San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald warms up before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
It is not the case that an NFL player is suspended or deactivated because of — or kept around despite — a pending criminal case each and every day. Just seems that way lately. And the futures of some players, most notably 2012 MVP Adrian Peterson, are going to be a big deal this week.
Minnesota's star running back was inactive for what became a 30-7 loss to New England on Sunday, two days after being indicted; he was charged with child abuse for striking his 4-year-old son with a tree branch.
Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, meanwhile, was deactivated for Sunday's 24-7 victory over Detroit after playing in Week 1 despite being convicted in July of assaulting a woman. Panthers coach Ron Rivera explained the switch from one week to the next by saying the "climate has changed" in the NFL.
Then there's Ray McDonald, the 49ers' defensive lineman who has been active for both regular-season games since his Aug. 31 arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
So among the key questions in the coming days: Will Peterson be allowed to play next Sunday against New Orleans? Will he ever play again for the Vikings? What will happen to Hardy in Week 3, when Carolina hosts Pittsburgh? And will Ray Rice, whose case put the spotlight on domestic violence in the NFL, appeal the league's increase of his punishment from a two-game suspension to an indefinite ban?
In case you missed it, here are other top topics after the NFL season's second Sunday:
'WHO CALLED TIMEOUT?': That's what Rex Ryan wanted to know after a sequence that will go down in Jets lore alongside the "butt fumble" and the fake spike. Trailing by a touchdown with about 5 minutes left, Geno Smith appeared to throw a 37-yard TD pass Jeremy Kerley on fourth down — until it was negated by a timeout the Jets themselves had apparently asked for. Except Ryan hadn't: He could be seen telling the officials, "Who called timeout? I didn't call timeout."
PLENTY OF PAIN: Some of the NFL's most dynamic players on offense left games with injuries, and their status will be monitored closely in the coming days: Robert Griffin III (ankle) and DeSean Jackson (shoulder) of the Redskins, A.J. Green (foot) of the Bengals, Jamaal Charles (ankle) of the Chiefs, Tavon Austin (knee) of the Rams, Knowshon Moreno (elbow) of the Dolphins, Vernon Davis (ankle) of the 49ers, and Ryan Mathews (knee) of the Chargers. RG3, for example, is expected to be out no less than a month — and perhaps the rest of the season.
'AINTS: The New Orleans Saints and their revamped secondary are 0-2. Doesn't matter how often Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham connect if their defense can't stop the likes of Brian Hoyer and the talent-shy Cleveland Browns offense, as happened in Sunday's 26-24 loss for Sean Payton and Co. At least the Saints get to face the Vikings next.
OFFICIATING ISSUES: It can be something of a bore to watch a game that's interrupted over and over and over by yellow flags, as happened Sunday night, when there were 26 combined accepted penalties in Chicago's 28-20 victory over San Francisco. What's worse, though, is when calls are wrong — or missed altogether. One example from Sunday: Seattle's Percy Harvin stepped out of bounds during a 51-yard TD run against San Diego, but the league acknowledged later the play was not reviewed — as all scores are supposed to be — and the touchdown should have been erased.
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