NFL notebook: League exec admits to CTE link

| Monday, March 14, 2016, 8:30 p.m.

NFL executive Jeff Miller acknowledged a link between football-related head trauma and the brain disease CTE, the first admission by a league official that there is such a relationship.

Appearing before a congressional committee Monday, Miller, the NFL's senior vice president for health and safety, was asked about a connection between hits in football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. His answer was “certainly yes.”

The NFL has not previously linked playing football to CTE directly.

Miller appeared at a roundtable discussion of concussions before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce and cited the work of Boston University neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee. She has found CTE in the brains of 90 former pro football players.

CTE can only be detected after death. Among the players found to have CTE in their brains was Hall of Famer Junior Seau.

• The Ravens and safety Eric Weddle agreed to terms on a four-year contract. An All-Pro in 2011 and 2014, Weddle has spent his entire nine-year career with the Chargers. Weddle had reportedly narrowed his list to four teams: The Steelers, Cowboys, Raiders and Ravens. One of the longest-tenured Chargers, Weddle started in 13 games in 2015, and missed three with a groin injury. In 137 career games, he has 813 tackles and 19 interceptions — three of which were returned for touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Weddle was voted San Diego's defensive player of the year in 2011, 2013 and 2014.

• Defensive tackle B.J. Raji said he is taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play in 2016 following seven seasons with the Packers. Raji said in a statement he made the decision after hours of conversation with family members and mentors. He did not rule out a return to the field, but said that he “will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.” Raji was a free agent after having a good season in 2015 with 22 tackles in 15 regular-season games. His decision leaves a hole up front in the Packers' run defense.

Mark Sanchez says he's the perfect player to follow Peyton Manning in Denver after replacing another QB icon, Brett Favre, in New York his rookie season. Sanchez said at his introductory news conference that his aim is to start for the Broncos no matter which other quarterbacks general manager John Elway might bring in.

• The Vikings signed free agent safety Michael Griffin. The two-time Pro Bowler comes to the Vikings from Tennessee, where he spent the first nine seasons of his career.

• The Rams agreed to a three-year contract with former Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh worth up to $19 million, according to multiple reports.

• The Lions re-signed tight end Tim Wright, who appeared in nine games for Detroit in 2015, finishing with nine catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

• Free agent linebacker Daren Bates signed with the Raiders after playing his first three seasons with the Rams mostly on special teams.

• The Bears retained a pair of tight ends, agreeing to a two-year contract with Zach Miller and a one-year deal with Rob Housler.

— Wire reports

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