NFL U Week 4 Matchup Guide

NFL U Matchups 2013 Week 4

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NFL U Updated Rosters

NFL U Rosters 9.25.13

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Andre Johnson returns to practice

The Texans got wide receiver Andre Johnson back at practice on Thursday, but they’re no closer to determining his status for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

Johnson was a limited participant in practice, sticking to just individual drills and sitting out team work a day after he wasn’t able to practice at all. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Kubiak said that the Texans are still considering Johnson a game-time decision for Sunday.

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Willis McGahee expects a ‘dramatic improvement’ in Week Four

Although the Cleveland Browns came away with a Week Three victory over the Minnesota Vikings, things didn’t go so well for recently signed running back Willis McGahee.

McGahee, who was signed late in Week Three to replace the traded Trent Richardson struggled in his fourteen snaps, only rushing for eight yards in the process with a missed block or two.

Clearly unhappy with his performance, McGahee says there will be a ‘dramatic improvement’ when he takes the field this weekend:

Per Mary Kay Cabot:

#browns Willis mcgahee on being here for full week now: “there will be dramatic improvement. I’m going to have more than 8 yards.”

McGahee, who was let go by the Denver Broncos during the preseason will be going up against a stacked Cincinnati Bengals defense, so expectations may need to be tempered.

He should see more carries in addition to more snaps this weekend, especially now that he’s had a chance to learn the playbook, but it may not translate to much more success given the tough matchup.

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Andre Johnson hauling in decent stats despite injury issues

Even though he’s been forced to leave the last two games with concussion and leg injuries, receiver Andre Johnson is averaging 8.3 catches during the Texans’ 2-1 start.

Johnson, 32, has 25 receptions for 258 yards. He has 45 100-yard games in his career, more than any active receiver. He’s tied for 10th on the NFL’s career list.

Johnson, who has a  bruised shin but is expected to play against Seattle on Sunday,  has 13 games left in regular season.  He needs five more to surpass Isaac Bruce (45), Jimmy Smith (46), Michael Irvin (47) and Torry Holt (47).

Fifty 100-yard games would tie Johnson with Don Maynard.

Jerry Rice is the all-time leader with 76.

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Jon Beason may be at end of his career

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There comes a time in every NFL player's life when he no longer can perform to the level that made him special because of age or injury and it is time to accept a lesser role -- maybe even step aside altogether.

That time may be coming for Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection, trying to return from microfracture knee surgery during the offseason, played only one snap in Sunday's 38-0 victory over the New York Giants.

Head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott are non-committal about how much starting or playing time Beason will get moving forward, giving the standard "we're going to put the people on the field that give us the best opportunity to win.''

Beason doesn't give the Panthers (1-2) that now. If anything, he's been a liability.

In the opener, he failed to make a fourth-quarter tackle he normally makes in his sleep. That allowed Seattle to get out of a hole and run out the clock for a 12-7 victory.

In a 24-23 loss to Buffalo he gave up five catches for 112 yards, including a 45-yarder to Stevie Johnson on which 35 yards came after the catch.

That his replacement, Chase Blackburn, played well against the Giants only makes Beason appear more expendable. That the weakside linebacker position doesn't have to be on the field for 40 or 50 plays in this scheme plays a factor as well.

In his prime, Beason was a beast. He led the team in tackles with 140 as a rookie in 2007 and was runner-up for the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.

He made his first Pro Bowl in his second season, recording 138 tackles and three interceptions. He continued at that pace until 2011 when his season ended early with a torn left Achilles tendon.

He's never been quite the same.

Given his play so far, Beason may be taking up a roster spot that could be better used on a younger player that could at least contribute on special teams. You can't ask a player of Beason's credentials to play special teams.

Only time will tell. The bye week comes at a good time for the 28-year-old from Florida. With the rest he had against the Giants he'll basically get two weeks off.

Maybe when the Panthers resume play on Oct. 6 at Arizona, Beason will have found that extra step he's been missing.

Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly insists his teammate, whether as a starter or a backup, remains an asset.

"He loves playing football,'' said Kuechly, who fills the position where Beason once starred. "That's what he does. He handled [Sunday] well. He was very helpful on the sideline. He gave us some feedback and did a good.

"When you have depth, it allows you to move pieces around.''

Beason isn't ready to talk about the present or the future. Approached on Wednesday he politely said, "Got nothing for you today.''

Then he disappeared, smiling all the way.

Regardless of what his future holds, Beason will handle it with dignity. He'll be respected for that just as much as he was respected for his performance when he was at the top of his game.

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Indians sticking with Chris Perez as closer

Chris Perez has been terrible since August 1, posting a 5.95 ERA in 20 innings while allowing opponents to hit .321 with six homers and a 1.006 OPS. That includes serving up two homers and blowing a save in his most recent appearance Tuesday, but the Indians are sticking with Perez as closer as they near the playoffs.

Here’s what manager Terry Francona told Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer when asked about Perez’s status:

Can you imagine if, every time somebody gave up a homer, we went to somebody else? If we just automatically went to somebody else, we wouldn’t have a team. I wouldn’t want to play for that guy. If there’s ever a situation where I think we can do better, I will certainly do that. But you can’t just be reactionary as a manager or you’ll have turmoil in that clubhouse. If you react to one game or an inning, you can upset a lot of what’s so good in there.

Which is fine and reasonable, except no one was asking about Perez’s status because he had one bad game or served up one homer, they were asking because he’s been awful for two months now leading directly into the playoffs.

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Ed Reed has strong practice

Veteran safety Ed Reed had a strong practice Wednesday, coach Gary Kubiak said, and continues to show improvement.

“He took his reps with the defense, took a lot of scout team, too,” Kubiak said. “Getting him through last week was huge for him. I like the way he moved around (Wednesday).”

After sitting out Weeks 1 and 2, Reed made his Texans debut last Sunday at Baltimore.

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Starter Pack: Contract in Shields' future?

Back in June, agent Drew Rosenhaus flew to Green Bay in an effort to get a long-term contract for client Sam Shields, who was a restricted free agent.

It didn’t happen at the time, and the fourth-year cornerback quickly signed his one-year tender offer worth $2.023 million.

But the way Shields is playing now, it might be a good thing for him that they couldn’t reach a deal back in June. He might get more money now.

In Sunday’s loss at Cincinnati, Shields was called upon to match up against Bengals star receiver A.J. Green at times. Although he gave up a touchdown pass to Green, Shields also had an interception. And as Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wrote: “If Shields keeps having performances like the one he had Sunday, he might be soon to follow (with a contract extension).”

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Edgerrin James honored by ACC

Former Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James was one of 15 players named to the 2013 ACC Football Legends Class, the conference announced Wednesday.

The Legends Class will be honored during the ACC Championship game on Dec. 7 at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium. James will be recognized by Miami at the school’s Nov. 23 home finale against Virginia.

James, who lives in Orlando, ran for 2,690 yards in three seasons at UM and is the only running back in school history to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons. The fourth overall pick in the 1999 NFL draft, he played 11 years in the NFL, mostly with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

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Nate Webster's prison sentence cut

Former Cincinnati Bengal Nathaniel “Nate” Webster won’t have to serve the entire 12-year prison sentence imposed on him last year after he was convicted of having sex with a minor.

The Cincinnati-based Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals issued a decision Wednesday that one of the unlawful sexual conduct with a minor charges of which Webster was convicted in 2012 should not have resulted in a conviction because prosecutors didn’t prove that charge during the trial.

The result is that the two years in prison that count carried have been sliced off of Webster’s original sentence. Now he has to serve a 10-year prison term.
“The state did not present evidence of sexual contact between (the victim) and Webster during December 2009, and (the victim) testified that she thought that Webster had left town in December 2009,” the appeals court’s unanimous ruling, authored by Presiding Judge Sylvia Hendon, noted.

Webster was convicted of having sex with a 15-year-old babysitter several times when he was 31 years old. The girl lived doors away from Webster; when her parents confronted him, he said repeatedly he was not having sex with the teen.

The teen testified at trial. though, that she had intercourse with Webster several times at his home and in his car.

The appeals court upheld convictions prosecutors won that showed Webster had sex with the teen in September, October and November 2009.

Court finds 'lack of proof' on one of the sex charges
“We do, however, find a lack of proof in regard to the December 2009 charge,” Wednesday’s decision noted. “The state presented no evidence that any sexual contact occurred between (the victim) and Webster during that month.”

Webster, 35, is inmate A665842 at the Belmont Correctional Institution in St. Clairsville, east of Columbus. The $40,000 fine and $3,400 in restitution he was ordered to pay the teen were unaffected by Wednesday’s ruling.

With the two years reduced from his original sentence, his prison term now expires in January 2022.

Webster signed a five-year, $11.3 million contract with the Bengals in 2004, but injuries limited him to a few games before the team released him.

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Jimmy Graham wins NFC Offensive Player of the Week award

NEW ORLEANS —Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has been named NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Graham caught nine balls for 134 yards and two touchdowns in New Orleans’ 31-7 victory over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

Defensive end Greg Hardy of the Panthers won NFC Defense Player of the week, and Lions punter Sam Martin took home NFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

In the AFC, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (Offensive), Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (Defensive) and Browns punter Spencer Lanning (Special Teams) won weekly honors.

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Andre Johnson ‘sore,’ hopes to play Sunday

Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson (shin bruise) is still dealing with soreness and will likely be a game-time decision Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, coach Gary Kubiak said.

Johnson did not practice Wednesday. He exited a road loss Sunday to Baltimore and didn’t finish his second consecutive game.

“We’ll see where we’re at (Thursday),” Kubiak said.

Despite the soreness, Kubiak hinted Johnson will likely play against the Seahawks.

“I think Andre’s going to do everything he can to be there,” Kubiak said. “He is very sore (Wednesday). So we’ll let it run its course and see how he’s feeling.”

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Leonard Hankerson might be pulling away from Morgan

After receiving a relatively even allotment of playing time in each of the Washington Redskins’ first two games of the season as they split time at the ‘Z’ receiver spot, Leonard Hankerson and Joshua Morgan saw their snap counts trend in opposite directions in Sunday’s loss to the Lions.

Dating from last season, Hankerson and Morgan have alternated frequently opposite No. 1 wide receiver Pierre Garcon. Morgan last season recorded 48 passes for 510 yards and two touchdowns while starting 15 games. Hankerson in 2012 made five starts and recorded 38 catches for 543 yards and three touchdowns.

During training camp and the preseason, the two continued alternating as they competed for the starting job at the ‘Z’ position.

Against Philadelphia, Morgan got the start opposite Garcon and played 34 offensive snaps (45 percent of the plays) while Hankerson played 41 snaps (55 percent). Hankerson recorded five catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets. Morgan, meanwhile, had four catches for 51 yards on five targets.

The following week against Green Bay, Hankerson got the start and played 30 snaps (49 percent) while Morgan played 26 (43 percent). Hankerson had three catches for 35 yards on three targets while Morgan caught two of six balls that came his way for 39 yards. Morgan in that game committed a glaring error by tipping a pass up into the air for a Green Bay interception.

This past week, Hankerson got his second consecutive start, but his playing time increased. He played 54 snaps (70 percent) while Morgan was on the field for only 24 offensive snaps (31 percent). Hankerson recorded three catches for 21 yards on seven targets. Meanwhile, Robert Griffin III targeted Morgan two times and Morgan caught both passes while recording 19 receiving yards.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Hankerson earned an increase in playing time because he stood out more than Morgan the previous week. But he added that the team has an ongoing competition on its hands.

“We thought [Hankerson] had a better game the week before so we gave [him] a few more reps than we did [Morgan] just because of his play the week before,” Shanahan said. “A lot of competition there for playing time.”

Hankerson entered this season hoping to display improved consistency after being plagued by frequent drops last season. The third-year pro also hoped a healthy offseason for the first time in his young career would lead to more development.

Morgan, who signed with Washington as a free agent last season, played all of the 2012 season with seven screws and a plate in his right ankle. That made it hard for him to make certain cuts because the pain proved too great. He had the screws and plate removed over the offseason and also banked on improved health for increased success.

Asked about improvements he has noticed in Morgan’s game, Shanahan said: “He’s much better than he was a year ago, there is no question about it, but there is still that competition. People are fighting for playing time. You’ve got two guys that are close, and each game dictates how much they will play the following week.”

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Sam Shields impressive in shut down of Bengals WR Green

The decibel level in Sam Shields’ voice rarely flickers above a muttered, hushed tone.

The Green Bay Packers cornerback doesn’t possess the same philosophical insights as teammate Tramon Williams or the diplomatic resolve of a Charles Woodson. But inside a meeting room, he’s as respected as anyone on the roster.

Taking a quick scan of the 24-year-old, you wouldn’t know he usually tests higher than anyone in cornerback coach Joe Whitt’s classroomicon1 or that he took rookies and first-year players like Micah Hyde and James Nixon under his wing in camp.

On the field, whatever jitters he felt during a turbulent sophomore season in 2011 appear to be a thing of the past.

Right now, Shields has the look of a soon-to-be unrestricted free agent reaching the peak of his powers and playing with a carefree attitude that could garner him the millions he never saw as an undrafted free agent out of Miami in 2010.

“I think he’s done an excellent job,” Whitt said. “He’s not a very talkative young man, but he’s leading by the tempo that he plays with. His tests are the best in the room. He leads by the way he takes notes and showing them, ‘This is the way you take notes.’ In every aspect of it, he doesn’t really talkicon1 a lot, but I’ve been pleased with where he is.”

The Packers gave a greenicon1 light this offseason to allowing Shields and Williams to man their own sides of the field in coverage rather than utilizing Williams as a shutdown cornerback designated to follow around the opposing team’s best receiver.

Whitt cautioned there would be some exceptions as the season wore on and Sunday’s game against Cincinnati was one of them. However, it was Shields — not Williams — who was following stud receiver A.J. Green’s every move.

A game-ball recipient for his three pass deflections and two third-down stops against Washington two weeks ago, Shields limited the 6-foot-4 Green to only four second-half catches for 46 yards and a touchdown, marking only the fifth time over his past 20 games he’s been held under 50 receiving yards.
Along the way, Shields was responsible for the first turnover of the season for the Packers’ secondary when he flew in front of an Andy Dalton first-quarter pass intended for Green on a sideline comeback route.

The play was a thing of beauty as Shields stayed in front of the route, contorted his body slightly to the left as his momentum pulled him to the right to adjust to the ball and cause the first of what turned out to be four consecutive turnovers forced by the Packers’ defense.

Aaron Rodgers and the offense struggled on the ensuing series, but the play set the table for the Packers to crawl back after falling into a 14-0 hole in the opening minutes of the game.

“A.J. is an all-pro player. My thing was not letting him get the upfield ball,” Shields said. “He caught a couple and he got a touchdown on me, but things like that are going to happen. He’s a great receiver. He’s going to catch balls and he’s going to score. The key is forgetting it and keep playing.”

The decision to promote Shields into such an important role serves as a strong indication of how far he’s come following a disappointing 2011 season in which he missed eight tackles, and allowed 611 yards and six touchdowns on 46 receptions, according to Pro Football Focus.

Shields started slow last season before busting out for 23 tackles, a career-high 10 pass deflections and three interceptions. He missed six games due to a high-ankle sprain, but led the NFL in coverage snaps per reception (16.3).

The performanceicon1 led to Shields and his agent Drew Rosenhaus opting to sit out of the Packers’ voluntary organized team activity practices in hopes of signing a more lucrative deal than the one-year, $2.01 million one he received as a restricted free agent this offseason.

The Packers began discussions with Shields about a possible long-term deal this summer after he signed his second-round tender in June, but quickly turned their attention to extending fourth-year safetyicon1 Morgan Burnett on the eve of training camp.

If Shields keeps having performances like the one he had Sunday, he might be soon to follow.

“Sam’s made progress ... we felt good about him last year, we feel good about him this year,” Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “He’s made some impact plays. You saw the one (Sunday), that was a really nice play he made on that interception.”

Shields is the lightest cornerback on the roster at 5-foot-11, 184 pounds, but he plays physical and has enough speed to match the likes of Green and other deep-field threats.

The key for Shields and the rest of the secondary has been eliminating big plays and excess yardage. He already has six pass deflections in three games, but Pro Football Focus also has docked him for allowing 17 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

Most of that production came on the Packers’ secondary allowing San Francisco’s Anquan Boldin and Washington’s Pierre Garcon to put up big numbers.
“We have to go out there and make the plays,” Whitt said. “San Fran game, we played a good first half and then we let it go. That can’t happen. We have to play 60 minutes and that’s what we must do to beat a team we have to beat.”

Still, Shields is more of an answer than a question with his game-breaking ability being one of the key components of the Packers’ zone-blitz defense. It’s a secondary that has ranked in the top five in interceptions during each of Capers and Whitt’s four seasons together.

Shields and the secondary are in for another test as one of the NFL’s top receivers, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, awaits them after this week’s bye.

The spotlight will continue to shine for Shields, who has often reiterated how he wants to remain a Packer. Over the coming months, he’ll get a chance to show he’s worthy of a contract in the ballpark of the four-year extension Williams signed in 2010 that averages $8.25 million per season.

If Shields can play up to those standards this season, he’ll know how he got there.

“It’s always confidence,” Shields said recently. “Confidence and knowing where you’re at on the field, knowing your help. Having that mindset of going out and saying, ‘This dude is not going to catch the ball.’ I go out there each and every play, and just have that in my mind.”

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Joe Flacco says Ray Lewis should know better

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said that his former teammate, Ray Lewis, “knows better” than to suggest an off-the-field incident is result of a leadership void within the team.

Responding to comments the former linebacker and current ESPN broadcaster made on Monday, Flacco said: “It is what it is. Ray knows better than that. Things happen. I think we’re usually a pretty good team with stuff like that. If you look around the league, there are probably a lot of leadership problems then. Like I said, Ray knows better.”

Lewis’ comments came before the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game Monday night and were a reaction to wide receiver-kick returner Jacoby Jones getting hit in the head by a bottle after left tackle Bryant McKinnie’s 34th birthday party in Washington, D.C.      

“We talk about the transition of losing so many guys, a guy like myself and Ed Reed and other guys that are based off leadership. I've said it earlier: 'Where would the leadership come from?'“ Lewis said. “Because the leadership being strong in the locker room and winning games. Listen, talent sometimes can win you games. But when you talk about what's going on off the field, that's the most important place where leadership steps up.

“When you think about the Baltimore Ravens and the transition that they went through, they're missing leadership right now. When you have an incident like that, the first thing a leader is going to do is find some way to dissolve everything that's going on and actually dissolve it before it comes to that type of head or even gets to that point. When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens they're going to have to refocus and find some quick leaders in that locker room very quickly.”

Flacco, however, downplayed the incident.

“When you get the information of what happened, it is what it is,” Flacco said. “You laugh about it kind of. It’s funny, some of the things that we deal with. I don’t really have too many comments on it because they’d all be taken the wrong way and out of context. It’s not really an issue.”

Asked if it was funny because Lewis, who was just inducted in the Ravens Ring of Honor on Sunday, was the one who said it, Flacco said: “Ray is one of them for a couple of minutes a week now. It is what it is.”

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Jason Fox not campaigning to retain his starting right tackle job

ALLEN PARK -- Jason Fox won the Detroit Lions' starting right tackle job with a strong training camp and preseason performance, but with an early-season groin injury sidelining him the past two games, he could return to a backup role behind Corey Hilliard.

Fox declined to say he deserved his job back. He's content to let the coaches decide.

"That's a tough question," he said. "You have to ask the coaches that. I don't know how to answer that, really. I think we have two quality right tackles. Either one of us can get the job done."

Practicing for the first time in nearly three weeks on Wednesday, Fox said his body responded well.

"It was a good first step," Fox said. "I think it responded really well. I felt good out there. I need to finish out with a good week of practice."

During skeleton drills run during the open portion of practice, Hilliard continued to work with the first team.

Coach Jim Schwartz also went out of his way to highlight the play of Hilliard during his Monday press conference.

"I thought probably one thing in this Redskins game that went a little under the radar was the job that Riley Reiff and Corey Hilliard did on their two outside pass-rushers," Schwartz said. "I thought that Riley played an outstanding game and so did Corey. And they had to do it against two big-time players."

When asked for his philosophy on starters retaining jobs while injured, Schwartz said the team handles those situations individually.

"Every case is different," he said. "We treat every one differently."


Angry Antrel Rolle rips team for lack of emotion and fight

The Giants desperately need someone or something to snap them out of their early-season slumber, one that has the media scurrying to the record books because of their futility.

Yesterday, safety Antrel Rolle tried to light a fire under his teammates when he blasted them for their lack of fight in a 38-0 smackdown by the Panthers and challenged himself to right the wayward ship.

Rolle, speaking on his weekly radio spot on WFAN, displayed passion and emotion in a sometimes disjointed and rambling interview. He said the team did nothing after getting punched in the mouth by the Panthers and is “still bleeding to this day.”

Later, wide receiver Victor Cruz, during an interview on ESPN New York, said the team was “flat” against the Panthers.

We know that the Giants roster is flawed but for it to be devoid of energy gives rise to whether complacency has set in on a veteran core that has won two Super Bowls in the past five seasons. Perhaps it’s just Father Time.

Perhaps the team simply overlooked the lightly-regarded Panthers as punter Steve Weatherford suggested in his weekly diary with The Star-Ledger.
Rolle, a team captained, said he had never felt as humiliated as he did after the Carolina game.

Fact is, the challenge is even more daunting on Sunday against the undefeated Chiefs. The Giants banged-up offensive line, which allowed seven sacks against the Panthers, is facing a Chiefs team that leads the league in sacks with 15.

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Shock's Riquna Williams Named WNBA Sixth Woman Of The Year

TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Shock guard Riquna Williams was named the 2013 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year, the WNBA announced today. Williams received 17 votes from a national panel of 39 sportswriters and broadcasters to earn the award. Minnesota Lynx Monica Wright (13) finished second in the voting.

In 27 games, including 21 as a reserve, Williams averaged 15.6 points – a five-point increase from her rookie season last year and the second-highest average on the Shock – 2.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 steals in 22.7 minutes per game. The second-year guard from the University of Miami tied for fourth overall in the league in free throw percentage, converting 90 percent of her attempts from the free throw line. She also topped the 20-point plateau nine times, including a WNBA-record 51-point explosion late in the season.

Williams' record-setting game came on Sept. 8 in a 98-65 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars. She shot 17-for-28 from the field, including 8-for-14 from three-point land. Williams scored eight points in each of the first two quarters before erupting for 20 in the third and 15 in the fourth. The 51-point effort surpassed the previous mark of 47 set by Phoenix's Diana Taurasi in 2006 and Seattle's Lauren Jackson in 2007. Williams earned the first Western
Conference Player of the Week Award in her career following that performance.

An All-Rookie Team selection in 2012, Williams finished her inaugural WNBA campaign ranked third among rookies in both assists (2.1 apg) and steals (1.55 spg), and fourth in scoring (10.5 ppg).

In honor of being named the Sixth Woman of the Year, Williams will receive $5,000 and a specially-designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the results of the 2013 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year voting and a list of previous winners:

17 -  Riquna Williams (Tulsa Shock)
13 - Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx)
7 - Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream)
1 - Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks)

2013 - Riquna Williams Tulsa Shock
2012 -  Renee Montgomery Connecticut Sun
2011 - DeWanna Bonner Phoenix Mercury
2010 - DeWanna Bonner Phoenix Mercury
2009 - DeWanna Bonner Phoenix Mercury
2008 - Candice Wiggins Minnesota Lynx
2007* - Plenette Pierson Detroit Shock

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Bills add Adewale Ojomo to Practice Squad

On Tuesday the Bills also released DE Izaan Cross from the practice squad and signed Adewale Ojomo (pronounced ad-uh-WALL-ee o-JO-mo). Ojomo (6’4” 270) has appeared in one career NFL game with the New York Giants in 2012, the team he signed with after going undrafted last year.

He was last with the Seattle Seahawks where he spent a week on the club’s practice squad. Ojomo played his college ball at the University of Miami.

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Dolphins try out DeMarcus Van Dyke

The Miami Dolphins auditioned six defensive backs, including former St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions cornerback Ronald Bartell and former Buffalo Bills cornerback Terrence McGee, according to a league source.

The Dolphins also worked out former Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jacob Lacey.

The workout included cornerbacks Jalil Brown, Ryan Mouton and DeMarcus Van Dyke.

Van Dyke played collegiately at the University of Miami.

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Frank Gore denies that he yelled at Jim Harbaugh

SANTA CLARA — Frank Gore disputed a report that he yelled at coach Jim Harbaugh late in the 49ers' loss Sunday and that he, along with his teammates, were all upset at the 27-7 outcome.

"I like Coach Harbaugh a lot. No issues," Gore said Tuesday. "No, I'm cool with Harbaugh. That's not me."

Gore had no carries after the second half's opening series, and he finished with a season-high 82 rushing yards.'s Kevin Lynch tweeted after the game that Gore had "choice words" with Harbaugh on the sideline in the closing moments, and that sparked several reports of a feud that Gore says is non-existant.

"I just wanted to win, to get that nasty taste (of a previous loss) out of our mouth," Gore said.

Although Gore debuted on this week's injury report with a (left) knee ailment, he said he's "cool" and ready to go Thursday against the host St. Louis Rams.
Gore did not criticize his lack of carries in Sunday's second half, when the 49ers instead became more pass-oriented and thus used him on pass protection or short routes.

The 49ers racked up 34 points and 494 yards of offense in their opening win over the Green Bay Packers. But in two ensuing blowout losses to the Seahawks and Colts, they've totaled 10 points and 461 yards, combined.

"We've just got to get back to us, and being one," Gore said. "We'll be fine. We feel we can do whatever we want, like before."

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Ron Rivera noncommittal on Jon Beason starting again

The Carolina Panthers' defensive turnaround last season coincided with Luke Kuechly replacing veteran Jon Beason at middle linebacker.

When the Panthers blew out the New York Giants behind a shutdown performance from their defensive front seven in Week 3, Beason was on the field for just one snap.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera was noncommittal this week when asked if Beason would get his weakside linebacker job back from Chase Blackburn.

"We'll have to see. We've got two days of practice this week and then a whole week to get ready for Arizona," Rivera said Monday, via the Charlotte Observer. "Again, as we go through this, we're going to put the people on the field that give us the best opportunity to win football games."

Beason started all 64 games while earning three Pro Bowl nods for Carolina from 2007 to 2010, but he has played just seven games since tearing his Achilles tendon in the 2011 season opener.

The 28-year-old still is regaining confidence in the surgically-repaired knee that limited him in training camp. The coaching staff planned to ease Beason back in via a situational role, but he was a liability in coverage to the tune of five receptions for 112 yards in the Panthers' Week 2 loss to the Bills.

It's conceivable that the Panthers could be 3-0 had the switch to Blackburn occurred before the season opener. Armed with that knowledge, Rivera will be hesitant to turn back to Beason until the veteran recaptures some semblance of his pre-injury form.

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Vince Wilfork Looking Rusty For New England Patriots

It’s hard to single out any defender for the New England Patriots, as the defense is playing at a high level right now. But one defender, who happens to be the second-highest paid defender on the team, is struggling through the first three games. That would be defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.

Now, before all of you Patriots fans get angry, it’s best to consider the level of play that Wilfork has been producing, instead of just his big name. Wilfork has not produced in the box score (nine tackles, zero sacks), and it looks like the big man is being removed on third downs; that’s because he is not a pass rusher. There have been flashes in the past in which Wilfork showed that he could rush the passer, but he has definitely not been consistent in this department.

Let’s move to Wilfork’s bread and butter: run defense. That part of his game has seemed to have fallen off a bit as well. Running backs Fred Jackson, Chris Ivory and Doug Martin all had solid games against the Patriots. It’s definitely not fair to blame all of that on Wilfork, but he has noticeably been pushed around and contained a lot more than usual. So far, Wilfork has failed to live in the opposing backfield, which is his game.

Most people could have seen Wilfork’s struggles coming when head coach Bill Belichick decided to switch to a base 4-3 defenseicon1. Wilfork is mostly lost in this defense, especially considering that Belichick likes to rush four in almost every passing situation. That will tire a big man like Wilfork out, which is a detriment to his run defense. That’s not good, considering that Belichick does not have much depth at the defensive tackle position.

If Wilfork’s play continues like this, it will be hard to justify keeping him after this season, considering his $7.5 million salary for 2014.

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Why Ray Didn’t Do His Dance Sunday

With a dance as iconic as Lewis’, why didn’t he perform it at the Ring of Honor ceremony?

Lewis was introduced out of the tunnel Sunday, but acknowledged the crowd and gave high fives to his teammates. WNST’s Glenn Clark asked Byrne what conversations led to the decision for Lewis not to dance.

“I don’t think there was as much [conversation] as people might suspect,” he replied. “I spoke to Coach [John] Harbaugh to say, ‘Look, we’ve brought out our Ring of Honor guys in different ways. In pre-game, we’ve brought them out before we bring the team, we’ve brought them out just before we introduce whatever starting group we’re going to do. Or we can not bring him out.’

“John’s immediate reaction was, ‘No I’m OK with having Ray there in the tunnel and stuff. And I said, ‘Well how about we bring him out just before we introduce the defense. He said, “Yeah, I’m good with that. It will be good to see him.’ That’s basically as much conversation that we had about it.”
Was there any conversation with Lewis about his dance?

Byrne said the topic never even came up. He said. “I never suggested it to him. I never asked him if he wanted to do it.”

The Ravens needed to balance the love the city and franchise have for Lewis with the need to be a separate team in 2013.

“My personal opinion is this was not the time for the dance, but if Ray looked at me and said, ‘Hey, the people would really like it’ or ‘I’m willing to do it,’ we probably would have done it,” Byrne said. “It really just didn’t come up.

“I thought the way it happened was tremendous. In fact, when Ray was in the tunnel and we put a camera on him and showed him on our big screen, the stadium literally shook. It’s shaken very few times since the building’s been up. I was on the field and I could feel the vibrations when they first saw him in the tunnel and that’s before he walked out. … That was like, ‘Holy cow!’ That was a very cool moment for all of us.”

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Eric Winston: Suh 'loses benefit of doubt'

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Apparently an elbow swing by Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh during the Arizona-Detroit game Sept. 15 slipped by everyone except Cardinals right tackle Eric Winston, who was the intended target.

A video posted at on Saturday clearly shows Suh throwing his right elbow at Winston's head after the play had passed the line of scrimmage. A flag was not thrown and the league office has not made any public comments about the play.

Winston downplayed the incident when asked about it Monday.

"Things happen out there," he said. "I was moving him pretty good. He was trying to get off me. I don't know if it was intentional or not. I doubt it. But I think with that guy, obviously he's probably lost the benefit of the doubt with a lot of people."

The video shows Winston, who wears No. 73, beginning the play by double-teaming Suh with right guard Paul Fanaika, who eventually peels away. Winston is left one-on-one with Suh and does a good job of keeping him out of the backfield and away from the ball carrier, running back Rashard Mendenhall. Winston appears to lose his balance after Mendenhall runs by and falls to the ground, but instead of just letting go of Winston, Suh appears to try to land an elbow to Winston's head.

"If he swings like that and hits me across the shoulder like that, it's fine," Winston said. "I'm not going to go off and say he was purposely taking a swing at my head. I think he was probably just trying to flail and get off the block.

"It's not the first time it's ever happened to me and not gotten called or not said anything and probably won't be the last. It's the way it goes," he continued. "I just move down the road."

Suh, whose appeal of a $100,000 fine for a low block on Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle John Sullivan was to be heard Tuesday, has not addressed the incident with Winston. The defensive tackle is scheduled for media availability Wednesday.

No decision was expected Tuesday in Suh's appeal, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder. Suh is arguing that his hit was legal and that other players have committed more egregious fouls without being suspended or fined a similar amount.

The appeal is being heard by former Vikings and Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk -- who rescinded the one-game suspension of Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson last week while imposing a $100,000 fine.

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Discussing Details Behind Ray Lewis Statue

The city of Baltimore got to celebrate one last time with the greatest defensive player in Baltimore history Sunday as Ray Lewis was enshrined into the Ring of Honor.

There was no question that Lewis would join other Baltimore greats in the ring, including Jonathan Ogden, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware, Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore.

But considering Lewis’ 17-year iconic NFL career is on a level all its own, some have wondered whether Lewis will also be recognized in a way that distinguishes him from the other greats.

“Yes, we have [talked about doing more]. It’s not a secret, we’re going to put a statue up of Ray Lewis,” Ravens Senior Vice President of Community and Public Relations Kevin Byrne told WNST yesterday. “I don’t mean to demean [Ravens’ first Hall of Famer] Jonathan Ogden, but you almost have to separate Ray from everything else in our history.”

Byrne noted that the discussions internally at the Under Armour Performance Center are now centered on the details behind Lewis’ future statue.

The Ravens would like to erect it sooner rather than later, and don’t plan on waiting until Lewis is inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years from now. Instead, they want to do it “as quickly as possible.”

And while Byrne didn’t want to make any promises, he said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we do it next year.”

Lewis’ statue will go up alongside the bronze 13-foot Johnny Unitas statue at M&T Bank Stadium. Unitas is in a throwing pose, and the question the Ravens are currently asking themselves is what pose Lewis should be in.

“Should the statue be the iconic end of the squirrel dance?” Byrne asked. “Or should he be in a linebacker stance?”

My vote (and of course I don’t have one)? I would love to see a screaming Lewis at the end of his dance chiseled into history for the rest of time.

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Antrel Rolle challenges the NY Giants to show 'more fight'

First, Antrel Rolle challenged his teammates to show "more fight" and "more dog". Then, he showed then how to snarl just a bit.

The Giants safety was at his defiant best during his weekly paid radio spot on WFAN on Tuesday, two days after watching his team suffer its worst loss in Coughlin Era history. The 38-0 blowout in Carolina gave him a feeling he "never" wants to feel again, he said, and he vowed that it will drive him to be more aggressive on the field and more fierce (if that's even possible) off of it.

"From this point on, I don't care what the situation may be, I don't care what the outcome is," an emotional Rolle said. "I don't care what the hell has to happen. If they want to kick me up from around here, from the New York Giants, then that's gonna be what has to happen. But I'm gonna play Antrel Rolle ball the way I know how to play Antrel Rolle ball, and I'm gonna lead the way I know how to lead.

Rolle added that he doesn't "give a damn what happens" with his future.

"That feeling that I felt last Sunday, I can never have that feeling again," he said. "I'm gonna do whatever it takes, anything it takes. And whatever the outcome is, it is what it is."

From sleeping pass rush to struggling offensive line to absent run game, it's seemed like a collapse on all levels for the Giants this September. But that's not what Rolle saw on Tuesday. He said there was "no way in hell" that the Giants should have been demolished by the same Panthers team that they'd beaten, 36-7, a year ago, and pointed out that the Panthers are hardly the Broncos or Patriots.

"Carolina came out there and they punched us in the mouth and we didn't do anything," he said. "We're still bleeding to this day."

The first-year captain said the Giants' issues go "deeper than X's and O's." On Monday, former Giants linebacking great Carl Banks had spent his own WFAN spot ripping into his old team for a lack of emotion and saying that players didn't seem willing to fight for each other.

Rolle said he agreed "200 percent" with Banks' blasts.

"Do we like each other in our locker room? I believe so," he said. "We like each other. WE're all friends with one another. But are we going out there and fighting for the guy beside us? Absolutely not. There is no way I can hide it, sugarcoat it, whatever you want to say.

"I think we need to do some serious soul-searching within the locker room and try to understand and try to form an identity of who we're gonna be, for one," he added. "Do we still love to play this game? That's No. 2. And third of all: Are we going to fight like hell to get out of the situation that we're in?"

Rolle fully expects that the team will indeed "fight like hell" over the course of the rest of the season. He said he has "more confidence" in the team than he did during the summer, even added that he "wouldn't mind" finishing the season 13-3.

"We've been hit in the mouth, and we got hit in the mouth extremely bad (Sunday)," he said. "Sometimes, good things come out of bad things. Hopefully, that's exactly what we need to wake our ass up and go play football."

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Chris Perez blows fifth save of season

Chris Perez blew his fifth save of the season but escaped with a no-decision in Tuesday's win over the White Sox.

Perez allowed a game-tying homer to Dayan Viciedo to lead off the ninth before Alejandro De Aza put the Pale Hose up with another blast with two outs. After Alexei Ramirez singled, Perez was then pulled. Jason Giambi then bailed Perez out with a walk-off shot in the bottom of the frame. Indians manager Terry Francona isn't interested in changing roles at this point, so Perez will get the ball again for the next save chance.

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NFLU TD Streak Extended to 14 Weeks

Current Streak (Week 7 2012 – Present) Totals: 14 Weeks & 43 Total TDs

Week 3, 2013
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (2 TDs vs. Arizona Cardinals; 16-yard TD reception, 7-yard TD reception)

Week 2, 2013
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 56-yard TD reception)
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (1 TD vs. Buffalo Bills; 13-yard TD reception)
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins 49ers (1 TD vs. Indianapolis Colts; 10-yard TD run)
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TDs vs. Green Bay Packers; 9-yard TD reception)

Week 1, 2013
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1TD vs. Oakland Raiders; 12-yard TD reception)
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Atlanta Falcons; 7-yard TD reception)
Kellen Winslow Jr., New York Jets (1 TD vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 7-yard TD reception)
Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. Green Bay Packers; 1-yard TD run)
Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins (2 TDs vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 10-yard TD reception; 24-yard TD reception)

Week 17, 2012
Jon Vilma, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Carolina Panthers; 18-yard INT return for TD) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Carolina Panthers; 19-yard TD reception)

Week 16, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 22-yard TD reception) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 7-yard TD reception)

Week 15, 2012
Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (1 TD vs. Indianapolis Colts; 3-yard TD reception) Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins (2 TDs vs. Cleveland Browns; 54-yard TD reception; 2-yard TD reception) Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (1 TD vs. Washington Redskins; 69-yard TD reception)

Week 14, 2012
Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 93-yard punt return for TD) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (1 TD vs. Atlanta Falcons; 25-yard TD reception) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Tennessee Titans; 4-yard TD reception) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 1-yard TD run)

Week 13, 2012
Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (1 TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs; 47-yard TD reception) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. St. Louis Rams; 1-yard TD run)

Week 12, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Dallas Cowboys; 6-yard TD reception) Thanksgiving Day Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. New Orleans Saints; 6-yard TD reception)

Week 11, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Philadelphia Eagles; 61-yard TD reception) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans (1 TD vs. Jacksonville Jaguars; 48-yard TD reception) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Oakland Raiders; 1-yard TD reception)

Week 10, 2012
Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (2 TDs vs. Atlanta Falcons; 29-yard TD reception; 14-yard TD reception) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers (2 TDs vs. Denver Broncos; 4-yard TD reception; 5-yard TD reception) Colin McCarthy, Tennessee Titans (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 49-yard interception return for TD) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers (1 TD vs. St. Louis Rams; 20-yard TD run)

Week 9, 2012
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts (1 TD vs. Miami Dolphins; 9-yard TD reception)

Week 8, 2012
Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins (1 TD vs. New York Jets; Punt block recovery in end zone) Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. Pittsburgh Steelers; 2-yard TD reception) Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos (1 TD vs. New Orleans Saints; 1-yard TD run) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (1 TD vs. Denver Broncos; 18-yard TD reception)

Week 7, 2012
Santana Moss, Washington Redskins (1 TD vs. New York Giants; 26-yard TD reception)

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NFL U Week 3 Photos

Ray Lewis on the Ravens Sideline.
Redskins S Brandon Meriweather.
Patriots DL Vince Wilfork.
Saints TE Jimmy Graham enter the Superdome through the smoke.
Panthers TE Greg Olsen runs out of the tunnel before Carolina’s game versus the Giants.

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Unstoppable Jimmy Graham snags 2 more TDs

Jimmy Graham caught nine passes for 134 yards with two touchdowns in Sunday's 31-7 Week 3 win over the Cardinals.

The term unstoppable gets thrown around too much. With Graham, it's warranted. The Cardinals tried to use safety Yeremiah Bell on him in the first half and Bell got humiliated on a goal-line jump ball. In the second half, the Cards put top corner Patrick Peterson on him. No matter, as Graham beat Peterson on a slant for a touchdown. Over the last two games, Graham has piled up 19 catches for 313 yards with three touchdowns. His next victim will be the Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Week 4.

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Andre Johnson Day-To-Day

Houston (CBS Houston) - For the second straight week Andre Johnson was unable to finish a game.  Johnson was taken out of Sunday’s 30 to 9 loss with a leg injury. After the game, Johnson specified he had sustained a bruised shin and would undergo an MRI.

Luckily for the Texans, the tests were negative, it’s a shin bruise.

“He did come out okay. All of the x-rays were fine so it’s just a matter of working him back through it. It will probably be a day to day process.” Gary Kubiak said Monday.

Kubiak didn’t specify whether or not  Johnson will play this weekend but after the game the wideout seemed optimistic.

“As far as right now, I plan on playing.”  said Johnson after the 30 to 9 loss in Baltimore.

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Jimmy Graham not responding to extension offer

Citing multiple league sources, reports the Saints recently extended an extension offer to Jimmy Graham, but Graham's camp has not responded.

Graham is absolutely shredding the league through three weeks, with four touchdowns and 358 yards. His value is at its absolute highest, so the Saints' offer would likely have to blow him away for Graham to sign now. If Graham makes it through the season without an extension, the Saints will likely slap him with the franchise tag. Graham would have a great argument to be tagged as a wide receiver rather than tight end, commanding more money.

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Ed Reed says he will ‘always be a Raven’

BALTIMORE — Ed Reed insisted it won’t be an emotional day for him. His return to the place where he played for 11 seasons to face an organization he won a Super Bowl with seven months ago is just “another away game right now.”

But as Reed continued to talk, he offered a glimpse of the emotional tug he probably will experience Sunday when he returns to Baltimore to face the Ravens as a member of the Houston Texans.

He admits to thinking about the short drive to M&T Bank Stadium from a downtown hotel and the familiar walk past security guards whom he has shaken hands with on game days for years. But that’s where things get fuzzy because his destination has never been the visitor’s locker room.

“I still got a lot of thinking to do,” Reed said Thursday in a conference call with local reporters. “My time in Baltimore was awesome, every bit of it. I have no regrets from when [General Manager Ozzie Newsome] called me on draft day, to being in the old facility, practicing in the snow with [coach Brian Billick] and just everything we went through with Coach [John Harbaugh] and growing. Iron sharpening iron. I have a lot of great memories, a lot of great friends.
“I always will be a Raven. That’s where I was kind of raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing, and we did a lot of special things. That’s something that can never be taken away, and it never will. There’s a lot of love there.”

Reed, the ball-hawking safety who has built a future Hall of Fame career on surprising quarterbacks, seems intent on keeping everybody guessing until the very end. Signed by the Texans in late March, Reed has yet to suit up for a game with his new team because he’s recovering from April surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. He said he’s still dealing with tightness and soreness and he has a “lot of work to do” before he returns to game action.

“I’m not confident about nothing but going day-to-day, the way I’ve been,” Reed said when asked whether he’s confident he’ll play Sunday. “You can’t be confident if you haven’t been on the field.”

Never mind that none of his former teammates believe he would miss an opportunity to play again in front of fans who cheered him loudly every time he got his hands near the football for more than a decade. Never mind that former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, his longtime teammate and close friend, will be at M&T Bank Stadium to be inducted to the team’s Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony. Never mind that Reed has been practicing for several weeks and his current coach, Gary Kubiak, said Wednesday the nine-time Pro Bowl selection is as close to playing as he has been.

In the 10-plus minute conference call, Reed was at his mercurial best, talking more about “coaching” against the Ravens than playing against them — for whatever that’s worth.

“Just looking at the whole team, it just looks a little different for me, especially being on this side of things,” Reed said. “I was looking at it last night like, ‘Wow, this is something that I’m really coaching against my boys.’ ”

Asked whether he anticipated being emotional Sunday, Reed said “not at all,” comparing it to all the games he played against the Indianapolis Colts and standout wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who was his former roommate in college at Miami.

“It’s like playing against your brothers again while I’m out there coaching,” Reed said. “I’ve been having this feeling for a long time. It’s different being here and coming to see my guys, who I’ve been fighting with for a long time.”

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Jon Beason plays one snap

Panthers WLB Jon Beason played just one snap in Sunday's Week 3 win over the Giants.
Beason shared the workload evenly with Chase Blackburn in the first two weeks. But with the Panthers facing Blackburn's former team, Beason became an innocent bystander. The demotion likely had a plenty to do with how badly Beason has struggled this season as he comes off another knee surgery.

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Ed Reed a Raven evermore

Much has happened since the last time Texans safety Ed Reed took the field at M&T Bank Stadium, including the Baltimore Ravens winning the Super Bowl.

But just because he’s no longer a Raven after 11 seasons doesn’t mean Baltimoreans don’t still hold him dear.

“I said, ‘Hey, you’ve still got it,’?rdquo; said Ravens coach John Harbaugh after his team spoiled Reed’s homecoming 30-9. “I didn’t call him an old man. He played very well, just like we expected he would.

“There’s a tremendous respect and love there. He’s a Texan now, but Ed Reed will forever be a Raven.”

Reed chatted with his former teammates before the game, then was the last man leaving the field when it was over.

“It was awesome to see Ed again,” Ravens safety James Ihedigbo said. “In talking to him he continued to encourage me. He’s helped so much in my development as a safety. I thanked him for that.”

Then Ihedigbo and the rest of Reed’s old buddies went out and ruined his new team’s day.

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Andre Johnson frustrated after early exit due to injury

Texans receiver Andre Johnson didn’t want to leave his team in Week 2, but a concussion forced him off the field.

A shin bruise got the best of Johnson on Sunday during the Texans’ 30-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Johnson, 32, again didn’t want to leave the contest. But a hobbling receiver who was limping after the game realized the Texans were better off without him.

“Very, very frustrating,” said Johnson, who caught five passes for 36 yards. “You kind of just go back and forth with the coaches, trying to tell them you’re OK, hoping that it feels better. I know that if I would’ve went out there, I couldn’t play the way that I’m capable of playing. And you see the film, I’m out there limping around.”

Johnson said it was too soon to determine whether he’ll be available in Week 4 against Seattle at Reliant Stadium. X-rays taken at halftime were negative.

“I watched him the first play,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “We threw the ball the first play, and I wanted to see him run. I did not think he could run the way he needs to to play, so we took him out.”

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SURG restaurant owner opens up about Ryan Braun, Aaron Rodgers

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Ray Lewis questions Ravens' leadership issue following Jacoby Jones incident

In the wake of Pro Bowl kick returner Jacoby Jones allegedly being struck in the head by a bottle on a party bus early Monday morning while celebrating the 34th birthday of offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, retired inside linebacker Ray Lewis questioned the Ravens' leadership again.

For the second time this month in his new role as an ESPN analyst, the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said the Ravens have a leadership void following his retirement and the offseason departure of Ed Reed to the Houston Texans.

"We talk about the transition of losing so many guys, a guy like myself and Ed Reed and other guys that are based off leadership, I've said it earlier: 'Where would the leadership come from?'" Lewis said on ESPN in Oakland prior to the Denver Broncos' win over the Raiders. "Because the leadership being strong in the locker room and winning games, listen talent sometimes can win you games. But when you talk about what's going on off the field, that's the most important place where leadership steps up.

"When you think about the Baltimore Ravens and the transition that they went through, they're missing leadership right now. When you have an incident like that, the first thing a leader is going to do is find some way to dissolve everything that's going on and actually dissolve it before it comes to that type of head or even gets to that pont. When you talk about the Baltimore Ravens they're going to have to refocus and find some quick leaders in that locker room very quickly."

The Ravens have identified several leaders on their team following the retirements of Lewis and center Matt Birk and Reed leaving via free agency, including outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and quarterback Joe Flacco. Traditionally, developing strong intangibles and leadership develops and grows gradually over the years and doesn't happen immediately.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh addressed the situation with the entire team and privately with Jones and McKinnie. Jones wasn't hurt seriously and was able to take part in his rehabilitation for a sprained right medial collateral ligament.

Harbaugh expressed disappointment about the incident.

“I'm not very impressed personally with the report,” Harbaugh said. “It's not something we want to be known for. I'd like to think it's not something that those guys would want to be known for. It's nothing to be proud of. I'm kind of disappointed in that sense.”

Harbaugh referred to an adage from his father, former college football coach Jack Harbaugh, when speaking to the team Monday.

"What do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known as a football player or do you want to be known for that?" Harbaugh said. I don't think it's anything to be proud of. My dad, Jack Harbaugh, is here and that's definitely a motto that was enforced in our household: Nothing good happens after midnight. I did reiterate that with the guys today, yes.”

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Santana Moss leads Redskins with 77 yards in Week 3

Santana Moss caught seven passes for a team-high 77 yards in Washington's Week 3 loss to the Lions on Sunday.
Moss was targeted on nine of Robert Griffin III's 50 passing attempts. He's going to see a handful of targets every week, but fantasy owners need to be looking for more upside than Moss. He's nothing more than a WR5.

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Frank Gore reportedly yelled at Jim Harbaugh after 49ers loss

For the first time in Coach Jim Harbaugh’s three seasons, the San Francisco 49ers have lost consecutive games.

The frustration of falling to the Indianapolis Colts showed after Sunday’s 27-7 defeat at Candlestick Park, when, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, running back Frank Gore yelled angrily at Harbaugh while they walked off the field.

Gore finished with 11 carries for 82 yards, but most of that came in the first half. After halftime, he had three carries for 12 yards.

“When things are not going right you get frustrated,” Gore said after the game.
"But, I think the game kind of got different in the second half and we had to do what we had to do, just throw the ball. And that’s what it was.”

Harbaugh wasn’t asked about Gore in his postgame media session, but he was asked whether the 49ers were lacking in energy.

“You can question just about everything right now,” he said. “We didn’t play well enough to win in enough areas on enough downs. Did not win the down enough. Not even closely. They did, they made the plays offensively, defensively and we did not.”

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Jimmy Graham on Pace to Break NFL Record

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham put up more ridiculous stats during the Saints' 31-7 win over the Arizona Cardinals, including 9 catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. His numbers through three games this season put him well ahead of where he was at this point in 2011 by more than 100 yards receiving.

Here's a look at how Graham's performance so far in 2013 compares to his record-breaking performance in 2011. Will he keep this up? Will this be Graham's best season of his career?

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Travis Benjamin mooned stadium after pants malfunction

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin is the latest NFL player to suffer a wardrobe malfunction while on the field.

Two weeks ago it was Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Tyson Jackson whose pants fell down during a game, and this week it was Benjamin suffering the same fate.

Uncensored photo plus a GIF of when it happened is below:



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VIDEO: Ndamukong Suh takes swing at Cardinals' Eric Winston

Ndamukong Suh has taken heat this season following his low-block of John Sullivan and the NFL record fine that ensued.

But that apparently hasn't tempered his aggressive style of play. found video of the Detroit Lions defensive tackle delivering a blow to Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Eric Winston.

The play in question occurs with around 9:30 remaining in the third quarter of last week's loss in Arizona. Quarterback Carson Palmer handed off to tailback Rashard Mendenhall, who cut right through the hole.

As he passed the line of scrimmage, Suh delivered the hook to the back of Winston's head.

This type of play occurs regularly, but they have a way of hitting the news cycle when they involve Suh because of his past sins. He's been fined six times in his career for questionable on-field plays, as well as suspended once.

Those fines have progressively escalated, peaking last week to a record $100,000 for the blow to Sullivan. The NFL was sending a message it won't tolerate Suh's questionable hits much longer.

But that threat doesn't appear to be slowing Suh much.

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Greg Olsen held to 54 yards in Week 3 win

Greg Olsen caught four balls for 54 yards in the Panthers' Week 3 win over the Giants.

He also had a tough drop down the sideline. Cam Newton threw three touchdown passes, but this was a run-oriented approach from Carolina, leaving the pass catchers with mediocre to poor production. Olsen saw a team-high eight targets against the Giants, and will remain a back-end, relatively low-upside TE1 play in Week 5 against the Cardinals, following Carolina's Week 4 bye.

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Ray Lewis inducted into team's Ring of Honor

For the fans who packed M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday and stayed in their seats at halftime to see Ray Lewis inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor, it would be hard to imagine a more appropriate way to honor the greatest Raven of them all.

Sure, Lewis got an amazing reception from the sellout crowd of 71,168 when he walked onto the field before the game and again during the halftime ceremony that featured an impressive VIP list of NFL Hall of Famers and previous Ring of Honor inductees. Sure, he regaled the crowd with an inspirational acceptance speech. That was all great.

What made it unique, however, was the fact that his replacement at middle linebacker, newcomer Daryl Smith, had just turned the game around by intercepting a pass by Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub and sprinting into the end zone to give the Ravens their first lead of the game.

“As I walked out of the tunnel, I said, ‘I should have ran out there and he should have just tossed me the ball,’’ Lewis said during a news conference after the ceremony. “Me and Steve [Bisciotti] were walking down and we were like, ‘We should have came down earlier to give them some motivation,’ but it was so perfect.”

The Ravens were represented by Bisciotti, club president Dick Cass and general manager Ozzie Newsome. They presented Lewis with an engraved crystal vase and a large oil painting of him in a classic pose by artist Tim Byrne, the son of Ravens vice president Kevin Byrne.

“The love that’s out there in that stadium and the love that this city has for me and the respect the players have for me is overwhelming,’’ Lewis said after the ceremony. “It’s humbling because I only know what the path chose. To see it now ... this is it. This is why you do it. This is why you go through all those hard times.”

Lewis clearly reveled in the shower of affection from the stands and projected it right back to the fans he entered for nearly two decades and -- along with his teammates -- rewarded with two Super Bowl titles.

“It’s good to be back home,'' he said. "That’s one thing I’ve always said about me being here for 17 years is that I got a chance to lay my head in one place, and if you can have that, that’s the foundation of a legacy. So to be back where it all started from is probably one of the greatest gifts I can ever give myself.”
He said that he walked onto the field before the game free of any regret that he was no longer in uniform.

“I never discredit what I gave to the game,’’ Lewis said. “I gave it everything I had. Now it’s my time, it’s my way that I honor God by walking as who the man I am completely happy that the game is done for me. So when I walked out there I walked out there from a totally different perspective, because every other time I walked out there was to do battle. This time I went out there as a man…as a complete man ... and it feels good to know that I ran my race and now I’m here.”

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Rex Ryan: 'Kellen Winslow is a warrior'

Rex Ryan has described Kellen Winslow as a "warrior" following his first two games for the New York Jets.

The tight end had been a regular starter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns earlier in his career, but missed the majority of the 2012 season after brief stints with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

When asked about the 30-year-old in a press conference, the head coach said: "I tell you what, it's a great question because you want him to be Kellen Winslow like you remember Kellen Winslow.

"And then when he got here, but you weren't sure, he hadn't played, he gets here and you're like, 'Oh, wow'. I see the skills, I still see the great hands, the great route running and he moves better than I thought.

"He really is a warrior, there's no question and that's what I see about him. He loves to play. You wish every one of these guys, 53 of them, were like that. You wish your coaches were like that, but it's hard to be. It's who he is and I'm proud he's a Jet."

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Jimmy Graham: Absorbing big hits part of his job

METAIRIE, La. -- New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham didn’t have much to add Friday to the conversation about whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' safeties were taking dirty shots at Saints players last Sunday. Even though Graham himself absorbed the most vicious one of them all -- a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from Ahmad Black.

“I know that I play in the noise down there in the seams and down the middle of the field. So, you know, it’s just all of ‘em are hits to me,” Graham said when asked if he was upset by the nature of the Buccaneers' illegal hits against himself and tailback Darren Sproles. “As long as I can get up and keep playing, that’s all I care about.”

Graham certainly did that, finishing the game with a career-high 179 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.

When asked if he was feeling particularly sore the next morning, Graham said, “I feel pretty much the same every Monday morning. Not so great.”

“Yeah things hurt, obviously,” added Graham, who is listed at 6-foot-7, 265 pounds. “But that’s just football. You know, that’s how it is. It’s a collision sport. So if you expect to go into a game and play fairly decent and not get hit, then you’re very confused. It’s just part of the game, and that’s how it is.”

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NFL Health Update: Jeff Feagles glad to be Heads Up Ambassador



A retired 22-year NFL veteran, Jeff Feagles serves as a Heads Up Football Ambassador for the Ridgewood Junior Football Association (RJFA) in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Feagles, a former punter, earned Pro Bowl selections in 1995 and 2008 and won a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Feagles spoke about his role as a coach and Ambassador.

Why did you decide to become involved in Heads Up Football? Why is it important to you?
Once I finished coaching at the junior football level, which I did for seven years, I still wanted to be involved in the program. When I found out about Heads Up Football, I figured this would be great not only for me, but for our program. This was important to me for two reasons: 1) the safety of our children and the importance of training coaches on proper tackling; and 2) I wanted to try and get parents -- whose kids do not play football because they think it is too dangerous -- to understand how Heads Up Football can change their perspective.

What do you hope to share with the youth football players throughout the season?
I am hoping to share the correct way to tackle and use the fundamentals the coaches have been taught in practice and games. I want the players to grasp the terminology all the coaches are using. I also want the players to feel comfortable with what we are teaching and be able to self-coach, monitor and correct the other players if they are doing something incorrect.

How have you seen attitudes towards sports safety change?
The attitude among our coaches has been very positive. At first, most of them were skeptical about teaching this new technique. Once I was able to host a clinic and they were certified online, the concept and reality kicked in for the coaches. The most encouraging sign I have seen has come from the parents. They are very excited that there is a protocol for concussions.

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Yasmani Grandal pleased with rehab progress

SAN DIEGO - It has only been six weeks since Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal has reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, though that hasn't stopped him from thinking about Spring Training.

Isn't that a little soon, especially for a surgery that typically requires nine to 12 months of rest, recovery and rehabilitation?

"Some guys recover faster than others," Grandal said Saturday.

Grandal said he's ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation and that he's already doing strength exercises for the knee that include squats and leg presses. On Saturday, he was scheduled to ride a stationary bike for 35 minutes.

"I can't wait to start running," he said, smiling.

Grandal hasn't played since July 6, which was the day he suffered a nasty injury to his knee while he protected the plate as Anthony Rendon of the Nationals took out his legs attempting to break up a double play, a play that everyone deemed as clean.

Grandal had surgery a little over a month later. The surgery was performed by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who performed similar surgeries on Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III.

"It's coming along really well," Grandal said. "I'm expecting to play ... no matter what they say. I know I'm going to be able to do something [in Spring Training], I'll definitely be running, cutting, catching drills."

Grandal's main concern, as a catcher, is getting the knee strong enough to withstand squatting for an extended period of time.

"If I can do that, it's a piece of cake," Grandal said. "But the big deal is staying down there for prolonged periods of time."

Despite Grandal's optimism, the Padres are taking a wait-and-see approach and aren't willing to put a time frame on if and when Grandal might be ready for Spring Training.

"I'm cautiously optimistic about him being ready for a great deal of activity in Spring Training," said San Diego manager Bud Black. "My advice to Yazzy is to stay on the timeline of the rehab program."

Grandal was suspended for the first 50 games of the season for elevated levels of testosterone. He came back to the team on May 28 and hit .216 with one home run and nine RBIs in 88 at-bats.

It was a far cry from the impression he made in 2012, when he hit two home runs in his first start and hit .297 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 192 at-bats.

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Yonder Alonso unlikely to bat again this season

SAN DIEGO -- Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso, who hasn't played since Aug. 30 because of soreness in his right hand, won't likely appear in a game as a hitter the rest of the season.

San Diego manager Bud Black said Sunday that Alonso will in all likelihood not swing a bat again during a game, though he could appear on defense.

"The hitting component for Yonder this week is out," Black said. "But we hope at some point this week that he can play [defense]."

Alonso wasn't quite ready to concede, though.

"I want to play, if not ... I wouldn't be doing all of this stuff," Alonso said. "But I've got to understand it's a process."

Alonso fractured a bone in his hand in late May and missed 34 games. He hit .284 with six home runs, 29 RBIs and seven doubles in 190 at-bats prior to that injury but said his hand hasn't felt fully healthy since, during which time he has hit .278 with four doubles and 16 RBIs.

Alonso received a cortisone shot in his hand during a visit with a hand specialist on Saturday.

"We're still trying to calm it down," he said.

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