Bengals WR Green to see specialist

Bengals WR Green to see specialist

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green will visit a specialist during the team’s bye week, NFL Network reported Sunday morning.

Green was wearing a protective walking boot at the team facility this week before players were dismissed until Monday.

NFL Network reported Green was scheduled to see foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay with “all options” on the table, including surgery.

Because Green experienced swelling, the Bengals are unsure what his status could be for Week 10, when the Bengals play the New Orleans Saints coming back from the bye.

Green has 45 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns this season.

–Field Level Media

NFL fines Colts DL Autry, Rams CB Peters

NFL fines Colts DL Autry, Rams CB Peters

The NFL has

NFL fines Colts DL Autry, Rams CB Peters

The NFL has fined Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters for separate incidents in last weekend’s divisional playoffs, NFL Network reported Saturday.

Autry was fined $13,369 for his hip-swiveling celebratory dance after sacking Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the third quarter of the Colts’ 31-13 loss, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Autry, whose performed his celebration directly in front of an official, was also penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Peters was fined $10,026 for unnecessary roughness during the Rams’ 30-22 win against the Dallas Cowboys, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Peters drew a 15-yard flag after shoving receiver Amari Cooper out of bounds after a fourth-down run by Ezekiel Elliott.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cardinals hire Clements, won’t have OC

Report: Cardinals hire Clements, won't have OC

The Arizona Cardinals will hire former

Report: Cardinals hire Clements, won’t have OC

The Arizona Cardinals will hire former Green Bay Packers assistant Tom Clements as their passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach, NFL Network reported Saturday.

The network also reported the Cardinals are not expected to hire an offensive coordinator, despite interviewing a number of candidates.

New head coach Kliff Kingsbury will run his own offense and call plays, but he said at his introductory press conference he hoped to hired a veteran coordinator with NFL experience. Clements, who was the Packers’ OC from 2012-2014 and led the Buffalo Bills’ offense from 2004-05, brings experience to the staff, without the coordinator title.

Clements, 65, helped groom Aaron Rodgers while serving as the Packers’ quarterbacks coach from 2006-11 before his promotion to coordinator, and he was the team’s assistant head coach from 2015-16. Clements will now be charged with developing 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen, a friend of Rodgers’ who struggled behind a poor offensive line as a rookie.

According to various reports, the Cardinals interviewed at least five other former offensive coordinators before hiring Clements:

–Jim Bob Cooter, ex-Detroit coordinator, whose contract was not renewed by the Lions.

–John DeFilippo, fired by Minnesota late in the season but hired by Jacksonville to be OC.

–Steve Sarkisian, ex-Atlanta coordinator who reportedly turned down the Cardinals’ job to return to Alabama.

–Ben McAdoo, former coordinator and head coach with New York Giants.

–Hue Jackson, former Cleveland head coach and Cincinnati coordinator.

Jackson reportedly interviewed for the job on Friday. He spent the second half of the 2018 season with the Bengals after being fired in October by the Browns, ending a tenure of two-plus years in which he went 3-36-1.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign S Wilson to 3-year extension

Jaguars sign S Wilson to 3-year extension

The Jacksonville Jaguars have

Jaguars sign S Wilson to 3-year extension

The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed safety Jarrod Wilson to a three-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday.

Wilson, who turns 25 next month, was set to become a restricted free agent in March.

Originally signed by the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in May 2016, Wilson has appeared in 47 games and has 26 tackles, two passes defensed, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble in his career.

Wilson played all 16 games in 2018, starting the last two. He played 222 snaps on defense and 262 snaps on special teams, after logging 592 of his 673 snaps from 2016-17 on special teams.

–Field Level Media

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S Burnett seeking release from Steelers

S Burnett seeking release from Steelers

S Burnett seeking release from Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Morgan Burnett told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Saturday he would like the team to release him before free agency.

Per Rapoport, Burnett wants to join a team that will use him in a pure safety role, after he played what he believes was out of position at dime linebacker in Pittsburgh.

Burnett, who turned 30 last Sunday, joined the Steelers on a three-year, $14.4 million deal as a free agent last March, but he started just two of 11 games this season as the third safety. Sean Davis primarily played free safety, with rookie first-rounder Terrell Edmunds at strong safety and Burnett playing in sub packages, logging 55.7 percent of the defensive snaps.

Burnett is set to cost just under $6.5 million against the cap in 2019. His release would save Pittsburgh about $3.6 million in cap space, while bringing a $2.8 million dead-money hit.

After eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Burnett registered 30 tackles and six passes defensed in his first season with the Steelers in 2018. In 113 career games (104 starts), he has 747 tackles, 50 passes defensed and nine interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Ravens, Harbaugh finalizing extension

Reports: Ravens, Harbaugh finalizing extension

Reports: Ravens, Harbaugh finalizing extension

The Baltimore Ravens are finalizing an extension with head coach John Harbaugh, according to multiple reports Saturday, a month after the team announced its plans to retain him and work on a new deal.

Harbaugh was set to enter the final year of his contract, but the Ravens announced Dec. 21 that they planned to keep him and begin discussing an extension. Prior to that announcement, many had speculated about Harbaugh’s job security, and some had speculated in the weeks since that another team might pursue him via trade.

Harbaugh, 56, has spent 11 seasons with the Ravens, making him the fourth-longest-tenured head coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick (19 years), Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton (12 each). The Ravens have had just three head coaches since arriving in Baltimore in 1996.

After winning a playoff game in each of his first five seasons at the helm — culminating in a Super Bowl XLVII victory — Harbaugh and the Ravens had missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, including three straight years, before winning the AFC North in 2018. After winning six of their final seven regular-season games behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Harbaugh is 114-78 with the Ravens, including 10-6 in the postseason.

His extension will maintain some continuity as the team undergoes its first change at general manager since it arrived in Baltimore. Longtime assistant GM Eric DeCosta took over the lead job last week as Ozzie Newsome retired to take a smaller advisory role in the organization.

–Field Level Media

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Texans sign RT Henderson to 1-year extension

Texans sign RT Henderson to 1-year extension

Texans sign RT Henderson to 1-year extension

The Houston Texans have signed right tackle Seantrel Henderson to a one-year contract extension, the team announced Saturday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the deal was worth a maximum value of $4.5 million.

Henderson started the Texans’ 2018 season opener at New England, but suffered a broken left ankle in the first quarter and missed the rest of the season.

Henderson, who turns 27 on Monday, played the previous four seasons with Buffalo. A seventh-round pick out of Miami in 2014, he appeared in 34 games for the Bills with 27 starts from 2014-17.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Ravens, Harbaugh reportedly near extension

NFL notebook: Ravens, Harbaugh reportedly near extension

The Baltimore Ravens are

NFL notebook: Ravens, Harbaugh reportedly near extension

The Baltimore Ravens are finalizing an extension with head coach John Harbaugh, according to multiple reports Saturday, a month after the team announced its plans to retain him and work on a new deal.

Harbaugh was set to enter the final year of his contract, but the Ravens announced Dec. 21 that they planned to keep him and begin discussing an extension. Prior to that announcement, many had speculated about Harbaugh’s job security, and some had speculated in the weeks since that another team might pursue him via trade.

Harbaugh, 56, has spent 11 seasons with the Ravens, making him the fourth-longest-tenured head coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick (19 years), Mike Tomlin and Sean Payton (12 each).

After winning a playoff game in each of his first five seasons at the helm — culminating in a Super Bowl XLVII victory — Harbaugh and the Ravens had missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, including three straight years, before winning the AFC North in 2018. They were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Los Angeles Chargers.

–Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles fell four snaps shy of earning a $1 million bonus this season, but the Eagles reportedly paid him anyway in a good faith gesture.

Playing for injured starter Carson Wentz, Foles went 4-1 in five regular-season starts and finished with 357 snaps — 32.69 percent of the team’s 2018 total. He needed to play 33 percent of the snaps to earn the $1 million incentive, leaving him four snaps short.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported Philadelphia opted to pay the Super Bowl LII MVP despite the shortfall.

–The Arizona Cardinals will hire former Green Bay Packers assistant Tom Clements as their passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach, NFL Network reported.

The network also reported the Cardinals are not expected to hire an offensive coordinator, despite interviewing a number of candidates.

New head coach Kliff Kingsbury will run his own offense and call plays, but he said at his introductory press conference he hoped to hired a veteran coordinator with NFL experience. Clements, who was the Packers’ OC from 2012-2014 and led the Buffalo Bills’ offense from 2004-05, brings experience to the staff, without the coordinator title.

–Pittsburgh Steelers safety Morgan Burnett told NFL Network he would like the team to release him before free agency.

Per Rapoport, Burnett wants to join a team that will use him in a pure safety role, after he played what he believes was out of position at dime linebacker in Pittsburgh.

Burnett, who turned 30 last Sunday, joined the Steelers on a three-year, $14.4 million deal as a free agent last March, but he started just two of 11 games this season as the third safety.

–The Houston Texans have signed right tackle Seantrel Henderson to a one-year contract extension, the team announced.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the deal was worth a maximum value of $4.5 million.

Henderson started the Texans’ 2018 season opener at New England, but suffered a broken left ankle in the first quarter and missed the rest of the season.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed safety Jarrod Wilson to a three-year contract extension, the team announced.

Wilson, who turns 25 next month, was set to become a restricted free agent in March.

–The NFL has fined Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman Denico Autry and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters for separate incidents in last weekend’s divisional playoffs, NFL Network reported.

Autry was fined $13,369 for his hip-swiveling celebratory dance after sacking Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the third quarter of the Colts’ 31-13 loss, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

Peters was fined $10,026 for unnecessary roughness during the Rams’ 30-22 win against the Dallas Cowboys, according to Rapoport.

–Field Level Media

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Mickelson maintains 2-stroke lead at Desert Classic

Mickelson maintains 2-stroke lead at Desert Classic

Mickelson maintains 2-stroke lead at Desert Classic

Phil Mickelson’s strategy for the third round at the Desert Classic on Saturday was a simple one: use his driver off the tee whenever he could to hit the ball as far as possible, then go find it and try to score.

That approach worked well for Mickelson, who fired a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 to maintain a two-shot lead after 54 holes of play at the 60th edition of this event, contested at a trio of courses in La Quinta, Calif.

Mickelson, playing for the first time this week at the Stadium Course at PGA West, enters the final round at 22-under-par 194. He had three straight birdies on holes six through eight and two more on the 13th and 14th before making a gutsy 6-foot putt for par on the 15th.

Mickelson then rolled in a 45-foot putt for birdie on the daunting par-3 17th hole, the water- and rock-surrounded “Alcatraz,” to re-establish the two-shot advantage he held after 36 holes. Sunday’s final round will be held on the Stadium Course.

“I played okay,” Mickelson explained. “My goal or game plan was to hit drivers and bomb the ball down there as far as I could to set up wedges or short irons in, even if I was off the fairway. It seemed to play out okay. I missed some putts, but I also made some long ones that were little bonuses.”

Canadian Adam Hadwin fired a 7-under 65 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course to pull into solo second place while rookie Adam Long ripped off a 9-under 63 at La Quinta Country Club to move into third at 19 under.

Steve Marino carded a 5-under 67 at Nicklaus to end up alone in fourth, four shots off Mickelson’s lead. Michael Thompson (65 at Stadium) and Patrick Cantlay (66 at La Quinta CC) are tied for fifth five shots back.

The 48-year-old Mickelson matched his career-low score with 12-under 60 at La Quinta CC in the opening round and had a 68 at Nicklaus to reach 16 under after 36 holes.

Mickelson, whose most recent win was at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship last year for his 43rd PGA Tour title and first since the 2013 British Open, will sleep on the lead for the 38th time in his career.

He will stick to his third-round strategy for the final 18 holes Sunday.

“This is a course you don’t have to be perfect on,” Mickelson said. “You have to hit a lot of good shots in certain spots, but if you miss it and miss it properly, you can still play this course. I want to come out and play aggressive and get as close to the greens as possible to make some more birdies.”

If there is a horse for the course, or courses in this case, this week, it’s Hadwin. He began Saturday’s round three shots behind Mickelson and took advantage of the easiest of the three courses in use this week to sweep to the lead while Mickelson was making the turn at Stadium.

This is the fourth consecutive year Hadwin has been in contention in the Coachella Valley, after finishing sixth in 2016, runner-up in 2017 (after shooting a third-round 59 at La Quinta) and third last year.

“I was playing one of the easier golf courses, so I knew I had to keep the pedal down,” Hadwin said after his Saturday round. “I had kind of a slowish start, and then just kind of caught fire midway, made a couple putts, hit some good shots. I’ve been playing really solid all week, and luckily I’ve got a chance going into Sunday.”

Defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain opened with back-to-back 66s in a bid to join Johnny Miller as the only player to successfully defend his tournament title (1975-76) at the event. Rahm fired a 68 on Saturday at Stadium to finish in a tie for seventh at 16 under.

“I played solid, but didn’t take advantage of chances, especially early on in the round,” Rahm said. “I’m not surprised I’m as far back as I am, but it makes me think about the shots I missed during today’s round that could have made a difference. The course is there for the taking.”

Curtis Luck, the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion from Australia who was second after a 66 at Nicklaus on Friday, struggled to a 4-over 76 at Stadium on Saturday, finishing the third round at 10 under and tied for 46th.

The field was cut to the top 73 players at 9 under after 54 holes rather than after the first two rounds as in most PGA Tour events. Jamie Lovemark withdrew from the event before start of the third round. Former Desert Classic champion Pat Perez also withdrew after four holes of the third round with a thumb injury.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Eagles pay Foles $1M bonus despite shortfall

Report: Eagles pay Foles $1M bonus despite shortfall

Report: Eagles pay Foles $1M bonus despite shortfall

Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles fell four snaps shy of earning a $1 million bonus this season, but the Eagles reportedly paid him anyway in a good faith gesture.

Playing for injured starter Carson Wentz, Foles went 4-1 in five regular-season starts and finished with 357 snaps — 32.69 percent of the team’s 2018 total. He needed to play 33 percent of the snaps to earn the $1 million incentive, leaving him four snaps short.

ESPN’s Field Yates reported Saturday that Philadelphia opted to pay the Super Bowl LII MVP despite the shortfall.

“Philly does right by the clutch QB,” Yates tweeted.

Foles completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 1,413 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions in the regular season. He set a franchise record with 471 passing yards in a Week 16 win against Houston and tied an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions at Washington in a Week 17 win.

Foles, who turns 30 on Sunday, also led the Eagles to a 16-15 wild-card victory at Chicago. The defending champions fell short in the division round last Sunday, losing 20-14 at New Orleans.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cards interview ex-Browns coach Jackson for OC role

Report: Cards interview ex-Browns coach Jackson for OC role

Report: Cards interview ex-Browns coach Jackson for OC role

The Arizona Cardinals on Friday interviewed former two-time head coach Hue Jackson for their offensive coordinator opening, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

Jackson was fired by the Cleveland Browns midway through this past season after winning just three games in parts of three seasons, going 3-36-1. Jackson also spent one season as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011.

Such a hire by the Cardinals would give the team two deposed head coaches helming both coordinator positions. The Cardinals hired former Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph to be their defensive coordinator under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who has no coaching experience in the NFL.

Jackson and Joseph worked together for two years in Cincinnati under former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis.

Though Kingsbury plans to call the plays in Arizona, he has said he would like to hire a veteran offensive coordinator with NFL experience. And the Cardinals have reportedly interviewed a host of former coordinators, including:

–Jim Bob Cooter, ex-Detroit coordinator

–John DeFilippo, fired by Minnesota in midseason but hired by Jacksonville to be OC

–Steve Sarkisian, ex-Atlanta coordinator who returned to Alabama

–Tom Clements, former coordinator in Green Bay

–Ben McAdoo, former coordinator and head coach with New York Giants

Jackson, 53, was hired by Lewis in Cincinnati for the remainder of last season until both were fired by the Bengals.

–Field Level Media

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Mickelson to end 28-year streak playing Torrey Pines

Mickelson to end 28-year streak playing Torrey Pines

Mickelson to end 28-year streak playing Torrey Pines

Phil Mickelson is ending his 28-year relationship with Torrey Pines, his hometown course.

The left-handed star will skip next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the PGA Tour event that will be held at Torrey Pines Golf Course in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. Mickelson has participated in the tournament each year since 1991.

Mickelson, a three-time winner of the event who was born in San Diego in 1970, announced the development Friday on Twitter.

“I want to share my updated tour schedule: this week I will be playing here in the desert, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and then defending my title in Mexico,” the 44-time PGA Tour winner wrote. “My streak of 28-straight Farmers Insurance Opens will end next week. I will try to make it up to the great community of SD!”

Not counted among the 28-tournament streak is his first appearance there as a 17-year-old amateur in 1988. Mickelson also tied for 18th when the U.S. Open was played at Torrey Pines in 2008.

Since a 2001 redesign of the South course by Rees Jones, Mickelson has not been a winner at Torrey Pines. (His victories there came in 1993, 2000 and earlier in 2001.) He indicated on Thursday that it’s no longer “a good place for him” and that he was not sure if his game could currently handle one of the longest courses on tour.

Not that Lefty is struggling right now. He is leading through two rounds of the Desert Classic in La Quinta, Calif., following up his 12-under 60 on Thursday with a 4-under 68 on Friday for a two-shot cushion.

–Field Level Media

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Cardinals’ Fitzgerald one-ups Obama with ace during golf round

Cardinals' Fitzgerald one-ups Obama with ace during golf round

Cardinals’ Fitzgerald one-ups Obama with ace during golf round

Even when he isn’t playing football, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald knows how to make an impression as a professional athlete. On Friday during a round of golf at Seminole Golf Club near Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, he made a hole-in-one while playing a round of golf with former President Barack Obama.

The news spread quickly as Jimmy Dunne, the president of the golf club, waived a rule and allowed cellphone use so Fitzgerald could reveal his good fortune. His shot turned out to one-up Obama, who hit his approach to 20 feet at the par-3 13th.

Golf Channel analyst Tim Rosaforte offered his quick report on Twitter about Fitzgerald’s ace using an 8-iron on the 162-yard hole, saying in part, “The elation coming from All Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald on the 13th hole at Seminole GC at 1:30 this afternoon was unreal. But it was very real. … ‘I’m playing with the President of the United States and I just made a hole in one!’ shouted the host to Barack Obama’s first go around The ‘Nole. ‘This is unbelievable!'”

Also, according to Rosaforte, “Among the high fives was the one coming from the 44th President of the U.S.”

Fitzgerald was playing in a foursome with Obama, Dunne and Glenn Hutchins, part owner in the Boston Celtics and a board member of Obama Foundation, and recently played golf with Tigers Woods, perhaps in preparation to defend his title next month at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Last February, he teamed with friend and PGA pro Kevin Streelman to win the event with a score of 41-under par, including a 12-under for their final round.

“It was me being completely out of my comfort zone, not being a professional, just dealing with what comes I think that’s what made it special for me,” Fitzgerald told Bay Area News Group then. “This game is so difficult, and I think you even have more respect for the guys who win and play consistently at a high level because this is the hardest game out there.”

Fitzgerald, with 1,303 catches and 16,279 yards, third and second all-time, respectively, hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll continue playing football next season.

He did give thumbs-up to Arizona’s recent hire of Kliff Kingsbury as head coach.

“Hell of a coach,” Fitzgerald told TMZ, via Pro Football Talk. “Look at his resume. He’s innovative offensively. That’s somebody with a future right now. So, I’m excited for the chance to meet him.”

However, the 35-year-old All-Pro could be contemplating another career move after 15 NFL seasons. His opponents on the golf course don’t seem to be nearly as intimidating.

–Field Level Media

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Lucas Glover’s wife gets probation in domestic violence case

Lucas Glover's wife gets probation in domestic violence case

Lucas Glover’s wife gets probation in domestic violence case

Krista Glover, the wife of golfer Lucas Glover, agreed to 25 hours of community service and to undergo a substance abuse and mental health evaluation in charges relating to a domestic violence incident in May, multiple news outlets reported Friday.

As part of the deferred prosecution agreement reached Friday, she will be on probation for 12 months — during which she must complete the community service, follow any treatment guidelines and not violate any laws.

Krista Glover was arrested in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., after her husband missed the 54-hole cut at The Players Championship.

According to the incident report, she attacked her husband’s mother when the latter tried to intervene during an altercation between Lucas Glover and his wife. After being arrested, police said Krista Glover became combative and unruly and repeatedly kicked the car door.

The arrest reports stated that Lucas Glover told the deputy his wife calls him a “loser” among other insults after he plays poorly in a tournament, and that she had been drinking. She was charged with domestic violence battery and resisting an officer without violence.

Lucas Glover won the 2009 U.S. Open and has two other career PGA wins, with the most recent coming at the Wells Fargo Championship in 2011. He is playing at this week’s Desert Classic in La Quinta, Calif.

–Field Level Media

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Saints TE Watson could miss NFC title game

Saints TE Watson could miss NFC title game

Saints TE Watson could miss NFC title game

Tight end Benjamin Watson is expected to be inactive when the New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, according to a report by ESPN.

ESPN reported that Watson’s missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday were because of appendicitis. He has not had surgery to remove his appendix.

However, the Saints listed Watson as questionable on Friday’s injury report. The team said Watson was a limited practice participant on Friday.

New Orleans ruled out receiver Keith Kirkwood (calf) after he missed the week’s three practices.

Watson, 38, announced in December he planned to retire after this season.

If Watson doesn’t play, that will leave quarterback Drew Brees without one of his offensive weapons. On the season, Watson had 35 catches for 400 yards with two touchdowns.

In his career, he has played in 195 games for the New England Patriots (2004-09), Cleveland Browns (2010-12), New Orleans (2013-15, 2018) and Baltimore Ravens (2017). He has played in 12 playoff games and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in his rookie season.

The Rams didn’t list any players on Friday’s injury report.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Linehan out as Cowboys offensive coordinator

NFL notebook: Linehan out as Cowboys offensive coordinator

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will not

NFL notebook: Linehan out as Cowboys offensive coordinator

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will not return to the Dallas Cowboys for the 2019 season, head coach Jason Garrett announced on Friday.

“This was not an easy decision because of how highly we regard Scott Linehan as a football coach and as a person,” said Garrett in a statement. The Cowboys coach described the move as “very much a mutual decision.”

Linehan’s future had been a subject of debate throughout the week in Dallas. On Monday, two days after the Cowboys’ season ended in a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Garrett told 105.3 FM in Dallas that he expected no changes to his coaching staff, including Linehan.

Later that day, Garrett stepped back from his commitment to Linehan at the Cowboys’ season-ending press conference. Linehan was the focus of fan criticism, especially when the team was 3-5 at the halfway point of the season. Dallas ranked No. 22 in both total and scoring offense in 2018.

–Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry appears to be ready to play in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots after the team removed him from the injury report following practice.

Berry, who has a heel injury, was a full participant for the third straight day. The five-time Pro Bowl selection missed the preseason and first 13 regular-season games due to the heel injury. He played in two regular-season games in December before missing the finale after reinjuring it.

Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel (ankle) was ruled out and was the lone player remaining on the injury report on Friday. O’Daniel also missed the game against Indianapolis.

–Tight end Benjamin Watson is expected to be inactive when the New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN reported that Watson’s missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday were because of appendicitis. He has not had surgery to remove his appendix. However, the Saints listed Watson as questionable on Friday’s injury report after he was a limited practice participant.

Watson, 38, announced in December he planned to retire after this season. New Orleans also ruled out receiver Keith Kirkwood (calf) after he missed the week’s three practices. The Rams didn’t list any players on Friday’s injury report.

–Temperatures during the AFC Championship Game on Sunday night should be much warmer than previously thought.

Earlier this week, predictions were that the Chiefs would host the Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium with arctic game-time temperatures in the single digits and falling to below zero.

On Friday, the Weather Channel forecast a high of 32 degrees on Sunday in Kansas City, Mo., with a low of 21.

–A record 135 college football players are bypassing remaining eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

The NFL released the official list on Friday and said 103 players were granted special eligibility. Another 32 players graduated while still having college eligibility. Nine others are eligible without the need for special eligibility.

Among the players who declared prior to Monday’s deadline were Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. Murray has previously signed a baseball contract with the Oakland Athletics.

–The Chicago Bears have signed receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert to a contract, the team announced.

Williams-Lambert, a product of Ball State, played in the Canadian Football League in 2018 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He caught 62 passes for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. He was named the most outstanding rookie in the CFL’s West Division.

The 6-3 Williams-Lambert signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and spent the season on the practice squad. The Saints waived him in August 2017. He becomes the third player from the CFL to join the Bears this offseason.

–During a round of golf at Seminole Golf Club near Palm Beach Gardens in Florida, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver made a hole-in-one while playing a round of golf with former President Barack Obama.

The news spread quickly as Jimmy Dunne, the president of the golf club, waived a rule and allowed cellphone use so Fitzgerald could reveal his good fortune. His shot turned out to one-up Obama, who hit his approach to 20 feet at the par-3 13th.

Fitzgerald was playing in a foursome with Obama, Dunne and Glenn Hutchins, part owner in the Boston Celtics and a board member of Obama Foundation, and recently played golf with Tigers Woods, perhaps in preparation to defend his title next month at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

–Field Level Media

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Strong finish keeps Mickelson in front at Desert Classic

Strong finish keeps Mickelson in front at Desert Classic

Strong finish keeps Mickelson in front at Desert Classic

Phil Mickelson followed up his blistering opening-round 60 with a 4-under-par 68 on Friday at PGA West’s Nicklaus Stadium Course to take a two-shot lead into the weekend at the Desert Classic in La Quinta, Calif.

He holds a two-shot lead over Australian Curtis Luck, who sits in second place after shooting a 6-under 66 also on the Nicklaus course.

As on Thursday, when he made 10 birdies and an eagle, Mickelson finished with a birdie on his 18th hole, but that was where the similarities ended. He started on the back nine and turned with an even-par 36 after a double bogey on No. 9, but birdies four of his last five holes to salvage his day.

“I actually felt better striking (the ball). I didn’t putt very well today, certainly relative to yesterday where I was making everything,” said Mickelson, a two-time winner of the Desert Classic (2002, 2014). “But I finished strong. I birdied four of the last five. You know, if you shoot 6 or 7 under par at the Nicklaus course, you feel like OK, that’s a good solid round. I shot 4 (under), I was a few behind, so I’ll just have to come out tomorrow on the Stadium (Course) and shoot 6 or 7 (under) to make up for it.”

Mickelson was even through No. 13 after failing to make birdie on the par-5 fourth. However, a birdie from 8 feet on No. 5 turned the momentum.

“I just needed one little spark,” Mickelson said. “Once that one went in, I started seeing the ball go in a little bit easier rather than the ball lipping out and I made some putts thereafter. … You just have to keep firing on all cylinders and going after birdies because this is a course where there’s going to be a lot of birdies.”

The Desert Classic is a pro-am format, with players rotating among two courses at PGA West, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and the Stadium Course, and nearby La Quinta Country Club over the first three days. All three courses are par 72. Sunday’s final round will be played at the Stadium Course.

Last season, the Nicklaus Tournament Course yielded the second-lowest average score (69.445) of any par 72 on the PGA Tour last season. La Quinta was No. 1 (68.831), while the Stadium Course yielded an average of 71.181.

Luck, 22, closed with a birdie on the par-4 ninth, taking out some of the sting from a bogey on the par-3 eighth.

“Just like yesterday, very solid, lot of greens, a lot of fairways,” said Luck, the 2016 U.S. Amateur champion. “Just missed a couple of short ones today, unfortunately. But putting’s been great.”

Adam Hadwin (66, La Quinta) and Steve Marino (65, La Quinta) are tied for third at 13 under. Defending champion Jon Rahm of Spain (Nicklaus) fired his second straight 66 to move to 12 under with Wyndham Clark (67, Nicklaus) and Joey Garber (64, La Quinta).

As for the possibility of capturing the title, Mickelson says experience is on his side but he’s taking nothing for granted. He has won 17 of the 32 times on the PGA Tour when he’s held the 36-hole lead.

“This has been a fun if not surprising start for me, and it’s been fun to get in the mix,” he said. “Usually when you play that well the first two rounds, you’re hitting the ball where you want, making some putts, so I just have to keep that going the next couple days.”

–Field Level Media

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Bears sign WR Williams-Lambert

Bears sign WR Williams-Lambert

The

Bears sign WR Williams-Lambert

The Chicago Bears have signed receiver Jordan Williams-Lambert to a contract, the team announced Friday.

Williams-Lambert, a product of Ball State, played in the Canadian Football League in 2018 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He caught 62 passes for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. He was named the most outstanding rookie in the CFL’s West Division after catching 62 passes for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games.

The 6-3 Williams-Lambert signed with New Orleans as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and spent the season on the practice squad. The Saints waived him in August 2017.

He becomes the third player from the CFL to join the Bears this offseason. The others are linebackers Jameer Thurman and James Vaughters.

–Field Level Media

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Warmer temperatures expected when Chiefs, Patriots meet

Warmer temperatures expected when Chiefs, Patriots meet

Warmer temperatures expected when Chiefs, Patriots meet

Temperatures during the AFC championship game on Sunday night should be much warmer than previously thought.

Earlier this week, predictions were that the Kansas City Chiefs would host the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium with arctic gametime temperatures in the single digits and falling to below zero.

On Friday, the Weather Channel forecast a high of 32 degrees on Sunday in Kansas City, with a low of 21. Kickoff is at 6:40 p.m. ET

The grounds crew at Arrowhead Stadium spent the week getting the field ready. After heavy snowfall fell in Kansas City last weekend, the crew figured the field needed to be replaced for the first-ever AFC championship game at the stadium.

Heads groundskeeper Travis Hogan shared pictures on Twitter on Thursday of the resodded turf.

“We weren’t planning on a resod this week, but Mother Nature had other plans,” Hogan tweeted. “10 inches of snow and all the snow in the stadium being hauled out on the sidelines changed things. My crew did an unbelievable job. They are the BEST! Everyone is tired but we are ready. Let’s Roll!”

–Field Level Media

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Record number approved to enter NFL draft

Record number approved to enter NFL draft

Record number approved to enter NFL draft

A record 135 college football players are bypassing remaining eligibility to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

The NFL released the official list on Friday and said 103 players were granted special eligibility. Another 32 players graduated while still having college eligibility.

Nine others are eligible without the need for special eligibility.

Among the players who declared prior to Monday’s deadline were Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Kyler Murray of Oklahoma and quarterback Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State. Murray has previously signed a baseball contract with the Oakland Athletics.

Others on the list who figure to go early in the draft are Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa, Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary, Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams.

The players granted special eligibility for the 2019 NFL Draft:

Ed Alexander, DT, LSU

Jeff Allison, LB, Fresno State

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

Mike Bell, S, Fresno State

Amani Bledsoe, DE, Oklahoma

Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Miles Boykin, WR, Notre Dame

A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Sean Bunting, CB, Central Michigan

Brian Burns, DE, Florida State

Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Hamp Cheevers, CB, Boston College

Damarea Crockett, RB, Missouri

Maxx Crosby, DE, Eastern Michigan

Tyrel Dodson, LB, Texas A&M

Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest

Clifton Duck, CB, Appalachian State

Jovon Durante, WR, Florida Atlantic

David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma

Datryan Evans, TE, Friends

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Jazz Ferguson, WR, Northwestern State

Malik Gant, DB, Marshall

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida

Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

Zach Gentry, TE, Michigan

Kevin Givens, DT, Penn State

Jalen Guyton, WR, North Texas

Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia

Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State

N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

Nate Herbig, OG, Stanford

Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State

Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Joshuwa Holloman, RB, Eastern Michigan

Elijah Holyfield, RB, Georgia

Travis Homer, RB, Miami

Amani Hooker, DB, Iowa

Lil’Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas

Joe Jackson, DE, Miami

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Andre James, OT, UCLA

Darryl Johnson, DE, North Carolina A&T

Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo

Tyron Johnson, WR, Oklahoma State

Michael Jordan, OG, Ohio State

Vosean Joseph, LB, Florida

Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson

Justin Layne, CB, Michigan State

Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

David Long, CB, Michigan

Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

Alize Mack, TE, Notre Dame

Alexander Mattison, RB, Boise State

Connor McGovern, OL, Penn State

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

Shareef Miller, DE, Penn State

Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon

David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

Trayvon Mullen, DB, Clemson

Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Isaac Nauta, TE, Georgia

Chidi Okeke, OT, Tennessee State

Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Jachai Polite, DE, Florida

Ryan Pulley, CB, Arkansas

Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

Tyler Roemer, OT, San Diego State

Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State

Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida

Kendall Sheffield, DB, Ohio State

Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic

Darius Slayton, WR, Auburn

Irv Smith, TE, Alabama

Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford

Savion Smith, DB, Alabama

Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky

Dredrick Snelson, WR, Central Florida

Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M

Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Darwin Thompson, RB, Utah State

John Ursua, WR, Hawaii

Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State

Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State

Antoine Wesley, WR, Texas Tech

Devin White, LB, LSU

Kerrith Whyte Jr., RB, Florida Atlantic

Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

James Williams, RB, Washington State

Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State

Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama

Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M

Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

The following 32 players have in timely fashion under NFL rules officially notified the league office that they have fulfilled their degree requirements. Consequently, they are eligible for selection:

Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

Alex Barnes, RB, Kansas State

Ryan Bates, OT, Penn State

Venzell Boulware, OL, Miami

Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

Xavier Crawford, CB, Central Michigan

Jamel Dean, CB, Auburn

Clelin Ferrell, DL, Clemson

Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

Youhanna Ghaifan, DT, Wyoming

Joe Giles-Harris, LB, Duke

Penny Hart, WR, Georgia State

Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo

Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

Dawson Knox, TE, Ole Miss

David Long, LB, West Virginia

Erik McCoy, OL, Texas A&M

Jakobi Meyers, WR, N.C. State

Anthony Nelson, DE, Iowa

Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis

Anthony Ratliff-Williams, WR, North Carolina

Dax Raymond, TE, Utah State

Quart’e Sapp, LB, Tennessee

Cortrelle Simpson, WR, Richmond

Sutton Smith, DE, Northern Illinois

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

William Sweet, OT, North Carolina

Josiah Tauaefa, LB, UTSA

Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

Caleb Wilson, TE, UCLA

The following players inquired about their draft status and are eligible for selection without the need for special eligibility:

Sean Adesanya, DE, Central Michigan

Blessuan Austin, DB, Rutgers

Jordan Brailford, DE, Oklahoma State

Keenen Brown, TE, Texas State

Byron Cowart, DE, Maryland

D’Andre Ferby, DE, Western Kentucky

P.J.Johnson, DT, Arizona

Daniel LaCamera, K, Texas A&M

L.J. Scott, RB, Michigan State

–Field Level Media

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Report: Saints TE Watson expected to miss NFC title game

Report: Saints TE Watson expected to miss NFC title game

Report: Saints TE Watson expected to miss NFC title game

Tight end Benjamin Watson is expected to be inactive when his New Orleans Saints meet the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

ESPN reported that Watson has missed practices this week because of appendicitis. He has not had surgery to remove his appendix.

Watson, 38, announced in December he planned to retire after this season.

If he doesn’t play, that will leave quarterback Drew Brees without one of his offensive weapons. On the season, Watson had 35 catches for 400 yards with two touchdowns.

In his career, he has played in 195 games for New England (2004-09), Cleveland (2010-12), New Orleans (2013-15, 2018) and Baltimore (2017). He has played in 12 playoff games and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots in his rookie season.

–Field Level Media

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