San Francisco — Los Angeles might be in the NFL's future sooner than anyone thought.
The NFL could approve a team move to Los Angeles by the end of the year, with a club playing in the area by the 2016 season.
NFL vice president Eric Grubman, the league's lead man on a possible return to LA, said Wednesday the window for such applications that now begins Jan. 1 could be moved "to very late in the (upcoming) regular season." The 32 team owners could vote on a team's relocation "some weeks after that."
The team would play in an existing stadium until a new one is built.
The Rams, Raiders and Chargers are involved in stadium projects in the Los Angeles area that commissioner Roger Goodell has called "viable." Grubman said there have been discussions on moving one or two teams if no acceptable stadium projects come together in the current markets. San Diego and Oakland have teamed up on one LA project, in Carson, California. The Rams' project is in Inglewood.
Goodell wants Brady appeal
Goodell said it's his responsibility to hear directly from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in his appeal of his four-game suspension in the deflated footballs case.
Goodell said he has not had time to study a request from the players' union that he recuse himself from the appeal because he has been focused on the spring owners meetings.
He said he would study the request when he returned to New York but added that unless there is a factor that he is unaware of he likely will hear the case.
"It's my job here to make sure we're doing everything to protect the integrity of the game, protect our policies, protect our procedures," Goodell said. "We have a process that has been negotiated with the union that has been in place for decades. It's my responsibility and it's something that we've had in place for a long time."
Goodell said no date has been set for the appeal.
Goodell says both Mexico and Germany have reached out about hosting games, and there is "renewed interest" among owners.
... The New York Jets' quarterback competition appears over before it even got started. It's Geno Smith's job — and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey expects it to be that way heading into the season opener in September.
"Right now, Geno's the starter," Gailey said Wednesday. "Unless something happens — an injury, or something like that, that you don't foresee — that's how we anticipate it going."
Smith had 13 TD passes and 13 picks last season for the Jets, who went 4-12 and fired coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik the day after the season ended. Idzik drafted Smith.
... Giants starting left tackle Will Beatty is going to be out up to six months after tearing a pectoral muscle lifting weights, a person with knowledge of the injury said. The recovery time is said to be 4-6 months.
The source said Beatty was injured lifting weights on Tuesday. He was expected to have surgery on Wednesday. The source said the recovery time frame is 4-6 months.
... The Panthers have released injury-plagued guard Edmund Kugbila, 24, a former fourth-round draft pick who never played in a game for the team. Carolina signed Chas Alecxih to replace him on the roster.
... The Raiders have signed cornerback Chimdi Chekwa, who played four seasons in Oakland (2011-14). He signed with New England in March but was released on Monday. The Raiders waived safety Terrell Pinson to make room on the roster.
... Former Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory, who slid to near the bottom of the second round in the draft because of issues off the field, signed his four-year rookie deal with the Cowboys worth $3.8 million, with a signing bonus of slightly more than $1 million.
... The Bengals signed offensive tackle Jake Fisher of Oregon, leaving only two draft picks without contracts.