Agent Cook accused of funding McNair at Alcorn State

Agent Cook accused of funding McNair at Alcorn State

Steve McNair became a Heisman Trophy candidate at Alcorn State and was drafted in the first round by the Houston Oilers in 1995, who later relocated to Tennessee, where he was represented by agent Bus Cook.

According to multiple college teammates, McNair was being paid well by Cook even in college.

In the latest episode of Sports Illustrated’s series on McNair’s life, which ended in July 2009 when he was shot in a condo in Nashville, teammates detailed payments Cook made to McNair during his college playing days.

Cook represents several well-known players, including Russell Wilson and Cam Newton and was the primary sports agent for Brett Favre, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Calvin Johnson, Jay Cutler and McNair.

McNair’s backup at Alcorn State, Jerry Fletcher, said they visited Cook once a month for payment.

“Me and Steve used to disappear all the time and we’d just go to Bus Cook[‘s] office, all the time. You know? He’d pick up a little, some money or whatever, and then we used to leave and come on back to Alcorn. We did that numerous occasions,” Fletcher told SI. “[W]hen me and him was going down there he was getting exactly $5,000.”

Cook denied the allegations.

However, another Alcorn teammate who went on to hire Cook, told Sports Illustrated the claim was accurate.

Marcus Hinton was asked by SI’s Tim Rohan: “Was Bus giving Steve money, or … or you know, helping him out financially, back then?”

“I don’t know if he was in high school,” Hinton said. “But I mean in college, I mean he was all looking out for us, and doing stuff for us.”

–Field Level Media

Dolphins CB Howard week-to-week

Dolphins CB Howard week-to-week

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien

Dolphins CB Howard week-to-week

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard is week-to-week with a knee injury.

The third-year cornerback has seven interceptions, including a pair against the Buffalo Bills, this season. Howard was hurt on his second interception of Bills quarterback Josh Allen according to coach Adam Gase, and didn’t practice Wednesday.

“He’s one of our best players, if not our best player on that side of the ball,” Gase said Wednesday.

Howard is fourth in the NFL with 12 passes defended and on Wednesday was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

The Dolphins (6-6) remain alive in the playoff chase and face the New England Patriots on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders WR Bryant placed on IR

Raiders WR Bryant placed on IR

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant's

Raiders WR Bryant placed on IR

Wide receiver Martavis Bryant’s rocky season with the Oakland Raiders came to an end Wednesday.

Bryant was placed on injured reserve with a posterior cruciate ligament injury after missing the previous three games. The Raiders also placed linebacker Shilique Calhoun (neck) on IR.

Bryant was acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2018 NFL Draft.

He caught 19 passes for 266 yards and no touchdowns.

Bryant struggled to stay on the field, starting with migraine headaches in training camp that forced him off the field, before his knee injury.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Broncos fear WR Sanders ruptured Achilles

Reports: Broncos fear WR Sanders ruptured Achilles

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was helped

Reports: Broncos fear WR Sanders ruptured Achilles

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was helped off the field Wednesday with what the team fears is a ruptured Achilles.

According to multiple reports, Sanders was in significant pain and was taken for tests on the injury.

The Broncos would place more of the receiving burden on rookie Courtland Sutton without Sanders this week against the San Francisco 49ers and cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sanders, 31, was on pace for his fourth career 1,000-yard season with 71 receptions for 868 yards and four touchdowns in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers QB Newton limited with shoulder injury

Panthers QB Newton limited with shoulder injury

Carolina Panthers quarterback

Panthers QB Newton limited with shoulder injury

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was limited due to a shoulder injury on Wednesday but is expected to play Sunday.

Head coach Ron Rivera provided few details on the injury, only briefly summarizing by saying “we’ll see what the doctors say.”

Newton threw four interceptions in a Week 13 loss at Tampa Bay to the Buccaneers that puts the Panthers’ playoff hopes in peril. If Newton is hurt, the offense would change radically.

At 6-6, the Panthers are four games behind the division-leading New Orleans Saints.

Newton has seven touchdowns and six interceptions in the past three games.

NFL Network reported Newton expects to deal with the shoulder injury for the remainder of the season.

The Panthers face the Cleveland Browns on Sunday before two games with the Saints, split by a date with the Atlanta Falcons.

–Field Level Media

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Packers’ Philbin: Moss fired for more than tweet

Packers' Philbin: Moss fired for more than tweet

Green Bay Packers interim

Packers’ Philbin: Moss fired for more than tweet

Green Bay Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin said Wednesday that longtime assistant coach Winston Moss was fired for more than his critical tweet suggesting quarterback Aaron Rogers be held accountable by the team’s next coach.

“It’s never about one thing,” said Philbin, who took over after Mike McCarthy was fired Sunday. “Again, I think it’s important, as I said to the team, we’ve got to be professional, accountable, respectful and punctual. Those are the four things that we’ve got to do the next four weeks. And if we do all those things, we’ll be in good shape. It wasn’t about — again, you’re talking to a guy who’s never tweeted in his life, doesn’t even know what Twitter is — so again, it’s not about a tweet or anything like that. I just think the fit right now isn’t where it needs to be.”

Moss, a longtime assistant coach under McCarthy with Green Bay whose official title was associate head coach/linebackers coach, was fired Tuesday in the aftermath of the tweet.

“Ponder this… what Championship teams have are great leadership! Period! It’s not the offensive guru trend, it’s not the safe trend. Find somebody that is going to hold #12 and everybody in this building to a #LombardiStandard! Period! #losingsucks!” Moss wrote.

Philbin, who had been the team’s offensive coordinator before McCarthy was fired, refused to comment further on the tweet and noted defensive assistant Scott McCurley will take over Moss’ duties as outside linebackers coach. He did not say if anyone will take over Moss’ title of associate head coach.

“I think it’s important obviously that everybody’s on the same page, that we’re all moving forward in the same direction,” Philbin said. “As you know, Winston’s an excellent football coach. I’ve known him a long time. Respect him; outstanding family man. So it wasn’t an easy decision, but I just didn’t feel like the fit right now was where it needs to be. So … came to that decision.”

In a news conference Monday, team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst called Philbin a “legitimate candidate” for the head coach position. He’ll have four games to prove it starting Dec. 9 when the Packers host the Atlanta Falcons.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins sign QB Johnson, put three on IR

Redskins sign QB Johnson, put three on IR

Redskins sign QB Johnson, put three on IR

The Washington Redskins made a slew of moves on Wednesday, including placing three players on injured reserve and signing veteran quarterback Josh Johnson.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin), wideout Trey Quinn (ankle) and guard Jonathan Cooper (biceps) are all out for the rest of the season after landing on injured reserve.

Quarterback Colt McCoy fractured his right fibula during Washington’s 28-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, ending his season and pushing the Redskins to sign Johnson. The Redskins lost starter Alex Smith to a compound fracture in his right leg on Nov. 18 against the Houston Texans.

McCoy’s injury leaves veteran Mark Sanchez as the starter.

Johnson was a fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008 and played in 26 games there, five of them starts. He also had stints with the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers, but was rarely used.

Johnson, 32, last played in 2013 and has an 0-5 career record as a starter, completing 96 of 177 passes for 1,042 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

The Redskins also signed three other free agents: defensive end Marcus Smith, guard Zac Kerin and center Demetrius Rhaney to replace the trio placed on the IR Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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XFL unveils where its eight teams will play

XFL unveils where its eight teams will play

The

XFL unveils where its eight teams will play

The XFL has revealed which eight cities will host teams when play begins in 2020.

The cities and stadiums are Dallas (Globe Life Park), Houston (TDECU Stadium), Los Angeles (StubHub Center), St. Louis (The Dome at America’s Center), Seattle (CenturyLink Field), Tampa (Raymond James Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium) and Washington, D.C. (Audi Field). XFL domain names for several other cities have reportedly been registered, hinting at possible future expansion.

Oliver Luck, CEO and league commissioner, said about 30 cities had been in the running. Luck says team nicknames and coaches should be decided during the first quarter of 2019 and that teams will begin finding quarterbacks by the summer.

The XFL is a relaunch of the rival league started by Vince McMahon, the founder of WWE, back in 2001. Though named the same, the current iteration of the XFL is expected to have fewer gimmicks than the short-lived original.

The league will begin with eight 40-man teams playing a 10-week schedule starting in February 2020, providing years since its inception to prepare for on-field action. The original XFL, which lasted just one season, played games a year after it was announced. According to McMahon, the new iteration will be focused on being faster-paced, easier to understand and family friendly, not relying on flashy cheerleaders and antics like the original XFL.

Broadcast and streaming partnerships have yet to be finalized.

Luck resigned his post as NCAA vice president to join the alternative football league. He was formerly president of NFL Europe and later athletic director at West Virginia.

His son is Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

–Field Level Media

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Giants S Collins likely needs shoulder surgery

Giants S Collins likely needs shoulder surgery

Giants S Collins likely needs shoulder surgery

Already ruled out by the Giants this week, safety Landon Collins is likely headed to injured reserve with a shoulder injury that is expected to require surgery.

ESPN reported Wednesday that Collins would be placed on injured reserve and surgery was imminent. Head coach Pat Shurmur denied any decision was made.

“Landon Collins has a shoulder injury that will most likely require surgery. It’s not final yet. We’ve been getting it evaluated for the past couple of days,” Shurmur said.

Collins was injured Sunday in the Giants’ overtime win over the Chicago Bears.

“In a sport where toughness is required, Landon Collins has a lot of it,” Shurmur said.

Scheduled to become a free agent in March, Collins could opt to shut it down for 2018, especially if surgery is a foregone conclusion.

“We’ll obviously miss Landon, but it’s an opportunity for young guys to step up,” Giants safety Michael Thomas said. “There’s no replacing a Landon Collins though, he’s a Pro Bowl player. He leaves it all out on the field.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals put WR Green on injured reserve

Bengals put WR Green on injured reserve

Bengals put WR Green on injured reserve

Cincinnati wideout A.J. Green is done for the season.

The Bengals placed Green on injured reserve on Wednesday, where he will join quarterback Andy Dalton (thumb).

The 30-year-old Green has torn ligaments in his right big toe and will have season-ending surgery, ESPN reported Monday.

Per the report, Green’s recovery will take three to four months, but he should recover fully and be ready for organized team activities in May.

Green went down on a non-contact play in the second quarter on Sunday against the Denver Broncos, his first game back from a three-game absence due to a right big toe injury. The team quickly ruled him out Sunday with what it called a foot injury, but Green was grabbing at the toe and in apparent pain as he was carted to the locker room.

Green finishes the year with 46 catches for 694 yards and six touchdowns in nine games, with all but the touchdown total marking career lows. It is the second time in the last three seasons his campaign has been cut short by injury, after Green missed the final six games of the 2016 season with a torn hamstring.

Taken fourth overall by Cincinnati in 2011, Green could miss out on being named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his eight-year career. Before this season, he had failed to collect 1,000 yards in a season just once, when he topped out at 964 in 10 games in 2016.

Green will be entering the final year of his contract in 2019, when he is due just under $12 million.

The Bengals, who are on a four-game losing streak, were already without quarterback Andy Dalton (thumb) for the season. This week’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers will be the Bengals’ first without Dalton or Green since Green was drafted.

The team activated cornerback Davontae Harris from injured reserve in a corresponding move.

–Field Level Media

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NFL puts ref on leave over Hughes altercation

NFL puts ref on leave over Hughes altercation

NFL puts ref on leave over Hughes altercation

The NFL placed referee Roy Ellison on administrative leave as it investigates an altercation between the umpire and Buffalo defensive end Jerry Hughes after the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins 21-17 on Sunday.

Hughes was caught on video yelling at an unidentified official in the bowels of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., and heard bellowing, “I’ll catch you.” Hughes is also heard accusing the object of his ire of calling him an expletive.

As another player and a Bills official direct Hughes to the locker room, Hughes is heard saying, “I’m going to knock his … out when I see him. I’m going to hurry up and get dressed. He called me a (expletive).”

Asked after the game if he had confronted an official, Hughes said he did not and did “not recall” an official calling him an expletive during the game.

When told there was video of the episode, he said. “I would love to see this video.”

Ellison, a full-time umpire in his 16th season, was suspended for one game in 2013 for using abusive language aimed at Washington Redskins offensive lineman Trent Williams.

Hughes, a nine-year veteran and former first-round pick, has 6.0 sacks this season and 45.5 for his career.

–Field Level Media

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Official on leave after accusation about derogatory comment

Official on leave after accusation about derogatory comment

Official on leave after accusation about derogatory comment

The NFL has sidelined an official after a Buffalo Bills player said the official called him by a derogatory term during a confrontation after the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins in Miami on Sunday.

Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes faced umpire Roy Ellison as he and other members of the officiating crew were in the tunnel leading from the field to locker room.

In the episode caught on video, a Bills teammate and a staff member both helped to restrain Hughes after he accused Ellison of calling him a “b—-.”

Although he denied saying it later Sunday when talking with reporters, Hughes can also be heard on the video saying, “I’ll catch you. Trust me, I’ll catch you. I’ll catch you. Guarantee it.”

On Tuesday, the NFL put Ellison on administrative leave, according to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

It’s not the first time Ellison has faced such an accusation.

In 2013, the league suspended him for one game for making “profane and derogatory” comments to Trent Williams, an offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins.

According to an NFL.com report at the time, Williams said that Ellison referred to him as “a garbage (expletive) disrespectful mother (expletive).”

–Field Level Media

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Packers fire asst. coach Moss over ‘hold No. 12 accountable’ tweet

Packers fire asst. coach Moss over 'hold No. 12 accountable' tweet

Packers fire asst. coach Moss over ‘hold No. 12 accountable’ tweet

Accountability went from platform to downfall for Winston Moss on Tuesday.

Moss, a longtime assistant coach under Mike McCarthy with the Green Bay Packers whose official title was associate head coach/linebackers coach, was fired Tuesday in the aftermath of a tweet that drew attention because it called for the team’s next coach to hold Aaron Rodgers accountable.

“Ponder this… what Championship teams have are great leadership! Period! It’s not the offensive guru trend, it’s not the safe trend. Find somebody that is going to hold #12 and everybody in this building to a #LombardiStandard! Period! #losingsucks!” Moss wrote.

While supporters and detractors alike flocked to the post to share their opinion, the Packers wasted little time expressing their view of Moss’ public comment.

“We thank Winston for his contributions to the Packers over the past 13 years,” said interim head coach Joe Philbin in a brief statement. “We hope for the best for Winston and his family moving forward.”

On Monday in the team’s first extended public comments, Packers officials said Rodgers had “nothing to do with” McCarthy being fired. But media scrutiny became more intense in recent weeks of the relationship behind the scenes, and Moss, of course, had a front-row seat to the player-coach interaction for the duration of McCarthy’s tenure.

Moss, a former NFL linebacker, worked with McCarthy in New Orleans, when both were assistant coaches.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Hunt suspension could go into ’19

NFL notebook: Hunt suspension could go into '19

NFL notebook: Hunt suspension could go into ’19

The NFL is mulling a multigame suspension for former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt that could last into the 2019 season, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The league is considering three different off-field incidents involving Hunt, the bombshell coming last week when TMZ released a video showing Hunt pushing and kicking a woman in Cleveland in February.

Hunt was also involved in an altercation at a restaurant last June, an incident the NFL was aware of and questioned the running back about. However, TMZ reported Monday that Hunt was involved in a violent incident last January at a Kansas City nightclub, an altercation the NFL did not previously know about, according to ESPN.

In that incident, TMZ reported that Hunt and others — including then-Chiefs running back George Atkinson — beat a man to the point of unconsciousness on Jan. 11.

–On the day when the Redskins had a second quarterback undergo surgery to repair a broken right leg, Washington coach Jay Gruden said that free agent Colin Kaepernick would not be the right option for the team as it looks for signal-calling reinforcements.

Colt McCoy broke his fibula Monday in the Redskins’ 28-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and he underwent surgery Tuesday. The team won’t place him on injured reserve, as there is a chance he could return this season.

Gruden said Tuesday of Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback: “Not a lot of time to really get a brand new quarterback and new system installed and taught in a couple of days of practice. He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go a different direction.”

–A day after reportedly visiting the Chiefs, running back C.J. Anderson apparently is joining one of their AFC West rivals.

The 27-year-old free agent will sign with the Oakland Raiders, according to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Anderson, a Bay Area native who played for Oakland’s Laney College and the University of California-Berkeley, scored the clinching touchdown as the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Santa Clara, Calif.

–Pittsburgh running back James Conner will miss the Steelers’ Sunday game against the Raiders due to a sprained left ankle, coach Mike Tomlin announced.

Conner was injured during the fourth quarter Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers, and the team initially thought the injury was minor. However, medical tests revealed a more serious injury to the ankle, leading to the diagnosis of a sprain.

–San Francisco long snapper Kyle Nelson has reportedly received a 10-game suspension.

There was no immediate word on the reason for the punishment, first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.

Nelson’s suspension would cover the final four games of this season and the first six games of the 2019 regular season.

–Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that linebacker Sean Lee would retain his role as a starter when he is ready to return from his hamstring injury.

Jones made the declaration despite the fact that first-round draft pick Leighton Vander Esch is enjoying a huge season that has placed him in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year discussion.

“He’s improving,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan of Vander Esch. “But Sean Lee, make no mistake about it, when he’s right, there’s nobody better.”

–The Houston Texans activated running back D’Onta Foreman from the physically unable to perform list, making him eligible to play immediately.

The second-year player has missed the entire 2018 season with a torn Achilles, an injury he sustained in a 2017 win against the Arizona Cardinals.

Foreman ran for 327 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie before the injury.

–The Buffalo Bills released veteran wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Benjamin struggled to fit in with the Bills, making just 39 receptions for 571 yards and two touchdowns in 18 total games with the club.

Holmes was the most experienced receiver on Buffalo’s roster, playing in his seventh professional season. He has just 12 catches for 157 yards this season.

–Former NFL cornerback Brandon Browner, best known as a member of Seattle’s Legion of Boom, was sentenced to eight years in California state prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder, TMZ reported.

The 34-year-old former Pro Bowl selection was originally charged with attempted murder, first-degree residential robbery, first-degree burglary (person present) and false imprisonment, as well as two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

He was facing a possible life sentence.

–If the Miami Dolphins hope to continue their playoff push, they will have to do it without tight end A.J. Derby.

Derby, who has dealt with a foot injury for most of 2018 while playing in only four games, became the 11th member of the Dolphins to be placed on injured reserve this season.

The Dolphins also claimed former University of Miami cornerback Dee Delaney off waivers.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Raiders to sign RB Anderson

Reports: Raiders to sign RB Anderson

Reports: Raiders to sign RB Anderson

A day after reportedly visiting the Chiefs, running back C.J. Anderson apparently is joining one of Kansas City’s AFC West rivals.

The 27-year-old free agent will sign with the Oakland Raiders, according to Tuesday reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

The move would be a homecoming for Anderson, a Bay Area native who played for Oakland’s Laney College and the University of California-Berkeley. He later won an NFL championship in the area, scoring the clinching touchdown as the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Santa Clara, Calif.

Anderson appeared in nine games for the Panthers earlier this season before he was released three weeks ago. After signing a one-year, $1.75 million contract with Carolina prior to the season, Anderson produced 104 yards and no touchdowns on 24 carries. He also had one reception, which went for a 24-yard TD.

The Chiefs reportedly talked to Anderson and Charcandrick West on Monday before deciding to sign West as a replacement for Kareem Hunt, who was released in the wake of a video showing him pushing and kicking a woman.

The Raiders got a good look at Anderson when he played for Denver from 2013-17. In 58 games (36 starts) for the Broncos, Anderson ran 693 times for 3,051 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had 103 catches for 859 yards and four scores.

Oakland (2-10) was seeking reinforcement at running back following an ugly performance at the position on Sunday in a 40-33 home loss to the Chiefs. Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington each lost a fumble in the defeat.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins TE Derby placed on IR

Dolphins TE Derby placed on IR

Dolphins TE Derby placed on IR

If the Miami Dolphins hope to continue their playoff push, they will have to do it without tight end A.J. Derby.

Derby, who has dealt with a foot injury for most of 2018 while playing in only four games, became the 11th member of the Dolphins to be placed on injured reserve this season.

Announcing the move Tuesday, Miami also claimed former University of Miami cornerback Dee Delaney off waivers.

Derby last played against the Green Bay Packers on Nov. 11. The fourth-year player finished 2018 with three catches for 48 yards and one touchdown.

Delaney spent the 2017 season with the Hurricanes, then was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars, working with their practice squad and joining the active roster this season. He was waived Monday as the Jags made room for running back Leonard Fournette, who is returning from a one-game suspension.

Delaney becomes the sixth cornerback on the roster this season for the Dolphins, who have a 6-6 record and a chance to earn an AFC wild-card playoff spot.

–Field Level Media

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Report: 49ers long snapper suspended 10 games

Report: 49ers long snapper suspended 10 games

San Francisco 49ers

Report: 49ers long snapper suspended 10 games

San Francisco 49ers long snapper Kyle Nelson has reportedly received a 10-game suspension.

There was no immediate word on the reason for the punishment, first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates on Tuesday.

Nelson’s suspension would cover the final four games of this season and the first six games of the 2019 regular season.

Nelson, 32, has started 76 consecutive games since joining the 49ers in 2014. Before that he spent one season each with the San Diego Chargers (2012) and Washington Redskins (2013).

San Francisco worked out several long snappers last week, according to NBC Sports.

Nelson is in the final year of a four-year extension signed in 2015 and will be an unrestricted free agent after this season.

–Field Level Media

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Texans activate RB Foreman (Achilles) from PUP list

Texans activate RB Foreman (Achilles) from PUP list

The Houston Texans activated running back D'Onta Foreman from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Tuesday, making him eligible to play immediately.

Texans activate RB Foreman (Achilles) from PUP list

The Houston Texans activated running back D’Onta Foreman from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Tuesday, making him eligible to play immediately.

The second-year player has missed the entire 2018 season with a torn Achilles, an injury he suffered in a Nov. 19, 2017 win against the Arizona Cardinals.

A third-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Texas, Foreman ran for 327 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games as a rookie before the injury.

He adds depth to a Houston backfield led by Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue. The Texans (9-3), winners of nine straight games, are tied for second in the league in rushing with 140.8 yards per game.

Houston hosts the Indianapolis Colts (6-6) on Sunday.

In a corresponding move, the team waived rookie cornerback Natrell Jamerson to make room on the active roster for Foreman.

–Field Level Media

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Bills release veteran receivers Benjamin, Holmes

Bills release veteran receivers Benjamin, Holmes

The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday announced they have

Bills release veteran receivers Benjamin, Holmes

The Buffalo Bills on Tuesday announced they have released veteran wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes.

The release of Benjamin is particularly surprising, given the team gave up third- and seventh-round picks to get him from the Carolina Panthers at the trade deadline last season.

But the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Benjamin struggled to fit in with the Bills, making just 39 receptions for 571 yards and two touchdowns in 18 total games with the club. He has 23 catches for 354 yards and one score in 12 games this season.

Benjamin had 1,008 yards as a rookie in 2014 and another 941 in 2016 after a torn ACL cost him the 2015 season. But an apparent falling out with the Panthers led to his exit. In August, Benjamin told The Athletic’s Tim Graham he and Carolina were “a bad fit from the get-go,” and was critical of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback, let’s be real, you know what I’m saying?” Benjamin told Graham. “Any other accurate quarterback like (Aaron) Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben (Roethlisberger) — anybody! — quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn’t in that position.”

Holmes was the most experienced receiver on Buffalo’s roster, playing in his seventh professional season. He has just 12 catches for 157 yards without a score this season, his second in Buffalo.

His best year came in 2014, when he had 47 catches for 693 yards and four touchdowns with Oakland.

The moves leave the team with five receivers on the active roster. And of those, only Deonte Thompson has more than two years of experience.

The team also announced the signing of cornerback Denzel Rice and defensive end Mike Love from the practice squad.

The Bills are 4-8 and host the 3-9 New York Jets on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-CB Browner reportedly gets 8 years in prison

Ex-CB Browner reportedly gets 8 years in prison

Ex-CB Browner reportedly gets 8 years in prison

Former NFL cornerback Brandon Browner, best known as a member of Seattle’s Legion of Boom, was sentenced to eight years in California state prison after pleading no contest to attempted murder, TMZ reported Tuesday.

The 34-year-old former Pro Bowl selection was originally charged with attempted murder, first-degree residential robbery, first-degree burglary (person present) and false imprisonment, as well as two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.

He was facing a possible life sentence.

According to TMZ, Browner pleaded no contest to the attempted murder and two child endangerment charges in exchange for the remaining charges being dropped. He was immediately remanded into custody and is currently behind bars, the outlet reported.

On July 8, police in La Verne, Calif., answered a report that a man had broken into a home through a locked window. The caller identified the man as Browner and said she tried to flee but that he physically forced her back into her residence and, per TMZ, smothered her in a carpet.

The police report said that Browner physically harmed the woman and threatened to kill her. According to police, Browner fled the scene before police arrived, and he also was accused of taking a Rolex watch valued at $20,000 from the victim.

He was arrested later that afternoon in Azusa, Calif., without incident.

An undrafted free agent after playing at Oregon State, Browner played five seasons in the NFL, with the Seahawks from 2011-13 and one season apiece with the New England Patriots (2014) and the New Orleans Saints (2015). He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2011.

He won Super Bowl championships with Seattle and New England.

Browner also played in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders before making an NFL roster.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers RB Conner to miss game with ankle injury

Steelers RB Conner to miss game with ankle injury

Steelers RB Conner to miss game with ankle injury

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner will miss Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders due to a sprained left ankle, coach Mike Tomlin announced Tuesday.

Conner was injured during the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers and the team initially thought the injury was minor.

But medical tests revealed a more serious injury to the ankle, leading to the diagnosis of a sprain.

“James Conner’s injury is probably a little more significant than we initially thought,” Tomlin told reporters. “He’s got an ankle sprain, not a contusion, and so he’ll be out this week.”

The Steelers will certainly miss Conner, who has rushed for 909 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 52 passes for 467 yards and one score.

Rookie Jaylen Samuels figures to get most of the work against the Raiders. The fifth-round pick had two carries for five yards against the Chargers and three receptions for 20 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown.

Overall, Samuels has 12 carries for 31 yards this season and seven receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Samuels was primarily a tight end in college at North Carolina State and caught 201 passes for 1,851 yards and 19 touchdowns. He rushed the ball 182 times for 1,107 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Pittsburgh-area reporters asked Samuels on Monday if he had ever been the main running back in a game.

“Have I ever been a true runner?” Samuels said. “No. I have never been like a true running back who gets like 20 carries in a game. But if that presents itself, I am ready for whatever. I am down for whatever tasks.”

The Steelers also have Stevan Ridley in the mix. The eight-year veteran has rushed for 56 yards on 18 carries this season and last touched the ball on Nov. 8.

Pittsburgh also promoted running back Trey Edmunds from the practice squad and placed receiver Justin Hunter (shoulder) on injured reserve. Edmunds had 48 yards and one touchdown on nine rushes for the New Orleans Saints in 2017.

Conner became the Steelers’ main back due to Le’Veon Bell’s holdout from the team.

–Field Level Media

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