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Doc's NFL Notebook

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The Cincinnati Bengals have been nothing if not inconsistent, going from four wins in 2008, to ten in 2009 then back down to four last year. What has been unfortunately consistent for the team is the habit of its players getting into trouble with the law.

Three Bengals were arrested during the month of July. Notorious cornerback Pacman Jones, who was previously suspended for more than a season for off-the-field conduct, was arrested in a Cincinnati bar and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Elsewhere in the secondary, safety Marvin White was charged with disturbing the peace and abusive language after reportedly threatening management of a daycare center in St. Landry Parish, La. To top it off, RB Cedric Benson, was put in jail for allegedly causing bodily injury to a family member. Benson still faces charges from an incident that occurred at a bar in Austin, Tex. last summer.

Bay Bridge
The Giants and Jets might not be the only two teams sharing an NFL stadium for long. The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers have been separately exploring options for new stadiums in the Bay Area, but are now exploring the idea of building one new stadium for both teams to play in. Executives from the two teams met in July to discuss the idea of a shared venue. Raiders chief executive Amy Trask said both teams came into the meetings with an open mind and that "there are a lot of options for us to consider" in terms of location for the new facility. The Raiders and 49ers currently play in two of the four oldest stadiums in the NFL, and the only two older ones (Soldier Field in Chicago and Lambeau Field in Green Bay) have received multi-hundred-million-dollar renovations in the last decade.

Hanging 'Em Up
NFL fans have waited all summer to find out when the lockout will end and their favorite players will return to the field. But four Pro Bowlers have seen the last of on-field action in pro football. Former Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins retired after 16 seasons. Though he said never winning a Super Bowl will "bug" him, Collins doesn't "think [he'll] ever regret the decision" to retire. Three-time All-Pro nose tackle Kris Jenkins filed his retirement papers after only playing in seven total games in 2009 and 2010. Ex-Steelers linebacker Mike Vrabel won't be hitting the golf course, and will instead head to Ohio State as the Buckeyes' new linebackers coach. And though Aliquippa native Ty Law has not played since 2009, he wants "the opportunity to officially retire as a Patriot."

Tipping the Scales
As the NFL and the players' union moved closer towards a new collective bargaining agreement, one of their first agreed-upon points was a rookie wage scale. According to ESPN, first-round picks would receive four-year contracts, with a team option for the fifth year. The salary on that option would be an average of the top players at the player's respective position, similar to how the franchise tag works. Though the details of the scale have not been made public, it is widely accepted that new players won't receive anywhere close to the guaranteed $50 million that QB Sam Bradford received as the top pick last year. At the same time the rookie scale was agreed upon, ESPN reported the 2011 salary cap would be set at $120 million.

Thursday Night Lights
When NFL's plan to expand the season from 16 games to 18 fell, let's say, on deaf ears, the league looked for other ways to produce extra revenue. They came up with another expansion idea, increasing the number of Thursday night games from eight to sixteen. Moving eight Sunday games (from Week 2 through Week 9) to primetime on Thursday could generate an estimated $600 million for the league each season. Currently, the league only plays Thursday games to open the season on NBC and in November and December on NFL Network. That late season eight-game schedule will remain on NFL Network for the time being. The leading bidders for the new eight-game package are Turner (owner of TBS, TNT, and truTV), and Comcast (Versus), according to Sports Business Daily. The early season Thursday games could begin as early as the 2012 season.

Tate Troubles
Seahawks wide receiver and former Golden Domer Golden Tate certainly knows how to keep summers in Seattle interesting. Last June, Tate broke into a donut shop at 3 a.m. to steal maple bars, and got off with a trespass warning. Last month, the Notre Dame alum didn't even have to leave his house to get in the offseason news. While watching the ESPY Awards, Tate objected to NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson being nominated for Best Male Athlete, tweeting, "Driving a car does not show athleticism." Criticism of the receiver from racing fans was swift, and Tate appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR radio to tell those fans, "After reading up on it, I do have respect and I do want to apologize to NASCAR nation." Tate has been involved in more offseason controversies (two) than he has NFL in-season TDs (0).

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