Category Archives: NFL

Kelechi Osemele having shoulder surgery; waiting for Jets authorization

Kelechi Osemele is having surgery on his injured right shoulder — whether or not the New York Jets support it.

The veteran left guard and the team are in a standoff in which Osemele says he needs the season-ending operation now and is waiting for the team to approve the procedure on his torn labrum. The Jets, however, believe he can hold off and play through the injury.

“I’m just getting it done myself,” Osemele said Wednesday after he sat out practice.

He said he flew to Boston on Tuesday to receive a third medical opinion and was examined by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Ross, who informed him that his shoulder injury is “pretty bad.”

“It’s torn off the bone,” Osemele said, adding that Ross recommended he have the surgery immediately. Osemele told general manager Joe Douglas on Tuesday that he would be going forward with the operation. Osemele said the team doctor recommended he could play through the injury with pain-killers and a brace, and an independent doctor in California — through a review of the MRI, after originally being sent a blank one by the Jets by accident — recommended surgery only if the symptoms dictated it.

A person with direct knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press last Friday that both doctors determined it is a pre-existing injury and cleared Osemele to keep playing through it — and hold off on the surgery.

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The Jets have been fining Osemele for conduct detrimental to the team for not practicing after missing Saturday and now Wednesday’s sessions.

Osemele said he is being docked the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement: $579,000 per week, which is the amount of his game checks.

Osemele said he and his agents have filed a grievance against the Jets, and had a conference call Monday with the NFLPA to discuss the situation. He also believes he’ll get the money he is being fined back eventually.

“Pretty confident, considering that legally, the rules are if I can’t practice and I’m injured, they have to pay me,” he said. “That’s how it works. I’m having surgery on Friday, so I can’t play. I can’t do anything about it.”

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49ers trade for Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders

The San Francisco 49ers pronounced on Tuesday they have obtained WR Emmanuel Sanders and a 2020 fifth round pick from the Denver Broncos in exchange for the team’s third and fourth round picks next year. Sanders must pass a physical for the trade to be executed.

“Emmanuel is a passionate football player whose toughness and competitive nature have helped him become a dynamic playmaker in this league,” said 49ers General Manager John Lynch.

“He possesses a number of qualities, on and off the field, that we value in our players. His familiarity in a similar offensive system will allow for a quick transition. We are excited to add Emmanuel to our roster and look forward to seeing him positively impact our team.”

Sanders (5-11, 180) was first drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Throughout his 10 NFL seasons with the Steelers (2010-13) and Denver Broncos (2014-19), he has performed in 134 games (95 starts) and registered 565 receptions for 7,391 yards (13.1 average) and 39 touchdowns.

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A two-time Pro Bowl selection (2015 & 2017), Sanders has also performed in eight postseason contests (four starts) and racked up 36 receptions for 448 yards and was a member of the Broncos Super Bowl 50 Championship team at Levi’s Stadium. This season, Sanders has started all seven games with the Broncos and registered 30 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns.

Off the field, Sanders was selected as a Broncos Community Ambassador winner in 2017 after launching the Emmanuel Sanders Foundation, which supports financially disadvantaged families with support and resources.

A 32-year-old native of Bellville, TX, Sanders attended Southern Methodist University where he finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (235), receiving yards (3,791), receiving touchdowns (34) and 100-yard receiving games (16). As a senior, he was named First-Team All-Conference USA and set single-season school records with 98 receptions for 1,339 yards along with seven touchdowns.

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Chargers lose to Titans in a stunning way

This loss was ugly, but it was one of those games in which the Chargers had their fans jumping up and down with enthusiasm only to fail in incredibly shocking fashion.

The Titans held a 23-13 lead late in the fourth quarter but the Chargers rallied, starting with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Austin Ekeler to bring them within three points. After holding the Titans, including stopping them on a 4th-and-inches play around midfield, they only needed a field goal to tie.

The Chargers drove all the way down to the Titans’ 1-foot line. They needed to just fall into the end zone, but they also had no timeouts left. On first down, they handed the ball to Melvin Gordon. He bobbled the exchange and fell on it close to the goal line, but replays showed he was short. But let’s rewind it a bit. The Chargers got the ball into this position on a 16-yard completion to Ekeler that was initially ruled a touchdown. Replays showed that Ekeler came down just shy of the goal line.

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After Gordon was stopped, the Chargers lined up again with 22 seconds left on the clock. Gordon got the call again and again, fumbled the ball. It came through the pile and after a wild review period on the field, replays showed the Titans recuperated the ball.

The Chargers are now 2-5 and looking at a tough road to make the playoffs.

Gordon’s 2019 season has been, in a word, awful. He really felt like he deserved more money? Well, he didn’t then and he certainly doesn’t now. It’s been said before and it might be clear now. The Chargers are better without him. Ekeler had another solid game, despite being given limited snaps due to the team’s insistence to work Gordon in. The trade deadline is just over one week away and the Chargers should absolutely consider moving their former first-round pick.

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Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes suffers patella dislocation

Patrick Mahomes suffered a serious knee injury during the second quarter of Thursday night’s 30-6 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback went down with the injury with 10:00 left in the second quarter following a fourth-down QB sneak. Mahomes was supervised by trainers on the field before walking off with them into the Chiefs locker room. The team quickly ruled him out with a knee injury.

“Not many people get hurt on a sneak, so it’s a freak thing,” Reid said. “It happens. I was proud of our guys stepping up. They didn’t let down. You’ve seen that over the years. You’ve seen teams let themselves down after one of your best players or the best player gets hurt, particularly the quarterback. … They really upped their game, I thought.”

Matt Moore arrived the game at QB for Mahomes with Kansas City leading 10-6.

Moore led Kansas City on eight more drives with six ending in a punt, one in a field goal and one in a Tyreek Hill 57-yard receiving touchdown. Moore, 35, finished 10-of-19 for 117 yards and a TD.

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“Matt did a nice job of stepping in there,” Reid said of Moore’s performance. “We didn’t have to really back down on anything we had called. We were able to pick up from right where we left off, so I was proud of him. He’s not getting any younger. So for him to get in there and do what he did, that’s a heck of a job.”

“I was devastated for him,” Moore offered of Mahomes. “Obviously, he’s been dinged up. He’s popped up pretty quick before, so this one wasn’t that case. I just hope he’s OK, you know?

“But, at the same time, we got to go win a football game. I’ve been in this position before. You just kind of got to move forward and go. Just wish him the best.”

Mahomes was seen in the locker room with a brace on his knee, breaking down the Chiefs after the win. The QB exited after three drives with a stat line of 10-for-11, 76 yards and a touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman.

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Oakland Raiders sign Darren Waller to multiyear contract extension

The Oakland Raiders have signed TE Darren Waller to a multi-year contract extension, the club pronounced Wednesday.

Waller, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round (204th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft, is in his first complete season with the Silver and Black after signing to the team’s active roster from the Ravens’ practice squad ahead of Week 13 in 2018.

Waller has appeared in 27 contests and made nine starts since entering the NFL, logging 55 receptions for 537 yards and two touchdowns in addition to two rushing attempts for 28 yards.

Now in his fifth year in the league, the athletic tight end has started all five contests for the Raiders in 2019 and leads the club in receptions (37), first-down receptions (17) and receiving yards (359), all of which mark career highs.

His 37 receptions and 88.1 reception percentage both rank second in the NFL among all tight ends this year, while his 2019 season has been highlighted by a Week 3 performance in which he posted the second-most receptions (13) in a game by a player in franchise history. Waller’s 13 receptions in Week 3 are also the most by a tight end in a single game this season.

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A native of Landover, Md., Waller played four years (2011-14) at Georgia Tech, appearing in 50 contests and making 22 starts for the program. He compiled 51 receptions for 971 yards, adding nine scores during his time with the Yellow Jackets.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden stated Waller is an inspiration, not only for his teammates but for others battling substance abuse.

“He’s really a rookie playing tight end; he was a wide receiver in college,” Gruden said last week. “He sat out of football for a year. He leads the league in receiving right now at that position. If you watched him block, I don’t know if there’s a better tight end in football, really.”

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Jaguars trade Jalen Ramsey to Rams for pair of 1st-rounders

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams.

In return, the Rams will send Jacksonville first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and a fourth-round selection in 2021, according to the ESPN report.

Ramsey demanded a trade from the Jaguars after a Week 2 sideline dispute with head coach Doug Marrone in a loss to the Houston Texans. He confirmed to media the request the next week in a Sirius XM interview.

Ramsey played in Jacksonville’s Week 3 win over the Tennessee Titans, but hasn’t suited up since, citing various ailments including a back injury and flu before taking an indefinite leave from the team for the birth of his daughter.

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The deal marks the third trade of the day for the Rams, who dealt cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens for linebacker Kenny Young and an anonymous draft pick, and sent a 2021 draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for second-year center Austin Corbett to help shore up a porous offensive line earlier Tuesday.

Ramsey, 24, is in his fourth NFL season after the Jaguars selected him with the fifth pick of the 2016 draft.

He lived up to his lofty draft status, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2017 and 2018, and All-Pro honors in 2017.

He’ll provide an instantaneous upgrade to a pass defense that ranks 14th in the league and will allow the Rams to play more man-to-man defense. He’s a legitimate lock-down cornerback.

The Rams have taken a hard slide after a 3-0 start, dropping to 3-3 with Sunday’s 20-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers marking a new low on the season. The defending NFC champions are in win-now mode, but find themselves in a dogfight in the NFC West with the 5-0 49ers and 4-1 Seahawks, whom they have an 0-2 record against this season.

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Tom Brady will not try to lure Rob Gronkowski out of retirement

If former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski desires to remain retired, veteran quarterback Tom Brady isn’t going to try to convince him otherwise.

Appearing on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning, Brady said that he’s happy for Gronk and his post-retirement life, adding that he has no proposals to lure the tight end back to Foxborough.

“I love that guy. I’m so happy that he’s enjoying his time, his life. He seems to really be doing a lot of great things. He knows how I feel about him. I want what’s best for him. He’s the only person that can make those decisions. I don’t lobby for those things,” Brady said matter-of-factly.

“I have a great relationship with him. He’s given a hell of a lot to our team already over a long period of time, and I think people should be very appreciative for what he’s brought to the team and what he’s brought to the region. I think he’s just a very special guy. He’s at a different phase of his life.”

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Brady’s attitude is in stark contrast to that of team owner Robert Kraft, who said prior to a Thursday night game against the New York Giants that Gronk has yet to officially file his retirement paperwork and that he’s still “hoping” and “praying” for a return.

Gronk himself has not closed the door on a future return, but for right now, he’s living the good life, getting healthy and finding a bevy of post-playing career opportunities.

On Thursday night, Brady moved past Peyton Manning into second place on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list, an accomplishment that coach Bill Belichick recognized in the locker room after the game. The gesture caught Brady by surprise.

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Yankees, Astros plan to make a bullpen game

The Yankees plan to use their bullpen against Houston from the start in Game 4 of the AL Championship Series.

With the best-of-seven series tied 1-1, Luis Severino starts Game 3 on Tuesday versus Gerrit Cole. Masahiro Tanaka started the opener and James Paxton was on the mound for Game 2. Manager Aaron Boone plans to use pitchers who have been in the bullpen in the postseason during the fourth game on Wednesday night.

“J.A. Happ could very much be in the mix, as well as I picture our bullpen being unleashed on that day,” Boone said Monday as the series shifted to New York.

A starter during the regular season, Happ has relieved during the playoffs.

The 36-year-old left-hander entered in the 10th inning of Game 2, escaped a two-outs jam, then permitted Carlos Correa’s home run leading off the 11th that gave the Astros a 3-2 win.

Weather could cause New York to alter its plans. Heavy rain is forecast for Wednesday, and if Game 4 is rescheduled, the Yankees would be able to bring back Tanaka, the Game 1 winner, on normal rest. Boone removed Paxton after 2 1/3 innings and 51 pitches, and the bullpen allowed two runs and three hits in 7 2/3 innings. George Springer hit a tying home run in the fifth on Adam Ottavino’s first pitch.

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“I don’t think he’s as far off maybe as is being talked, but he’s certainly not as sharp as he’s been most of the year,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s close to being that, and I think some small successes hopefully will spur him on because he needs to play a big role for us.”

Boone says a choice won’t be made until Wednesday on outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who strained his right quadriceps in the opener and missed Game 2.

Limited by injuries to 18 games during the regular season, Stanton homered in the opener. If he were dropped from the roster against the Astros, he would be ineligible to return this year.

“It is a sensitive decision, a tough decision,” Boone said. “We’ll just try and evaluate and try and get as honest as feedback as we can from Giancarlo.”

Aaron Hicks could get his first start since Aug. 3, taking over in center field from Brett Gardner, who would substitute Stanton in left. Sidelined by an injured flexor near his right elbow, Hicks pinch-hit for starting left fielder Cameron Maybin and grounded out leading off the 10th inning in Game 2, then moved to center.

“Aaron is very much in play,” Boone said, “Thought he had a good at-bat, looked like Aaron Hicks. So he’ll very much be part of the conversation moving forward.”

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Ravens’ Lamar Jackson 1st QB since Michael Vick to run for 100 yards in the first half

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson takes running the ball to another level when he plays the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson turn out to be the first quarterback in 13 years to gain over 100 yards rushing in the first half Sunday, when he produced 111 against the Bengals.

This is the first time that a quarterback accomplished this since Michael Vick had 127 yards rushing in the first half on Nov. 26, 2006. This is the only occasion of a quarterback rushing for 100 yards in the first half of a game since at least 1991, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Lamar Jackson became the first quarterback since Michael Vick in 2006 to run for 100 yards in the first half of a game.

In his only other meeting against the Bengals, Jackson became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record at least 100 rushing yards in his first career start.

On Sunday, Jackson darted around the Bengals for 71 yards on Baltimore’s opening drive, capping that first series with a 21-yard touchdown run.

Many of Jackson’s runs came off the run-option and weren’t designed ones Jackson cracked 100 yards on a 29-yard scramble that ended the first half. He averaged 12.3 yards on nine runs.

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The Bengals entered Sunday’s game with the second-worst run defense in the NFL. Cincinnati is allowing 167.6 yards rushing per game.

Last Sunday, Jackson tied the NFL record for the fastest quarterback to get 1,000 yards rushing for a career. He and teammate Robert Griffin III each eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing in 21 games.

Through Week 5, Jackson led all quarterbacks in rushing with 308 yards. That’s 100 more than any other quarterback.

This marked Jackson’s third 100-yard rushing game of his career. He gained 120 yards rushing against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 this season, and he totaled 119 yards rushing last season against the Bengals in his first career start.

Jackson has also shown off his arm this year. On Sunday he also turn out to be the fourth quarterback in last 15 seasons to produce 150 yards passing and 100 yards rushing in a half.

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49ers FB Kyle Juszczyk out 4-6 weeks with knee injury

San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk experienced a sprained MCL in Monday’s 31-3 win over the Cleveland Browns, the team announced Tuesday.

The Niners expect Juszczyk to be out for four to six weeks.

The three-time Pro Bowler caught two passes for 20 yards against the Browns. He also contributed to Matt Breida’s 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His block on Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon helped open a lane for Breida to reach the second level and speed down the sideline.

San Francisco (4-0) is the only undefeated team in the NFC.

Maintaining that mark will be difficult because injuries are beginning to pile up for the second year in a row.

Juszczyk is an unsung hero for the offense. According to Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle, he was the highest-graded fullback (69.3) on the site in 2018: “No fullback played more than [Juszczyk], as he out-snapped all NFL fullbacks by 264-plus offensive snaps in the regular season. His pass-blocking (73.9) and run-blocking (73.8) grades were both impressive, especially considering his snap volume. To play at the level he played at a dying position in the NFL is quite the feat.”

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Juszczyk is the only natural fullback on the 49ers roster, and the scarcity of available options at the position will make it challenging to replace him.

Rather than use another fullback to occupy Juszczyk’s role, head coach Kyle Shanahan will likely have to play an extra running back or wide receiver to compensate.

How Shanahan chooses to combat this injury will be interesting. One probability is to keep fourth-string running back Jeff Wilson active, letting him serve as a lead blocker. How much he’s done in this kind of role, however, is up in the air.

Additionally, Niners tight end Daniel Helm is an option, as he currently sits on the practice squad and saw some fullback reps during the preseason. Third-string tight end Levine Toilolo could also fill the void.

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