THE NFL IS FINALLY LISTENING TO MARIJUANA RESEARCHERS: Eugene Monroe has been trying to get the NFL to take medicinal marijuana seriously for some time now, and he finally might have the league's official ear. Outwardly, the NFL is still keeping its distance from marijuana despite the nation's softening attitudes and a pile of research pointing to potential medical benefits. Behind the scenes, the league's senior vice president for player health and safety -- the NFL's first big wig to acknowledge the link between CTE and head injuries -- had a call with researchers recently to learn more about the study Monroe is funding, the Washington Post reports. It was the NFL that requested the call too.
We're still a long way from the NFL normalizing its view of pot, but given the glacial pace the league moves on these kinds of issues, it's hard not to see this as a first step in the right direction.
HARRISON SMITH EXTENSION: The Vikings signed safety Harrison Smith to a five-year, $51 million extension. The deal includes a minimum of $15.278 million guaranteed and as much as $28.578 million guaranteed.
WORST MOVES OF THE OFFSEASON: Pro Football Focus runs down the 10 worst moves of the offseason. Congrats to the Falcons, you made the list twice!
TALIB IS GOING TO BE OKAY: Aqib Talib was shot after a fight at a Dallas strip club. The Broncos cornerback was shot in the leg. He's already been released from emergency care, and is expected to make a full recovery.
PAINT THE WHITE HOUSE ORANGE: The Broncos are going to the White House ... most of them. Brock Osweiler is staying in Texas, since there might be some hard feelings between him and Elway after that whole free agency thing. Talib isn't going either, obviously. John Elway's hoping this White House visit goes better than his last one. He got food poisoning the last time he went, in 1989, thanks to some chipped beef. Yum! Peyton Manning is going, and he'll be the third quarterback to attend ceremonies with two different presidents.
THE CHAMP & THE RAVENS: Muhammad Ali played a special part in the Baltimore Ravens' magical 2012 season. "The Greatest" made a special visit with the Ravens before they began their 2012 campaign.
THE MOUTH OF THE NORTH, SILENCED: Rex Ryan's "playoff ultimatum" doesn't make sense for the Buffalo Bills. Rex Ryan is not making one of those "playoffs or bust" statements for the Bills this year. Someone's learned, finally. He doesn't want to give the owner another reason to fire him either.
NAMING RIGHTS, FOR FANS: U.S. Bank Stadium needs a better name, and you can help pick it! Corporate names for stadiums is one of the lamest trends in sports, stripping away tradition and making the place just another address. Vikings fans at Daily Norseman want to give their new stadium an unofficial name, and you can help them.
GLORY DAYS: We are living in the golden age of the Bengals, which somehow ends in January every year.
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE THE PATRIOTS: The Patriots were responsible for six teams' worst ever losses. In case you ever wondered why people hate the Patriots.
WHAT HAPPENED TO BRANDON BOYKIN? Is a degenerative hip condition keeping Brandon Boykin unemployed? The former Eagles and Steelers cornerback is still a free agent. The Panthers signed him, and then cut him after just a few weeks. Steelers defensive backs coach told a group of fans that Boykin has a serious medical issue.
HONEY BADGER GIVES BACK: Tyrann Mathieu gives back to New Orleans after condemning the city's violent culture. Mathieu has ranted against the city's violent culture ever since Will Smith's murder.
CAM NEWTON HAS A SHOW: Cam Newton has a TV show! Is it any good? Cat Scratch Reader reviews the first episode of Cam's new show.
ROBERT QUINN ISN'T READY: Robert Quinn still not ready to go "full tilt" after back surgery. After an injury-riddled 2015, the Rams defensive end is recovering.
TWITTER PRANK: Steelers kicker Chris Boswell pranked his teammate Sammie Coates on Twitter. NFL players love their privacy, until one of their teammates decides to take said privacy and throw it out the window on social media.