When it comes to the NFL, the off-field developments are as intriguing as what happens on the field lately, and the latest example was the unannounced check-in on teams' medical staffs by Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
Sunday's operation was part of an investigation into whether teams have mishandled prescription drugs.
A lawsuit filed in May on behalf of former players says the NFL and its teams, physicians and trainers acted without regard for players' health, with prescription painkillers and anti-inflammatories handed out to mask pain and minimize lost playing time.
At least three road teams Sunday — the Buccaneers, 49ers and Seahawks — were visited by agents.
While it remains to be seen where that investigation will lead, the coming week should bring news with regard to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and when he'll be able to return to playing after pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for hitting his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.
On Sunday, Peterson issued a statement through the players' union saying he would not "allow the NFL to impose a new process of discipline on me, ignore the CBA, ignore the deal they agreed to with me, and behave without fairness or accountability. The process they are pushing is arbitrary, inconsistent, and contrary to what they agreed to do."
In case you missed it, here are the other top topics after the NFL season's 11th Sunday:
TICK-TOCK: Vikings coach Mike Zimmer used an expletive while discussing a malfunctioning game clock at Chicago's Soldier Field during his club's 21-13 loss to the Bears. Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wasn't sure how much time was left when he threw a late interception.
FALCONS IN FIRST: Could Falcons coach Mike Smith win an NFC South title AND get fired? Bad as Atlanta has been, its division is filled with teams that are even worse. Atlanta is tied for first place with a 4-6 record after beating Carolina 19-17. "The way our season is going," Falcons defensive tackle Corey Peters said, "we're happy to have any win."
RG3'S WOES: Wasn't all that long ago that Robert Griffin III was winning the Heisman Trophy, getting drafted No. 2 overall by the Redskins, leading Washington to the playoffs, and earning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. And now? Now there's talk about whether the team will pick up its fifth-year contract option for the quarterback. How did that happen? Griffin's latest step backward was Washington's 27-7 loss to Tampa Bay. He threw two first-quarter interceptions, was sacked six times, overthrew DeSean Jackson twice, and pronounced the game a "travesty." The Redskins are 3-7 under rookie head coach Jay Gruden, who has not exactly gone out of his way to defend Griffin.
MIKE EVANS: Those Bucs benefited from a breakout performance by the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft, Mike Evans, who about three months past his 21st birthday became the youngest player with 200 yards receiving in a game. He wound up with 209, along with a pair of TD catches from Josh McCown.
RODGERS FOR MVP?: Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers threw three more TDs and zero interceptions in a 53-20 victory over visiting Philadelphia, bolstering his MVP credentials. At Lambeau Field, he's as good as it gets — Rodgers has 322 pass attempts and 29 passing touchdowns at home since his last interception there, both NFL records.
OH, BROTHER: Not a good day for the Mannings. Peyton threw a pair of picks, had his 15-game streak of at least two TD passes end, and his Broncos lost to the Rams 22-7. Younger brother Eli was even worse, with five interceptions in the Giants' 16-10 loss to San Francisco, New York's fifth consecutive defeat.
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