NFL to partner with domestic violence hotline (Yahoo Sports)

NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Goodell will make his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence when he holds a news conference Friday.

The NFL commissioner will address the league's personal conduct policy. The league has faced increasing criticism it has not acted quickly or emphatically enough concerning the domestic abuse cases.

His last public appearance was at a high school in North Carolina on Sept. 10.

The commissioner and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines, the others involving Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer.

Vikings …
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Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers (Yahoo Sports)

ATLANTA (AP) — Devin Hester high-stepped into the NFL record book. Matt Ryan had as many touchdown passes as incompletions. Julio Jones made a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch tumbling into the end zone.

The result: One of the biggest wins in Atlanta Falcons history.

Hester set an NFL record with his 20th return for a touchdown, Ryan threw for 286 yards and three TDs, and Jones hauled in nine passes for 161 yards and a couple of scores to lead the Falcons past the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 56-14 on Thursday night.

”It was a fun night,” Ryan said.

The Falcons (2-1) led 35-0 before the Buccaneers (0-3) picked up a first down. Ryan and the other offensive starters left after Steven Jackson’s 3-yard touchdown run made it 49-0 before the midway point of the third quarter.

Atlanta had a stunning …
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Hester helps Falcons take 35-0 halftime lead (Yahoo Sports)

ATLANTA (AP) — Devin Hester high-stepped to an NFL record with his 20th career touchdown return, Matt Ryan threw a pair of scoring passes and the Atlanta Falcons led Tampa Bay 35-0 at halftime Thursday night in their NFC South matchup.

Hester ran back a punt 62 yards down the left side midway through the second quarter to give the Falcons a seven-touchdown lead. He has 14 career punt return TDs, five scores on kickoffs and one on a fumble return.

The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, a former Falcon who was working the game as a television analyst. Sanders was on the video board smiling and raising his arms as the public address announcer told the Georgia Dome crowd about Hester's achievement.

The Falcons tied a team record for largest halftime lead. They were up 42-7 …
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Falcons take early 28-0 lead over Bucs (Yahoo Sports)

ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan threw touchdown passes to Julio Jones and Harry Douglas on Atlanta's first two possessions and the Falcons led Tampa By 28-0 early in the second quarter Thursday night.

The Falcons made it 21-0 when safety Kemal Ishmael picked off Josh McCown's pass, intended for Vincent Jackson at the Buccaneers 23 and ran untouched to the end zone.

Atlanta had 12 first downs and 169 yards of total offense in the first quarter. The Bucs had zero first downs and 16 yards.

Defensive tackle Corey Peters hit the 35-year-old McCown as he let the ball go on the interception, giving Atlanta some rare quarterback pressure. The Falcons began the night as the only NFL team without a sack through the first two weeks.

Ryan was 10 of 11 for 110 yards. Steven Jackson ran seven times for 46 …
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Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife (Yahoo Sports)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances, and punched her in the face the next day, police said Thursday.

The details surfaced in a law enforcement report a day after Dwyer was arrested on aggravated assault charges and deactivated from all team activities after he was taken into custody at the Cardinals' practice facility and headquarters in Tempe. He spent a night in jail and made a brief court appearance before being released on bail early Thursday.

The arrest came at a time when the NFL and its commissioner are under fire over a series of violent off-the-field encounters involving some of the league's marquee players, including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy.

The NFL has said …
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