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Commissioner says owners want 18-game schedule

NFL owners have shown overwhelming support for playing two additional regular-season games but have not held a formal vote to impose the expansion, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday.

Goodell said a specific proposal to extend the regular season to 18 games from 16 would go to the negotiating team working with the NFL Players Assn. on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The owners have previously said that an 18-game regular season and a reduction in the number of exhibition games from four to two could be put into effect as soon as 2012.

Goodell said that fans had also supported the idea.

“The fans have spoken very clearly — they want less preseason and more regular season,” he said at the owners meeting in Atlanta.

Around the NFL, however, many players questioned the wisdom of making an already grueling season even longer. At the very least, they want more money — and several proposed changes in the rules governing injured players, or adding an extra bye week to deal with the grind.

“With 16 games, every game is important and therefore the fans are very into it, the stadiums are packed because they know if their team loses, it pushes them further and further away from making the playoffs,” Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer said. “I think if you go to 18, each game kind of loses a little bit of its significance.”

Kroenke controls Rams

Owners unanimously approved Stan Kroenke’s purchase of the St. Louis Rams, the latest addition to the billionaire’s sports stable, which also includes the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and part of the English soccer team Arsenal.

Kroenke, 63, bought 40% of the Rams when the team relocated from Los Angeles in 1995.

The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the remaining 60% cost Kroenke $450 million.

“I’m very, very pleased to get a unanimous vote,” Kroenke said at the owners meeting. “That’s a statement in and of itself. This is a thorough process.”

Under NFL rules preventing cross-ownership of franchises in two major sports leagues, Kroenke will transfer ownership of the Avalanche and Nuggets to his son, Josh, over the next four years. The three clubs will operate financially independent of each other by December 2014. During the transfer period, Kroenke will have no input in the management or financial decisions involving the Avalanche or Nuggets, the NFL said.

Vikings add receiver

The Minnesota Vikings acquired wide receiver Greg Camarillo from the Miami Dolphins for cornerback Benny Sapp.

Minnesota was in need of a wide receiver after learning Tuesday that Sidney Rice is expected to miss at least half the season following hip surgery.

Camarillo played in 16 games for Miami last year, catching 50 passes for 552 yards. Sapp has appeared in 86 games with the Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs, recording 169 tackles, four interceptions and 2 1/2 sacks.

Haynesworth, Shanahan meet

Washington Redskins tackle Albert Haynesworth met privately with Coach Mike Shanahan to clear the air about their rocky start to date. Haynesworth said after Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens that his absence from practice was being misrepresented and that he suffered from rhabdomyolysis, a muscle condition. Shanahan said he wasn’t aware of that diagnosis.

“If you guys want to talk about football, well talk about football,” Shanahan said. “But to keep on talking about things outside of football to me is completely ridiculous. I did have a conversation with him. If you want to talk about football, we’ll talk about football.”

Etc.

Quarterback Sam Bradford will start Thursday for the St. Louis Rams with A.J. Feeley sidelined by a thumb injury and is expected to play at least the first half. “I know the spotlight’s on Sam right now and everybody’s anxious to see him in there with the first group with Steven Jackson in the backfield,” Coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “I’m just as anxious as you guys are.” … Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has missed his third straight practice with a strained left calf, and his status for this week is in question. … Vikings receiver Percy Harvin returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since going to the hospital after suffering a severe migraine attack last Thursday. His availability for Saturday’s exhibition game against the Seattle Seahawks is uncertain. … Denver Broncos tackle Ryan Clady returned to practice for the first time since he injured a knee playing basketball in April. He might not play during the exhibition season but is expected to be ready for the season opener. … Running back Mike Bell expects to make his Philadelphia Eagles debut Friday after battling calf and hamstring problems for most of training camp. … Guard Randy Thomas’ contract was terminated by the Dolphins, who signed the veteran Aug. 18. … The Cleveland Browns have been awarded defensive lineman Travis Ivey on waivers from Miami.


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