THE NFL KICKOFF could be nearing the point of no return.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the league's competition committee would consider in the offseason replacing the kickoff. The league previously had moved the kickoff from the 30- to 35-yard line to cut down on violent collisions.
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano suggested that instead of kickoffs, teams would have the option of punting from the 30-yard line and going for a first down in a fourth-and-15 situation. Schiano witnessed one of his players at Rutgers, Eric LeGrand, get paralyzed on a kickoff in 2010.
"I thought it was an interesting idea," Goodell said. "The committee will look at it."
In another matter, Goodell said the league is willing to contribute funding to help build a stadium in Oakland to keep the Raiders in town. Goodell said it is crucial that the Raiders improve their stadium situation. They currently play in the outdated Oakland Coliseum and have said they would like a more modern facility at the same location. There have been talks between the team and city officials but nothing concrete has happened as of yet.
The league already contributed $200 million to help fund a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. Goodell said the league would also be able to fund a stadium for the Raiders if a deal was reached.
He also said the Raiders could share the 49ers stadium when it is scheduled to open in 2014.
There has speculation the Raiders could move back to Los Angeles if they don't get their stadium situation resolved in the Bay Area. Goodell said there is nothing new on moving a team to Los Angeles.
Mark Sanchez will be the New York Jets' starting quarterback for Sunday's game at Jacksonville, coach Rex Ryan said. Also, tight end Dustin Keller sat out practice for the second straight day with a sprained left ankle, leaving his status for uncertain for Sunday.
* The decision by Minnesota to place Percy Harvin on season-ending injured reserve, coach Leslie Frazier said, was based "purely" on his slow-healing sprained left ankle and not any issue with a uniquely valuable player who has had clashes with the team.
* Pittsburgh confirmed Ben Roethlisberger will return to the starting lineup on Sunday against San Diego after missing 3 weeks with a sprained right shoulder and dislocated rib. He will play with a custom-fit rib/chest compression shirt and a layer of Kevlar-lined composite in his shoulder pads to help absorb hits to his clavicle and shoulder joint regions.
* Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said he never intended to hurt Indianapolis right tackle Winston Justice or celebrate his concussion in Sunday's game. Justice was injured when Suh blocked him on an interception return.
"I'm the type of player that would never celebrate anybody being hurt," Suh said. "I was celebrating about my team playing well."
* Kansas City running back Peyton Hillis lashed back at former teammate Joe Thomas, comparing the Cleveland offensive tackle to a "crazy ex-girlfriend" after he made disparaging comments about Hillis. Thomas told reporters in Cleveland on Wednesday that Hillis didn't always play hard during his time with the Browns. He also accused Hillis of creating a "toxic" environment in the locker room by putting his contract situation ahead of the team. The Chiefs play at Cleveland on Sunday.
"Joe Thomas, he can have his opinions all he wants," Hillis said. "It's kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend, you know? It's been over a year. Get over it. But I don't know. I guess when you get paid over $100 million by one team, it's kind of easy to point the finger at another guy and hate on him for trying to get another contract."
* A relative of the slain girlfriend of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher says she was a loyal friend who brought joy to others with her smiles and laughter. Kasandra Perkins' great-uncle also told mourners at a service in Blue Ridge, Texas, that Perkins loved her family and considered her 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, to be the love of her life.
Family and friends gathered at a rural North Texas church to remember the 22-year-old Perkins, 5 days after Belcher killed her, then shot himself in the head.