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Lone Steeler stood on field for anthem as rest of team stayed in locker room

In the biggest development — so far — on a surreal Sunday of protests around the NFL, the Steelers opted to remain in the locker room during the national anthem prior to their game against the Bears at Soldier Field.

All except for one Steeler, that is. Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva, a U.S. Army Ranger who won a Bronze Star during three tours in Afghanistan, stood by himself outside the Steelers locker room tunnel, hand over his heart.

At the end of each positional section, there is a subgroup of players, “Players off game status injury report.” The probable tag no longer exists, so players who would have been listed as probable in previous years are now simply removed from the report. This means there will be players who appear in the practice injury reports during the week but will not appear on the game status report Friday, since they are presumed active for game day. They are included in this blog so that fantasy owners can see where players who were on the practice injury report during the week have been upgraded to in advance of the games.

At the end, key fantasy players listed Friday as “Out” for the week’s games will appear as a group.

The Rams and the 49ers played on Thursday night (shoutout to those who started Carlos Hyde or Sammy Watkins in their fantasy leagues), but everyone else is playing this weekend and their fantasy-relevant injured players are represented here.
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The Chargers’ new home at StubHub Center will be best place to watch an NFL game

The Stubhub Center, the Chargers’ home for three seasons, seats 27,000 fans, fewest in the league.

From 1961 to 1966, the San Diego Chargers played at Balboa Stadium, a relic built in 1914 that had a seating capacity of 34,000 for football. The now-Los Angeles Chargers will play for the next three seasons in a stadium even smaller in an era of 80,000-seat megaplexes.

Some people wonder if he’s pulling a LeGarrette Blount, forcing his team to cut him with designs on returning to his former team and a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl. Before the suspension, Gase mentioned he doesn’t know what the future holds for Timmons in Miami. He did say that his team is moving on with or without him. To me, it sounds like they are trying to move on without him

It would be hard simply to cut Timmons. He’s a salary cap hit of $11M and the Dolphins are still anorexically thin with healthy linebackers even with the addition of Anthony. Trading him is tough, because nobody is going to want to or be able to afford that cap it at this time. Plus, his Dolphins teammates have been very supportive of him during this ordeal.

They rightfully suspended Timmons and even though Dolphin players are speaking highly of him, he’s probably going to lose his job. I’ve ticked off my bosses before and when they want you gone, you’re going to end up gone. Gase also doesn’t want to lose control of his team, so he’s probably going to send a message and punish Timmons further because of his insubordination.

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NFL picks against the spread 2017, Week 2: Browns, Bills are sneaky underdog bets

We have a full slate of games this week. Though, I’d like to ask the NFL to have the Texans-Bengals game from Thursday night stricken from the record. We’re actually worse off having seen that.

The Bengals looked like they might actually score a touchdown at one point (they didn’t) until Tyler Eifert basically ruined it.

Eifert, who was wide open in the back of the end zone, was calling for the football. Except he was calling for it while he was out of bounds — way out of bounds:

He established himself back in, but you can’t be the first to touch the football after that, so he was called for illegal touching. The Bengals were forced to settle for a field goal because of it.

Deshaun Watson was making his first NFL start on Thursday, and Geno Atkins gave him a taste of what getting swept off your feet by a two-time All-Pro feels like:

So much in recent times that it makes the two franchises seem closer than their 900-plus mile separation.
Mike Daniels is questionable with a hip injury, but expected to play after a dominant performance against the Seahawks.

The Packers listed seven players on this week’s Friday injury report, four of whom are essentially starters and another two who play key backup roles. Joining Bulaga with the questionable tag are a pair of the team’s brightest stars in the trenches: left tackle David Bakhtiari and defensive tackle Mike Daniels.

Meanwhile, Daniels had a hip issue flare up in Thursday’s practice, limiting him in practice. However, despite his questionable tag, he expressed confidence in his availability on Twitter Thursday night.
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Tom Savage shouldn’t be benched for his terrible play, says his agent

Tom Savage was benched midway through an abysmal performance against the Jaguars in Week 1. Deshaun Watson was named the starter for Week 2, and Savage’s agent thinks the team is being too hasty in taking the starting role from his client.

“I wanted to defend Tom and this was my choice,” agent Neil Schwartz said on PFT Live. “I spoke to Tom and Tom was OK with and comfortable and I spoke to my partner, and someone I felt had to defend Tom. And I didn’t feel that the coaching staff defended Tom or defended his performance and I would love to sit down and watch the film with Bill O’Brien and go through every single play and tell me why are you benching him after 31 plays?”

It’s worth noting that their best player, Odell Beckham Jr., missed the game with an injury. Beckham wasn’t expected to play, but his status for Monday is still up in the air. He practiced earlier in the week but was a limited participant.

Detroit is playing in the competitive NFC North, and the Lions have a win on their record going into Week 2. Matthew Stafford threw four touchdown passes against the Arizona Cardinals, and the Lions had 82 yards rushing in their 35-23 victory. Stafford continues to look like one of the best quarterbacks in the league from a pure production standpoint.

The Lions’ victory came after they trailed the Cardinals. Stafford, though, is great in comeback situations, orchestrating 27 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 2011. He can never be counted out, and neither can the Lions.
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NFL investigating domestic violence accusation against line judge

The NFL is investigating an accusation of domestic violence against line judge Carl Johnson, who was once the league’s vice president of officiating.

“The matter is under review under of the league’s personal conduct policy,” a league spokesman said Tuesday.

All league employees are subject to discipline under the league’s domestic violence policy, which establishes a six-game suspension for a first offense. Mitigating circumstances can increase or decrease that game total.

Bolles left Sports Authority Field at Mile High after the Broncos’ 42-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday with a walking boot on his left foot/ankle and using crutches.

Bolles suffered the injury with 8 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter during a 5-yard run by Jamaal Charles.

Game video showed that Cowboys defensive tackle Brian Price fell on Bolles’ leg during the play, as the Broncos were in the 13th play of a 15-play touchdown drive. Donald Stephenson initially replaced Bolles to close out the possession, but Allen Barbre finished out the remainder of the game at left tackle after the touchdown drive.

Bolles stayed down on the ground following the play as the Broncos’ medical staff examined the leg. An emotional Bolles was taken to the locker room on a cart and raised his arms to acknowledge the crowd.

Bolles was the Broncos’ first-round pick in this past April’s draft and had been working with the starters since training camp opened in July. He played every snap in the team’s opening week win over the Los Angeles Chargers and had played every snap until his injury Sunday.

The Broncos rushed for 178 yards in the game, including 118 yards rushing from C.J. Anderson.
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Rams expect Aaron Donald to make season debut Sunday vs. Redskins

Aaron Donald finally rejoined his Los Angeles Rams teammates on Monday, one day after their 46-9, season-opening drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts. Donald, who officially ended his 44-day holdout by taking his physical on Saturday, took part in conditioning drills and sat in on meetings, just like everybody else.

“Some of the close losses last season, we were terrible,” he said after the game, chuckling. “We were just — it was kind of just bad football, some of those close losses. We’re there, we’re there, we’re there, and there was some critical error.”

Oh, and Adrian Peterson returns to Minnesota after being released by the only NFL team he’d ever known last spring.

Matthews doesn’t know whether he will pursue an acting career once his playing days are over. But as he enters his ninth season, the 31-year-old realizes he must avoid injury and perform at a high level to mitigate the possibility of being cut in the 2018 offseason — such a move would clear $10.8 million in salary-cap space — and have a chance at finalizing his NFL film reel playing for just one team.

“This is a conversation I’ve had with numerous people … especially getting up there to Year Nine now when most people can retire and say they’ve had a great career,” Matthews said.

“To do it in Green Bay would be tremendous because you have one team you are always associated with. To stay with one team and have a level of success that we’ve had would be amazing. I’m hoping to have a good year and get re-upped.”

“It’s just what you love to do and, you know, nobody ever wants that taken away from them, especially with the amount of work we’ve been putting in. The chemistry and everything, we were just rolling. We were in a good place. That’s life, though. Life happens. You get set back. It’s really how you come back from that, how you handle adversity. This is nothing that I won’t overcome.”
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Engineers to inspect Dolphins stadium after Hurricane Irma

Structural engineers will inspect the Miami Dolphins’ stadium after a possible tornado was reported in the area during Hurricane Irma, according to multiple reports.

The team’s complex in Davie, Florida, appears to be fine in the wake of the storm.

“All we have is a visual inspection by camera right now,” a team source told The Miami Herald, which first reported the news. “We think the stadium may have [experienced] some tornado activity based on radar tracking.”

Hard Rock Stadium was constructed to survive winds from storms as strong as a Category 4 hurricane. By the time Hurricane Irma hit the South Florida area, it wasn’t as strong as that.

Marlins Park also was being assessed. Photos posted on social media showed possible storm damage to the outer facade of the retractable roof.

The Dolphins will open their season Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers. The Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been scheduled to open their seasons this past Sunday, but that game was postponed until Nov. 19 because of Irma.

Chicago’s ground game, led by two players with 15 games of NFL experience between them, was a revelation. 2016 Pro Bowler Jordan Howard and 2017 fourth-round pick Tarik Cohen combined for 118 rushing yards and a touchdown on only 18 carries. Cohen also emerged as the team’s top receiver on a roster devoid of true wideout talent — he had eight receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.

Oh, and he trucked Jurrell Casey like it was nothing. Casey stands at 6’1, 305 pounds, and Lynch made him look like he was half that size.

Rams sign Johnny Hekker to two-year extension, $10M guaranteed

our more years was apparently not enough for Johnny Hekker, quite possibly the game’s best punter.

The Los Angeles Rams tacked on two additional years to Hekker’s contract Monday, keeping him with the team through the 2022 season.

The Colts, as they’ve been saying for the past couple of months, still don’t have a set date on when Luck will play. He hasn’t played since Week 17 of last season because of January right shoulder surgery. Pagano said he doesn’t know whether Luck, who was taken off the physically unable to perform list on Sept. 2, will practice this week.

The Colts now have to figure out who will start at quarterback against the Cardinals. Scott Tolzien, who had been working with the first team since April, was benched in favor of Jacoby Brissett in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 46-9 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Tolzien had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and nearly was intercepted a third time. He finished the game 9-of-18 for 128 yards, 2 interceptions and was sacked 4 times. Brissett was 2-of-3 for 51 yards while leading the Colts to their only touchdown of the game in his limited playing time.images (4)

Linebacker Mason Foster said he was surprised by the news.

“Definitely. He’s a great player, a great person,” Foster said. “People have lives outside of football, and sometimes you have to handle that first. Hopefully he gets that resolved and comes back and helps us win games this year. I’ll try to talk to him later on, tell him I’m praying for him, but I’m going straight to the iPad and watching Philly.”

“You never know what’s in anyone’s life, so you make sure that’s fine first and foremost before you get back to your job,” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said.

Kirk Cousins isn’t on the level of a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, but he threw for almost 5,000 yards last season and had 25 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. Cousins is likely to be the next signal caller to reset the quarterback market.

Cousins is in the second season of playing under the franchise tag for the Washington NFL team, and he’s making over $23 million this year. Barring any significant regression, he’ll hit free agency as the top quarterback option on the market.

He has been linked to the San Francisco 49ers and his former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, who coaxed an MVP-level performance out of Matt Ryan as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2016. The Niners should have a good amount of cap space to work with next season and can just back a Brinks truck up for Cousins if a bidding war ensues, and it probably will.