The Latest: Watson and Rivers throw 2 TDs in victories

The Latest on Week 9 in the NFL (all times EST):

7:38 p.m.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes, helping the Houston Texans beat the Denver Broncos 19-17.

The Texans have won six in a row after opening with three losses. They joined the 1970 New York Giants as the only NFL teams to pull off that feat since 1970.

Philip Rivers also had two touchdown passes in a win, lifting the Los Angeles Chargers to a 25-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Rivers started his 200th straight game in the regular season, a milestone reached by just three other NFL quarterbacks: Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning.

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7:25 p.m.

The New Orleans Saints have built another double-digit cushion against the Los Angeles Rams.

Drew Brees’ 72-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas converted a third down and helped New Orleans take a 45-35 lead with 3:52 left to play. New Orleans led the Rams 35-14 late in the first half, then gave up 21 straight points, before taking the lead back to put them on the brink of their first loss.

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7:03 p.m.

Malcolm Brown should get credit from the judges for degree of difficulty .

The Los Angeles Rams running back scored in spectacular fashion in the third quarter on an 18-yard catch, helping his undefeated team rally at New Orleans.

Brown hurdled Saints safety Marcus Williams when he tried to take his legs out inside the 10. Brown landed on his right foot and then got his left foot down as he twisted near the sideline before lunging to get the ball over the goal line.

The Rams pulled into a 35-all tie early with 9:58 left to play after trailing by 21 points late in the second quarter.

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6:14 p.m.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have the Los Angeles Rams on the brink of defeat.

The Saints led the undefeated Rams 35-17 at halftime.

Brees had a lot to do with that. He was 17 of 22 for 211 yards with three touchdowns, to three different teammates, over the first two quarters.

Todd Gurley scored in his 12th straight game for the Rams, breaking a franchise record he shared with Hall of Famer Elroy Hirsch.

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5:55 p.m.

Seattle took some choreographed steps toward having the best touchdown celebrations in the NFL.

Russell Wilson threw a 10-yard scoring pass to Jaron Brown midway through the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers, sparking the Seahawks’ latest display of creativity. Brown lined up behind three teammates in the end zone. Two of them slid to the left and two slid to the right, parting the way for Brown to finish off the fun with some dance moves.

In last week’s win at Detroit, the Seahawks acted out a baseball scene in the end zone.

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5:32 p.m.

Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes in the first half at Denver, giving him 36 career touchdown passes and putting him in company with two Hall of Famers.

The Houston Texans quarterback threw 19 passes in seven games as a rookie in 2017 and is nearing that total in his second season through nine games.

Dan Marino and Kurt Warner are the only other players in NFL history to throw at least 35 touchdown passes over the first 16 games of their career.

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5:10 p.m.

Philip Rivers is starting in his 200th consecutive game, a milestone just three NFL quarterbacks have ever reached.

Rivers took the first snap for the Los Angeles Chargers against Seattle to join Brett Favre, Eli Manning and Peyton Manning as the quarterbacks in league history to start at least 200 games. Favre started an NFL-record 297 straight times in the regular season.

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4:40 p.m.

Houston didn’t waste time getting Demaryius Thomas the ball in his Texans debut against his old team.

The standout receiver turned a screen pass into a 31-yard gain on Houston’s fourth play of the game and he had an 18-yard reception on the next snap against the Denver Broncos.

His two catches for 49 yards set up a touchdown pass to Jordan Thomas.

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4:14 p.m.

Julio Jones’ touchdown drought is done.

The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver caught a 35-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins, dragging safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on the way into the end zone. His score helped Atlanta beat Washington 38-14

It was Jones’ first touchdown since Nov. 26, 2017. He had played in 12 games since his previous score.

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4:04 p.m.

The Washington Redskins’ banged-up offensive line got a break with the return of Morgan Moses against Atlanta. Or, maybe not. The right tackle returned in the second quarter after limping off the field in the first. Moses was then called for holding, negating a 28-yard gain that would have put Washington in position to attempt a field goal.

Washington lost left guard Shawn Lauvao to an injured left knee on its first drive against the Falcons. The Redskins started the game without Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams after he had surgery on his right thumb. Lauvao was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair.

Atlanta was leading 38-14 late in the game.

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3:50 p.m.

Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seemed to survive a scare.

Roethlisberger went down after landing hard on the field after a sprint from the pocket, but was able to return after being out briefly. He was tackled from behind by Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith and remained prone for a lengthy stretch of time. It appeared he landed hard on his shoulder, but appeared OK after being helped off the field.

The play occurred early in the fourth quarter with Pittsburgh leading the Ravens 20-13. Josh Dobbs came in to play quarterback for one play before Big Ben returned. Not long after that, Roethlisberger completed a 51-yard pass to Jesse James.

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3:40 p.m.

The Denver Broncos are going to honor former receiver Demaryius Thomas with a video tribute before their game with Thomas’ new team, the Houston Texans.

Thomas returned to Denver five days after his trade to Houston.

The Broncos also put a “Thank you, D.T.” message on the 10-story high poster of Thomas that graces the south side of Mile High Stadium.

The message was right above the tunnel where the Texans’ buses pulled into the stadium.

—Arnie Stapleton reporting from Denver.

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3:05 p.m.

Patrick Mahomes is lighting up the scoreboard again.

Kansas City’s quarterback had three touchdown passes early in the third quarter at Cleveland. Mahomes has 29 TD passes this season, one shy of the team record set by Hall of Famer Len Dawson in 1964.

Mahomes threw a 50-yard TD pass to Kareem Hunt and an 11-yarder to Travis Kelce in the first half. He hooked up again with Kelce on a 13-yarder early in second half.

By halftime, he had more yards passing (3,042) and touchdown passes (28) in his first 10 career games than any other player in league history since 1950.

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2:47 p.m.

Dalvin Cook has made an immediate impact for the Minnesota Vikings in his return to action after missing five of the past six games because of a hamstring injury.

The second-year running back had a career-long, 70-yard run in the second quarter against Detroit. That set up a short touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen. Cook has eight carries for 86 yards in the first half against the Lions, who are last in the league in run defense.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is back for the Lions after a six-game absence because of a shoulder injury. He sacked Cousins in the closing seconds of the second quarter to force a field goal. The Vikings lead early in the third quarter.

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2:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has scored for the ninth time, setting a franchise record for touchdowns through the first eight games in a year.

His latest touchdown came on a 6-yard throw from Ben Roethlisberger, who threw a screen to him and watched as he made a move to get the space he needed to get into the end zone in the second quarter.

Brown also made a spectacular catch in the first half against the Baltimore Ravens, but his leaping grab didn’t count because he was out of bounds.

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2:09 p.m.

James Conner continues to do a fantastic job filling in for Le’Veon Bell.

Pittsburgh’s breakout running back scored his 10th touchdown on a 7-yard catch in the first quarter at Baltimore. Since 1950, no one has scored more touchdowns for the Steelers through eight games than Conner. He has made the most of his opportunity to play for Bell, who hasn’t signed his one-year franchise tender.

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1:42 p.m.

The Washington Redskins are missing most of their starting offensive linemen just minutes into their game against Atlanta.

Washington lost left guard Shawn Lauvao to an injured left knee on its first drive and right tackle Morgan Moses to an injured right knee on its second possession. The Redskins started the game without Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams after he had surgery on his right thumb.

Lauvao was taken to the locker room in a wheelchair. Moses limped off the field. Both were listed as questionable to return.

The Redskins were behind Falcons 7-0 late in the first quarter.

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1:22 p.m.

Former NFL receiver Steve Smith has shared a secret.

He acknowledged on the NFL Network he left his Carolina Panthers’ playbook for his new team, the Baltimore Ravens, to find when he was released in 2013. It’s not unusual for players to share secrets about their former team after being released or waived, but it is difficult to recall anyone talking about it publicly.

“When I came in I had the playbook and said, ‘It will be on my desk and what you do with it is on you,'” Smith recalled .

Smith said the playbook was missing from his locker for a couple of days before it was returned and he took it home. Smith said he had a copy of the Panthers’ playbook because it was given to him by another player who was cut a couple years before he was released by the team. Smith said he thought the playbook might be helpful if he got into coaching after his playing career.

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1 p.m.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is wearing custom cleats emblazoned with a Star of David, adorned with the phrase “Stronger Than Hate,” in response to recent shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. The Star of David is in yellow and serves as the upper part of the Steelers logo.

Roethlisberger and his wife are friends of Michele Rosenthal, a former team employee. Two of Rosenthal’s brothers were among the 11 killed in the late-October shooting.

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12:46 p.m.

The surging Pittsburgh Steelers and the slumping Baltimore Ravens are among the NFL teams kicking off Week 9.

The AFC North-leading Steelers (4-2-1) are aiming for their fourth straight win on the road against the division rival Ravens (4-4), who have lost three of four.

Gregg Williams has a challenging debut as Cleveland’s interim head coach as the Browns (2-5-1) host the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs, who are a conference-best 7-1.

A pair of games later in the day, and night, should attract a lot of attention.

The undefeated Los Angeles Rams travel to face the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints, who have lost only once. Under the lights in New England, Tom Brady will match up with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Chiefs RB McCoy’s MRI shows ‘no significant’ ankle injury

Chiefs RB McCoy's MRI shows 'no significant' ankle injury

Chiefs RB McCoy’s MRI shows ‘no significant’ ankle injury

An MRI exam on LeSean McCoy’s ankle showed the Kansas City Chiefs running back sustained “no significant damage,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday.

The 31-year-old veteran suffered the injury late in Kansas City’s 28-10 victory Sunday at Oakland. He was ineffective against the Raiders, rushing 11 times for 23 yards and catching three passes for no gain.

McCoy rushed 10 times for 81 yards and caught a 12-yard pass during the season-opening 40-26 victory at Jacksonville.

He could be available to play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (2-0) in the home opener for the 2-0 Chiefs.

The Chiefs signed the six-time Pro Bowl selection to a one-year, $4 million deal on Sept. 1 after he was released by the Buffalo Bills.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill depart with shoulder injuries

Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill depart with shoulder injuries

Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill depart with shoulder injuries

Jacksonville starting quarterback Nick Foles was knocked out of the Jaguars’ game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs with an injury to his left shoulder. Foles was taken in for X-rays and it was declared he would not return.

Foles, starting for the Jaguars for the first time after earning Super Bowl MVP honors with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in his career, was hurt on a 35-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Foles was 5-of-8 passing for 75 yards before departing.

Washington State rookie Gardner Minshew II replaced Foles.

Also, Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill was carted off the field in the first quarter, and the Chiefs announced he was questionable to return with a shoulder injury.

Hill, who had two catches for 16 yards, was injured on the second reception after being tackled by Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill out with shoulder injuries

Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill out with shoulder injuries

Jaguars QB Foles, Chiefs WR Hill out with shoulder injuries

Jacksonville starting quarterback Nick Foles was knocked out of the Jaguars’ game Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs with an injury to his left shoulder. Foles was taken in for X-rays and it was declared he would not return.

Foles, starting for the Jaguars for the first time after earning Super Bowl MVP honors with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier in his career, was hurt on a 35-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter.

Foles was 5-of-8 passing for 75 yards before departing.

Washington State rookie Gardner Minshew II replaced Foles.

Also, Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill was carted off the field in the first quarter, and the Chiefs announced he would not return with a shoulder injury.

Hill, who had two catches for 16 yards, was injured on the second reception after being tackled by Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Hill was one of two 1,000-yard receivers for the Chiefs a year ago, joining tight end Travis Kelce.

During the last week of the preseason, Hill signed a contract extension making him one of the highest-paid receivers in the league. The three-year deal is worth a reported $54 million.

–Field Level Media

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Browns memorialize QB Graham with statue

Browns memorialize QB Graham with statue

Otto Graham, the first Cleveland Browns player

Browns memorialize QB Graham with statue

Otto Graham, the first Cleveland Browns player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was honored with a statue at FirstEnergy Stadium.

The 11-foot-tall statue of the quarterback was unveiled Saturday.

Graham, who died in 2003 at age 82, became the second Browns player to be memorialized with a statue. Legendary running back Jim Brown was similarly honored in 2016.

Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam commissioned the statue, and the unveiling was timed to coincide with the opening of the NFL’s 100th season.

Graham’s 95-year-old widow, Beverly, was one of 39 members of his family in attendance.

“It is exciting to look around right now and see all the Cleveland fans that have come to see it, too. I am just so happy about it and that Otto is remembered,” Beverly Graham said at the ceremony.

Graham played for the Browns from 1946-55.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars’ Foles breaks collarbone, needs surgery

Jaguars' Foles breaks collarbone, needs surgery

Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback

Jaguars’ Foles breaks collarbone, needs surgery

Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback Nick Foles broke his left collarbone in Sunday’s loss against the Kansas City Chiefs and will need surgery, he confirmed to reporters after the game.

Foles, making his starting debut for Jacksonville after arriving from Philadelphia, said the injury was worse than the broken collarbone he sustained with the Eagles in 2014. That injury happened in early November of that season; he did not have surgery and missed the final two months of the year.

Foles was hurt on a 35-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark with 5:23 remaining in the first quarter. As he released the throw, he was hit by Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, who landed on Foles and drove his left shoulder into the ground.

The signal-caller was taken to the locker room for X-rays, and he later returned to the team’s sideline in street clothes with his left arm in a padded sling.

Foles was 5-of-8 passing for 75 yards before departing.

Washington State rookie Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round pick, replaced Foles and performed well, going 22 of 25 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The Jaguars lost 40-26.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots release WR Antonio Brown

Patriots release WR Antonio Brown

The Antonio Brown era

Patriots release WR Antonio Brown

The Antonio Brown era in New England is over.

The Patriots announced they are cutting the controversial wide receiver Friday afternoon, just five days after Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and scored a touchdown in his debut with the team.

“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown,” the team said in a statement. “We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick abruptly left his news conference earlier Friday after being asked repeated questions concerning Brown.

“I know there are questions about Antonio,” Belichick said, via NBCSportsBoston.com. “We take all the situations with our team very seriously. There are some things we’re looking into.”

After answering a couple of general questions that stemmed from Brown’s situation, Belichick said he would talk football. After another Brown-related question was asked, Belichick said: “I’m good. Thank you.”

An offseason full of tumult and controversy carried over into the regular season for Brown. On Thursday, Sports Illustrated reported that a female artist who leveled claims earlier this week that Brown made unwanted sexual advances before firing her contacted the NFL claiming the 31-year-old wide receiver sent her “intimidating and threatening” texts.

Britney Taylor, Brown’s former trainer, filed a civil suit last week accusing him of three incidents of sexual assault or rape over a two-year period from 2017-18. According to multiple reports, the league met with Taylor for 10 hours on Monday as it investigates the accusations, and a meeting with Brown was expected at some point.

The Patriots signed Brown earlier this month just hours after the Oakland Raiders released him. It was reportedly a one-year, $15 million deal with a $9 million signing bonus. Prior to his release, Brown spent training camp in and out of Raiders facilities, rehabbing a frostbite-like condition on his feet after a cryotherapy mishap, filing grievances with the NFL over his helmet, arguing with team management (reportedly calling general manager Mike Mayock a cracker), and posting a recorded conversation with Raiders coach Jon Gruden to YouTube.

In 10 NFL seasons (the first nine with Pittsburgh), Brown has caught 841 balls for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns. He is a seven-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro.

The 2-0 Patriots host the 0-2 New York Jets on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Former Seahawks owner Behring dies

Former Seahawks owner Behring dies

Former Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring died

Former Seahawks owner Behring dies

Former Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring died Tuesday, the team announced Friday. He was 91.

Behring owned the franchise from 1988-97 before selling the Seahawks to Paul Allen for a reported $200 million.

“We are saddened by the loss of former Seahawks owner Ken Behring,” the Seahawks said a news release. “We send our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Behring’s family and friends.”

The former real-estate developer became a controversial figure in Seattle in 1996 when he announced he was moving the franchise to Anaheim, Calif. He made the decision after failing to secure funding for a new stadium or a major refurbishment of the Kingdome.

The Seahawks actually moved their equipment, set up operations and held a few workouts in Anaheim. But the NFL intervened — and threatened fines of $500,000 daily — and the franchise returned its operations back to Seattle.

After selling the Seahawks, Behring established the Wheelchair Foundation and committed $15 million to the cause in 2000. The entity delivers free wheelchairs to people with disabilities.

–Field Level Media

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Lashley fires personal-best 63 to lead in Detroit

Lashley fires personal-best 63 to lead in Detroit

Lashley fires personal-best 63 to lead in Detroit

Nate Lashley used a scorching finish to cap a career-best round of 9-under-par 63 and take a one-stroke lead on Thursday through one round of the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

Lashley sits just in front of Ryan Armour and Nick Watney, who each shot 8 under, with a group of seven players jammed into fourth place at 7 under. Thirteen others are another stroke back in the packed leaderboard in the inaugural event at Detroit Golf Club.

Lashley, 36, is ranked 353rd in the world and seeking his first career PGA Tour victory in his second year playing on the Tour. He racked up nine birdies, including eight in his final 13 holes and five in his final six, and he capped the bogey-free round with three straight at Nos. 16-18. He didn’t miss a putt inside 10 feet.

“Had a lot of uphill putts with not a lot of break, so was able to knock those in,” Lashley said after his round. “There are some putts out there … So yeah, I putted really well today, the game feels good, and hopefully I can continue this through the week.”

Lashley finished tied for 28th at the U.S. Open earlier this month after missing the cut in four of his previous seven events. Before that span, he had four top-20 finishes in six events dating back to October.

Armour opened his round on the back nine and birdied five of his first seven holes. He added three more birdies on the front nine to cap a bogey-free round.

Watney also started on the back nine and had a bogey-free day, but he did almost all of his good work late. Just 1 under through seven holes, he birdied three in a row from No. 17 to No. 1, then added four more birdies in a six-hole span between Nos. 4 and 9.

Chez Reavie, who won the Travelers Championship last week, an Charles Howell III are among the group of seven at 7 under at the unfamiliar course, the site of Michigan’s first PGA Tour event since 2009.

“Most of us have only played the golf course a couple times,” Howell said after his round. “We didn’t know the setup, how it would be. I still think guys are gonna take a bit to learn the golf course, and once they do, you’re going to see lower scores.”

Kevin Kisner highlights the slew of players at 6 under. The top-ranked player within five strokes of the lead is Rocket Mortgage ambassador Rickie Fowler (ranked 14th), who is tied for 33rd at 4 under.

World No. 2 Dustin Johnson, the top-ranked player in the field, is tied for 101st after shooting 71.

Gary Woodland is tied for 131st at 1 over in his first start since winning the U.S. Open two weeks ago.

Two spots are available for The Open Championship for players who finish in the top eight and are not already qualified to play at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland next month.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Lawson to pay for funeral of slain girl

NFL notebook: Lawson to pay for funeral of slain girl

NFL notebook: Lawson to pay for funeral of slain girl

Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson will pay for the funeral of an 11-year-old girl who was killed this week when gunshots hit her home in Anderson, S.C.

“It could have been my little sister,” Lawson told the Greenville News late Wednesday. “I’ve got a little sister around that age, and it could have been one of my family members.”

Ja’Naiya Scott was killed after someone fired more than 35 gunshots at her home at about 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, the Greenville News reported. A bullet entered through her shoulder, severing her subclavian artery, the county coroner’s office reported.

Lawson, who played at Clemson, was raised about 20 miles north of Anderson in Central, S.C. He said he contacted the child’s mother, Marshella Rice.

–Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst said he has recovered from the foot fracture that slowed him last year, has gained weight and is ready for the start of his second season.

“Kind of felt it all last year, was never really at 100 percent,” Hurst said during an interview with 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore. “Obviously, you kind of have the aches and pains of a screw being in my foot. But I’m good to go now, all healthy, don’t feel it and feel 100 percent.”

Hurst, a South Carolina product, was the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but his season never gained traction. He suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot in training camp that cost him the first four games of the season, and he wound up catching just 13 passes for 163 yards and one touchdown in 12 games.

–The New York Jets signed third-round tackle Chuma Edoga to his four-year rookie contract.

Edoga was drafted 92nd overall in April out of USC, where he started 25 games and blocked for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold in 2016 and 2017.

His signing leaves the Jets with only one unsigned draftee, third overall pick Quinnen Williams.

–The Cincinnati Bengals completed the signing of their 10-man draft class by inking third-round linebacker Germaine Pratt to his four-year rookie deal.

Pratt, drafted 72nd overall out of NC State, led the Wolfpack with 104 tackles last season and is expected to compete for a starting role as a rookie in Cincinnati.

His signing leaves just 13 of 254 total 2019 draft picks without a contract. Of the 13, six are first-rounders, including top-six picks Nick Bosa (second), Williams (third), Devin White (fifth) and Daniel Jones (sixth).

–Field Level Media

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Rams TE Higbee out with lung injury, Donald questionable

Rams TE Higbee out with lung injury, Donald questionable

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler

Rams TE Higbee out with lung injury, Donald questionable

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee will miss Sunday’s game in Cleveland with a bruised lung, coach Sean McVay told reporters on Friday.

McVay added that offensive lineman Austin Blythe (ankle) and All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald (back) are questionable when discussing the team’s most noteworthy injury. Donald is expected to play.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get (Higbee) back next week,” McVay said, per a team release. “With Austin and Aaron, (they) will be listed as questionable. Aaron’s feeling good, probably just more semantics than anything else.”

Higbee, 26, was injured in the second quarter of the Rams’ 27-9 victory over the New Orleans Saints last Sunday. After he came out of the game with a chest injury, Higbee was sent to a hospital for precautionary reasons, where he coughed up blood. He did not practice this week.

Blythe injured his ankle on the same play in which Higbee was injured and was a limited participant in practice Friday. Donald told reporters he will be ready to go when Los Angeles plays at Cleveland on Sunday night.

“I feel good,” Donald told reporters. “100 percent (I’ll be out there).”

Donald injured his back and briefly left the game, shortly after he hit Drew Brees’ hand as the quarterback released the ball, knocking Brees out of the game with a torn ligament which required surgery earlier this week. Brees is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

Also for Sunday, the Browns ruled three starters out for the game: tight end David Njoku (concussion, wrist), safety Damarious Randall (concussion), linebacker Christian Kirksey (chest) and offensive tackle Kendall Lamm (knee). The Browns placed Njoku on injured reserve.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Washington RB Peterson to be healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Report: Washington RB Peterson to be healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Report: Washington RB Peterson to be healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his career for Sunday’s opener at the Philadelphia Eagles, according to an NFL Network report.

Another NFL Network report suggested several of the team’s veteran players were unhappy with the decision.

Head coach Jay Gruden said Thursday a decision hadn’t been made on how many backs would be active, or if Peterson — who doesn’t play special teams — would be one of them.

“We’ve got a lot of ‘ifs’ we’ve got to worry about,” Gruden told reporters. “We’re just going to go (out) tomorrow see who’s active, see who can play, and then we’ll make the determination come Sunday.”

Derrius Guice, a 2018 second-round draft pick who is healthy after missing his rookie season with a torn ACL, is slated to start. Chris Thompson is listed behind Peterson on the depth chart but is the team’s top third-down back, with Wendell Smallwood the other back on the roster.

Peterson, 34, joined Washington after Guice’s injury last August and rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns while starting all 16 games, his most productive season since 2015. He re-signed with the Redskins on a two-year, $5.03 million deal this offseason.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins’ Peterson healthy scratch; Gruden defends decision

Redskins' Peterson healthy scratch; Gruden defends decision

Washington Redskins running

Redskins’ Peterson healthy scratch; Gruden defends decision

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career for Sunday’s opener at the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I don’t think I’ve kind of grasped it yet,” Peterson told The Washington Post afterward.

“It’s my first time ever being inactive, a healthy scratch. It was tough, of course. I’m a super competitor. … So it was tough not being out there, so I just have to make the best out of the situation, and in that way, I just become a coach on the sideline. Helping the guys out as much as I could, and cheering for the guys as well.”

Several of the team’s veteran players were unhappy with the decision, according to an NFL Network report.

“On game day, we’re punting to Darren Sproles about five or six times,” head coach Jay Gruden told reporters afterward. “We need as many guys that can cover. We had to get the linebacker up for special teams, and obviously (fourth-string running back/special teamer Wendell) Smallwood. So it had to be done.

“If I can have the luxury of dressing four running backs or three, some other time if I have enough special team guys, I’ll do that.”

Gruden elaborated further, suggesting that sitting Peterson will be the norm moving forward.

“He’s a first- and second-down back. So is Derrius (Guice),” Gruden said. “So, really, what do we have? About 20 first downs a game. Probably eight of those are passes, 12 of those might be runs, and Derrius can handle those 12 …

“So if we have a game where we think we can run the ball 55 times in a game in an I-formation, then sure, I’ll get him up.”

Guice, a 2018 second-round draft pick who is healthy after missing his rookie season with a torn ACL, started Sunday and totaled 18 yards on 10 carries and 20 yards on three catches in the 32-27 loss. Chris Thompson — listed behind Peterson on the depth chart but the team’s top third-down back — had seven catches for 68 yards and three carries for 10.

Peterson, 34, joined Washington after Guice’s injury last August and rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns while starting all 16 games, his most productive season since 2015. He re-signed with the Redskins on a two-year, $5.03 million deal this offseason.

Elsewhere Vernon Davis started at tight end, replacing Jordan Reed, who also was listed as inactive for the Week 1 game. Davis, 35, had four catches for 59 yards, including a highlight-reel, 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown.

–Field Level Media

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Washington RB Peterson a healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Washington RB Peterson a healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Washington Redskins

Washington RB Peterson a healthy scratch vs. Eagles

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson will be a healthy scratch for the first time in his career for Sunday’s opener at the Philadelphia Eagles.

Several of the team’s veteran players were unhappy with the decision, according to an NFL Network report.

Head coach Jay Gruden hinted Thursday that Peterson could sit, telling reporters a decision hadn’t been made on how many backs would be active, or if Peterson — who doesn’t play special teams — would be one of them.

“We’ve got a lot of ‘ifs’ we’ve got to worry about,” Gruden said. “We’re just going to go (out) tomorrow see who’s active, see who can play, and then we’ll make the determination come Sunday.”

Derrius Guice, a 2018 second-round draft pick who is healthy after missing his rookie season with a torn ACL, is slated to start. Chris Thompson is listed behind Peterson on the depth chart but is the team’s top third-down back, with Wendell Smallwood the other back on the roster.

Peterson, 34, joined Washington after Guice’s injury last August and rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns while starting all 16 games, his most productive season since 2015. He re-signed with the Redskins on a two-year, $5.03 million deal this offseason.

The team also announced Sunday that Vernon Davis would start at tight end, replacing Jordan Reed, who also was listed as inactive for the Week 1 game.

–Field Level Media

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Rams sign P Hekker to extension

Rams sign P Hekker to extension

Rams sign P Hekker to extension

The Los Angeles Rams and punter Johnny Hekker agreed on a one-year contract extension through the 2023 season, ESPN reported Saturday.

Hekker will receive $4.25 million via the extension, including $3 million in guaranteed money, according to ESPN.

Hekker will earn $3.25 million in base salary this season.

Hekker, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has a 47.0 career average in 112 games over seven seasons. The average is second all-time behind Shane Lechler (47.6 from 2000-17).

The 29-year-old Hekker averaged 46.3 yards on 43 punts last season.

The Rams often use the former high school quarterback on fake punts. He’s 11-of-19 passing for 156 yards and one touchdown during his NFL career.

The Rams open the season Sunday at the Carolina Panthers.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots sign CB Jones to 3-year extension

Patriots sign CB Jones to 3-year extension

The New England Patriots

Patriots sign CB Jones to 3-year extension

The New England Patriots agreed to a three-year extension with cornerback Jonathan Jones, ESPN reported on Saturday.

The deal is worth $21 million with bonuses that can increase the amount, according to ESPN. Jones now is under contract through 2022.

Jones is earning $3.095 million in base salary this season after signing a restricted free-agent tender in the offseason. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2019 season.

The 25-year-old Jones had a career-best three interceptions in 16 games (five starts) last season. He also had 56 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Jones has 98 career tackles and four interceptions in 48 games (10 starts).

The Patriots open the season on Sunday against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.

–Field Level Media

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Pats’ odds strengthen with Brown on board

Pats' odds strengthen with Brown on board

Pats’ odds strengthen with Brown on board

Antonio Brown had yet to physically arrive at the New England Patriots’ facility Saturday, but agent Drew Rosenhaus confirming his client’s signing with the Super Bowl champs helped strengthen their odds to repeat.

The Patriots entered training camp as 6.5-1 favorites to repeat by PointsBet, but were co-6-1 favorites with the Kansas City Chiefs by Caesars Sportsbook before the Brown signing. After news of Brown’s signing broke on Saturday, the Patriots’ odds moved to 4-1 at Caesars and 5-1 at PointsBet.

The Chiefs remained 6-1 at Caesars and are 7-1 at PointsBet.

The Patriots have a +300 moneyline to win the AFC Championship by PointsBet, slightly ahead of the Chiefs (+320).

At Caesars, New England’s win total moved from 11 to 11.5 following the Brown news.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Vikings WR Diggs expected to play vs. Falcons

Report: Vikings WR Diggs expected to play vs. Falcons

Report: Vikings WR Diggs expected to play vs. Falcons

Minnesota Vikings standout receiver Stefon Diggs is expected to play despite being listed as questionable for the club’s season-opening game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Diggs has been bothered by a hamstring injury. He sat out Wednesday’s practice before being a limited participant the next two days.

Assuming Diggs returns, he joins Adam Thielen in the starting lineup as they look to build on a historic 2018 season.

Diggs set career highs last season with 102 receptions for 1,021 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games. He and Thielen (113 receptions) became the first Vikings teammates to both eclipse 100 receptions in the same season.

They also both eclipsed 1,000 yards (Thielen had 1,373), a first for a Vikings duo since Randy Moss and Cris Carter did it in 2000.

–Field Level Media

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Colts All-Pro LB Leonard, DE Sheard out vs. Falcons

Colts All-Pro LB Leonard, DE Sheard out vs. Falcons

Colts All-Pro LB Leonard, DE Sheard out vs. Falcons

Indianapolis Colts All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard (concussion) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) have been ruled out of Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Falcons, head coach Frank Reich announced Friday.

Leonard suffered the concussion last weekend against the Tennessee Titans and was placed in the league’s concussion protocol and didn’t pass, missing a full week of practices.

As a rookie in 2018, Leonard, a second-round pick (36th overall) out of South Carolina State, led the NFL in tackles with 163. He has a team-leading 18 tackles and one sack in two games this season.

Adjusting to replace Leonard, the Colts are expected to give rookie Bobby Okereke the start at middle linebacker and move Anthony Walker from the middle to the outsidet.

“[Okereke looks] like he needs more playing time. He’s that kind of guy,” Reich said. “… He’ll get some more time this week.”

Sheard practiced Wednesday, as a limited participant, for the first time in almost two months. He underwent a minor surgical procedure after feeling “soreness and swelling” on July 25, the team’s first training camp practice.

–Field Level Media

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Muirfield to welcome women for first time

Muirfield to welcome women for first time

For 275 years, Muirfield in Scotland has welcomed only male members. Next month, that will change.

Muirfield to welcome women for first time

For 275 years, Muirfield in Scotland has welcomed only male members. Next month, that will change.

The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, which includes Muirfield, said 12 female members will be admitted next month as part of an extensive makeover of the grounds. The club voted two years ago to welcome women, after declining in 2016 to expand membership from men-only status.

The Royal and Ancient, which operates the Open Championship, ruled the Open rotation would not include male-only clubs.

That forced Muirfield into a second vote in 2017, when members of the club voted in favor of admitting women by more than 80 percent.

“This marks a milestone in the Club’s illustrious history, and we look forward to welcoming all of our new members to share in the great values and traditions of our club,” Alistair Campbell, captain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, said in a statement.

Located in Gullane, Scotland, Muirfield first staged the Open in 1892 and 16 times overall. There was no announcement Thursday about when the Open might return to the site of Phil Mickelson’s victory in the 2013 Open.

R&A awarded the next three Open Championships to Royal St. George’s (2020), The Old Course at St. Andrews in 2021 and Royal Liverpool in 2022.

–Field Level Media

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Mayfield, Elliott look like value plays in ’19 MVP field

Mayfield, Elliott look like value plays in '19 MVP field

Mayfield, Elliott look like value plays in ’19 MVP field

Patrick Mahomes started one NFL game before his MVP season in 2018, but the flashes of greatness were evident to the Kansas City Chiefs — so much so that

Andy Reid and Company parted with Alex Smith in an offseason deal with the Washington Redskins and set the stage for Mahomes 2018 Breakout Tour. It was a smashing success.

Prior to the 2018 season, Mahomes was a serious longshot to win the league’s MVP award, anywhere from off the board to 100-1 entering training camp.

Once he put up his first aerial show in the preseason, Mahomes climbed to 25-1 at sportsbooks Bovada and Westgate.

The moral to this story: Find your NFL MVP value, play now and let it ride.

Mahomes took home the trophy and is the favorite to win MVP in 2019 at Westgate.

Superbook USA has Mahomes at 4-1 ahead of Andrew Luck and Aaron Rodgers at 8-1, and Drew Brees and Carson Wentz at 10-1.

Here’s where you should start to like the value.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady comes in at 12-1, with Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson 14-1.

With the Los Angeles Chargers, Rivers has one of the best – arguably the No. 1 group – defenses in the NFL backing him. I think Wilson is closer to 20-1 and would pass here.

Brady might be inching closer to 50 but he just bagged another Lombardi Trophy and won his third MVP award just two years ago in 2017.

If I’m not investing in Brady and Rivers, then dollars and hollers to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. His ascension would not be unlike Mahomes’ as a second-year breakout star. Mayfield is a household name, of course, but with two Pro Bowl receivers and a team on the climb, the playoffs are a real possibility in Cleveland again.

Should the Browns win 11 or 12 games, Mayfield is easily a top three MVP candidate. His current odds? Twenty-five to 1 … 25-1!

That’s on the same line as Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

Two other quarterbacks and one running back I’d be willing to take a flier on:

Mitchell Trubisky is 200-1. I’m not saying he’s the best quarterback in his division, but he might be on the best team in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears. And if the Bears are 13-3 or 12-4, Trubisky has just put up some video game numbers in Matt Nagy’s offense.

Jimmy Garappolo is 80-1 and coming off of ACL surgery, but the San Francisco 49ers are a sneaky good pick out of the West if the Rams can’t shake the typical Super Bowl runner-up hangover.

Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys is 60-1 and playing for a long-term contract. The Cowboys are tweaking their offense with Randall Cobb to assist Amari Cooper, and Elliott could approach 400 touches running and receiving.

Adrian Peterson won the award in 2012 with the Vikings and is the last non-quarterback to claim the hardware. All he had to do was clear 2,097 yards.

Other options from the longshot bin we’d consider:

Saints WR Michael Thomas, 100-1

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, 100-1

Jets RB Le’Veon Bell, 100-1

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, 100-1

Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, 100-1

Giants RB Saquon Barkley, 80-1

–Field Level Media

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