As far as the NFL is concerned, the matter of Matt Patricia’s past is closed.
The league has announced that it will not discipline either the Lions or Patricia, after a 1996 incident in which the head coach was accused of sexual assault.
None of this means that the NFL colluded when keeping Kaepernick unemployed. But what better way to throw dirt on the collusion trail than to try to twist and distort the real reasons for the universal (and potentially coordinated) decision to distance the league from a player whom multiple evaluators did indeed regard as a starting-caliber player?
Regardless of whether collusion is proven, and despite the reality that Kaepernick would be employed right now but for his protests, alternative facts have become a very real and viable basis for shouting down anyone who looks at the situation, considers the facts, and says, “Yeah, he’s getting screwed.” However that strategy came to be, the NFL should bottle it and sell it to Washington, D.C.
The ball will be dead if it touches the ground in the end zone. In the past the returner could pick up the ball off the ground in the end zone and run it out, but now it would be a touchback immediately if it touches the ground in the end zone. These rules are likely to result in fewer high-speed collisions on kickoffs and, the NFL hopes, fewer concussions.
“I’ll be ready for training camp, but [the team] is going to be overly cautious either way,” Sherman said.
There’s little reason for the 49ers to be anything but cautious with Sherman at this point in the calendar and that will continue to be the case for the next few months as they want the veteran to avoid any setbacks that would impact his availability come September. We’ll find out what that means for his preseason availability down the line, but, for now, the goal of having him in the lineup for Week One appears well within reach.