Some players appear likely to continue their protests.

The NFL has yet to have an openly gay player appear in a regular season game, although several players have come out after their careers ended. Michael Sam came out before the 2014 NFL draft and was selected by the Rams before being released in the preseason.

Asked by Outsports whether either the Falcons or 49ers knew of her sexual orientation, Sowers mentioned that it came up with Atlanta assistant general manager Scott Pioli, whom she described in a Facebook post as “a close friend and mentor.” Pioli also proved invaluable to former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan, who said his fears of being outed as gay had him nearing suicide a few years ago, before he opened up to the executive and experienced life-changing acceptance.

“This initiative between the NFL, owners and Players Coalition does not mandate an end to any player demonstrations,” Jenkins and Boldin said in a written statement posted to each of their Twitter accounts last week. “It[‘]s always been about the issues; strengthening the criminal justice system and fight for racial and social equality.”

That group notably is expected to include San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid.

Why are the Bills scrambling to make the playoffs for the first time this century? It also makes the Patriots’ run, in the week they clinched an NFL-record ninth consecutive division title, even more admirable. The league is built to be an annual snow globe, and the Patriots are an obelisk at the top of the league. It would make for a decent tagline for the NFL: Parity and the Patriots.

By the end of the season, it’s possible 20 teams — nearly two-thirds of the league — will have either made the playoffs this season or last, or both. It’s how the NFL likes it, with fans in every NFL city able to believe next year might be their team’s year. But it also puts pressure on coaches to win immediately. We could see one effect of McVay’s and Marrone’s excellence in the next few weeks.

The Vikings ane Eagles are being rewarded for building their whole team around “pick your man up” and “next man up.” If you’ve heard Mike Zimmer and Pederson all the way this season as they’ve lost other key members of their teams to injuries, they’ve shown unwavering faith in their personnel and confidence that their systems are bigger than any one player.cowboys_097