GoFundMe page launched to get Peterman to retire

GoFundMe page launched to get Peterman to retire

At least one Buffalo fan is so tired of Nathan Peterman even being in a Bills uniform, he began a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise enough money to pay the quarterback to retire.

The page reads:

“Nathan Peterman, we understand your passion to play football and especially in the NFL. But please for the love of God retire and leave and never come back. WE WILL GIVE YOU MONEY, JUST LEAVE!”

The page was created on Sunday and has a goal of raising $1 million; as of 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, it had raised $137. Comments on the page were mixed as to whether it was too mean or worthy of a donation. And long-suffering Bills fans had a little fun with the page, as among the names of those to donate to the fund:

–Terry and Kim Pegula (team owners)

–Jim Kelly (Hall of Fame Bills quarterback)

–Colin Kaepernick (free agent quarterback)

–Derek Anderson, Josh Allen and Matt Barkley (current Bills quarterbacks)

–Josh McDaniels (New England Patriots offensive coordinator)

The first two seasons of Peterman’s career have certainly been brutal. He has 549 passing yards, three touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 32.5 passer rating in eight career regular-season games (four starts). That includes his infamous first career start, in which he threw five interceptions before halftime against the Los Angeles Chargers last season.

Injuries forced Peterman into the starting role last Sunday, and while he did throw for a career-high 189 yards, he also tossed three interceptions without a touchdown in a 41-9 loss to the Chicago Bears.

–Field Level Media

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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Safety Jones says he and Dolphins are ‘on the same page’

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Reshad Jones is expressing no regrets and offering no explanation.

The Miami Dolphins safety mysteriously took himself out of last week's win over the New York Jets and watched the second half from the sideline. In the aftermath, coach Adam Gase said communication problems between defensive coordinator Matt Burke

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Reshad Jones is expressing no regrets and offering no explanation.

The Miami Dolphins safety mysteriously took himself out of last week’s win over the New York Jets and watched the second half from the sideline. In the aftermath, coach Adam Gase said communication problems between defensive coordinator Matt Burke and players needed to be addressed.

On Wednesday, Jones declined to say why he was a spectator for much of the game, but he may have been unhappy with the Dolphins’ plan to rotate safeties against the Jets. He came out after only 10 snaps.

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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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Falcons sign veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year deal, 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. His signing was announced

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons have signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year deal, 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. His signing was announced Wednesday by the Falcons, who did not release terms of the deal.

The 31-year-old Irvin 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 played two seasons with Seattle when Quinn was the team’s defensive coordinator.

The Falcons rank 14th in the league with 17 sacks. Irvin had three sacks with Oakland but recently had been on the field only in the te am’s nickel defense.

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Panthers-Steelers figures to be offensive shootout

Panthers-Steelers figures to be offensive shootout

The Thursday night matchup of the visiting Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers shapes up as a showdown of big offenses.

Pittsburgh running back James Conner has emerged as one of the top stories in the NFL. A fill-in for the disgruntled Le'Veon Bell,

Panthers-Steelers figures to be offensive shootout

The Thursday night matchup of the visiting Carolina Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers shapes up as a showdown of big offenses.

Pittsburgh running back James Conner has emerged as one of the top stories in the NFL. A fill-in for the disgruntled Le’Veon Bell, Conner has four consecutive 100-yard rushing games to stand second in the league with 706 rushing yards overall. He also has proven effective catching the ball out of the backfield.

“He’s a beast,” Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly said of Conner, according to the Panthers’ website. “They are really good up front — they’re big and physical. They work really together, but that guy is really good. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.

“He’s like these new-age backs where they are good, obviously, running the ball, but he can catch the ball and cause some mismatches as well.”

The two other biggest names in Pittsburgh’s offense haven’t changed. Receiver Antonio Brown is off his standard pace with 51 catches for 594 yards, but he is tops among receivers with nine touchdowns.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has spread the ball around primarily to Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, his tight ends and Conner. His average of 320 passing yards per game ranks third in the NFL.

The Steelers (5-2-1) have won four in a row. The Panthers (6-2) have won three straight.

Roethlisberger’s counterpart, Cam Newton, has been limited in practice because of a right shoulder problem, but that is considered to be precautionary, and Newton should be ready to go.

With 1,893 passing yards, Newton easily could eclipse 2,000 Thursday. He has averaged 245 passing yards a game during the winning streak, with two touchdown tosses in each of the games. He has rushed for 342 yards and four touchdowns this year.

Christian McCaffrey is Conner’s counterpart. He leads the Panthers with 502 yards rushing, and like Conner, is also a threat catching the ball.

“You should start with Cam Newton because he can run it, he can throw it, he’s strong, he can make all the throws (with) accuracy from a distance standpoint,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

“But I really think what’s going on with them is looking at the infusion of roles between what he and McCaffrey are able to do. You talk about multitalented players, multidimensional players that are really performing well together.”

The short week can exacerbate injury situations, but that seems to be affecting Carolina more than Pittsburgh.

Ryan Kalil did not practice Monday and Tuesday, but coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers “feel pretty comfortable” about the center being ready Thursday.

“He did some stuff with the trainers and he’s feeling pretty good,” Rivera said.

Carolina safety Eric Reid has been limited in practice after he finished Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay despite a sprained right shoulder. Receiver Torrey Smith (knee) did not practice Tuesday, and he could miss a third consecutive game.

Pittsburgh looks to be in good shape. The only new injury was to receiver James Washington (knee), who was a full participant in practice Tuesday.

Roethlisberger was limited in practice Tuesday, but that was because of a broken left (non-throwing) index finger, which did not stop him from playing a full game Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (knee) seems likely to miss his third game in a row, but Matt Feiler has filled in capably as a starter for two weeks, playing a part in Conner’s rushing total.

–Field Level Media

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Most Improved Players playing key roles at halfway point

NEW YORK (AP) — Established superstars such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers grab all the attention when their teams do well.

But a team's success or failure can often be determined by which players make the biggest jump from year to year.

Key players such as Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes and Pittsburgh's

NEW YORK (AP) — Established superstars such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers grab all the attention when their teams do well.

But a team’s success or failure can often be determined by which players make the biggest jump from year to year.

Key players such as Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Pittsburgh’s James Conner have played major roles in their respective teams being in first place through Week 9.

And it isn’t always offensive players. Of the 32 teams, nearly half (15) have featured a defensive player and one had a kicker among the most improved.

At the halfway point of this NFL season, here’s a look at the most improved players for each team:

AFC EAST

New England: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy. The Patriots traded for Van Noy out of necessity two years ago. He’s grown into one of the most versatile players on New England’s defense. Used almost exclusively at outside linebacker last season, he’s now asked to play on the line at times, is an option in multiple blitz packages as well as in zone and man coverages.

Miami: Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil is becoming a top-shelf left tackle in his third season. He was plagued by penalties and other lapses, but has benefited from the mentoring of left guard Josh Sitton, who signed with the Dolphins this year.

Buffalo: Linebacker Matt Milano. Milano is starting alongside first-round pick Tremaine Edmunds in essentially a two-linebacker defensive formation. A fifth-round pick in 2017, Milano was eased into the starting lineup and finished with five starts. This year, he’s has started all nine games, credited with 55 tackles.

N.Y. Jets: Linebacker Darron Lee. Lee was their first-round pick out of Ohio State in 2016 and has been slow to live up to his lofty draft status. He finished second on the team in tackles each of his first two seasons, but big-time impact plays were missing for a middle linebacker. He’s off to the best start of his career as a more consistent playmaker.

AFC SOUTH

Houston: Defensive back Kareem Jackson. Jackson had a bad 2017 at cornerback, but has played both cornerback and safety this season and has been strong in a secondary that has dealt with numerous injuries.

Tennessee: Linebacker Jayon Brown. A fifth-round pick out of UCLA in 2017, the second-year linebacker is leading the Titans both in total tackles and with four sacks. The speedy Brown has started three of eight games this season and has been a key piece of a defense currently allowing the fewest points in the NFL.

Jacksonville: Kicker Josh Lambo. Lambo has made a team-record 23 consecutive field goals in the regular season, including a career-best 57-yarder in London. He had made 27 in a row, including the playoffs, and all 12 of his extra points in 2018.

Indianapolis: Quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck didn’t just miss all 16 games last season but 26 of 45 overall because of various injuries (shoulder, lacerated kidney, concussion and then shoulder again). Luck has completed 65.8 percent of his passes, is second in TD passes (23) and is on pace to top 4,000 yards again.

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh: Running back James Conner. Conner has seamlessly replaced Le’Veon Bell with four games with at least 100 rushing yards, 50 receiving yards and at least one touchdown, the most such games by a player in a single season in NFL history. Conner has 1,085 scrimmage yards (706 rushing, 379 receiving) and 10 total touchdowns (nine rushing, one receiving).

Cincinnati: Wide receiver Tyler Boyd. Boyd has been a solid complement to star A.J. Green. He has 49 catches for 620 yards and five TDs and will be counted on in the second half with Green dealing with a toe injury.

Baltimore: Quarterback Joe Flacco. Despite his team’s recent slump, Flacco has done well for the Ravens. He’s got 12 TDs, six interceptions, 2,465 yards passing and an 84.15 QB rating. Last year, Flacco finished at 18 TDs, 13 INTs and 80.4. He had 3,141 yards.

Cleveland: Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi. Ogunjobi, a third-round pick in 2017, made one start as a rookie. The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder has developed into a stout run stopper. He also has quickness to get to the quarterback. His presence inside has forced teams to adjust their blocking schemes and given Myles Garrett some favorable one-on-one matchups.

AFC WEST

Kansas City: Quarterback Pat Mahomes. Mahomes started Week 17 last year, but in his first full season as No. 1 QB he’s breaking records all over the place. Mahomes, who appeared in his 10th career game last Sunday against Cleveland, has 29 touchdown passes and 3,185 passing yards, both the most by a player in his first 10 games.

L.A. Chargers: Running back Austin Ekeler. The second-year player, an undrafted free agent, is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and 12 yards a reception. Ekeler has teamed with Melvin Gordon to form one of the league’s top running back duos.

Denver: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He was hurt most of 2017 and caught two TD passes, both in Week 2 vs Cowboys. Last year, he had 47 catches for 555 yards in 12 games. This year, he has 56 catches for 707 yards and three TDs and even threw for a TD, hitting fellow SMU alum Courtland Sutton vs. Arizona.

Oakland: Running back Jalen Richard. Richard showed flashes his first two seasons as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Mississippi, but has emerged as a key part of coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

NFC EAST

Washington: Safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions as a key part of a secondary that has Washington in first place.

Philadelphia: Running back Wendell Smallwood. Smallwood has a career-best 400 scrimmage yards (257 rushing, 143 receiving) along with one rushing TD and two receiving TDs after only playing eight games last year when he was inactive often.

Dallas: Linebacker Jaylon Smith. The former Notre Dame standout is finally showing his college form almost three years removed from a devastating left knee injury in his final game for the Irish.

N.Y. Giants: Wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Shepard has 40 catches for 542 yards and two touchdowns. Despite a porous offensive line, he is on pace for career highs.

NFC SOUTH

New Orleans: Defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. Rankins was a 2016 first-rounder who missed the first half of his rookie season with a leg injury. Last season, he was solid, but highlights were few. Through the first eight games, Rankins has four sacks and 21 total tackles, on pace for considerable increases in those categories.

Carolina: Defensive tackle Kyle Love. Love is a backup, but is making some outstanding plays in the middle of the line, including a forced fumble in Week 8 against Ravens RB Alex Collins that led to a TD and helped turn the game.

Atlanta: Free safety Damontae Kazee. Kazee is tied for the NFL lead with four interceptions. He was forced into a starting role after Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen were placed on IR.

Tampa Bay: Tight end O.J. Howard. The Bucs attribute Howard’s growth to being in his second year, being more comfortable with the playbook and the offense in general. He has caught three touchdown passes in the past two games.

NFC NORTH

Chicago: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky has a 96.1 passer rating, 64.6 percent completion rate, 16 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a 5-3 record. Last year, he had a 77.5 rating, 59.4 percent completion rate, seven TD passes, seven interceptions and a 4-8 record.

Minnesota: Defensive end Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly was a seventh-round draft pick in 2016 who spent most of the season on the practice squad and mostly was on special teams in 2017. But when Everson Griffen was sidelined, Weatherly moved into the starting lineup and had seven tackles, two quarterback hits and one sack in his first career start against the Bills.

Green Bay: Defensive lineman Kenny Clark. Clark, playing in his first-year of coordinator Mike Pettine’s system, already has four sacks in seven games, nearly equaling his output (4½) last year.

Detroit: Wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay has surpassed his rookie season production and that allowed the Lions to trade Golden Tate to the Eagles at the deadline. He has 33 receptions for 523 yards and three touchdowns.

NFC WEST

L.A. Rams: Linebacker Cory Littleton. After two years as a backup linebacker and special teams guy, Littleton, an undrafted free agent, earned the starting job when Alec Ogletree was traded in the offseason.

Seattle: Running back Chris Carson. Carson showed flashes last year before getting hurt, but the combo of a better offensive line and a new running scheme has fully displayed his skills.

Arizona: Safety Budda Baker. Baker has made a big impact after having his role greatly expanded after being a first-team All-Pro on special teams as a rookie. Now he’s a significant part of the regular defense, not just a special teams ace.

San Francisco: Tight end George Kittle. Kittle was a pleasant surprise as a fifth-round pick last year with 43 catches for 515 yards after being mostly used as a blocker at Iowa. He now is one of the game’s most well-rounded tight ends. He ranks third at the position with 41 catches and second with 692 yards and is a powerful blocker in the run game.

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Ex-Vikes DT sues Andrews, others over surgery complication

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has filed a lawsuit against famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews and several other parties for alleged negligence during a 2016 knee surgery that caused career-ending complications, seeking at least $180 million for potentially lost earnings.

Brad Sohn, an attorney for Floyd, confirmed Tuesday

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd has filed a lawsuit against famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews and several other parties for alleged negligence during a 2016 knee surgery that caused career-ending complications, seeking at least $180 million for potentially lost earnings.

Brad Sohn, an attorney for Floyd, confirmed Tuesday the complaint was filed in Orlando, Florida, in the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court for Orange County. Sohn said he believes the case can be made for damages exceeding $200 million, when projecting career contract values for the NFL’s premier defensive tackles.

Floyd carried that potential, but he played in only 44 games, the last on Sept. 11, 2016.

“He’s trying to figure out what’s next for him in life,” Sohn said. “That’s not an easy thing, because he had no interest in ceasing to play football.”

Floyd was drafted by the Vikings out of Florida with the 23rd overall pick in 2013, and he became a full-time starter in his second season. Floyd missed three games in 2015 for cartilage cleanup in his left knee, which continued to bother him the following training camp after the Vikings exercised the fifth-year option on his contract. After playing in the 2016 season opener, Floyd needed a similar arthroscopic operation on the right knee.

During that surgery, Sohn said, doctors determined a more comprehensive procedure was necessary to help stimulate regrowth of Floyd’s cartilage. After drilling into the knee bone, a post-operation pain blocker was injected into the nerve.

Floyd’s leg never fully recovered enough to be able to return to the field. He was placed on the non-football injury list before the 2017 season, after which his rookie contract expired.

“Sharrif is never going to play football again because of permanent nerve and muscle damage in and around his right knee and right lower leg. That was directly caused, we allege, from the nerve block,” Sohn said. “The only reason it was even arguably necessary is because a far more significant surgery was performed than what had been represented to Sharrif. They told him he’d go in for a routine scope and be out a few weeks, and then they did a really complex procedure and required a significant pain intervention that ended his career.”

Andrews, two surgical fellows, an anesthesiologist, the hospital and the organizations associated with the doctors are named as defendants in the case. The Associated Press left a message Tuesday night with the Florida-based Andrews Institute seeking comment.

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