Category Archives: NFL

Green Bay Packers fear LT David Bakhtiari suffered season-ending ACL tear in practice

The Green Bay Packers have lost one of the most important members of their high-powered offense, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, to what is alleged to be a season-ending knee injury suffered in practice on Thursday, a source told ESPN.

The primary diagnosis is a torn ACL, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. Bakhtiari will still need to undergo further tests to confirm that preliminary diagnosis.

The Packers added Bakhtiari to the injury report after Thursday’s practice. During the portion open to reporters, there was no apparent issue. Coach Matt LaFleur spoke before practice and will next take questions from reporters on Friday.

The Packers (12-3), who lead the NFL in scoring at 31.6 points per game, would be the NFC’s No. 1 seed if they triumph their regular-season finale on Sunday at the Chicago Bears.

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But now they’ll have to do it without their best non-skill position player on offense.

It comes just six weeks after they signed Bakhtiari to a record-setting, four-year, $103.5 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

The 29-year-old, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2013, has been either first- or second-team All-Pro each of the past four years. He was named a Pro Bowl starter when the selections were revealed last week.

When Bakhtiari missed three games earlier this season because of broken ribs, the Packers played Billy Turner at left tackle. Turner has been a regular starter on the right side, at both guard and tackle.

Most recently, Turner has started the past four games at right guard, while Rick Wagner has started at right tackle. However, Wagner suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans and was a limited participant in practice. Another option would be to move Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins to left tackle.

Jenkins has played everywhere but right guard this season, having played 599 snaps at left guard, 286 at center, 31 at right tackle and 26 at left tackle, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

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Green Bay Packers claim Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison off waivers

Another run-stopper is on the way to the Green Bay Packers to perhaps help them evade getting run out of the playoffs like last campaign.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst claimed Damon “Snacks” Harrison off waivers on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

The Packers did not informed the move.

The Seahawks waived the 32-year-old defensive tackle on Monday after Harrison requested his release. All players waived at this point in the season are subject to waivers, and Harrison said in a tweet after his release that he was not interested in getting claimed.

However, in response to a tweet that suggested he might actually play for the Packers given that they’re a Super Bowl team and one that was on his list of teams he planned to meet with before he signed with Seattle earlier this season, Harrison responded with a one-word tweet that read: “Bingo.”

A source told ESPN that Harrison assured the Packers he would report to and play for Green Bay.

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The Packers rank 14th in rushing yards permitted but 24th in yards per carry — a slight improvement over last season. But their run defense let them down in the NFC Championship Game, when the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 285 yards en route to the Super Bowl.

If the Packers (12-3) triumph Sunday’s regular-season finale versus the Chicago Bears, they would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have a first-round playoff bye. Even if they have to play on wild-card weekend, they could get Harrison through the COVID-19 protocols and ready for that weekend.

They were granted a roster exemption for Harrison.

The Seahawks signed Harrison to the practice squad Oct. 7 and he made his first appearance in a game on Nov. 15 versus the Los Angeles Rams. He played 138 total snaps in six games before he requested his release.

At the time, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was under the impression that Harrison no longer wanted to play. “He’s decided to stop playing,” Carroll said Monday during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“He’s done playing. I talked to him this morning. He’s in good spirits and all of that. He’s really grateful for the opportunity in playing here, and he did really well by us, but he just … he’s done.”

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Washington LB Thomas Davis Sr. says he’ll retire after 2020 season

Washington Football Team linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. will retire at the end of this campaign, he said in an Instagram post.

Washington (6-9) can extend Davis’ final season by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East on Sunday.

Davis, 37, has played 16 years in the NFL — the first 14 with Carolina and then the past two with the Los Angeles Chargers and Washington. Davis has served mostly in a backup role with Washington this season. He has played in seven games and received 132 snaps from scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Washington coach Ron Rivera signed him because of Davis’ leadership and his familiarity with what Rivera wanted from his players.

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Rivera trusted Davis because of how he played for him in Carolina, where he made the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons, from 2015 to 2017. He was a first team All-Pro performer in 2015, the year Carolina reached the Super Bowl. Davis signed a two-year deal with the Chargers in 2019 but was released last offseason.

Davis also endured three torn ACLs.

As a reminder of how he endured, Davis posted pictures of cleats on Instagram that sum up his career. One cleat has written on it “3 ACL Tears. 3 ACL Recoveries.” It also shows how many Pro Bowls he earned. On the other cleat, it reflects him winning the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Carolina drafted Davis with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft; he had played linebacker and free safety at Georgia. He was considered a top safety prospect before that draft, but the Panthers moved him to linebacker.

His speed and athleticism helped him have success in the NFL. In 199 games, Davis recorded 1,151 tackles, 29 sacks, 18 forced fumbles and 13 interceptions.

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Damon Harrison says it’s ‘time to move on’ from Seattle Seahawks

Veteran defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison tweeted Sunday that it’s “time to move on” from the Seahawks.

NFL Network reported that Harrison asked for his release after learning he would be inactive for Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams. The Seahawks plan to grant Harrison his release, the report stated.

A Twitter user replied to the NFL Network tweet and wrote “don’t leave,” tagging Harrison, who replied with his reasoning for wanting out.

“Didn’t want to but it’s time to,” Harrison tweeted. “I came here to help and I’ve done that and now it’s time to move on. I came back this year to play and that’s all I want. Team is back healthy and playing really well.. [It’s] my time to head out. Still all love and respect for the hawks!”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll stated he would discuss the situation with Harrison on Monday.

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“We’re going to talk tomorrow,” Carroll said after the Seahawks clinched the NFC West title with a victory against the Rams. “I just know that he was disappointed that he wasn’t active for this game. That’s what we’re talking about.”

The Seahawks signed Harrison, 32, to their practice squad Oct. 7 after he decided to play in 2020.

He didn’t make his Seattle debut until Nov. 15 versus the Rams. The 6-foot-5, 350-pound player had to work himself back into football shape and then had to wait for an opening in Seattle’s defensive tackle rotation, which he got when Bryan Mone injured his ankle.

Harrison, a first-team All-Pro in 2016, was credited with nine tackles and a forced fumble in six games with Seattle. He averaged 23 defensive snaps per game, according to Pro Football Reference, while playing behind starters Jarran Reed and Poona Ford.

The Seahawks activated Mone off injured reserve Saturday. Harrison wished Mone and several other teammates good luck against the Rams on Twitter. The Seahawks would be NFC West champions for the first time since 2016 with a victory.

Harrison’s contract includes a $1.05 million base salary, according to Roster Management System. That amount prorated over six games equals roughly $370,588.

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New Orleans Saints’ Tre’Quan Smith is latest wide receiver to land on injured reserve

The New Orleans Saints are even thinner at wide receiver after placing Tre’Quan Smith on injured reserve with an ankle injury he sustained in Sunday’s 32-29 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Smith, who is a standout blocker in addition to his pass-catching role, will have to miss at least three matches, including the Saints’ playoff opener.

Saints receivers Michael Thomas (ankle) and Deonte Harris (neck) are already on IR for the remainder of the regular season — though coach Sean Payton stated the goal is for Thomas to be as close to 100% as possible for the start of the playoffs.

“I just felt with Mike it was real clear,” Payton said. “Man, he was grinding and productive and catching eight balls, nine balls. But it wasn’t gonna get better until football stopped, just by the nature of the ankle sprain. And so look, if it was ‘win this one, you get in or not,’ then I think our approach would have been much different. But we’ve got a pretty good feel that he can be closer to his 100% — and I don’t know if it’s exactly his 100% — but closer to full speed. And that’s a tremendous asset for us. And in fairness to him right now, we’ve got a little bit of that luxury.”

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The Saints (10-4) have clinched a playoff spot.

And they can clinch their fourth straight NFC South title with one more win or a loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) over the final two weeks. The Saints still have an outside shot at the NFC’s No. 1 seed, but they need help from other teams.

New Orleans has lost two consecutive games, and the lack of receiver depth was noticeable in Sunday’s loss to Kansas City. Drew Brees started 0-for-6 passing for the first time in his career before he tried to rally the Saints back with three touchdown passes.

On a positive note, the Saints activated undrafted rookie receiver Marquez Callaway off the IR list in time for Friday’s game versus the Minnesota Vikings. Callaway caught eight passes for 75 yards in a game earlier this season when the Saints’ receiver position was similarly thinned out. New Orleans’ active receivers for Friday will be Emmanuel Sanders, Callaway, Austin Carr, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Juwan Johnson.

Smith, a third-round draft pick from Central Florida, set career highs in his third NFL season with 34 catches and 448 yards before sustaining the ankle injury Sunday. He had four touchdown catches — one shy of the five he had in each of his first two seasons.

The Saints also ruled out starting free safety Marcus Williams (ankle) and part-time starting guard Nick Easton (concussion). Guard Andrus Peat (ankle), defensive end Trey Hendrickson (neck) and defensive tackle Malcom Brown (calf) are questionable.

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New York Jets DT Quinnen Williams’ breakout season ends with injury

New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, who has established himself as one of the NFL’s top young linemen, is done for the season with a concussion and a neck injury.

Williams, 23, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday after clearing the league’s concussion protocol.

The concussion happened late in the third quarter of last Sunday’s stunning upset of the Los Angeles Rams, which likely cost the Jets the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Williams, caught on camera as he walked to the locker room for an evaluation, was seen vomiting on the sideline. Williams, drafted third overall in 2019, was one of the few bright spots this campaign for the Jets (1-13).

After a lackluster rookie year, he became a disruptive presence on the defensive line. He leads the team in sacks (seven) and quarterback hits (14) and ranks among the league leaders in the major run-stopping metrics, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

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“On Sunday, you saw what kind of impact he had — a ton of TFLs [tackles for loss], was in their backfield and created pressure,” Gase stated.

Gase said Williams “kind of disappeared” in some games, “but it didn’t happen a lot this year.

Last year, I felt like there would be a couple of games in a row where you didn’t really feel him. But this year, I felt like the high majority of the game you felt him. If you were on the other team, you felt him whether you were playing quarterback or in the running game.”

Without Williams, the Jets’ run defense will be vulnerable Sunday versus the Cleveland Browns (10-4), whose third-ranked rushing attack is led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.

The Jets also placed inside linebacker Harvey Langi (neck) on IR. Between injuries, in-season trades and one opt-out, the Jets are down seven defensive starters from the unit that was projected at the start of training camp.

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San Francisco 49ers signing Josh Rosen to back up C.J. Beathard

Whether or not he wanted to make a modification at quarterback, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has no choice but to turn to third-stringer C.J. Beathard for Saturday’s game versus the Arizona Cardinals.

That’s because Beathard is the only healthy quarterback on the active roster. Desperate for a quarterback to back him up, the 49ers are signing Josh Rosen off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Field Yates.

Beathard’s return to the starting lineup comes almost a year to the day after his brother Clayton was stabbed to death outside a bar in Nashville, Tennessee.

“To go through what he did last year and then to go right into quarantine and to come right to us with the season, I know it’s been a huge challenge for him,” Shanahan said. “And I’m excited he’s going to get an opportunity this week. I have got as much respect for C.J. as anyone I’ve ever been with as a person and as a player, and it’s going to be fun working with him this week.”

Shanahan stated Tuesday that quarterback Nick Mullens is dealing with a right elbow injury that could require Tommy John surgery and will cost him the final two games of the campaign. Team doctors are waiting for the swelling to go down in Mullens’ elbow before determining the severity of the injury and what surgery will be required.

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Complicating matters was Tuesday’s news that practice squad quarterback Josh Johnson has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, with a source telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he tested positive for the virus.

That means he can’t be activated in time for Saturday’s game.

And while the Niners opened the 21-day practice window for starter Jimmy Garoppolo to return from the high ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve, it’s unlikely that Garoppolo will play in either of the final two matches.

“Right now, he’s safe to go out to practice, which we’re only having a walk-through today, but it will be fun for him to throw the ball around a little bit,” Shanahan said. “But we’re going to be very safe with him this week. We’ll see next week, but I’d be very surprised if that changes.”

Because of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols that require players to go through a six-day testing period before they can be activated, the Niners can’t sign a quarterback off the street, leaving them with just the option of signing a quarterback off another team’s practice squad.

Rosen was taken by the Cardinals with the 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft and traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2019 as Arizona selected Kyler Murray No. 1 overall.

The Dolphins released Rosen in September and he was later signed by the Bucs for their practice squad. Rosen has made 16 career starts and appeared in 20 regular-season games overall, throwing for 2,845 yards with 12 touchdowns and 19 interceptions while completing 54.8% of his pass attempts.

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Cam Akers’ high-ankle sprain will sideline him indefinitely for playoff-hopeful Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers suffered a high-ankle sprain in a 23-20 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday and will be sidelined indefinitely, according to Rams coach Sean McVay.

“He is a war daddy,” McVay stated Monday. “But he is going to be out for at least the next week or so.”

Akers suffered the injury early in the second quarter and went to the sideline with trainers but returned only minutes later with his left ankle heavily taped. He ended with 63 yards on 15 carries.

His absence will be felt Sunday when the Rams (9-5) play the Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Lumen Field.

A victory would earn the Rams a playoff berth and would move them into first place in the NFC West with a game remaining in the regular season.

After playing a complementary role in a running back committee with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown most of the campaign, Akers had recently distinguished himself as a feature back.

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In a Week 13 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Akers rushed for 72 yards on 21 carries, and the following week, in a 24-3 win over the New England Patriots, he rushed for 171 yards on 29 carries.

McVay said the desire of Akers, a second-round draft pick from Florida State, to finish Sunday’s game reiterated his thoughts about the rookie’s status on the team.

“He gave us a chance,” McVay said. “You can see why we have so much confidence in what he’s going to be for the future.”

Henderson and Brown will take over in Akers’ absence.

“They’ll both get work — as far as the specifics, we’re not really sure,” McVay said. “We’re just getting into the initial parts of the game plan.” The Rams defeated the Seahawks 23-16 in Week 10.

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Carson Wentz not interested in backup role, will want to leave Philadelphia Eagles if Jalen Hurts remains starting QB

Carson Wentz is not interested in being a backup quarterback and would want to move on from the Eagles if the current situation — with Jalen Hurts starting under center — continues in Philadelphia, sources connected to the team told ESPN.

Although the Eagles’ quarterback situation stays fluid with three games left this season, Wentz is not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization, according to sources.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson has not said whether the quarterback switch is permanent — only going so far as to announce Hurts as the starter for Sunday — but player and team sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen last weekend that Hurts will remain the starter this season.

Philadelphia’s decision to bench Wentz for Hurts has garnered the attention of other teams around the NFL, with some expected to inquire about Wentz’s availability in a trade, according to sources.

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The Eagles (4-8-1), a long shot to win the NFC East but still in contention, started their final three-game stretch versus the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, when Hurts  made his second straight start in place of Wentz. The rookie led Philadelphia to an upset victory last Sunday over the New Orleans Saints and could make Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback decision even more difficult if he continues to play well.

The Eagles selected Hurts with their second-round pick in this year’s draft and gradually worked him into their offense, initially using him under center in limited special packages before eventually giving him the full-time job — and benching Wentz — in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers.

Hurts played well in Green Bay but was even better last week versus New Orleans, passing for 167 yards and a touchdown while running 18 times for 106 yards. He took no sacks and turned the ball over once while becoming the fifth Eagles quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game in the Super Bowl era.

After initially saying he was unsure who would start Sunday, Pederson announced Monday that Hurts would remain the starter versus Arizona.

Team sources told ESPN earlier this month that the Eagles intend to keep Wentz despite his season-long struggles and want him be a major part of their team going forward.

But if the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Wentz, they must make that decision by the second day of the 2021 league year — sometime in mid-March — because on the third day of the league year, his $22 million base salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed and his 2021 roster bonus of $10 million is paid out.

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Chiefs visit Saints for potential Super Bowl preview

Saints coach Sean Payton really considered drafting Patrick Mahomes in 2017.

But the Saints were slated to pick 11th overall and Kansas City traded up to snag Mahomes at pick No. 10.

Record-setting quarterback Drew Brees was 38 years old then, but had no intention of retiring. And as it turned out, the Saints wound up with one of the greatest drafts in franchise history that year anyway.

It started with the 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who’ll get his first opportunity to see how he fares versus Mahomes and Co. on Sunday when the Saints (10-3) host the defending NFL champion Chiefs (12-1) in a potential Super Bowl preview.

“Everything worked out for the best,” Lattimore said. “He’s over there doing his thing. I’m over here doing my thing. So, everybody won.

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“And yeah, I’m excited to play him because he’s one of the great up-and-coming quarterbacks,” Lattimore continued. “So you know our game is going to be way up, and you know we’re going to be ready for him.”

With help from playmakers such as receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce, Mahomes leads the NFL in yards passing with 4,208 and has his team in pole position to defend its Super Bowl title.

“To be that young and to be as talented as he is is rare,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes. “For him to have excelled the way he has is a real tribute to the kid and the genes that his parents gave him, too, is part of it — and how hard he works.”

The Chiefs have the best record in the AFC. But ensuring that it stays that way another week requires a victory versus a contending Saints squad looking to bounce back from a stunning loss in Philadelphia.

The Saints can win the NFC South for a fourth consecutive season with a victory (or a Tampa Bay loss). “It’s going to be a great battle,” Lattimore said. “I feel like we’re stacked, just like they’re stacked. So, we’re going to go out there and play and the best man wins.”

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