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NFL notebook: Playoffs will remain unchanged

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By The Associated Press
Monday, March 18, 2013, 8:30 p.m.
 

The NFL won't be adding playoff teams for 2013, and the Ravens could open on the road because of a conflict with the Orioles.

As the owners meetings opened Monday, scheduling was a main topic.

Traditionally, the season has opened with the Super Bowl winners playing host on the Thursday night after Labor Day.

The Ravens won't have that opportunity unless baseball's Orioles, who share parking lots at Camden Yards with the Ravens' M&T Bank Stadium, will move their night game Sept. 5 to the afternoon.

Also at the meetings:

• Commissioner Roger Goodell said the playoffs will not expand this season, but it will be discussed for the future. Last December, Goodell spoke about adding two or four teams to the current 12-team format.

• Goodell and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown announced that the league will pay $42 million as part of a settlement with a group of retired players who sued over the use of their names and images without their consent.

• Goodell came down hard on teams that consider asking questions about a player's sexual orientation at the scouting combine. Three players indicated they were asked about it last month in Indianapolis.

Better deal for Welker?

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said his team's contract offer to Wes Welker was better than what the receiver got in Denver. Welker got a two-year, $12 million deal with the Broncos.

Kraft said Welker could have received $8 million in the first year of a two-year contract with the Pats as opposed to the $6 million salary he will receive in Denver.

Titans sign Fitzpatrick, cut Hasselbeck

The Titans signed former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year deal and released veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck, shuffling their backup spot.

Bengals re-sign Maualuga

The Bengals signed middle linebacker Rey Maualuga to a new contract, another move to keep the league's sixth-ranked defense virtually intact.

Falcons' stadium plan

The Atlanta City Council voted to approve a financing plan to build a new pro football stadium in downtown Atlanta.

The council voted, 11-4, to approve using city hotel-motel tax revenue to cover the $200 million public contribution for the proposed $1 billion, retractable roof stadium for the Falcons. The team would provide $800 million.

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