NFL Notes: Vikings WR Michael Floyd Handed 4-game Suspension

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The NFL has suspended Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd without pay Friday for the first four games of the regular season for violating its substance-abuse policy.

Floyd was arrested in Arizona in December after Scottsdale police found him unresponsive at the wheel of his vehicle while it was running at an intersection, reporting a blood alcohol level of 0.217 -- more than 2 1/2 times legal limit in Arizona. He pleaded guilty in February to extreme drunken driving.

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Last month, an Arizona judge ordered Floyd to serve one day in jail for failing alcohol tests while under house arrest for the drunken driving conviction. He blamed the results on a type of fermented tea called kombucha.

Floyd will be allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games. He can return to the active roster Oct. 2.

Released by the Arizona Cardinals after the arrest, Floyd signed with the New England Patriots and played in two regular-season games with one touchdown catch. He appeared in one playoff game, but wasn't active for the AFC championship game or the Super Bowl. He agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Vikings in May that has incentives that could push the value as high as $6 million.

Floyd is a native of St. Paul, where he was a two-time winner of the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year award at Cretin-Derham Hall High School. After three alcohol-related incidents while in college at Notre Dame, including a drunken driving charge the summer before his senior season, Floyd underwent counseling and vowed to disassociate himself from certain people who'd influenced his behavior.

Redskins: Negotiator at center of Cousins' contract talks
Kirk Cousins could easily feel uncertain about his future with the Washington Redskins. There have been two rounds of tense negotiations with little progress, coupled with the history of the Redskins not valuing him enough to have already signed him to a long term deal.

Yet as another deadline looms, Cousins harbors no animosity toward Eric Schaffer, the person he describes as the team's "classy" chief negotiator.

"This isn't his first rodeo," Cousins said of Schaffer. "I have a lot of faith in him not only in handling my situation, but when my situation is handled, handling everybody else's. I have faith in that. But make no mistake: There are titles ahead of him."

People in the organizational pecking order with titles above Schaffer include owner Dan Snyder, president Bruce Allen and senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams, so it's far from just Schaffer hammering out an agreement with Cousins and agent Mike McCartney.

"Those people make decisions, too," Cousins said.

NFL: League has 1st female replay official, more leeway to celebrate
IRVING, Texas -- Terri Valenti always enjoyed football as a little girl, but never dreamed then of being in the NFL. That became her goal only after officiating games for the first time in 1999.

Valenti this season will be the NFL's first female instant replay official in the booth, moving into that position two years after Sarah Thomas became the league's first full-time official on the field.

"I didn't know what was involved, how long the road would be, how hard it would be, or if I would ever get there," Valenti said Friday at the NFL's annual officiating clinic. "To be here at this point is just awesome."

The annual clinic, held before each season, was the first since Alberto Riveron's promotion to be the head of officiating after Dean Blandino left the NFL.

Valenti spent the past five seasons working for instant replay in the NFL, including a Super Bowl. She also worked in the past as an on-field official in the professional United Football League in 2009, as well as high school, college, minor league and international league games.

Her new instant replay role for the NFL is different and more prominent. Each of the 17 officiating crews have an instant replay official who is the go-between for the on-field referee and the NFL's centralized operations in New York, where final decisions on reviews will be made starting this season.

"The roles I've had in the past have been supporting the replay official and getting that information that person needs to do his or her job effectively," she said. "Now I'm kind of point person for a little team at each field" (see full story).

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