Tagged in: IR

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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Tennessee Titans place Adam Humphries back on NFL injured reserve list

Either Adam Humphries came back too soon or should not have come back at all.

Regardless, the Tennessee Titans placed the wide receiver on injured reserve, the team informed Tuesday. That means that – at best – Humphries won’t be available again until the final week of the regular season.

Humphries now will be unavailable for the stretch run for the second time in as many years. He missed the final four games of 2019 with an ankle injury. Tennessee went 2-2 without him and claimed the final AFC wild card spot. Humphries did not return to the lineup until the AFC Championship match at Kansas City.

“Never wanted to get injured when there’s not many games, but it happened and you can learn from every situation,” Humphries said during training camp. “I feel like I learned a lot by watching my team dominate the playoffs last year. I was happy to be able to help them out in the last game.”

This season, Humphries sustained a concussion Nov. 1 at Cincinnati, which caused him to miss the next four contests. He also sat out one game in October because he was on the COVID-19 reserve list.

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He returned to action Sunday versus Cleveland but caught just one pass for nine yards.

He was targeted four times. His failure to catch a pass thrown his way in the final minute of the third quarter resulted in an interception that effectively ended any realistic chance the Titans had to overcome a 31-point halftime deficit. They ultimately lost 41-35.

“We got stops on defense and we were able to move the ball and score,” coach Mike Vrabel said following the game. “Unfortunately, that one there, the interception kind of put a halt to the momentum that we had building there in the second half and really just cost us just the time and the not being able to score.”

In seven matches, Humphries caught 23 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. All but two of those receptions came in his first four appearances.

The Titans signed Humphries to a four-year, $36 million free agent contract in 2019 with the idea that he would be their primary slot receiver. Since, he has caught 60 passes for 602 yards and four touchdowns in 19 games.

Without him, Tennessee will look to Cameron Batson, who caught five passes for 35 yards in the four games Humphries missed the concussion. Versus the Browns, Batson set a career-high with three receptions and scored his first NFL touchdown, an 8-yard reception with 28 seconds to play.

The practice squad includes Cody Hollister, who has appeared in seven games since the beginning  of last season, and Chester Rogers, who played 53 games (22 starts) for Indianapolis over the past four seasons.

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LeRaven Clark out for season with torn Achilles, leaving Indianapolis Colts thin at LT position

The Colts could be down to their third-string left tackle for Sunday’s game at the Las Vegas Raiders.

Backup left tackle LeRaven Clark is out for the season after an MRI confirmed a torn Achilles, and there’s still no timetable on when starter Anthony Castonzo will return from his knee injury, Colts coach Frank Reich stated Monday.

Castonzo suffered a sprained MCL early in the second quarter of the Week 12 game versus Tennessee. Clark replaced Castonzo in that game and started Sunday at Houston. But Clark had to be carted off the field in the first half due to the torn Achilles.

“Tough break for us and LeRaven,” Reich said. “That’s a tough loss for us. LeRaven has come in and had a really good year. He’ll start the next steps toward recovery.” Fourth-year player Chaz Green becomes responsible for protecting quarterback Philip Rivers’ blindside. But Green, too, has been dealing with his own injury.

He missed some practice time last week due to a back injury. General manager Chris Ballard is in the process of trying to bring in some extra depth on the offensive line.

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The wildcard in this is Castonzo.

The Colts purposely did not put the veteran on the injured reserve list in case he’s able to return before the three matches he would be required to miss by going on the reserve list. The Colts will access where Castonzo is later in the week.

“[Castonzo’s] the type of player that if you’re ever going to take that chance [of not putting on IR] with at that position because of who he is,” Reich said. “Let’s not lock ourselves in case he has a speedy recovery. We haven’t ruled anything out. He’s continuing to rehab it and do everything right.”

The Colts, who are currently the seventh seed in the AFC, will try to stay in the playoff hunt potentially with a third-string left tackle trying to help a quarterback who is also isn’t healthy. Rivers, who has started 236 straight games, has been dealing with turf toe since Week 11 versus Green Bay.

He went 27-of-35 for 285 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans on Sunday. The Colts have a game lead over the Raiders for the final playoff spot in the AFC. “He’s the type of guy that unless he’s walking around in a boot, which he is, you wouldn’t know [he was injured],” Reich said.

“He’s not going to talk about it. He’s just going to go about his business. That’s just the way he’s been brought up. Do I think he’s 100%? No, he’s not 100%, but I think he’s getting better every week.”

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Tennessee Titans’ Jadeveon Clowney out for rest of season after having knee surgery

The ship has been righted for the Tennessee Titans following a rough stretch that saw them lose three of four games, having now won two consecutives, albeit without veteran pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney.

The 27-year-old was recently placed on injured reserve with a meniscus issue in his knee, and surgery had not yet been ruled out as an option to repair it.

Having not played since Week 10, Clowney took time to make a decision on the latter but seemingly did this past week, having reportedly undergone surgery on Wednesday — per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network —  ending his season.

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The 27-year-old was betting big on himself in 2020, waving off several offers in the offseason as he looked for a one-year deal that would both pay him handsomely and allow for the re-entering into free agency in 2021.

After not receiving as warm of a welcome as he had hoped in the last wave of free agency, the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end was looking to rise his value by way of helping the Titans defense become one opposing teams fear, but Tennessee has struggled to take down opposing quarterbacks this campaign for much of the season, even with Clowney in tow. 

While he’s been great about applying pressure, as shown in his six QB hits this year prior to injury.

He registered no sacks through seven matches played and would’ve liked to stay on the field to change that before hitting the open market for a second consecutive offseason.

Coming off of a down season in 2019 that saw him log just three sacks for the Seattle Seahawks, this season-ending injury could tank his stock on the open market. For the Titans, it’s another big swing at pass rusher in 2020 that didn’t end how they’d hoped it would, the other being the failed experiment with now-released pass rusher Vic Beasley.

Even still, sitting at 8-3 on the season, head coach Mike Vrabel has weathered the storm well.

And now, from an individual standpoint, Clowney must weather his own.

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Ravens sign veteran CB Tramon Williams

The Ravens have added a veteran cornerback to fortify a position hit hard by injuries. Tramon Williams, who has spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, has been signed to the 53-man roster.

Williams substitutes cornerback Khalil Dorsey (shoulder), who has been placed on injured reserve.

The 37-year-old Williams has 34 career interceptions, but has not played this campaign after his second stint with the Packers ended in 2019. An undrafted free agent in 2006 from Louisiana Tech, Williams had his best years with the Packers, where he played from 2006-14 and acquired a Super Bowl in 2010.

In his second stint with Green Bay that started in 2018, Williams started 23 games, including seven games last season. Though he has primarily been a cornerback, Williams also played some safety for the Packers last season.

Williams has also played for the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

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Williams will add depth to the cornerback rotation that includes Pro Bowlers Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, veteran Jimmy Smith and second-year pro Terrell Bonds. Humphrey (COVID-19) is expected to return this week after missing Sunday’s game versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Dorsey, who dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, joins a lengthy list of injured cornerbacks from Baltimore. Tavon Young and Iman Marshall are out for the season with knee injuries and Anthony Averett (shoulder) is on injured reserve, though he could return later this year.

Dorsey will be out at least the next three matches. The Ravens have also signed two players to the practice squad – defensive back Nate Brooks and offensive tackle R.J. Prince. Prince was on the Ravens’ practice squad last season and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brooks was an undrafted free agent from North Texas in 2019 who has been with the Cardinals, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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Denver Broncos’ Albert Okwuegbunam heading to IR with torn ACL

Another talented Bronco has been lost for the year.

Rookie tight Albert Okwuegbunam suffered an ACL injury versus the Falcons on Sunday and will miss the rest of the campaign, Head Coach Vic Fangio announced Monday.

“Albert did get an ACL injury and he will miss the rest of the season,” Fangio said. “The fortunate thing of it is it’s just the ACL and the ACL only. Many times when you get an ACL, it involves some other ligaments. His rehab and repair should go clean and he should be back as good as new next season.”

Okwuegbunam suffered the injury while making a 7-yard catch on a third-and-6 in the third quarter. He quickly grabbed his knee and was attended to by trainers. Okwuegbunam went back to the locker room and was ruled out of the game shortly after suffering the injury.

Okwuegbunam joins wide receiver Courtland Sutton, outside linebacker Von Miller, defensive lineman Jurrell Casey and nose tackle Mike Purcell among those who have suffered season-ending injuries. The Broncos have placed a slew of other players on IR with shorter-term injuries.

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“It’s hard to pinpoint any one or two things as to why it’s happened,” Fangio said of the injuries. “Obviously you look at it thoroughly. Is it the training? The guys didn’t train here all offseason and we didn’t see them until training camp. Was that part of it? I don’t know. The shortened preseason? No preseason games? I don’t know. I think in each and every case, it’s something different. I don’t think you’re able to pinpoint one or two things right now.”

Okwuegbunam totaled 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown in his four matches this season.

Six of his catches went for first downs, and he played a pivotal role in the Broncos’ comeback versus the Chargers. In the fourth quarter, Okwuegbunam caught a touchdown pass and drew a pair of pass-interference calls on the team’s final drive.

Noah Fant and Nick Vannett are the Broncos’ only tight ends who stays on the active roster. Fant suffered an ankle injury on Sunday, but he returned to the game. Fangio said he was optimistic that Fant and right tackle Demar Dotson would be able to play in Week 10 versus the Raiders but that it’s “too early to tell.” Dotson (groin) did not return to the game after halftime.

Fangio said he’s hopeful that both Bryce Callahan (ankle) and A.J. Bouye (concussion) will return to practice after missing Sunday’s game.

The Broncos may also receive reinforcements from their Reserve/COVID-19 list, as Fangio believes both Shelby Harris and Graham Glasgow should return to practice on Wednesday.

“That’s the plan,” Fangio said of Glasgow. “He started training here yesterday, which is part of the protocol. They have to go through, I think it’s a three-day training acclimation period before they’re allowed to go back to the full football activities with the team. He started that yesterday, and I think we’re hopeful that Wednesday he’ll be back out there.”

Glasgow has missed the team’s last two games, while Harris was held out of the Broncos’ Week 9 loss to the Falcons.

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Seattle Seahawks sign Mychal Kendricks to practice squad

The Seahawks made a modification at safety Wednesday with Lano Hill going to IR, promoting Damarious Randall from the practice squad. They also brought back a familiar face at linebacker. 

Damarious Randall has already been elevated from the practice squad twice to play in the Seahawks’ past two matches, and now the veteran safety has a spot on the 53-man roster, having been signed Wednesday to take the spot of safety Lano Hill, who was placed on injured reserve with a back injury that has kept him out of the past three games.

The Seahawks also added a pair of veteran linebackers to the practice squad, signing Mychal Kendricks, a 14-game starter for Seattle last campaign, and Ray-Ray Armstrong, an eight-year veteran who has appeared in 84 games over his career with the Cowboys, 49ers, Giants, Raiders, Rams and Browns.

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Randall, a 2015 first-round pick with 56 career starts on his resume, signed to Seattle’s practice squad ahead of the Week 4 game at Miami, and was elevated from the practice squad both for that game and the Week 5 victory over Minnesota. Under a new rule this season, practice squad players can be elevated for game weekends without counting towards the 53-man roster limit, but can only do so twice, and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll indicated on Monday that this move could be coming with Randall.

“I hope we’ll get to see more of Randall going forward,” Carroll stated. “He’s a good ballplayer and he’s been around us now enough as he’s starting to dig in. So I’m excited about what he can add.”

Carroll’s Monday press conference also hinted that Hill’s move to IR could be coming.

“Lano’s got some issues with his back that haven’t really turned in the right direction,” Carroll said. “We’re looking after him right now. He’s not ready to come back yet.”

Kendricks, a former second-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, started 17 games for the Seahawks over the past two campaigns after signing with the Seahawks late in the 2018 season, both at weakside and strongside linebacker.

Last year Kendricks had 71 tackles, 3.0 sacks and one interception as Seattle’s starting strongside linebacker, but tore his ACL in Week 17, causing him to miss Seattle’s two playoff games. Kendricks is the latest accomplished veteran to join Seattle’s practice squad after Randall and former All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison.

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Houston Texans’ Benardrick Mckinney expected out for season

The Houston Texans inside linebacker corps has taken a hit to its leadership and on-field ability.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Pro Bowl inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney will undergo shoulder surgery, which will keep him out for the rest of 2020. The club is expected to place McKinney on injured reserve.

The former 2015 second-round pick from Mississippi State was unavailable for the Texans’ 30-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5 at NRG Stadium. McKinney was given the questionable designation on the Friday before the AFC South showdown but was unable to play after being a game-time decision.

McKinney’s season presumably ends with four games, all starts, and 37 combined tackles with one tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

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In McKinney’s absence versus the Jaguars, former 2016 undrafted free agent Tyrell Adams opposite Zack Cunningham provided 13 combined tackles, a tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery in his lone start of the campaign, playing 89% of Houston’s defensive snaps, while inside linebacker Dylan Cole did not play a defensive snap.

“T.A., he stepped in and made some plays,” interim coach Romeo Crennel stated. “So, that’s the name of this business, the next guy up. We tell them that all the time that they have to be ready when their number is called and yesterday the guys whose numbers were called, they performed well.”

McKinney, who had 37 tackles in four games, is playing on a five-year, $50 million contract extension he signed in 2018. McKinney was drafted by the Texans in the second round in 2015. He has 11.5 career sacks, 530 tackles and four forced fumbles.

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Los Angeles Chargers center Mike Pouncey having season-ending surgery

Four-time Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey has been placed on injured reserve and will soon undergo hip surgery that will keep him out for the remainder of the 2020 campaign, the Los Angeles Chargers informed Thursday, a tough blow for a team that was looking forward to a healthier offensive line this season.

Pouncey, 31, also spent time on IR with a hip injury while with the Miami Dolphins in 2016. He then started every game over the next two years, including his first season with the Chargers in 2018, but missed the final 11 weeks last year after undergoing neck surgery.

The veteran, in his 10th season, has started all 114 games he has played in during his career. He is in the final year of his contract with the Chargers.

Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said Pouncey’s surgery will take place before the end of September.

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“On top of being a Pro Bowl talent, he’s the ultimate captain, teammate and competitor,” Telesco said in a statement. “Quite simply, he’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around. Mike’s played a major role in establishing the culture and standard we now have in our locker room and sets a tremendous example, especially for the younger members of our team.”

Fourth-year offensive lineman Dan Feeney is expected to substitute Pouncey as the starting center, with Forrest Lamp likely filling in for Feeney at left guard.

The Chargers, the third-most injured team last season according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost, are already without star safety Derwin James, who recently underwent season-ending knee surgery.

Fullback Gabe Nabers was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Thursday in a corresponding move.

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