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Shakhter Karagandy is the first team
NEW YORK -- The NFL will discuss expanded playoffs at the owners meetings next month in Atlanta. Chris Young Jersey . Commissioner Roger Goodell told a gathering of Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday that a vote is uncertain on the proposal to add two teams to the post-season. Should the owners vote on the increase in May, Goodell said the 14-team playoffs could be implemented for the upcoming season, or for 2015. If no vote is taken, then 2015 would be the target for expanded playoffs, with a vote possible in October or next March. The league also would need to consult with the players union on the matter, but it seems clear more playoff teams are on the way. "Were being very deliberate about it," Goodell said. "We want to make sure we do it in the right way." The NFL also will experiment with snapping the ball from the 15-yard line on extra points in the first two weeks of the preseason to make them more challenging. A kick from that distance would wind up being about 33 yards. Previously, the plan had been to experiment with moving kicks back to the 20. But in conversations with the leagues competition committee and various teams, officiating director Dean Blandino said it became apparent a 33-yard extra point was a wiser choice for the experiment. Blandino added that veteran referees Scott Green and Ron Winter have retired, and will be replaced by Craig Wrolstad and Ronald Torbert. Wrolstad had been a field judge and Torbert was a side judge; both have college refereeing experience. Two female officials will be working minicamps and preseason games: line judge Sarah Thomas and head linesman Maia Chaka. Both work in Conference USA. They are part of the leagues officiating development program. The NFL also hired the sons of two current officials: field judge Brad Freeman, the son of back judge Steve Freeman, a former player with Buffalo; and field judge Shawn Hochuli, son of referee Ed Hochuli. Goodell and various other NFL executives were asked about the repercussions from the bullying incidents with the Miami Dolphins involving Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito. "You never want to see any story that reflects on that we dont have the right workplace environment," Goodell said. "Weve redoubled our efforts to make sure we provide the right environment ... for everybody in the NFL." Blandino added that in an effort to have on-field action in which the players are respectful, there will be a heavy emphasis on reducing taunting. From 2012 to 2013, the number of taunting incidents increased from nine to 34. "Its important having the right culture in place," added Robert Gulliver, the NFLs chief diversity officer. "A culture of respect for the game, for each other, for coaches, officials and fans. Well engage in positive training with the 32 clubs." Asked about the first openly gay player, Michael Sam of Missouri, soon entering the league, NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said the league was looking forward to welcoming Sam into its ranks. Vincent, a star defensive back for 15 seasons and former president of the NFL Players Association, said he played with "six openly gay players inside the locker room" who did not publicly announce their sexual orientation. "It worked, we won many football games," Vincent said. "They were players, and we didnt see them any differently." NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said the league remains optimistic that a U.S. district judge will approve the $765 million concussion settlement with former players. The judge, Anita Brody, has expressed concerns the fund may not be large enough to cover up to 20,000 retired players for 65 years. "Were confident we will get it done," Pash said. "I think were getting close to the point where well have a package thats satisfactory. Our overriding goal is that both sides get this structure in place so we can begin providing compensation to people who need it." Greg Colbrunn Jersey . And rest hardly led to rust for the two-time defending NBA champions. Wholesale Diamondbacks Jerseys . JOHNS, N. . Today, he looks at the offensive line. 1. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (OT, McGill) You Should Know: Over the course of his university career, Duvernay-Tardifs commitments to medical school and the family business frequently limited him to one practice per week, yet he was still the Metras Trophy winner as the Top Lineman in CIS football in 2013.MONACO -- Tottenham was grouped with Anzhi Makhachkala and former champion Valencia was pitted against Swansea in Fridays draw for the group stage of the Europa League. Tottenhams group also includes Norwegian side Tromso, which was chosen as the replacement for Besiktas in Europes second-tier competition after the Turkish team was banned by UEFA for fixing its victory in a domestic cup final in 2011. In Group A, Swansea will take its growing contingent of Spanish players to face 2004 champion Valencia in its opening match. Europa League debutants Kuban Krasnodar and Saint Gallen are also in Group A. "Its a strong group, but we are Valencia and have big ambitions," Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic said. "If you want to win this tournament you have to look to beat everyone. We are confident." APOEL was also added to the draw after being picked as the lucky loser to replace Fenerbahce, which lost its appeal against a two-year competition ban for match-fixing on Wednesday. The Cypriot club was handed a tough group with Bordeaux, Eintracht Frankfurt and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Sevilla, which won the competition in 2006 and 2007, will face Estoril and Slovan Liberec as well as Freiburg, which had an impressive season in the Bundesliga last year. "Its a tough group, with big clubs such as Sevilla, but we are lookking forward to it," Freiburg president Fritz Keller said. Corbin Martin Jersey. "Its great for our fans to have the chance to visit these places and watch Freiburg play abroad." Seven-time French champion Lyon was placed in a group with Real Betis, Guimaraes and Croatian side Rijeka. Wigan, the English second-division club which won the FA Cup last season, was grouped with Rubin Kazan, Maribor and Zulte Waregem. Shakhter Karagandy is the first team from Kazakhstan to participate in the group stage of a UEFA competition and was drawn with AZ Alkmaar, PAOK Thessaloniki and Maccabi Haifa, while newcomer Ludogorets Razgrad was grouped with PSV Eindhoven, Dinamo Zagreb and Chornomorets Odesa. "For us, any group would have been tough and exciting because it is our first appearance in a European club competition group stage," Shakhter Karagandy captain Andrey Finonchenko said. "We would have liked to have been drawn against such big sides as Lazio, Tottenham or Lyon, but it is going to be interesting. We will gain experience." Serie A clubs Fiorentina and Lazio have been handed relatively easy draws with the former facing Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, Pacos Ferreira and Pandurii Targu Jiu, and the latter with Trabzonspor, Legia Warsaw and Apollon Limassol. The first matches take place on Sept. 19. ' ' '

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