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  • Changers CB Verrett to have knee surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 23, 2017

    Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett reportedly will undergo surgery on his left knee for the second consecutive year, costing him the remainder of the 2017 season.

    • The Chargers will place Verrett on injured reserve, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday.

      The 26-year-old Verrett, who had an MRI on the surgically repaired knee last week, suffered the latest knee injury in the season opener against the Denver Broncos.

      Verrett, who was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2014 out of TCU and played in the Pro Bowl after the 2015 season, shut it down last season after a Week 4 game against the New Orleans Saints when an MRI revealed he had a partially torn ACL in his left knee.

      After surgery to repair the issue, Verrett went through extensive rehab to work his way back onto the field. He was held out of offseason work on the field before slowly increasing his workload during training camp, playing in just one preseason game.

      Verrett experienced soreness in his knee in the season opener against the Broncos after playing 63 snaps and making one tackle. He was ruled out last week and Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

      Verrett has played in just 25 career games -- recording 80 tackles and five interceptions -- and will have missed 39 games at the end of this season.

      The Chargers picked up Verrett's fifth-year option, guaranteeing him a base salary of $8.5 million in 2018 if his knee injury prevents him from passing a physical next year.

  • Goodell fires back, calls Trump's comments 'divisive'
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 23, 2017

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back in response to President Donald Trump's "divisive comments" about players protesting during the pregame national anthem.

    • Trump was speaking at a political rally in Huntsville, Ala., on Friday night when he took on the NFL and its players.

      "We're proud of our country. We respect our flag," Trump said to loud applause at the campaign event. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He's fired! He's fired!'"

      Goodell responded Saturday with a statement:

      "The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month.

      "Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."

      Later Saturday afternoon, Trump repeated his message via Twitter.

      "If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem," Trump tweeted. "If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!"

      The NFL Players Association earlier declared the "union will never back down" in supporting players' rights.

      "Whether or not Roger and the owners will speak for themselves about their views on player rights and their commitment to player safety remains to be seen," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday morning. "This union, however, will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks."

      Now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew national attention last season while playing for the San Francisco 49ers when he knelt during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice. A number of players followed Kaepernick's lead by taking a knee during the anthem.

      Trump said an NFL owner who releases a player for kneeling during the anthem would gain support across America.

      "Some owner's gonna do that. He's gonna say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag? He's fired," Trump told the crowd Friday night. "And that owner ... he'll be the most popular person in this country. Because that's total disrespect of our heritage. That's total disrespect of everything we stand for.

      "The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it's just one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway."

  • Shanahan likes his team's direction
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers held a division foe to a single touchdown one week, then burned another for 39 points the next.

    • Gotta say, that's pretty impressive for a club that won just two games last season.

      And who, somehow, is 0-3 this year.

      "I was very proud of our guys," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said in the wake of Thursday's 41-39 home loss to the Los Angeles Rams. "By no means did we play perfect, and I don't think we played as good as we can. But I thought the guys gave it everything they could. I thought they competed hard, and I was proud of that.

      "I'm very disappointed we didn't come away with the win, especially one that I thought we could have. I felt the same way after the Seattle game (a 12-9 loss last week), too. But, you know, I feel like guys can control their effort and can control how hard they can go. You can't always control the outcome of the game."

      Shanahan said he remains confident his team can put a Seahawks-type defensive effort and Rams-type offensive performance on display in the same game sometime soon.

      And it's going to result in a happy ending.

      "I believed that going into the season. I believed it versus Carolina, I believed it versus Seattle, and I believed it (against the Rams)," he claimed. "So I'm extremely disappointed when we don't get the job done. There's always reasons why.

      "You never know what it's going to take to win a game. Very rarely do all three phases play the best. And when they don't, someone else has got to step it up. I feel like we've done that at times in these three weeks, but obviously we haven't done it good enough to get a 'W' and we're going to keep working to do that until we do."

      Of course, you're never going to win if you can't get into the end zone.

      Shanahan was not surprised that when it finally happened Thursday night, a full 128 1/2 minutes into the season, it snowballed into four more touchdowns in the next 49 minutes.

      "That kind of takes the monkey off of everyone's back, makes you relax a little bit more," he said of the club's first touchdown of the season, scored on a quarterback Brian Hoyer scramble midway through the first quarter. "I think the key in playing at a high level in sports is playing with a clear mind where you're confident and aggressive. That only happens through success. The more success you can have, the easier that comes naturally.

      "It's human nature. You know you can do it, but you have to go out and get it done. And once it does happen, you get more in a flow, you get more confidence and things become easier."

  • Seahawks TE Graham (ankle) questionable vs. Titans
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham is listed as questionable with an ankle injury for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans.

    • However, coach Pete Carroll is highly optimistic that Graham will play after the four-time Pro Bowler returned to practice on Friday and was a full participant.

      "He did really well today," Carroll said after Friday's practice. "He made it through the whole practice and did everything, practiced full, so he'll be all right."

      Graham injured his ankle in last Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. His status appeared doubtful when he missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

      Graham has just four catches for nine yards in Seattle's first two games.

      Cornerback Neiko Thorpe, a strong special teams' player, was ruled out with an ankle injury.

      Joining Graham in the questionable category are linebackers Terence Garvin (shoulder) and D.J. Alexander (hamstring).

  • NFL notebook: Former Falcons DT Hageman suspended 6 games
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Former Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman was suspended six games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

    • Hageman is being disciplined for a March 2016 arrest on domestic violence charges involving his then-girlfriend.

      He was placed on the commissioner's exempt list on the day of the league-wide cutdown to 53 players and then waived by the Falcons two days later.

      Hageman, a second-round pick in 2014, had 18 tackles and two sacks last season.

      --The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on Oct. 2 to hear arguments on the NFL emergency motion in the case of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

      Elliott received a preliminary injunction on Sept. 18 that allowed him to continue to play despite the NFL handing him a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL is seeking to have Elliott serve his suspension immediately. The hearing will take place in New Orleans.

      The date of the hearing assures that the running back can play against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday and against the Los Angeles Rams the following Sunday.

      --New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans but insists he will play.

      Gronkowski has been bothered by a groin injury and declared it was "nothing serious."

      Receiver Danny Amendola is also listed as questionable. He missed last Sunday's game against New Orleans due to a concussion.

      Running back Rex Burkhead (ribs) was ruled out of the contest.

      Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle, concussion), receivers Phillip Dorsett (knee) and Chris Hogan (knee), cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (groin) and Eric Rowe (groin), middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower, outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (thumb), safety Nate Ebner (shoulder) and special teams ace Matthew Slater (hamstring) are also questionable.

      --Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his second consecutive game due to an injury to his left knee when the Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

      Coach Mike Zimmer officially declared him out after Friday's practice.

      Bradford didn't practice Friday and reportedly departed town to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Zimmer declined to confirm or deny the visit to Andrews.

      --Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams did not make the trip to London because of a lingering foot injury, coach John Harbaugh said.

      The injury kept Williams out of practice this week in preparation for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

      The 6-foot-1, 340-pound Williams was injured in last Sunday's 24-10 home victory over the Cleveland Browns and sat out a significant portion of the second half. He made three tackles.

      --Defensive end Myles Garrett is doubtful and outside linebacker Jamie Collins is out for Week 3 when the Cleveland Browns visit the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

      Collins suffered a concussion against the Ravens last week and did not clear the head injury protocol during the past week of practice. Collins, acquired last October in a trade from the New England Patriots, will be missed in Cleveland's reconfigured defense under coordinator Gregg Williams.

      Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, is likely to miss his third consecutive game. He hurt his ankle in practice four days before the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      --Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers because of a back injury.

      Eifert, 27, did not practice all week. In two games for the struggling Bengals (0-2), he has just four receptions for 46 yards.

      The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Eifert was one of the team's top targets in 2015 with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He played in only eight games last season due to a combination of back and ankle injuries, making 29 catches for 394 yards and five TDs.

      --Atlanta Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to a concussion.

      Schrader suffered the injury during last Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers.

      Players previously ruled out for the Falcons include linebacker Vic Beasley (hamstring) and defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw (ankle). Running back Terron Ward (neck, shoulder) also was declared out.

      --Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

      Kalil is bothered by a neck injury, and center Tyler Larsen will make his second consecutive start.

      Kalil also missed Carolina's previous game against the Buffalo Bills when he was a late scratch.

      --Philadelphia Eagles safety Corey Graham was ruled out of Sunday's game against the New York Giants with a hamstring injury, halting his streak of playing in 159 consecutive games.

      Starting cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle), safety Jaylen Waktins (hamstring) and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao (wrist) also were ruled out of the contest.

      --The Indianapolis Colts promoted running back Matt Jones to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Friday and waived guard Ian Silberman.

      The 6-foot-2, 239-pound Jones was signed to the Colts' practice squad on Sept. 12. He was originally claimed by the team off waivers from the Washington Redskins on Sept. 3.

      Jones, 24, played in 20 career games (seven starts) with Washington (2015-16) and compiled 243 carries for 950 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 377 yards and one TD.

  • NFL Injury Report
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    ATLANTA FALCONS at DETROIT LIONS

    • ATLANTA FALCONS

      --Out: LB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring), T Ryan Schraeder (concussion), DE Courtney Upshaw (ankle, knee), RB Terron Ward (neck, shoulder)

      DETROIT LIONS

      --Out: LB Jarrad Davis (concussion), RB Dwayne Washington (quadriceps), S Tavon Wilson (shoulder)

      --Questionable: DE Ezekiel Ansah (knee), G Joe Dahl (lower leg), C Travis Swanson (ankle)

      BALTIMORE RAVENS at JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (LONDON)

      BALTIMORE RAVENS

      --Out: CB Jaylen Hill (thigh), T Dieugot Joseph (not injury related), DT Brandon Williams (foot), TE Maxx Williams (ankle)

      --Questionable: WR Michael Campanaro (ankle), S Anthony Levine (chest), WR Chris Matthews (ankle), LB Za'Darius Smith (knee, ankle), RB Terrance West (calf)

      JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

      --Out: LB Lerentee McCray (knee), WR Jaelen Strong (hamstring)

      --Questionable: QB Chad Henne (illness), CB Jalen Ramsey (ankle), T Cam Robinson (shoulder)

      CINCINNATI BENGALS at GREEN BAY PACKERS

      CINCINNATI BENGALS

      --Out: TE Tyler Eifert (back), G Trey Hopkins (knee), WR John Ross (knee)

      --Questionable: DE Michael Johnson (concussion, stinger), CB KeiVarae Russell (hamstring), S Derron Smith (ankle)

      GREEN BAY PACKERS

      --Doubtful: T David Bakhtiari (hamstring), S Kentrell Brice (groin), WR Randall Cobb (chest), DT Mike Daniels (hip), CB Davon House (quadriceps), LB Nick Perry (hand), LB Jake Ryan (hamstring, concussion)

      --Questionable: T Bryan Bulaga (ankle), WR Jordy Nelson (quadriceps)

      CLEVELAND BROWNS at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

      CLEVELAND BROWNS

      --Out: LB Jamie Collins (concussion)

      --Doubtful: WR Sammie Coates (hamstring), DE Myles Garrett (ankle)

      --Questionable: DT T.Y. McGill (back)

      INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

      --Out: C Ryan Kelly (foot), QB Andrew Luck (right shoulder), RB Marlon Mack (shoulder), WR Chester Rogers (hamstring), LB Anthony Walker (hamstring), CB Quincy Wilson (knee)

      --Doubtful: CB Vontae Davis (groin)

      --Questionable: WR Kamar Aiken (hip), S Darius Butler (hamstring), CB Chris Milton (hamstring), TE Brandon Williams (calf)

      DENVER BRONCOS at BUFFALO BILLS

      DENVER BRONCOS

      --Out: CB Brendan Langley (knee), QB Paxton Lynch (right shoulder)

      --Questionable: T Garett Bolles (lower leg), WR Bennie Fowler (concussion)

      BUFFALO BILLS

      --Out: DT Marcell Dareus (ankle), T Cordy Glenn (ankle, foot), DT Jerel Worthy (concussion)

      HOUSTON TEXANS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

      HOUSTON TEXANS

      --Out: G Jeff Allen (ankle), WR Will Fuller (shoulder), CB Kevin Johnson (knee)

      --Questionable: RB Alfred Blue (ankle), DT Brandon Dunn (knee)

      NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

      --Out: RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)

      --Questionable: WR Danny Amendola (concussion, knee), T Marcus Cannon (ankle, concussion), WR Phillip Dorsett (knee), S Nate Ebner (shoulder), CB Stephon Gilmore (groin), TE Rob Gronkowski (groin), LB Dont'a Hightower (knee), WR Chris Hogan (knee), LB Elandon Roberts (thumb), CB Eric Rowe (groin), WR Matthew Slater (hamstring)

      KANSAS CITY CHIEFS at LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

      KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

      --Out: C Mitch Morse (foot)

      --Doubtful: G Parker Ehinger (knee)

      LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

      --Out: CB Jason Verrett (knee), WR Mike Williams (back)

      --Questionable: T Joe Barksdale (foot), RB Melvin Gordon (knee), LB Hayes Pullard (knee)

      MIAMI DOLPHINS at NEW YORK JETS

      MIAMI DOLPHINS

      --Out: LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring)

      --Doubtful: DT Jordan Phillips (ankle)

      NEW YORK JETS

      --Out: TE Eric Tomlinson (elbow), G Brian Winters (abdomen)

      --Doubtful: TE Jordan Leggett (knee), S Rontez Miles (eye)

      --Questionable: TE Will Tye (illness), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (shoulder)

      NEW ORLEANS SAINTS at CAROLINA PANTHERS

      NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

      --Out: T Terron Armstead (shoulder), CB Marshon Lattimore (concussion), CB Sterling Moore (chest), T Zach Strief (knee)

      --Questionable: DE Trey Hendrickson (knee)

      CAROLINA PANTHERS

      --Out: LB Jeremy Cash (calf), C Ryan Kalil (neck)

      --Questionable: QB Cam Newton (right shoulder, ankle)

      NEW YORK GIANTS at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      NEW YORK GIANTS

      --Out: LB B.J. Goodson (shin), T Bobby Hart (ankle), LB J.T. Thomas (groin)

      --Questionable: CB Janoris Jenkins (ankle)

      PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      --Out: CB Ronald Darby (ankle), S Corey Graham (hamstring), DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist), S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)

      --Questionable: S Rodney McLeod (hamstring), WR Torrey Smith (illness)

      PITTSBURGH STEELERS at CHICAGO BEARS

      PITTSBURGH STEELERS

      --Out: T Marcus Gilbert (hamstring, illness), LB T.J. Watt (groin)

      --Questionable: T Jerald Hawkins (knee), DE Stephon Tuitt (biceps)

      CHICAGO BEARS

      --Out: LB Nick Kwiatkoski (chest)

      --Doubtful: G Josh Sitton (ribs)

      --Questionable: T Tom Compton (hip)

      SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at TENNESSEE TITANS

      SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

      --Out: CB Neiko Thorpe (ankle)

      --Doubtful: LB D.J. Alexander (hamstring)

      --Questionable: LB Terence Garvin (shoulder), TE Jimmy Graham (ankle)

      TENNESSEE TITANS

      --Out: S Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring), WR Corey Davis (hamstring)

      --Questionable: RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring)

      TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS

      TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

      --Out: LB Kwon Alexander (hamstring)

      --Doubtful: DT Chris Baker (illness), DE Jacquies Smith (illness)

      --Questionable: LB Devante Bond (knee), CB Brent Grimes (shoulder), DT Gerald McCoy (ankle), G Kevin Pamphile (illness)

      MINNESOTA VIKINGS

      --Out: QB Sam Bradford (knee)

      OAKLAND RAIDERS at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (Sunday night)

      OAKLAND RAIDERS

      --Questionable: CB Sean Smith (neck, shoulder)

      WASHINGTON REDSKINS

      --Questionable: LB Mason Foster (shoulder), RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Montae Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder), TE Jordan Reed (rib, sternum)

      DALLAS COWBOYS at ARIZONA CARDINALS (Monday night)

      DALLAS COWBOYS

      Practice Report

      DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

      --Thursday: CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring), CB Nolan Carroll (concussion), LB Anthony Hitchens (knee), DT Stephen Paea (knee)

      --Friday: CB Chidobe Awuzie (hamstring), CB Nolan Carroll (concussion), LB Anthony Hitchens (knee), DT Stephen Paea (knee), WR Terrance Williams (ankle)

      LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

      --Thursday: CB Orlando Scandrick (hand)

      --Friday: WR Brice Butler (ankle), CB Orlando Scandrick (hand)

      ARIZONA CARDINALS

      Practice Report

      DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE

      --Thursday: WR John Brown (quadriceps), T D.J. Humphries (knee)

      --Friday: WR John Brown (quadriceps), T D.J. Humphries (knee), QB Carson Palmer (not injury related)

      LIMITED PARTICIPATION IN PRACTICE

      --Thursday: LB Deone Bucannon (ankle), LB Karlos Dansby (hip), TE Jermaine Gresham (ribs), G Mike Iupati (triceps), WR J.J. Nelson (hamstring)

      --Friday: LB Deone Bucannon (ankle), LB Karlos Dansby (hip), TE Jermaine Gresham (ribs), G Mike Iupati (triceps), WR J.J. Nelson (hamstring)

  • Offense suddenly a bright spot for Rams
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Given the fact the Los Angeles Rams have struggled so mightily on offense for most of the last decade - and how good they've been defensively - it seems implausible to suggest it's the offense that's been the overwhelming strength and absolutely was the difference in the Rams’ 41-39 win over the 49ers on Thursday.

    • But that is absolutely the case, as evidenced by the four touchdown drives Jared Goff orchestrated of 70 yards or more and the 70-yard drive he oversaw leading to what turned out to be the difference-making field goal.

      Goff completed 22 of 28 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns to continue his decisive turnaround from perceived first-pick bust to an efficient, viable NFL quarterback.

      Todd Gurley exceeded more than 100 yards rushing for the first time as a Los Angeles Ram. Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods, the two veteran wide receivers the Rams added, both went over 100 yards receiving.

      The Rams scored 40 points for the second time in three games. And their point total over the first three games is the most since their Greatest Show on Turf days.

      It's been a revelation. And there are reasons to believe it can continue as Goff and his revamped weapons get more and more comfortable in head coach Sean McVay's offense.

      "There's no limits or expectations on ourselves," Goff said.

      And Goff was the key as his played point guard while distributing the ball all over the field.

      "I thought Jared managed the game really well. Distributed the ball to the playmakers, gave guys the chance down the field," McVay said. "Those are the kinds of things we expect from him."

      --Gurley struggled last year finding his groove after earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2015. He didn't exceed 100 yards one time over 16 games, and there was genuine concern he was a one-year wonder.

      All that talk is over now, with Gurley flourishing in head Sean McVay's new offense as a runner and pass-catcher. Gurley finished with 113 yards rushing Thursday against the 49ers and has scored six touchdowns through three games.

      "Todd was very tough tonight," McVay said. "Todd continues to show why he's a complete running back. That's what we continue to expect from Todd."

  • Ex-Falcons DT Hageman suspended six games
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Former Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman has been suspended six games by the NFL on Friday for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

    • Hageman is being disciplined for a March 2016 arrest on domestic violence charges involving his then-girlfriend.

      He was placed on the commissioner's exempt list on the day of the league-wide cutdown to 53 players and then waived by the Falcons two days later.

      Hageman, a second-round pick in 2014, had 18 tackles and two sacks last season.

  • Elliott hearing slated for Oct. 2
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on Oct. 2 to hear arguments on the NFL emergency motion in the Ezekiel Elliott case.

    • Elliott received a preliminary injunction on Sept. 18 that allowed him to continue to play for the Dallas Cowboys despite the NFL handing him a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The NFL is seeking to have Elliott serve his suspension immediately.

      The hearing will take place in New Orleans.

      The date of the hearing assures that the running back can play against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday and against the Los Angeles Rams the following Sunday.

      The suspension is tied to Elliott's alleged actions in a domestic violence incident with former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson. The six-game disciplinary action came after a year-long investigation into Thompson's accusations.

      Elliott recorded just 112 yards on 33 carries in two games this season after leading the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards last season as a rookie.

  • Patriots TE Gronkowski vows to play Sunday
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans but insists he will play.

    • Gronkowski has been bothered by a groin injury and declared it was "nothing serious."

      "Am I good to go? Yeah, I'm good to go," Gronkowski told reporters after Friday's practice. "I'm ready."

      Receiver Danny Amendola is also listed as questionable. He missed last Sunday's game against New Orleans due to a concussion.

      "I feel really good. I had a strong week," Amendola said. "It was rough sitting out last week. I was excited to get back out there this week, get back to work."

      Running back Rex Burkhead (ribs) was ruled out of the contest.

      Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle, concussion), receivers Phillip Dorsett (knee) and Chris Hogan (knee), cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (groin) and Eric Rowe (groin), middle linebacker Dont'a Hightower, outside linebacker Elandon Roberts (thumb), safety Nate Ebner (shoulder) and special teams ace Matthew Slater (hamstring) are also questionable.

      Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (knee) was place on injured reserve and defensive lineman Geneo Grissom was signed to the 53-man roster off the practice squad. Grissom was a third-round pick by New England out of Oklahoma in 2015 and appeared in 20 games for the team, including Super Bowl LI.

      The Patriots filled Grissom's spot on the practice squad by signing wide receiver Riley McCarron. The 24-year-old was released from the Houston Texans practice squad on Sep. 18.

  • Eagles S Graham to sit out Sunday, end streak
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Philadelphia Eagles safety Corey Graham was ruled out of Sunday's game against the New York Giants with a hamstring injury, halting his streak of playing in 159 consecutive games.

    • The 32-year-old Graham last missed a game in 2007, when he was a rookie with the Chicago Bears.

      Graham isn't the only secondary member who will miss the contest. Starting cornerback Ronald Darby (ankle) and safety Jaylen Waktins (hamstring) will also sit out.

      In addition, starting safety Rodney McLeod (hamstring) is listed as questionable and will be a game-day decision. If McLeod can't play, fifth safety Chris Maragos will start alongside Malcolm Jenkins.

      Defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao (wrist) also was ruled out of the contest.

      Receiver Torrey Smith (illness) is questionable.

  • Colts promote RB Jones, waive G Silberman
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    The Indianapolis Colts promoted running back Matt Jones to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Friday and waived guard Ian Silberman.

    • The 6-foot-2, 239-pound Jones was signed to the Colts' practice squad on Sept. 12. He was originally claimed by the team off waivers from the Washington Redskins on Sept. 3.

      Jones, 24, played in 20 career games (seven starts) with Washington (2015-16) and compiled 243 carries for 950 yards and six touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 377 yards and one TD.

      Jones, who was originally selected by the Redskins in the third round of the 2015 draft out of Florida, started all seven games he played in last season and had 99 carries for 460 yards and three touchdowns. He also collected eight receptions for 73 yards.

      The 6-5, 305-pound Silberman was claimed by Indianapolis off waivers from the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 3. He played in one career game in his time with the Colts (2017), Raiders (2016), New England Patriots (2016) and San Francisco 49ers (2015). Silberman was originally selected by the 49ers in the sixth round in 2015 out of Boston College.

  • Panthers rule out C Kalil vs. Saints
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints.

    • Kalil is bothered by a neck injury, and center Tyler Larsen will make his second consecutive start.

      Kalil also missed Carolina's previous game against the Buffalo Bills when he was a late scratch.

      Coach Ron Rivera doesn't expect Kalil to be facing a long-term situation.

      Quarterback Cam Newton (shoulder) was listed as questionable after being limited in practice for the third straight day on Friday, but Rivera said the 2015 NFL MVP will start.

  • Falcons RT Schraeder out vs. Lions
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Atlanta Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to a concussion.

    • Schrader suffered the injury during last Sunday's victory over the Green Bay Packers.

      Recently acquired Ty Sambrailo will start in his place. Sambrailo, who was formerly with the Denver Broncos, will make his eighth career start.

      Falcons coach Dan Quinn is hopeful Schraeder will be available for the Week 4 game against the Buffalo Bills.

      Players previously ruled out for the Falcons include linebacker Vic Beasley (hamstring) and defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw (ankle).

      Running back Terron Ward (neck, shoulder) also was declared out.

  • Vikings QB Bradford (knee) to miss second straight game
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford will miss his second consecutive game due to an injury to his left knee when the Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

    • Coach Mike Zimmer officially declared him out after Friday's practice.

      Bradford didn't practice Friday and reportedly departed town to receive a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews. Zimmer declined to confirm or deny the visit to Andrews.

      Case Keenum will make his second consecutive start for the Vikings.

      Bradford twice tore the ACL in the left knee (2013, 2014) but said he doesn't feel the current injury is related to those situations.

      "This particular issue we're dealing with, I'm not sure if I've ever dealt with it before," Bradford said earlier this week.

      Asked about the possible length to Bradford's absence, Zimmer replied, "I don't have a crystal ball. All I know about is this week."

      Bradford suffered the injury in Week 1 when he passed for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints. He said it a noncontact injury and that he experienced pain and swelling after the game.

      Bradford was a limited practice participant on Wednesday and Thursday before missing Friday's workout.

      Keenum was 20-of-37 passing for 167 yards in last Sunday's 26-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • Bengals TE Eifert to miss game versus Packers
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers because of a back injury.

    • Eifert, 27, did not practice all week. In two games for the struggling Bengals (0-2), he has just four receptions for 46 yards.

      The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Eifert was one of the team's top targets in 2015 with 52 catches for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He played in only eight games last season due to a combination of back and ankle injuries, making 29 catches for 394 yards and five TDs.

      Eifert, who underwent offseason surgery on his back, is in the final season of his rookie contract with the Bengals, who made him their first-round pick in 2013 out of Notre Dame. He has never played a full 16-game schedule since entering the NFL.

      Rookie wide receiver John Ross also was officially ruled out on Friday. He was listed as a non-participant in Thursday's practice with an illness.

      Also, right guard Trey Hopkins (knee) will miss his second straight game.

  • Browns LB Collins out, DE Garrett doubtful
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Defensive end Myles Garrett is doubtful and outside linebacker Jamie Collins is out for Week 3 when the Cleveland Browns visit the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

    • Collins suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens last week and did not clear the head injury protocol during the past week of practice. Collins, acquired last October in a trade from the New England Patriots, will be missed in Cleveland's reconfigured defense under coordinator Gregg Williams.

      Williams called Collins "one of the best players I've coached" on Friday when discussing how the Browns would compensate. Linebacker Christian Kirksey, who played all 68 snaps at Baltimore, will take on a more vocal role.

      Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is likely to miss his third consecutive game. He hurt his ankle in practice four days before the opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

      "But I feel good about where he is headed," coach Hue Jackson said. "We are closer to him having a chance to be out there, than not being out there."

  • Ravens DT Williams (foot) misses trip to London
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams did not make the trip to London because of a lingering foot injury, coach John Harbaugh confirmed Friday.

    • The injury kept Williams out of practice this week in preparation for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

      The 6-foot-1, 340-pound Williams was injured in last Sunday's 24-10 home victory over the Cleveland Browns and sat out a significant portion of the second half. He made three tackles.

      The Ravens' 2013 third-round draft pick owns 161 career tackles and 4.5 sacks in 57 games (48 starts).

      Carl Davis is expected to start in Williams' place.

  • Rams' McVay beats grandfather's old team
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- For first-year Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay, his team's 41-39 victory against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night at Levi's Stadium held special meaning.

    • McVay's grandfather, John McVay, was one of the 49ers' top front-office executives when San Francisco won five Super Bowls in the 1980s and '90s. John McVay was chosen as NFL executive of the year in 1989.

      "Anytime you come back here with our family history and what my grandfather was able to accomplish being a part of five world championships, it's really humbling and flattering," McVay said. "Really, my grandfather is who I have to thank for getting me the opportunity to get in this business when I did.

      "The reputation that he was able to establish by treating people the right way, working hard and doing everything consistently day in and day out was a big reason I was fortunate enough to get in right after I got done playing college football. My grandfather is a huge mentor."

      --The 49ers are running out of healthy safeties. Jaquiski Tartt started at strong safety against the Rams in place of Eric Reid (strained knee), even though Tartt hurt his neck on Sunday at Seattle. Tartt sustained a concussion late in the third quarter Thursday, ending his night.

      "I'm sure it will be in the (concussion) protocol," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

      The 49ers had a long list of injuries in their second game in five days. Defensive end Tank Carradine (ankle) and middle linebacker Brock Coyle (concussion) left the game during the second half and didn't return. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk came out in the third quarter due to a neck injury. Outside linebacker Dekoda Watson left in the second half to be evaluated for a concussion.

      The Rams lost starting free safety Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring) in the second quarter and starting center John Sullivan (groin) in the third.

      --Rams running back Todd Gurley II had gone 20 consecutive games without rushing for at least 100 yards before Thursday. That streak ended when Gurley carried 28 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first 100-yard rushing game since Dec. 13, 2015, when he carried 16 times for 140 yards in a 21-14 victory against the Detroit Lions.

      "It's been awhile," Gurley said. "We'll take that. The offensive line did a great job. I'm just happy right now."

      Gurley also caught five passes for 36 yards and one touchdown. For the season, he has four rushing TDs and two receiving scores.

  • 49ers S Tartt leaves with head injury, FB Juszczyk ruled out
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, September 22, 2017

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt sustained a head injury with 2:04 left in the third quarter of Thursday night's game against the Los Angeles Rams and walked to the locker room to be evaluated.

    • Tartt started at strong safety in place of Eric Reid, who was inactive because of a strained knee. Tartt suffered a neck injury last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks but started against the Rams.

      San Francisco fullback Kyle Juszczyk was ruled out of the game with a neck injury in the third quarter.

  • Rams lose S Joyner to hamstring injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 21, 2017

    SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Rams starting free safety Lamarcus Joyner left Thursday night's game against the San Francisco 49ers with 14:50 remaining in the second quarter after sustaining a left hamstring injury.

    • Joyner was injured while chasing a 49ers wide receiver, and his injury was non-contact in nature. He grabbed his left hamstring as he fell to the ground. Joyner eventually limped to the sidelines.

      According to the Rams, Joyner was questionable to return.

      Backup free safety Cody Davis replaced Joyner.

  • Cowboys not worried about blueprints
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 21, 2017

    FRISCO, Tex. -- As the Dallas Cowboys (1-1) prepare to face the Arizona Cardinals (1-1) Monday night, questions have arisen whether the Denver Broncos offered a blueprint on how to stop the Cowboys offense in their 42-17 victory last Sunday.

    • There is no question that the Cowboys looked nothing like the outfit that went 13-3 last year and 1-0 to start this season behind a run-oriented, ball-control attack.

      "We played the game they wanted us to play, not the game that we typically play," head coach Jason Garrett said.

      Running back Ezekiel Elliott had a career-low 8 yards on nine carries a week after setting an NFL record with his 16th consecutive game of at least 80 yards.

      Quarterback Dak Prescott passed for 238 yards on a career-high 50 attempts with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked twice and took several hits.

      Let the Broncos tell it: They had the perfect antidote to solve the Cowboys offense that finished second in rushing and second in time of possession last year, when Prescott became the most efficient rookie quarterback in NFL history.

      "Our plan was to clog every gap, play man-free outside with the corners and their receivers and clog every gap," Broncos first-year head coach Vance Joseph said. "If (Elliott) did pop a run, it was going to be on a missed tackle. It wasn't going to be on an open gap. We knew coming into the game that was going to be our first order of business, to stop the run and clog every gap. When they went three-wides and one back, we played our normal base front with our normal secondary."

      Garrett said the Broncos' philosophy wasn't anything the Cowboys haven't faced before.

      "Again, teams have been trying to stop the run against us for a while," Garrett said. "They did a good job of that. We didn't do a good enough job.

      "But the idea that teams want to stop the run, that is not a new concept."

      Elliottt agreed. He said, "I mean, every week people stack up against our offense. It's not something we've seen for the first time. It may have been the first time that it's worked that successfully, but teams do that every week. So I don't think there's any blueprint to stopping us. I think it all comes down to how we go out there and execute."

      So why did Denver work?

      "We just didn't go out there and execute," Elliott said. "That is on us. We've just got to be better prepared and go out there and do a better job."

      How the Broncos pulled it off might be something other teams can't duplicate because they don't have Denver's personnel, namely two Pro-Bowl cornerbacks in the secondary such as Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib to make up for the philosophy of selling out to stop the run.

      When Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians was asked if the Broncos provided a blueprint, he said, "If you can borrow Denver's players."

  • NFL notebook: Aaron Hernandez found to have Stage 3 CTE
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in jail while serving a life sentence for murder, had an advanced stage of degenerative brain disease.

    • Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine said in a statement Thursday that Hernandez was dealing with chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

      Dr. Ann McKee, the director of the school's CTE Center and Chief of Neuropathology at the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, said Hernandez had Stage 3 CTE, with Stage 4 the most severe of the disease that has plagued numerous NFL players.

      Hernandez's lawyer, Jose Baez, told Deadspin.com that his law firm filed a federal lawsuit against the NFL and the Patriots on behalf of Hernandez's daughter and Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, who was engaged to the player at the time of his death.

      The lawsuit said Hernandez had "the most severe case of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) medically seen in a person of his young age of 28 years" by Boston University researchers.

      According to the filing, Hernandez's Stage 3 CTE is "usually seen in players with a median age of death of 67 years."

      -- Tyler Eifert sat out practice and is unlikely to play in Sunday's game at Green Bay due to back and knee injuries.

      After injuries dogged Eifert in 2016, he is off to a slow start and back on the shelf.

      Eifert was targeted once in the season opener and has only four catches in two games.

      The Bengals' offense is sputtering and with Cincinnati at 0-2, coordinator Ken Zampese already was relieved of his duties. Bill Lazor took over as the Bengals prep for the Packers' trip to Lambeau Field.

      --The Green Bay Packers' Nick Perry is scheduled to undergo surgery on his hand for the second straight year.

      Coach Mike McCarthy announced the news but did not reveal how long Perry will be sidelined or even if the injury will keep him out of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2).

      Perry, who has seven tackles and 1.5 sacks this season, played 53 of the 58 defensive snaps in Sunday's 34-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The 27-year-old Perry missed two games in December after undergoing surgery to have multiple screws placed into several broken fingers on his left hand. He returned with a club on his hand for the end of the regular season and Green Bay's playoff run.

      Perry recorded career highs in sacks (11) and tackles (52) while playing in 14 games last season. He signed a five-year, $60 million contract in the offseason.

      --The Baltimore Ravens placed Jeremy Langford on injured reserve and signed fellow running back John Crockett from the practice squad.

      Langford sustained an undisclosed injury during a special teams drill on Wednesday, according to the Baltimore Sun.

      He had been re-signed by Baltimore on Tuesday and becomes the 16th player that the Ravens have placed on injured reserve.

      Crockett played with the Green Bay Packers in 2015, recording nine carries for 21 yards in two games. The 6-foot, 215-pounder spent the 2016 season on injured reserve and was signed by the Oakland Raiders in July, but was waived as part of the team's final cuts.

      --Denver Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles was carted off the field in the middle of the third quarter Sunday with what was expected to be a severe injury.

      On Thursday, the team's first-round pick participated in practice and could be on the field for Week 3 at Buffalo despite a "deep bone bruise."

      The 25-year-old rookie out of Utah wiped away tears and waved to the home crowd when he left the field on a motorized cart with 8:47 remaining in Sunday's Week 2 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

      Bradley Roby (ankle) was also back at practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday.

      --Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long (ankle) went through a full practice for the first time since the season started, and has been in successive practices this week.

      Long is expected to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers after he practiced Wednesday on a limited basis. How he handles practicing in succession will be a key to whether he's able to play all of Sunday's game.

      The Bears are in need of Long's return because right guard Josh Sitton hasn't practiced this week due to a rib injury and backup guard Tom Compton is trying to practice despite a hip injury.

      Long last played in a game on Nov. 13 against Tampa Bay.

      --The New Orleans Saints cut John Kuhn, the second time in less than three weeks they released the veteran fullback.

      New Orleans let Kuhn go because it needed the roster space after signing defensive lineman Kendall Langford, per the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

      Kuhn was released by the Saints on Sept. 3 and re-signed three days later. He appeared in both games for winless New Orleans (0-2), rushing once for two yards.

      The 35-year-old Kuhn, in his 12th NFL season, joined the Saints on a one-year deal during the 2016 training camp after spending nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

  • RB Elliott accepts criticism
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 21, 2017

    FRISCO, Tex. -- Dallas Cowboys Running back Ezekiel Elliott made no attempt to challenge an allegation of him quitting on his team from Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson after watching him stand and walk off the field, not even attempting to make a tackle following a Dak Prescott interception against Denver.

    • Elliott owned up to his actions and took full responsibility.

      "I definitely heard it," Elliott said. "I guess you could say it looked like that. I would say I was just very frustrated, but that's no excuse for the lack of effort I showed on tape. I just can't do that. Being one of the leaders on the team and being a guy that people count on, I can't put that type of stuff on film."

      Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett showed the play and addressed it in front of the team. He said the second-year running back handled it the right way and they are ready to put the situation behind them.

      "Yeah, Zeke is a professional," Garrett said. "Zeke knows how to play football at this level. He's demonstrated that over the course of his career. He's not perfect. Nobody is perfect. When things happen, we address them. We coach them and then we move forward."

      Elliott is moving forward, but also understood this was something he had to address. And he said didn't like what he saw on film, regarding an effort that was very uncharacteristic of himself.

      The 2016 NFL leading rusher, who is also the foundation of the Cowboys offense, blamed it on being frustrated with having the worst performance of his life and the helplessness of the Cowboys’ blowout loss.

      "Just bad effort," Elliott said. "It's definitely not me. It's definitely not the type of player I am. It's definitely not who I am for this team. I just can't do that. I was frustrated, and I wasn't myself."

  • Bears OG Long practices; Howard limited
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long (ankle) went through a full practice on Thursday for the first time since the season started, and has been in successive practices this week.

    • Long is expected to play Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers after he had practiced Wednesday on a limited basis. How he handles practicing in succession will be a key to whether he’s able to play all of Sunday’s game.

      The Bears are in need of Long’s return because right guard Josh Sitton hasn’t practiced this week due to a rib injury and backup guard Tom Compton is trying to practice despite a hip injury.

      Long last played in a game on Nov. 13 against Tampa.

      "Our medical people think he’s ready, our coaches think he's ready, we'll see how much he can endure, whether we have him with any kind of a pitch count, but right now it's looking very promising," Bears coach John Fox said.

      Not as promising: The outlook for running back Jordan Howard, whose shoulder injury permitted only limited practice participation Thursday for the second day in a row. Howard was questionable entering last week's game at Tampa Bay and left Raymond James Stadium with his arm in a sling.

      Howard, a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie in 2016, has 22 carries for 59 yards in the first two games of the season.