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NFL News: Eric Winston criticizes league; Maurkice Pouncey out until Week 12

A roundup of the latest NFL headlines heading into the weekend.

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Winston: 'Path we're on has hurt the game in a lot of ways'
NFLPA president Eric Winston is not a fan of the direction the NFL is going in. After how the league has handled Deflate Gate and the Tom Brady suspension, Winston, like most people, sees how the focus has come off football and been put on off-field issues the NFL is having.

Winston told USA Today Sports that it's time to rethink how the league handles discipline to reduce negative attention on the NFL office and keep the public's focus on football. "I would think that every owner would look at this and say, this is detrimental to the game, that this path we're on has hurt the game in a lot of ways," Winston said.

This comes just one week after Browns tackle Joe Thomas compared the NFL to the WWE and commissioner Roger Goodell to Vince McMahon. With the regular season approaching fast, it's time for the league to shift everyone's attention to football, but that will prove hard to do as long as Brady's appeal for his four-game suspension is ongoing.

Maurkice Pouncey out until Week 12?
Steelers Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey's fractured his left fibula/ankle and is expected to be sidelined until Week 12. He'll miss the first eight games after being placed on I.R. with the designation to return, then is expected to miss two more weeks rehabbing and conditioning.

The Steelers' bye week comes in Week 11, which could lead to Pouncey's return in Week 12 when they play in Seattle against the Seahawks. In the meantime, Cody Wallace will be counted on to replace Pouncey after making six spot starts the past two seasons.

Brandon LaFell may open 2015 on PUP
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss suggests Brandon LaFell could open the season on the reserve/PUP list while dealing with a foot injury. The Patriots have kept LaFell's injury under wraps for all of training camp and the preseason, so anything is possible at this point. If LaFell isn't ready to play in Week 1, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Reggie Wayne could be the starting receivers.

Martavis Bryant suspension for marijuana use's Ian Rapoport reports Martavis Bryant's four-game suspension is for "multiple failed marijuana tests." He also reports Bryant's appeal is in "the latter stages," so we could get some closure on this soon. In 10 games as a fourth-round rookie out of Clemson in 2014, Bryant scored eight touchdowns and helped the Steelers' offense become one of the league's best. Without him, Pittsburgh needs third-round Auburn rookie Sammie Coates to step up in a big way.

Cowboys' R.J. Dill popped for PED use
Cowboys offensive tackle R.J. Dill has been suspended for the first four games of the NFL regular season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy on performance enhancing drugs. Dill was already considered to be a long-shot to make the 53-man roster after never appearing in an NFL game in his first two seasons. The former undrafted free agent out of Rutgers had a brief stint with Jacksonville before trying to earn a spot with Dallas this year.