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Cheers for Michael Sam, jeers to Richie's bully brigade

Welcome to the Around The League End Around, a weekly look back at the world of the NFL. Dan Hanzus serves as your guide.

It was a good week for ...

1. Michael Sam: The path ahead is uncertain, but history will remember Sam as a trailblazer. High-grade onions.

2. Dom Capers: The good news: The Packers plan to import free agents who play to the defensive coordinator's strengths. The bad news: It took six years for this plan to come together.

3. Gregg Williams: Less than two years after being an unwilling star in the Saints' bounty scandal, Williams has once again risen to the ranks of defensive coordinator. When you recall how widely vilified Williams was at the time, this is fairly remarkable.

It was a bad week for ...

1. Richie Incognito: So much for the theory that Incognito's brash tweets from Wednesday came from confidence he'd be vindicated by the findings of Ted Wells' report. Hard to imagine Incognito finding further work in the NFL. Then again, a lot people thought the same thing about the guy above.

2. Ed Reed: The veteran safety had $50,000 in cash stolen from his car this week. Which begs the obvious question: Ed ... what were you up to?

3. Joe Banner & Michael Lombardi: As you read this, Banbardi ® are huddled around a computer scrubbing their grisly tenure with the Browns from their Wikipedia pages. (OK, they're probably not together.) Meanwhile, Jimmy Haslam is learning that this ownership thing is harder than it looks.

What the What?

I want to use this space to make it exceedingly clear I am not under this sordid NFL.com umbrella. #DISAGREE.

Tweet of the week

How long before the individual responsible for the Patriots' Twitter account gets their very own "Forensic Files" episode? I'd warn them, but he or she is almost certainly already in a trunk somewhere along the Mass Pike.

And while we're here ...

I include the above advertisement because it is directly related to both Friday's holiday and "Forensic Files" (the commercial has run on a loop during late-night reruns of the addictive real-crime program this week).

I really hope you didn't buy your significant other a 4 1/2-foot teddy bear this week. There is no scenario in the real world in which a woman would be pleased to have this unwieldy monstrosity in her studio apartment. It even fails as a novelty gift.

If you want to prove to your significant other that you are obtuse, unoriginal, financially careless and incapable of making rational decisions, purchase a child-sized teddy bear off the Internet. If you want to retain your dignity this February, buy her flowers and take her out to dinner. It's not rocket science.

Handsome Hank is right.

Quote of the Week

"It would be the worst decision they've ever made. I'd be in the same division playing against them twice a year. Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito into a Dorito."

-- Johnny Manziel warning the Texans not to pass him by with the first overall pick in May's draft. Have I mentioned how excited I am about the start of the Johnny Football era in the NFL?

Hero of the Week: Michael Sam

We're already hearing plenty of opinions from players who believe Sam will encounter a great challenge when he enters an NFL locker room. Even Sam's own father isn't offering his full support, which seems gross. Let's just hope there's a team that has the guts to welcome Sam aboard.

Villain of the Week: Bullies

I was surprised to see people on Twitter still coming to the defense of Incognito after the release of the Wells report. Do we not have enough evidence to safely say that Incognito and Mike "Free Hernandez" Pouncey (an underrated goon in all this) behaved terribly? Supporting Incognito and Pouncey is like rooting for Scott Farkus and Grover Dill in "A Christmas Story."

Read Option(al)

"Out Route" -- Seth Wickersham, ESPN

Wickersham got great insider access during Tony Gonzalez's NFL farewell tour in 2013. Reading the full profile gives you a clearer idea of Gonzalez's head space and the very real finality of his remarkable career.

"What we learned about roster construction of the NFC and AFC" -- Chris Wesseling, NFL.com

The mighty Wess said this week on the Around The League Podcast that he spent the previous weekend studying how all 32 teams were constructed. The statement seemed both impressive and alarming in a detective-who-can't-help-but-let-the-work-become-him kind of way. Here are the fruits of his labor.

Until next time ...

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