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Pierre Garçon returns for the Redskins

Pierre Garcon AP

For the first time since Week Five against the Falcons, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III will be able to throw the ball to Pierre Garçon.

Garçon has been sidelined since then with a foot problem that first cropped up in the season opener and never got much better. There was some fear that Garçon would have to undergo surgery that would cost him the rest of the season, but his return to practice this week went well enough that he is active for Sunday’s game against the Eagles.

The Redskins hoped Garçon would provide Griffin with a reliable and productive target in the quarterback’s rookie season. Garçon had a big opener in New Orleans to raise hopes on the productive side of things, but the injuries haven’t done much for his reliability. If he can stay on the field, Garçon can at least start building that kind of relationship with Griffin heading into 2013. Garçon will start, although we don’t know if there are any limitations on how much he’ll play.

Safety Brandon Meriweather is also active for the Redskins, but it doesn’t quite qualify as a return since he hasn’t played a regular season game for the team. Meriweather’s fought knee problems all year and they’ve finally abated enough for him to get on the field. Like Garçon, Meriweather will be in the starting lineup.

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Arians says Carson Palmer’s shoulder is fine


That dead nerve in Carson Palmer’s shoulder has come back to life.  And it looks like Palmer’s zombie arm joint will continue to get the job done, indefinitely.

Coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday that Palmer no longer has to worry about the shoulder, according to Darren Urban of the team’s official website.  Arians also said that Palmer is once again lifting weights in the upper body.

Arians also said that Palmer shouldn’t miss any practice time, and that he’s getting closer to 100 percent.

Palmer missed three games due to the shoulder injury, and the Cardinals won each of them.  They’ll get perhaps their biggest test of the season when the Eagles come to town with an extra week to get ready.

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Chiefs say Charles was checked for concussion

jamaalcharles AP

Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles says he tried to avoid having to go through the league’s concussion protocol after a collision on the field Sunday. But the Chiefs say Charles was, in fact, checked out on the sideline before being allowed to go back in the game.

Chiefs head trainer Rick Burkholder said Charles was checked during Sunday’s game and has been checked this week and did not get a concussion in the collision, which did cause a concussion for Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers.

“When he got hit, I obviously checked with him,” Burkholder said. “I know coach talked to him a bit there. I came back and consulted with the team physician; he was absolutely asymptomatic, wasn’t complaining about anything. . . . Obviously, we check on those guys as they come off the field almost every series. I know coach spent time with him on the plane after the game.”

Burkholder’s statement that Charles was “absolutely asymptomatic” contradicts Charles’s statement that he “was seeing light bulbs, like, light bulbs around my eyes.” Seeing flashing lights is one of the symptoms of a concussion.

Charles may not have told Burkholder that he was seeing flashing lights, and Charles may not have exhibited any other symptoms of a concussion when he was examined. But Charles has said since that he had a symptom associated with concussions. And whether he actually had a concussion or not, it’s alarming that he indicated he wanted to avoid being diagnosed.

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Harvin doesn’t show up on the Jets’ injury report

Harvin AP

Former Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin had been battling a thigh injury for the couple of weeks before he was traded to New York.  Or maybe it was a “thigh” injury.  As in not an injury at all but just an excuse to not practice.

Either way, Harvin didn’t show up on his first injury report as a member of the Jets.  So his thigh — or “thigh” — injury has healed — or “healed” completely.

Is it fair to suggest Harvin was perhaps embellishing an injury to justify missing practice?  Yes, given that one of his disputes with former Vikings coach Brad Childress happened when Childress questioned whether Harvin’s ankle injury was an “ankle” injury.

Regardless, Harvin launches his time in New York at 100 percent.  We’ll see how long he stays there.

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Jimmy Graham limited at Saints practice

Jimmy Graham AP

Saints tight end Jimmy Graham wound up in the lineup against the Lions last week after several days of uncertainty because of his shoulder injury, but he only played a limited number of snaps and didn’t have a catch as the Saints blew a lead in the fourth quarter.

The Saints got back to practice on Wednesday to start their preparation for facing the Packers on Sunday Night Football and Graham remained a limited participant in the action for New Orleans. Barring a setback, his presence last week suggests he’d be in the lineup again this week in a game that the Saints could really use to give themselves boost in the struggle for playoff spots in the NFC. The question will be how effective Graham can be, but it’s not one that will be answered on the practice field.

Running backs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas both missed practice, which was no surprise in Thomas’s case as he’s expected to miss a couple of weeks because of a shoulder injury. Robinson is dealing with a forearm issue, which he said, via the Baton Rouge Advocate, was just “a little boo-boo.”

Center Jonathan Goodwin was also out of practice for the Saints and the team’s move to add Eric Olsen to the roster could be an indication that he’s going to miss his first game of the season.

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Report: Bill Belichick sent Darrelle Revis home for being late

New York Jets Vs. New England Patriots At Gillette Stadium Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has sent players home for being late during blizzards.

So it’s no surprise that the same rules apply to the Island.

According Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, the absence of cornerback Darrelle Revis from Tuesday’s practice was because Belichick sent him home for being late.

The report said Revis arrived late to the team facility, and Belichick sent him away rather than allow him to participate in meetings or practice.

Players had the weekend plus Monday off after last Thursday’s win over the Jets, with instructions to return Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. There was no word how late he was.

A source close to Revis said he accepted responsibility for his tardiness, and he was back at work Wednesday.

Given the hot-and-cold nature of Revis’s relationships with employers, this one is worth filing away.

It’s also an important play for Belichick in establishing control, proving to his roster that no star is beyond the rules (though we wonder what would happen if Tom Brady had a flat tire).

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West says Jaguars simply wanted it more than the Browns

West Getty Images

So how did the previously 0-6 Jaguars upend the previously 3-2 Browns by a score of 24-6?  Chalk it up to good, old-fashioned motivation.

They wanted it more than we did,” rookie running back Terrance West said Tuesday, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“We looked like the 0-6 team, and they looked like the 3-2 team,” West said.  “That was the big difference.  They just had more plays.  The team that had the better plays, big plays are going to come out with a win, and that’s what happened yesterday. Their fans, they were in the game.”

Some think the absence of center Alex Mack, who suffered a season-ending broken leg the prior Sunday, kept the Browns from winning.  West disagrees.

“I think we probably would’ve had more rushing yards if Alex Mack’s there, but the way the Jaguars played us, they wanted it more,” West said. “He probably wouldn’t have made a difference.”

The Browns face another winless team on Sunday who may want it more, especially since the Raiders face a murderer’s row of opponents for most of the rest of the season.  Playing a team that just lost to the 0-6 Jaguars could give the 0-6 Raiders some real hope.

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Sam Shields, James Starks and Morgan Burnett miss practice

Carolina Panthers v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Packers got back on the practice field on Wednesday without several regulars in their lineup.

Cornerback Sam Shields, safety Morgan Burnett, running back James Starks and defensive end Datone Jones were all held out of practice as they recover from injuries. Shields missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury and the Packers have a bye after they face the Saints on Sunday night, but coach Mike McCarthy said that the team wasn’t going to let that keep Shields out against Drew Brees if he’s given the green light to play.

“I don’t keep players out for games,” McCarthy said, via the team’s website. “If a player can play, he plays. Sam is going through medical situation and if he’s ready to play, he’ll play.”

Jones also missed the victory over the Panthers, which made it two straight weeks out of the lineup because of an ankle injury. Starks is also bothered by an ankle injury while Burnett is nursing a calf problem, but McCarthy said that all three were moving well during their rehab work.

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Brandon Flowers officially out for Thursday night

New York Jets v San Diego Chargers Getty Images

Once cornerback Brandon Flowers was diagnosed with a concussion last Sunday, it became doubtful that he’d be able to play against the Broncos on Thursday night.

The Chargers confirmed that the short turnaround wasn’t enough time for Flowers to get cleared on Wednesday by ruling him out of the contest. With the extended break before Week Nine, Flowers should have a decent chance of making his return when the team travels to Miami.

Flowers may not be the only cornerback out on Thursday. Jason Verrett missed last week’s game after limited practices all week because of a shoulder injury and he’s questionable after another week of limited practice. Steve Williams is also listed as questionable because of a groin injury. If neither can go, the Chargers will be down to Shareece Wright, Richard Marshall and Chris Davis at the position.

Linebacker Jerry Attaochu is doubtful with a hamstring injury despite getting in some practice time the last two days while running backs Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown and linebacker Manti Te’o have been ruled out once again.

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L.A. may have gone from luxury to necessity for NFL

melonheads-e1326850808645-2 Getty Images

Nearly 20 years ago, the Rams and Raiders left Los Angeles.  Since then, talk has persisted regarding a potential return.  Primarily because talk of teams moving to Los Angeles often helped certain teams get public money for new stadiums.

Meanwhile, the NFL stubbornly has waited for the right deal to emerge in L.A.  Which is a simple way of saying an opportunity pursuant to which the NFL will make a ton of money and whoever builds the stadium or otherwise helps pony up the cash needed to lure the league back will possibly lose a ton of money.

But there’s been, as Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times put it during a recent visit to PFT Live, a paradigm shift.  Instead of L.A. being a luxury, it’s becoming a necessity.  And that’s because a trio of franchises with obvious connections to Los Angeles (indeed, the Rams, Raiders, and Chargers each previously resided there) that have substandard stadium situations and easy escape routes, a sense of inevitability has emerged.

For plenty of other details from the guy who is as plugged in as anyone on the issue of the NFL in L.A., click the thing below and listen.

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Jets playing keep-away with new acquisition Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin AP

Given his background, his ability, and the timing of his acquisition, there’s plenty to ask new Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin.

But he won’t be getting asked until later in the week.

Per multiple tweets from the Jets beat writers, Harvin was surrounded by reporters today, but said he was not allowed to talk until Friday. He spoke Monday after his first practice with the team since they acquired him in trade from the Seahawks, but shielding him from questions today seems a bit, ahem, protective.

That will allow the week to settle into a rhythm without him talking about his new team (or more specifically, more about why he’s a former member of his old team).

Of course, the Jets PR department is smart enough to know that the same questions will await Harvin Friday, even if they come from a slightly smaller crowd.

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Erik Walden fined $27,562 for contact with official

Erik Walden, Andy Dalton AP

It doesn’t look like Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly will be fined for the contact with an official that led to his ejection from last Sunday’s game against the Packers, but Colts linebacker Erik Walden wasn’t so lucky.

Walden was ejected for the same infraction in Indy’s shutout of the Bengals and has been fined $27,562 as a result. Walden shared the letter from the league with Mike Chappell of RTV6 in Indianapolis and it specifically charges Walden with shoving the umpire’s arm when the umpire tried to prevent a confrontation with another player.

The letter also informs Walden of his right to appeal the fine to the league office. Chappell reports that Walden called the fine “nonsense” and said to tell NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that “I appreciate it,” but didn’t say whether he’ll exercise that right before handing over any money.

The difference between the Kuechly case when it comes to the fine is likely that Walden’s contact came while he was facing the official whereas the official was behind Kuechly in the Panthers game.

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Brett Favre: Austin Davis can be “next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner”

Austin Davis AP

The most accomplished Southern Mississippi quarterback in NFL history is a fan of the only current Golden Eagle quarterback in the NFL.

Brett Favre likes what he’s seen from Rams quarterback Austin Davis, the only other alum of the school to start more than one game in the NFL, and thinks that he can follow in the footsteps of a couple of Super Bowl winners who didn’t enter the league with a lot of fanfare.

“Austin can definitely play at this level,” Favre said, via Ed Werder of ESPN. “Not to sound off my rocker, but [Davis] — in my mind — can be the next Tom Brady or Kurt Warner. [Brian] Hoyer as well. Austin, like those mentioned, just needed a legit opportunity.”

As you’d imagine given Favre’s admission that he might sound off his rocker, the comparison to Brady and Warner is a stretch but being impressed by Davis’s work is perfectly reasonable. He’s completing 66 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in his six appearances this season and led the Rams on an 80-yard scoring drive after the Seahawks drew within two points last Sunday.

If he keeps up the same kind of work during a three-game road swing through Kansas City, San Francisco and Arizona, those comparisons will still be premature but the Rams will be thrilled all the same.

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Bill Polian, Ron Wolf selected as contributor candidates to Hall of Fame

Bill Polian AP

The Pro Football Hall of Fame added a new contributor category to help deserving non-players make their way to Canton, and the first two candidates have been chosen.

Via Jim Trotter of ESPN, a member of the nine-person committee, former Raiders and Packers executive Ron Wolf and Bills, Panthers and Colts General Manager Bill Polian are the first two contributor candidates.

Much like seniors committee candidates to the Hall, they will need 80 percent of a yes/no vote to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

The addition of those candidates won’t take away from the five spots reserved for modern-era candidates.

Wolf turned the Packers into contenders in the 1990s with the additions of coach Mike Holmgren and quarterback Brett Favre, and by wooing free agent Reggie White to Green Bay. The Packers were 92-52 during his stint as G.M.

Polian helped build the Bills into a four-time Super Bowl team, then authored a quick-build in Carolina which saw the Panthers make the NFC Championship Game in their second year of existence. He then failed to screw up the Peyton Manning-Ryan Leaf decision, setting the stage for the Colts to be perennial contenders.

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Vikings expect John Sullivan, Vlad Ducasse back this Sunday

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

The Vikings lost a pair of offensive linemen to injury during last Sunday’s loss to the Bills, further compromising an offense that has struggled to put points on the board over the last two weeks.

Center John Sullivan suffered a concussion and right guard Vlad Ducasse hurt his knee, leaving the Vikings with Mike Harris playing guard for the first time and no offensive linemen left on the bench. On Wednesday, coach Mike Zimmer said that he expected to have a fuller hand at his disposal against the Buccaneers.

“I think they both should be fine,” Zimmer said, via the Pioneer Press. “[Sullivan] passed his first protocol test. I would assume he would be fine.”

The Vikings have gained just 488 yards over the last two weeks while scoring 19 points in a pair of losses. A healthy Sullivan and Ducasse won’t lead to fireworks, but it’s better than the alternative for a team with another other problems to sort out.

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No practice for A.J. Green, no decision for Sunday

A.J. Green, Jason McCourty AP

The Bengals are 0-2-1 in their last three games and getting wide receiver A.J. Green back in the lineup would be a good way to increase the chances that their winless streak ends at three games.

Green said Tuesday that his injured toe feels better, but it wasn’t feeling well enough for him to practice with the team on Wednesday. Geoff Hobson of the team’s website reports that Green worked on a rehab field while his teammates went through their first practice ahead of Sunday’s crucial matchup with the Ravens in Cincinnati.

Coach Marvin Lewis said before practice that Green wouldn’t play until he is “significantly healed,” but left the door open for Green to play even if he couldn’t go the distance.

“It’s hard for me to put a guy out there Sunday that I don’t think can last a full game,” Lewis said. “If we have A.J. for part of the game doing certain things, that would be great. I think we could operate offensively … I guess we’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.”

Given the importance of this game to the Bengals, 20 plays with Green sounds a lot better than zero plays with Green but it will likely still be a few days before we know if that’s a possibility.

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