Football

NFL notes: Pryor is heard on appeal of 5-game ban

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Suspended Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor had a hearing Thursday on his bid to overturn his five-game ban.

Pryor's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said it was a productive meeting and that he appreciated Commissioner Roger Goodell and the union taking time to hear from Pryor. Rosenhaus said he expected to get a ruling shortly.

Pryor was selected by the Raiders in the third round of the supplemental draft on Aug. 22. Goodell suspended him, however, for the season's first five games for manipulating his eligibility for that draft.

Pryor originally said he would not contest the ban but changed his mind and filed the appeal through the union.

Several members of the NFL Players Association's executive committee previously have expressed concerns about Goodell suspending a player who was not yet in the league.

Under terms of the suspension, Pryor can't practice or play until the week of Oct. 10. He can attend meetings and has been working out on his own after practices.

Pryor gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after an investigation into the team's memorabilia-for-cash scandal. He originally was barred from entering the supplemental draft, then was approved by Goodell, with the proviso he must sit out five games. Pryor was subject to a similar suspension had he returned to Ohio State.

He signed a four-year contract with the Raiders a few days after being drafted but did not appear in a pre-season game.

Bills' Johnson misses practice

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Buffalo Bills receiver Stevie Johnson missed practice Thursday because of a sore groin that has been bothering him for about a month.

Coach Chan Gailey said the former Wildcat was just given the day off, and fully anticipates Johnson to play Sunday when the Bills (1-0) play host to the Oakland Raiders (1-0).

Urlacher back in practice

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher returned to practice Thursday after the death of his mother and is expected to play at New Orleans this weekend.

Urlacher had missed Wednesday's practice following the sudden death of his mother, Lavoyda, at her home in Texas on Monday night.

Urlacher is expected to play Sunday in the first road game of the season for the Bears (1-0).

Urlacher had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown in Chicago's opener, a win over Atlanta.

Browns adjust to prevent quick-snap situation

BEREA, Ohio — Dick Jauron's vast experience as an NFL coach couldn't save the Browns.

Like his players, Jauron was caught unaware.

When the Cincinnati Bengals rushed to the line and quickly snapped the ball on Sunday for a 41-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, Cleveland's seasoned defensive coordinator — and former head coach in Chicago and Buffalo — had his head down, looking at his play sheet.

Jauron accepted blame for the Browns' blunder on Sunday, when Bengals quarterback Bruce Gradkowski alertly hurried his team to the line, took the snap and lofted a game-winning touchdown pass to rookie A.J. Green, a memorable game-changing play in Cincinnati's 27-17 win over Cleveland.

The Browns were waiting for linebacker D'Qwell Jackson to call the play when the Bengals made the snap. Cornerback Joe Haden scampered to get into position, but by the time he recovered, Green had darted off the line and soon hauled in Gradkowski's pass for his only reception and first career score.

"To have that happen to you is hugely disappointing to everybody, to us and to our players and to our fans," Jauron said. "It's one of those things that clearly you don't expect, and when it happened, you probably will never forget it."

To make sure it never happens again, Cleveland's cornerbacks will not join the huddle, Jauron said. Hand signals will be sent in from the sideline.

NFL maintains diversity hiring practice standards

ORLANDO — The NFL is getting high marks for its diverse hiring practices.

Despite labor unrest this year, the NFL showed an increase of 30 percent in the number of diverse employees in executive-level jobs, according to a study by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

Richard Lapchick, primary author of the annual report, lauded unprecedented gains at the top executive level within the league office. The report gave the league its second consecutive 'A' grade for racial hiring and its second consecutive 'C' on gender hiring. That gave the NFL a combined grade of 'B'.

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