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The Morning Huddle: Roger Goodell Wants to Unify the NFL—Good Luck With That

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants players to stand for the national anthem and unify the league—a league that is seemingly always at odds with its players

Roger Goodell and NFL team owners have grown wary of fan resentment over players’ protesting racial injustice during the national anthem. Yesterday, the commissioner sent a letter to NFL teams in which he said, “We believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” But rather than endorse Cowboys owner Jerry Jones's plan to bench players who kneel, or the Dolphins' new edict to keep would-be kneelers in the locker room for the anthem, Goodell said, “We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues​.” He later added that a new plan would include an in-season platform to promote “positive change in our country.” Ultimately, he wants a “unified” league.

Not only would that level of harmony stand out in today's world, it would be unprecedented in the modern NFL; the league and the players’ association have long been at odds.

Players and owners have squabbled over playing football on Thursdays, over the league's drug policy and its appeals process, and over issues of dollars and cents. Now, the league wants the players to compromise on an issue that has inflamed emotions across the political gamut. And, notably, the players seemingly have the power for once. “You can threaten to do whatever you want to do, that's not going to deter players from doing what's right, or doing what they believe is right,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkinssaid on Tuesday. “You might be able to change the manner in which that looks, but I don't see players stopping their pursuit for justice or equality.”

For more on Goodell’s letter, read Robert Klemko’s annotated version here. And Peter King’s mailbag here.

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Adrian Peterson's short, ugly stint with the Saints is over.

Adrian Peterson's short, ugly stint with the Saints is over.

1. Adrian Peterson is a Cardinal. Arizona gave the Saints a conditional 2018 draft pick (likely a sixth-rounder) for the future Hall of Famer in the hopes that he can revive an offense that has struggled without David Johnson. Andy Benoit has more on AP’s role in AZ. And if you're wondering how New Orleans is dealing with the loss, Larry Holder writes that Adrian Peterson should have never been a New Orleans Saint.

2. Uninterrupted has a 13-minute documentary on suspended Browns receiver Josh Gordon's drug use and attempted rehab. Gordon begins by listing some of the substances he has abused—alcohol, Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, codeine, cough syrup, and methazine. rounded up some moving takeaways from the piece.

3. What it takes to feed an NFL team for a week: 700 pounds of chicken, 500 pounds of beef, 300 pounds of salmon, and a whole lot of planning.

4. Mike Zimmer's decision to play a limited Sam Bradford on Monday night was the result of an old-school coach needing to know what his QB was capable of, writes Michael Rand. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater is nearing a pivotal exam on his knee, which he injured in August 2016. His return would further complicate the Vikings' QB situation.

Alshon Jeffery has been a highly effective NFL wideout, so how good could his brother have been?

Alshon Jeffery has been a highly effective NFL wideout, so how good could his brother have been?

5.Alshon Jeffery is good, but folks back in his hometown say his brother, Charles, was better. So why didn't he end up in the NFL? Good stuff from Mike Sielski.

6. Overshadowed by the offense's historically slow start, Cincinnati's defense is good—really good.

NFL Power Rankings Poll: Patriots Finish Regular Season On Top, As for the Browns . . .

7. Ahead of Sunday's Jets-Patriots matchup, Mike Reiss wonders why former Jets linebacker David Harris hasn't broken through in New England.

8. The Bears’ offense is radically different with Mitchell Trubisky under center. On Monday night, he dropped back 22 times, but only 12 of those were traditional drop-backs.

Mitchell Trubisky’s Debut Ended on Bad Note But Bears Have Reason For Optimism

9.Tom Brady reportedly has a sprained AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder. He's not expected to miss any games.

10. After playing high school and college ball in Texas, it was only fitting that Packers running back Aaron Jones burst onto the national scene while playing in Dallas.

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Don't try this at home. Actually, don't try burning jerseys anywhere.

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