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NFL denies veterans group Super Bowl ad

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The NFL has denied advertising space in the Super Bowl program for a veterans group that declined to alter language about standing for the national anthem.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Tuesday that American Veterans, or AMVETS , submitted an advertisement last week to the third-party publisher of the game program with the message, "Please Stand."

McCarthy said the league, which has editorial control over the content, asked AMVETS to consider other options for the message, such as "Please Honor our Veterans" or "Please Stand for our Veterans." The two organizations were unable to agree on language in time to meet production deadlines. McCarthy said a separate ad from the Veterans of Foreign Wars group with the words "We Stand for Veterans" was approved.

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NFL forms social, racial justice group

NEW YORK (AP) The NFL has established a player-owner committee focusing on social and racial justice initiatives that Commissioner Roger Goodell cautions is just a start, with lots of work ahead.

Goodell credited "unprecedented dialogue" for helping players and owners get to the point of Tuesday's announcement. He said the committee will focus on education, economic development, community and police relations and the criminal justice system.

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Kaepernick finalist for service award

WASHINGTON (AP) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Texans defensive end J.J. Watt are among the five finalists for the NFL Players Association's Byron "Whizzer" White Award.

The award annually recognizes players for exceptional community service in their team cities and hometowns.

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Top Senior Bowl QBs under heavy scrutiny

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen are getting plenty of looks from the pros this week.

Mayfield, college football's top player, and Allen, a potential No. 1 overall draft pick, are competing at the Senior Bowl's North practices in front of NFL coaches, scouts and executives.

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Ratings for title games down 8 percent

NEW YORK (AP) More than 40 million people watched the NFL's two preliminaries for the Super Bowl on Sunday, a drop of more than 8 percent compared to last year's conference championship games.

The Nielsen company said an average of 43.2 million people watched the games. While that's down from the 47.1 million who watched the conference championships last year, it was a more heartening report than the NFL had gotten only a week earlier. This year's divisional championship round had seen a 16 percent dip in audience size.

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Confident Wilks ready to lead Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Steve Wilks took over as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals saying he was humbled by the job but exhibiting an abundance of confidence that he can do it well.

The 48-year-old coach, promoted after just one season as defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers, was introduced at a news conference Tuesday, bringing a reputation of connecting easily with his players as he replaces Bruce Arians, who retired after five colorful seasons and 50 victories in Arizona.

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Eagles' team-first approach pays off big

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Winning is an easy sell.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the first team since the 1990 New York Giants to reach a Super Bowl without a player totaling 1,000 scrimmage yards though running backs Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount and wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith have done so in the past.

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Flowers' play key to Patriots' defense

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Like most of the Patriots players, Trey Flowers generally stays under the radar.

Flowers has made his loudest impact on the field and emerged as a key part of the defense during the runs to the Super Bowl in the past two seasons.

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Turner to let Newton run, may tweak some

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner has no plans to restrict Cam Newton's ability to make plays with his feet. As for the quarterback's throwing motion, well that might need a little tweaking.

The 65-year-old Turner said he returned to coaching because of an opportunity to work again with Panthers coach Ron Rivera - who was on his coaching staff for four seasons in San Diego - and to coach the talented group of offensive players led by Newton.

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Costas left out of Super Bowl coverage

NEW YORK (AP) Bob Costas won't be working the Super Bowl for NBC next month.

The longtime broadcaster was not included in the network's lineup for the NFL title game telecast from Minneapolis on Feb. 4, leading to speculation that Costas' comments about head injuries in football might have affected the decision.

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