Last month, Elliott was also involved in another incident at a Dallas bar.

Though he was not arrested or charged with a crime in either incident, the NFL decided to look at the “accumulation of behaviors” while conducting its investigation. That shift in the nature of the investigation gave the NFL more wide-ranging authority to discipline the Cowboys star for conduct detrimental to the league.

The Cowboys, the NFLPA and Elliott will now have the opportunity to appeal the NFL’s decision. If they are denied, they may even choose to take the matter to a higher authority.

Elliott was cleared by the Columbus, Ohio, Police Department of any wrongdoing in the alleged domestic violence case because it considered the witness to be unreliable. The alleged incident also occurred before Elliott was selected in the 2016 NFL draft.

However, both bar incidents occurred this past offseason and have established a pattern of behavior the NFL is deeming unacceptable.

New England Patriots buy two Boeing 767 planes for away games; first NFL team to do so

The New England Patriots will be flying in style to NFL games this fall.

ESPN reported that the Patriots have bought two Boeing 767 wide-body jets. They are the first NFL team to buy their own planes to fly to games.

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Airlines are in the process of retiring the bigger planes, which are near a point at which they require more money to meet current Federal Aviation Administration requirements, making them cost-prohibitive

The planes have been restyled to have all first-class seats, some of which completely recline. Emblazoned on the outside of at least one of the planes is a giant team logo on the body and five Lombardi trophies on the tail.

The team confirmed the news on Twitter.

Stacey James, Patriots spokesperson, confirmed that one plane will be used as the main plane for the season, while the other will serve as a backup.

When the planes are not being used, the team will rent them out.

Photos: 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Morton Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson and Kurt Warner were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 5, 2017.

Police drop charges against former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead

Police in Prince William County, Virginia, have rescinded a warrant to arrest former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead.

“Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017, arrest of an individual named ‘Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.,’ the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys,” said a statement from the Prince William County Police Department. "The police department regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family."

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TMZ reported Monday during the Cowboys’ morning walk-through that the receiver was arrested for shoplifting on June 22 and had a warrant out for his arrest after failing to appear for a July 6 court date.

When informed of the matter, Whitehead said he knew nothing of it and the allegations were false.

In a press conference, coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys had just discovered the situation as the walk-through was concluding and that the team would “respond accordingly.”

Later that day, the Cowboys released him.

When Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones was asked if he had spoken with Whitehead’s agent about the possibility of it being a case of mistaken identity, as was being reported from Whitehead’s camp, Jones said, “I’m not going to comment on that.”

Whitehead was the example the Cowboys used to demonstrate accountability after an offseason that has seen defensive end David Irving suspended for a performance-enhancing drug policy violation, linebacker Damien Wilson arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and running back Ezekiel Elliott allegedly involved in a night club incident.

Lucky Whitehead cut from Dallas Cowboys after link to shoplifting arrest

Dallas Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead has been cut, sources tell All22.com.

WFAA-TV reporter Joe Trahan was the first to report the third-year receiver had been let go.

The news came just minutes after NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Dave Rich, Whitehead’s agent, said it was near logistically impossible for Whitehead to have committed a June 22 shoplifting for which he was allegedly arrested in Prince William County, Virginia.

According to The Associated Press, Prince William County police said Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr., 25 – Whitehead's real name – was arrested about 1:30 a.m. June 22 for stealing about $40 of items from a convenience store.

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Police couldn’t confirm that the man was the NFL player, but records matched his birthdate, the AP reported.

According to online records, a court date was missed July 6, leading to another charge. Another court date was set for Aug. 10.

Rich claimed that this was a case of mistaken identity, the AP reported. Whitehead told reporters that he “didn’t know about” the incident.

Rich told Rapoport that Whitehead could not have been in the area because he didn't fly to Virginia until 7:20 a.m. June 22 – several hours after the incident reportedly took place.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ole Miss football coach made phone call to number tied to escort service

University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze announced his resignation Thursday night after school officials cited personal conduct issues that included a one-minute telephone call to a number associated with a female escort service, USA Today reported.

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The phone call was raised as a potential issue in a legal battle between the school and former Rebels coach Houston Nutt, who filed a lawsuit July 12 alleging that Ole Miss violated the terms of his severance agreement. Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, sent an email to Ole Miss general counsel Lee Tyner, mentioning a “phone call Coach Freeze made that would be highly embarrassing for all of you and extremely difficult to explain,” USA Today reported.

School Chancellor Jeff Vitter, announcing Freeze’s resignation at a news conference, called it a “sad day” for the university.

“While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered” VItter said. 

Athletics director Ross Bjork said the resignation did not involve NCAA allegations but was based on a pattern of inappropriate conduct, USA Today reported.  Ole Miss put a self-imposed postseason ban this season and is already is operating with self-imposed scholarship reductions. The school faces the outcome of an NCAA investigation that traces back to 2012, ESPN reported.

Bjork said the phone call was brought to his attention last week.

“Because the call lasted less than one minute and did not appear at the time to be part of a pattern, we initially attributed this call to a misdialed number,” Bjork said. “We proactively looked into the rest of his phone records. In our analysis, we discovered a pattern of conduct that is not consistent with our expectations as the leader of our football program. As of yesterday, there appeared to be a concerning pattern.”

Freeze went 39-25 at Ole Miss and took the Rebels to a Sugar Bowl victory. He also guided Ole Miss to a pair of victories against Alabama when the Crimson Tide was ranked in the top three nationally.

Matt Luke, the team's co-offensive coordinator and line coach, was named interim coach on Thursday.

Michael Vick criticizes Colin Kaepernick’s hair: ‘Try to be presentable’

Michael Vick released a statement on Twitter defending his comments on Colin Kaepernick.

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In an appearance on FS1's "Speak for Yourself" on Monday, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback said if Kaepernick wants to repair his image from last season’s national anthem protests, he should cut his hair.

Vick’s statement on Twitter addressed the criticism aimed at his comments and said he did not intend to be malicious. 

"Colin Kaepernick's hair has nothing to do with him not being on a NFL roster right now,” Vick wrote. “Let's be clear! I wish only the best for Colin. I stand by what I've said about him being signed at some point this season to help a NFL club. I think he is a great kid who has a bright future and I'm looking forward to seeing him on the field again. Trust and believe what I said was not in malice."

On “Speak for Yourself,” Vick said Kaepernick needs to look “presentable” if he wants to get a job off the field, which incited fans to attack Vick’s comments on Twitter.

“First thing we gotta get Colin to do is cut his hair. I’m not up here to try to be politically correct but, even if he puts cornrows in it, I don’t think he should represent himself, in that way, in terms of hair style. Just go clean-cut. What he needs to do is just try to be presentable,” Vick said. “I just think perception and image is everything. This is not the Colin Kaepernick that we’ve known since he entered the National Football League. I’m just going off my personal experiences. Listen, I love the guy to death. But I want him to also succeed on and off the field. This has to be a start for him.”

Vick said his opinions come from being able to relate to being judged by physical appearance.

Kaepernick was drafted to the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and was signed with the team until March. He is a free agent and hasn’t been signed by another team.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Peyton Manning is hilarious in ESPYs skit about his retirement

Peyton Manning has a great sense of humor, and he took a few jabs at his retirement Wednesday night when he hosted the ESPYs.

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The former NFL quarterback recorded a nursing home skit that aired during the ESPN awards show, and his deadpan humor was on the mark as the two-time Super Bowl champion got an assist from his greatest rival: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Manning portrayed himself coping with life in a retirement community and showed his competitive spirit. 

“You like that Ruth, you like that, it’s called winning, it’s called being a champion,” he taunts a senior citizen during a shuffleboard match.

But Ruth, who is Manning’s foil throughout the video, gets the last laugh. Manning walks by her room and notices her in a Skype session with Brady.

“I knew there was something about you, Ruth,” Manning says.

“Grandma, I used to play football with Peyton,” Brady says.

“Oh, isn’t that wonderful,” Ruth responds, turning to Manning. “Did you win five Super Bowls, too?”

Manning’s slow burn response is a classic.

Manning is no stranger to comedy. Here are some commercials featuring the future Hall of Famer:

Twitter goes nuts over Carolina Panthers 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' tweet

It was three days in the making, but the Carolina Panthers social media team pulled off a Twitter stunt that went viral.

On Friday, the Carolinas Panthers account asked followers to, “go back and read the first word of our tweets from the last three days.”

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People who read the Panthers tweets from Friday to Wednesday found themselves reciting the theme song to the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

Twitter went nuts, with the Panthers post garnering more than 20,000 retweets and over 27,000 likes in just two hours.

Here’s a sampling of the tweets:

Official NFL Shop mistakes Washington state for Redskins' home

The official shop of the National Football League was trying to celebrate state and hometown pride for several of its teams, but it appears to have made a big mistake.

NFLShop.com posted several novelty license plates with team logos over their respective states. As first noted Monday morning by the Washington Post, the shop was selling a Washington Redskins license plate with the logo over the state of Washington.

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The Redskins represent Washington, D.C., and play games in Maryland.

Not that it would be easy to figure out what state to put behind the Redskins, as Washington Post columnist Dan Steinberg pointed out.

“The WASHINGTON Redskins actually play their games in … well, they actually play their games in Maryland. But as everyone knows, the WASHINGTON Redskins actually hold their practices in … well, they actually hold their practices in Virginia. But as everyone knows, at least the WASHINGTON Redskins actually stage their training camp in … well, that’s in Virginia too,” Stienberg wrote. “So okay, it’s a little confusing. Still. Whatever the team’s proper geographic orientation, it has nothing to do with Washington state.”

The listing for the license plate was removed from NFLShop.com on Monday.

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