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    Robert Griffin III cleared, not named starter yet

    Dr. James Andrews gave Robert Griffin III the OK to play.
    Phelan M. Ebenhack/ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Dr. James Andrews gave Robert Griffin III the OK to play.

    So much for perfect harmony. Even on a night when the news is good, Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan can’t sing the same song.

    Minutes after the Washington Redskins quarterback tweeted to the world that he was ‘‘Cleared for Takeoff’’ in his return from major knee surgery, the coach kept him sitting on the runway for a least a few more days, declining to name Griffin as the Week 1 starter.

    There is agreement on one very important matter. On Thursday night, when the Redskins were in Florida to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griffin was cleared to play after being examined yet again by Dr. James Andrews, a remarkable development that comes less than eight months after he repaired Griffin’s right knee in January.


    Then it gets murky. Griffin celebrated the news by tweeting: ‘‘Operation Patience . . . Complete. Cleared. To God Be The Glory.’’

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    Shanahan held his postgame news conference and announced that Andrews did indeed clear Griffin to play, but: ‘‘There’s a couple concerns that he has. I'll talk to Robert over the weekend and I'll let you guys know on Monday.’’

    Shanahan declined to identify the ‘‘concerns’’ the doctor supposedly has.

    Andrews seemed to distance himself from Shanahan’s comments on Friday with a text message to the Washington Post: ‘‘None of it is true. No concerns.’’

    Players unconvinced

    The hundreds of millions of dollars the NFL is ready to pay former players sounds great, until you stretch it out over 20 years and divide it among thousands of people.


    Which is why some former players and others think the league is getting off cheap in its tentative settlement with victims of concussion-related brain injuries.

    The deal announced Thursday to settle 4,500 or so claims is awaiting approval by a federal judge in Philadelphia.

    ‘‘$765 million?’’ asked former Minnesota Viking Brent Boyd, one of the original plaintiffs in the lawsuit. ‘‘The breakdown is $1.2 million over 20 years per team. What is that, a third of the average salary? There is no penalty there. It’s pocket change.’’

    Former players union president and Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae complained that the NFL does not have to admit culpability.

    ‘‘The unfortunate thing is that the general fan, they see $765 million and they think it’s a windfall for the players. It’s great for . . . the guys that would fall in the category of needing immediate help,’’ Mawae said. ‘‘But it’s $700 million worth of hush money that they will never have to be accountable for.’’


    Others former players didn’t seem as concerned about the amount of money, preferring to focus on the timing of the settlement. They said that getting medical coverage now for their peers — or themselves — who suffer from a variety of brain ailments and other health problems is essential.

    Jets’ murky situation

    The winner of the New York Jets’ quarterback competition is . . . still yet to be determined. And, if you listen to Rex Ryan, one might not ever be declared. Mark Sanchez has an injured right shoulder that could keep him out for at least the season opener. So, in a scenario that appears to be increasingly likely, raw rookie Geno Smith could get the start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 8. After offseason workouts, minicamp, training camp, and preseason games, the Jets are still where they were months ago: with no clear-cut starting quarterback. ‘‘I guess you can assume it’s ongoing,’’ Ryan said Friday, ‘‘if we haven’t announced anything yet.’’ . . . The Bills signed center Eric Wood to a four-year contract extension. While Wood got his extension, the Bills released QB Matt Leinart. Leinart, 30, joined the Bills on Sunday as an injury replacement but was 3 of 10 for 11 yards with two interceptions in Thursday’s loss to the Lions.

    Bears let go of Webb

    The Bears waived offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb, ending a three-year run in which his performance never measured up to his talent. Webb started 44 games over three seasons . . . Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is on pace to return for the season opener. Gabbert is recovering from a hairline fracture in his right thumb . . . Bengals defensive end DeQuin Evans was suspended for the season’s first eight games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances for a second time . . . Rookie Menelik Watson will likely start at left tackle when the Raiders open against Indianapolis despite making his debut at the position in the exhibition finale.

    Banks waived

    The Falcons waived Brian Banks, the linebacker who was attempting to make a late start to his NFL career after spending five years in prison on a conviction that was later overturned. The 28-year-old Banks was convicted of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago. The woman who made the charge when Banks was 16 later recanted her accusation. He was listed as the third-string middle linebacker and faced an uphill battle to make the team . . . Quarterback Dennis Dixon was one of 12 players cut by the Eagles as they moved closer to the 53-player roster limit. He had a standout career at Oregon when Chip Kelly was the Ducks’ offensive coordinator and signed with the Eagles in February . . . The Cardinals have placed first-round draft pick Jonathan Cooper on injured reserve, ending the left guard’s season after initially expressing hope he could be back for as many as the final six games. Cooper underwent surgery last Sunday after breaking his left leg in a preseason game against San Diego.

    Indy states claim

    Indianapolis wants to host the Super Bowl in 2018 after winning praise for its handling of the NFL’s showcase event in 2012. The city notified the NFL of its intentions ahead of a news conference at which Gov. Mike Pence, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, and civic leaders made the decision public at Lucas Oil Stadium, site of the 2012 Super Bowl . . . Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh said that former Patriots defensive back James Ihedigbo will start at strong safety, although he emphasized that first-round pick Matt Elam will also play a significant role at the position . . . Veteran left tackle Max Starks was released by the Chargers after playing what he called ‘‘probably one of my worst games in my entire career’’ in Thursday’s loss to the 49ers. The 10-year veteran, who won two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers, allowed three sacks in the loss . . . Former Dolphins and Raiders defensive back and kick returner Fulton Walker Jr. was recovering from injuries after West Virginia sheriff’s deputies said he was beaten during home-invasion robbery earlier this week. Walker was punched in the face, struck in the head, and fell down in gravel several times while trying to escape an assault by two men who entered his Martinsburg home and stole a handgun, said Berkeley County Lt. Gary Harmison. Police later arrested brothers Raheim Doleman, 26, and Roger Doleman, 27.