Earl Thomas’ return to Seahawks secondary a success

DENVER (AP) — Earl Thomas didn’t miss a beat after missing the entire offseason. Just have to get the rest of the secondary on the same wavelength.

The six-time Pro Bowl safety picked off a pass and collected five tackles Sunday in Seattle’s 27-24 l oss at Denver 72 hours after he reported to the Seahawks with his pay-me-or-trade-me demand having failed on both counts.

Still, it wasn’t up to the standards set by the old “Legion of Boom” defense that’s imploded like Seattle’s Kingdome with the offseason departures of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.

“Just glad to get through the first game and get that out the way,” Thomas said. “That’s it. It felt like we did pretty good up front, but it was just sometimes throughout the game it was small little plays that we should’ve had, we didn’t communicate right and they had big plays.”

Coach Pete Carroll managed Thomas’ snaps as he said he would. Thomas had four days of practice after ending his holdout Wednesday.

“I think I had about 65 plays,” Thomas said. “I felt good. I felt like my training with my brother and my team back home has been great and has been right on it. The only thing right now is my big toe hurt and my feet hurt, but that’s about it.”

Oh, and his feelings.

His Instagram post on Wednesday morning announcing his return made it clear Thomas wasn’t happy or satisfied.

By reporting last week, Thomas assured he won’t miss out on his roughly $500,000 weekly paychecks. But he wants more than the $8.5 million he’ll make in 2018 in the final year of the four-year, $40 million contract he signed in 2015 after Seattle’s win over Denver in Super Bowl 48.

“During the game I’m not thinking about it,” Thomas said. “I’m out here having fun with B-Mac (safety Bradley McDougald) and the guys. So, I’m not thinking about it. When I get asked about it, it definitely runs across my mind.”

Other takeaways from Denver’s 18th win in its last 19 home openers:

ROOKIE RUSHERS

Broncos rookie running backs Royce Freeman, the Pac-12’s all-time rushing touchdown leader at Oregon, and Philip Lindsay took different paths to the NFL. Freeman was a third-round draft choice and Lindsay signed as an undrafted free agent after not even getting an invitation to the combine.

Their debuts were identical, however: 15 carries for 71 yards, a 4.7-yard average.

While Lindsay added a 29-yard TD catch-and-scamper, Freeman helped salt away the win with several strong runs in the closing minutes, two of which covered 17 and 15 yards just before the 2-minute warning.

“I mean, first game you’re going to have a little bit of nerves,” Freeman said, “but they churn more to excitement.”

RECEIVER’S REDEMPTION

Demaryius Thomas had an awful start as three passes went off his hands, his holding call negated a 12-yard run and a miscommunication led to an interception in the first half.

“It was like my first game again,” Thomas said. “I was so excited to be back on the field. Those first three plays were kind of tough, kind of tough. Couple quick drops.”

Quarterback Case Keenum never lost faith in the ninth-year veteran, who bounced back with six catches for 63 yards and scored the winning TD with his tip-toeing 4-yard grab in the fourth quarter.

“Demaryius is just like all of us — he’s human,” Keenum said. “I know he’s going to make the play when he needs to. I have no doubt in him. I’m going to keep slinging him the ball.”

DISSLY DEBUT

The book on Seahawks rookie tight end Will Dissly coming out of Washington was that he’s a strong blocker. He proved he’s much more than that Sunday.

The fourth-round draft pick twice burst past linebacker Bradley Chubb, the fifth overall pick in the draft, first for a 15-yard TD catch and then for a 66-yard gain that set up a field goal.

“It was just a cool opportunity to go out there that first game and do something special,” said Dissly, who caught three passes for 105 yards.

“He was on fire,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was like Mike Ditka out there.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Shaquill Griffin’s twin brother, rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, started the game with K.J. Wright out following minor knee surgery. It’s another chapter in the remarkable story of Griffin, who had his left hand amputated as a child.

The Griffins had back-to-back tackles on Seattle’s second defensive series. Shaquill had six tackles and Shaquem two.

“There is no better feeling,” Shaquem said of playing in the pros alongside his twin.

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The Latest: Titans Casey carries flag as Salute to Service

The Latest on Week 10 in the NFL (all times EST):

1 p.m.

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was the last of the Titans defense introduced before kickoff for Tennessee's game against New England.

Casey took the field carrying an American flag, and first shaking hands with a soldier as part

The Latest on Week 10 in the NFL (all times EST):

1 p.m.

Three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was the last of the Titans defense introduced before kickoff for Tennessee’s game against New England.

Casey took the field carrying an American flag, and first shaking hands with a soldier as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service being held on Veteran’s Day. A soldier accompanied each Titans tarter onto the field for a few steps.

Country artist Little Big Town performed the national anthem, which featured a flyover by military helicopters.

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11:30 a.m.

Drew Brees and Tom Brady enter Week 10 of the NFL’s schedule neck and neck in closing in on matching Brett Favre for second place on the career regular-season list.

Brees has 506 touchdowns passing, two behind Favre, as the New Orleans Saints play at Cincinnati. And Brady has 505 with his New England Patriots playing at Tennessee. Both are a little more than 30 behind Peyton Manning’s record of 539.

Brady does have chance to pass Manning on the career touchdowns passing list, including playoffs. Manning has 579, only three more than Brady.

On the other end of the quarterback matchup spectrum Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will feature a battle of the backups rather than far more intriguing AFC East showdown of two rookie first-round picks.

Matt Barkley is starting in place of Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained throwing elbow. For New York, Josh McCown is starting in place Sam Darnold, who is sidelined by a strained right foot. Darnold was drafted third overall, four spots ahead of Allen.

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Airplane banner denounces Jets’ partnership with MGM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — An airplane banner criticizing the New York Jets' gaming deal partnership with casino operator MGM Resorts International circled MetLife Stadium several times a few hours before the team's game against the Buffalo Bills.

The banner trailing the plane Sunday read: "SHAME ON JETS/MGM #ENDGUNVIOLENCE #STOPMGM."

In July, MGM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — An airplane banner criticizing the New York Jets’ gaming deal partnership with casino operator MGM Resorts International circled MetLife Stadium several times a few hours before the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

The banner trailing the plane Sunday read: “SHAME ON JETS/MGM #ENDGUNVIOLENCE #STOPMGM.”

In July, MGM sued more than 1,900 victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in a bid to avoid liability for the gunfire that rained down from a lone gunman at its Mandalay Bay casino/resort in October 2017.

The Jets and Las Vegas-based MGM announced two weeks ago they agreed on a multiyear deal that is the first of its kind in the NFL. MGM Resorts is now the official gaming partner of the Jets. The agreement is the most comprehensive and integrated gaming partnership in the league, and the first to go beyond a casino sponsorship.

The Jets had no comment on the banner. MGM did not immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.

A few New York-area politicians recently slammed the partnership on social media, citing the lawsuit by MGM.

New York State Sen. Kevin Parker from Brooklyn wrote on Twitter: “I strongly disagree with @nyjets partnering with @MGMResortsIntl. The @MGMResortsIntl decision to sue the victims of the Mandalay Bay Shooting in Las Vegas is a complete disgrace! The @nyjets SHOULD NOT move forward #STOPMGM.”

Added N.Y. State Sen. Luis Sepulveda from the Bronx: “Shame on the @nyjets for partnering with @MGMResortsIntl who decided to sue the victims of the Mandalay Bay Shooting in Las Vegas. I urge folks to boycott the team until they end the partnership. #StopMGM.”

Last month, a panel of federal judges denied a request from MGM to centralize 13 lawsuits stemming from the shooting. MGM had asked to centralize the cases after it filed nine lawsuits in various states against the more than 1,900 victims, but said it respected the ruling by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation and will litigate its motions in the courts where the actions are pending.

MGM said at the time that its lawsuits are meant to avoid years of costly litigation and are focused only on people who have sued the company and voluntarily dismissed their claims or have threatened to sue.

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Khalil Mack is back for Bears; Patriots missing Gronkowski

Linebacker Khalil Mack is back for Chicago in the Bears' game against Detroit on Sunday, while New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will sit out for the third time in four games with ankle and back injuries.

Mack, along with receiver Allen Robinson, are both active after each missed the past two

Linebacker Khalil Mack is back for Chicago in the Bears’ game against Detroit on Sunday, while New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will sit out for the third time in four games with ankle and back injuries.

Mack, along with receiver Allen Robinson, are both active after each missed the past two games. Mack nursed a sore right ankle, while Robinson was shelved by a groin injury.

The Patriots will also be missing right guard Shaq Mason for their game at Tennessee, though rookie running back running back Sony Michel is available after missing the past two games with an injured knee.

The Titans will be without starting right tackle Jack Conklin (concussion) and outside linebacker Derrick Morgan. Wide receiver Taywan Taylor also is out after hurting his left foot Monday night in Dallas.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs are without wide receiver Sammy Watkins for their game against Arizona because of a foot injury.

Kansas City is getting some help on defense, though. Pass rusher Justin Houston is active for the first time since Oct. 7 after a hamstring injury, and safety Daniel Sorensen is making his season debut after breaking his leg in training camp.

The Cardinals are without starting wide receiver Chad Williams (ankle) and left guard Mike Iupati (back).

In Cleveland, Atlanta defensive end Bruce Irvin will make his Falcons debut for their game against the Browns. Irvin was signed earlier this week after being cut by Oakland.

Falcons kicker Matt Bryant remains sidelined with an injured right hamstring. His backup, Giorgio Tavecchio, has hit all four field-goal attempts, including two from 50 in his place.

Browns left tackle Greg Robinson, a 2014 No. 2 overall draft pick, will make his second start in place of rookie Harrison.

Indianapolis has its starting safety tandem, Malik Hooker (hip) and Clayton Geathers (knee), back at full strength for its game against Jacksonville. The Colts, however, will play without safety Mike Mitchell, who hurt his calf against Oakland last week. Starting cornerback Nate Hairston is also out with an injured ankle.

Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye will miss his second straight game with an injured knee and will be replaced by Tyler Patmon.

Jets center Spencer Long is inactive against Buffalo due to knee and finger issues. Long’s finger injury contributed to him having at least six wayward shotgun snaps last week at Miami. Jonotthan Harrison will start in his place.

Jets top cornerback Trumaine Johnson is active after missing five games with a quadriceps injury.

With Sam Darnold out, 39-year-old Josh McCown is starting at quarterback for the Jets. Davis Webb was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday and will serve as McCown’s backup.

For the Bills, Matt Barkley is starting with both Josh Allen and Derek Anderson dealing with injuries and Nathan Peterman ineffective. Rookie offensive lineman Wyatt Teller, who made his debut last week, will be start at left guard in place of Vladimir Ducasse.

NEW ENGLAND-TENNESSEE

Patriots: TE Rob Gronkowski, RG Shaq Mason, DE Derek Rivers, RB Kenjon Barner, DB Obi Melifonwu, CB Keion Crossen, T Matt Tobin.

Titans: WR Taywan Taylor, DB Dane Cruikshank, FB Jalston Fowler, OG Aaron Stinnie, RT Jack Conklin, OLB Derrick Morgan, DE Matt Dickerson.

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ARIZONA-KANSAS CITY

Cardinals: WR Chad Williams (ankle), WR Kendall Wright, SS Eddie Pleasant, OL Zack Golditch, OL Mike Iupati (back), OL Colby Gossett, DL Robert Nkemdiche (calf)

Chiefs: SS Eric Berry (heel), OL Kahlil McKenzie, DL Justin Hamilton, WR Sammy Watkins (foot), DB Josh Shaw, LB Frank Zombo (hamstring), OL Mitch Morse (concussion)

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ATLANTA-CLEVELAND

Falcons: K Matt Bryant, FB Ricky Ortiz, CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, S Keith Tandy, DE Steven Means, G Rees Odhiambo, T Matt Gono.

Browns: QB Drew Stanton, WR Da’Mari Scott, DB Juston Burris, OL Desmond Harrison, TE Pharaoh Brown, DL Chad Thomas, DL Carl Davis.

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NEW ORLEANS-CINCINNATI

Saints: C Will Clapp, DE Marcus Davenport, DL Mitchell Loewen, S J.T. Gray, OL Chaz Green, OL Michael Ola, LB Manti Te’o.

Bengals: WR A.J. Green, CB Darqueze Dennard, LB Nick Vigil, LB Vontaze Burfict, OL Alex Redmond, TE Tyler Kroft, WR Josh Malone.

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WASHINGTON-TAMPA BAY

Redskins: RB Chris Thompson, T Trent Williams, CB Quinton Dunbar, LB Zach Vigil, WR Jamison Crowder, LB Pernell McPhee, DL Caleb Brantley.

Buccaneers: QB Ryan Griffin, DE Vinny Curry, RB Ronald Jones II, OL Evan Smith, CB M.J. Stewart, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches, OL Alex Cappa.

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JACKSONVILLE-INDIANAPOLIS

Jaguars: CB A.J. Bouye, RB Dave Williams, CB Dee Delaney, CB Quenton Meeks, DT Eli Ankou, DE Lerentee McCray, OL Chris Reed.

Colts: OL Denzelle Good, CB Nate Hairston, TE Ryan Hewitt, S Mike Mitchell, DT Hassan Ridgeway, TE Erik Swoope, DL Kemoko Turay

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DETROIT-CHICAGO

Bears: WR Kevin White, DB Marcus Cooper Sr., LB Kylie Fitts, OL Rashaad Coward, WR Javon Wims, TE Dion Sims, DL Nick Williams

Lions: OG T.J. Lang, CB Darius Slay, TE Luke Willson, WR Bruce Ellington, LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB Eli Harold, OL Andrew Donnal

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BUFFALO-NEW YORK JETS

Bills: QB Josh Allen, QB Derek Anderson, RB Chris Ivory, TE Charles Clay, DE Trent Murphy, G Ike Boettger, OT Conor McDermott.

Jets: QB Sam Darnold, WR Robby Anderson, C Spencer Long, WR Deontay Burnett, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Derrick Jones, DL Folorunso Fatukasi.

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Brees, Brady closing in on catching Favre on TD passing list

Drew Brees and Tom Brady enter Week 10 of the NFL's schedule neck and neck in closing in on matching Brett Favre for second place on the career regular-season list.

Brees has 506 touchdowns passing, two behind Favre, as the New Orleans Saints play at Cincinnati. And Brady has 505 with his New

Drew Brees and Tom Brady enter Week 10 of the NFL’s schedule neck and neck in closing in on matching Brett Favre for second place on the career regular-season list.

Brees has 506 touchdowns passing, two behind Favre, as the New Orleans Saints play at Cincinnati. And Brady has 505 with his New England Patriots playing at Tennessee. Both are a little more than 30 behind Peyton Manning’s record of 539.

Brady does have chance to pass Manning on the career touchdowns passing list, including playoffs. Manning has 579, only three more than Brady.

On the other end of the quarterback matchup spectrum Sunday, the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets will feature a battle of the backups rather than far more intriguing AFC East showdown of two rookie first-round picks.

Matt Barkley is starting in place of Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who will miss his fourth straight game with a sprained throwing elbow. For New York, Josh McCown is starting in place Sam Darnold, who is sidelined by a strained right foot. Darnold was drafted third overall, four spots ahead of Allen.

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Week 11

Yard Rush Pass
Kansas City 3901 1058 2843
Pittsburgh 3779 951 2828
New England 3488 1045 2443
Denver 3394 1140 2254
Houston 3322 1082 2240
Baltimore 3299 834 2465
L.A. Chargers 3194 1031 2163

Yard Rush Pass
Kansas City 3901 1058 2843
Pittsburgh 3779 951 2828
New England 3488 1045 2443
Denver 3394 1140 2254
Houston 3322 1082 2240
Baltimore 3299 834 2465
L.A. Chargers 3194 1031 2163
Cleveland 3127 1121 2006
Indianapolis 3052 941 2111
Miami 2842 928 1914
Oakland 2830 760 2070
Jacksonville 2820 760 2060
N.Y. Jets 2795 990 1805
Cincinnati 2754 742 2012
Tennessee 2306 880 1426
Buffalo 2235 876 1359
DEFENSE
Yard Rush Pass
Jacksonville 2506 986 1520
Tennessee 2668 858 1810
Baltimore 2745 898 1847
Buffalo 2823 915 1908
L.A. Chargers 2892 899 1993
Indianapolis 2971 879 2092
Pittsburgh 3025 817 2208
Houston 3027 836 2191
N.Y. Jets 3165 983 2182
Oakland 3257 1156 2101
Denver 3276 1184 2092
New England 3429 961 2468
Miami 3546 1225 2321
Cincinnati 3582 1027 2555
Cleveland 3815 1250 2565
Kansas City 3847 1123 2724
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
OFFENSE
Yard Rush Pass
L.A. Rams 4024 1299 2725
Tampa Bay 3574 721 2853
Minnesota 3369 825 2544
Atlanta 3298 737 2561
Green Bay 3252 845 2407
New Orleans 3216 897 2319
Carolina 3215 1246 1969
San Francisco 3191 1212 1979
Philadelphia 2935 853 2082
Chicago 2869 1027 1842
N.Y. Giants 2826 623 2203
Detroit 2823 834 1989
Washington 2751 975 1776
Seattle 2719 1097 1622
Dallas 2537 1030 1507
Arizona 1866 540 1326
DEFENSE
Yard Rush Pass
Dallas 2536 799 1737
Chicago 2571 680 1891
Seattle 2666 918 1748
Washington 2748 715 2033
Green Bay 2819 957 1862
Philadelphia 2823 670 2153
Detroit 2857 1140 1717
Minnesota 2900 800 2100
N.Y. Giants 2931 979 1952
Arizona 2942 1145 1797
New Orleans 3102 611 2491
L.A. Rams 3138 948 2190
San Francisco 3165 925 2240
Carolina 3215 891 2324
Atlanta 3302 868 2434
Tampa Bay 3314 857 2457
AVERAGE PER GAME
AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
OFFENSE
Yards Rush Pass
Kansas City 433.4 117.6 315.9
Pittsburgh 419.9 105.7 314.2
L.A. Chargers 399.2 128.9 270.4
New England 387.6 116.1 271.4
Indianapolis 381.5 117.6 263.9
Denver 377.1 126.7 250.4
Houston 369.1 120.2 248.9
Baltimore 366.6 92.7 273.9
Oakland 353.8 95.0 258.8
Jacksonville 352.5 95.0 257.5
Cleveland 347.4 124.6 222.9
Cincinnati 344.2 92.8 251.5
Miami 315.8 103.1 212.7
N.Y. Jets 310.6 110.0 200.6
Tennessee 288.2 110.0 178.2
Buffalo 248.3 97.3 151.0
DEFENSE
Yards Rush Pass
Baltimore 305.0 99.8 205.2
Jacksonville 313.2 123.2 190.0
Buffalo 313.7 101.7 212.0
Tennessee 333.5 107.2 226.2
Pittsburgh 336.1 90.8 245.3
Houston 336.3 92.9 243.4
N.Y. Jets 351.7 109.2 242.4
L.A. Chargers 361.5 112.4 249.1
Denver 364.0 131.6 232.4
Indianapolis 371.4 109.9 261.5
New England 381.0 106.8 274.2
Miami 394.0 136.1 257.9
Oakland 407.1 144.5 262.6
Cleveland 423.9 138.9 285.0
Kansas City 427.4 124.8 302.7
Cincinnati 447.8 128.4 319.4
NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE
OFFENSE
Yards Rush Pass
L.A. Rams 447.1 144.3 302.8
Tampa Bay 446.8 90.1 356.6
Atlanta 412.2 92.1 320.1
Green Bay 406.5 105.6 300.9
New Orleans 402.0 112.1 289.9
Minnesota 374.3 91.7 282.7
Philadelphia 366.9 106.6 260.2
Chicago 358.6 128.4 230.2
Carolina 357.2 138.4 218.8
San Francisco 354.6 134.7 219.9
N.Y. Giants 353.2 77.9 275.4
Detroit 352.9 104.2 248.6
Washington 343.9 121.9 222.0
Seattle 339.9 137.1 202.8
Dallas 317.1 128.8 188.4
Arizona 233.2 67.5 165.8
DEFENSE
Yards Rush Pass
Dallas 317.0 99.9 217.1
Chicago 321.4 85.0 236.4
Minnesota 322.2 88.9 233.3
Seattle 333.2 114.8 218.5
Washington 343.5 89.4 254.1
L.A. Rams 348.7 105.3 243.3
San Francisco 351.7 102.8 248.9
Green Bay 352.4 119.6 232.8
Philadelphia 352.9 83.8 269.1
Detroit 357.1 142.5 214.6
Carolina 357.2 99.0 258.2
N.Y. Giants 366.4 122.4 244.0
Arizona 367.8 143.1 224.6
New Orleans 387.8 76.4 311.4
Atlanta 412.8 108.5 304.2
Tampa Bay 414.2 107.1 307.1

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NFL notebook: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

NFL notebook: Steelers' Bell unlikely to report by deadline

NFL notebook: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the team before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, meaning he will likely miss the entire 2018 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday.

According to the report, Bell’s camp has nothing to say and will not discuss with reporters the 26-year-old back’s plans for the coming week. Bell will not be eligible to play this season if he does not sign his franchise tag tender before Tuesday’s deadline.

Bell has been holding out after the Steelers failed to meet his contract demands, sacrificing more than $8 million in salary during the ongoing stalemate.

Reporting after the July 15 deadline to sign a long-term deal, but before Week 1, would have assured Bell the entirety of his $14.5 million franchise tender for 2018. He would forfeit the entire salary if he does not report before Tuesday.

–The New England Patriots have ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski for Sunday night’s road game against the Tennessee Titans, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“TE Rob Gronkowski (back, ankle) won’t play Sunday vs #Titans, source said. The team is taking the smart, cautious approach by making sure he’s back after the bye at full strength to close the season strong,” he tweeted.

Gronkowski played at Buffalo in Week 8 and finished with three catches, but was held out of the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears and last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots are on a bye next week and will face the New York Jets in Week 12.

–An MRI exam has confirmed New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant has a torn Achilles tendon, according to ESPN’s Schefter.

Bryant, who joined the Saints earlier this week, reportedly suffered the injury on the final play of practice on Friday. The recovery time is expected to be eight months.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract on Wednesday and was participating in his second practice when he was injured. With the injury to Bryant, 30, the Saints could take a second look at veteran Brandon Marshall, who also worked out for the team this week.

–Josh Allen has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, and the Buffalo Bills expect to start recently signed Matt Barkley at quarterback.

The team made the announcement, also stating that rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has cleared concussion protocol and will play. The Bills selected both Allen and Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

At quarterback, Barkley was the choice of head coach Sean McDermott over turnover-prone Nathan Peterman. Barkley, 28, was signed on Oct. 31 and is being sent onto the field in the manner veteran Derek Anderson was 12 days after signing.

–The NFL is monitoring fire-related conditions in California to determine if air quality will require any change to Sunday’s football schedule.

The Los Angeles Chargers are playing in Oakland on Sunday, while the Seattle Seahawks will meet the Rams in Los Angeles. Both games are set to begin in the 4 p.m. ET block.

Three fires are raging across the state, one in Northern California and two in Southern California. Thousands of people have evacuated their homes and 11 people had been killed as of Saturday afternoon. It is still unknown how many homes have been destroyed.

–The Washington Redskins downgraded receiver Jamison Crowder to out because of an ankle injury in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will be the fifth consecutive game that Crowder will miss. He was initially listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report before the team announced Saturday that he did not travel with the team and would miss the game.

Also missing the game will be standout left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Chris Thompson (rib). Both players are sitting out for the second straight game.

–Saints receiver Michael Thomas was fined $30,000 by the NFL for using a cellphone as a prop during a touchdown celebration last Sunday, multiple outlets reported.

Thomas’ actions occurred after he caught a 72-yard touchdown pass during a 45-35 victory over the previously unbeaten Rams.

Thomas had hidden a cellphone at the bottom of the goalpost and retrieved it after the touchdown. He grabbed the flip-phone and pretended to be having a conversation.

–The New York Giants cut offensive lineman Patrick Omameh.

Omameh, 28, was the starting right guard in Week 1. His release follows that of Ereck Flowers, who started at right tackle alongside Omameh to start the season.

General manager Dave Gettleman signed Omameh to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason. He was supposed to join left tackle Nate Solder, another offseason signee, in bolstering the offensive line to protect quarterback Eli Manning, who has been sacked 31 times this season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

Report: Steelers' Bell unlikely to report by deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon

Report: Steelers’ Bell unlikely to report by deadline

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell is unlikely to report to the team before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, meaning he will likely miss the entire 2018 season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday.

According to the report, Bell’s camp has nothing to say and will not discuss with reporters the 26-year-old back’s plans for the coming week. Bell will not be eligible to play this season if he does not sign his franchise tag tender before Tuesday’s deadline.

Bell has been holding out after the Steelers failed to meet his contract demands, sacrificing more than $8 million in salary during the ongoing stalemate. Reporting after the July 15 deadline to sign a long-term deal, but before Week 1, would have assured Bell the entirety of his $14.5 million franchise tender for 2018. He would forfeit the entire salary if he does not report before Tuesday.

Steelers owner Art Rooney II told Sirius XM Radio on Thursday that he expected Bell to report by Tuesday. Hoping that Bell would be in contact with the organization, Rooney added then, “We know he’s back in Pittsburgh, and so we’re hoping to have some communications with him over the weekend, and we’re kind of expecting he will be back next week.”

The Steelers could conceivably still tag Bell for the 2019 season, but would need to pay him the price of the quarterback franchise tag, which will equal more than $25 million on a single, fully-guaranteed contract. Many expect Pittsburgh to instead use the transition tag, which would cost around $10 million while allowing the opportunity to match any offer Bell gets from another team.

The Steelers, who lead the AFC North with a 6-2-1 record, have survived just fine without Bell. James Conner has picked up the slack considerably by rushing for 771 yards on 164 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns, along with 39 grabs for 387 yards and a score.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Saints WR Thomas fined $30K

Reports: Saints WR Thomas fined $30K

New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas was

Reports: Saints WR Thomas fined $30K

New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas was fined $30,000 by the NFL for using a cellphone as a prop during a touchdown celebration last Sunday, multiple outlets reported Saturday.

Thomas’ actions occurred after he caught a 72-yard touchdown pass during a 45-35 victory over the previously unbeaten Los Angeles Rams.

Thomas had hidden a cellphone at the bottom of the goalpost and retrieved it after the touchdown. He grabbed the flip-phone and pretended to be having a conversation.

The display was reminiscent of a famous celebration by former Saints receiver Joe Horn in 2003. Horn has also hid a phone at the bottom of the goalpost before retrieving it.

“I paid a tribute to him, tried to get the crowd going a little bit more, set the tone, have fun out there, giving people a show,” Thomas told reporters, referencing Horn. “You gotta have fun. All these guys just catching touchdowns and celebrating with each other, having fun, getting the crowd involved. I felt like I had an opportunity to make it happen, put the game away and make a call.”

Horn also drew a $30,000 fine for his celebration, which was his second offense of the season.

Horn told ESPN that Thomas’ gesture meant a lot to him. He said he texted Thomas to thank him.

Thomas had 12 receptions for a franchise-record 211 yards in the game against the Rams. He has 70 receptions for 880 yards and five touchdowns this season.

The Saints visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Saints WR Thomas fined $30,000 for phone celebration

NEW YORK (AP) — New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas has been fined $30,000 by the NFL for using a phone as a prop for a touchdown celebration in last week's victory over the Rams.

Thomas emulated former Saints wideout Joe Horn with his celebration, hiding the phone in the bottom of the

NEW YORK (AP) — New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas has been fined $30,000 by the NFL for using a phone as a prop for a touchdown celebration in last week’s victory over the Rams.

Thomas emulated former Saints wideout Joe Horn with his celebration, hiding the phone in the bottom of the goal post and pulling it out after scoring. He was fined for that and having a mobile device in the bench area.

Also fined was Carolina defensive tackle Vernon Butler, whose hit on Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick cost him a hefty $40,110.

Three players were docked $26,739: Ravens safety Eric Weddle for a hit on a defenseless receiver; Chargers rookie safety Derwin James for unnecessary roughness; and Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu (helmet-to-helmet hit).

A facemask penalty cost Dolphins DE Andre Branch $20,054. Chargers DE Darius Philon was fined the same amount for a hit on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Chiefs LB Anthony Hitchens was docked $13,369 for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Fined $10,026 were Rams tackle Rodger Saffold (unnecessary roughness); Jets offensive lineman Brandon Shell (unnecessary roughness); Bills tight end Logan Thomas (late hit); Bears linebacker Aaron Lynch (unsportsmanlike conduct); Packers safety Jermaine Whitehead (unnecessary roughness; he was also ejected against New England); and Titans safety Kevin Byard (taunting by running to the Cowboys star at AT&T Stadium).

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Wilkins, Benjamin lead Sun Devils past Bruins

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Manny Wilkins, in his final home game, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and Arizona State kept its Pac-12 South title hopes very much alive with a 31-28 victory over UCLA on Saturday.

Eno Benjamin carried it a career-high 34 times for 182 yards and a score

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Manny Wilkins, in his final home game, ran for two touchdowns and threw for another and Arizona State kept its Pac-12 South title hopes very much alive with a 31-28 victory over UCLA on Saturday.

Eno Benjamin carried it a career-high 34 times for 182 yards and a score for the Sun Devils (6-4, 4-3 Pac-12), who won their third straight — all over Pac-12 South foes — and became bowl eligible under first-year coach Herm Edwards.

UCLA (2-8, 2-5) lost its third straight but stayed with the Sun Devils throughout the game.

Wilton Speight, starting over freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback for the Bruins, completed 26 of 35 yards and two touchdowns, both to tight end Caleb Wilson, who had 11 catches for 164 yards.

Wilkins completed 16 of 22 for 199 yards and a touchdown but had an interception returned for a score. He rushed for 60 yards in 14 carries. N’Keal Harry, most likely in his final home game since he’s expected to leave for the NFL, had seven catches for 100 yards.

Speight’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Wilson cut Arizona State’s lead to 31-28 with 1:52 remaining. Arizona State recovered UCLA’s onside kick attempt but couldn’t move the ball and had to punt. But a sack and two false start penalties doomed the Bruins’ hopes.

Arizona State used up 8:05 of the clock in an 80-yard drive, capped by Wilkins’ 1-yard run that put the Sun Devils up 31-21 with 3:56 to play.

UCLA took the lead for the last time at 14-10 when Darnay Holmes picked off Wilkins’ pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown with 4:36 left in the first half.

But the Sun Devils responded with a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive, Wilkins throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Nick Ralston with 58 seconds left in the half to put Arizona State back on top 17-14. Frank Darby’s tip-toe catch on the sidelines for an 18-yard gain and Wilkins’ 17-yard pass to Kyle Williams helped set up the go-ahead score.

In the third quarter, the Bruins were driving for what would have been the go-ahead score when Speight’s pass was deflected and intercepted by Chase Lucas at the Sun Devils 24. Benjamin proceeded to rush for 74 yards — 41 on his first carry — in a 76-yard TD driving, scoring from the 1 on fourth down to put Arizona State up 24-14.

But the Bruins came right back and Speight’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Wilson cut it to 24-21 with 6:13 left in the third quarter.

THE TAKEAWAY

UCLA finishes a tough first season under Chip Kelly with a pair of home games against USC and Stanford. But the Bruins offense has been impressive the past two weeks.

Arizona State can win the Pac-12 South by winning out against Oregon next week and Arizona.

BENJAMIN ROLLS

Benjamin’s 1,295 yards rushing this season are the most by an Arizona State back since Freddie Williams gained 1,295 in 1975.

UP NEXT

UCLA: The Bruins host arch-rival USC next Saturday.

Arizona State: The Sun Devils face a tough road contest at Oregon next Saturday.

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Bills say QB Matt Barkley expected to start against Jets

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have ruled out rookie Josh Allen and announced that Matt Barkley is expected to start against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Barkley gets the nod instead of turnover-prone Nathan Peterman despite having just two weeks of practice experience in Buffalo. He was signed

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have ruled out rookie Josh Allen and announced that Matt Barkley is expected to start against the New York Jets on Sunday.

Barkley gets the nod instead of turnover-prone Nathan Peterman despite having just two weeks of practice experience in Buffalo. He was signed Oct. 30 and will become the fourth quarterback to start for the team this season. It will be his first start in two years.

Allen will miss his fourth straight game since spraining his right throwing elbow in a 20-13 loss at Houston on Oct. 14. The first-round pick practiced on a limited basis this week and will get additional time to recuperate with Buffalo entering its bye week after playing the Jets.

Veteran backup Derek Anderson had already been ruled out with a concussion.

Barkley is on his sixth team in six seasons, and has a 1-5 career record as a starter, all with the Bears in 2016. He was cut by Cincinnati in September after hurting his knee in a preseason game.

Peterman has thrown seven interceptions in four appearances this season, including three in a 41-9 loss to Chicago last weekend.

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Jets promote QB Davis Webb, place TE Neal Sterling on IR

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have signed quarterback Davis Webb from the practice squad and placed tight end Neal Sterling on season-ending injured reserve.

Webb will serve as the backup to Josh McCown on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Rookie starter Sam Darnold is sidelined with a strained right

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have signed quarterback Davis Webb from the practice squad and placed tight end Neal Sterling on season-ending injured reserve.

Webb will serve as the backup to Josh McCown on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Rookie starter Sam Darnold is sidelined with a strained right foot , so the 39-year-old McCown is starting in his place.

Coach Todd Bowles was uncertain Friday as to whether Darnold, who was hurt last Sunday at Miami, would be healthy enough to serve as the emergency backup despite not practicing all week. The Jets made the expected move Saturday of promoting Webb, a third-round pick of the Giants last year who was waived before the regular season.

Sterling suffered a concussion two weeks ago at Chicago, his second head injury in a seven-game span. He had six catches for 47 yards this season.

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Barkley expected to start for Bills on Sunday

Barkley expected to start for Bills on Sunday

Josh Allen has been

Barkley expected to start for Bills on Sunday

Josh Allen has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, and the Buffalo Bills expect to start recently signed Matt Barkley at quarterback.

The team made the announcement Saturday afternoon, also stating that rookie linebacker Tremaine Edmunds has cleared concussion protocol and will play.

The Bills selected both Allen and Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

At quarterback, Barkley was the choice of head coach Sean McDermott over turnover-prone Nathan Peterman.

Barkley, 28, was signed on Oct. 31 and is being sent onto the field in the manner veteran Derek Anderson was 12 days after signing. Anderson started in Week 7 at Indianapolis and the following week against New England, but he has been sidelined with a concussion since.

A fourth-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2013, Barkley hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2016 season, when he played for Chicago. He has passed for 1,911 yards, eight touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 11 career games (six starts).

Peterman threw three interceptions last Sunday in a loss to Chicago, giving him seven on the season to go along with just one touchdown pass. In his two-year career, 12 of his 130 attempted passes have been picked off.

–Field Level Media

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Giants cut former starting G Omameh

Giants cut former starting G Omameh

The New York Giants cut offensive lineman Patrick Omameh on Saturday.

Omameh, 28, was the starting right guard

Giants cut former starting G Omameh

The New York Giants cut offensive lineman Patrick Omameh on Saturday.

Omameh, 28, was the starting right guard in Week 1. His release follows that of Ereck Flowers, who started at right tackle alongside Omameh to start the season.

General manager Dave Gettleman signed Omameh to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason. He was supposed to join left tackle Nate Solder, another offseason signee, in bolstering the offensive line to protect quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning has been sacked 31 times this season.

Omameh was moved to a backup role last month after starting the first six games. Last week, the Giants claimed Jamon Brown, a former starting guard for the Los Angeles Rams, making Omameh expendable.

“It’s always hard when you release a veteran, especially a guy like Pat, probably one of my favorite people that I’ve met doing this,” coach Pat Shurmur said, per the New York Post. “Sometimes it’s about the player, sometimes it’s about the situation, the numbers and all that. We wish Pat well.”

Either Brown or John Greco is expected to start at right guard when the Giants play the San Francisco 49ers Monday night.

The Giants were Omameh’s fourth team. He previously played for Tampa Bay, Chicago and Jacksonville.

Wide receiver/kick returner Quadree Henderson, who was waived and signed to the practice squad earlier this week, has been added back to the roster.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins rule out WR Crowder vs. Bucs

Redskins rule out WR Crowder vs. Bucs

The

Redskins rule out WR Crowder vs. Bucs

The Washington Redskins downgraded receiver Jamison Crowder to out due to an ankle injury in advance of Sunday’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will be the fifth consecutive game that Crowder will miss.

Crowder was initially listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report before the team announced Saturday that he didn’t travel with the team and would miss the game.

Crowder caught 13 passes for 134 yards and one touchdown over Washington’s first four games.

Also missing the game will be standout left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and running back Chris Thompson (rib).

Both players are sitting out for the second straight game.

–Field Level Media

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Report: MRI confirms Bryant tore Achilles

Report: MRI confirms Bryant tore Achilles

An MRI exam

Report: MRI confirms Bryant tore Achilles

An MRI exam has confirmed New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant has a torn Achilles tendon, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“Not that there was a question but MRI confirmed that Dez Bryant tore his Achilles, per source. An expected 8-month recovery,” Schefter tweeted.

Bryant, who joined the Saints earlier this week, reportedly suffered the injury on the final play of practice on Friday.

Bryant was helped off the field and slated for an MRI exam to confirm the season-ending injury.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract on Wednesday and was participating in his second practice when he was injured.

Bryant made a comment on Twitter Friday night that suggested he knew the injury he suffered was serious.

“Things was just starting to heat up for me… I won’t question the man upstairs… this is the ultimate test.. thank you everyone for the prayers,” Bryant tweeted.

Tight end Benjamin Watson responded to Bryant’s tweet.

“Just one stop on the journey my brother. You’ve already left your mark on this locker room even though it’s only been two days. Looking forward to seeing you ball again. Keep pressing on!! We are here for you!” Watson tweeted.

Earlier Friday, coach Sean Payton told reporters that Bryant was learning the offense.

“Just getting him up to speed as quickly as possible,” Payton said.

With the injury to Bryant, 30, the Saints could take a second look at veteran Brandon Marshall, who also worked out for the team this week.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Gronk ruled out vs. Titans on Sunday

Report: Gronk ruled out vs. Titans on Sunday

The New England

Report: Gronk ruled out vs. Titans on Sunday

The New England Patriots have ruled out tight end Rob Gronkowski for Sunday night’s road game against the Tennessee Titans, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

“TE Rob Gronkowski (back, ankle) won’t play Sunday vs #Titans, source said. The team is taking the smart, cautious approach by making sure he’s back after the bye at full strength to close the season strong,” he tweeted.

Gronkowski played at Buffalo in Week 8 and finished with three catches, but was held out of the Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears and last week’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Patriots are on a bye next week and face the New York Jets in Week 12.

For the season, Gronkowski has 29 catches for 448 yards and one touchdown.

–Field Level Media

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Saints place Bryant on injured reserve, promote Kirkwood

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dez Bryant's season is over before it had even begun.

The New Orleans Saints placed the newly acquired Bryant on injured reserve Saturday, promoting receiver Keith Kirkwood from the practice squad to the active roster before Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

Bryant was injured during his second practice with New

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dez Bryant’s season is over before it had even begun.

The New Orleans Saints placed the newly acquired Bryant on injured reserve Saturday, promoting receiver Keith Kirkwood from the practice squad to the active roster before Sunday’s game at Cincinnati.

Bryant was injured during his second practice with New Orleans on Friday. A person familiar with the situation says Bryant has a torn Achilles tendon. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the Saints have not announced details of the veteran receiver’s injury.

The 30-year-old Bryant became a free agent in April after eight seasons with Dallas. He’d been looking for a new team until signing with New Orleans on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-3 Kirkwood is a 24-year-old undrafted rookie out of Temple.

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AP Source: Bryant has torn Achilles

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says medical examinations and imaging have confirmed that Saints receiver Dez Bryant has a torn Achilles, ending his season before it had begun.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the Saints have not announced details of

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says medical examinations and imaging have confirmed that Saints receiver Dez Bryant has a torn Achilles, ending his season before it had begun.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the Saints have not announced details of the veteran receiver’s medical exam or updated Friday’s injury report. Bryant was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Cincinnati with an ankle injury. But the receiver made it clear on social media that he’d had a significant setback, calling his path to recovery the “ultimate test.”

Bryant became a free agent in April after eight seasons with Dallas. He’d been looking for a new team until signing with New Orleans on Wednesday. He was injured during just his second practice.

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NFL notebook: Saints WR Bryant reportedly hurts Achilles

NFL notebook: Saints WR Bryant reportedly hurts Achilles

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez

NFL notebook: Saints WR Bryant reportedly hurts Achilles

New Orleans Saints receiver Dez Bryant is being evaluated for a possible torn Achilles tendon, multiple outlets reported Friday.

Bryant, who joined the Saints earlier this week, reportedly suffered the injury on the final play of practice. Bryant was helped off the field and scheduled to undergo an MRI exam. An Achilles injury would be season-ending.

Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, agreed to a one-year, $600,000 contract on Wednesday and was participating in his second practice when he was injured.

A serious injury to Bryant, 30, could lead to the Saints taking a second look at veteran Brandon Marshall, who also worked out for the team this week.

–Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette was cleared to return Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, according to a Florida Times-Union report.

Fournette was cleared for his first game action in six weeks after making it through a full week of practice with no setbacks to his chronic hamstring injury. He was not listed on the team’s injury report for Sunday’s game. Quarterback Blake Bortles (left shoulder) also participated in practice and is cleared to play.

Fournette has not played since Week 4 because of the injury and has appeared in only two games this season. The 3-5 Jaguars are on a four-game losing streak.

–Days after being spotted playing basketball in Pittsburgh, holdout running back Le’Veon Bell’s return to the Steelers could be imminent, according to team president Art Rooney II.

During an interview on Sirius XM radio, Rooney said, “I don’t know what his plans are, but I would say that at this point we expect him to come back next week.”

Bell must report by Tuesday or will become ineligible to play this season. Bell’s holding out after the Steelers failed to meet his contract demands, sacrificing more than $8 million in salary during the ongoing stalemate.

–Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is undergoing tests on his hip to determine whether he will be healthy enough to start in Week 11, multiple outlets reported.

Flacco was injured on the first series of Baltimore’s 23-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 9. Flacco remained in the game despite showing visible discomfort on the sideline.

NFL Network reported Flacco has been on crutches and is dealing with significant pain. The Ravens are currently on their bye week, but Flacco’s availability could be in doubt for Week 11 against Cincinnati. That could lead to rookie Lamar Jackson making his first career start.

–The New York Jets know who will start at quarterback on Sunday when they host the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. The Bills aren’t so sure.

The Buffalo News reported that Matt Barkley, signed as a free agent 10 days ago, could start over turnover-prone Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen, who is coming off an elbow injury. Allen is listed as questionable and Derek Anderson still is feeling the effects of a concussion suffered Oct. 29 against New England.

For the Jets, 39-year-old Josh McCown will start. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold (foot) was listed as doubtful Friday for the game. He did not practice during the week and head coach Todd Bowles said Thursday that Davis Webb will be signed from the practice squad to back up McCown if Darnold cannot.

–Former Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg has signed to play in the upstart Alliance of American Football.

The league, which starts its first season in February, included Hackenberg on a list of new players. A product of Penn State, Hackenberg was taken by the Jets in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but he never played a down in two seasons in New York.

–The NFL fined Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard $10,026 for his dancing and stomping on the Dallas Cowboys’ midfield star, ESPN reported.

Byard’s celebration occurred after he intercepted a pass during Monday night’s 28-14 victory over the Cowboys. Byard raced from the end zone to midfield after the first-quarter play. Several of his teammates joined him.

“I made the play, and I ran straight to the 50-yard line,” Byard told reporters after the game. “It was kind of off the wall a little bit.” Titans coach Mike Vrabel wasn’t too thrilled with Byard’s antics.

–The Los Angeles Rams called off practice in Thousand Oaks, Calif., due to devastating wildfires in the region that have caused mass evacuations, property damage and led to road closures that would affect several people within the organization.

Los Angeles County Fire officials announced early Friday that the 101 Freeway was closed and that one of the fires had torched some 8,000 acres and with zero containment. That fire began Thursday afternoon and had jumped the freeway just 12 minutes later.

The Rams (8-1) are still scheduled to play host to the Seattle Seahawks (4-4) on Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

–Field Level Media

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