AP Source: Seahawks to sign Mychal Kendricks

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks are expected to sign linebacker Mychal Kendricks to a one-year contract despite his recent guilty plea on insider trading charges.

A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday that Kendricks’ agreement is expected to be finalized in time for him to join the Seahawks for their Week 2 Game at Chicago. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the signing.

ESPN first reported Kendricks’ deal with the Seahawks.

Kendricks signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns in June after winning a Super Bowl title last season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Kendricks pleaded guilty last week to insider trading charges. His sentencing is not expected to take place until January.

Kendircks used tips from an acquaintance to make about $1.2 million in illegal profits on four major trading deals, federal prosecutors said.

The Browns released him from the team on Aug. 29, after the charges were filed.

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Lions put TJ Lang on injured reserve with neck injury

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have put guard T.J. Lang on injured reserve with a neck injury.

The Lions announced the move Wednesday. They also signed cornerback Mike Ford to the active roster from the practice squad and signed safety David Jones to the practice squad.

Lang has missed three

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have put guard T.J. Lang on injured reserve with a neck injury.

The Lions announced the move Wednesday. They also signed cornerback Mike Ford to the active roster from the practice squad and signed safety David Jones to the practice squad.

Lang has missed three games this season, including last weekend’s loss at Chicago. The 31-year-old lineman is in his second season with the Lions after playing eight with Green Bay.

Lang signed a three-year deal with Detroit before the 2017 season, returning to his home area. He was born in Royal Oak, went to high school in Bloomfield Hills and went to college at Eastern Michigan.

Detroit (3-6) has lost three straight, and the Lions have yielded 16 sacks in the past two games.

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Appeals court hears case of ex-Saints star Smith’s killer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A defense attorney for the man convicted of killing retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith in 2016 has told a Louisiana appellate court that his client deserves a new trial, in part because of evidence that surfaced after trial that he said lends credibility to Cardell Hayes' self-defense

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A defense attorney for the man convicted of killing retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith in 2016 has told a Louisiana appellate court that his client deserves a new trial, in part because of evidence that surfaced after trial that he said lends credibility to Cardell Hayes’ self-defense assertion.

Hayes’ appeal attorney, Paul Barker, told three 4th Circuit Court of Appeal judges Wednesday that New Orleans prosecutors failed to disprove that Hayes acted in self-defense. Hayes is serving a 25-year sentence for manslaughter in Smith’s death and attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith’s wife during a confrontation following a traffic collision in April 2016.

Hayes insisted at trial that he fired after a drunk, angry Smith retrieved a gun from his car and fired first.

Barker said none of a host of witnesses had a clear view of everything that happened amid the tumult following the accident in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District.

Assistant District Attorney Kyle Daly countered that Hayes was alone among witnesses in saying Smith brandished a gun or fired it. A semi-automatic handgun was found loaded but unused in Smith’s car. And while Barker said gunfire residue on Smith’s body raises doubt that he never fired, Daly said it was consistent with being shot at close-range with a larger weapon.

It was unclear when the three-judge appellate panel would rule.

Barker argued that trial judge Camille Buras should have granted a new trial because a witness who contacted the defense a day after Hayes’ conviction said he had heard two gun fire from two weapons at the time of the shooting.

The witness, military veteran Michael Burnside, delivered rambling and at times profane testimony at a post-trial hearing last year. Daly argued that he wasn’t credible. Burnside lived blocks from the shooting scene and, Daly argued, his testimony indicated a series of shots fired at a slower rate than the rapid-fire shooting Hayes had described.

Parker also contends the trial judge should have allowed testimony about Smith’s 2010 arrest on a domestic abuse charge after former Saint Deuce McAllister spoke of Smith’s sterling reputation among his teammates and friends.

Smith was arrested outside a southwest Louisiana bar in 2011 on misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse battery and public intoxication. Lafayette Parish prosecutors dropped the charges in 2012 after Smith completed community service and participated in counseling.

Daly argued that Buras was right to avoid what would have amounted to a “mini-trial on the Lafayette incident.”

Smith, a 34-year-old father of three, was a defensive leader on the Saints team that lifted spirits in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. He helped carry the team to a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl victory four years later.

Hayes was 29 when he was convicted in December 2016. He owned a tow-truck business, had played semi-pro football and is the father of a young son.

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Redskins’ home-field disadvantage in spotlight vs Texans

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Home sweet home? Not so much for Redskins players right now.

Even though Washington has won three of five home games this season and leads the NFC East, cornerback Josh Norman called out Redskins fans in the aftermath of an ugly victory at Tampa Bay and said he felt

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Home sweet home? Not so much for Redskins players right now.

Even though Washington has won three of five home games this season and leads the NFC East, cornerback Josh Norman called out Redskins fans in the aftermath of an ugly victory at Tampa Bay and said he felt they played better on the road. In the process, he put the spotlight on the atmosphere Sunday at FedEx Field when the AFC South-leading Houston Texans come to town.

Norman said home games are “like the other team’s turf” because of an infusion of opposing fans and opined that Redskins fans “just boo everything and aren’t really behind us.” Teammates hope that sentiment works to provide a spark of energy for the rest of the year.

“We have a really good team and what it comes down to is myself and Josh, we want to be backed up, and we don’t want it to feel like it’s 50/50 when we’re at our home field and they have as many fans as we do,” running back Chris Thompson said. “We just want everybody to be there. That’s it. We want our fans to be out there and just have our backs.”

The Redskins organization began a concerted effort in the offseason to try to improve the fan experience at the stadium in suburban Maryland. Aware a sellout streak the team boasted had lasted the past 50 seasons would end, the decision was made to stop selling as many tickets to brokers and try to draw back in some of the disillusioned fans of a franchise that has just three playoff victories since its last Super Bowl title from the 1991 season.

Washington’s average attendance of 61,201 ranks 26th in the NFL, and its 74.6 percent-of-capacity crowd ranks dead last. Chief marketing officer Steve Ziff said prior to the season there’s no timeline for when he expects fans to return in droves like the glory days at RFK Stadium.

“We’re going to do things right for as long as it takes,” Ziff said. “Every day the goal is to do things right and hopefully over time, win or lose, fans will buy into that.”

Right now, the Redskins are winning. At 6-3, they’re two games up in the division and on pace for their first postseason appearance since 2015.

But Thompson, who has been with the team since 2013, understands there are long-term issues under the surface leading to fans staying away. Decades of mediocre on-field performance, polarizing opinions about owner Dan Snyder and the location of FedEx Field are all factors that have nothing to do with the current roster and its wins and losses.

“All the responses I see all the time is, ‘We’ve been fans for 10-plus years, we’ve been fans for 25 years — whatever the case may be — and we haven’t gotten any results (and) the Redskins have been terrible,'” Thompson said. “I’ve been here for six years. I understand. I know. I’ve been to one playoff game in six years.”

If the Redskins win the division and host a playoff game, the stands will be rocking like the old days — especially if Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings are the opponent. But to get there, they could use a boost at home so players don’t feel like they’re in unfriendly confines.

For quarterback Alex Smith, it’s all about the cadence and ability to communicate verbally.

“The big thing offensively is communication that you can count on,” Smith said Wednesday. “To be at home and be able to communicate, I think you can do more in the huddle and do more at the line of scrimmage.”

On defense, it’s the opposite. The Redskins are coming off allowing 501 yards but only three points to the Buccaneers, and they’re counting on noise against DeShaun Watson and the Texans, who have won six in a row since an 0-3 start.

“The fans play a big part in the way defenses can play, in the way the atmosphere is out there,” linebacker Mason Foster said. “When you get those guys going crazy in the stands, it’s hard for quarterbacks to communicate, it’s hard for them to audible at the line. When you get that going, I think it’s a tough place to play at FedEx.”

NOTES: Coach Jay Gruden said left tackle Trent Williams (thumb) won’t play Sunday and there’s a good chance Thompson (ribs) is out, too. … In addition to Williams and Thompson, WR Jamison Crowder (ankle), CB Quinton Dunbar (shin), S Montae Nicholson (illness) and K Dustin Hopkins (groin) did not practice. Gruden said the team would see how Hopkins is Friday before deciding whether to sign another kicker. … With Crowder still on the mend, rookie WR Trey Quinn was activated off injured reserve and added to the active roster.

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The Latest: Judges hear arguments for killer of ex-NFL star

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on an appeal court hearing in the case of Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter in the 2016 death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A lawyer says a manslaughter conviction should be overturned for the man who fatally shot retired

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on an appeal court hearing in the case of Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter in the 2016 death of former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A lawyer says a manslaughter conviction should be overturned for the man who fatally shot retired New Orleans Saints Star Will Smith in 2016.

Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Cardell Hayes.

Hayes is serving a 25 year sentence for killing Smith and wounding Smith’s wife during a confrontation following a traffic collision.

Hayes insisted he fired in self-defense.

Among defense attorney Paul Barker’s arguments is that someone living in the area of the shooting contacted the defense after trial to say he believes he heard two guns fired at the time Smith was killed.

Prosecutors say there were no witnesses or physical evidence to indicate Smith ever held or fired a gun.

The appellate judges did not indicate when they would rule.

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8 a.m.

A Louisiana appellate court is set to hear the case of Cardell Hayes, convicted of manslaughter for fatally shooting retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith.

Hayes insisted he shot Smith in self-defense after Smith grabbed a gun and fired as the two argued following a 2016 traffic collision. No one else testified Smith held a gun. A handgun was found loaded but unused in Smith’s car.

Hayes is serving a 25-year sentence.

Arguments before Louisiana’s 4th Circuit Court of Appeal were set for Wednesday afternoon. An immediate ruling was not expected.

Hayes’s attorneys say a judge should have granted a new trial because a witness who contacted the defense a day after Hayes’ conviction said he had heard two guns at the time of the shooting.

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Later Le’Veon; Steelers move on with Bell out of the mix

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the better part of 10 months waiting on Le'Veon Bell to show up for work. They said all the right things, stressed they understood the star running back was making a business decision by opting to stay home in hopes of protecting himself ahead of a

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers spent the better part of 10 months waiting on Le’Veon Bell to show up for work. They said all the right things, stressed they understood the star running back was making a business decision by opting to stay home in hopes of protecting himself ahead of a potentially lucrative payday next spring.

And they’d welcome him with open arms whenever he returned.

On Wednesday, with Bell’s absence for the rest of the season a certainty after he declined to sign his one-year, $14.5-million franchise tender , they exhaled.

And pillaged.

Bell’s teammates invaded his locker after practice, helping themselves to whatever they wanted — or at least whatever fit — with Bell’s career in Pittsburgh all but over. It wasn’t personal. Just business. A celebration of sorts to honor — they hope anyway — the last time they’ll have to answer questions about Bell’s unorthodox approach, one that included leaving his teammates in the dark about his plans.

“I think we all just assumed he’d be here and it’d be the same as the year before,” guard David DeCastro said. “It amazes me in this day and age when you can tweet about things but you can’t talk to each other. You’re so connected, but you’re disconnected at the same time. It’s really interesting when you think about it from the big picture side of it. After that it is what it is, you stop worrying about it and you just move on.”

Something the first-place Steelers (6-2-1) are more than happy to do. They take a five-game winning streak into Sunday’s game at Jacksonville (3-6) looking for a bit of revenge against a team that beat them twice last season at Heinz Field, including a 45-42 stunner in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Bell finished with 157 total yards and two touchdowns in the loss. The Steelers cleaned out their lockers the following day, Bell among them. Despite saying he wanted to be a “Steeler for life” he never returned.

Ben Roethlisberger attempted to reach out to Bell, texting him before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline saying he hoped Bell would come in and sign. Bell never arrived and never responded to the quarterback he played alongside during the first five years of his career.

“He was a great teammate here, a great football player,” Roethlisberger said. “To each his own on what they want to walk away from.”

The Steelers, meanwhile, will try to move forward without the versatile Bell, who played a vital role in the team’s run of four straight playoff berths. Yet they have hardly missed a beat thanks to the rapid development of second-year back James Conner. The former Pitt star is second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,158 yards) and his 10 rushing touchdowns are already one more than Bell ever put up in a single season.

Conner’s success, however, also put him in an awkward position. He considers Bell a friend — and while Bell did otherwise stay silent on Tuesday he did share an Instagram story that appeared to show him promoting Conner to make the Pro Bowl — and never wanted to be put into an adversarial position against a mentor.

“I never really pay attention to it,” James said. “I always go by the model ‘control what you can control,’ so I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

Those concerns are gone now. While Bell will spend the next four months getting ready to hit free agency in hopes of landing a contract that would make him the highest-paid back in the NFL, Conner’s goals are more immediate. He sat out the late portions of a 52-21 romp over Carolina last Thursday after being placed in the concussion protocol for the first time as a pro.

Conner admitted he felt “dizzy” initially, but was cleared to return to practice on Wednesday and should be fine to face the Jaguars.

“I feel good, feel like me again,” Conner said. “Back to normal.”

And his team again looks like the class of the AFC North. While Bell’s absence caused a furor when he didn’t come in before the regular season began — as he did in 2017 — things have died down considerably over the last month. Going unbeaten since the start of October helps. So does having Conner look like a Pro Bowler in his own right.

“It’s nice that it’s over,” DeCastro said. “I don’t have to give (the media) clichés, broken-record answers. We’re just going to keep getting James some more yards and keep winning games. At the end of the day it’s been fun. We’re on a roll and the season goes by a lot faster when you’re winning games.”

NOTES: The NFL flexed San Diego’s visit to Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 to 8:20 p.m. EDT. The game had originally been scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. … The league also moved Pittsburgh’s game at Oakland on Dec. 9 from 8:20 EDT to 4:25 EDT. … RT Marcus Gilbert (knee) and DE Stephon Tuitt (elbow) did not practice on Wednesday. … Roethlisberger was given the day off, as is typical.

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Cardinals sign 2 cornerbacks, guard Justin Pugh goes on IR

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have signed cornerbacks David Amerson and Leonard Johnson.

Wednesday's move came a day after the team placed starting right guard Justin Pugh on injured reserve with a knee injury and released safety Eddie Pleasant.

Pugh was injured in Sunday's loss at Kansas City. Oday Aboushi, who

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals have signed cornerbacks David Amerson and Leonard Johnson.

Wednesday’s move came a day after the team placed starting right guard Justin Pugh on injured reserve with a knee injury and released safety Eddie Pleasant.

Pugh was injured in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City. Oday Aboushi, who signed with Arizona on Oct. 23 after spending training camp with Oakland, is expected to start in Pugh’s place against the Raiders this Sunday.

Amerson is in his fifth NFL season, appearing in 68 games for Washington (2013-15) and Oakland (2015-17).

Johnson, also in his sixth season, has played in 77 NFL games for Tampa Bay, New England, Carolina and Buffalo.

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NFL flexes games in Weeks 13 and 14

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has moved the Chargers at Steelers game on Dec. 2 to prime time, replacing the 49ers at Seahawks matchup originally schedule for Sunday night.

San Francisco-Seattle will move to 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox.

For the next week, the Dec. 9 game of the Rams at the

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL has moved the Chargers at Steelers game on Dec. 2 to prime time, replacing the 49ers at Seahawks matchup originally schedule for Sunday night.

San Francisco-Seattle will move to 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox.

For the next week, the Dec. 9 game of the Rams at the Bears is now a prime-timer at 8:20 p.m. EST. Pittsburgh at Oakland moves from a night contest to 4:25 p.m. EST on Fox.

This Sunday night’s game, Minnesota at Chicago, previously was flexed from daytime, replacing Pittsburgh at Jacksonville.

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Falcons move linebacker Deion Jones to active roster

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons linebacker Deion Jones has been moved to the active roster and is eligible to play for the first time since breaking his right foot in Week 1.

Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday that the team will see how he looks in practice this week before deciding if

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Falcons linebacker Deion Jones has been moved to the active roster and is eligible to play for the first time since breaking his right foot in Week 1.

Coach Dan Quinn said Wednesday that the team will see how he looks in practice this week before deciding if Jones will be in uniform Sunday when Atlanta (4-5) hosts Dallas (4-5).

Jones’ return would boost a defense that ranks 28th in scoring and 30th in average yards. Jones was a Pro Bowl alternate selection last year after getting 91 solo tackles, six tackles for minus yards and nine pass breakups in 16 games.

Jones says, “Anything I could do I’ve done to get back out there with my boys … make sure I’m ready to go when I go.”

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Chargers DE Joey Bosa practices for first time in 2 months

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa practiced for the first time in two months Wednesday as he tries to come back from a foot injury.

Bosa did individual drills during the portion of practice open to reporters. Coach Anthony Lynn said he is trying to slowly work

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa practiced for the first time in two months Wednesday as he tries to come back from a foot injury.

Bosa did individual drills during the portion of practice open to reporters. Coach Anthony Lynn said he is trying to slowly work Bosa back in but acknowledged there’s a possibility he could play Sunday against Denver, depending on how well the third-year lineman does in practice.

Bosa first injured his foot during training camp, which caused him to miss the preseason. He reinjured it during practice on Sept. 5.

The Chargers are 7-2 and have won six straight despite Bosa’s absence. Bosa has 23 sacks in two seasons, including an NFL-record 19 in his first 20 games.

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Mexicans disappointed with NFL decision to move Chiefs-Rams

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The NFL*s decision to move the regular-season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams due to the poor condition of the turf at Azteca Stadium has left many Mexicans disappointed, angered and wondering how it will affect the relationship with the league for the future.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The NFL*s decision to move the regular-season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams due to the poor condition of the turf at Azteca Stadium has left many Mexicans disappointed, angered and wondering how it will affect the relationship with the league for the future.

After consulting with the players association and local officials, the NFL determined the conditions of the historic venue did not meet the standards for playability and moved the game back to the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Rams (9-1) and the Chiefs (9-1) will face off Monday night in a much-anticipated game between the top two teams in each conference.

Based solely on the teams’ records, the game was going to be the best matchup ever played outside the United States.

But Mexico blew it.

“Colossal shame”, was the headline of the sports newspaper Record. “The league takes away the best game of the season due to the lousy state of the field that Estadio Azteca was not able to fix. The NFL has left, and its return is in jeopardy.”

Azteca officials changed the playing surface from natural grass to a hybrid in May, but the turf hasn’t been ideal for several months due to its intense use. Since July 21, America and Cruz Azul, the two Liga MX teams that share the stadium, have played 23 games between them in the stadium, and the women*s professional team from America has played another seven games there.

The stadium also hosted two concerts by Colombian singer Shakira on Oct. 11 and 12, and another one from music channel Telehit on Nov. 7 that left the field in its worst condition in years.

“I feel devastated, angered and ashamed, all of that together,” said former NFL kicker Raul Allegre, who is Mexican and works as an analyst for ESPN Deportes. “I*m still trying to figure out how small minds were so irresponsible in the preparations for a game of this magnitude. I know that the world does not revolve around the NFL, but this is a great event not only for the sport but for the country, and it is inconceivable how it was taken so lightly.”

According to an NFL study released last year, the game between the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans played in 2016 generated a $45 million impact on the local economy. The Mexican government said that last year*s game between the Raiders and the New England Patriots topped that number.

The game is usually scheduled on the third weekend of November, when Mexicans celebrate the Revolution*s anniversary, and the authorities organize additional activities in order to entice fans to spend the whole weekend in the capital. For this year*s game, the fanfest that drew more than 300,000 fans in Chapultepec Park was moved to the Zocalo, the country*s main square located in downtown Mexico City, in an attempt to draw even more fans. The NFL office in Mexico and the Sports Institute of Mexico City also scheduled a 5k and 10k race for Sunday.

Local authorities have not said whether both events will continue.

“We have to learn from this experience so it won*t happen again in the future”, said Horacio De la Vega, director of the sports institute in Mexico City. “Everyone needs to assume their own responsibility in this. I think that the crew that takes care of the field in Azteca should have put more attention in such a big issue as the playing field is, and that did not happen.”

Many fans are also angered because they already paid airfares and hotel fees that are probably lost.

“I*m very upset because I already purchased my plane tickets and they canceled the game at the last minute. They promised to reimburse my money for the game ticket, but what about the other expenses, who is going to be held accountable for that?” said Víctor Reynoso, a Rams fan who was planning to come to the capital from the northern city of Monterrey.

Reynoso is probably not alone, according to Mexico*s Tourism Secretary; around 30,000 fans come to the city for the weekend of the game.

The federal government, through the Tourism Secretary, pays the NFL $14.5 million for each game. Last year, the NFL and Televisa, which owns Estadio Azteca, announced that they signed an extension to bring back games until the 2021 season.

But it*s uncertain what is going to happen after Televisa failed to present a field up to the standards for an NFL game. Several NFL owners are wary of further games at Azteca because of this situation, and the league is still keen on playing games in Mexico, but might be ready to consider other venues there. Monterrey and Guadalajara have stadiums capable of hosting NFL games, and both cities will be hosting games in the 2026 World Cup.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed.

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Steelers RB Conner practices, still not cleared for game

Steelers RB Conner practices, still not cleared for game

Pittsburgh running back James

Steelers RB Conner practices, still not cleared for game

Pittsburgh running back James Conner was a full participant in practice Wednesday, despite still being in concussion protocol, according to NFL.com.

Conner sustained the concussion Thursday in the Steelers’ 52-14 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Coach Mike Tomlin said he was hopeful Conner would play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He would need to clear concussion protocol by Saturday to be eligible.

Conner is the Steelers’ clear No. 1 back now that Le’Veon Bell isn’t returning to the Steelers this season. Conner leads the AFC in rushing with 771 yards and has 10 rushing touchdowns to go with his 387 receiving yards.

–Field Level Media

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Chargers DE Bosa returns to practice

Chargers DE Bosa returns to practice

Joey Bosa returned to the practice field Wednesday for the

Chargers DE Bosa returns to practice

Joey Bosa returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time in more than two months.

Bosa has been sidelined all season with a foot injury, but Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn told reporters prior to practice that Bosa would be a limited participant.

According to Lynn, the plan was for Bosa to start with individual drills before an assessment would be made.

There isn’t an indication yet as to whether Bosa has a chance to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos.

Bosa, 23, injured his left foot during a practice on Aug. 7, and it has been slow to heal. He later suffered a setback and was placed in a cast before advancing to a walking boot.

Bosa posted a career-best 12.5 sacks and forced four fumbles while earning Pro Bowl honors last season.

He was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2016 when he had 10.5 sacks in 12 games.

–Field Level Media

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Big Ben texted Bell before deadline, but never heard back

Big Ben texted Bell before deadline, but never heard back

Big Ben texted Bell before deadline, but never heard back

Whatever the reasons Le’Veon Bell ultimately decided not to sign his franchise tender with the Pittsburgh Steelers and instead sit out the entire 2018 season, lack of effort on the part of his former quarterback isn’t among them.

Ben Roethlisberger revealed Wednesday that he texted Bell ahead of the Tuesday deadline for Bell to sign his $14.5 million tender or sit out the season, but never heard back from the running back.

“I texted him yesterday before the deadline asking him — texted — saying I was hoping he was going to show up, and if he decided not to I wish him nothing but the best,” Roethlisberger told reporters at his locker. “He was a great teammate and football player. To each their own on what they want to walk away from.”

When asked whether he could ever see himself missing a season of football while in his prime, Roethlisberger said, “It would be tough. … Part of the great thing about this sport is this band of brothers, this group of guys in here. Being with them is kind of what keeps me coming back here, just so many years, too. But like I said, to each their own. Each guy has their own motives and motivations and I can’t comment on him.

“I am glad that we won’t talk about this anymore, though.”

Bell is now set to hit free agency in March. The Steelers are unlikely to tag him for a third consecutive year, which would cost more than $20 million, but some reports have said they plan to use the transition tag, which would cost around $10 million while allowing Pittsburgh to match any offer Bell gets from another team.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time first-team All-Pro, Bell is the first player to sit out an entire season on the franchise tag since Washington Redskins defensive lineman Sean Gilbert in 1997. Gilbert cashed in with a seven-year, $46.5 million contract the following offseason with the Carolina Panthers, for whom he played five seasons and tallied 15.5 sacks in 64 games.

The Steelers will move forward with second-year back James Conner as the starter. Conner, who is currently in the concussion protocol, has 771 yards (4.7 average) and 10 scores on the ground this season, along with 39 catches for 387 yards and a score. Those totals look favorable compared to Bell’s output through nine games in 2017: 840 yards (3.8 average) and five touchdowns on the ground, 40 catches for 251 yards and no touchdowns.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he expects Conner to be cleared from the concussion protocol by Wednesday, allowing him to play at the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Bears PK Parkey to get extra kicks in stadium

Bears PK Parkey to get extra kicks in stadium

Chicago Bears: At Soldier Field,

Bears PK Parkey to get extra kicks in stadium

Chicago Bears: At Soldier Field, the Bears plan to leave the lights on for kicker Cody Parkey on Wednesday night and again Thursday. Parkey, who missed four kicks by clanging the ball off the upright last week against the Lions, will practice with the Bears all week but his evening plans include spending time kicking at the Bears’ gameday home to replicate the environment the team will play in Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Matt Nagy hinted that the primary concern would be lakefront wind conditions that can’t be produced at Halas Hall, the team’s northeast suburban practice facility in Lake Forest. Parkey said the exercise was more about checking boxes in mental preparation. Parkey said he will travel into the city with long snapper Patrick Scales and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

Detroit Lions: With three games in a 12-day span, the Lions skipped practice Wednesday and ran only a light walkthrough. Head coach Matt Patricia said he is anticipating a highly physical game with the Carolina Panthers, who were lit up for 52 points by the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday. Patricia said there is no sign of surrender in his locker room after three consecutive blowout losses and big hits absorbed by quarterback Matthew Stafford. “We’re not hitting the panic button,” Patricia said.

Green Bay Packers: The Packers flew to Seattle on Tuesday after a light workout and game plan installation for Thursday’s game, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he’s glad to see running back Aaron Jones continue to get prime billing. Jones rushed for 145 yards last week against the Miami Dolphins. Notably, he was a regular option in the red zone. Attacking via the run is typically low on the play sheet when coach Mike McCarthy’s teams get to the red zone. “Running the football in the red zone has not been a high priority for us, but the abilities that he brings slashing inside can give us some opportunities to run some more of those plays in the red zone,” Rodgers said of Jones.

Minnesota Vikings: Chicagoan Mike Zimmer is excited to test the Bears’ offense in the Sunday night showdown this week. Zimmer, who called the Bears’ passing game “Kansas City-ish” gave a lot of credit to quarterback Mitchell Trubisky for avoiding mistakes. Trubisky has 22 total touchdowns this season. But he has not faced a blitz-heavy man scheme the caliber of Minnesota’s, and the Vikings are coming off of a bye week. In his only start against the Vikings last season, Trubisky had six completions and saw 18 blitzes. According to Pro Football Focus, Trubisky has a completion percentage of 45 (45 of 100) facing a rush of five or more in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Dorsey says Williams will be candidate for Browns job

Dorsey says Williams will be candidate for Browns job

Dorsey says Williams will be candidate for Browns job

Interim coach Gregg Williams “deserves” to be considered for the permanent position, Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey said on Wednesday.

“I think he deserves that,” Dorsey said of Williams, who went 17-31 in Buffalo during his only other head coaching stint.

Dorsey, hired in December 2017, fired former coach Hue Jackson on Oct. 29 after a 2-5-1 start. Jackson won just one of 32 games in his previous two seasons.

ESPN reported Dorsey will lead the search for Jackson’s replacement with owners Jim and Dee Haslam signing off on the finalists.

Williams, a longtime defensive coordinator, has gone 1-1 since taking over for Jackson.

Oklahoma Sooners coach Lincoln Riley and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh have had their names floated as potential hires.

–Field Level Media

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Browns interim coach Williams to get shot at full-time gig

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — As John Dorsey prepares to make a critical decision he knows may shape Cleveland's football fortunes, the Browns general manager spends a moment every day giving himself a pep talk.

And a stern warning.

"Just make sure you don't mess it up, that's what I tell myself," Dorsey said.

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — As John Dorsey prepares to make a critical decision he knows may shape Cleveland’s football fortunes, the Browns general manager spends a moment every day giving himself a pep talk.

And a stern warning.

“Just make sure you don’t mess it up, that’s what I tell myself,” Dorsey said. “Just don’t mess this thing up.”

Dorsey is in the early stages of heading his first coaching search with the Browns, who have been in a futile pursuit of a competent leader for nearly as long as they’ve been looking for a quarterback.

With the Browns (3-6-1) on their bye this week, Dorsey provided some insight into a quest that will accelerate once the season is completed and conclude with Cleveland’s ninth coach since 1999.

As expected, Dorsey said interim coach Gregg Williams will be one of the candidates interviewed. Dorsey has been impressed with the job that Williams, the team’s fiery defensive coordinator, has done over the past two weeks since taking over for Hue Jackson, who was fired on Oct. 29 after going just 3-36-1 in two-plus seasons.

The Browns beat Atlanta 28-16 on Sunday and have split their two games under the 60-year-old Williams, who Dorsey feels he has provided more than stability.

“I’ve always been a believer of you play the game like you practice and I think these practices have been very competitive,” Dorsey said. “They’ve been very structured, they’ve been very disciplined, and guys have had some energy and that’s the difference I see. There’s been a focus on the little things which I think is important.”

Williams has previous head coaching experience with Buffalo from 2001-2003. He was also the defensive coordinator in New Orleans from 2009-2011, when he guided a group that won the Super Bowl but was also embroiled in the “Bountygate” scandal that resulted in him being suspended by the NFL for one season.

Besides Williams, Dorsey has been pleased with how Cleveland’s offense has played under running backs coach Freddie Kitchens, who took over play-calling duties when coordinator Todd Haley was fired the same day as Jackson. Dorsey would not speculate on Kitchens’ future with the team, but said he “has done a heck of a job.”

Dorsey would not divulge who else in upper Cleveland’s management team will help him find a coach, but he was adamant the Browns will not hire an outside firm to assist, which is something owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam have done in the past.

“We don’t need that,” he snapped.

Dorsey was tight-lipped on other aspects of the search, including whether he would be willing to hire a college coach with no pro experience. However, he did outline the traits he’s seeking in a new coach.

“For me personally, I would like to see a man of character,” he said. “I would like to see a man who can lead young men. I would like a man who has high football acumen. Those are the three basic things there I’m looking for.”

Dorsey promised to be as publicly quiet about the search as he was earlier this year when he kept Cleveland’s No. 1 draft pick a well-guarded secret before choosing quarterback Baker Mayfield.

That selection is part of why Dorsey feels Cleveland’s coaching gig is so appealing. Mayfield is showing signs of growth and along with rookie running back Nick Chubb, defensive end Myles Garrett, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and others, the Browns have a talented core of young players. The Browns also have nearly $60 million in salary cap space, a rabid fan base, 11 draft picks in 2019 and committed owners fixated on winning.

“Those are exciting things for this organization moving forward,” he said. “Anybody, once they understand that, you will see that, you know what? Cleveland is a good place to be.”

NOTES: Dorsey had little to say about Jackson returning to Cincinnati as a special assistant to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. “I wish him the best,” he said. “It was hard a couple of weeks ago.” … Dorsey would not say if he intends to interview former Arizona coach Bruce Arians, who is retired and doing TV analysis but has expressed interest in Cleveland’s opening. “I have a lot of respect for coach Arians,” Dorsey said. “Right now, we are in the process of beginning to finalize our plan. If it comes to the appropriate time and if he happens to be one of the people, you will find out.”

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Hue Jackson back with Bengals in unscripted coaching role

CINCINNATI (AP) — Hue Jackson was talking to reporters outside Paul Brown Stadium when quarterback Andy Dalton yelled at him that practice was about to begin.

Just like old times.

The former Bengals offensive coordinator is back in town, though this time dabbling in the other side of the playbook. Coach Marvin Lewis

CINCINNATI (AP) — Hue Jackson was talking to reporters outside Paul Brown Stadium when quarterback Andy Dalton yelled at him that practice was about to begin.

Just like old times.

The former Bengals offensive coordinator is back in town, though this time dabbling in the other side of the playbook. Coach Marvin Lewis hired his close friend to help with a change on defense as the Bengals (5-4) prepare to play in Baltimore (4-5).

Lewis fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and decided to fill both roles — head coach and coordinator — with Jackson helping him prepare the game plans and direct players on the sideline on game days.

It’s an undefined role with one clear boundary: No involvement in the offense.

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Packers-Seahawks Preview Capsule

GREEN BAY (4-4-1) at SEATTLE (4-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST, Fox/NFL Network

OPENING LINE — Seahawks by 2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Green Bay 4-5, Seattle 5-3-1

SERIES RECORD —Packers lead 13-8

LAST MEETING — Packers beat Seahawks 17-9, Sept. 10, 2017

LAST WEEK -- Packers beat Dolphins 31-12; Seahawks lost to Rams

GREEN BAY (4-4-1) at SEATTLE (4-5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. EST, Fox/NFL Network

OPENING LINE — Seahawks by 2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Green Bay 4-5, Seattle 5-3-1

SERIES RECORD —Packers lead 13-8

LAST MEETING — Packers beat Seahawks 17-9, Sept. 10, 2017

LAST WEEK — Packers beat Dolphins 31-12; Seahawks lost to Rams 36-31

AP PRO32 RANKING — Packers No. 13, Seahawks No. 14

PACKERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (22), PASS (5).

PACKERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (11), RUSH (16), PASS (18).

SEAHAWKS OFFENSE — OVERALL (22), RUSH (1), PASS (27).

SEAHAWKS DEFENSE — OVERALL (12), RUSH (18T), PASS (7).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Fifth straight year teams are meeting in regular season, but first in Seattle since Week 1 of 2014. … Packers have won last three. … Packers have scored 23 or more points in seven of past eight November road games. … Packers have rushed for 95 or more yards in eight straight games, current longest streak in league. … Green Bay leads NFL averaging 5.17 yards per carry. … QB Aaron Rodgers has 10 TDs and two interceptions in seven career starts vs. Seattle. … Rodgers has not thrown interception in past four road games. .. RB Aaron Jones leads NFL averaging 6.7 yards per rush. … Jones rushed for career-high 145 yards last week vs. Miami. … WR Davante Adams had two TD catches last week. He has TD in 12 of past 14 road games. Adams tied for second in NFL with nine TD catches. … TE Jimmy Graham had 170 catches and 18 touchdowns in 43 career games during three seasons with Seahawks. … Packers are tied for league lead with 31 sacks. DL Kenny Clark and LB Kyler Fackrell lead team with five sacks each. … Packers have been outscored 134-97 in first half this season. … Seahawks have won five straight Thursday night games and are 7-1 overall under Pete Carroll. … Seahawks 14-2 in prime-time games at home since 2010. They have not lost three straight overall since early in 2011 season. … QB Russell Wilson has 14 TDs and two interceptions in past five games. Wilson has not thrown for 300 yards this season but rushed for season-high 92 yards last week vs. Rams. … Seahawks lead NFL in rushing, averaging 152.2 yards per game. … Seahawks rushed for 273 yards vs. Rams, most since 2014 vs. Giants. … Rookie RB Rashaad Penny rushed for career-high 108 yards last week vs. Rams. … WR Tyler Lockett already has career-high seven TD catches. … TE Nick Vannett has TD catches in consecutive games. … Seahawks allowing 6.9 yards per carry in past two games. … DE Frank Clark has five sacks, two forced fumbles and fumble recovery in past four outings. … LB Bobby Wagner has had 13 tackles in consecutive games. … Seahawks fourth in league with plus-8 turnover margin, but have not forced turnover in past two games. … Fantasy tip: Rodgers likes playing on short week. In his past two Thursday night games, Rodgers has thrown seven touchdown passes and no interceptions.

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ESPN has to scramble its traveling circus with site switch

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN's equipment trucks already were headed for Mexico when the network found out next Monday night's mega-matchup between the Chiefs and Rams was being switched to Los Angeles.

And the scramble was on.

Those trucks had been dispatched from Santa Clara, California, and were making their way through Arizona

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN’s equipment trucks already were headed for Mexico when the network found out next Monday night’s mega-matchup between the Chiefs and Rams was being switched to Los Angeles.

And the scramble was on.

Those trucks had been dispatched from Santa Clara, California, and were making their way through Arizona — ESPN already had a catering truck on site in Mexico City — when the NFL, citing the poor condition of the field at Azteca Stadium, switched the game to the LA Coliseum. So, under the most unusual of circumstances, “Monday Night Football” returns to Los Angeles for the first time in 33 years.

“We are disappointed that we are not going to be in Mexico City,” Jay Rothman, the “Monday Night Football” producer, said Wednesday. “We were really excited about the game when the schedule came out, we had it two years ago, we wanted it last year with New England and didn’t get it, and this year we got it back.

“We understand the circumstance and just had to adjust. As difficult as the logistics are for both teams … the same holds true for our crew. We had 150 people mobilizing.

“Our fleet of trucks left Santa Clara and were to be at the Mexican border this morning. It turned into a scramble mode for much of our team.

“Now, ‘Monday Night Football’ returns to LA for the first time since 1985, and we are excited about that.”

ESPN was not consulted by the league about changing the locale of the game, but was notified by the NFL that it was a possibility. While that doesn’t lessen the work involved for a network expecting to televise a game from one time zone and then discovering the site will be two times zones away — in another country — it did help ESPN’s planning.

“We were not part of the decision other than they did — which we really appreciated — they gave us some notice of the potential issues some days ago,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling. “The logistics change here is not insignificant, but we appreciate that the NFL made us aware of the possibility several days ago.”

Asked if pushing the game back a week — both teams have byes following the Monday nighter — was broached, Magnus said the network was not “made aware of anything other than a venue switch.”

Rothman noted that having Southern Cal playing its annual rivalry game with UCLA at the Rose Bowl this year makes the switch a bit easier.

“We are a traveling circus, with six mobile units, so certainly it helps that USC is in the Rose Bowl on Saturday and not at home,” Rothman said. “It helps us in terms of setup.”

These have been strange days for ESPN, he added.

“It’s crazy that the last two games, what we had in San Francisco with the air quality in the Bay Area, and any talk of moving that game,” Rothman said.

“Needing to get our trucks to Mexico. That was a stressful week there, not knowing how the air quality would be. A lot that’s been going on over the last week.”

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