The St. Louis Rams and the NFL will not discipline the five players who stood with their hands raised in a show of solidarity with Ferguson protesters before Sunday's game.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that it was his players' "choice to exercise their free speech." "It's important that I keep sports and politics separate," Fisher said. "I'm a head coach. I'm not a politician, an activist, or an expert on societal issues."

Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, Chris Givens, Stedman Bailey, and Tavon Austin made the "Hands up. Don't Shoot" gesture protesters in Ferguson - a suburb of St. Louis - have been using since a grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson over the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown. The players made their show of support before running onto the field during pregame introductions.

Later Sunday, the St. Louis Police Officer's Association issued a statement demanding the players be disciplined and the NFL issue an apology.

The NFL responded with a one-sentence statement from spokesman Brian McCarthy: "We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation."

Chiefs regrouping. Two weeks ago, the Kansas City Chiefs were barreling toward the playoffs. They had won five straight games and were one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

Now, their playoff hopes are suddenly in peril.

The Chiefs were beaten at home, 29-16, by the Denver Broncos on Sunday night. On the heels of a loss to previously winless Oakland, the defeat all but eliminated Kansas City (7-5) from contention in the AFC West, and makes its wild-card pursuit no sure thing.

The Chiefs have trips to Arizona and Pittsburgh and home games against Oakland and San Diego, and it may take three wins in those four games to have a shot at the playoffs.

"I do know we have a high-character team and that they will work like crazy to get back and do better than this," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

Peterson hearing. An attempt by Adrian Peterson to get back on the field reaches an important stage on Tuesday when the suspended Minnesota Vikings running back squares off against the NFL in a hearing over his punishment for child abuse. Peterson was suspended two weeks ago by the National Football League without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season for using a tree branch to discipline his son.

But Peterson contends, in part, that the league's strengthened sanctions for domestic abuse announced in late August should not have any effect on his offense, which occurred in May.

Belichick in the box? Patriots coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft are listed as witnesses by prosecutors in the murder trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. In a filing Monday, Hernandez's lawyers asked a judge to order prosecutors to pare down their witness list. Hernandez is charged in the 2013 killing of semipro football player Odin Lloyd, whose body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's Attleboro, Mass., home.