Category Archives: NFL

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller, CB Bradley Roby suspended six games under NFL’s PED policy

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V and cornerback Bradley Roby have been suspended for six matches for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Fuller stated the violation was a result of his taking prescribed medication not permitted under the policy.

“Earlier this year, I sought treatment from a medical professional who prescribed medication that he believed to be permitted under the NFL’s drug policy,” Fuller wrote on Instagram.

“As it turns out, my trust in this professional was misplaced because this medication was NOT an acceptable substance under the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances.

“As a result of this mistake, I have been suspended for six games for taking this prohibited medication. I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021.”

“His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

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Roby, in a tweet Monday night in which he apologized to his family and teammates, stated that a “few months ago, I unknowingly used a product that was contaminated with a banned substance by the NFL. I recognize that it is my job to know, and be responsible for, everything I put in my body.”

Both suspensions will start with the final five games of this campaign and end with the first of the 2021 season.

Fuller, 26, is coming off his best game of the season — in a year full of impressive performances — versus the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, when he added six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns to his impressive 2020 totals.

Fuller has 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Through 11 games, Fuller has more receiving yards and touchdowns than the Texans’ former No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, had for Houston at this point last season.

After missing 22 games in his first four seasons in the NFL, Fuller had not missed a game this season.

He was playing on his fifth-year option and will be a free agent after the season. With Fuller suspended, Randall Cobb on injured reserve and Kenny Stills recently released, the Texans (4-7) are left with four wide receivers: Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, Isaiah Coulter and Steven Mitchell, who is on the practice squad.

With Roby, 28, suspended, the Texans lose their top cornerback and are left with Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines as their top two remaining players at the position. Cornerback Gareon Conley, acquired for a third-round pick during the 2019 season, has been on injured reserve all season.

In 10 games this season, Roby has 37 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. He signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract in March.

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Detroit Lions fire head coach Matt Patricia, general manager Bob Quinn

The Detroit Lions have fired coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn, the team revealed Saturday.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will serve as the Lions’ interim coach, per an informed source.

Patricia’s firing comes two days after the Lions suffered a blowout loss to the Houston Texans on Thanksgiving Day, which put the team’s record at 4-7.

Patricia was asked about his job security in the immediate aftermath of the loss. “On behalf of my family, I want to thank Bob and Matt for their hard work and their dedication to the Lions organization over the past several years,” Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp stated during a Zoom call presser Saturday afternoon.

“They’re both very fine men, and we wish them nothing but the best in the rest of their careers. Obviously, this season has not gone the way we expected. We want to take the rest of this year to assess every aspect of our football operation, find the best individuals to lead and coach our team.”

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Ahead of the 2020 season, Lions ownership made it clear to Patricia and Quinn that the team needed to be playoff contenders this campaign. After losing four of their last five after Week 12, ownership materialized the writing on the wall.

Patricia amassed a 13-29-1 record in his two-plus seasons as Lions head coach.

Patricia was hired by the Lions in 2018 after serving as the New England Patriots defensive coordinator for six years.

Patricia succeeded Jim Caldwell, who was fired by the Lions after four seasons as coach. Caldwell had three winning seasons during his time in Detroit and made the playoffs twice. Since Patricia’s hiring, the Lions rank in the bottom 10 in scoring, total and pass defense, and they are tied for fewest takeaways (43) in the NFL since 2018.

The Lions’ .314 triumph percentage during Patricia’s tenure ranked 27th in the NFL. Patricia has the worst career win percentage by any coach whose teams averaged 21-plus points per match in the Super Bowl era (minimum 40 games coached).

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Buccaneers’ A.Q. Shipley May Have Career-Ending Neck Injury

Tampa Bay Buccaneers center A.Q. Shipley may have suffered a career-ending neck injury during his team’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams on Monday.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians provided the news on Sirius XM NFL Radio on Wednesday, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

“A.Q. Shipley appears to have had a career-ending injury,” Arians said. “And I feel bad because I love A.Q. He’s one of my favorite players of all time and was playing good for us. But I think it was a previous injury that might have just got aggravated in his neck.”

Arians told reporters postgame Monday that Shipley had suffered a stinger but would be OK.

The ex-Penn State lineman did not take part in Wednesday’s practice. Afterward, Arians statedthat the team would “see more on A.Q. [Thursday].” However, it appears Shipley’s prognosis has unfortunately taken a turn for the worse.

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While Williams will remain out for at least the next two weeks, the 49ers are hoping to get some reinforcements back from injured reserve soon.

The team opened the 21-day practice window for running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on Tuesday, which means they could return as early as Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Mostert and Wilson have been on injured reserve with high ankle sprains; Mostert’s happened in a Week 6 win versus the Rams, and Wilson’s came a week later against the New England Patriots.

Mostert has a team-best 303 rushing yards despite playing in just four games. Wilson has 163 yards rushing in six games.

The 49ers also signed safety Chris Edwards to the active roster on Tuesday. Edwards offers additional depth after the Niners placed strong safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Johnathan Cyprien on injured reserve in recent weeks.

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Brandon Allen to replace injured Joe Burrow at QB for Cincinnati Bengals

Bengals quarterback Brandon Allen will take over for the injured Joe Burrow as the team’s starter, a source confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday.

Allen, who has spent the entire campaign on the practice squad, will be making his fourth career NFL start on Sunday versus the New York Giants. The other three starts came with the Denver Broncos last season.

A sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft, Allen was picked up by the Bengals during training camp as a contingency option due to COVID-19. He was among the team’s final preseason cuts and was added to the practice squad.

NFL Network first reported that Allen would start for the Bengals. After the Bengals selected Burrow with the top overall pick in the 2020 draft, they opted not to add another quarterback to the 53-man roster.

On Monday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Allen filled that void because of the promotions allowed from the practice squad this season.

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“Whether he’s on the active roster or the practice squad doesn’t really matter,” Taylor said. “He’s still in the room doing that kind of stuff.”

Allen and Taylor have a familiarity with each other.

The two were with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and 2018, when Taylor was an assistant coach. Taylor noted Allen’s experience with the team’s system when discussing the quarterback options for the rest of the season.

Burrow was placed on injured reserve Monday after he tore multiple ligaments in his left knee during last weekend’s 20-9 defeat to Washington. A timetable for Burrow’s surgery or eventual return is still uncertain.

Allen earns the nod as Cincinnati’s starter over second-year quarterback Ryan Finley. Finley, a 2019 fourth-round pick, started three games in 2019 as the Bengals evaluated their quarterback options ahead of the 2020 draft.

Finley served as the team’s primary backup quarterback the past two seasons but was 3-of-10 passing for 30 yards versus Washington.

“He’s in a tough spot there in the second half, but that’s life as a backup quarterback,” Taylor said. “You’ve got to get yourself ready to go. There’s things that I wish I could put him in a better position to get a better opportunity, but the bottom line is we didn’t get it done and weren’t able to get any points there in the second half to help us win.”

Also Wednesday, running back Giovani Bernard was held out of practice with a concussion, the team said. It wasn’t clear if he would be able to play versus the Giants. If not, the likely starter would be Samaje Perine.

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San Francisco 49ers CB K’Waun Williams suspended 2 games for PED violation

Already sidelined by a high ankle sprain, San Francisco 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams will miss at least the next two matches after the NFL suspended him Tuesday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The earliest Williams can return from the two-game suspension is Tuesday, Dec. 8, after the Niners play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

Jamar Taylor has handled slot corner duties in Williams’ absence.

Williams is planned to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Williams, who when healthy serves as the team’s primary nickel corner, has appeared in just six games this campaign as he’s dealt with hip, knee and ankle injuries.

He suffered the ankle sprain in a Nov. 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers, has not played since and, even before the suspension, was not expected back in the next couple of weeks.

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While Williams will remain out for at least the next two weeks, the 49ers are hoping to get some reinforcements back from injured reserve soon. The team opened the 21-day practice window for running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on Tuesday, which means they could return as early as Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Mostert and Wilson have been on injured reserve with high ankle sprains; Mostert’s happened in a Week 6 win versus the Rams, and Wilson’s came a week later against the New England Patriots.

Mostert has a team-best 303 rushing yards despite playing in just four games. Wilson has 163 yards rushing in six games.

The 49ers also signed safety Chris Edwards to the active roster on Tuesday. Edwards offers additional depth after the Niners placed strong safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Johnathan Cyprien on injured reserve in recent weeks.

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Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito out for season after foot surgery

Las Vegas Raiders left guard Richie Incognito recently underwent “season-ending foot surgery,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden stated Monday on his weekly videoconference with the media.

Incognito, 37, initially went down with what the team described as an Achilles injury early in the Raiders’ Week 2 triumph over the New Orleans Saints.

“I hate to admit that, but we’ve tried everything we can,” Gruden said. “Richie’s tried everything he can to get back on the field. His season is over.”

Incognito was coaxed out of retirement by the Raiders on a one-year “prove it” deal in the spring of 2019 and earned a two-year, $14 million extension, with $6.365 million guaranteed, as well as a Pro Bowl alternate nod despite missing four matches. 

Denzelle Good replaced Incognito at left guard; he has played so well that Gruden called Good the team’s “unsung hero” and quarterback Derek Carr referred to Good as the team’s MVP.

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Still, Incognito was part of the heavy financial investment the Raiders made in their offensive line.

But due to injury and COVID-19 issues, the projected starting O-line of left tackle Kolton Miller, Incognito, center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown played all of three snaps together this campaign, in the season opener.

But due to injury and COVID-19 issues, the projected starting O-line of left tackle Kolton Miller, Incognito, center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown played all of three snaps together this campaign, in the season opener.

In fact, Brown, who signed a record four-year, $66 million free-agent contract with $36.75 million guaranteed in 2019, has appeared in just two games this season — three snaps in the season opener and at the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 11.

Brown, who injured his calf in training camp, suffered a mishap while being administered a pregame IV and has been on the reserve/COVID list twice, the most recent since Nov. 5. Gruden said Brown’s return was “still up in the air” for the Raiders, who fell to 6-4 after Sunday night’s heartbreaking 35-31 loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the final minute.

“He’s still, hopefully, about to get started here and resume his playing,” Gruden said of Brown. “It’s a day-to-day operation and I’ll know more from the trainer here on Tuesday morning.”

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New York Giants fire offensive line coach Marc Colombo

The New York Giants fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo following a nasty verbal confrontation with head coach Joe Judge, sources told ESPN, and have substituted him with longtime NFL assistant Dave DeGuglielmo.

“We appreciate what Marc has done, but I felt like this move is in the best interest of the team,” Judge said in a statement released by the team Wednesday.

When Colombo was told of a plan by Judge to hire DeGuglielmo as a consultant on Tuesday night, it did not go down well.

Colombo did not agree with the move and felt that he was being undermined, a source told ESPN, due to DeGuglielmo’s background as an offensive line coach. Another source added that the hands-on Judge wanted to bring in “one of his guys” to capture more control at a position that is not his expertise. Although there was plenty of name-calling, Colombo and Judge did not get into a fistfight, as one report indicated. A Giants spokesperson stated the report of a physical altercation is “absolutely false in every way.”

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The move to fire Colombo was a surprise considering that the Giants’ offensive line has shown improvement in recent weeks. The Giants have rushed for more than 150 yards in each of their past three matches.

Colombo was hired by Judge this offseason to work under Colombo’s former boss Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator. Colombo was previously line coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

But Judge has been more involved in recent weeks in working with the Giants’ offensive line.

DeGuglielmo was an assistant offensive line coach/quality control with the Giants from 2004 to ’08. He also worked with Judge in New England when he coached the Patriots’ offensive line in 2014 and ’15.

Judge interviewed DeGuglielmo for the offensive line coach job earlier this year.

Colombo, 42, played 10 years in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

He worked as an assistant with the Cowboys for each of the previous four campaigns.

Among Colombo’s top jobs has been to work with the Giants’ young offensive linemen. Three of their first five picks in this year’s draft were offensive linemen, including No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas. Fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux was recently inserted into the starting lineup, and third-round selection Matt Peart has been rotated in.

But Thomas struggled early, and his sloppy technique became a topic of conversation. “We sat down, had conversations with Andrew, talked about taking [his technique] from the practice field to the game. That is what he’s done lately,” Colombo said last week.

“He has a new air of confidence. The past couple weeks he has played really well. His timing has been better. His pass sets have been better. His run blocking has been better. We just have to keep growing. I’ve noticed a more confident Andrew the past few weeks.”

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New York Jets continue roster shake-up, release veteran cornerback Pierre Desir

Veteran cornerback Pierre Desir, a free-agent disappointment who was benched for the final two series in the last game, was released Tuesday by the New York Jets.

The move, not unexpected, opens a starting position for rookie Bryce Hall, who substituted Desir in the Week 9 loss to the New England Patriots. The Jets (0-9) had a bye last weekend.

The Jets signed Desir in March, soon after he was released by the Indianapolis Colts. They gave him a one-year, $4 million contract, including $3.25 million in guarantees, expecting him to be their No. 1 corner.

That never materialized. In fact, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams benched Desir in the first half of the first game.

After one week in a backup role, Desir returned to the starting lineup and remained there for the next seven matches. In the final minutes of the 30-27 loss to the Patriots, Desir permitted a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Damiere Byrd — a play in which Desir half-heartedly gave chase across the field. He was immediately pulled from the game and Hall finished the series and played the entire final drive.

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Desir’s only shining moment came in a Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos, when he intercepted two passes, including one returned for a touchdown.

In nine matches, Desir recorded three interceptions, eight pass break-ups and one forced fumble.

Hall, a fifth-round pick from Virginia, has played only one match, as he spent the first eight games battling back from a serious ankle injury that occurred during his final campaign in college. He started the 2020 season on the non-football injury list and practiced only two weeks before making his debut versus the Patriots.

In rebuilding mode, the Jets have traded or released several veterans in recent weeks, including running back Le’Veon Bell, linebacker Avery Williamson and nose tackle Steve McLendon. The Jets also placed nickelback Brian Poole (knee/shoulder) on injured reserve.

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New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees has fractured ribs, collapsed lung, source says

The results of medical evaluations performed Monday on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees revealed that he has multiple rib fractures on both sides of his chest and a collapsed lung on the right side, according to a source.

Brees is uncertain how much time he might be forced to miss before returning to start for the Saints, the source said.

Brees is suffering from three fractured ribs on his left side and two on the right, possibly more, according to the source. Doctors have cautioned Brees to be especially careful with the damage to his lung.

The two broken ribs on his right side occurred in the first half of the Saints’ triumph over the San Francisco 49ers, a game that backup Jameis Winston finished after Brees determined he could not play the second half because he was having difficulty breathing.

The three fractured ribs on the left side are believed to have occurred in the game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. They did not show up as such on the X-ray performed at the time, possibly because of inflammation, but they were clearly seen on the CAT scan performed Monday.

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Doctors performing the evaluation believe the right-side fractures might have punctured the quarterback’s lung Sunday, creating a pneumothorax. That is what caused Brees’ difficulty breathing in the game and resulted in him informing head coach Sean Payton that he could not play the second half versus the 49ers.

The most optimistic timetable for a return is two to three weeks, but the people involved are prepared for it to be longer, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. It will depend on how long Brees’ injuries take to heal, which varies from patient to patient, and when the Saints are convinced he is able to take a hit without risk of serious re-injury.

There is hope that he will return in time for the playoffs.

The Saints listed Brees on their injury report last week with a shoulder injury, and that was causing enough pain that Brees was apparently unaware of the rib injury he had suffered against the Bucs. That was believed to have happened in the second quarter.

Payton on Monday declined to offer any updates on Brees’ injury status or who might replace him at quarterback if he misses time.

“Wednesday is our first day that we’re required to (report injuries). And to be fair to the process, let’s stick with that,” said Payton, who said he wouldn’t announce the starting quarterback until late in the week.

“None of it benefits us by announcing that player earlier than later,” Payton said. “I wouldn’t project or answer that in any way. We’ll see how this week unfolds.”

However, it would stand to reason that the Saints would stick with Winston in the short term, since he was the one who filled in for Brees on Sunday — and since the Saints went with Teddy Bridgewater as their replacement during Brees’ five-game absence last year.

Although the Saints do consider Taysom Hill as a potential long-term option at quarterback, they would have to change their offense more significantly to suit his unique skill set as a runner/passer. And they like to use him as a playmaker in their offense at QB/RB/WR/TE/FB.

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Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater injures knee in loss to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered an apparent right knee injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 46-23 loss to Tampa Bay and did not return.

His status for next week’s game versus Detroit is unclear.

“He got up and walked off,” coach Matt Rhule said of Bridgewater, who was given a three-year, $63 million deal in the offseason to replace Cam Newton. “When it comes to knees and stuff like that, I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to see him. I have no idea [how he is] .”

The injury occurred with 5:24 remaining when Tampa Bay edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Bridgewater with a twisting tackle around the knees. Bridgewater was slow to get up and then limped to the sideline, where trainers check out his right knee.

After an extended period under the blue tent, Bridgewater walked under his own power to the locker room as the final minutes expired in a match in which the Bucs outscored the Panthers 29-6 in the second half and outgained them 322 yards to 35.

The injury was not to the same knee that almost ended Bridgewater’s career in 2016 during training camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

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Bridgewater, 28, opened the game with 12 consecutive completions and two touchdown passes as Carolina played to a 17-17 halftime tie. He added a touchdown run on a scramble in the fourth quarter after the Panthers (3-7) were outscored 12-0 in the third quarter en route to their fifth straight loss.

Bridgewater ended 18-for-24 passing for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed three times for 16 yards and a touchdown.

He has been among the league leaders in completion percentage all season as he returned as a full-time starter for the first time since 2015. He suffered a horrific injury that required multiligament reconstruction in 2016. Bridgewater was not made available to media after the game for the first time this season.

The Panthers already were without star running back Christian McCaffrey, who suffered a shoulder injury late in last week’s loss to Kansas City in his first game back after missing six straight with a high ankle sprain.

Rhule said on Friday the outlook for McCaffrey playing against Detroit looked good. If Bridgewater can’t go, the Panthers would go with either P.J. Walker or Will Grier. Walker finished Sunday’s game, but both have had stints as Bridgewater’s backup this season.

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