Cardinals bring back veteran WR Wright

Cardinals bring back veteran WR Wright

The Arizona Cardinals have signed veteran wide receiver Kendall Wright for the second time this season, the team announced Monday.

Wright originally signed with Arizona on Oct. 8, but was released 10 days later when the Cardinals needed to replace injured players in the secondary.

Wright, who turns 29 next week, has not appeared in any games this season. He played for the Chicago Bears in 2017, catching 59 passes for 614 yards and one touchdown.

Before that, the 2012 first-round draft pick played five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He caught 280 passes for 3,244 yards and 18 touchdowns with the Titans, including a 1,000-yard season in 2013.

Coming off a bye week, the Cardinals had two vacant roster spots after releasing quarterback Sam Bradford and placing offensive lineman John Wetzel (neck) on injured reserve last week. Arizona still has one vacancy to fill.

–Field Level Media

Tyrell Williams emerges as deep threat for Chargers

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have proven during the first half of the season that they have plenty of weapons on offense. One who has emerged is Tyrell Williams, who has become a deep threat during the past month.

Going into Sunday's game at Oakland, the fourth-year wide receiver

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have proven during the first half of the season that they have plenty of weapons on offense. One who has emerged is Tyrell Williams, who has become a deep threat during the past month.

Going into Sunday’s game at Oakland, the fourth-year wide receiver has four touchdowns and is averaging 28.8 yards per catch over the past three games.

“He’s become a complete receiver. His receiving skills, he’s just taken them to another level,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.

With Keenan Allen still drawing double teams, Williams continues to benefit from single coverage. Five of his receptions during the past three games have gone for 20 yards or more, including a 75-yarder against Tennessee on Oct. 21. He is tied for the team lead in receiving touchdowns (five), second in yardage (451) and third in receptions (22) during the first half of the season.

“I think it’s really just been seeing what the defense does, when to take shots, being able to get over the top and trusting my ability to go up and get the ball or run past the defense,” said Williams, whose 20.5 yards per reception average is third in the league.

Philip Rivers also hasn’t been afraid to go to Williams on consecutive plays if the matchup is favorable. Williams caught both passes on a two-play, 89-yard drive midway through the second quarter of the Oct. 14 game at Cleveland, including a 45-yard touchdown where he got leverage over cornerback Damarious Randall.

While Williams has made his biggest impact on downfield plays, he has also shown his improvement in other areas. Late in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game at Seattle, Williams made a diving grab on a back shoulder fade for a 14-yard touchdown while being covered by Tre Flowers.

Williams said catching back shoulder passes and route running were two things that he placed added emphasis on improving this past offseason.

“My first few years, I was always just looking to get the ball down the field. I wasn’t really prepared for back-shoulders,” he said. “It was kind of a timing thing and getting used to that, but now I’ve kind of figured out how to be running fast but still be prepared for that back-shoulder stuff.”

Los Angeles (6-2) has won five straight for the first time since 2014 and will face a Raiders defense that is 24th against the pass. Williams had three receptions for 66 yards in the first meeting on Oct. 14, which the Chargers won 26-10. One of the catches was for 48 yards.

“Hopefully that stays the same and they don’t switch it up. It’s nice to get single coverage and Keenan still being able to go for 100 like he did, to be firing on all cylinders,” he said.

Notes: Defensive end Joey Bosa did not do any team drills, meaning he’s unlikely to play in his first game of the season this week. … Lynn has left open the possibility that LB Kyzir White could return later in the season. White was placed on injured reserve Saturday due to a knee injury.

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Mitchell Trubisky, Bears’ offense maintaining focus

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears' offense refuse to become mired in mistakes or popular assessments.

Trubisky long ago ditched social media to focus his attention on operating coach Matt Nagy's new offense, and the result has been a 5-3 record and first place in the NFC North

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Mitchell Trubisky and the Chicago Bears’ offense refuse to become mired in mistakes or popular assessments.

Trubisky long ago ditched social media to focus his attention on operating coach Matt Nagy’s new offense, and the result has been a 5-3 record and first place in the NFC North at the midpoint.

While the Bears’ defense is generally regarded as the major reason for Chicago’s rise from last place, Trubisky sees the offense making stready strides forward heading into Sunday’s divisional battle with the Detroit Lions.

“There’s still areas I have to improve within my game and am still growing in that, but I feel comfortable and confident with where I am as a leader with command of this offense, getting in and out of the huddle, seeing things post-snap,” Trubisky said. “I think it’s all starting to slow down, so just trying to improve all areas of my game.”

Chicago’s defense ranks fifth, but the Bears are fifth overall in scoring and also rank first in scoring after opposing turnovers (82 points). And while Trubisky has suffered from fits of wildness, his 96.1 passer rating is just .04 below Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Trubisky completed 28 of 49 for 355 yards with three touchdowns and an interception the last two games, and had several possible interceptions dropped.

“The only thing that I can think of in regards to just our offense and not his accuracy, we’ve played some pretty solid defenses here the last few weeks,” Nagy said. “I think they’re underrated, especially the last two weeks with the Jets and Buffalo. Then you go back to the Patriots.

“There’s some good schemes and some good players, but that’s good for us, that’s good for him. There were a couple balls now and then that got away from him. He’ll be the first to tell you. I’ll be the first to let him know that, but that’s OK. We’ll keep improving.”

Teammates see improvement in Trubisky within the offense in so many ways, they’re getting tired of talking about it.

“This is like the 30th time I’ve had that quetsion,” running back Tarik Cohen said. “I say the same thing every time. It’s just him being more demanding of us as players and just his leadership outside of what the coaches are telling him — at the line of scrimmage, making those adjustments, audibles and things of that nature.”

Trubisky insisted at the outset of training camp that he’s off social media for this season, so he said he’s unaware of public criticism.

“I don’t really check it that often and I don’t really have it on my phone,” Trubisky said. “So I don’t hear any of the outside noise, whether it be positive or negative. I just have a lot more time, and my focus is elsewhere; within football and my family and everything else I’ve got going on.”

Some players spend much of their off time on social media.

“Most of it last year had been negative, so it’s just a lot of negativity that I blocked out of my life,” Trubisky said. “I’m able to just focus on what I needed to do and who I want to be as a player and as a person. It has been a good thing for me just getting off that.”

Trubisky’s accuracy has slipped at a time when he didn’t have wide receiver Allen Robinson as a target due to a groin injury. But that could change this week. Robinson went through a full Wednesday practice for the first time since before missing two games after he tried to play through his injury.

It’s also possible tight end Adam Shaheen could be back from a foot injury suffered in preseason.

The defense also had good injury news when linebacker Khalil Mack had his first full practice since suffering an ankle injury against Miami on Oct. 14.

Now it’s up to Trubisky and the offense to find a groove, even while heaviliy scrutinized.

“I think any time you are drafted as a quarterback early and high in the draft, you’re always gonna be critiqued,” Nagy said. “But again, the only thing that he needs to worry about is what I think about him and what people in this building think about him. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion and that’s OK, that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that.

“But as long as he just understands that the only thing that matters is what we think, nothing will affect him.”

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Bills’ McCoy not talking as production keeps dropping

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The more LeSean McCoy's production drops, the less the Buffalo Bills running back wants to talk about it.

"Don't worry about me, I'll be all right," McCoy said following practice Wednesday before excusing himself by saying he had to go lift weights. "I ain't ducking you, honest. I'm

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The more LeSean McCoy’s production drops, the less the Buffalo Bills running back wants to talk about it.

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be all right,” McCoy said following practice Wednesday before excusing himself by saying he had to go lift weights. “I ain’t ducking you, honest. I’m trying to get myself together.”

And off he went. McCoy returned to the locker room briefly about 45 minutes later, before exiting yet again upon seeing a large group of reporters gathered at his stall.

Whatever frustrations McCoy has while enduring the worst start to a season in his 10-year career, or concerns he might have about an offense not producing at an alarmingly anemic rate, he’d prefer to keep to himself as Buffalo (2-7) prepares to play at the New York Jets (3-6) on Sunday.

McCoy hasn’t formally addressed the media since acknowledging he’s never been through as bad of a stretch as this in his life, following a 25-6 loss to New England on Oct. 29. After gaining 12 yards on his first carry against the Patriots, McCoy combined for just 1 more yard on his final 11 attempts of the game.

“I’ve had bad games, but this, the flow of the season and everything, is bad,” he said.

Things got worse Sunday, when McCoy managed 10 yards on 10 carries in a 41-9 loss to Chicago.

“He’s’ too talented for that,” fullback Patrick DiMarco said. “He’s a guy that can change a game and take over a game. He knows that. We know that. Upstairs they know that. We’ve got to get him going.”

One issue is he’s part of a patchwork offense that’s scored just 96 points, topped 300 yards net offense twice and has no continuity at quarterback . McCoy’s also had off-field distractions amid allegations of abusing his son — which he’s denied — stemming from a lawsuit filed by his ex-girlfriend.

And age could be catching up to McCoy, who turned 30 in July.

Coach Sean McDermott doesn’t buy it and blames McCoy’s struggles on the entire offense.

“There’s been some opportunities to hit some holes that weren’t hit, and there’s been some opportunities where the seam was there, and we didn’t get the movement we needed,” McDermott said. “It’s been really a combination, but we’ve got to give him more opportunities to make more big plays for us.”

A year after topping 1,100 yards rushing for the sixth time, the NFL’s 2013 rushing leader is barely on pace to break 500.

He’s managed 267 yards rushing and has yet to score in essentially seven games this season. McCoy missed one game due to a rib injury, and was limited to playing two snaps before sustaining a concussion in a 37-5 loss at Indianapolis three weeks ago.

McCoy hasn’t scored since having a touchdown rushing and receiving in a 24-17 win over Miami on Dec. 17. And he hasn’t topped 100 yards since finishing with 156 on a snow-covered field in a 13-7 overtime win against Indianapolis on Dec. 10.

The recent swoon in production spans the NFL trading deadline on Oct. 30, and amid speculation McCoy might have been dealt because he has one year left on his contract, or that he was open to leaving a rebuilding team in order to play for a contender.

General manager Brandon Beane dismissed the narratives by saying McCoy’s silence stems from mere frustration.

“I can tell you, LeSean is very happy here. He’s frustrated just like I am, just like a lot of guys on our offense,” Beane told The Associated Press. “He’s a winner. He’s a competitor. And he’s not happy with our whole offense. He thinks he can do better.”

And Beane has such confidence in McCoy, he sees no reason why the running back won’t be back next season.

“We don’t see a guy who’s a declining player. We see a guy who’s still playing well, and he’s one of the better players at his position in the league,” Beane said. “He is working hard. He’s trying to be the best he can. And he’s going to continue to do that. And if he wasn’t, then we probably would’ve moved on.”

NOTES: McDermott wasn’t prepared to identify which quarterback will start against the Jets. Rookie Josh Allen, who has missed three games with a sprained right throwing elbow, practiced on a limited basis, while Derek Anderson remains in the concussion protocol. … Buffalo shuffled its practice squad by signing WR Cam Phillips and CB Xavier Coleman and releasing WR Hunter Sharp. … On Tuesday, the Bills cut starting CB Phillip Gaines and promoted CB Levi Wallace from the practice squad.

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Patriots sign offensive lineman Matt Tobin to 53-man roster

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots have signed offensive lineman Matt Tobin to the 53-man roster.

Tobin practiced with the team on Wednesday. He takes the place of Brian Schwenke, who was placed on injured reserve. The move comes a day after the Patriots signed linebacker Albert McClellan and defensive back Obi Melifonwu

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots have signed offensive lineman Matt Tobin to the 53-man roster.

Tobin practiced with the team on Wednesday. He takes the place of Brian Schwenke, who was placed on injured reserve. The move comes a day after the Patriots signed linebacker Albert McClellan and defensive back Obi Melifonwu and released offensive lineman Cole Croston and defensive lineman Geneo Grissom.

Tobin played four seasons in Philadelphia from 2013 to 2016 and spent 2017 in Seattle. He was inactive for the 49ers for two games this season before being released on Sept. 19.

Tobin was originally signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He was traded from Philadelphia to Seattle last August.

He has appeared 57 games with 21 starts.

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Falcons bolster pass rush by adding veteran Bruce Irvin

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons made a move to bolster their lackluster pass rush by agreeing to a one-year deal with defensive end Bruce Irvin on Wednesday, reuniting the veteran with coach Dan Quinn.

Irvin, cut by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, became a free agent after clearing waivers on

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons made a move to bolster their lackluster pass rush by agreeing to a one-year deal with defensive end Bruce Irvin on Wednesday, reuniting the veteran with coach Dan Quinn.

Irvin, cut by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, became a free agent after clearing waivers on Tuesday with $3.8 million remaining on his contract. The Falcons play at Cleveland on Sunday.

Irvin, 31, is an Atlanta native. He celebrated his return home by posting on his Twitter account “Man it’s time! You can’t put a price on the chance for me to play for my people and city! It’s bigger than money!”

Irvin was expected to arrive in Atlanta on Wednesday night and join practice on Thursday. Quinn said Irvin will play against Cleveland.

The Falcons rank 27th in the league with 17 sacks. Takk McKinley has a team-leading 5½ sacks, but Vic Beasley has only one. Beasley led the league with 15½ sacks in 2016.

The Falcons hope Irvin adds new punch to the pass rush.

“He’s definitely a big addition to our team,” said defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who has three sacks. “As a player and as a person, we know the personality he plays with matches what we want to portray or have up front, that dog mentality. We’re ready to go hunt.”

Quinn said the homecoming and the chance to play in a familiar scheme were motivating factors for Irvin.

“It’s pretty rare you get to play in your home city,” Quinn said. “He recognized that might be a special moment for him and he really is challenged.”

Quinn said Irvin also is motivated to show he can be a successful pass-rushing end after being waived by the Raiders.

“He really is ready to prove it,” Quinn said, adding often a player’s “most memorable competitive moments are in prove-it times, so I love it he feels he’s got some things to prove and really wants to play well. That’s what we talked about.”

The Falcons’ defense had more good news on Wednesday. Linebacker Deion Jones, who has been on injured reserve since suffering a foot injury in the season-opening loss at Philadelphia, returned to practice. He is not eligible to return until next week’s game against Dallas and has not been placed on the active roster.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Beasley of Jones’ return. “We’ve been waiting on him to come back. He’s a definite leader on the defensive side of the ball and not just the defense, on this team. There are a lot of guys who look up to him.”

Quinn said Jones’ snaps in practice will be watched closely this week. He said he has no timetable on Jones being cleared for a game.

The Falcons (4-4) have won three straight despite losing starting safeties Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal to season-ending injuries. Starting guards Andy Levitre and Brando Fusco and running back Devonta Freeman also are on IR.

Irvin played with Seattle when Quinn was the team’s defensive coordinator.

Irvin had three sacks with Oakland, but played only nine snaps in a 34-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

Irvin (6-3, 250) played four seasons with Seattle before joining the Raiders in 2016. He had eight sacks as a rookie in 2012 and matched that career high with Oakland in 2017.

He set a career high with six forced fumbles in 2016. His 11 forced fumbles since the start of the 2016 season are the most in the NFL in that span.

For his career, Irvin has 40 sacks and 15 forced fumbles.

Oakland was expected to enter the season with Irvin and Khalil Mack leading the defense as bookend pass rushers.

Instead, Mack was traded to Chicago a week before the season for a package of draft picks following a lengthy holdout. The Raiders rank last in the league with seven sacks.

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Jets’ Darnold has strained foot, could miss game vs. Bills

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Sam Darnold could be headed for the sideline this week — and maybe longer.

The New York Jets rookie quarterback has a strained right foot, coach Todd Bowles announced Wednesday, leaving Darnold's status for the team's game Sunday against Buffalo in doubt.

"It's just adversity," Darnold said after

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Sam Darnold could be headed for the sideline this week — and maybe longer.

The New York Jets rookie quarterback has a strained right foot, coach Todd Bowles announced Wednesday, leaving Darnold’s status for the team’s game Sunday against Buffalo in doubt.

“It’s just adversity,” Darnold said after practice. “You’ve just got to deal with it, get better as soon as possible, get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Bowles said it was too early to rule out Darnold for the game, and clarified that the injury was a strain — not a sprain, contrary to published reports.

“They’ve got him listed as day to day,” Bowles said.

Darnold was surprisingly wearing a boot on his foot at the start of practice Wednesday, and watched in sweats and a green Jets cap as McCown and Davis Webb, currently on the practice squad, threw passes in individual drills.

“Obviously, I want to be out there with the guys,” Darnold said. “I want to go out there and play. Hopefully, if I’m able to go out there and play Sunday, I will. If not, I’m just going to treat it as another learning experience. When adversity hits, it’s up to me how to respond. That’s all I can worry about.”

Darnold was injured during the Jets’ 13-6 loss at Miami last Sunday , possibly on a fourth-quarter sack by Cameron Wake in which the quarterback came up limping. He took a few other big hits, so he was uncertain as to when the injury occurred.

Darnold finished the game, and said he was “a little dinged up,” but didn’t indicate he had any serious issues.

“Yeah, I feel fine,” Darnold said Monday. “Some bumps and some bruises, but everything is good.”

Bowles said Monday that Darnold had not expressed to him that he was “dinged up.” Bowles typically speaks to the team’s trainers later in the afternoon on the day after games.

“I mean, it was kind of in the midst of the action,” Darnold explained Wednesday. “Sometimes, you get hurt or nicked around and things just kind of happen. I just thought I was fine coming out of the game and went through protocol and that’s just kind of how it went. Went through some of the tests and something was obviously a little different than usual.”

Darnold dealt with a broken foot in high school that sidelined him for most of his junior season. He said this is not close to as serious an injury.

“Like any injury, I’m just going to go about protocol and do exactly what the trainers do and be in here as much as possible and get better,” he said.

If Darnold is unable to start, 39-year-old backup Josh McCown would take his place. McCown was the starter last season, but hasn’t taken a snap this year as Darnold won the job out of training camp — beating out both McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.

“When you’re in a backup role, you just go in and do your job,” McCown said. “That’s the main thing. We’ll prepare as if — like I do every week — I’m going to be the starter and we’ll go from there.”

Darnold has struggled mightily during the Jets’ three-game losing streak, and he leads the NFL with 14 interceptions.

The No. 3 overall draft pick in April has thrown for 1,934 yards and 11 touchdowns, but his 55.0 percent completion rate and 68.3 quarterback rating rank at the bottom of the league. In his past three games, Darnold has thrown two TD pass and seven interceptions.

The struggles had some fans and media wondering if perhaps Darnold would benefit from sitting a game or two.

Now, it appears he and the Jets might not have a choice.

New York has its bye-week break after the game Sunday against Buffalo, and then doesn’t play again until Nov. 25, when the Jets take on New England. That could give Darnold a few weeks to rest and heal the foot without missing much time.

“We don’t want to rush things,” Darnold said. “That’s one thing we don’t want to do. I’m eager to get back out there on the field with my guys, but at the same time, I’ve got to take care of my body, first and foremost.”

NOTES: WRs Robby Anderson (ankle) and Quincy Enunwa (ankle), TE Neal Sterling (concussion), S Terrence Brooks (illness), C Spencer Long (knee/finger) and NT Steve McLendon didn’t practice. … LBs Frankie Luvu (neck) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot), CB Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) and LG James Carpenter (shoulder) were limited. … The Jets re-signed RB De’Angelo Henderson to their practice squad. A spot was vacated when Cleveland signed CB Juston Burris off the practice squad.

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Browns lose defensive starters Kirksey, Gaines to injuries

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The losses are piling up for the Browns — in the standings, and on the sideline.

On Wednesday, two defensive starters were added to the stack.

Cleveland placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, ending their seasons with seven games remaining and putting further strain

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The losses are piling up for the Browns — in the standings, and on the sideline.

On Wednesday, two defensive starters were added to the stack.

Cleveland placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, ending their seasons with seven games remaining and putting further strain on a unit lacking quality depth and experience.

“Those two guys, they really set a precedent for what we wanted to do as a team, as a defense,” said cornerback T.J. Carrie. “And, of course, they’ll still be here sparingly in and out throughout the week, but it’s a lot different when they were on the field fighting with you, blood, sweat and tears with you, through the trenches.

“We’re going to definitely miss that. Those are two players that we can’t replace.”

One of the team’s captains, Kirksey injured his left hamstring in the second quarter Sunday as the Browns (2-6-1) lost their fourth straight game, 37-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Gaines sustained his second concussion in three weeks when he took a knee to the helmet while trying to make a tackle in the first quarter.

The loss of Kirksey is especially damaging because he’s one of the team’s leaders. The fifth-year pro has played on the weak side and in the middle this season, making 43 tackles and two interceptions.

“Kirko is kind of the heart and soul of the defense, heart and soul of the team in the locker room, on the field, just how he goes about his business,” said linebacker Joe Schobert, a 2017 Pro Bowler who returned to practice after missing three games with a hamstring injury. “It’s the next-man-up mentality, but there’s things that you’re going to miss.”

Schobert’s return will help ease the loss of Kirksey, and the Browns are expected to have defensive back Damarious Randall for Sunday’s game against Atlanta after he missed last week’s game with a groin injury.

Linebacker Jamie Collins (ankle) and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward (hip) were limited in practice, but interim coach Gregg Williams expects both back on the field Thursday.

Randall, who has played cornerback and free safety, felt he was healthy enough to play last week, but Williams kept him out so he would have the versatile defensive back for multiple games. Randall’s absence became magnified when Ward and Gaines went down on the Chiefs’ opening drive, forcing Williams to adjust his game plan against the NFL’s most electrifying offense and play seldom-used reserves Denzel Rice and Tavierre Thomas.

“It’s very hard,” Carrie said of losing two key players. “It changes the game plan. It changes a lot of things because you can only give practice reps to so many guys, and so you get guys that come in and they’re athletes, but it’s hard when you don’t know the schematics of the little details that we put in for that game.”

And, as luck would have it, the banged-up Browns will have to deal with a talented Atlanta team that has overcome its own injury issues and reeled off three straight wins.

Schobert’s return is vital to Cleveland’s defense as he’s the one responsible for calling out Williams’ pre-snap schemes and getting his teammates organized — an on-field coach.

After missing three weeks, getting back on the field will be a welcomed change for Schobert, who had played every defensive snap since the start of the 2017 season until he got hurt on Oct. 21 at Tampa Bay.

“It is just different. It is weird,” Schobert said of being inactive. “Especially with a hamstring. You just walk around on the sideline feeling good and watching people on the field thinking you can be out there — wishing you could be out there. You just have to kind of suck it up and take it into your own role however you can help a team in that aspect.

“That is what I was doing. Just kind of jumped right into more of a coaching aspect, trying to keep myself involved that way. I think it helped.”

NOTES: Rookie LT Desmond Harrison was limited in practice after missing last week’s game with an undisclosed illness. Greg Robinson stepped in and played well in his first start for Cleveland. Williams hasn’t decided who he’ll play against the Falcons. “What we will do is every day is an interview and both of them are taking reps,” he said. “By the end of the week, we will make what is best and it is good — the fact that you have depth. Guys can compete and get ready to roll.” … The Browns signed DB Juston Burris to the active roster off the Jets’ practice squad. A fourth-round pick in 2016, he appeared in 34 games for New York.

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Joseph says Broncos, bitter Thomas need to move on

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Vance Joseph says the Broncos and former Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas both need to just move on from their recent breakup.

Thomas said in a radio interview Monday, a day after his successful homecoming in a 19-17 Texans win in Denver, that he was misled by the Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Vance Joseph says the Broncos and former Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas both need to just move on from their recent breakup.

Thomas said in a radio interview Monday, a day after his successful homecoming in a 19-17 Texans win in Denver, that he was misled by the Broncos about the possibility of a trade, was asked to surrender snaps to the team’s rookie receivers and was heartbroken over not being named a captain this year.

Joseph said Wednesday he had “great respect for D.T.,” was “disappointed with how he recalls the conversations going,” and “we’ve got to move on.”

“He’s got to move on. We’ve got to move on,” Joseph said. “He’s no longer a Bronco and I can’t spend any time worrying about that. But as far as reading that stuff, I’m disappointed it was presented that way, I really am.”

Thomas aired his frustrations during an interview with former Broncos Rod Smith and Ray Crockett on Orange & Blue 760-AM in Denver, a Broncos broadcast partner.

Thomas said the day before he was traded, Joseph told him the trade talk wasn’t true.

“I said, ‘How is that not true? My agent called me today and said (general manager John) Elway wanted a fifth-round pick for me.’ So, are we telling stories to each other now? I thought we were going to be men about this,” Thomas said.

In his first comments about Thomas’ criticisms, Joseph said, “I’m disappointed with how he recalls the conversations going.”

“It was obviously a week and a half where the rumors and gossip were flowing, and we talked about the rumors and gossip — until something happened, we all had to focus on doing our jobs and winning football games,” Joseph said. “From my end, that was discussed.”

Thomas also complained in the interview that he wasn’t named a captain this year, something he’d been three times before, and suggested there were some shenanigans in the vote counting: “I go to a meeting room and it’s like every player came to me and were like, ‘How are you not a captain? We picked you.’ … It was heartbreaking.”

Free agent quarterback Case Keenum and longtime center Matt Paradis were named offensive captains this year, and Joseph said Thomas never conveyed his disappointment over his exclusion.

“No, no. And our players vote for the captains,” Joseph said. “They vote for the guys they see fit, who they want to lead their football team. So, I’m not sure where that came from or who discussed that with D.T. But again, I have great respect for him. The players vote for the captains. They voted for who they thought were the best guys to lead their football team. And that’s it.”

Thomas also said in his interview that new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni told him he’d have to surrender playing time so the Broncos could give more snaps to rookie receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. He also said he was the only veteran receiver who was told this.

Thomas added, “I don’t understand that because I’ve never cried about getting the ball. I didn’t get (upset) about nothing … it just hurt me. I’m emotional. I’m empty. I’m empty still.”

Thomas caught three passes for 61 yards in the Texans’ win Sunday in Denver, where the Broncos honored their former receiver with a video tribute before the game and by putting a giant “Thank you” on the 10-story-high banner of Thomas outside their stadium.

“We have great respect for D.T.,” Joseph said. “He was a great player here and we honored him on Sunday. We didn’t win the game; he won the game. I think it’s a little frustration on his part, but I’m disappointed in how it came out because I don’t recall it being discussed that way. And that’s OK. The last point: we’ve got to move on.”

Notes: Paradis underwent surgery Wednesday to repair his right leg, which he broke Sunday. … The players were given a four-day furlough for their bye week after an indoor practice Wednesday.

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Dolphins’ Tannehill out again, eyeing Week 12 return

Dolphins' Tannehill out again, eyeing Week 12 return

Miami

Dolphins’ Tannehill out again, eyeing Week 12 return

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will miss his fifth straight game on Sunday at the Green Bay Packers, head coach Adam Gase confirmed Wednesday.

With the Dolphins taking their bye in Week 11, Gase said the goal is to have Tannehill, who has battled weakness and discomfort in his right (throwing) shoulder, ready for a Week 12 trip to the Indianapolis Colts.

“We haven’t had the jump that he was looking for, so that’s why we’re kind of taking a step back,” Gase told reporters. “We have time now, now that we made the decision of him not playing this week.”

Tannehill has taken part in individual drills at practice without throwing, instead going through a throwing motion without a ball. Asked if the quarterback has made significant progress since he was first ruled out before an Oct. 14 game against the Chicago Bears, Gase said he was unsure.

“It’s hard for me to say, because I think [Tannehill is] tired of me asking him,” Gase said. “So I just quit asking him. I just know they’ll come to me if they feel like he’s had a big improvement.”

Brock Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start. He’s thrown for 1,034 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in five games. The Dolphins have gone 2-2 in Tannehill’s absence to sit at 5-4, a half-game out of the AFC’s second wild-card spot.

Elsewhere, starting offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James each took part in individual drills on Wednesday after leaving Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with knee injuries.

Gase was noncommittal on their statuses for Sunday’s game, noting that neither player was able to do much in team drills.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys LB Lee sidelined four to six weeks

Cowboys LB Lee sidelined four to six weeks

Cowboys LB Lee sidelined four to six weeks

Dallas Cowboys standout linebacker Sean Lee will reportedly be sidelined four to six weeks after injuring his left hamstring during Monday night’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Lee pulled up while chasing Titans tight end Jonnu Smith on a pass play.

“We anticipate him to be out for a little bit, no question about that,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett told reporters without getting specific about how much time Lee would miss.

Lee missed three games with a pulled hamstring earlier this season. The 32-year-old has 27 tackles in five games this season.

Rookie first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch will move back into the starting lineup. The first-round pick ranks second on the team with 63 tackles in eight games (three starts).

Also, Cowboys offensive guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and miss Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Garrett said the belief is Williams’ recovery will be a “short-term thing.” A timetable will be pinpointed after Williams undergoes the procedure.

Williams, a rookie, has started all eight games and hasn’t missed an offensive snap. The second-round pick suffered the injury during Monday’s game against the Titans. He reported additional knee soreness to team trainers on Tuesday.

Either Adam Redmond or Xavier Su’a-Filo will replace Williams in the starting lineup.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars RB Fournette practicing, on track for Sunday

Jaguars RB Fournette practicing, on track for Sunday

Jacksonville

Jaguars RB Fournette practicing, on track for Sunday

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette appears ready for a return to the field after practicing Wednesday, the team’s first full session since its bye week.

Fournette has not played since Week 4 because of a hamstring injury and has only appeared in two games this season, rushing for 71 yards on 20 carries. After aggravating the injury on multiple occasions, he has remained out as the team tries to avoid any future setbacks. He participated in individual drills Monday.

Also practicing on Wednesday was quarterback Blake Bortles, who is battling a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury sustained in the fourth quarter of the team’s Week 8 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in London.

“It’s just banged up,” Bortles told reporters Wednesday. “No different than anybody else getting a nick or a bruise or whatever.”

Cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (calf), who sat out the game in London, and Quenton Meeks (knee) missed practice on Wednesday.

The Jaguars (3-5), who are on a four-game losing streak, return to action Sunday against the Colts in Indianapolis.

Jacksonville traded for Carlos Hyde while Fournette was out and also has T.J. Yeldon available in the backfield. Yeldon leads the team with 334 rushing yards on 81 carries.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Jets’ Darnold has foot sprain, out Sunday

Report: Jets' Darnold has foot sprain, out Sunday

Report: Jets’ Darnold has foot sprain, out Sunday

New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has a significant right foot sprain and will miss Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, according to a New York Daily News report on Wednesday.

The report adds that the team hopes Darnold will return in Week 12 against the New England Patriots, after the Jets’ bye, but is not overly optimistic.

Darnold sat out Wednesday’s practice, observing in street clothes with a walking boot on his right foot. It was his first missed practice since a brief holdout during training camp, before he signed his rookie contract.

It’s unclear when Darnold was injured, but he told reporters on Monday that he felt “fine” despite taking a number of big hits in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins. Miami totaled four sacks and seven QB hits on Darnold, forcing him into four interceptions, including three in the fourth quarter.

“Some bumps and some bruises, but everything is good,” Darnold said.

Head coach Todd Bowles told reporters on a Monday conference call he wasn’t aware of any injury to the rookie.

Darnold, who has started every game this season, finished Sunday’s game in Miami 21 of 39 for 229 yards, no touchdowns and the four picks. His rating (31.8) was a career low, and his total of 14 interceptions this season leads the NFL by four.

Overall, Darnold has passed for 1,934 yards and 11 touchdowns but has completed just 55 percent of his throws.

If Darnold is out, 39-year-old Josh McCown would make his first start of the season. McCown threw for 2,926 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 13 starts in 2017 before breaking his hand late in the season.

–Field Level Media

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WR Bryant to join Saints on one-year deal

WR Bryant to join Saints on one-year deal

Former

WR Bryant to join Saints on one-year deal

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple reports.

He won’t have to wait long for a chance to show his old team what he has left.

The Saints (7-1, 1st in NFC South) play Dallas (3-5) on Nov. 29.

Bryant will sign the deal on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

A tweet by the NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport announcing the deal was shared by Bryant with the hashtag #ThrowuptheX, a reference to his celebration move.

Bryant, who turned 30 on Sunday, has been a free agent since he was released by Dallas in April. He has visited several teams, including a workout with the Cleveland Browns in August. When Bryant worked out with the Browns, he briefly negotiated with the team but never came to terms.

Bryant took part in a workout with the Saints on Tuesday.

Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, has 7,459 receiving yards and 73 touchdowns in his career. Last season, he notched 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns in his eighth NFL year, all with the Cowboys.

Not long after his release from Dallas, Bryant turned down a three-year contract offer from the Baltimore Ravens, according to several media outlets. He intended to sign a one-year contract this season, then work on a longer-term deal starting next season, the reports said.

–Field Level Media

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Eagles expect Sproles, Johnson back vs. Cowboys

Eagles expect Sproles, Johnson back vs. Cowboys

Eagles expect Sproles, Johnson back vs. Cowboys

Philadelphia running back Darren Sproles could be back on the field for the first time since Week 1 when the Eagles play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

Sproles, who will retire after the season, had five carries for 10 yards and four catches for 22 yards in an 18-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 but has been sidelined by an injured hamstring since.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday that Sproles is ready to rejoin practice and should be in the lineup Sunday night.

Pederson also said right tackle Lane Johnson is expected to play, despite sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee during a Week 8 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.

Johnson went down in the first half against the Jaguars and was carted to the locker room. He did not return.

Philadelphia had its bye week after the London game, giving Johnson and Sproles extra time to get healthy.

The team also lost cornerback Jalen Mills to a foot injury against the Jaguars and say he’ll be re-evaluated later this week to determine whether he can play.

-Field Level Media

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Darren Sproles back at practice for the Eagles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Darren Sproles returned to practice Wednesday for the Philadelphia Eagles after missing seven games because of a hamstring injury.

The veteran running back is expected to play Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, according to coach Doug Pederson. The Eagles have the NFL's 18th-ranked rushing offense after finishing third last

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Darren Sproles returned to practice Wednesday for the Philadelphia Eagles after missing seven games because of a hamstring injury.

The veteran running back is expected to play Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, according to coach Doug Pederson. The Eagles have the NFL’s 18th-ranked rushing offense after finishing third last season when they won the Super Bowl. They lost starter Jay Ajayi to a season-ending knee injury last month.

Wendell Smallwood leads the team with 257 yards rushing and has a 4.3 average per carry. Corey Clement has 167 yards but only a 3.3 average. Undrafted rookie Josh Adams had a breakout game in a win over Jacksonville in London, running for 61 yards on nine carries.

“We’ve got to make sure as this week goes that he’s healthy 100 percent and that he feels great,” Pederson said of Sproles. “Again, we’re going to just mix him in. I think we’re a different team from Week 1 to now. Obviously, we don’t have Jay, but Corey has done a great job, Wendell, and now the emergence of Josh. He’s kind of stepped up his game and he’s played well, particularly this last game, and now we get Darren back.

“I can’t tell you that we’re going to feature Darren. I can’t tell you that we’re going to feature Josh or any of those guys, but Darren is going to be a big part of the game.”

Sproles also would return punts. DeAndre Carter handled those duties during Sproles’ absence but was released on Tuesday.

Philadelphia (4-4) already boosted its offense during the bye week by acquiring wide receiver Golden Tate from Detroit. Tate spent time last week at the practice facility getting familiar with the offense while the rest of the team was away.

“We’ve kind of tackled him every single day, trying to get him caught up to just our terminology, the way we call things, how we line up,” Pederson said. “But he’s been awesome, been in here every day.”

Carson Wentz couldn’t get wait to throw passes to his new target. Tate joins Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to give Philadelphia another option.

“Adding a piece like that is exciting, a guy with big play ability that Golden brings,” Wentz said. “You see him make highlight plays all the time, just the things he can do after the catch is exciting. He fits in really well with this culture.”

Wentz should have his best blocker back this week. Right tackle Lane Johnson wants to play despite a strained MCL in his left knee. He was injured on the opening series against Jacksonville and was expected to miss significant time.

“Lane is a tough guy,” Pederson said. “In his mind, I think he would want to play, and our expectation is that he does play. But at the same time, I say that, and then I say I don’t want to put somebody out there that might be less than 100 percent, too. We’ll get him ready. We’ll get all our guys ready, like we do each week. The expectation would be that he plays.”

Notes: CBs Jalen Mills (foot) and Sidney Jones (hamstring) didn’t practice and seem unlikely to play Sunday. S Corey Graham (hamstring) returned to the field after missing the past three games. DT Tim Jernigan is also practicing, but probably needs more time after offseason back surgery.

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Miami’s Tannehill to miss Packers game with shoulder injury

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Green Bay because of a throwing shoulder injury, and replacement Brock Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start.

The Dolphins have a bye next week, which means Tannehill won't be back until Week 12 at the

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Green Bay because of a throwing shoulder injury, and replacement Brock Osweiler will make his fifth consecutive start.

The Dolphins have a bye next week, which means Tannehill won’t be back until Week 12 at the earliest. Coach Adam Gase said the goal is for Tannehill to return for the Indianapolis game Nov. 25.

Miami is 5-4 overall, and 2-2 with Osweiler starting.

Tannehill is throwing but hasn’t participated fully in practice in more than a month. The Packers game will be the 25th he has missed out of the past 30 because of injuries.

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Browns place LB Kirksey, CB Gaines on IR

Browns place LB Kirksey, CB Gaines on IR

The Cleveland Browns placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and defensive back E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, leaving the defense shorthanded entering Week 10.

Kirksey injured his hamstring in the second half of Sunday's game against the Chiefs and has had multiple injuries this

Browns place LB Kirksey, CB Gaines on IR

The Cleveland Browns placed linebacker Christian Kirksey and defensive back E.J. Gaines on injured reserve, leaving the defense shorthanded entering Week 10.

Kirksey injured his hamstring in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs and has had multiple injuries this season. Gaines sustained his second concussion in less than a month. The Browns are also likely to be without rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, who was injured Sunday.

Cleveland signed Juston Burris to the 53-man roster off the Jets’ practice squad. Burris was a fourth-round pick in 2016.

Kirksey was starting in place of leading tackler Joe Schobert.

–Field Level Media

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Falcons sign DE Irvin

Falcons sign DE Irvin

Defensive end Bruce Irvin landed on his feet and reunited with his former defensive coordinator one day after clearing waivers.

Irvin signed with the Atlanta Falcons, joining head coach Dan Quinn, who coordinated the Seahawks' defense when both were in Seattle.

Irvin cleared

Falcons sign DE Irvin

Defensive end Bruce Irvin landed on his feet and reunited with his former defensive coordinator one day after clearing waivers.

Irvin signed with the Atlanta Falcons, joining head coach Dan Quinn, who coordinated the Seahawks’ defense when both were in Seattle.

Irvin cleared waivers and became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.

Irvin had $3.8 million left on his contract with the Oakland Raiders when he was waived.

The Seahawks drafted Irvin in the first round in 2012. The 31-year-old signed a $37 million deal as a free agent to leave Seattle and join the Raiders.

Atlanta’s defense is beset by injuries, but the Falcons won at Washington last week to improve to 4-4.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers-Steelers Preview Capsule

CAROLINA (6-2) at PITTSBURGH (5-2-1)

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

OPENING LINE — Steelers by 7 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Carolina 4-2-1, Pittsburgh 5-3

SERIES RECORD — Steelers lead 5-1

LAST MEETING — Steelers beat Panthers 37-19, Sept. 21, 2014

LAST WEEK — Panthers beat Buccaneers 42-28; Steelers beat Ravens 23-16

CAROLINA (6-2) at PITTSBURGH (5-2-1)

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

OPENING LINE — Steelers by 7 1/2

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Carolina 4-2-1, Pittsburgh 5-3

SERIES RECORD — Steelers lead 5-1

LAST MEETING — Steelers beat Panthers 37-19, Sept. 21, 2014

LAST WEEK — Panthers beat Buccaneers 42-28; Steelers beat Ravens 23-16

AP PRO32 RANKING — Panthers No. 5, Steelers No. 7

PANTHERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (13), RUSH (2), PASS (22).

PANTHERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (11), RUSH (8), PASS (19).

STEELERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (4), RUSH (6), PASS (4).

STEELERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (12), RUSH (11), PASS (21).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Pittsburgh has won each of last five meetings. .. Steelers are 3-0 against Carolina all-time at Heinz Field. … Panthers new owner David Tepper is Pittsburgh native and former minority owner of Steelers. … Panthers scored franchise-record 35 first-half points vs. Tampa Bay last week. … Panthers have scored 99 points in last nine quarters. … Carolina has allowed 12 sacks, second fewest through eight games in franchise history. … QB Cam Newton needs one TD rushing for eighth straight season with at least five TDs rushing. … Newton has thrown at least two TDs in seven straight games. … RB Christian McCaffrey has four TDs in last two weeks and had 157 yards from scrimmage last week. … TE Greg Olsen needs 145 yards receiving to pass Jackie Smith (7,918) for seventh all-time among tight ends. Olsen has TD catch in three straight games… LB Luke Kuechly had 14 tackles in last meeting. … DE Mario Addison had three sacks last week vs. Bucs. … Pittsburgh has won four straight since 1-2-1 start to take lead in AFC North. … Steelers WR Antonio Brown had TD reception in six straight games, tied for second-longest streak in team history. … Brown’s nine TD receptions franchise record for most in first eight games of season. … Pittsburgh 17-5 at home against NFC under Mike Tomlin. … Steelers have won six straight games in November. … Pittsburgh has won four consecutive Thursday night games. … Steelers RB James Conner first player in team history with 1,000 total yards, 10 TDs in first eight games. … Pittsburgh LB T.J. Watt’s seven sacks rank fourth in NFL. … Steelers’ defense allowing 275.3 yards per game. Team allowed 420.5 yards per contest during first four games. … Pittsburgh third in league in fewest sacks allowed (11) and has surrendered just two over last four weeks. … Fantasy tip: Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is thriving as secondary option behind Brown. Smith-Schuster already with 53 receptions this season, needs six to surpass season total from rookie year in 2017.

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Browns place starters Kirksey, Gaines on injured reserve

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns lost two defensive starters after placing linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve.

One of the team's captains, Kirksey hurt his hamstring in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gaines was also hurt, sustaining his second concussion in

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Cleveland Browns lost two defensive starters after placing linebacker Christian Kirksey and cornerback E.J. Gaines on injured reserve.

One of the team’s captains, Kirksey hurt his hamstring in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Gaines was also hurt, sustaining his second concussion in three weeks.

The losses will make things even tougher on a Cleveland defense already stretched thin. Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, rookie cornerback Denzel Ward hurt his hip against the Chiefs and cornerback Terrance Mitchell broke his arm earlier this season.

Kirksey made 43 tackles and two interceptions in seven starts.

Gaines, who signed with Cleveland as a free agent in March, moved into the starting lineup after Mitchell went down. He made one interception.

The Browns signed defensive back Juston Burris to the active roster off the New York Jets’ practice squad.

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