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  • August 21, 2019

    Calvin Ridley set a Falcons rookie record with three
    touchdown receptions among a bunch of big plays — in a bittersweet afternoon for
    the young wide receiver.After barely factoring in Atlanta’s first two
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    , he was targeted a team-high eight times, caught a
    team-best seven passes and registered a game-high 146 yards. It wasn’t enough,
    though, because Drew Brees‘s half-yard sneak pushed the New Orleans Saints to a
    43-37 overtime victory Sunday.That left the first-round draft choice less happy
    to talk about his scoring plays of 18, 75 and 9 yards.“I’d really rather have
    the win, but it means a lot,” Ridley said after lighting up the Saints. “It
    feels pretty good.”Ridley didn’t have a catch in Atlanta’s opening game, an
    18-12 loss at Phildelphia on Sept. 6.He had four receptions in a 31-24 win over
    the Panthers a week ago.On Sunday, he was busy from the jump.He lined up in the
    backfield on Atlanta’s first offensive snap and later in the game as well, and
    also ran three reverses. Two were wiped out by penalties, leaving him with a
    carry for 9 yards.All of his catches counted and the Saints struggled to figure
    out a way to slow him, especially in the first half when he had five receptions
    for 129 yards and two scores.On the first, he beat embattled New Orleans
    cornerback P.J. Williams to catch an 18-yard touchdown in the right corner of
    the end zone. Ridley beat Williams for an 11-yard catch to start the Falcons’
    next possession. Shortly before
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    , he blew past Williams on a 75-yard scoring play.After
    hauling in the long pass from Matt Ryan, he easily outran Saints safety Marcus
    Williams to the end zone.Ridley said he wasn’t necessarily looking to be matched
    up on Williams, and that play was nothing special.“I just came in ready for
    anybody. I was prepared. I was ready to help the team win,” he explained. “(It
    was) just a go ball, run deep. … I’m just getting comfortable,
    confident.”Atlanta star wide receiver Julio Jones, who has had a
    franchise-record 40 games with 100 or more receiving yards, didn’t seem
    surprised that Ridley riddled the Saints for his first. They both played at
    Alabama.“I knew it all along,” Jones said after catching five passes for 96
    yards. “He’s a great player. Let him make plays. He made some great plays for us
    today.”Ridley’s best play might have come early in the third quarter, when Ryan
    scrambled left on second-and-goal from the New Orleans 9-yard line.By that time,
    the Saints had subbed cornerback Ken Crawley for Williams, who had decent
    coverage on Ridley in the end zone. When the play broke down,
    though ,
    Crawley was caught looking at Ryan, and the rookie receiver broke behind left
    behind the cornerback and the quarterback found him for a score.With 12 minutes
    left in the third quarter, Atlanta led 21-16.“I thought Calvin played really
    well,” Ryan said after completing 26 of 35 passes for 374 yards and a
    career-high five touchdown passes. “He stepped up when he had the opportunity
    to. It was clear from the start it was two guys to account for Julio. That
    leaves Calvin singled up in 1-on-1 coverage. … Today was special.”But, even
    greater for Ridley if the Falcons pulled out a win.“We knew it was going to be a
    high-scoring game coming in,” Ridley said. “We’ve just got to be better next
    time.”___ KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have made a habit of
    inciting controversy during the NFL draft in the Andy Reid era by acquiring
    players that have a history of off-the-field issues.This year, they didn’t even
    wait until the draft.The Chiefs swung a blockbuster trade with the Seattle
    Seahawks on Tuesday to acquire pass rusher Frank Clark for a package of picks, a
    person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The two sides then
    reached an agreement on a $105.5 million, five-year contract that was contingent
    on Clark passing a physical, which was expected to be completed Wednesday.The
    person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal, which sent
    the Chiefs’ first-round pick this year and a second-rounder next year to
    Seattle, had not become official.That didn’t stop
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    , talk-radio hosts and people from just about every walk
    of life in Kansas City from debating the merits of bringing in yet another
    player with baggage.The team took a chance on cornerback Marcus Peters, who was
    traded away after getting into trouble with coaches. It drafted running back
    Kareem Hunt, then quickly cut him when he kicked a woman in a hotel hallway. And
    it picked wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was dealing with his own domestic
    violence case that centered on the 3-year-old child he shares with his
    fiance.While Clark has stayed out of trouble during four years in the NFL, he
    was kicked off the team at Michigan when he was charged with first-degree
    domestic violence and assault following an incident with his then-girlfriend.
    The charges were later reduced to fourth-degree persistent disorderly conduct
    and Clark completed a domestic violence course and paid court costs and
    fines.One organization that called the trade “disconcerting” was the Rose Brooks
    Center, which has been providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence
    for 40 years.“Organizations and other systems have a community responsibility to
    hold offenders accountable, just as Rose Brooks Center does, in order to end the
    epidemic of domestic violence,” the center said in a statement. “When we do not
    hold offenders accountable, it sends a message of acceptance not only to the
    offender, but to the victim, reducing the likelihood that a victim will come
    forward.”The Chiefs have not commented on the trade because it has yet to become
    official, though the team did tweet video from the locker room of a No. 55
    jersey with Clark’s name on it.His arrival continues a trend of the Chiefs
    giving players with off-the-field history a second
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    , with mixed results.Peters, who was kicked off his team at
    Washington for fighting with his coach, quickly became one of the league’ best
    cornerbacks. But increasingly erratic conduct reached a tipping point when
    Peters got into an altercation with then-defensive coordinator Bob Sutton
    following a game.Peters ultimately was shipped to the Rams last offseason for
    second- and fourth-round draft picks.In 2016, the Chiefs used a fifth-round pick
    on Hill, who was kicked off the team at Oklahoma State after punching his
    pregnant girlfriend and transferred to tiny West Alabama. His elite speed and
    game-breaking ability made him one of the league’s biggest stars on the field,
    but off the field many fans were dismayed at the pick — some even gave up season
    tickets or swore off the team altogether.Hill completed a series of steps to
    have the original domestic violence charges expunged, and he had stayed out of
    trouble until last month when police were called to his home twice in a span of
    nine days to investigate a report of child abuse and battery of a juvenile. On
    Wednesday, the Johnson County district attorney declined to press charges in the
    case because he could not determine whether it was Hill or his fiance, Crystal
    Espinal, that injured the child.“We believe a crime has occurred ,” district
    attorney Steve Howe said. “We’ve asked the police to do quite a bit of follow-up
    work. They’ve completed their investigation and we’re at an impasse at this
    point and any further investigation would be unwarranted.”The Chiefs have
    declined to discuss Hill even as they began offseason workouts, and coach Andy
    Reid merely said “he is here” when asked about his talented wide receiver last
    week.General manager Brett Veach also declined to discuss the case.“I think it’s
    going to work itself out here,” he
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    , “and we’ll deal with the information as it comes. Like I
    said, there’s nothing I’d probably be in a position to say right now on
    that.”The Chiefs have been quick in addressing domestic violence in at least one
    case.After choosing Hunt despite a history of issues in college, and watching
    him lead the league in rushing as a rookie, they wasted no time in cutting him
    once video surfaced of an incident in an Ohio hotel hallway. Hunt was seen
    pushing and kicking a woman while she was on the ground.“Our scouting staff does
    a really good job of vetting players and part of that analysis is their
    character,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said at the time. “Obviously, it’s very
    hard to learn everything about somebody. Sometimes you have somebody who in
    college didn’t have any incidents, then they get to the pro level and with the
    fame and fortune that comes with the position, they do something you don’t
    expect. We’re certainly going to try to get better, but I don’t think you can
    ever be perfect.”It’s unclear what kind of due diligence the Chiefs did when it
    came to Clark, though two people familiar with his signing said the background
    work done was extensive.What they heard was enough to make the Chiefs
    comfortable not only with bringing him aboard, but also making Clark one of the
    highest-paid pass rushers in the NFL.