Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, standing outside the Ferguson Police Department Monday night. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The family of slain Ferguson teenager Michael Brown is hurt and “taken aback” by Officer Darren Wilson’s statement that he has a “clean conscience” and couldn’t have done it any differently.

Brown’s parents appeared in New York with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the families of other African Americans who were killed by police. Sharpton said it would be the first Thanksgiving for these families “with an empty seat at the table.”

They spoke a day after Wilson emerged publicly for the first time in months and told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos his version of what happened on Aug. 9 when he shot and killed Brown following a confrontation.

Earlier this week Wilson was cleared by a St. Louis County grand jury of any criminal activity in Brown’s death.

At one point during the interview with Stephanopoulos, Wilson said he doesn’t believe he could have done anything differently that day and that he had a clean conscience. “The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right,” he said.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said on Wednesday the parents have been doing media interviews in New York and he said it is hard “listening to them break down over and over again” as they discuss Wilson’s comments about their son.

“It was very hurtful to the parents when he said he had a clear conscience… They were taken back… They thought he had no regard for their child,” Crump said.

The lawyer said that Wilson “tried to villify” Brown, who was 18, by saying the teenager had a fierce look and that Brown had stared at the officer “like he was trying to intimidate me.”

“I expected him to say my heart is heavy, my conscience is troubled. He didn’t say that,” Crump said.

Sharpton said that in Wilson’s grand jury testimony, which has been released, the officer said the area where the shooting occurred was a high crime area. “That shows prejudgment… It goes to his state of mind,” Sharpton said.

In the interview with ABC News, Wilson said, “I’m sorry that their son lost his life. It wasn’t the intention of that day. It’s what occurred that day. And there’s no … nothing you could say that’s going to make a parent feel better.”

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New England Patriots extended the contract of special teams’ specialist Matthew Slater through the 2016 season, according to ESPNBoston.com.

ESPNBoston.com also reports that the 29-year-old Slater, who is a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the Patriots’ captains, will receive $3 million in guarenteed money with incentives that could earn up to $4.2 million.

“Matt does a lot of things for us,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Obviously he’s a very good player on the field, professional, works hard. (He) does a great job with all the players — younger players — but also his peers. He’s very well-respected in the locker room, not just by the players but by the entire organization by the way he goes about his job, how dependable he is, his work ethic, his attitude, his toughness. He’s really such a model player. I’d love to have 53 guys like him.”

Slater has played in 98 regular-season games making 99 tackles for the Patriots since they selected him in the fifth-round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

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Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(FERGUSON, Mo.) — NFL player Benjamin Watson is one of countless Americans still struggling to understand Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson, Missouri police officer.

Watson, a tight end for the New Orleans Saints, poured his heart out in a viral Facebook post late Tuesday. He described himself as confused, embarrassed, offended, angry and sad for a variety of reasons.

“I’m angry because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes,” he wrote.

The post has been shared more than 150,000 times on Facebook, and it appears Watson’s honesty is what made the update go viral. Fans commented that they are “proud” of the athlete and “in awe.” “Tears running down my face,” one woman wrote.

Watson also addressed the racial tension that’s sparked demonstrations across the country, saying the problem is “sin,” not “skin.”

“Sin is the reason we rebel against authority,” he wrote. “Sin is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. Sin is the reason we riot, loot and burn.”

Watson said he will never really know what happened between Brown and Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot the unarmed teenager this summer.

“I’m sympathetic, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance … Or maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led him to eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.”

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Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, standing outside the Ferguson Police Department Monday night. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)(FERGUSON, Mo.) — The family of slain Ferguson teenager Michael Brown is hurt and “taken aback” by Officer Darren Wilson’s statement that he has a “clean conscience” and couldn’t have done it any differently.

Brown’s parents appeared in New York with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the families of other African Americans who were killed by police. Sharpton said it would be the first Thanksgiving for these families “with an empty seat at the table.”

They spoke a day after Wilson emerged publicly for the first time in months and told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos his version of what happened on Aug. 9 when he shot and killed Brown following a confrontation.

Earlier this week Wilson was cleared by a St. Louis County grand jury of any criminal activity in Brown’s death.

At one point during the interview with Stephanopoulos, Wilson said he doesn’t believe he could have done anything differently that day and that he had a clean conscience. “The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right,” he said.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Brown family, said on Wednesday the parents have been doing media interviews in New York and he said it is hard “listening to them break down over and over again” as they discuss Wilson’s comments about their son.

“It was very hurtful to the parents when he said he had a clear conscience… They were taken back… They thought he had no regard for their child,” Crump said.

The lawyer said that Wilson “tried to villify” Brown, who was 18, by saying the teenager had a fierce look and that Brown had stared at the officer “like he was trying to intimidate me.”

“I expected him to say my heart is heavy, my conscience is troubled. He didn’t say that,” Crump said.

Sharpton said that in Wilson’s grand jury testimony, which has been released, the officer said the area where the shooting occurred was a high crime area. “That shows prejudgment… It goes to his state of mind,” Sharpton said.

In the interview with ABC News, Wilson said, “I’m sorry that their son lost his life. It wasn’t the intention of that day. It’s what occurred that day. And there’s no … nothing you could say that’s going to make a parent feel better.”

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Jim Rogash/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The New England Patriots extended the contract of special teams’ specialist Matthew Slater through the 2016 season, according to ESPNBoston.com.

ESPNBoston.com also reports that the 29-year-old Slater, who is a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the Patriots’ captains, will receive $3 million in guarenteed money with incentives that could earn up to $4.2 million.

“Matt does a lot of things for us,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “Obviously he’s a very good player on the field, professional, works hard. (He) does a great job with all the players — younger players — but also his peers. He’s very well-respected in the locker room, not just by the players but by the entire organization by the way he goes about his job, how dependable he is, his work ethic, his attitude, his toughness. He’s really such a model player. I’d love to have 53 guys like him.”

Slater has played in 98 regular-season games making 99 tackles for the Patriots since they selected him in the fifth-round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — After losing his starting spot to Michael Vick Week 9, Geno Smith has gotten his old job back.

The New York Jets announced Wednesday that Smith will be the starting quarterback during their game Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.

“As an organization, all of our decisions are organizational driven,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said during a conference call Wednesday. “We just want to get Geno another opportunity to show what he can do. Obviously we like the way he finished last season. We’ve had some bumps in the road this year. We sat him down for a few weeks and we’ll see how he responds.”

Smith relieved Vick during the Jets’ 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills Monday. Vick had completed 7 of 19 passes with an interception before giving way to Smith. Smith played solid completing 10 of 12 passes for 89 yards.

The 24-year-old Smith, who the Jets selected with the 39th overall pick in the 2013 Draft, has played in 25 games during his career with Gang Green. During that time he has completed 56.4 percent of his passes throwing for 4,505 yards, 19 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. Smith has also ran for 509 yards and seven touchdowns.

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File photo. (iStock/Thinkstock)(CLEVELAND) — The video of a Cleveland police officer shooting a 12-year-old boy who had a toy gun was released on Wednesday after the department consulted with the boy’s family.

Police initially withheld the video from the public while discussing handling of the disturbing footage with the family of Tamir Rice, the boy who was shot in a playground on Saturday.

“The family did not initially want the video to be released, but after reviewing it…expressed their wish to us” to release it, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

The spokesman urged the public and the media to be cautious in the handling of the video: “I want people to bear in mind this is a 12-year-old boy…The family will have to view it over and over.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For just about everyone, Thanksgiving means a turkey on the table. But if you live in Colorado, Idaho or Nevada, you’re probably also looking forward to a big-‘ol helping of frog eye salad on the side. Or maybe some persimmon pudding if you’re a Hoosier, or pineapple casserole if you live in the Palmetto State.

Those are some of the most popular, non-turkey Thanksgiving dishes, by state, according to a survey by The New York Times.

The newspaper enlisted Google’s help to do it, asking the Internet search authority to scour Thanksgiving week data going back 10 years, by state, to find the most searched-for, most distinct non-turkey dishes. The New York Times then compiled the data, listing not only the most popular, but also the top 10 contenders.

Not all of the results are bizarre-sounding to out-of-staters: there are lots of hits for familiar Thanksgiving dishes like pumpkin pie, candied yams, meat loaves and stuffings. There are also signs of the times, with frequent searches for meatless or gluten-free versions of holiday favorites.

Folks in Tennessee love their spinach maria — essentially, a cheesy spinach casserole — but regional desserts like Coca-Cola cake and Butterfinger cake also make their list.

If you dine in Utah on Thursday, expect some equally cheesy funeral potatoes on the side.

Washington state, not surprisingly, loves their smoked salmon dip, and while pumpkin whoopie pie is popular in lots of New England states, it’s nowhere more popular than in Maine and Vermont.

The New York Times has the entire survey broken down as an interactive list with links to recipes and other info, as well as a handy map of the U.S. that shows the most popular results, by state, at a glance.

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Texas) — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is confident in his team headed into their Thanksgiving Day showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Jones, who is teaming up with The Salvation Army this holiday season, said on Wednesday that he has faith his team.

“It’s one of the biggest, if not the biggest we’ve ever played on Thanksgiving Day,” Jones told ABC Sports Radio.

The Eagles are 5-0 and both teams are tied for first in the NFC East, but Jones isn’t worried about that.

“I don’t know what our record is, but we’ve played more turkey days than the Eagles have, I’m not going to let them have that advantage either,” Jones continued.

Jones saw his team go into MetLife Stadium on Sunday and beat the Giants in front of a lot of Dallas fans.

“It was fabulous,” Jones said. “Boy I was rewarded by all of those Cowboys fans. That defense [chant] that was going on at the Meadowlands was real rewarding.”

The Eagles are averaging 31.1 points per game this year under head coach Chip Kelly.

“We have all the respect for Chip Kelly, certainly their style is a challenge,” Jones said. “What we need to do is keep the ball with the Cowboys, we don’t need our defense out there any longer then it has to be.”

For more information on how you can help out The Salvation Army and their national Red Kettle Campaign, visit salvationarmyusa.org and help spread the word using the hashtag #RedKettleReason.

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ABC News(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson discussed his account of the moment he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

Wilson said Brown was charging at him, disregarding the officer’s instructions.

“I started backpedaling, ‘cause he’s just getting too close and he’s not stopping,” Wilson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“After I fired the second round of shots, he gets about eight to 10 feet [away]. And as he does that, he kinda starts to lean forward like he’s gonna tackle me. And eight to 10 feet is close and what I saw was his head. If he’s gonna tackle me, he’s gonna tackle me at that point. And I looked down my barrel of my gun and I fired,” he continued.

The Aug. 9 shooting sparked months of protests, drawing national attention to the St. Louis suburb.

Wilson said he was driving to get lunch by himself — just a normal day, he says — when he encountered Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street, “single-file on the double-yellow line.”

Wilson, 28, says he instructed the pair to walk on the sidewalk.

The first person, Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, ignored Wilson, the officer said.

“And then Michael Brown came next and he had to exchange some explicit words with me,” Wilson said. “He had said, “F*** what you have to say.”

“First words to you?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Yeah,” Wilson responded.

At that point, Wilson says he noticed cigarillos in Brown’s hand, noting that Brown and Johnson matched the description, he says, of suspects in the theft of cigars from a nearby convenience store earlier that day. Wilson said he wasn’t sure whether Brown was armed.

“I got on the radio and I asked for assistance,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he parked and tried to get out of his vehicle, when Brown again cursed at the officer and slammed the officer’s car door.

“I…again taken aback because I’ve never been trapped in my car,” Wilson said. “I use my door to try and push him back and yell at him to get back. And again he just pushed the door shut and just stared at me.”

“So you’re staring each other down?” Stephanopoulos asked.

“Yeah, he stared at me, like almost over top of me…looked like he was trying to intimidate me,” Wilson said. “And as I looked back at him, all of a sudden punches started flying…He threw the first one and hit me in the left side of my face.”

Wilson said he doesn’t believe he could have done anything differently that day, and says he has a clean conscience.

“The reason I have a clean conscience is ’cause I know I did my job right,” he said.

Following Monday’s announcement that a grand jury declined to bring charges against Wilson, Brown’s relatives released a statement, saying, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions.”

Wilson said he feels remorse about the outcome of the altercation.

“I think those are grieving parents who are mourning the loss of their son,” Wilson said.

“Nothing you could say, but, again, you know, I’m sorry that their son lost his life. It wasn’t the intention of that day. It’s what occurred that day. And there’s no…nothing you could say that’s gonna make a parent feel better,” he added.

Watch George Stephanopoulos’ full interview with Darren Wilson below:

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